Friday, 29 December 2017

Small, quiet happiness.

I live my life like the British weather. Unpredictable, sometimes cold in warm seasons, always the potential for rain or random, angry gales. My dad has always told me that emotions are like the weather, when it's cloudy you know it will always pass. He's exactly right, for me anyway, as I can spend whole days feeling really, really up and then all of a sudden feel really quite down.

Yesterday I was in the car with my parents driving through the Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire countryside and the sunshine was so golden settling over snow covered fields and I felt perfectly contented. It was the brilliant feeling of just being able to breathe and see and be. And I felt like that for hours, hours of contentedness.

Later on my mood lowered itself and I was unable to maintain such high levels of happiness. I was annoyed at first. How come such random anger and upset can come and cloud over my contentedness as if I had no control over it.

I do have control really. I can't control the weather but on a good day, and thankfully most days are good days, I can override sad thoughts and bitter feelings. It's just really quite irritating, quite frustrating when a perfect all encompassing level of happiness can't be maintained for longer. But it's okay, I guess, to value things more when they can't last forever.

Because those moments of small, quite happiness can produce such brilliant joy.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Brilliant Procrastination.

I think I am a lazy person. Or a brilliant procrastinator. Or perhaps brilliant is too great a word. My procrastination in an ideal world would involve creativity. I would be making little origami Christmas tree decorations or making mince pies or even just reading a book. I struggle to do any of those things.

I am procrastinating doing a lot of things. My dissertation is one of them. I've reached the end of my second draft and it's really, really hard to care about finishing it. So I find excuses. I'm ill, or I'm not in the mindset, or this coffee shop hasn't got the right atmosphere. I'd rather be doing other things like making little Origami tree decorations or reading a book. So I sit on my phone and scroll through Facebook instead. Naturally.

I've realised that scrolling through Instagram has become a bit detrimental. I keep comparing my life to other people's every single time I'm on the app. I come away feeling a little bit worse about myself each time. It seems that everyone else is either less lazy or a much better procrastinator. This isn't a post to whine about social media it's just, you know, if every time you use it it's giving you a mini complex you should probably take a break.

I've gone off course. The other thing I keep procrastinating is writing. I've done it for years. I've even talked about it on this blog for years. I could tell you for hours how much I adore writing, all the different things I'd like to try writing, all the ideas, all the dreams. And then at the end of that conversation I'd feel a little bit empty because I'd remember that I haven't done a lot of those things because I keep putting them off. Oh, I'm too busy. I'm not in the right space. I can't.

There are a lot of things I love and a lot of excuses I keep finding to not do them. I couldn't for the life of me tell you why. Perhaps I'm very lazy. Or just very scared of, you know, getting it all wrong.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Keep going.

It is tough to always be telling yourself to keep going. It gets worse when you're not well. It's quite hard when the sun hasn't shone for a while and the winter days get shorter and shorter.

"Keep going" I have to say to myself, a lot. Keep going when you're rejected from roles and positions you really wanted. Keep going when you're rejected from the ones you weren't even that bothered about. Keep going.

And it's tiring. Always motivating yourself, always picking yourself up. Always allowing self-acceptance, always forgiving yourself.

It's harder when you're standing by yourself which in many ways I'm not but in some ways I am. I am lucky with my friendships and my family. But it's difficult when relationships change or disappear and there you are again telling yourself to just keep going.

It's not all the time, you know, there are just periods of my life where I have to "keep going" a bit more than others. And honestly I'm glad for those periods, because they're lessons, aren't they? You don't always get what you want, things change, people come to and fro.

I just wanted to say that sometimes, not all the time, it's tough to tell yourself to keep going. Keep going.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Turning 20.

I am 20 today. I remember thinking that entering double digits was a big and exciting thing aged 10. I had no concept of how big and exciting balancing on the edge of the rest of my life would be. I feel as if I am looking down into some very large pit where only the very top is visible and the rest is dark and unknown, terrifying and brilliant.

I have done my teens, I have done childhood. I have formed and reformed myself again and again. I have changed entirely and not at all. I have collected a whole kit of memories and skills and emotions to bring with me into the next stage of my life. I feel as if I am stepping over the threshold into my adulthood and as I do so I am looking backwards and forwards simultaneously filled with pride and fear and anticipation.

My family came to visit the other day and I realised they have filled me with the most enormous capacity for love. And sometimes it's exhausting because I could keep loving and feeling without limit. But how wonderful, how marvellous, to live without limits. What a brilliant gift, to walk towards adulthood with the greatest desire to love and feel endlessly.

Every year on my birthday I tend to give myself little resolutions like my own personal New Year. As I turn 20 I have told myself a few things. I have told myself to love and forgive myself more, to show affection, to express my passions, to work hard, to absolutely go for it with every fibre of my being and to spread my capacity for love as far as I possibly can.

I am just going to love and live with my entire self. And I am so excited.

Friday, 17 November 2017

To friends who are hurting,

It's funny how you can go through a lot of your life on your own with a happy attachment to the things that you like such as music and books and poetry. You don't think much about the things you enjoy because they are a part of you. They're just there.

And then someone else can come along, even for the briefest of moments, and with one enormous paintbrush they taint your songs, and your books, and your films, and your places with a deep sense of aching loss. That is, when they disappear. For the brief moment that they are there you start to absorb them into all the parts of you, because you share all the parts of you, and it's wonderful! And then, suddenly, it's not.

I've spent entire years unable to listen to a certain song because of that sense of loss. I've hidden things away from sight so that they don't bring about a twinge of sadness every time I look at them. It's funny, isn't it? How a book of poetry is just something that you really enjoy and then it becomes an object, and a collection of words, that you can't even bear to think about.

But eventually time just wipes away this feeling of pain attached to your books and your songs and your poems and you forget that it was there at all. Well, not quite. There is always a little bit left of that feeling, a little distance away in your mind, because that person, whoever they were, became a part of you too. In the moment that you share yourself, in the moment you absorb another person into yourself, they become a part of your history. And that's okay.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Feminist revamp.

I am in the process of revising my feminism. Or revamping it, regenerating it, growing it. However you want to put it. I've noticed that this happens in a big way every few years. Of course it grows continually as I read more and learn more. But every few years I find myself re-evaluating what it means to me.

I'm calling my feminism "it" as if it were some inanimate object I possess, something I hold quite dear. I'm calling it "my feminism" because it is absolutely part of who I am and incorporates pretty much everything I believe in.

But, of course, what you believe in changes and develops as you get older and so my feminism changes and develops as I experience life, as I absorb life.

I remember very clearly being told what my mother believed to be feminism when I was around 10 or 11 years old. My life changed then when she opened my eyes to the prejudices and injustices I would have to face as a woman. I remember feeling angry and passionate. I haven't stopped feeling angry and passionate ever since.

What I understood feminism to mean then is almost a whole world different to how I understand it now. Aged 10 the basics were that women in the past had been seen and treated as lesser than men and things were better now but there was still work to do. Aged 19.9 there are no basics. Well, everything should be basic and simple and easy but it isn't. It is complicated and enormous and I think about it every single day.

My current feminist revival is exhilarating. It's about self love and confidence and being proud of my existence and my achievements. It's about not being talked down to and not being quiet and not regretting not speaking up when I should have done. It's about exploring all the intersections of feminism and learning how I can use my own privilege to give a voice to the women who aren't white, straight, cisgender and socio-economically privileged like I am. It's about reaching out to other women and gaining strength from them. It's about allowing my anger, my passion, my emotion to show as clearly as it needs to and not feeling guilty or sorry about it afterwards. Unless I was wrong. It's about love and loneliness and desire.

It's about collating everything I have learnt over the years and sorting it out in my head and relearning who I am and what I believe.

It is about my existence as a woman on this planet and making sure that my tiny life can make some tiny difference.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Do you ever forget to breathe?

Do you ever forget to breathe?

What I mean is, do you ever let your mind stop and your body stop and just breathe? I keep worrying about all the things that I have to do. I worry about the deadlines I have, the commitments I've made, the niggling, little chores I wish would just sort themselves out. And then I look at the news, or I get worked up about something in a discussion with a friend, and I take the world's weight on my shoulders letting all its agony and injustice push on my chest. And then I try and listen to audiobooks or podcasts telling me the solutions to these problems to better myself, to make sure I know more, because I don't want to read because I do that all day but I must always be learning and thinking. Mustn't I?

I need to remember to breathe.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Me Too.

I forget my 'Me Too' moments easily. The hashtag went viral a few days ago and only now did I remember being harassed in the street at 4 in the morning in Edinburgh when I was completely by myself. I forgot it because it wasn't traumatic. It wasn't traumatic because it was normal. I pretty much expected it to happen. The minute I started walking back I checked for anyone following me, looked around for people who might be trustworthy nearby, kept my hand on my phone ready to call a friend or my mum or the police. That is my default. The aim was to get home without being spoken to by a strange man with unspeakable intentions.

As I write about that experience I remember lots of others. I remember feeling afraid in broad daylight, I remember thinking out action plans in my head, I remember talking myself through how to defend myself. I remember being touched and then having a kind of sick, revolted feeling like I needed to wash.

I have put my keys between my knuckles just in case the man behind me in the dark isn't a kind one. I have struggled out of grasps intended to hold my reluctant body closer. I've been very close to thinking my assertive attitude wasn't going to help me out this time.

I have been shouted at,  I have been made to jump by white van men beeping their horns at me, I have been pushed into uncomfortable situations or conversations I have to try and get out of.

And I am lucky. None of this is that bad. None of this has scarred me. None of this has damaged me. I can talk about it. I am lucky. Millions and millions of women all over the world have had their lives changed for the worse. I am lucky to have been just touched, just a little bit frightened, just a little bit horrified.

I feel quite upset because I have all these memories of unwanted hands and catcalls and stares and I forgot about them because they are just what happen to women. They are what have happened to me since the age of 11. I always expect to have to push away a man who starts to grind on me at a club. I expect that he won't go away the first time. I expect there will be several similar men throughout the night.

I don't know what to do. I laugh sometimes, in their faces, but by accident because I'm genuinely shocked by the derogatory thing they've said. I've physically pushed them away. I've told them to fuck off. They've told me to fuck off back, and I'm not really sure how that works.

I've done all this for my friends. I've gone and I've grabbed their hand and pulled them away and stared the shit-head down with a glare reserved for a special sort of protective anger.

I forgot how this wasn't normal until this hashtag, phrase, movement allowed me to remember the hideousness of it all. It's hideous, it's awful, it's wrong. And I don't know how to stop it, but I will absolutely continue to say fuck off as much is necessary in the hope that someone gets the message eventually.

Saturday, 14 October 2017


I have irrational thoughts all the time. I get into patterns of irrational thought where I obsess over things that don't have any logical grounding and yet they make me feel scared and alone and angry. To counterbalance these irrational thoughts I make stories up in an attempt to rationalise. 

I have this fear of being alone. Of being not found by somebody, of being left unloved. I have this irrational idea in my head that it is too late, I should have had some great and glorious love by now, I am somehow far behind in my experience of life. How ridiculous, how silly to be so young and so afraid of being alone. 

At the same time I have this story going that I am much better by myself. Sometimes I even convince myself that it is unfeminist to want to be loved, desired, needed. I should be able to stand by myself. I should not need this extra thing. This, supposedly, is the rationalised part of my thought process. 

I've made up a story of my own independence, of my life against love, to counterbalance the horrible feeling of loneliness. The terrible suspicion that I am unloveable, that I am not good enough for that kind of love. 

My thought patterns are made up of irrational and "rational" ideas. One tries to cover up the other. I rather suspect it's a vicious cycle instead. 

Of course this is all really quite ordinary. People feel this way, people have always felt this way. They feel lonely and irrational and unconvinced by their own existence. But it's not too healthy, to have a cycle going on in your head. And sometimes I'm not sure how to break out of it, I just hope and wait until it fades. 

Friday, 6 October 2017


Envy does not sit well with me and yet I feel it frequently. I rarely feel envious of another's possessions, more often of their qualities, their achievements. I could shake my feeling of envy off as competitiveness but then I could not explain the bitter taste of self-pity that comes afterwards.

This is possibly entirely unfair on myself. The feeling of envy does not always lead to self-despairing and I almost always do something about it once I feel it.

In fact, rather than qualities, it is almost always achievements I get jealous of. If it is something I know I can do I will berate myself for not having done it sooner and vow to make it happen. One day.

But it's funny how I forget everything I have already done in moments like this, forget that someone else might be envious of me, focus entirely on the person or the thing which has made me jealous.

If only envy did not indicate a lack in myself it would be a useful feeling. It is unattractive and unpleasant and selfish. I suppose that vowing to not feel envy is a vow to appreciate myself more. To only feel inspired by other's achievements, and to not compare them to my own.

Vowing to not feel envy, I suppose, is a vow to simply like myself more.

Monday, 25 September 2017


I don't think I have any particularly "masculine" friends. I never have. Or, at least, I've never had a male friend who doesn't defy some sort of gender norm. I imagine I wouldn't get on very well with a man who felt he had to cling desperately onto his masculinity. I'd feel too sorry for him.

It's funny though, despite their brilliance, my most sensitive male friends are still sheepish. There's the self-consciousness of having mostly female friends, or of enjoying "feminine" things, conversations, feelings. I don't think they're ashamed as such, just aware that they are on the outside of a very small box.

I don't think femininity is as emotionally and mentally harmful as masculinity. Not in the way that these opposites are drummed into boys and girls. It scares me, really terrifies me, to think that boys are still taught to suppress feelings, to not cry, to keep things on the inside. As a great believer in the power of crying, of the release it can bring, I can't bear to imagine what it must feel like for a man who must not cry.

I'm not sure how to go about it. How to go about encouraging my male friends, encouraging any identifying male that I know, to carry on being human rather than masculine. I want to make sure that they bring boys into the world who are not afraid of crying, of expressing, of being. I always find it funny, funny sad, that to be a man is to suppress feeling, and therefore to suppress being.

I want to always make sure that my friends who are guys know that they can be entirely expressive in my presence. They can always cry, they can always talk. They can always just be.

Friday, 15 September 2017

I'm an okay person.

How do you love yourself? Is it in the way that you look? The way that you smile? How many goals you've achieved? How good you are as a person?

I think that I love myself in a number of ways. Not as vanity, not as narcissism. I think that sometimes I can fully appreciate myself. I have faults, I do the wrong thing, I make mistakes. But I can forgive myself. I can feel happy in my own skin. I can enjoy being alive with the body and the brain that I have.

I say this like it comes easily to me. I've said before in other posts that often it's a challenge. I can also hate myself.

A year ago I looked at my naked body in the mirror and I told myself to never hate it or myself ever again. I told myself I was brilliant. I told myself to love everything that I am.

Several months later I spent a long and painful time doing the exact opposite. I didn't feel good. I was off kilter. I can't remember if I was comparing myself to other people. I probably was. I can't remember all the different things I didn't like about myself, what I was over-analysing.

It seems silly now that I feel safe in myself again. I'm an okay person. Most people are. It's good to be aware of your flaws so that you can be good to other people. You might be rude sometimes, you might not listen. But God help you if you hate yourself. It takes a lot to come back from that deep, dark hole.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The end of a friendship.

I've lost friends before. Not to death, thank God, but via the tidal wave that is time. Some friends I naturally grew apart from, some friends left me, very few friends I fell out with. Each friend that I've lost I still love in the time before we stopped knowing each other well. My love for old friends is frozen in time, it can't continue or grow, it just stays still like smiles in a picture. My friendships are probably captured forever as just that; smiling and frozen. A relic, to someone, one day. Or nothing but something to me. 

Lost friendships are always sad. I mourn lost friends still even if it was good for the relationship to end. Friends, more than lovers, feel like they should last forever. But I know that that's not true now. Some friendships I have I know will last forever, others I know will be swept away by time. I feel sad even for those that haven't gone yet. As if I anticipate myself remembering my time with that person, or that group of people, and mourning a lost thing. 

It's okay to lose friends. It's natural and normal. It is always just terribly sad. 

Friday, 18 August 2017

Uncertainty of youth.

Sometimes I feel very jealous of anyone over the age of 70. Perhaps if I'm sitting opposite an elderly person in a cafe, or watching a group of older women potter about the streets I feel quite strongly envious. Or maybe I just feel calm and I am jealous of their gravity.

Obviously I have no idea what their lives are like. I don't know how many people they've lost, I don't know their financial struggles, I can't imagine the slow malfunctioning of one's own body. But often I am just jealous of how long they have been on the planet, how many memories they have, of how grounding that must be. Perhaps they regret things, perhaps they look at me and wish they were young again. But I wish that I were them sometimes, I wish that I could replace the feeling of freshly painful memories and emotions, I wish that I could look back on my life and know what happened.

This is sad, maybe, that I think this. I don't always think it. Sometimes I am caught so perfectly in a moment of my life that all I can be is alive and present. I don't want to know what happens in my story yet, because it is too exciting discovering things.

I just wish that the uncertainty of youth wasn't so cutting, so frightening.

I am writing this because I know it is naive. I know it is childish of me to find older people calming, it is wanting to be looked after, to be taken care of. I am writing this because I know that my older self will laugh. I will laugh at myself for feeling so afraid of being young. I will laugh at myself because adulthood does not mean certainty for the rest of your life.

I'm going to be 20 soon. I wonder if I'll feel differently then.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Oh, sorry you're a racist.

I was speaking to a man, probably in his 60s, the other day and he was vaguely racist. He was nice enough to me because I'm white and educated and middle class. He would have been nice enough to someone from an ethnic minority, but I'm not sure he wouldn't have some reservations about it. 

Maybe I'm being unfair, maybe he wasn't as racist as I thought. But I met him the day after Charlottesville and I wasn't in the mood for any form of casual prejudice. It was very subtle of course. He was reading the Sunday Times and every time he thought something was ridiculous he'd mutter and tell me the headline. One of them was something about non-English speaking students, or students with very little English, being admitted into English universities. "How ridiculous!" He said. In my mind I knew immediately to distrust the headline and the article, it was obviously going to be misleading and dishonest. I tried to explain that sometimes in scientific degrees, for example, excellent English isn't entirely necessary. His muttering that followed had the same tone as the muttering about the evil foreigners you hear from Daily Mail readers. Later there was Indian music playing and this man looked up the title of the song on Shazam. He was genuinely interested. But then he read out the title and said "that's enough to get me into university". Not really racist, not overtly awful, but just enough for me to wince. 

I didn't say anything because I was at work and frankly it wasn't worth it. I hadn't managed to convince him that lowering the GCSE boundaries was probably a good idea considering the reform hadn't gone smoothly. I wasn't going to pick an argument with him about something maybe I had misconstrued. 

Was I being over-sensitive? 

It's not because I'm brainwashed by politically correct lefties, but because it is such an unfair sweeping judgement against an entire country of people. I wince because it doesn't sit well, it doesn't seem right. I feel guilty because I keep my mouth shut and smile meekly. 

I would have picked it up if I hadn't woken to news of a bunch of Nazis in America doing actual harm. I would have picked it up, but maybe I wouldn't have thought about it for so long. 

People always say that casual racism is for old people and old people will be dead soon anyway. I don't believe that this man would ever attend a Nazi rally, that he would ever cause that kind of violence and hatred. It would be completely unfair of me to equate his tiny comment to this incident of terrifying prejudice.  I don't know the whole of his views, I don't know what he would have said if I had picked him up on it. Maybe I could have changed his attitude, made him see how inappropriate comments like that are. 

But what about the casual racism that isn't actually casual? Why do we allow ourselves to brush bigger things off as casual, as unique, as some white guy with poor mental health? Casual racism becomes something much darker when you let it. A lot of the mainstream press call their casual racism news. Racism as news is dangerous. Who can tell you you're wrong when it's in the papers, right? 

The incident in Charlottesville was an incident of terrorism, obviously. But it didn't happen by accident, and it isn't an isolated event. 

When someone tells you that, say, not being allowed to tell a racist joke is political correctness gone mad, ask them why they want to tell it in the first place. Political correctness means not spreading that casual racism that turns into harmful racism. Casual racism is boring and outdated. Casual racism sometimes ends up with events like Charlottesville. 

Sorry if you're racist and you can't just spread your hate. 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Woman Question

My whole life is centred around women. I am always talking about them, always reading about them, always looking to be inspired by them. I've noticed this a lot at uni. I tend to be drawn to female writers, to female characters. I have to actively not choose the 'Woman Question' every week for my essay just so I can include some variety. 

Sometimes I feel a bit guilty for centring my studies around feminism, around women. Should I be doing something else? Doesn't everyone do the woman question? It's not very original, is it? - being yet another under-grad focusing her degree on feminism.

And then I remember that for a very long time absolutely no one did the woman question. Female writers got forgotten over time because no one bothered to study them. Feminist criticism is very, very new. It's about time that lots and lots of undergrads started to write about the women in literature, fictional and real, and from a new point of view. 

One of my favourite lecturers said that people shouldn't write about female writers just because they are female; some female writers are crap, just like some male writers. But that doesn't take away from the fact that more crap male writers are better known than some brilliant female ones. I reserve the same judgment of quality of the literature I'm reading whether it's written by man or woman, there are just a lot more forgotten women to get through. 

Of course I write and read about topics other than the 'Woman Question', of course *some of them* are just as interesting to me. Of course I value variety and difference, I wouldn't be doing a literature degree if I didn't. But I am so bored of finding it hard to research certain female writers because very few people have written about them. I am so bored of male chauvinism overpowering female thought in literature. I am so bored of every female writer being placed under the 'Woman Question' and that often I have to go to that question in order to access them. 

This of course applies to the other brilliantly ignored sections of literature until very recently. For example the part of the British Empire that wasn't a white male is often conveniently under-appreciated, you have to search a lot harder to get to them.

So, yes, I refuse to apologise for writing about women. I refuse to accept that by studying and enjoying Woolf, Plath, Spark, the Brontes, Austen etc I am a stereotype. Men writing about Hemingway is a stereotype, or Kerouac, or Jerome K Jerome. But that's okay, because all these books are fascinating, all these books have new and different angles, and all these books are human. Women are human too, so I will continue to write about them - thank you very much!

Monday, 31 July 2017

There comes a day.

Yes of course there comes a day when you physically loath yourself. You wake up one day and racing through your mind is everything bad, everything stupid, everything unloveable that you have ever done. You can't decide which is worse: the person inside, or the body enclosing it. How hideous you are. You want to shrink and shrink and shrink until there is nothing left of you but dust. There is not necessarily the ideation of suicide, something is tying you to the surface of the earth still, but there is the desire to not exist. You wake up and here you are; awful, ridden with mistakes, hurting and alone.

Except you don't just wake up on this day and feel like this: you build it up. You spend days before noticing little bits that you don't like about yourself. You indulge in unhappy moments, not because you enjoy them but somehow you think that maybe you deserve it. You keep thinking thoughts that are just a little bit painful. Blows to the chest. You remember being heartbroken, you remember not finding love, you begin to be unsure of yourself.

Some days, thank God, you forget the way you feel. You keep yourself busy, working hard, distracting yourself. Although, despite doing the things you know that really you should love, it all feels a little bit different. Everything feels a little bit sad. You're not doing it the best you can. You're not really joining in with conversation. You have to leave the room to call your mum in tears.

And this is when you wake up on that one day and you hate yourself. It's a horrible, sharp pain and it comes from being heartbroken and feeling empty and eventually it just turns in, clinching your heart.

I'm not going to write any more about it because the memory of that pain is bad enough. But that's the thing, it's turning into a memory. I am recalling the feeling. I'm bored of doing that now. I'm enjoying the feeling of liking myself much more, you see. I'm working on that instead.

There comes a day when you physically loath yourself. There comes several days, over years, over months, after decades of being okay. And then it goes again. You try really hard, because really the whole time you've loved yourself enough to work at it. And then it goes, and you can breathe, and you feel okay. I'm working on that bit, I think I'm nearly there.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Dunkirk: afterthoughts.

I watched Dunkirk last night. My dad walked out half way through because the direction of the film upset him, he found it was overtly stylised for a serious and real topic. I almost walked out towards the end because it was too much. Obviously the film was going to be bleak. Obviously there were going to be lots of deaths and tragedies that actually happened. It's just that, having seen it, did I really need to go to understand the hideous things that humans do to each other?

Okay so the film was powerful. The sound was done so brilliantly that, not having ever felt a bomb go off, I could imagine the extreme terror that noise brings about. I could imagine the utter hopelessness of standing on a beach open as a target to Nazi aircraft. I could see the desperation. I could picture my male friends in the same position. Boys my age just wanting to survive, just wanting to go home, just not wanting to die.

But would I have known and understood all of this without seeing the film? Was it necessary to put myself through 2 hours of crying and stress in order to feel closer to the men who lived through?

Film is a medium that is like no other. You cannot feel the sound, or hear the cries, or see the bleakness of it all from reading a book, unfortunately. A history book could give me the death toll, could describe the conditions. A work of fiction could potentially describe the terror, the bitterness, the humanity. But I'm not sure either of those things could fully immerse me in something which feels a fraction of what it was actually like.

And so perhaps feeling like that, crying for actors on a screen representing real men, is a simple reminder. A reminder of history, of our awful, tragic history. Of what can happen to humans, of what we can do to ourselves.

I'm not really going to comment on the style of the film, the quality of it because obviously it did its job. It made me feel. There were faults and choices made that I don't agree with. But if I'm being honest I think that had I not seen the film, or any film like it, I wouldn't really understand just a little bit of the horror of war. The horror of wars that have happened, and wars that are yet to come (because, sadly, history can and will repeat itself). I think there is a job for films like Dunkirk to do, and I think it's an important job. Just make sure that you're ready for how the film is going to make you feel.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Lazy Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays...

How many times, I wonder, will I lie in bed on a day with nothing to do until 12 pm? How many more times will I be able to do this midweek? I feel as though I should be shaking these days off by now. I should be getting myself up, going to do something, even if it is just to see friends or  to go for a long walk. But then, there is a limit on how many more times I can lie in my bed thinking of nothing, snoozing and dreaming, just existing.

I am finding excuses for myself. Sometimes I stay in bed that long because I don't want to face anything I have to do. If I'm asleep, surely that's a good enough reason for putting something off? I'm getting scared because I'm getting older and real responsibility looms. Responsibility for my life, I mean. I can't say for very much longer that I'll write that book or that play when I'm older. I can't say I'll do all those things in the future.

You can't do everything you want to do when you lie in your bed until 12 pm, as delicious as it is. You also can't lie in your bed until 12 pm on a Wednesday when you're a fully functioning adult. So, where am I supposed to be drawing the line?

Admittedly I am writing this out of guilt, making myself feel better for the fact my day really only started an hour ago. Lying in bed for hours doesn't feel that good when you know there's something else you should be doing. I'm not sure what that something else is, I just know that it's there. I wonder, will I be doing that something as a fully functioning adult?

Thursday, 22 June 2017

How I got to be at the end of a year.

I am almost at the end of my first year of uni. Time has never gone so fast. Or so slow. Or felt so different.

Today as I took down the pictures I'd stuck on my wardrobe nine months ago an overwhelming rush of all the feelings I had felt came through me. All the things I had feared, all the adjustments made, all the settling in. I walk through corridors that now seem so familiar to me, that at first were so long and cold and strange. My room for the first few days was a box I felt very alone in, and now I feel tearful thinking of our goodbye.

I know that I am a different person from the girl who arrived here in October, but I can't put my finger on why. Am I wiser? Happier? Sadder? Heartbroken in new ways from the time before?

During my three terms here I felt like nothing and everything was happening. Time would drag along and speed up to twice the pace each week. Half way through I felt I'd achieved nothing. Now I realise I did everything under the sun, and still there is more to do.

I can't process everything that has happened to me this year, or how I have grown, or how it makes me feel because it is so huge. This whole year has been massive, like a big bang expanding over time, and now I have three months to look back, think, and then quickly move on.

I have done things and not done things. I have regretted and deeply enjoyed. I have been frightened, and loved, and angry, and new, and just happy to be alive. I have been low and unable to get out of bed. I have been so excited I could barely go to bed.

I'm not quite sure how I got to be at the end of a year, it's all a bit of a blur. I stumbled through, working my way, creating a new version of myself. I don't suppose that next year will be any different.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Other women.

I've been meaning for a while now to write something about the women in my life but I keep feeling unsure as to how to proceed. I'm finding it hard to put into words what it feels like to be built up and supported by so many important, clever, brilliant women because they are the absolute essence of my being. I want to say something tacky like "the sisterhood is real" because I genuinely feel like I am part of something bigger, that my womanhood is a part of a world wide society.

But I know that not every woman feels they are a part of this sisterhood. I know that some women want to exclude other women, women born in the wrong bodies, women who are 'different'. I find this so sad, so frustrating that the existence I have connected to and being empowered by other women does not materialise for some. I have this feeling sometimes that I want to take all the women that I will ever meet by the hand and have us stride to our brilliance together. I have this feeling that without other women I would feel nothing at all like myself, but very small and low and unimportant.

The women in my life include my mother, my sister, my aunts, my cousins, my grandmothers. Every female friend I've ever had has built me and supported me in some way. The voices of my favourite female music artists have always comforted me when my heart has been aching. The words of female writers help instruct me. The lives and ambitions of women in roles I desire to be in keep me going, keep me working, tell me not to give up.

In fact, when I am at my lowest, or most afraid, I tend to go to women to let them help me. Perhaps that is the result of being brought up in a primarily female family who openly discuss things and cry together and laugh together and heal together. Perhaps that is why I seek out women to help myself to heal.

This is a very personal outlook. Like I said, some women can be excluded by other women, from other women. And this is not to say that the men in my life have not helped me out of low moments, have not comforted me when I've cried, have not laughed and danced with me.

But I just have this amazing feeling when I'm with the women I love, and I can say literally anything, and I can show them my ugliest side, and I can be my absolute self. I just can't explain this feeling, but it feels a part of something. I feel a part of something bigger than myself.

Maybe that is just what it's like to feel human, to feel a part of something bigger than yourself.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

When neither here nor there is good enough.

I've come home for the weekend. From uni because I needed to get away. I cycled to the train station and it was warm and sunny and nice. I spent 20 minutes trying to work out where the cycle park was, moving my bike to several different spots before I found it. I bought a ticket and I got on a train going to London. There was a really loud family sat behind me but I managed to ignore them by listening to music through my broken headphones. I couldn't listen to some of the songs because they made me feel weird, and I wanted to the enjoy the view but it was tainted somewhat. I got off at King's Cross and suddenly remembered being on the same platform getting a train to Leeds for my interview there a year and a half ago; how different my life would be if I'd taken that offer. I walked to the underground and got on a train, and then I got off at Baker Street and walked to Marylebone instead to avoid the all stations Metropolitan to Amersham. I bought a cold drink from the AMT stand and I walked to platform 6 to get on the final train of my journey. I put my music on again but I don't think I was really listening. 

My mum was standing behind the ticket stiles smiling at me. 

And normally, God, normally that would be enough to make me smile, to lift my spirits, but it didn't do much. I felt hollow and I felt everything all at the same time. 

I came home to escape something, but I haven't really managed to escape it at all. I want to be at home, but I don't really want to be here either. I want to be at uni, but it's started to seem really huge and like I'm rattling around not really knowing what to do with myself. 

I think I had a nice day yesterday, but everything I did was tainted with the underlying feeling that something was very off. Unease swimming around near my heart, like an electric eel, shocking it when it got too close and leaving me reeling without really knowing why. Partly my thoughts, partly just a feeling. They seem pretty much the same at the moment, I can't get either of them to stop. 

When neither here nor there is good enough sleep seems the better option. But you can't sleep forever, and the here or there has to be the reality. I'm not even sure I am here or there anyway, I think my mind is taking me elsewhere.  I'm not sure how to get back to where I am, but I guess I will eventually. I guess I have to, at some point. Fear doesn't last forever.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Blue flashing lights.

I can't remember how many times my dad has said "If you need me, I'll put the blue flashing lights on the car and come and get you.". Probably because he's said it every time I've gone out and been afraid, which is a lot. He's said it when I've been in the other end of Europe and I've been ill or panicked and crying on the phone. I've fully believed that he would drive across the whole of France just to come and get me. In the past, when I've been stranded or afraid, he's driven at silly hours in the early morning to come and take me home. And he's never been angry about it, or annoyed, or told me to pull myself together. He just says "I'll be there soon, don't worry".

I know that wherever I am in the world, and whatever he's doing, my dad will put the blue flashing lights on the car to come and get me. I am always safe and never alone when my dad is on the end of the phone, and that is very lovely. 

Friday, 19 May 2017

"Today I hate Shakespeare"

I wrote on my hand, about a week ago, the words 'today I hate Shakespeare'. It was intended as a reminder for something I could write a blogpost about. I was in a class having some sort of existential crisis about my degree and I wrote that on my hand to probably be profound and make myself feel better about the situation. 

Today I do not hate Shakespeare. I'm a big fan of the guy, in fact, but on the day I decided that we were not on good terms I think I was really having a wobble about all writing ever. The feeling came from sitting in a class about glossing. Glossing Cymbeline to be precise. I haven't actually read Cymbeline yet, and I still have no idea how to gloss. This, I thought, is what I'm paying £9,000 a year for. What, exactly, is the point? 

I spent the entire hour and a half not paying attention to any of the intelligent conversation going on and instead questioning whether I was just spending three years learning how to make things up. What benefits was I receiving from studying Shakespeare? How was this going to enrich my life? 

I decided to go to a bookshop after the class instead of doing the work I was supposed to to reinforce my love of literature. It did the opposite. There are a lot of books. There will continue to be a constant stream of books and stories and ideas probably forever. I am never going to read all of these books, so why should I care about them? I want to write books, but why would anyone care about them? It's all just words put together in different orders, isn't it? Different people trying to be clever, different ideas, different opinions, clashing and mixing and overlapping and repeating. Why should I bother? It's all too much. 

I walked out of the bookshop feeling more disheartened than when I'd entered. Never before had my dad's voice in my head saying "so many books, so little time" been so oppressive. 

But I think I just like the way things make me feel. And by things, I mean books. I managed to remember, having spent the entire day wondering what I was supposed to be doing with my life, all the ways that books had made me feel. And whether that was sad, or happy, or angry I realised that was how they enriched my life. Like music, where the patterns of sounds and notes evoke powerful emotional reactions, literature puts words in different orders to see how we respond. Literature is the ability to explain humanity ad infinitum. The study of literature is an attempt to understand all our aspects and ways of being, all our patterns, all our language can say, all the ways we can feel. 

I think I'm okay with that, you know. Sure, it's an expensive way to read, but I think I can read better than I did before and I will continue to improve at it. And maybe one day I will be able to put words together in a new order, and explain humanity in my own way, and help some teenage girl in her room when she's scared or alone or doesn't know why she's there. I think I'm okay with that, with that being why I'm here. 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Alone is sometimes lonely.

Sometimes I find being alone a pleasant experience. I find that the sense of self is grounded, and I can feel myself being one tiny spec a part of the universe. I can work out thoughts in my head, I can test the feeling of absolute independence, I can be my own self without being anyone else's. I am me in the whole sense of my body and my mind and the way I look at the world.

Sometimes I find being alone an absolutely hideous experience. The feeling of being a tiny spec in the universe becomes overbearing, squashing me. I've actually considered whether I've become invisible before when I've been in a town for several hours and not said a word to anyone. I start being overly friendly to shop owners and cafe baristas as my only form of human contact. Working out the thoughts in your head is all very well until you realise you keep going round in circles unless you discuss them with somebody. Hearing yourself say thoughts out loud, and having someone respond to them is just a nice reminder that you definitely exist.

This is all very dramatic, I know, but recently I've been a bit afraid of being alone. As if all my friends are the little weights on the end of helium balloons, and when I leave them for a while I begin to float up into the sky with my own thoughts going higher and higher, further away from the grounding comfort of a smile or a hug or a laugh.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Things That Your Mum Can't Fix.

The thing about shifting yourself out of the family home and into the world is that you have to start to deal with the Things That Your Mum Can't Fix. Of course, I'm not actually in the world yet, I'm in a sort of pretend one, at university, where I can still have meals made for me and if I really need it a real adult will help me sort things out.

It's still a step up from mum and dad being in the next room, and there's still a sense of launching yourself into adulthood without the instruction booklet or a helmet to help with the crash landing. You arrive in the world alone, ready to force strangers to be your friends and hope that they like you. You arrive in the world really hoping that at some point these strangers will be able to look after you.

Thing is, I'm not talking about having to do the washing up every day, or making sure you clean the sheets regularly, I'm talking about the emotional labour of putting your lifeline at the end of a phone and throwing yourself into the hands of people you've only just met.

You're not reinventing yourself, as such, but suddenly you find yourself peeling back layer by layer to friends you have decided to trust. You watch people learn about you as an almost fully formed adult. There's a lot for them to catch up on, a lot for them to get to know, and it all happens at double speed.

The Things That Your Mum Can't Fix are the things that made me realise that nobody can read my mind except for my mother. I've had to learn to ask people for help, to allow myself to trust, and to allow myself to be completely vulnerable in front of brand new friends.  The learning about each other happens at double speed because no one else is around to take care of us. Okay, Mum is still at the end of a phone call, but she's not there to hold you when you cry or when you're scared or when you think you need some helping out. You've got to both be that for other people, and let them do it for you.

It's a gamble when you meet new people to know whether you'll be able to trust them with all sides of yourself, but when you get it right it really, really works. It's a new kind of love, a new kind of friendship, a new kind of being. And it's great, and it feels great, and I am very lucky.

Friday, 28 April 2017

I've been here before.

I feel like I've been here before. These thoughts are familiar, as if I'm having deja vu but with ideas, words, stories. I was thinking about what to write today and each time an idea came to mind I realised I'd already written about it. Looking through past posts I found myself disappointed by all the unanswered questions I was still asking myself. Conclusions I thought I'd reached still only loose ideas floating about, coming back to haunt me.

Perhaps that's unfair, I have reached conclusions but new ideas layer themselves over old ones. I keep coming back to thoughts I've already had because they interest me. I'm not done with them yet. Stuck with thinking about them until they settle in my mind, and I move on to the next fascination.

It's no bad thing, I suppose. I forget that I am learning how the inside of my head works still. Thoughts keep coming back because they are still new. I am still new. It can't be boring already.

Friday, 7 April 2017

The feeling of love.

I know the feeling of love. Of being loved. I know where it comes from, that waves of it happen randomly and sometimes without reason. I know that it starts in the pit of your body, the middle of yourself, and it undulates outwards through the tips of fingers, the tips of toes.

Love feels exciting and sweet. It tastes sweet. I want to dance with it, and jump, to stop myself from bursting or squeezing the person who is loved by me to death. Involuntary smiles the whole size of your face. That's what love is.

I don't speak of romantic love, not yet. I'm speaking of the love that comes from the pit of you. The love from holding your sister's hand, from kissing your mum on the cheek, from your dad coming home after long trips away. The love from watching friends who you would die for dancing and losing their minds to music. The love that comes from the pit of you, when you're driving over that hill and in the distance the sun is bright red and ginormous and you can see it right here, right now.

I know the feeling of love, of being loved, and it feels very happy.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

I am mostly fine.

I am mostly fine, at the moment. I am mostly fine because I can go day to day without feeling afraid or unnerved and I can leave the house and go places and it's all fine. Of course there are moments when it feels a little bit not fine, but even those moments are okay simply because I say they are.

See, that's the first step, to being fine, accepting that it is okay when you are not. Not berating yourself, not trying to find a time limit, not hating yourself for it. All of those things increase the bad feeling, the tightness of your chest, the stinging sensation of tears about to come in your eyes.

But the other day I was on the tube in London and I was able to remind myself that I was absolutely okay in a moment where I felt absolutely not. I was on the tube in London and it was hot and it was busy. I kept having those awkward encounters with people's faces and my backpack because the train was packed and the air was just recycled from other people's lungs and it was unpleasant. And then I started to feel sick, and my palms started to sweat, and I was managing to convince myself that I couldn't breathe properly. An awful, sickly, panicky feeling started to manifest itself in my chest and I was convinced that I was going to throw up or faint and get lost in this tiny sea of people and feel humiliated and need desperately to escape right now.

It could have been a really terrible moment. I could have decided to get off at the next stop and go home and give up on my day out with myself. But I didn't, because I made the decision to completely accept the feeling inside of me and stay on the train all the way to where I wanted to go. I'm pretty sure that's how it eventually went away, because I let the feeling wave over me and didn't fight it or resent it. It happened and I moved on. I didn't tell myself when I had to feel better by, I accepted that eventually it would go away. I didn't tell myself that I was silly for feeling it, I accepted that this was my mind and body reacting to something. I didn't tell myself that I should get over it and pull myself together, I accepted that it was happening and that everyone feels not okay sometimes and I let it ride itself out.

The feeling, of course, did go away and I got on with the rest of my day. I didn't hate myself for it, I wasn't embarrassed. It was just the way my body and my mind had felt for a moment and that is fine because that's how human bodies sometimes feel. You know how no-one really has an answer for the feeling of love? No-one really has an answer for the feeling of anything.

Accepting that human experience does not just involve constant happiness and joy or that sadness and fear is something you 'shouldn't' have is a healthy start. Unfortunately it doesn't solve everything, and it doesn't make the bad things stop, but it makes them more bearable. It lets you to know that painful feelings will end, and it allows you to observe them in a new light. This is me, this is what is happening to me, this is my present. And that is okay.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Fear sells.

This is sad, again. People have died when they shouldn’t have done, when they didn’t expect it, when they woke up and expected to come home later on. This is sad because it is tragic. But it is not scary or terrifying or worth any more than mourning and grief for innocent death.

Ok, so the public are interested in what’s going on. I get that, I’m interested too. Who was the attacker? Where have they come from? Why were they attacking? I want to know and understand, naturally. I just can’t bear to look at the news or the papers because they keep telling me that I need to be afraid.

How much superficial emotion can they squeeze out of this event? How much can they ramp it up? You really must be SCARED and OUTRAGED and DEFIANT.

BBC News yesterday morning had so little to get from it that they stood in Westminster filming grieving policemen asking useless questions interspersing this with footage of the event repeated over and over again. You know, the unnecessary images of people dying on Westminster bridge. This is what the TERRORIST did.

Sky News is one of the worst culprits. “Terror” this and “terror” that. Be scared be scared be scared. I don’t have anything to be afraid of. What happened was awful but it was not a massive, successful attack and our services responded immediately and effectively. We should be feeling much less afraid if anything. Look how pathetic those attackers are. It is only “terror” when you allow it to be. It is sad and unnerving and for anyone there I don’t doubt for a minute that it was terrifying. But it is not “terror” for anyone else. That’s the point.

Fear sells and that’s how the press keeps going. It gets by when it tells you that you can get cancer from eating carrots. It is absolutely brilliant when something like this happens. The press manipulates how we respond to events like this. How we talk about it, the language we use, the emotions we feel towards it.

Ah so maybe I’m being grim about this. Perhaps I am unfair about journalistic response. Perhaps, even, there is real reason to be afraid!

There are reasonable media sources that I trust simply because of the lack of emotive, titillating language. I don’t need to be told how to feel, I just want to be informed. But so many things keep doing just the former even before I get past the headline. And it takes away from other headlines, and we miss all sorts of news, and we end up just feeling pointlessly afraid.

I wouldn’t mind so much, you know, if feeling pointlessly afraid wasn’t so very dangerous.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

And that is all I know.

In our reaching out to other human beings I think we crave an understanding of ourselves. I know that I do. I want to be understood and to understand myself.

In the poetry I attempt to write, in the blog posts, in the diary entries I find myself searching. Luckily what comes out the end of a pen, or what I type on the screen gives me clues. Isn't it funny what your subconscious can tell you?

Far from knowing the whole of who I am I continue to search. I search in the faces of the people I love. By which I mean I tell them things in my heart so they can reflect them back to me. Often I find it a great compliment to be told that someone "knows me so well" they can identify anonymous writing as my own, or know how I should react to things, or what I will love, who I will love. It is as if they have taken me in, and in turn are showing me things about myself. I am learning from them.

The impossibility of understanding yourself is that you change all the time. I change all the time. I have parts of me I barely recognise, knowing that in the future the way I am now will be a memory rather than a reality. I suppose I add to myself. I add to my understanding as I go along. I feel as if I am literally building myself.

And so a full understanding of who I am is out of the question. I am inter-changeable. The world around me is inconstant and I will adapt to my surroundings. But I try and I connect and in doing so I solidify my being. I am here, my friends are here, and that is all I know.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Totally precious, never to leave me.

I am writing this as a sort of letter to myself. A memo, a reminder. I keep forgetting, you see. 

I keep forgetting those moments, fleeting and falling like sand through my fingers, where everything reaches a harmony. I stumbled across one the other day. I walked into a pub garden and some people I really love were sat in a large group talking and laughing and waiting for me. I went outside myself for a second, watching myself walk to them, smiling at them. Everything had slotted into place and I could feel it, I could see it. We were at the pub because we’d just watched the opening night of my play. I think my head was still swimming with adrenaline. The theatre had been at an almost unbeatable heat. I sat and watched nervously the actors I had come to love play out something we had all created. I was sweating and apprehensive the whole time. The end came and I looked around and my friends were all there, wilting in the heat, but smiling at me. I walked around in a daze saying “thank you” and “I’m glad you enjoyed it” and trying to take it all in but barely able to pay attention. I told my friends to go on, I’d meet them at the pub, I needed to clear the stage. 

I walked into a pub garden and some people I really love were sat in a large group talking and laughing and waiting for me. I felt everything slot into place and I was absolutely and completely happy. My friend bought me a pint, I sat down. The feeling continued as I talked and laughed and remembered the play. Completely happy. I think I can explain it best by saying that I was in love with everything and everyone in that moment. Here I was, in a place of my life I had sometimes dreamed of being, in love with it all. 

The moment faded the next day. It has faded now. So I am writing this to myself to remind myself of that moment. I have it locked away now, somewhere safe, to get out when I feel perhaps the total opposite of “completely happy”. Yes, it was one of those moments: totally precious, never to leave me. I am lucky. 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

I do believe in fairies.

I used to believe in fairies. But not just in the way that most children do, like a belief in Father Christmas, I believed in fairies with real, unrelenting intensity. I would think about them a lot. I had my own fairy called Hellibore who lived in my garden (looking after the Hellibores) and we wrote letters to each other. I received letters from garden fairies, and Christmas tree fairies, and flower fairies but my most precious were from Helli. I used to ask her if I could ever see her in real life. I would imagine her coming to my window and talking to my from the window sill. I would leave her juice and chocolate and crumbs in cups and plates from my Playmobile doll's house. My heart would skip a beat when I came back to see that there were little bite marks in the chocolate and the juice had been drunk.

Every time I went into the garden I would look for Helli. I would wait for her where she had left her letters and I would look in the little fairy house I had to see if she had made a home. She would write back in her letters that she was very busy looking after the flowers in the garden and didn't have time to see me. I hoped that one day I'd catch her on a leaf, or wandering around the flower beds. I looked and looked.

On walks in woods where there were particularly mossy areas, or little nooks in trees, I was convinced that fairies lived there. I was careful not to step into fairy rings for fear of being trapped in fairy world, but part of me always wanted to know what would happen if I put my foot into a circle of mushrooms.

Once we went to visit my cousins in Germany and we went for a walk round a lake. My sister, my cousin and I were on a hunt for fairies and in particular sprites in the water. For a very long time I was sure that I had seen one flitting about amongst the pebbles. I felt immensely proud that I had finally got a glimpse. When we got back to my cousins' house we spent hours making a little house and space for some fairies to visit, and then we read out a spell to make them come and left some chocolate.

I can't remember when I had to try and convince myself that Helli was still real. I think I had written a letter that she hadn't replied to. I wrote a few more and heard nothing. I would check on my window sill everyday, and then every so often, and then occasionally when I had time to remember. Eventually I went crying one night to my mum to admit to her that the feeling had gone, that the magic had gone, that the fairies weren't real anymore. I made her tell me that I was right but it was a few years before she finally admitted who had actually written the letters.

When I recall the feeling of losing this belief it still saddens me. I was heartbroken not to have something so completely wonderful anymore. I had lost something I had loved. Why couldn't I just make myself believe?

I still have every single fairy letter kept in a box in my room at home. I think it's at the top of a list of things that I would save from a fire. I don't know where my mum got the special paper from with the small flowers pressed into it but I do know that she never wrote them, she never lied about that.

Sometimes when I go on walks now I can't help myself from seeing rings of small flowers, or mossy patches amongst tree roots and thinking that fairies might live there or, at least, it would be an excellent place for them to dwell. Sometimes in my garden I will go to spots that are incredibly evocative of the times I spent searching for and thinking of Helli and for short moments I will wonder if she's still there.

I think my parents' decision to let me have this little world and embellish it, letting it run its course naturally, was the sweetest and loveliest thing they could do. But I want to say more than "sweet" and "lovely" because it meant so much more than that to me. My fairy world was completely and utterly real and it brought me excitement and joy and a feeling of love. I think I gained a lot from my untamed, young imagination by letting it grow and blur lines between the real and the surreal. I think I can use what I gained in my life as an adult, I just haven't yet worked out what.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Bad dreams.

I am going to be completely honest and tell you that since Trump's inauguration I have done nothing about it. I have not protested, I have not signed a petition, I have not even written about it until now. I think I am stuck between wanting to ignore him, drown him out with positive things and wanting to wake up and take action before something really awful happens.

I'm terrified that people aren't awake. I'm scared that because this seems so unreal, like a bad dream, that it's going to go untouched and ignored. I know that this isn't the case for everyone. I know that there are lawyers and judges and congressmen over there, and MPs over here, who aren't prepared to let this go too far.

I don't even think that I'm awake. I keep thinking this is a bad dream. I have no idea what to do. What does protesting do? Signing a petition? What does writing do? How do I not just sit back and watch this happen?

I have no words, no answer for this. I am stuck and confused and angry about it. I feel incredibly helpless. I keep just hoping that something really awful will happen to him. And I mean really, really awful. I never think that about anyone.

This is absolutely a case of protecting the vulnerable and not letting history repeat itself. I just don't know how to do it. Does anyone?

Friday, 27 January 2017

Horrible nagging feeling.

You know, like, that really horrible nagging feeling you sometimes get for no reason at all? It settles like a layer of ash over that acutely sensitive part of your chest, somewhere near your heart, somewhere near your ribs. It will be there all day and sometimes you won't notice it, you'll just carry on with a vague awareness that something is off and not quite right. When you do pick up on it it intensifies and your heart rate quickens and your breath shortens like a panicky feeling that has no real cause, it's just there. You could be walking down the steps to the library, say, on your way to find some books and for absolutely no reason at all you feel as if you're about to cry. You'll try and get on with your tasks and your chores for that day but for the whole of it there's a distraction; there's a really overwhelming feeling that you just want to get into bed and maybe be cuddled and maybe eat chocolate and maybe not think about anything else at all.

It's a feeling I can never quite put my finger on, but sometimes it's just there.

Friday, 20 January 2017


I think we forget, whether we like it or not, that we rely heavily on our friendships and relationships to keep us afloat. At least I do, when I get trapped in my head and forget to tell anyone about it. 

I am incredibly fortunate to have a strong network of friends, any one of whom I could go to for help. I have very close relationships with family members who know my ins and outs and my ups and downs and will watch out for me. I am not afraid to rely on strangers for help, and to reach out to other people's kindness when I need it. I am equally willing to lend an ear, or to give advice, or to love fully most people who enter my life. 

I don't know if the people that I love feel they can rely on my support and company when they're stuck but I know that I can rely on them. It's important to remind yourself of that, that people are there to listen. Getting trapped in your own head is never a clever idea. 

There's a closed group that I'm a part of on Facebook that provides non-judgemental, quick support and advice whenever you post in it. It's all women and non-binary and we post the smallest to the darkest issues. And I love watching these women, who don't necessarily know each other, provide genuine love and solidarity when it's needed. I have posted on there and got so much in return. It's become so important for me to know that even when I feel I can't discuss something with close friends simply because I know them too well I have another support base I can use 24/7. 

I am fortunate to know that I will never be alone or not listened to or unloved. Not even, I think, if I tried really hard to make it happen. There is always going to be someone there for you, remember that - okay? 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Desire to be desired.

Why am I looking at myself in the mirror day after day and essentially telling myself that I am worthless and ugly and undesirable? Desirable to whom, exactly? 

I have tried to excuse my low self-esteem as "natural" and that wanting to be wanted is something that I should brush off. But it's not "natural" and the desire to be desired is somewhat false and taking its toll. I should not hate myself because I think that I am not worthy of other people's attention. I should not think that an unwarranted gaze in a nightclub or a street is validation of my beauty or my being here on this earth. 

I have so much capacity for love why do I find it so difficult to love myself? Why can I look at my friends and think "how beautiful, how wonderful, how exciting to be around" and not think the same for myself? It is myself that I live with constantly, if I hate that person what am I supposed to do then? If hell is other people then I dread to think what the person inside my head is. 

And I have written about this before and recently too, but it didn't quite have the angry force that this now does. Because I am angry, at myself and at a culture and society that has brought me up to seek validation from men. I can go so far without a guy telling me I was beautiful, why do I care so much about it?

I find it so embarrassing. How embarrassing that I should care so much what men think of me, what my face looks like, how much a glance in a mirror can bring my mood down completely. My appearance means nothing. Male appearance, most of the time, means nothing. Why, then, do I sometimes wish I could change mine to be "better"?

I have worried about how I looked since I was 11. I have hated pictures of myself, desperately tried to improve things with makeup, worried that my outfit was horrible. How horrible it is for myself. 

I will endeavour to completely and utterly love myself. I do not mean without criticism, without awareness, I just mean to say that I will not poison myself from the inside out with toxic, useless, horrid, painful, terrible, nasty little thoughts. I really, really have to stop treating myself like I am my own shit friend. Because if I had a friend who, every time she looked at me, said "you look like a 12 year old boy and no one will ever love you" (real example of bizarre thoughts I have about myself) I'd be really pissed off. I do not owe any of myself to men and their opinions do not validate my being.  I have some beautiful, wonderful male friends whom I love, but I just shouldn't really give a thought as to whether they like my face. 

It is nice to be called beautiful because someone is so overwhelmed by your entire person as your happiness and love radiate from you. It is void of meaning to be called beautiful because your face is symmetrical and matches the ideal created in magazines and porn and Hollywood. Teach yourself to know the difference, teach yourself to love yourself.