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

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.