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?