How not to Tinder

I went on my first ever Tinder date a few weeks ago.

I decided to install the app again (there have been numerous attempts). This time I just wanted to meet some new people. I am open to a romantic relationship forming but it’s not the kind of thing I feel like I want to manufacture, so that’s why I highlighted that I am looking for ‘friends.’ I’ve just left most of my friends in London to move to Brisbane where I have one friend – which I was worried would put quite a lot of pressure on that relatively new friendship.

So, how can I easily meet people I think?
“Ahh yeah, Tinder,” my inside voice cries.

So I was going to meet someone, a man. From his account, he seemed to be some mad free-loving traveller. As you may have gathered – this is the first time I’ve actually followed through with Tinder. It felt like less was at stake because I made it very clear I was just looking to meet some people, so I guess that’s why I didn’t chicken out.

I was nervous, but I didn’t anticipate how stressful those last 5 minutes would be before we met. Thoughts raced in my mind; Does he look like his pictures? What if he doesn’t show up?  What if he does show up but see’s me and leaves without a word? What if this is actually like the TV show “Catfish” and I’m about to meet a 37-year-old woman who’s going to lure me to my death? (No particular reason a 37-year-old woman would lure me to my death, or that on “Catfish” anyone dies. But this is the level my mind jumps to).

Nonetheless, he shows up. He looks like the grown-up version of what his online profile suggests. But, he’s super nice. He buys me a drink which although is a lovely display of generosity, subscribes more to “dating culture” than I think I’d like. I’m a big, big stickler for equality in relationships – including friendships. But that niggling worry aside, we had a lovely time. We chatted about our own lifestyles, travelling, food and he is very complimentary about my career and life choices.

A slight aside – When you’re a circus artist everyone is fascinated by your career. I don’t have a problem with that as my career is essentially to entertain people, and I love it. Sometimes it’s tedious to talk about and people get over excited and ask all manners of inane questions. But often it’s just fun to watch their wide eye-fascination as I tell them about hanging by my hair or other stories of the job.
There is one small worry that is always hidden in the back of my mind when I talk about my career. Sometimes men will ask if I’m “flexible” which for some reason makes me feel very uncomfortable.

Still, it’s going well. But, I just can’t shake the thought that I’m on a date with a guy that I don’t really know at all. And it is a date because we met on Tinder and he paid for our drinks and he’s being ever so lovely to me. But I don’t want that. And also I’ve skipped all of the fun parts, all of the subtleties and excitement I normally associate with pre-date behaviour. My reason for never liking Tinder in the first place was that I knew that that was my favourite part of building a relationship. And that extends to the relationship of a friend. I feel like that is created through contact time, shared interests and an almost imperceptive intimacy that starts to grow between you. It sounds romantic I know, but that’s how it’s always worked, isn’t it?

Anyway, here I am, “just giving it a try,” like I have been told again and again from friends. I feel like I’ve ended up at this kind of formal date/friend interview. I suddenly have to decide if I like this guy, and if so in what capacity? Do I want to see him again like he is suggesting – “I won’t say ‘if’ we see each other again, I’ll say ‘when’…”
And then the end of the “date,” the worst bit. Please, please don’t try and kiss me. And he didn’t. But, I feel like this whole set up leads me to think that something like that is expected at the end of the meeting. And the weight of that expectation bears down on me and terrifies me.

I don’t know where I’ve got this notion from, or if it stems from some underlying issue I have with men and/or intimacy. But earlier I was reading “The Ethical Slut,” (Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy), which is an incredible book about every kind of relationship under the sun. And they spoke about this idea of sex – including foreplay and even just mere hints at a sexual desire (kissing) – being a thing that woman can give to a man, something to keep him sweet. They talk about ideas like this being so ingrained in our nature that we don’t notice it until we trip over them. So, is that what’s happening to me here?

For me, this is one of those things. And it’s a reason why I have – on countless occasions – downloaded Tinder only to delete it again a few days later. One time that decision was made after I received a message saying, “If you had to describe your tits as an animal, would you say they are like a courageous lion or a saggy orangutan.”

This guy, however, was so nice, he didn’t put any pressure on me, he was kind and respectful but I still three weeks on haven’t agreed to meet him again because I’m so scared he’ll expect more of me one a second or third “date” or “meeting” and I don’t feel prepared to deal with that.

I guess it just all comes down to the fact that I tried to make friends on Tinder?

An ode to you.

I stopped writing after you.

After I tried to pour my heart out and fill the page with how I felt about you. Feelings I have never and may never tell you.

Our friendship is unique. For me at least. I feel intimate with you in a way that I haven’t felt with anyone in a long time. Yet, we haven’t even kissed.
I don’t even know if I want that, or if you do. But I’ve thought about it.

I was afraid of how I felt for you. Traumatised by a past relationship that was built upon emotional bruising, leaving scars in my mind.
There I was saying to myself, “Why have I allowed myself to be here again, with more feelings?”
But I did have feelings for you and I couldn’t run from that. And, I wanted to pack our relationship away into whatever ‘box’ it might fit into so I could explain those feelings. So they could be justified.
Are you my friend, my lover, a potential partner? Yet we’ve never spoken directly about it. I would catch myself mid-daydream – romantic thoughts about you. If I create an ‘us’ in my mind, surely I’ll get hurt.
But I haven’t. And here I am, writing.

Through ‘us’ I am learning.
Re-learning how to conduct a relationship with someone I care about, being good to you and in turn healing myself.
Learning not to place my own expectations upon you. Why should it be fair for one human to expect another to act in a certain way, based only on their life experiences? Blinkered expectation paves a clear path to resentment.
Learning not to apply my generalised view of “Lover Vs. Friend” to us. Perhaps it is possible for us to have patched together some form of hybrid, a relationship unique only to us, understood only by us, respected by us.
Learning not to allow ghosts of my past to manifest themselves within our relationship. You are not him. He does not represent every man. I am so much freer than I was, so much more alive.
Learning that no-ones motivation to love another should be to receive love in return. I feel love when I am with you. Who knows in what capacity but that unknown is precisely my point. It is in giving that we receive.
Learning to love me as separate from anyone else’s perceptions. This feeling re-born within our friendship. Inspired by your unadulterated confidence, nurtured by your compassion and lack of judgement.
Through us, I am learning.

Our friendship, your companionship is healing me from the inside. Encouraging me to boldly carve new pathways in my mind in reaction to old problems. The previous pathways abandoned, eventually becoming overgrown from disuse.

I’m not sure how much of this is about you at all. Yet, through all of it, you’ve been there. A constant presence in my life and in my mind throughout this new chapter of growth and repair.

I hope you can feel it, as we lie in our underwear. Entwined in each other’s arms, cold feet searching for one another’s. Desperate to share our warmth.
I hope you can feel how much I care for you.

“It is in giving that we receive.” – Prayer of St.Francis of Assisi

A welcome note – into my messy, messy mind.

Hi! Here’s a little something about me. My way of thinking, where I’m at now and probably something about cats…

I’m a Circus Artist. I specialise in Dance Acrobatics, Chinese Pole, Dance Trapeze, and Hair-Hanging. I haven’t started this blog to talk about circus necessarily, but I think it is the most important thing to know about me. I spend most of my time training, thinking about training, performing, watching or teaching circus.
I think performance art is an amazing way to engage large audiences, address issues and inspire change. As well as to tell stories and entertain.

I’m Scottish through and through, although sadly I’ve lost my accent. I  grew up in East Kilbride for most of my childhood but then we moved to a small farming town called Hereford in the middle of England for the end of my childhood and all of my teenage years. It was here I made some lifelong friends that I still speak with every single day, almost without fail (Izy) – but we will come to Hereford at a later date.
I absolutely adore my homeland and although I visit rarely, I have been blessed with the opportunity to create and perform there on more than one occasion (and have more lined up), and just being there makes my soul happy. The countryside, fresh air and slightly kooky residents all brighten up my life in a way that I don’t feel in many places. It really resonates somewhere deep within me as my home.

Speaking of home – this is where my racing mind peels us off topic and down some other avenue. I’m a bit of a nomad, a wandering soul, and I find myself leaving little pieces of my heart all over the world in many, many places (or with people) that I believe I could call home. Quite often when intoxicated or even just euphoric I reminisce about these places, some of which I will never see again, and some I will return to over and over. I feel a special kind of privilege being able to recall all of these places that have left an imprint on me. I’m sure I will mention these places along the way, some may even have their very own posts.

Now back to it;

I moved to London when I was 18 to pursue my career as a circus artist – the move really opened my eyes to the world (mainly to men, drinking, friendships, societal norms, conformity and the power that holds over people. As well as the magical and sometimes gruesome world of Circus).

I had never lived on my own before, and I had only been to London once – it’s terrifying, huge, noisy, and almost suffocating, and here I was a girl from the countryside ready to navigate that on my own.

I moved down and almost immediately started 9-5 training Monday-Friday at the National Centre for Circus Arts which was then known as “Circus Space.” Throughout my degree (and beyond) I made a wealth of close-knit friendships. We experienced so much together – especially within our small year group (23 of us to begin with and 18 by the end of the 3 years). We saw each other’s very best and very worst moments. We worked through blood, sweat and tears as we gritted our teeth to fight to get better and better at our chosen disciplines. We put ourselves in dangerous positions daily as our classmates were there to support us, at times like these our lives were truly in each other’s hands. All of this, as well as handling busy social lives (networking is by far one of the most important things you can do as a circus artist), trying to make enough money to ‘survive’ in London never mind to really ‘live.’ And throughout all of that, we were there for one another. I feel like that kind of friendship holds strong in a different way than any other I’ve ever experienced in my life, and the love I have for all of those people will always stay with me – through thick and thin.

I lived in London for six years and I’m sure in the future I will have many many more tales of that time but for now, I have moved to Brisbane, Australia in search of a slightly different way of life from that of ‘The Big Smoke’. I’ve been here a week, I’m slightly terrified and a little lonely, but I have faith that it’ll all work out, so far – I’m just enjoying the ride.

So, a little more about me – I love reading, creating, coffee, finding new ways to braid my hair, top-shelf rum, learning and training. I also love the outdoors, nature and animals (as I sit here writing this I have a little cat – Kujo – sat on my lap resting her chin on my forearm, which I am trying not to move too much as I type in an effort to keep her comfortable).

I’m mostly vegan, however, I do eat fish which I think makes me a pesky vegan – or as my friend calls me – a fish and chipocrite (all credit goes to Skip for that beauty). I sometimes stray from veganism for the purpose of nutrients for my hectic lifestyle but I am trying my best for the good of the animals and of the planet – I believe that’s what we can all aim do; our best.

I’m currently reading – “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman, which is an incredible book and is really changing how I see myself in relation to the world and how I treat my own mind within that. Alongside that, I’m reading “The Ethical Slut” by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton, which is equally amazing, empowering and thought-provoking but in a different strain. And last but not least my before bed book of short stories – “Blind Willow, sleeping woman” by Haruki Murakami. Murakami also happens to be my all-time favourite author, you can expect a whole post on him at some point – I couldn’t possibly rave about him enough – in fact, I’m getting excited just thinking about writing about him.

So for now there you have it. That’s me. My general aim in life is to be able to share things with others: experiences, thoughts and happiness.

I have a lot of thoughts and I have certain friends that I discuss them with regularly – mainly over coffee/tea and vegan cake (Maisy). I enjoy everyone’s varied responses, views and opinions and so I started this page up to find more like-minded people to chat with and to learn from/with.
Nevertheless, I am a flawed human being – as we all are – and I am fully open to the fact that the way I think may now and again be undercooked or even at times a little too idyllic. But, as I said: I love to learn, share and create – and that’s what I’m here for!

I hope to hear from you soon x

“A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving” – Lao Tzu