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.

try to write about what’s going on without talking about yourself

Trees miss their blossoms in the winter.
It gets dark. It gets cold. The nights are inconceivably long. The sunlight barely shines through the overcast greys.

And weeds grow.
They start growing where there used to be daisies and daffodils.
The weeds can tough it out.
The daisies can’t.
They wilt at the first frost.

But weeds can bear flowers too. Unexpected and hardy.
A flourish of colour amidst the gloom.

Weeds accompany the trees through their harsh winter.
Console them,
and offer them their own flowers as compensation.
It’ll never be quite as brilliant as a spring in full bloom,
but it’s something to cling on to.

The winter will drag on forever.
But the trees are patient.
Their blossoms will return.
When the moon and the sun
decide it’s so.

two paths

we once walked the same path.
you and i.
for four years, almost.
the same well worn trail.
well-trodden.
well-loved.
tended to.
there were small flowers growing out of our footprints.
and moss slowly growing on fallen branches.
and ferns reaching for light in the dark of the undergrowth.

we used to hold hands as we walked.

i don’t think i even realised our paths had diverged until i was clinging onto your hand by my out-stretched arm and my fingertips.
and you weren’t reaching for mine anymore.
i looked up, and could barely see you through the thicket that had enveloped the gulf now between us.

i didn’t see the warning signs.
i didn’t see the cracks beneath our feet.
i didn’t notice you veering off on your own course to avoid a fallen tree.

“two roads diverged in a wood”

it is not our path anymore.
it is not our story anymore.
it’s yours.
and it’s mine.
two separate paths winding their own course through the forests.

but for four years it was ours.
and it was magic,
because the path we walked together was golden.

elements

Wind,
sweep me off my feet and take me where I need to be
because I no longer know.

Rain,
pour down on me in a deluge, a flood
wash away my grief,
let my tears mix with your raindrops on my cheeks
so neither of us can tell the difference
between heartbreak, and nature.

Fire,
light a small spark in my soul again,
a smoldering ember among the ashes of what I used to be,
to give me a passion
a purpose
for anything.

and Earth,
where have you gone?
I used to feel you beneath my feet,
but now I’m sure I’m falling.
Ground, come up to meet me and catch me.

After all, it’s not the fall itself that kills you in the end, is it?

things i’ve learnt in the lakes

I recently spent 5 days in the Lake District, hiking with an old friend. Here are a few things I learnt:

  • Sometimes it’s all you can do to put your head down and focus on the next step in front of you. And that is enough.
  • Sometimes the wind blows so horrendously that you have no option but to stop, crouch down, and protect yourself. Because pushing yourself to walk on would be foolish and dangerous. You just need to wait for the winds to stop. And they will, eventually.
  • Beautiful flowers can always be found growing out from between the cracks in a seemingly barren cliff face.
  • The ground underneath your feet might be tough, but you should stop every once in a while, look up, see how far you’ve come, and take in the views.
  • Even thunderous rivers have small pools of calm water within them, if you look hard enough.
  • Waterfalls are most magnificent after torrential rain. Beautiful things can be born from a deluge.
  • All journeys can be made easier with the company of old friends.

creativity #2

I wrote the alphabet down the side of my page, and just filled in the letters as the words naturally came out of me, in any order. But, when I finished I kept the starts of the sentences in alphabetical order, just to see if it made any more sense that way. Spoiler – it doesn’t.

and you can’t keep out-running your problems
but I didn’t realise your love was
conditional on my mental health
did you think moving away would fix it?
even in our darkest moments, I thought we could recover
fly to Thailand, that’ll do it
get away from this wretched place
hello, loneliness, it’s been a while, or has it?
i used to think we could withstand anything
just the two of us
kisses that stopped time
love that took us on adventures
mountain top views of the sunrise over the Himalayas
no matter what continent you’re on
one great love, to usurp all that came before
problems are always one step ahead of you though
quietly, and peacefully
rebuild ourselves
stronger than before
turns out i was wrong about that too
unconditional love is what i thought we had
validatory and unwavering
waiting for confirmation…
x – incorrect answer
you’d still be there by my side though, wouldn’t you?

purpose as a woman

I think, since breaking up with my first boyfriend, just before I turned 22, I’ve had a fixation on fixing men. Or being their savior. Or, in the most recent case, “saving” him from a bad relationship. Like some sort of man-whisperer. Find someone who’s a bit broken, a bit bored of their relationship/dating, a bit messed up, and be (as Bernard Black would say) their “summer girl”. Young, confident, sassy, “not like all the other girls”, sexually available whenever wherever. Like I needed to be what they needed, rather than judging the situation to determine whether it’s something I even wanted.

I found purpose in being a man’s savior. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe because I’m punishing myself for not realising my first ex needed fixing until it was too late, and it’s like I’m repaying some debt to mankind. Maybe it’s because I thought I could fix our completely broken relationship if I changed myself. Controlled all the aspects I could control. Which, from my perspective, after what happened, was my body and my sexual availability. And to pretend like nothing was wrong when it really really was.

I look at a prospective partner and I think, “What can I do for you? How am I going to “make you see the light” or experience something you’ve never experienced before?” I think, “How can I fix you, and therefore by a valuable asset to your life? And therefore be invaluable to you. You’ll never want to lose me, and I’ll be safe from any more heartbreak.” Instead of “What does this person bring to my life?” Or, more importantly, “How can we enrich each other’s lives whilst still remaining whole people?”

I did it with my most recent ex. Yes, I did love him anyway, but maybe when I reflect back on it now, maybe I partly loved what I was to him. I “saved” him from him “boring” 4 and a half year long relationship. And he worshiped me for it. Well, he did initially anyway. Obviously all that stuff fades over time. And they forget. I was his summer girl. But in reality, I was his getaway car. And that’s why it was all so thrilling in the beginning. I was valued so much. I was exactly what this man wanted me to be. Until I wasn’t anymore. And three and a half years down the line, I’m back with my parents, unemployed and brokenhearted, miserable and lonely.

I really thought I had it all with him. But I think the sad fact of the matter was that I knew all along what I was doing. How I was deriving my self-worth from how I was helping a man and adding value to his life. I didn’t want to believe that. Because no-one wants to believe that. No-one wants to hear the truth.

“Santa’s not real”
“The tooth fairy isn’t either”
“There’s no farm where old pets go to retire”
“This isn’t real love – you’re just desperately clinging onto it because you only see yourself as worthy if you think you’re somehow improving a man’s life”.

Yikes. That stings.

Filling a hole in a man’s life is not your purpose as a woman.
Being that “summer girl” for a man with a troubled relationship history is not your purpose as a woman.
“Fixing” a broken man is not your purpose as a woman.
Being a getaway car for a man in a shoddy relationship is not your purpose as a woman.
Molding yourself and contorting yourself to fit a hole in a man’s life is not your purpose as a woman.

What is your purpose as a woman then?
I could write lots of empowering things like “championing the voices of the less privileged” and “lifting up your fellow sisters”. But, really, you can’t do any of that if you don’t take care of yourself first, and fill in the holes in your own life. Make sure you’re as full a person as you can be, so that no-one else has to be your emotional polyfilla. Like you have been to others so many times.

Fixate on fixing yourself first, instead of deriving your worth from your ability to fix others.

an entirely different, but logical, outcome.

I check his laptop. I see the contents. I put his laptop in my bag. I get my things together, calmly, and whilst he’s still making tea, I walk outside.
I ring a taxi and stay in a hotel for the night. I cry a lot. I’ll have lots of missed calls from him in the morning. But instead, I ring my mum and explain what has happened straight away. Then I ring my big sister and do the same. And finally, I ring him back. I explain that I saw the contents of his laptop and that I don’t want to see him again. He wants his laptop back. I say I don’t know whether he will get it back, it’s not my call.
On my way to the train station that morning, I make a stop at the police station first.
I catch the next train back home and leave.
With my head held high.

How would the conversation go?

Do we want reality, or fantasy? Let’s go for fantasy first:

Him: Hi [insert name], I’m so sorry for everything I’ve done. And I’m sorry for cutting all contact with you. That wasn’t fair. 

Me: That’s ok. 

Him: Well, I’ve just had a realisation. I didn’t know what a terrible, terrible affect my actions had on you. It was never intentional, but I know that doesn’t make it any better. You deserved to be treated better than that. I should have been honest with you. 

Me: I really appreciate you calling. It’s not an easy thing to do. I’m sorry too – I know I could be difficult at times. 

Him: No, you have nothing to apologize for. You behaved the way you did because of my actions. I hope that you can find a way to get over all of this. 

Me: I have had to have lots of counselling, but I’m slowly getting there. 

Him: I really hope you can overcome what I did, and I’m so sorry, again. 

Now, reality: 

Him: I don’t know what you want me to apologize for. You were the one that overreacted. Do you not understand how awful you made me feel about it all? I can’t help the way you reacted. 

Me: Ok, I’m sorry.

It’s nighttime, around early March

The room is grey and messy. Clothes on the floor. Unorganised desk. Untidy drawers. Unemptied bins. The bed is small and unmade. The curtains are partly drawn back and there’s a small amount of condensation on the window pane. It smells slightly damp. And of a warm, wet shower room. You can smell weed and cigarette smoke. There’s a very faint smell of grease from the kitchen down the corridor.

You can just about hear gaggles of freshers stumbling past outside, on their way to D-bar, for fresh-faced frivolities. There’s the distant, rhythmic thudding of a house party from a few floors above Occasionally, the big outside door bangs shut and there are footsteps up the stairs. 

You anticipate a cup of tea. 

Then, his phone vibrates.

The screen lights up with a peculiar message.