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?