it was all me.

All the amazing things we did,
I look back on fondly
and I think,
“Weren’t we a great team?”

Doing all those things together.
The cycling, the hiking, the travelling.
I look back and think
“Didn’t we accomplish such great things?”

But we didn’t.
Give me a second whilst I ready myself,
because I’m about to finally be kind to myself…
But it was me.

Whose idea was it to go travelling to Nepal?
Mine.
Who suggested cycling to Brecon in a day, just on a whim?
Me.
Who challenged us both to climb Pen-y-fan ten times in 24 hours?
Me.
Towersey festival?
Me.

Who decided enough was enough at our old school, and we should jack it all in and go teach abroad?
Yep, me.

Who was it who got the job in Thailand first, and subsequently got you your job?
Need I say it again?

The job that you’re still profiting off, in a beautiful country that you never would’ve travelled to
if it wasn’t for me.

And yes, you did acknowledge it,
once,
a few months after our break up,
when I was back in the UK.
When you were high on acid, and floating in a villa pool in the middle of a rainstorm.
And you told me, and everyone you were with too,
that all the great things you’d done
were because of me.

I wonder, do you still feel grateful
for all those adventures I gave you?
Or does your gratitude only show when you’re having some sort of
hallucinogenic epiphany?

Either way,
it was all me.
Because I am capable of great things.
And you know it.

gaslight

i turn to alcohol now.
i wonder if they all know what they’ve done.
it’s death by a thousand cuts.
not one instance bad enough to do any real harm.
but thousands of off-hand comments,
of lies,
of nasty looks,
of berating me every morning,
of commenting on my personality or appearance during the day.

of course i’m not talking about one man alone.
father.
would-be-sweet-heart.
boyfriends.
ex-boyfriends.
one night stands.

lies.
manipulations.
guilt trips.

you’ve fucked everything up.
i already had
OCD, MDD, GAD
how many more can we add to the list?

BPD?

is that the final nail in the coffin?
i think it is.

because now it’s alcohol. or valium. or cutting myself.
just to get through.

and i can’t do it anymore.

it’s ruining the one thing that’s ever meant so much to me.
it’s ruining me.
and i am lost.

how was i ever to find my way out,
of this dark tunnel,
if the only source of guidance,
was your gaslight?

greece

We walked along the pebble beach,
and I forgot
that I’m a teacher, who has responsibilities
who has a job to do.

We kissed in the cold but crystal clear sea,
and I forgot
temporarily that just a few weeks before
I’d been put on one-to-one observation, and sent home from work.

We watched the sunrise over the Aegean
from our balcony,
and I forgot
that I’m terrified to step a foot outside my house now.

We drank beers and read books by the pool
and I forgot
that my anxiety has gotten so bad
that I can’t see a way forward anymore.

We fell asleep in each other’s arms every night,
and I forgot
what it’s like to exist inside my own head,
just briefly.

We parted at the station again,
and now it’s back to reality
and I’ve already forgotten
the feeling of your hand in mine.

slow motion

I think it’s slowly hitting me
not in the way a wave hits you
washing over you
rushing up to meet your skin.
An old friend.

No, not like that.

I think it’s slowly hitting me
the way an HGV would
slowly
hit
you.
All of a sudden.
And in slow motion
at the same time.

I’ve been anticipating this impact
for so long now.
Bracing myself, muscles tensed,
that I almost don’t believe it’s over.

That I can relax now
drop my shoulders
unclench my jaw
let go.

Yesterday,
when I eventually put the phone down,
I could finally
pick myself back up
from where I left myself.

Those 11 years ago.

2020

I would prize Wildwood Kin, from your little sweaty palms,
I would eat more healthily,
I would dance more often,
and refuse to let you talk over me.

I would shake my former self
look her straight into the eyes
and say, is this what you think you’ve been searching for
all your goddamn life?

I would remove those tinted glasses
and see you for what you are,
an emotionally-stunted man-child
who just happens to play guitar.

I’d take you off your pedestal,
where you’d comfortably made your nest.
I’d tell you truths like, I’m not sure I want to have biological children
and bathe in the disgust your face expressed.

I’d stop hiding my truth to please you,
unafraid of causing upset
confidently proclaim my moral views
and calmly watch you sweat.

I’d grab my former self,
lace up my running shoes,
take her by the hand
and run far away from you.

fairweather

Your not texting back,
was a stab to the heart.
But you were drinking cold liquor, with new friends
so you didn’t see that part.
You were already planning how our story would end.

In our story, from my side, we had endless pages.
But I guess you were just filling in the blanks,
until you thought you could escape this
and it came as a suckerpunch when I realised you’d pulled a Shawshank.

Too cowardly to tell me the truth,
that you lied when you said we had the rest of our lives together.
You kept me, like Dogtooth,
hidden from reality.
You were nothing more than a boyfriend for fairweather.

And when the storms rolled in,
and the thunderclaps boomed,
things headed the way they’d always been,
and you ran scared into the other room.

Away from my crying eyes
and into the arms of another.
Out of sight, out of mind,
safely beneath the skin of a different woman to hide under.

Someone sweeter,
someone breezier,
someone who wouldn’t call you a cheater.
A fairweather girlfriend,
and altogether
easier.

truths i should’ve listened to

All pain is temporary.
Always trust your gut instincts.
Actions speak louder than words,
pay attention to what they do rather than what they say they’ll do.

Healing isn’t linear, and that’s ok.
Time gives you metaphorical distance, but your brain is a brilliant time traveler.
Help is the bravest thing you can ever say.
And asking for it doesn’t make you weak.

Dancing is good for the soul; do it often and spontaneously.
Invest time in those who you know will invest the time back.
Know where your limits are, and be gentle with yourself.

You always have the right to say no, and be heard.

Everything will seem different in the morning.
And
I love you.

lies i was told

Just a sharp scratch.
He didn’t cheat on you.
No, he really didn’t.
I won’t do it again, I promise.

It will hurt less over time.
Time heals everything.
We’ll spend the rest of our lives together.
And I’ll look after you tonight.

I’ll only have one drink.
Of course I’d never do anything to hurt you.
You’re my whole world.
I can’t imagine life without you.

This is the hardest bit, right now.
Crying will make you feel better.
And
it gets easier as you get older.
And
I love you.

“She burns bridges”

Apparently, I burn bridges
or maybe it was a wayward spark,
from you burning our candle at both ends.
It wouldn’t have taken much, to raze the dilapidated, crumbling scaffolding.
Not the once strong, steady, immovable Pont du Gard.

A bridge is no longer of use, when the destination is a person you no longer recognise.
A faceless friend,
a stranger in a crowd,
an unhappy hostage.

So maybe burning it was my only option.
Save up what little was left of my sanity; cut and run.
You say I no longer light up your sky,
but maybe my light was never yours to possess and claim as your own.
Maybe what burnt that bridge, was a flicker of my fire you could no longer control.

Well, I gathered up all the remaining timber,
anything I could salvage from the blaze,
and I built myself a fucking ladder
to pull myself out of the twisted ravine you left me in.

And now I’m up high, on a cliff top
and the view and the air is clear,
and now it all makes sense.

red flags

You always said you’d eventually learn how to dance with me, but you always had an excuse. You just didn’t care for the things I was passionate about. Red flag number 10.

You never cared for, or tried to understand, my love of Taylor Swift. I know that might sound petty. But it was important to me, and you openly mocked it. Red flag number 9.

You said you didn’t like tattoos, but you would make exceptions for my small ones. Well, now I have a big one. So fuck you. Red flag number 8.

We had similar tastes in music, but only when it came to folk and country. Anything else and I felt I had to filter my music choice around you. Because it was “too mainstream”. You always took the high ground when it came to music. Red flag number 7.

Your political views were the right ones, and no amount of debating would tell you otherwise. You took the high horse there too. Red flag number 6.

I was terrified of doing my pre-flight injections by myself, so I offered to pay for your megabus and the additional cost of the flight, for you to fly from Heathrow with me. To support me. But you outright refused. Red flag number 5.

You could never have a healthy disagreement. You’d bury your head in the sand at the first sign of conflict. Sweep it under the carpet. Until it blew up in our faces. Red flag number 4.

You made empty promises. The main one being that you’d always support me, no matter what. Red flag number 3.

One night, after weeks of my mental health rapidly declining, you said you’d rather go out and get drunk with another girl than come home to me. Red flag number 2.

You cheated on your girlfriend of four years to be with me.

Red flag number 1.