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  • Writer's picturesophie sherwin

Should you go Back in Order to Move Forward? Part One

Sunrise on beach in South of France
Moving forward

As I sit in my flat overlooking the Thames which is shrouded in dark, grey clouds, the rain battering my windows knocking hammering as if it is trying to get in from the cold, I think back to just a week ago when I was sitting on a beach, sunshine beating down on my pale, English skin which is lapping up any ounce of vitamin D, and my heart kind of sinks.

I went back to the South of France to see friends who I had not seen before Covid. I booked it on a whim lying in bed on yet another stormy, horrible grey day needing to have some decent human connection. After booking it, the excitement and countdown began like a child leading up to Christmas but having to painfully smile and summon up some enthusiasm to get through two weeks at work – it was tough but I did it.

I mention I went BACK to the South of France because I lived there for nearly two years, a few moons ago and that was the first time re-visiting. I miss it and especially my friends, so although my excitement was in overload, I was also very nervous as I have changed a lot both physically and emotionally. I was worried the connection I once had would not be there and of course my body has found all the weight everyone else keeps losing, plus the ageing that has taken place. I know I was fat when I lived there but not as fat as I am now. I know, I know…if they are good friends they are not going to care…but….I am judging myself – and – harshly. Also, when I lived there I had money and now I don’t, so of course with all that crap swimming around in my head – the nerves mixed with excitement were very present.

I think there is something very sexy about the South of France (going to abbreviate to SOF as it is rather long for me to have to keep writing it), the way of life, the landscape, weather, I LOVE the French language, the food and of course not forgetting Le Vin (wine). It of course crossed my mind that maybe, just maybe I am supposed to go back to live…but should you go back in order to move forward?

So, last Saturday with mixed emotions, my alarm clock which was as surprised as I was when it went off at 04.00am, I head off to the airport with my one tiny suitcase as a carry on. Boy was I lucky – I was flying from London City airport which allowed me to take more liquids and bonus, they did not have to be in stupid clear plastic bags, so helping out the environment too. BUT how oh HOW the fuck are we women supposed to only take liquids which fit into a plastic bag the size of a tampon? I mean, my travel size toothpaste, takes up most of the room, not to mention – my moisturiser, sunscreen, toner, micellar water, serum, mouthwash, deodorant, hair stuff, night crème’s, foundation, setting spray, body oil, body crème, perfume and anything else I should be able to take on holiday with me…where am I supposed to put all of that ?

When I went to Spain earlier this year, I ended up putting my luggage in hold as I had “far too much” according to the power-hungry woman who was in charge of checking my liquid status.

Little did she know I had spent a long time diligently putting all my liquids in plastic bags ready to show them like a dog at cruft’s only to be told I was only allowed ONE bag. I stared at her when she produced one bag half the size of one of the four bags I had. She then curtly told me I had to put my luggage in the hold if I did not want to throw anything away. At that moment you want to shout “Well love, do you realise how much all this costs? NO…I do not want to throw anything away. But of course I don’t as however much I am irked, she is just doing her job and there is no need to be rude.

Listen, I understand why we had to put the liquids in a plastic bag but I do not understand the limit they put on it. Do they think we are going to have a make up fight on the aircraft? Or instead of a dance off – a make off?

I have digressed, so, I sauntered through all the security checks and onto the plane with no issue. As it was some god earthly hour that no one should experience unless you are working, the plane was half empty, so I got two seats to myself…oh happy days.

The flight was smooth, only hit one rough patch which made me pray to the travel gods, so I was happy.

Isn’t it the best feeling ever, to arrive somewhere warm? As soon as you walk out of the airplane door, the heat hits you, your make up melts and the sweat patches appear as quickly as a tax demand – as I say, best feeling EVER…I kind of felt at home.

Then reality hits as we had to go back to the ‘80’s and stand in line to get our passports stamped. I remember it used to be really exciting to compare passports with your friends to see what stamps you had and the disappointment when you went somewhere that did not stamp your passport. Back then it was cool – now it was just fucking annoying.

However, all was forgiven when I saw the smiles of my gorgeous, perfectly dressed, slim, multi-lingual friend, her husband and their son, I really was home.

Feet nowhere planted on the ground, I was whisked off to the beach in Cannes for lunch….I shake my head in disbelief when I glance yet again out of my windows sitting here writing this.

Lunch was incredible and of course I spent a lot of the time excusing the new ‘me’ and my fuck ups whilst vowing, over my second glass of wine, that I am changing but they really did not care, all they cared about is that I was there in person as they had missed me just as much as I missed them.

Lunch overlooking the beach in Cannes
Lunch in Cannes

Who knew this was going to be such a long post – so check out part two…


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