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

Loved.

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. 

Friday, 30 December 2016

Not doing very much at all.

This bit between Christmas and New Year's is always weird. Is Christmas over? Can I still listen to Christmas music? Why do I feel this vague, inexplicable sense of melancholy? Will I manage to get up before 9:30 this week? Does anyone know what day it is?

I think perhaps this lull in stimulation after an intense period of over-indulgence makes many of us feel like the fat people in Wall-e. Rolling around eating disgusting quantities of rich food and watching every second of Christmas TV that there is.  I hate any lulls in stimulation, because I enter a more intense cycle of guilt regarding my own lack of productivity than I'm normally in.

I'm always stuck between "allowing myself to have a holiday" and worrying about the entire day I just wasted being disappointed by sales in the local shopping centre. Why, I think to myself, did I just watch 'Greatest Christmas Movies' on channel 5 rather than reading the book I'm really enjoying?

This enforced laziness makes me nervous, but I am making it sound like I literally haven't moved from the sofa for an entire week. For some reason I am always compelled to exaggerate my slobbing around because the feeling of guilt from it is so great. I'm not sure why I'm guilty, as if I'm letting someone other than myself down by lying in everyday. I've actually really enjoyed it, why do I berate myself? I've been on lovely, beautiful walks with my family almost every day this week but God forbid that I remember those as something "productive" to do.

I wonder if one day I'll go to bed after a day of "bustling about", not doing much, letting my entire being rest, and not think "you waste of human energy" and list in my head everything that I could have done that would have, for some reason, been better for mankind as a whole. I think I actually have to train myself not to do that, because for now I have guilt complex about being lazy, and I'm not sure that's very healthy at all.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Religion on Christmas Eve.

I've written posts when I was a younger and naive, and angry in that youth and naivety, about religion, or Christianity specifically, that now I don't feel the same about. I've also written posts about how in many ways I am at peace with some aspects of religion, like places of worship, that I still agree with today.

But on this Christmas Eve when Christianity is very much thrown at me, I wonder if I will ever come to terms with these organised and limited ways of living.

I don't mind the culture that comes from it, or the solace people get from it, or the feeling of belonging I suppose a church (or a mosque or a synagogue etc) community might bring but I mind a very great number of things that go hand in hand with religion as well.

And this isn't a groundbreaking piece that's going to shatter the entire concept of religion, obviously, but there's always this niggling feeling I get when I really think about it.

I think often, in the rare occasions that I've ever attended church services, I am genuinely repulsed by the language of the bible. I'm repulsed by its obvious attempt to 'control' its followers. I'm repulsed by its encouragement of self-loathing because you are not God, you are weak, you are ultimately a bad thing. It creeps me out.

I worry about young children being taken to church groups and services because I see something sinister in convincing them of a way of life, a life which can be limiting and harmful, before they get the chance to work things out for themselves.

I despise the image of Christ on his cross with his bloody hands and feet and suffering on his face because how can so much negativity represent a religion so huge and all consuming and how can it be good?

I realise that I point a lot of what I'm saying at Christianity, because it's the religion I'm most familiar with, and so I have less standing ground with everything else. But I'm not asking for a standing ground, not right now, I'm just expressing a feeling. It's a feeling of unease. As much as there is a sense of calm in a church there is, for me, a feeling of unease.

You know, I can't quite put my finger on it, I just know that religion really isn't for me.