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Dolly Alderton – Everything I know about love

This is a book that I never expected myself to buy or enjoy, but looking for an easy holiday read I was pleasantly surprised. I think this book beautifully describes the power of female friendships, but is a good book for those going through the transition period between school – university – work and perhaps have got caught up in a party lifestyle, but are realising that this is becoming destructive and is beginning to take a toll on other areas of one’s life and also to help take the world of dating in a lighthearted way. There were a few other things that I think she articulated particularly well:

Discussing the complex nature of recovery in eating difficulties:

“As I got older and mercifully more aware of what a precious gift a healthy working body is, I felt ashamed and bewildered that I could have treated mine so badly. But it would be a lie to say I think I will ever be entirely free of what happened in that time, which is something no one ever tells you. You can restore your physical being to health; you can develop a rational, balanced, caring attitude to weight as well as good daily habits. But you can’t’ forget how many calories are in a boiled egg or how many steps burn how many calories. You can’t forget what exact weight you were every week of every month that made up that time. You can try as hard as you can  to block it out; but sometimes, on very difficult days; it feels like you’ll never be as euphoric as that ten-year-old licking lurid jam off her fingertips, not ever again.”

Realising that alcohol can be used to fill a void, an empty daytime life and is not as frivolous and fun as it may seem at first glance. It can numb pain or distract temporarily, but those things don’t go away and are likely to become more painful when you stop drinking and have to face up to them:

“Life grew fuller in the daylight hours and there was less need to escape at night. But it would still take me some times to realize that the route to adventure doesn’t’ just involve late nights…I always saw alcohol as the transportation to experience, but as I went through my twenties I understood it had the same power to stunt experience as it did to exacerbate it.” (p118)

She describes the feeling of walking around in a world where you think someone is about to tell you something terrible that you did last night and you are ready to agree with them, assuming the worst of yourself and trusting them over your recollection – as she says what sort of fun is this really?

“Be the person you wish you could be, not the person you feel you are doomed to be. Let yourself run away with your feelings. You were made so that someone could love you. Let them love you.”

“I tried to put a stop to people-pleasing, aware that giving my energy and time away so freely was what was chipping away at the void that I didn’t want to turn into a quarry. I was more honest; I told people when I was upset or offended or angry and valued the sense of calm that came with integrity, paid with the small price of an uncomfortable conversation.”

So often we think we can and should only rely on ourselves and suffer alone, but we are relational beings so let others support you:

“I was reminded of the chain of support that keeps a sufferer afloat – the person in the core of a crisis needs the support of their family and their friends, while those people need support from friends, partners and family. Then even those people twice removed might need to talk to someone  about it too. It takes a village to mend a broken heart.”

How we so often become disconnected to ourselves:

“The child that is told not to show off or not to be a clever-clogs puts up barriers around certain recesses of who we are; and  we’re scared to ever revisit them again as adults. Instead, we hide these parts of ourselves. The bits that are dark or loud or eccentric or twisted, for fear of not being liked. It was these parts of ourselves, he argued, that were the most beautiful”.

An important realisation – Anyone can be fancied, it is much harder to be loved

A common mistake – Don’t confuse intensity for intimacy in relationships

Finally, we so often put immense pressure on romantic love, however as a consequence of this we can often overlook how much love already surrounds us – in friends, family, community, things that have been given to us with love that might be filling your room and some of the stories behind how we came to be who we are and what we do or have.

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