J-Ro Goes Solo…In Edinburgh! (part 3)

Keeping my cool on the way to meet Amanda Palmer. Should probably work on my poker face. (click on pic for my Instagram)

Keeping my cool on the way to meet Amanda Palmer. Should probably work on my poker face.
(click on pic for my Instagram)

I began my last day in Edinburgh by waking up to a juicy, squishy, throbbing mass of inky corned beef that used to be my arm. The first 24 hours are always a bit messy; after I cleaned it, I was pure delighted with myself, checking out my new upgraded HD colour arm in the mirror every ten minutes. Apologies to Mags & Bryan for leaking my tattoo-goo on your duvet. I wrapped my arm in 3 meters of cling film in an attempt to keep it airtight before I went to sleep. Once it was all taped up, I couldn’t help thinking it resembled a plastic-sealed tattoed ham; a vacuum-packed part of a once-badass pig. Oh yes. I was in my sexual prime. Form a queue lads…

So on into town I went, having been dropped off on one end of Princes St, before realising it was the wrong end. If there’s one thing I LOVE to do, it’s running or power-walking down a street that’s – and I’m not prone to exaggeration as you well know – twenty-five miles long, while a gale-force wind bitch-slaps me in the face and I try and avoid people who all seem to want to shoulder me at full force into my supremely tender freshly-inked upper arm. It was quite the sight that met the staff of Waterstone’s fifteen minutes later. I looked like the ‘before’ picture for a Goth heart attack prevention campaign. I know. There’s too much sexiness in this post…

The queue was fairly substantial by the time I got there, with all sorts of folk waiting to meet the fantastic Amanda Palmer and get her book The Art Of Asking signed. If you haven’t heard of the book, I’d highly recommend giving it a go. It’s a wonderful work; part memoir, part guide on how to get over ourselves and reach out to ask for help when we need it. That and she’s also just a very cool interesting person with many great stories to tell from her days earning money as a living statue on the streets of New York. Check out her Ted Talk in the link below, it’s well worth a watch.

While we waited in line, I got chatting to the two girls behind me. Danielle and Cass were from Ottawa, Canada, and had been travelling around Ireland and the UK for the last few weeks. We had great craic, chatting about Dublin and their Edinburgh experience so far. They were SERIOUS Amanda fans, even knowing her PA (Whitney, who told me my outfit was ‘super-cute’ – legend) on a personal level. The Waterstone’s had a café directly above us in an open-plan area up a set of stairs, so we kept ourselves comfortably refreshed with giant coffees & teas all round. I tell you what; if you’re going to be stuck queueing anywhere, a bookstore like that certainly isn’t the worst. I had a ball before I even got up to get my book signed.

Me armed with my copy...

Me armed with my copy…

When the time came, Amanda Palmer came down the steps looking relaxed and happy and glowy as hell with her baby bump proudly on display. You’d never know that she’d done a massive show the night before, and she was delighted with everyone who showed up. Next thing she took up her ukulele, and before she started to play, she said “If all you guys want to huddle up and stand closer to hear this, I know everybody will keep their place in the queue and not jump, right?” With that, she played one of her lovely tunes, and it was like listening to a friend serenade you. Stopping, laughing, having little jokes with the crowd or bemused Waterstones customers who had no idea what was going on, and one really cute moment where a mother walked past her with a baby in her arms and she slightly melted and we all laughed, because Amanda being the open soul that she is, blogs and updates FB talking about impending parenthood and how excited she is, and what a great father her husband Neil (Gaiman for those who don’t know!) will be to the new arrival. Here’s a clip I took of her playing:

Believe it or not, EVERYONE went back to their original places in the queue! I guess that’s more a testament to the nature of her fans, everyone is pure sound. Imagine that happening in Limerick?? Doesn’t bear thinking about. THE HORROR…

One of the best things to happen was as we got closer to the signing desk, I sent Neil Gaiman a tweet with a pic of Amanda singing, only to find he had replied to me a minute later. Delighted, I was. Announcing it to a giant queue full of artsy nerdy bookworm-types who have quotes from his books tattooed on their bodies wasn’t my wisest move if I wanted to not have the arm thumped off me in disbelief as they said “Fuck off. SHUT UP. No way!” To which I only made the situation worse by responding “Oh God yeah, sure I’ve spoken to him a few times. He’s such a legend.” Well, in for a penny….

Ah, you know...regular day. (click on the pic to head over to my Twitter)

Ah, you know…regular day. (click on the pic to head over to my Twitter)

Finally, I got to get my book signed and meet the woman of the moment. She’s so frickin’ nice! She didn’t even look bored or freaked out when I gabbled at her nervously as she signed ‘To @JayRow’ on the inside cover. She pulled me in for a hug / picture like she hadn’t been spending all day doing the exact same thing to everyone, we all really felt like we’d had proper time with her, which, given the size of the queue, was no mean feat.

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I skipped out of Waterstones (metaphorically – nobody needs to see that) pure delighted with myself. For the rest of the day, I packed and got my shit together, planning on how I would handle the sudden anticlimax of coming home and not getting selfies with world-famous authors for a change. I didn’t feel like getting off the rollercoaster just yet, and wondered what the Universe had in store for me next that I could see myself saying ‘YES’ to.

Later on that evening, I found out…and it was going to be a real ‘drag’.

Tune in next time to find out what J-Ro did next!

Ask J-Ro: A Not-So Beautiful Liar

I am in love with a liar. I question almost everything he says. It started when I found out he had a fondness for flirting over text with other women… Its been years since he has done that but he still lies about little things, money
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Good Lord, what a horrible relationship to have been stuck in for so long. It must be exhausting, not to mind soul-destroying for you. I think your opening sentence both asks AND answers your quandary. You’re in love – but he’s a liar. So you’re in love with a guy who has no truck with the whole ‘being honest and respectful to the woman he’s in a relationship with’ thing – which, for most self-respecting females, is Number One on the Deal Breaker List. That can’t make you feel very good about yourself, now can it?

From what you’ve said, it seems like this has been the status quo for years, and yet you wonder why he’s still lying to you about pretty much everything ever since you let him get away with his attempts at infidelity. You’ve been telling him in no uncertain terms for YEARS (without having to physically say anything) that you’re totally fine with him being deceitful, disloyal and sneaky. Of COURSE he’s going to keep doing it. Why not? There are no consequences for him whatsoever; while you get the lovely reward of tormented nights, self-doubt, distrust, and generally driving yourself up the wall as payment for your acquiescence. Who do you think got the better deal? And for how long more are you going to sentence yourself to this mindset? Is your time on this earth less important than his? Are you worth less than basic honesty and respect in a relationship? Only you know the answer to these questions. I hope you’re good and angry after reading this far into the answer…

To put it simply, this problem is about you. He’s not going to change, and you can’t make him. The only part of this you can control is you and the standards you set for yourself in relationships. If you don’t think, at the very fucking least, that you’re worth basic truth and respect from someone, then you stay stuck in this mental hell-hole and brace yourself for a lifetime of misery and insecurity.

I can’t tell you to stop loving him obviously, but I can tell you to try and start loving yourself a bit more. Would you let a dear friend or relative stay with a man who, by your own admission, is a liar? I’d imagine the answer is no. So why are you worth any less?

Either way, while you’re still involved with this guy, I’d start by immediately calling him out on every lie he tells you to let him know you’ve had enough. Write each deception down, keep a detailed list, and if you’re still with him in 6 months, hand that list to your best friend and ask her what she thinks. Her language may be far more colourful than mine.

Bottom line: Be nicer to yourself, prioritise your own mental health and happiness, and you will begin to command more respect and honesty from those around you.

What You Can Do Today: Tell him to cop the fuck on with the lies, or you’ll start a blog called My Lying Asshole Partner – and give his name.

If you end up doing that, send me the link.

Best of Luck!

Ask J-Ro: New Love Vs Old Insecurities

I separated from my wife a year ago. there’s a girl that likes me and I like her. She has a kid. She fears 2 things, firstly that I’ll return to the ex and second that I’ll reject her because of her son. How can I reassure her that this isn’t the case for either. When I’m with her my world lights up.

I think the first and most important thing is keep talking with each other, but in a productive way. You don’t want to end up in an endless cycle of constant reassurance, because that does nobody any good, and gets in the way of the fun part of beginning a new and exciting relationship. It sounds like she’s playing it very cautiously, possibly from having been hurt before, so I think you’ll have to take it slow, and be patient. You know how you feel, so let her know your feelings and be open about how much you care for her.

Actions also speak louder than words, remember. So show her what she means to you. I’m not talking about grand pricey gestures or anything material like that (although nobody’s gonna stop you if you want to!). Listen to her, be loyal, trustworthy and reliable, be someone she can depend on and who will be around when she needs. If you really see something long-term with her, it’ll be important to make her son feel valued and important to you; but let her call the shots on that one. Once again, it’s all down to patience. When there’s a child involved it can move things along a lot faster in a budding relationship, and force both parties to lay their cards on the table early on to avoid hurt feelings. Build on what you guys have first, and when she’s feeling secure and sure that this is a long-term thing, she may start bringing her son into the equation.

Lastly, mind yourself in it too. There must be balance, so as long as you feel valued and wanted in the relationship too and not spending all your energy on trying to reassure someone, in time it could be something really special for both of you. If down the line there are still some insecurities surfacing, there really is no substitute for a spot of couple’s counselling. It’s a fantastic way of developing tools of communication and discussion in a safe environment. Therapy is not necessarily a sign of cracks appearing, it’s a sign that you’re prepared to do some nurturing of a relationship that really means something to you. That can only be a good thing!

Good Luck!

Ask J-Ro: A Platonic Dilemma

Jen,I’ve been very attracted to a friend for years. In the early part, my marriage was falling apart but now it’s been over for five years. I’ve admitted to her directly a few years ago how I felt but she didn’t respond how I’d hoped. I’m afraid if I say something again it will ruin our friendship.

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Sorry to hear about the end of your marriage; it’s not easy to call an end to a union you believed would be permanent. However, you’re living proof that there is still good times and great connections to be made if you do become separated / divorced, so give yourself credit for wanting to get back in the game!

I can only imagine how painful & complicated a process it was to get to where you are now, and the fact that it’s been five years tells me that the feelings for your friend seem to be more than just a rebound straight out of your marriage. I think in a case like this though, there’s a few factors at play here. I don’t know if you told her about how you felt while you were maybe still in the middle of the messiness of ending the marriage, or if you were free and totally single at the time. If it’s the former, I think she was probably right to knock you back because you might not have been in the best mindframe to launch into a relationship, especially with a friend, because the consequences would have been disastrous.

It’s a tough one. She sounds like a fantastic person who was there for you during one of the most stressful & emotionally demanding times anyone can experience, and the value of that should never be underestimated. She’s obviously aware of your feelings from before, and the fact that a few years have passed tells me that she’s probably happy with things as they are right now.

It can’t have been easy for her to turn down a friend who was openly hurting and just getting back into dating, so I imagine it was a decision she didn’t make lightly. The last thing she would have wanted to do was add to your hurt, so the fact that she did knock you back may mean that she really was happy being your friend, and that was enough for her. You guys are still very close by the sound of things, so it seems she may have made the right call.

It’s been a few years since you ended the marriage. Have a think about where you are relationship-wise. Have you been dating since the marriage ended? Anyone serious? Have you met new people or socialised differently to how you would have done before? If you’ve been out & about expanding your horizons, and you still have strong feelings for your friend, then maybe it’s worth testing the water, but in a subtle way. Pick a friend who knows you both well and can be honest with you on the QT about whether they think it’s worth the risk. In the end, only YOU will truly know in your gut whether your friendship is open & honest enough to not be ruined by a second overture. But tread very carefully, because this sounds like a friendship worth keeping.

Whatever else you do, be kind to yourself. Don’t put yourself in a position where you may be rejected outright again. Nurture what you have right now, and if there’s something more there, a natural dynamic will take over. Relax and be happy you know someone like her, she sounds like good people. But, whatever else you do – DON’T DO OR SAY ANYTHING IF YOU’RE DRUNK.

Best of Luck!

Ask J-Ro: A Nuptial No-No

I am head over heels about this guy and he is mad about me too, but he’s married!! What do I do, am I mad to pursue it?

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pic by Ken Coleman

You’re not mad, but you will be very, very unhappy. No good will come of this. But you’re smart, you don’t need anyone to tell you it’s not a good idea to hook up with a married man. So let’s step away from the moral quandary for a minute and look at the practical aspects.

Brutal truth: If he was as mad about you as he says, he would not be with his wife. Or at the very least he would be a stand-up man and not let anything happen with you until he has been honest with his wife (and kids if he has any) and started making arrangements to separate and sort out places to live, financial arrangements, custody agreements if needed, and a million other heartbreaking world-shattering things he would have to do out of respect for everybody involved, including you. Is he willing to do that? Because that’s what it would take for you guys as a couple to have any kind of chance out in the open.

Next thing you need to ask yourself: Is his time more valuable than yours? Because if you guys DO go down the road of getting involved while he’s still married, then the answer to that question is going to be yes, unfortunately. You’re the one who’ll be second fiddle to everything organised, lest his plans are uncovered and you both get found out. Fuck that. You’re NOBODY’S lesser priority.

Ultimately you want someone in your life with integrity, and who puts you first. You’re not just a distraction for a man looking to alleviate some boredom in a marriage that, let’s face it, could be getting a lot more attention on his part and thus be far more rewarding.

Nothing wrong with thinking a married friend is hot, and there may even be a bit of chemistry, but write it off as human & evolutionary responses and look forward to the real thing that isn’t hindered by life-long vows of faithfulness to someone else 🙂

PS: If they did it WITH you, they’ll do it TO you. You’ll never have a moment’s peace or trust ever again. Not worth it really is it?

Lastly; what would you tell a friend who came to you with this?

BEST OF LUCK! <3