last november / behind a lens

Last November, I would walk down the beach
and populate my instagram with beautiful pictures of the sunsets,
all whilst crying, behind the lens.
You saw sunsets,
I saw a blur of oranges and pinks through tear-stained eyes

I would walk the beach, and mourn for what I’d lost.
My relationship, my friends, my career, my life that I knew.
I would watch the waves and sob behind unnecessary sunglasses.
My life had been up-ended in a way I never wanted to admit.

But the beach was my safe place, to cry.

I’ve just been for another walk down the beach,
a year and a bit on,
and took almost identical sunset photos for my instagram.
But I wasn’t crying behind the lens this time.

Instead, I sent you a voice note,
and over the washing of the waves and the calling of the seagulls,
I told you,
I can’t wait to bring you here and to watch the sunset together,
and maybe I’ll make you dance with me on the sand.

The beach is a pilgrimage for me; a checkpoint.
A chance to take stock, to literally bring things home.
This year, I take stock
and I’m happy with my lot ❤

home

It’s mad
that it’s not even been 365 days yet
and yet
you feel like home.

And not like “four walls and a roof over my head” home
like a place deep within my soul feels like it belongs again
and I don’t feel so alone anymore.

You’re a warm cup of tea to my cold hands in winter,
You’re an extra blanket thawing the still frozen parts of me,
You’re the first sip of a cold beer on a hot summer’s day; refreshing and reminiscent all at once.

You’re an old book, with turned down pages to mark favourite spots,
Your body is poetry that I know line by line, off by heart.
You’re the last satisfying piece of a jigsaw puzzle; completing the picture.

No, I don’t want to say I was half a person before I met you,
because I like to believe we are born complete.
But you certainly made me realise I was living a half-life before you,
but unaware of it.

You think you’ve experienced love before,
you think you know what that word means,
but then someone comes along and
completely rewrites the whole script.

For me, that person is you.

You are all things that are good in this world,
and I still don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this.

You are the coffee that wakes me up,
and the warm bath that winds me down,
and above all,
you are the call of the seagulls,
that finally remind me
I am coming home

to you.

Uprooted

I wrote this back in November. I realise the locations may give away my identity, in a blog that I’ve tried to keep largely anonymous, but they were important to keep in there.

I didn’t know what it meant to feel “at home” until I was made to live without it.
I thought home was a solid thing. A permanent feature. Something you could go back to and instantly know your place.

The UK. The North East. My parents’ house. My room.
Lyme Regis. The cobb and the sea front. The Royal Standard.
Cardiff. The village. The view of the mountains.
Home.

But it’s not just that at all, is it?

When you’re home, you feel rooted to the earth. You are part of that place you’ve always been and it is a part of you. Especially if you’ve never left.

I feel uprooted.
I feel that everything I knew has been unearthed and upended.
And there’s fuck all you can do with that.
You can’t re-plant a whole fucking tree.
The ground shifts and changes. New plants start growing in the hole you left, and there’s no space for you anymore.

So, what? Plant a new tree? A new kind of tree, in a new kind of soil?
Maybe.

I think I’ve realised that home grows with you, like tree rings round an oak. Who you are is buried in layers beneath you, absorbed into you from the environment you grew up in.

But, you move yourself and your tree of home across continents and nothing is familiar.
The tree rings inside you aren’t mirrored in the trees you find here. And you become acutely aware that this is not your home.

You haven’t heard seagulls in months.
There are few, if any, familiar accents.
The nights aren’t getting darker.
Nobody is complaining about the weather, or politics.
And you miss that.

It’s not rained in weeks.
You haven’t heard folk music in 5 months.
Or smelt the smell of pubs.
Or had a hug from an old friend – someone who’s loved you for years and been through some dark shit with you.
You don’t know the city like the back of your hand, all the cool bars and side-streets and markets and coffee shops.

Nothing is familiar and this is not your home.
And yet.

And yet, I think being homesick is more than just being away from home. It’s being away from everything that makes up the tapestry of who you are. It feels like you’ve been stripped bare and left naked.

And who are you if you’re not the girl with the two awesome feminist best friends just down the road from you?
Who are you if you’re not the girl who confidently strides into a dance class half-way through and takes her place on the floor because she knows her place?
Who are you if you’re not the girl who spends her summers camping at folk festivals? Or going to tiny folk gigs in the village?
Or the girl who single-handedly set up the Duke of Edinburgh award in her old school, and led expeditions in the beautiful countryside?

Who are you if you can’t step out of the door and be in the Welsh mountains in a matter of minutes?

Who are you anymore if you no longer have all the thing that anchor you?
Floating, adrift.

I no longer feel like a tapestry.
I feel like a vast and blank canvas.