Squad Goals 

Apart from a penchant for red lipstick; full skirted sundresses; tall, blonde-curly-haired men (in my alternate reality I married Tom Hiddlestone) and heartbreak, I am nothing, nothing like Taylor Swift. This is one of life’s sadnesses – I will never be a twenty-something skinny, uber-successful ingenue songstress. I bloomed *way* too late for that. But I do have something Taylor’s got, and it took me this long to discover it…

I’ve got a SQUAD!  
My squad have swung into action over the past week, during a proper low. There are some long-term squad members, but also people who have surprised me. It makes me feel so bloody lucky and loved. They include: 
My former teacher and his wife. The kind of people you can call at 10am on a Saturday morning and tell them your heart is broken and you need to get the hell out of town, and they agree in an instant that you should be with them. So you turn up at their door three hours later, and cry, and they feed you and give you glasses of wine, and are kind when you cry some more. And you leave the next day knowing you’ll be OK because you have beautiful people like them in your life. And you have three gorgeous books to read that they’ve lent to you, and the fire in your heart to be yourself and to pursue your dreams.  
My boss, who when I called on Monday morning and told her I couldn’t stop crying because of a boy, swore with “the worst swearword I know”. I returned on Wednesday and she visited my desk with purpose and Germanic humour.  

Her: “Let me see your eyes.” *Teutonic psychic stare*. “You’ll be OK!”  

Me: “That’s the problem, I’m always ok.” 

Note – my eyes were still really puffy. Crying is not my friend.  
Welsh girl, let’s call her Cerys, who meets me for lunch, gives me a lift home on Thursday when Storm Doris wrecks the trains, and texts me tonight about her creme egg and sofa problem… and when I say I need a night out in Bury, she agrees without hesitation, even though apparently the club I want to go to ‘has sticky floors’. 
Nicole, my Aussie bridesmaid, the sender of Patron, poet and consummate facebook messenger. I love her with a true love that came about through *can’t stop laughing inappropriately in the office* circa 2007/8. She sends me messages of support telling me I am now Britain’s premier fashion blogger and a photo of her looking at a very large dildo to cheer me up, whilst confessing to inappropriate mum-drunkeness. Can’t wait for Summer 2018! It is *locked in*! 
Cambridge Historian, who is emigrating to the US, but believes in my club night idea, and when I said I needed distraction, immediately offered wine and a baby to cuddle.
My ex-husband. He’s allergic to chlorine but is doing something for me that exposes him to that eczema inducing chemical once a week. That’s love, even though it didn’t work out. The love is probably for Persie, but hey-ho, she’s part of me, so it counts.  
My psychotherapist. Emergency session on Monday because you can’t stop crying and left a sobbing message on her voicemail on Saturday morning? Hell yes. And on Monday when you get there she agrees “yes, this session was inevitable.”

Betty – well, she got a whole blog post, but everyone needs a straight talking Northern friend…
The slimming club ladies, together and separately, true friends. From Norwich brunch, to organising seeing Beauty and the Beast, to a long voicemail that didn’t make much sense, I know they’ve got my back.  
The girls at the nail bar, who are due a whole post of their own soon! But they fixed my gel polish twice this week, and when I said I didn’t know what was wrong with my right hand said “stress”. And also let me feel their new fake boobs… 
More work peoples! The girls who invited me on their spa day for women getting divorced and/or having a hard time. I was stupidly touched by the kindness because it’s sometimes quite lonely having been the boss. My team, who all could tell something was wrong but didn’t comment. Last but by no means least, the two -cky’s, my colleagues, and two very fabulous women, both of whom think in a structured way. It turns out I don’t think in a structured way at all! The first -cky has been there since I admitted to her… well it doesn’t matter what I admitted, but everything ridiculous I do, she laughs at and then understands… and she doesn’t judge my Boden habit. She looks me in the eyes and says “do you think you deserve happiness?” The second -cky is new to the squad, but is going to feature heavily. She told me a secret a couple of weeks ago; it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. She wears very short skirts because she is very skinny; I am a bit jealous of that ability. 
And others, just because they don’t feature doesn’t mean they’re not there and special. I know that you’re mean to have, like, squad goals, like frolicking on a beach in bikinis, and writing BFF in the sand and photos with filters… but I’m too old for all that instagrammable crap. We just want for everyone to be happy and well adjusted and prosperous and fulfilled, whether you’re going through divorce or bereavement or boyfriend problems or work hard times or don’t know how to get creme egg off your sofa.  
My squad. Average age of 45! They drink decent wine! They worry about parenting! They book spa days! They read real literature and watch proper films! They are super mature and awesome.  
Thanks for being there.  

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