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?

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.

Stay;

There will be plays you will see, poems you will read, sandwiches you will eat, new friends you will make, new dance moves you will learn. There will be hugs, and there will be kisses that stop time. There will be cups of tea on a balcony with a beautiful view of the sunset. There will be sunrises. There will be holding hands, running through the rain, sheltering under trees, and more kissing. There will be music you haven’t heard yet, that doesn’t even exist yet, that will move you to tears, or become your new favourite track to dance to. There will be weddings, your own included. There will be swimming in a clear blue sea. There will be cold, crisp glasses of New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, on hazy summers evenings. There will be dogs to pet. Films to laugh at. New mountains to climb. There will be warm cosy jumpers and mulled wine at Christmas. There will be a time you see your big sister again. There will be new books to read, that will take you on new adventures from the comfort of your bedroom. There will be more answers than questions. There will be poetry that flows out of you. There will be ceilidhs, and so much dancing. There will be gigs so incredible you lose your voice from screaming the words so loud. There will be new tunes to learn, and to pass on. There will be late nights you never want to end. There will be early morning runs that enrich your soul. There will be new songs to sing.
There will be a time when you no longer remember how bad it got.
Stay.

a warning

oh, he’ll be there
for the good times
for the falling in love
over a bottle of red wine times

for the holding hands in the woods
and for the wishing on should
we, be
an eternity, a whole,
two bodies, but one soul

oh, he’ll be there

but not for when things turn sour
when minutes feel like hours
across the dining table
the candle light a token gesture
and not a word has been spoken yet

empty promises of, i’ll never leave you
but he won’t be there when it’s needed
punching, kicking, scratching, screaming
he won’t be there when the tears come streaming

he was there for the good version of you
on your best behaviour, you
for the confident, happy, exciting you
but when reality came, like an awesome wave
he couldn’t see it through

after all, i’ve come to learn, i was nothing more than a getaway car
that drove too fast
and eventually took us both tumbling
off the path

yes, i am talking to you.

you unbuckled your seatbelt and leapt
from the impending wreckage
and you ran
without a second glance over your shoulder
to see the flames
that you’d left.

(he won’t be there)

the silence & the sound

Empty.
Clean.
White.
Silence never sounds like it’s supposed to.

Silence is an echo chamber
of words unspoken,
and anxieties welling up to the surface.
Bubbling, bursting through the millpond of the mind.

Silence is an empty dancefloor
once the music has been turned off
and everyone has left
except you.
You’re left with the ringing in your ears, and a scratching in your throat
from screaming to be heard over that
deafening
silence.

Silence is an empty railway tunnel.
Gaping and anticipating
the next train of thought, coming along
bulldozing it’s way through the temporary vacancy between your ears.

Silence is a forest,
full of moss-covered rocks just waiting to be overturned.
Patches of fog hang despondently between the listless branches
Don’t peer too close, you might scare yourself
with the weight of all the things you do not know
that lie in the gloaming.

Silence is the gap between the thunderclaps.
That is all.
The rain it still pours.
And the echo of the last distance rumble
tumbles around your hollow head.

Silence is the torchlight of the interrogation.
Why weren’t you good enough?
When did it all go wrong?
Why are you like this?
Why can’t you just move on?

The silence
it never stops.

creativity #4

aching, the
body can feel it, the
crushing weight of your absence.
drought for the soul.
everything is
fine, i’ll say, i’m doing
good
how have you been?
i‘ll ask you
just to start a conversation. it’s more than
kind of sad, that we’ve gone from
lovers, to
messed up, to almost
nothing.
only we knew what we had, a
patient love, that grew
quietly, over time, like the confluence of two
rivers coalescing. they
say
time changes people, but i didn’t think it would change the course of
us, and now here i sit, staring
vacantly at the blank
wall, i’ll still finish my messages with an
x
you don’t. you’ve already
zoned out.

no one saves you

No one saves you.
Not a boyfriend, or partner, or friend, or family member.
Or therapist.
Sure, they can help. Make you feel better for a short while.
But they don’t fix you.

No amount of love from someone else will amount to anything if you still hate yourself.
I’m not saying we all need to love ourselves.
We can’t.
It’s too much to ask.
But just being neutral would be nice.
Being forgiving.
Not hating ourselves for other people’s misdemeanors, and forgiving ourselves for our own.

Otherwise we’re searching constantly for someone else to say;
“YES! You are good enough!”
“YES! You have value!”
“YES! You are loved!”

But it doesn’t always go like that.

People leave.
People let you down.
Sometimes people just don’t know what to say.
And if you’re waiting for them to put your pieces back into place, you’ll crumble when they don’t.
And then it’s their fault.
But it’s not.
It’s nobody’s fault.
Let’s not assign more blame.

You’re just hurting.
From old wounds, re-opened.
The more you ignore it, the worse it will get.

You can exist outside of other people’s opinions of you.
You won’t suffocate.
And you won’t drown either.

things we used to say

We used to say
“I’m so in love with you”
and
“Would it be okay if I spent the rest of my life with you?”

We used to say
“I feel I can achieve anything with you by my side”
and
“You give me warm fuzzy feelings inside”.

We used to text each other
“Your eyes sparkle”, and
“I feel at home in your arms”
and
“I would trust you with my life in your wide open palms”.

We used to text each other
“I’m so proud of you”
“You give my life meaning”
and “you’re the love of my life, too”.

40 months, and 24 days later.

Now, we text each other, if we even text at all,
“I hope you’ve had a nice weekend”
and “sleep well”
and I wish I didn’t feel this small
without you.

before & after

I hate to see young women post “before and after” pictures of themselves.
It’s a myth.
There was never a before or after version of yourself.
Only during.

During hardship, during heartbreak, during the best of times, during your apocalypse. During love, and bitterness and beauty and all-consuming rage.

Enduring.

It upsets me so much because it feels like we’re mocking our younger selves. Belittling them. As if our bodies were ever supposed to look anything different from exactly as they did at that point in time. If that was how we were, then that was where we needed to be, and to mock our past selves is to dishonour our wonderful life-giving bodies for doing their most important job of all. Which, of course, is simply allowing us to survive up until that point. Regardless of shape or size.

Posting pictures like that feels like we’re saying “Look at that shameful person, I am not associated with that anymore.”

Like we’re burning bridges.
Like our body was just a fairweather friend anyway, who we can cut ties with when we decide they’re no longer good enough for us.

But, if we burn all our bridges,
how will we ever find our way back home?

things i live in fear of

  • rejection
  • being alone
  • not being good enough
  • making the wrong decision
  • losing the people i love the most
  • the words and thoughts of others
  • failure – in so many ways at so many different things
  • missing out on “life”
  • time moving too fast

These are just the big things. There are other things. Like farting loudly in a crowded public place, and being trapped in a lift. Oh, and needing the toilet when there isn’t one around. And being publicly humiliated. And bumping into my ex. And upsetting people. Accidentally saying something offensive or ignorant. Fire. Being violently assaulted. Plane crashes. Being sick. Being really sick. Awkward social situations. Meeting new people. Touching door handles in public bathrooms. Raw meat. Confrontations. Crying when I don’t mean to. Getting pregnant by accident. Slipping and being knocked out and not being found for days. Car crashes. Losing my memory. Loved ones losing their memories. Drifting apart from old friends. New situations. Looking stupid and self-conscious. Making a bad first impression. Wasting time. Regrets. Being far from home. Losing talents and abilities. Being unattractive. Public speaking.

Having my skirt tucked into my knickers without realising.

Never amounting to much.