Friday, 2 September 2022

Letter to My 20 Year Old Self...

Dearest Aundrea,

Oh my darling one, where to begin? 

You're about to enter what you will come to know as one of the most difficult periods of your entire life. I wish I could protect you from whats to come. I wish I could warn you. I wish... I wish I could take the pain of whats to come, lock it in a box and keep it far, far away from you. But, despite what people might think, you've never been one to run from a fight and I'm afraid this will be the run for your life.

The person you are now in two short years will cease to exist. She will, I am sorry to say, have been stomped out and erased. Right now, you're living in Dublin, you have a great job, a few good friends, a beautiful apartment and altogether a very good life. That will all change on a night in October when you meet a good friend for a quite drink. You'll meet him then, you'll even invite him to join you. You've always hated seeing anyone being left out. Your kindness my darling will be your downfall.

Even now, writing this, I'm so far removed from that person, you... I think that even as I tell you whats about to happen, the reason I may sound like I'm talking about something that happened to someone else, is because in many ways, it did. I'm not who I was then. He made very sure there was nothing left of me, but I would like to tell you now, something that would take you 13 years and a lot of heartbreak to figure out. You deserved and deserve so much better.

I'm staring at the flashing bar waiting for me to type the words to tell you this, this is truly the first time I have sat and thought about what happened. He seemed so sweet, damaged yes... but you could fix that. You have always been a fixer, that will never change. You will always want to take the bad in someone and make it go away, replace it with something better. But it didn't work here. He hurt you so badly. Physically beat you until you were unconscious, many many times. He would lock you away from the world for days on end. I know you're reading this thinking 'not me' but there is one crucial thing I need you to know. You will be pregnant. A beautiful girl. and you will fight, you'll fight for her, to keep her alive, to keep her safe. And you do. You endure it, praying for someone, something to save you, because he has broken you so carelessly that you are too weak to save yourself. In the end, it is seeing that tiny human in person for a very brief moment after an emergency c section induced by sheer panic and fear. You will die on that operating table and I'm so sorry , you'll hear the beeps of the heart monitor get slower and slower until it flatlines. Then the nothingness.

You wake not knowing whats happened until you are told by your surgeon the next morning. You will make the choice for her. Because she is all that matters now, you will leave him for her. And you will make sure he never sees her again. That I can promise you. And you will never let another man raise his fist in anger at you again. I am so sorry. For all of it.

I'm sorry for the journey you have to go on over the next 12 years. You need to find out who you are again. You need to forgive yourself. You need to accept that it was never your fault. And yes, it will take you that long to figure it out. It doesn't come easily, you're still working on it. Because ingrained in you so deeply is the notion that it will always be you, your fault, something you should have done different, but... not on this occasion.

You will meet someone. He's pretty great... he will treat you better than anyone before him, it takes a while to get there but it happens. And you'll know the wonder of being truly comfortable with someone, laughing over the stupid things together, crying over the bad. He has to leave you. It's just time. And you have to let him go. For him to be happy. You'll miss him so much your heart will fracture, he was your best friend, without ever really being your friend, he was your person. I don't think that you will ever stop missing him, or loving him really. I think once you truly love someone you will love them forever. Every time you think of him you'll wish him well.... because throughout everything you've learned nothing is permanent and you'll learn to be grateful for the time you had with the people you love. It's precious. I'm not sure you'll ever fully recover from this loss but it will happen and you won't see it coming. I don't think you can fit an infinity into a letter, and the one you shared with him can't be quantified. So it's best just to know you do love again. Truly. Unconditionally.

 I'm not really sure where we go from here. But I do know that we'll be okay. You're finally going to travel, you are going to see all those places you wished you could have. Some of these trips you'll do alone. I'm hoping we'll meet some great people along the way. Others well... I guess we'll have to wait and see.

And hey, that little girl you fought so hard for, in more ways than one? She's amazing. Funny, kind, empathetic and sweet. A lot like that young lady you used to be. You're still all of those things but she seems to do it all so much better. You have nothing to worry about on that front, she's perfect. You're an unconventional parent, you'll say fuckhead a lot and make threats about kids who hurt her, most of which are idol.  Just kidding. Believe it or not you turn out to be a pretty great parent. She is the Rory to your Lorelai... just like you always wanted.

I'm Going to give you a list of things I wish I had known in advance, here goes:

Don't stand in wheelie bins unattended, you will fall out of one absolutely sober and destroy yourself.

You'll end up with a penis shaped scar from a third degree burn thanks to a friends hair curlers... embrace it, it'll end up being quite the anecdote later in life.

At that event for YSL don't lean against the window... it's open and you will almost fall out in front of the Head of International Makeup Artistry. Not good.

As funny as it seems at the time, don't pants your boyfriend in front of his mother, I don't think he ever quite forgave you for it.

Go the extra mile when moving that stupid Elf... worth it every time. 'How did he end up on the ceiling?!' No idea you'll say while clutching your back after falling off that chair.

Don't be so hard on yourself okay? There are lots of people who will do that for you. Trust me.

Don't let betrayal harden you, you'll soon see its better to be you knowing you did all you could than you having to live with what other chose to do to you.

Enjoy every moment with tots, she's growing up so quickly. She's all that will ever matter.

Thats it for now, know that you'll feel like you're dying, you'll be okay, repeat twice and you'll be here. You'll be okay and thats all you'll ever want, to be okay. I used to wish our story was different but any one step in a different direction and you would be someone else, somewhere else. You wouldn't have met the people who helped to shape your world, you wouldn't have Addie. If there were an award for 'Emotional Strongperson of the Decade', it would be yours and thats a hell of an achievement. You're doing okay, you'll get there.

I love you,

A x

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

The Physics of the Quest


“I've come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call "The Physics of The Quest" — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: "If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself... then truth will not be withheld from you."

A decade is a long time, but it can also feel like no time at all. Lessons learned, trust betrayed, hearts broken, promises that have never been kept and relationships which end in an unanswerable great abyss of nothingness.

As time continues to forever move us forward, for the unlucky few, it becomes ever apparent that we are to make our way through our toughest journeys, alone.

As someone who used to consider herself an eternal optimist (now semi hardened realist) its difficult to admit that at some point, you have to accept people are built to disappoint you. Imaginary letters never sent, foundations built on empty promises, broken trust teetering on oblivion. Its a constant fairground carousel of deceit, disappointment and hurt.

Any major trauma we endure, is always dealt with alone. You put stock in the prettily worded sentences of vague offers of support made with no intention of ever seeing them through. Declarations of love on a road leading nowhere. A Mismatched, misguided heart surrounded by the scar tissue of a million empty words.  

So what does it all mean? The belief in your fairy tale ending? It was in you, deep as poison. Encroaching on your fragile heart, spooling their thorned vines around it, locking those damaging splinters in place, creating primed, minute, fractures ready to be shattered with each tap driven into it with a sledgehammer wielded by those you so naively leant your trust to.

By now you should be used to it... not everyone has your heart's best interest in mind, not everyone's promises mean something. An attempt was made to plant a bitter and cynical seed where once there was a pure belief in love.

Deep down you knew this was coming. They've never missed an opportunity to remind you just how insignificant you can be in their world. And it crushes you every time. You let it crush you because you can't bring yourself to inflict the pain. It can crush but this time it didn't break you. Because this time the reenforcement of that fragile heart behind the scenes made all the difference. It will always hurt, it hurts because it mattered once, but no more. 

Life continues, a heart mends, you progress, the world continues to spin. I used to wonder how the earth never fell from its axis with the weight of emotional pain people carry around. But, I have learned there is nothing so bad it is impossible to recover from.

So, the physics of the quest in this scenario? You have to have faith, faith in others, in yourself. In the universe. We are unpredictable as a species, self involved, self destructive and inexplicable in our actions. But on the other hand as a result of this bump on the cosmic highway I have experienced the most incredible kindness, from the most unexpected sources. I have had to face and forgive some very difficult realities about myself. And the answer to the question on the end of this journey? No one can write my story for me. So I will pick myself up, dust my heart off, learn to trust once more and put nothing out into the universe that doesn't have the best intentions attached. We can never be broken down so far that we cannot rebuild ourselves stronger, wiser and more empathetic. 

As we continue on this beautiful road called life I will be infinitely grateful for the incredible good that has revealed itself, which was always there and which is stronger than ever. You have learned through this journey that unconditional love exists and it is a beautiful thing. Something which could have so easily hardened me and stripped me of my belief? Has only reenforced it further. There is something bittersweet and poetic about it because there is nothing to be lost, only gained. And an appreciation for what was found in the process, the most precious of things.

A fond farewell to the last decade... and on to the next chapter. 

I carry all the good with me, 


Wednesday, 24 March 2021


On social media they posted taunts at Hurricane Lorenzo,

Willing him into a tropical storm.

His gales though carried your unwritten messages away.
Silence and Seafret,
The feeling of relief,
The week spent with empty messages drifting aimlessly in darkness.
The failed midnight meeting along the metal tracks.

The dimmed station, where I waited in purgatory.
The neon painted lights of the buildings that surrounded.
The drunken shouting at the stop.
The nail polish I chip away at.

The dreary dawn showed up too quickly that night.
The rain that fell in a thin mist.
Helped to carry the tears away.
I left at 12:20 with one thought.
I had failed to reach you.

Whats left of me, steeps in the tub.
It needs to soak. 'Leave it', I think.
You had gone away, I had come home.
And what's left of me,
It loosens and the water carries it away.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019


It happened on a night like any other, uneventful, until You.

You walked in so effortlessly, like you had always been there. Akin to some piece of beloved furniture that had always been there.

You made yourself at home instantly, sharing seemingly understated events that had formed the core of who you were back then.

Something awoke inside me then, because of You.

I was prepared for everything, except You.

You had a way of making me feel seen and understood in a way so foreign I failed to recognise is at first. 

You were the best part of every day, the first part of any morning, infinite vast incoherent thoughts imperceptible to anyone but us, spoken aloud to form the secrets that would eventually bind us.

You so intricately wove yourself into the fabric of my small universe. Spinning silk threads forever securing what held us together.

You handled the damaged parts of my heart with such care, paying careful attention to returning them to their rightful place, slowly... safely.

You took the time to reinforce that once fragile heart so carefully.

You showed me infinities within our numbered days. How to build our own universe impervious to anyone but us. Held together with an unshakable faith.

You were perfect within your perfect imperfection.

You were my greatest teacher, my existential crisis affiliate. 

You pushed me in every direction I needed to go... and those I didn't know existed.

You have been there, each and every day reinforcing my unwavering belief in absolute, irrevocable and unconditional love.

You have made the journeys when no one else would. And for that, I am infinitely grateful.

You have shown me the fairy tales I once wrapped myself in sometimes do come true. That miracles are ever present and handed to us at the most serendipitous of moments.

You challenge me, You frustrate me, You drive me to the edge of insanity but even then there is no one I would rather be there with... than You.

I am forever blind to where I would be... who I would be... without You.

You are the fabric of this tiny universe we both call home.

It has always been You.

It will forever be You.

You are infinite.