Things I learnt from my father

The other day I had to fix my laptop, a mundane task. However, throughout the process I heard my dad’s voice telling me what to do and how to fix it and even to back up everything just before I wiped it accidentally. A lucky escape! This got me thinking, my dad taught me how to fix a laptop but he also taught me many other things that have shaped my view on the world and how I conduct myself. I never really acknowledged some of these things until now but it seems appropriate to make a post just over two years after his death to show how he really did affect and teach me things that would last a lifetime. This is a list of things my father taught me and that I am still trying to use in my everyday life.

Things I learnt from my father:

  1. Never make excuses. You either have a good reason or you don’t.
  2. Don’t bullshit anyone and eventually they will stop bullshitting you. Only do this if you are willing to take people’s true opinions.
  3. Respect yourself completely.
  4. Even the longest and darkest nights end.
  5. Earn people’s respect. Then work to keep it.
  6. Never break a promise.
  7. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best.
  8. You will end up where you need to be, just trust yourself and enjoy the journey.
  9. Don’t tempt fate.
  10. Friends are common, good friends are rare and enemies are earned.
  11. Stand up for what you believe in even if you stand by yourself. The buck stops with you.
  12. You’ll go through hell…
  13. but sometimes life is very very good.
  14. The world doesn’t owe you anything. Work for it.
  15. If you love someone, show them.
  16. Offer no context. The people who matter don’t need it and no one else will listen anyway.
  17. Always apologise for your temper, especially when you lose it.
  18. Love what you do.
  19. Follow your dreams while you are young, while you can.
  20. Stop worrying.


The Lovers – Or What I Don’t Know About Love:

Welcome to the ‘Look At All The Women’ Carnival: Week 1 – ‘The

This post was written especially for inclusion in the
three-week-long ‘Look At All The Women’ carnival, hosted by Mother’s Milk Books, to celebrate the launch of
Cathy Bryant’s new book ‘Look At All The Women’. This week our
participants share their thoughts on the theme ‘The
(the first chapter in Cathy’s poetry collection).


Please read to the end of the post for a full list of carnival


Look At All The Women Blog Carnival: The Lovers

What I Don’t Know About Love:

Like many little girls, my first real idea of love came from reading the Disney-fied adaptations of classic, and darker, fairy tales. However, unlike many little girls, I never entertained the idea of waiting for prince charming. I always identified with Mulan- a warrior, self made princess saving China, rather than Ariel or Cinderella. As I grew up further, I again identified more with Bellatrix LeStrange, my favourite character from Harry Potter, rather than Hermione, and Rebecca rather than the nameless Heroine in Du Maurier’s Rebecca.

I am a strange one, I’ll be the first to admit. However, I still loved the book and film adaptation of Chocolat by Joanne Harris and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Silver Linings Playbook both made me cry. I do have a heart, I swear.

I think this was influenced by my parents. They were not the soppy romance sort, they had their moments, but they were more laughing and having fun and intellectual- to my mind anyway. To me, they had the perfect romance. They worked in sync, they were a team. What one of them lacked, the other had and vice versa. The image of yin and yang is coming to my mind as I write this. They were the real fairytale. And, as fate had it, that fairytale was cut short. My father passed away.

However, I learnt a lot. They valued each other before everything, they talked, they worked things out, they were best friends. My father taught us both so well, that we could both cope without him. It is bloody difficult and I would trade anything for him back, but he taught us well.

My father held me in high esteem, I was a daddy’s girl, and I am proud of this. He always brought me up with the notion that I didn’t have to wait for a man to fix things, therefore I haven’t been dependant on finding this true romance. It will happen. He told me this. But it will happen when the time is right, with the right person. I don’t settle for something that is not real, that causes problems later down the line. Also, my father taught me to always do things for happiness.

I’ve seen friends’ parents split up and divorce because of lack of communication, and lack of interest in each other. I’ve seen friends’ parents stay together, when they clearly should not have been together, for the sake of the children. I don’t agree with this either.

I haven’t found true love yet, and that’s okay because I am working on loving myself. I don’t want to be dependent on someone in a relationship, I want to contribute to it. I personally don’t think you can offer much to a relationship, unless you have a fully formed personality, know who you are, and accept who you are before you enter it. My mother is extremely independent, and both my parents had distinct and separate personalities that were only enhanced when together. They were still both a force of nature, especially my mother, when separate.

The experiences I have had so far however, have left me confused. There is the never ending question of when do you tell someone you like them, that’s if you ever do! I am the worst with this. I have done this too early, and too late, and not at all.

Dating is  hard.

There is the question of timing. I am a commitment phobic, so I get scared off easily. NO rushing. None. I first and foremost want fun and a laugh, then I will cross the bridge of deciding to commit when I come to it.  It isn’t that I don’t want a commitment, it just it has to feel right.

Also, with timing, how fast do you go if you are dating someone? Too fast and it becomes hard to back out, too slow and it is hard to maintain.

However, I truly believe, from seeing my parents’ relationship that there is someone for everyone and that the right person will understand if I run at the first sight of commitment, I trust the right person will be still waiting when I come skulking back with an apology in hand and a wry grin. I know that I will commit fully, be faithful and forgive when I need to. I want every day to have a new story or a new inside joke. I know not every day will. I don’t live in a Disney film. Relationships need to be constantly worked on. That is why I want someone who is a friend first, and a lover second. I haven’t met him, but I’ll know when I do.

When it comes down to it, that is all I know about love…it works out in the end.

By Kimberly Jamison



Book cover for Look At All The Women by Cathy Bryant
Look At All The Women by Cathy Bryant

Look At All The Women is now available to buy from:

The Mother’s Milk Bookshop (as a paperback and PDF)
– we can ship books around the world!

and as a paperback from

It can also be ordered via your local bookshop.

If you’d like to get involved in the ‘Look At All The Women’ carnival
please find more details about it here:

Please take the time to read and comment on the following fab posts
submitted by some wonderful women:

‘Fantasy, love and oddity.’ — Cathy Bryant, guest
posting at Mother’s Milk Books, shares two of her
favourite poems about lovers from her second collection of poetry,
Look At All The Women.

‘The Walnut Hearts’Marija Smits
shares some ‘nutty’ poetry about love and reflects on the role good
communication has on a harmonious relationship.

Georgie St Clair shares her feelings on why we should
indulge our passions as lovers in her lighthearted post — ‘Creative Lovers: Not Tonight Darling’.

‘The Lovers – Or What I Don’t Know About Love’
Kimberly Jamison posts to her blog The Book Word what
she has learnt about love from story books, people watching and her own
life and wonders if she actually knows anything at all.

‘Implicit v Explicit’ — Ana Salote at Colouring
Outside the Lines
considers literature’s role in teaching children
about relationships.

The illusion of “being yourself.”

I was just watching a TV programme, the name not important, and they had people going into schools, trying to be inspiring, telling people it is okay to be themselves and such. This is the same programme that had people being mean and rude to other people using the excuse “this is just me, I have to be myself.”

I think the whole “being yourself” notion is slightly askew. No, I do not think people should have to hide who they are, ever. I think people deserve free speech, although there is no need for meanness or rudeness. I believe it is every person’s right to express themselves and chase their dreams and not be held back by other people. “Being yourself” is all very well and good, I remember similar things happening to me, teachers trying to be inspiring and whatnot but at no point do I remember anyone telling me it was okay to not know who you were, or who you wanted to be.

I am a grown twenty year old woman and I only just think I have figured it out. And you know what, I reserve the right to be wrong and change my mind. 

It is very hard to try and be yourself when you are unsure of yourself, you second guess yourself and for some people in that audience, they would be worried and upset. When I was that age I felt like a failure because I couldn’t be myself, I couldn’t pinpoint what made me, me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, let alone who I wanted to be in this world or what sort of mark I wanted to leave. Some people know from an early age. Some people have personalities so strong it shines through very quickly. This is fine, this is completely okay. But it doesn’t happen for everyone. It is not right or wrong.

So once and for all:

It is okay to not know who you are.

It is okay to not know who you want to be.

It is okay to want to change.

My advice would be to not tell people to be themselves, don’t focus on the self. We have enough self obsessed people in this world, thanks. I think we should encourage people to love the differences we see. Once you start loving the differences, it becomes easier to love yourself in a positive way. And only then, I think, can you really begin to figure out who you are as a person.


Growing up.

Since starting university about a year and a half ago I have noticed I have grown up a lot. Students get a bad reputation about larking around and drinking and generally being nuisances. However I believe despite appearances we do grow up and find ourselves. We meet new people and find out who we want to be together.

Some people come into our lives to stay and be there and become part of us. Some people are not meant to. Some people no matter how much you try are not meant to be a part of your life.

Until recently I had a really good friend. That person was a relatively new friend but we got on well and understood each other on a deeper level. Or at least I thought so.

I have learnt that you need to be careful who you trust. If someone tells you you are a very good friend and they are glad they found you when they haven’t known you that long, don’t let yourself get sucked in. Don’t transfer what they say about you onto them. They might not be the friend you think they are.

I have learnt that sometimes people think you expect things of them even if you don’t. My ex friend thought I expected him to be there through everything when all I wanted was a chat every now and again. A phone call or text would have done. He stopped talking to me as soon as he got a girlfriend so I know time wasn’t an issue. He had time to do things with her and she had time to spend with me but he didn’t. This should have been my first clue. He dropped me and cut contact as soon as he could.

I still tried.

Again and again.

No contact.

After confrontation in person I was left in tears over the revelation everything he had said nice about me was a lie.

I then got a text saying he didn’t want to be friends.

This is where I need to grow up. I need to accept not everyone is destined to be in my life. Not everyone wants to be my friend no matter how many times I try and how many chances I give. Although he is in the wrong for leading me on for months, lying and upsetting me and generally being a bad friend, I am guilty of allowing this.

I need to grow up and accept things I cannot change. I don’t need to be upset over one failed friendship when I have many people who actively look out for me everyday and genuinely appreciate me and what I do for them. I shall concentrate on the people worth it.

I hope everyone else here manages to gain courage to accept things they cannot change.

Whether it is friends, jobs, health or love. Although it might still upset you and hurt, acceptance is the key to moving on. And it takes maturity to move on and not hold resentment. It takes maturity to let go.

So I thank him. Not for anything he put me through but allowing me to start growing up.


Reflecting on university, work, attitude and life.

Having started university again recently, I’m a second year, I have noticed my opinions have changed a lot since freshers.

Firstly, I have become a lot more focused. I’m very aware that I’m just over a third through my degree. This scares me. I’ll quite frankly admit this. University is like a little bubble where, mostly, everything is okay and we don’t need to think about the outside world. However,  if I want to get the career that I want, I have to work for it. No one is going to hand me a career. No one is going to knock on my door and say “hey, want to write something for me? I’ll give you money? ”
I have started thinking of my plans further on from my degree. I know what I want to do for the next five years. I know how I am going to mold my degree into something that I can use, something that is helpful and useful to me. I’ve sat down and been frank with myself and told myself my shortcomings and thought about how to fix them.

Secondly, I have noticed this attitude is not common. I only know a few people on my course who are adamant and focused and luckily I’m friends with those ones. I love them. They understand why I’ll stay up all night to get one sentence just a little bit clearer. They see the fun in success and learning. Some don’t. Quite frankly some people don’t care AT ALL. It irritates me because I want everyone to love their course and be as enthusiastic as me. Because let me tell you, when you pick the right course and you’re with the right people IT IS BRILLIANT. I want to shake some people and let them know that the world doesn’t owe them anything and they have to grab what they want and never let go.

Thirdly, it is really hard to organise personal life and your job and university. Since getting a job copy writing, I have earnt so much more respect for working people. I don’t know how you do it. I need at least five more hours in my day.

Fourthly, living with people is really hard. People are hard work. Things change and people change and I’ve learnt that there are times I have to let people go. Letting someone go is not giving up on them, not at all, it is prioritising your happiness and sometimes sanity.
There have been quite a few arguments between friends recently and although they didn’t involve me I felt the ripples from them. I so wanted to charge in and fix everything like I usually try to. However I have learnt not everything fixes itself. I have grown up and realised I can’t fix everything no matter how much. I have to be an adult and let everyone else be an adult and work it out for themselves. My job now? Just be there when they need it. Be that person who is always in their corner.

Lastly, I now know grief lasts. Its a dark place and if it takes hold then you’ll feel alone no matter who is there. I am still learning how to trust people properly and open up. Although this is hard, I’m lucky that I have friends there just waiting for when I’m ready to talk.

I have reflected so much I know some things now to be true. Here they are.

I am lucky. I have great friends. I am determined. I am cynical. I am forgiving. I am insecure. I am in mourning. I am sarcastic. I am giggley. I am hard working. I am silly. I am a worrier. I am a fighter. I am a friend. I am me. I now know who I am.

Dearest readers who have stayed with me during this year and you new ones who have just joined the ride…
I’m Kimberly.