Stupid Shit My Dad Has Done

So yesterday was my dad’s birthday and I was having too much fun with him to remember to write this post! I like my dad a lot. He’s a cool guy and one of my best friends. He’s taught me so much over the years and he looks after me and my siblings. He’s also dozy as fuck and says stupid, annoying shit constantly. He does stupid shit even more frequently. I’ve written a Terry appreciation post in the past (you can read it here: https://sarahwilliamsandco.com/2018/06/15/fathers-day/), and, to be honest, I don’t want his head to get any bigger. So I intend to humble him instead with this post. Below is a list of things my dad has actually said and done. Brace yourself for the biggest eye roll of your life!

1. “What’s that, er, that bubbly stuff you put on your head?” “You mean shampoo?” “Ah yeah, that’s it.”

2. He once put the petrol cap on top of the car and then drove off. We never saw that petrol cap again.

3. He used to duck his head when we’d drive into multi-storey car parks in our people carrier with the roof box as if that made us shorter.

4. “Oh it’s a lovely day, boiling outside. Shorts weather.” “It’s two degrees.”

5. He once sat on a pizza.

6. He watches movies on the iplayer on his laptop and doesn’t make it full screen.

7. He drove into a grass verge and then wondered why we had a puncture.

8. “Sarah, my phone appears to have broken.” “No, it’s just not turned on. Here, just click the power button.” “Ah, I see.”

9. When playing ring of fire last new year: “Dad come on, you’re like four sips behind!” “I’m trying but it’s so fiery!” He was drinking ginger beer.

10. Got an egg out and juggled it in his hand whilst he got a pan out too. He dropped the egg and it splattered on the floor. “Good Jesus!”

I know, I put up with a lot of shit, don’t I? I think I’ll keep him though. He gets rid of all the spiders from my room.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Long Grey Mare – Fleetwood Mac

 

twentynineteen

Well twentyeighteen disappeared into thin air didn’t it? Seems like just yesterday I was in a cottage in Wales bringing in the new year and writing last year’s version of this post. (I guess we’ll make it a tradition.) I was so full of hope and just, quite frankly, desperate for change and a chance to breathe after a shocking twentyseventeen. And you know what? It wasn’t a bad year. I’d say the positive definitely fought to be heard louder than the negative and I was very happy about that. I learnt a lot about myself, as I think you should aim to do every year. Lifelong learner and all that. There were days when I didn’t want to get out of bed. There were days when my heart was so full I thought it would burst. From joy. And from grief. There was lots of tears but maybe a few more smiles. My years will always be tinged with some sadness and thoughts of what could have been but won’t. But I’m still a kid, right? I don’t want to stop living. So I’m working on the perfect cocktail of misery and ecstasy. That’s the best I can do for now.

But let’s focus on fucking fun for a sec. Here are the boss things twentyeighteen brought me: I met my best mate and the boy I wouldn’t mind spending every day with; went to a prosecco party in Norwich; ate my body weight in vegan mac and cheese in Glasgow; saw Wicked at the Empire; had a gin crawl in Liverpool; went to Dublin, then went to Dublin, then went to Dublin again; had drunken sleepovers; went on two boozey cruises filled with ska on the Thames; sang Hamilton all around the Lakes; saw Legally Blonde at the Empire; danced to reggae in the Baltic Triangle; went to a casino and won fifty quid at black jack; went to Lake Fucking Como for my sister’s 30th; gave blood; ran away to Wales for the weekend; ate so many olives; saw Franz Ferdinand and The Cribs at a warehouse in Manchester; watched all the Rocky movies; floated around County Clare for a week sipping Guinness and being constantly blown away by the views; saw the Terracotta Warriors on their visit to Liverpool; turned a quarter of a century, yikes; played a lot of Mario Kart; saw a hundred women sing together at St George’s Hall; saw Liquidiation turn a quarter of a century; drank too many cocktails back in Norwich; went for a spa day with my boy; got blind day drunk with my work kids for Christmas; ate and drank and read my way through Manchester with the boy; had a couple of afternoon teas with the family; went to the pinewoods a lot; fixed my phone screen (proud moment for me); read fifty books; ate so much good food; watched so many amazing movies; drank copious amounts of booze at some awesome watering holes; and just spent time with the coolest people a person could ever hope to know.

So yeah, it was pretty sound, I reckon. I’m feeling pretty grateful and optimistic moving into 2019.

What are my intentions for the year?

They’re pretty similar to last year. I want to continue to better myself. I’m still working on being present. I want to do yoga and meditate and journal and write and read and dance and eat and drink and just live. I plan to wake up each day thankful that I’m alive. I want to get uncomfortable and try new things. I also want to hide in my reading cave and not see humans for five days. I think I can manage both! I want to see sunrises and stargaze. I want to inhale lots of love in and exhale lots of love out. That’s an Adriene reference for any of you who know what’s up. But really I think it’s just a good way to live. Plus nineteen is my favourite number so twentynineteen fucking owes me.

It’s gonna be a good one. Can’t you feel it?

You Get What You Give – New Radicals

Tattoo Origins: 53 03’ 40’’ N 9 21’ 46’’ W

These are the coordinates to my favourite place on earth. Yesterday I got to visit there again after three long years.

It’s been quite a while since our last tattoo origins story. I guess that’s because I find them quite draining. I love tattoos. And I love my tattoos. But the gravity I think comes with inking something permanently onto yourself means all my tattoos have very personal and emotional reasons for being there. They’re not secret, obviously, since I’m telling you about them. But sometimes they’re hard to write because I want to articulate their importance perfectly and that almost never happens. So it’s been a while. But yesterday made me realise this was the next journey for us to conquer together. So, onwards.

If you’ve read any blog post by me ever, or even just had a conversation with me, then you’ll know my family are the single most important thing in my life, bar nothing. Their journey is my journey. And my journey is theirs. We’re so wonderfully intertwined. I love them. Put in the simplest terms possible. Diving deeper, they are the reason I breathe. The reason I get out of bed. Fight Live another day. Hearing their voices, reading their sarcasm, feeling close to them is all I need to sustain myself.

You’ll probably also know that I love Ireland. The country just holds a special place in my heart. It’s my family’s home, so it’s my home. Aside from Liverpool, it’s where I feel most safe.

So how do these two facts collide to create this tattoo? And where is this place I’ve drawn on myself forever?

My favourite place in the world is a small slice of the Burren that stretches out alongside the Wild Atlantic Way. Driving from Doolin towards Fanore, just as the road turns to give you a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean, there is a small gravelled area to park a car. Park there. Cross the road, carefully. Climb down onto the world’s largest limestone pavement and breathe. Feel the harsh breeze from the water hit your face, close your eyes. Breathe deeply. You have arrived. You are alive.

My family and I have been travelling to the west coast of Ireland since the eighties, my brother’s first time being when he was still in our mother’s tummy. County Clare is our favourite. The Burren is possibly the world’s biggest playground and as kids we were mesmerised. I don’t recall the first time we ever found this little spot. But I’m thankful every day that we did. Every visit we’d park the car, wrap up in hats and scarves and coats, and just go. Whilst my sisters would hang back with our mum, casually exploring (they were older and more relaxed), my brother and I would run until we felt the sweat dripping down our backs beneath the winter layers. Under the watchful eye of our dad, it is a clifftop, we’d play the Burren game: no stepping on anything other than rock. You touch grass and you lose. Working our way to the cliff’s edge we’d all eventually pause. Blown away by the crashing waves below and the endless vastness that lay out in front of us.

It’s standing in that exact spot, looking at the ocean, that I’ve continued to come back to over the years. It calls to me. There’s nowhere in the world that I feel vibrates with such possibility. I could stare at the water forever. Yesterday was one of the windiest times I’ve ever been there. The powerful, white waves crashed so hard into the jagged black rocks next to me that I was periodically sprayed with fresh salty water. Feeling it hit my cold skin I felt alive. Peaceful. But secure. And loved. I don’t know how a place can make you feel that way. I think it must be magic. But all I know is I am one with that nameless piece of land. It is me. It has a way of emptying my mind and making me see clearly. About what I want. About what’s important. About what my life should look like. It guides me. Just as my mother guides me. It makes me feel safe. This spot is mine.

I’ll be attached to that place forever. It is my past, my present and my future. I just hope I don’t wait so long next time for the craving pull to ignite action inside me.

All I Am – Jess Glynne

Father’s Day

I don’t know about you but my dad is pretty boss. Like he’s probably the best guy I know. You can tell him anything and I think that shows how well he raised me and my siblings. A lot of dads try to be a big, scary authority figure whilst their kids are going up. Maybe it’s just the crushing pressures of hyper masculinity but I’ve never understood that mentality. Why would you want your kids to be scared of you? That doesn’t create love or respect, it just creates fear. That’s not an inviting environment to express support or kindness. At least, I don’t think it is. Maybe you think I’m wrong. But that’s just not been my experience of fatherhood.

In my life, fatherhood is about love and generosity and compassion and selflessness. But I guess that’s just cos that’s who my dad is. He’s a quiet guy but he’s full of ideas, opinions and intelligence. He taught me that words and ideas can change the world, that books are precious. That learning is paramount no matter what your age. He taught me to open my heart to other people’s experiences in the world and to always be an ally. He taught me how to take life with a pinch of salt and to laugh about what we can’t change. He taught me what it means to put your family above everything else and how to never lose sight of what is important to you. He taught me how to be authentic.

And don’t get me wrong, the man can be an ass. He can try my patience like almost no other. For anyone who knows our Terry, you know that to be true. But you also know the amazing man he is. You know that he is strong and he is brave and he won’t ever stop trying to be a better person. And that’s the main lesson he’s taught me so far: how to be a good person. Because a good person isn’t this shiny, perfect, angelic figure. A good person is someone with faults, but someone with many more qualities. A good person is more than the sum of their parts. A good person is always open to learn and change and evolve. And that’s my dad.

My life would be infinitely worse without him.

What’s your dad like? I hope you have the same relationship with yours and I’m sorry if you don’t, for whatever reason. But this weekend go and celebrate your dad, or anyone else in your life you see as a father figure. Or just a cool guy that you want to thank. Let them know that you appreciate them. And tell them you love them. Even if it makes them uncomfortable. Especially then.

Happy Father’s Day!

A Horse With No Name – America

when life throws you a curveball

About six weeks ago my dad, we call him Terry, found a Groupon for cheap Odeon cinema tickets so we bought it. It runs out next Wednesday. We need to go to two different movie showings and currently we’ve been to zero. You know how it is, life gets in the way. We decided to head to the cinema this morning to get the first one boxed off. About five minutes down the road I decide to check the film time. For no reason, just cos I felt like it. Turns out it started twenty minutes earlier than I thought and we’d already missed the start. Yeah, my bad.

So when life throws you a curveball what are you going to do about it? Be angry? Moan all day? Blame the person who’s at fault and make them feel bad? Or laugh at how stupid you are and go and do something else instead? Me and Tez chose option four.

So skip an hour into the future and we ended up in a garden centre planning our extravagant garden makeover; working out how to grow our own vegetables (conclusion: we have no fucking idea); and sitting on every garden bench we come across whilst talking about life. We treated ourselves to some bougie vegan flatbreads, coffee and elderflower water. Cos why not?

I’d say today is the best weather day we’ve had for about eight months. For real. The sun is shining, there’s a pleasant breeze, and today is the first time I haven’t worn my winter coat since like September. So who would wanna spend it in a dark, indoor cinema anyway!

It feels like the start of summer. And that makes me happy.

So just remember, kids, take each day as it comes. No matter how much you plan, life will find a way to change your circumstances. Realise that there isn’t much point in living if you’re not at least having fun. Do something completely random. Something that sounds weird. Because adventure is anywhere. You just have to remember to look for it.

Have a happy, sunny day, everyone!

Peace.

Summer Mood – Best Coast

St. Patrick’s

Now this week’s self-care post may seem a little counter-intuitive but stick with me.

So growing up in Liverpool with an Irish grandma, a family who loves Ireland and a surrounding that is predominantly Irish, I’ve always felt a great affinity with the country. More so than with the UK. In fact, I’ve never relished my British identity but found it somewhat embarrassing. I mean the whole idea of splitting land into countries has always felt bizarre to me. Throwing our racist, religious or xenophobic views behind a flag is just pathetic. Patriotism. One of my least favourite words in the English language. A blind belief that you are worth more due to the coincidence of your birth. And the British Empire? Don’t even get me started.

So that’s not how I see my relationship with Ireland. I don’t obey it and I don’t worship it. I just feel drawn to the land. Like I’m coming home. It’s the ideas of family above everything; respecting nature; always striving to be a kind person but remembering to have a heck of a lot of fun along the way that embody the Irish spirit for me. Because that’s been my upbringing. Those are the lessons I’ve learnt from the people I love. The fact all these sentiments bind in my mind to equal Ireland is almost incomprehensible because they’re not tangible, they’re just how I live my life. It’s hard to articulate. Because my family is Irish I’ve seen those lessons as being passed down through ancestors. The people teaching me these lessons may have thought differently but that’s how I’ve always interpreted it. So I hesitate to say I’m proud to be Irish because I don’t ultimately agree with countries and I think pride can be harmful. But I’m very happy to be Irish. I’m thankful that it’s my heritage. Because it’s happenstance of birth that has created the family that I have. And they’re pretty boss to say the least. Liverpool and Ireland did that. I have no doubt in my mind. So I’m grateful for their existence.

But if we’re stepping out of the spiritual world into the physical world I do love the country’s hills and green lands and pubs. I do fully plan on spending time in Ireland every year of my life. Many of my favourite childhood memories are the other side of the Irish Sea and I hope to make more in the future. I just feel comfortable there. Whether it’s pub crawling through Dublin or staring at the Atlantic Ocean from atop the Burren in County Clare. Again, it’s because I feel so connected to my family when I’m there. Either because they’re stood right next to me or because when I breathe I know that’s where we’ve come from. This island.

You’re probably wondering where the point to my article is coming in. It’s here. Go out today for St. Patrick’s and get pissed.

I know. You didn’t see that coming. Well I like to be unpredictable. Makes life more interesting. Now why am I telling you about my Irish heritage and drinking. And how is this anything to do with self-care? Because whilst yes, alcohol will not solve life’s problems (never forget that) it is acceptable to indulge occasionally. Whether you’ve had a long, hard week at work. Whether you just want to meet up with some friends you’ve been neglecting. Whether you’re Irish or not. Go and celebrate. Because whatever it was in the past, or whatever it is to other people now, to me March 17th is about celebrating culture and heritage and family. That’s why it’s my favourite day of the year. Don’t you see? It doesn’t matter what your life or beginnings are. Everyone can celebrate their culture, heritage and family so why not do it with booze, with the Irish. You all know we’re the funnest anyway. So when you’re blinded by a sea of green today, and maybe after a Guinness or two, have a think about what those three words mean to you right now. And what you’d like them to mean always. Then maybe act on it. Or don’t. I mean, you’ll probably have a wicked hangover tomorrow anyway so you might as well get something out of the drunken fun whilst it lasts.

If someone reading this disagrees with my view of St. Patrick’s Day then that’s totally fine. It is traditionally a religious holiday, yep, we are celebrating a saint. But I’ve found since turning from Catholicism to Atheism I enjoy having other ways to connect to my history. And yeah, St. Patrick’s Day famously was a day of alcoholic abstinence. But the Irish government overturned that years ago to improve tourism and celebration of all things Irish. So whether you consider it a bit of a piss up or a serious day I wish you a boss St. Patrick’s. And I hope you spend it with people you love.

And remember to shotgun a beer.

Peace.

Lisdoonvarna – Christy Moore

Christmas Self-Care

So it may not be a Friday and this may be six weeks late buuuuuut I’m bringing you a self-care Christmas Special. Because what even is December if you don’t kill the Christmas theme over and over, right?

Now we all love Christmas. We go on about it all year, people have countdowns going from literally January. But I think sometimes we can work up to a moment so much that it’s inevitably underwhelming. Or we just try so hard to make a moment perfect that it pales in comparison to our imagination.

But through it all we’ve just got to remember to breathe. Be present. Realise what any holiday is really about. Yeah, you might think it’s really about presents. But you know it’s about being with people you love, doing good. So this week I’m giving you a few different self-care ideas that will get you through the holiday period hopefully stress free. Because times of joy should not be stressful.

Tip 1

Before you eat the insane amount of food I know you’re going to maybe do a few light stretches. Then if you’re not completely smashed when you’re going to bed, maybe do a couple more. Stretch out those tummy muscles. Nothing complicated just a quick five minute yoga sesh. Yoga With Adrienne on YouTube will have you covered.

Tip 2

If you’re unfortunate enough to have a family full of tories or just general nobheads feel free to debate when you think it’s necessary but it you know they’re not listening, instead of ruining your day just remove yourself from the situation. Or sometimes we even argue with people who we consider soul mates. It happens, we’re right under each other’s noses. Just go for a walk after your massive Christmas meal. Clear your head and work up the smiles to go back in.

Tip 3

This one is for all my veggies out there. We all know the pounding of uninformed, moronic questions you might get from your aunties new boyfriend. But, like, if you had to choose between a cow and a dog. But if you were on a desert island. In a zombie apocalypse. Yeah, but the chicken is gonna be killed anyway. The answer is still no. Take a deep breath and count to nineteen. Why so high? Because I know the question is so idiotic that five seconds just won’t cut it. Release the angry energy and move on with your day. Hopefully he’ll get hit by a bus next week anyway.

Tip 4

If you’re an unnecessarily competitive person, don’t play games. You’re only making your family hate you. They may be politely laughing at your tantrums but they really want you to grow up and just realise it’s a fucking game of monopoly, man. Sit down.

Tip 5

Remember that this is your break as much as anyone else’s. You need to do what you want to do. If you don’t want to wear a Christmas hat cos it itches your head and you feel stupid, then don’t. If you don’t want to play charades because you can’t bear to act out Finding Nemo one more time, then don’t. If you want to go and be alone and read a book for an hour or two, do it. If you want to eat another chocolate even though your rude grandma is making comments, ignore her and eat it. You’ve worked hard all year so don’t forget that this is your time to relax. Do what you need to do. It’s all about self-care, mate. So keep that centre.

And that’s it, kids! Go and enjoy your holiday season 🙂

Step Into Christmas – Elton John