good enough

That time when I failed an exam, by two marks.
No hug or celebrations or cards,
just the disappointed look on my father’s face.

The times I’d catch my boyfriend looking at other women that way,
I’d wonder, how can I make sure he doesn’t leave me? How can I make him stay?
Make myself thinner?
Okay.

That time when my mental health hit an all time low,
and I was broken up with on top of that, perfect timing,
just to soften the blow.

All the times I was left at empty tables in the school dining hall,
no amount of friends at 30 will ever fill that hole.

That time when there was a group chat, for everyone, except me.
That’s happened a fair few times actually.

The times (years) I spent suffering from OCD
1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3.
And wasting my parents’ time and energy.
Being ridiculed every morning for my crying, panic-driven, nightmares and screams,
the night before.

That time he cheated on me for six months,
yet told me he missed me
before calling it off.
To then parade her around in front of me like a trophy.

Every time I look in the mirror and think
“You used to be thinner, prettier. You’ve let yourself go,
and you can try but you’ll never look that good again though”.

Every morning when I wake up and recount,
all the ways I’ve let the people I love down.

the love you choose

My eyes burn from the tears I’m not crying
because I swore
I wouldn’t let what you did
hurt me anymore.

My hands are balled into fists
that won’t punch any walls.
The cracks in my heart not longer reflected
in brickwork
or frames of doors.

My mouth is pursed,
from words I’ll no longer let myself say.
I won’t pay any more lip service
to all the hell you raised.

But my heart remains open,
though still slightly bruised,
to accept the love from another,
and this time, it’s a love I choose.

road map.

I have been broken before.
Broken into so many pieces
I may as well have been
dust
on the floor.

Not the pretty “fill it with gold”
kind of broken either.
The ugly crying on the bathroom floor
in the cold,
kind of broken.

And not just once either. Numerous times.
Sometimes just a hairline fracture.
Sometimes nothing more than a bruised ego.
But sometimes, my heart completely ruptured.

And how do you recover?
Still put one foot in front of the other?
I have no answers,
But I know that I did it.

Some people might say,
my heart is still broken,
if I still write these words.

But I say,
the cracks left in my heart
were nothing short of a road map
that led me
to her.

Lost at sea

I’m lost at sea and don’t know where to find me.
Thought I’d moved on and left it all behind me.
But it creeps up on me in the night,
Not out of mind or out of sight.
It still hits me like a train and still blindsides me.

When do you know that part of you is dead and gone for good?
I’m stumbling, can’t find my feet, nor see the trees for wood.
Will it be hours or months or days?
I have no idea who gets to say.
But right now it feels like it’s still crawling, swimming through my blood.

And when will it stop?
How will I know?
When I thought I’d reached the top of everything that I had ever known.
When can I breathe?
Or let go and scream?
When will this feeling go?
And how will I know?

Sometimes I feel I’ve taken two steps forward and three back.
It’s hard to feel like I am safe when I’m running off the tracks.
What’s next for me – promethazine?
To quell the nausea slowly killing me.
So I’ll keep avoiding manhole covers and all the pavement cracks.

I’ve reached the point I no longer have the patience.
To be polite and maybe not just say this –
You fucked me up, yes you with the beard,
You led me on for all those years.
But is it me that’s left to blame for my complacence?

And when will it stop?
How will I know?
When I thought I’d reached the top of everything that I had ever known.
When can I breathe?
Or let go and scream?
When will this feeling go?
And how will I know?

Apologies that just aren’t coming

I’m sorry
I wasn’t there for you
I’m sorry
my absence
taught you that love is universally unreliable.

I’m sorry
I ridiculed you, publicly
for something that could
never have been your fault.

I’m sorry
I didn’t tell you about your Grandma
who could’ve given you some answers
before it was too late for you, too.

&

I’m sorry
for what I did
what you saw
I’m sorry
for what you cannot unsee.

I’m sorry
I treated your love as disposable
when it was actually irreplaceable.
I’m sorry
I took your kindness and forgiveness for granted.

&

I’m sorry
I let you believe I loved you
unconditionally
I’m sorry
I didn’t recognise
you were just my summer girl.

I’m sorry
I treated you like a getaway car
and only loved the good bits of you.
I’m sorry
I let you let your guard down again.

I’m sorry
I lied through my teeth when I said we had a future.
I’m sorry
I took the sweet ripe fruit of your heart
and pulverized it for all it was worth.

I’m sorry
I let you down.

Do you forgive me?

(No.)

why are you still crying?

I want to know
is it okay
to still feel this way
after all these years?

When I let go of your hand
at the terminal
oh I knew
that would be the last time
I ever saw you.

And it’s like part of me has died,
like you took the good parts of me with you
when you left
and left me with the messy bits,
the broken bits,
the parts-that-nobody-wants bits.

Oh it still hurts
because you cut me so deep
to parts of me I thought were healed
parts of me I thought were untouchable.

You promised me the world with one hand
and snatched the earth from under my feet
with the other
the very next morning.

And I’m not crying because you broke my heart,
I’ve cried myself dry over that.
I’m crying because
when I left you at the airport
I knew I was leaving part of me too.

I’m crying because
your actions and your words
shrunk me down to a half
no, a third
of who I used to be.

You walked all over me
and got away scott free.

So when I grieve now
It’s no longer for you
but for the old me
rest in peace.

.

I thought you were my full stop.
The ending.
To all my heartbreaks.
To all my upset.
To all my frogs not princes.
To my unhappiness.

It turns out I was just a comma to you,
a clause,
a throwaway line in your explanation,
of your mistakes.

maybe I’m not even that to you anymore.
maybe I’m actually (in brackets)
.

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?

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.