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.