i see you

I can see you.
I can still see you.
In the creased spine of a hardback book.
In the frothy head of a pint of beer.
In couples cycling together.
In small, scruffy dogs snuffling about the ground.
In rough seas against sheer cliff faces.
I see you.

In dirty running shoes.
In quirky, backstreet cafes.
And old, hidden-away bookshops.
In the smell of dust after rain.
Petrichor.

In tuneful, twiddly guitar melodies.
In beautiful vocal harmonies.
In the setting of the sun.
In the engravings on parks benches for couples who used to frequent there.
In old blankets.
And poorly knitted scarves.
In hazel eyes.
And a good beard.

In the smell of jasmine flowers.
Or azahara.
In spoken french.
I see you.

In old world maps, with promises of future adventures.
In well-worn trails through the woods.
In moss growing on a fallen tree.

In big jumpers.
In takeaway pizzas and nights of Netflix.
I can still see you.

In waterproof anoraks.
In the sound of my octave fiddle.
In the Brecon Beacons.
In any mountain range at all.
In fairy lights, strung up on the inside of our tent.

How long will it be before I can unsee you?
I’m not ready to unsee you just yet.


creativity #3

This time, I wrote the alphabet down the side of my page and forced myself to fill in the words in alphabetical order.

after all we’ve
been through
cancelling us the way you
did
even if i’d had the faintest hint it was coming it still would’ve
floored me.
get up, it’s been months now
he’s moving on
isn’t it about time you do the same?
just the next right step, one foot in front of the other
kick and scream and resist if you must but what about
letting it wash over you like a wave?
more like a storm
no, a tsunami
of grief
please let yourself cry, even if it is just
quietly into your pillow after dark, don’t
run the risk of being heard
start small and
trust that
unconditional love exists
validating and unwavering
when, maybe, you stop putting
x‘s at the end of your messages to him, and reserve them for
yourself instead. this is where we begin again at
zero.

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?

sad girl chronicles pt. 1

It seems all I do these days is write about how sad I am. So I may as well chronicle it for your entertainment.

We’d promised each other a lot of things over the years.
That we’d never leave.
That we’d always support each other.
That we’d always love each other.
That we’d always be adventure buddies.

I didn’t realise that these promises were conditional.
Conditional on my mental health remaining stable.
Conditional on me not becoming unwell.
Conditional on me not deviating from the adventurous, confident girl you fell in love with.

Well, I’m sorry I changed.
I’m sorry my mental health deteriorated.

But my promises were never conditional.
I loved you unconditionally.
And I still do.

Can anyone really ever promise anyone anything anyway?
Does it all amount to empty words and broken hearts in the end?
It seems that way.

I guess I’m just in disbelief that you can say “forever” one night, and the next morning break my heart. Forever.

Maybe some “forevers” do count.
But none of the ones I counted on.

renewing

I think I’m finally ready to share this one.

I heard somebody once say, that it takes
the human body 7 years to replace every cell
in an endless process of
dying and renewing
dying and renewing.
Which gives me great comfort that maybe
3 years from now
there won’t be a single cell in me
not one single part
not between my legs and not my beaten heart
there won’t be one single cell in me
that let you in.

Am I taking this too far?
Maybe I’m over-exaggerating but I saw
what you typed with hands that used to touch me
in that Google search bar.

It’s funny, in a disgusting twist of irony
that in college we’d rib you
that you liked younger girls.
But I saw what was hidden in your computer screen
I saw what you typed on sticky keys
and when I think about it like that
I don’t laugh
my stomach turns.

So maybe I’m not exaggerating
maybe it makes perfect sense
you didn’t feel what I feel so let me tell you how it felt;

You didn’t feel the shock waves of that night, that
cracked
my foundations.
Tore down the walls.
Like primary seismic waves
through the heart of my liquid core
every
cell
of my
body
shook.
You didn’t feel the aftershocks that
rippled
no, ripped
through the next 8 years of my life
with silent screams
and echoes in empty college halls of
it was your fault
it was all your fault
you were not good enough
you mustn’t be doing it right
you should be thinner, sexier, curvier, raunchier.

Or more tight.

Forgive me for being crass, or rude.
Forgive me if I’m too close to the line.
But you weren’t there when too close to the line became too close to the edge.

This is not what I signed up to.
I didn’t ask for this.
That warm summer’s night on the trampoline
sixteen.
A first kiss
that I thought was magic
everything that my playlist of country songs taught me it should be.
But not this,
not twisted and broken and tragic.

This is no eternal sunshine.
There is no magic button or cheat code
that could make it skip to the end.
No up up down down left right left right
B A start

So I’ll mend
I’ll fix and I’ll patch and I’ll tend
To this broken head and this broken heart.

And I’ll wait.

dying renewing dying renewing
I’m counting the days
til there’s no more
you in
me.

dancing pt. 2

They all say they’ll dance with you in the beginning.
We’ll move the furniture in the living room
and I’ll teach you,
I’ll say.

It’s all about tension,
between us two,
held in our arms.
Away and towards.
Stretch and contract.
That’s all dancing really is,
I’ll say,
The musicality of a connection between any two souls.
It’s art.

And they oblige at first.
But they never make good on their empty words.

Promises of holding each other close,
as the music slows.
Promises of a lively jive,
or a passionate salsa.
Promises of
3 and a half minutes of
of heart racing
of flirtatious chasing
of chests barely touching
of electrifying
bachata.

When the whole room falls away around you both.
And all there is, is you two.
And the rhythm guiding your movements,
And the air in between your bodies,
And everything else fades to black,
And,
And,

They bottle it.
Say they’ll do it another day. Another time. They’re not in the mood. Or they’re too tired.

Okay, I’ll say.

I metaphorically put the furniture back to its original place,
turn the music off,
and the TV on.

the night we met

I wrote this several months back. Back when we were still together.

Take me back to the night we met.

We met a long time before that night.
But that night, I felt, was the first time
we properly saw each other.
Up until then, we’d kept it largely
platonic, sometimes suggestive, but
never too far. Nothing that would get you
into trouble.

But that night was different.
We both caught each other off-guard.
We didn’t have a screen, or snapchat filter,
or school email, or professional duties to hide
behind.

We were unfiltered.
Apparently you’d seen me first.
But I saw you when I came downstairs, you
were at the bar.
It was instinctive.
I went straight over to you without
hesitation and we hugged. Which I think
caught us both off-guard.

We were both wearing plaid shirts, and
we both made a comment that we had
coordinated outfits.
Then your friends came over and made the
same comment.

It was easy.
I was magnetically drawn to you, and it
was so clear and obvious.

I wish I could’ve stayed talking to you at
the bar all evening. But I had friends to
get back to, and so did you.

But we bumped into each other again that
night at the Wetherspoons. My eyes kept
trying to find you all evening.

You were like an island in the middle of
a shipwreck. I felt I was constantly
swimming against the tide, fighting to
keep my head above water.

But with you, I could breathe easy. It was
effortless.

So, I’m sorry that it hasn’t stayed that
way. You told me tonight that you miss
me. I’m right here, but I’m not. I’m not the
same anymore. For the first 6 month of us
being together, I didn’t think about my
past once. I was so happy. So content.

So, I thank you for that.

But slowly, it crept back in.
And I’m furious that something that
happened so long ago, is tearing apart
something so wonderful. It makes me
hate myself, for not being able to deal
with it and move on.

I wish none of it had ever happened.
But I can’t change that now.
No amount of wishing will ever undo.
What he did.
What I didn’t do.
What neither of us did.
And everything inbetween.

I had all and then most of you, some, and now none of you. Take me back to the night we met.”
– Lord Huron

I never thought I’d write those words about 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.

splendid suspension

This piece of writing just came out of me quite angrily (there’s a theme occurring here). I’m not sure it makes much sense, but it helped to get it out of my head. So I guess it does makes sense, in a way. TW: self harm

I feel rotten inside.
I am over it but I am not.
I’m holding myself together but it’s an illusion.

There is a black mould growing around my heart and my lungs.
There is barbed wire inside my skull.
And bare electricity lines running through the veins in my hands and arms.

I feel I have no control.
In a desperate bid to distract myself from the gnawing, twisting feeling inside
my hands reach for anything.
Anything hard.
Anything sharp. Frantic.
Anything quickly.

To anaesthetise my head.
To focus on a pain more tangible.

Is it even a pain?
Or is it a chronic sickness?
Something that you learn to live with
like the ringing in your ears after a loud firework
or a landmine.

That’s what it feels like.
It feels like I stepped on a landmine.
I blew into a thousand pieces.
And then, miraculously, before 5am, I had stitched myself back together again.
I did such a good job, nobody could even see the scars
where I had been torn, limb from limb
heart pulverised like ripe fruit
skull shattered.
Nobody suspected a thing.

Maybe I was just so glad I didn’t die from the explosion, that I failed to notice the warning signs.
My stitches were pulling apart at the seams.
Bits of shrapnel I’d not noticed.
One in my shoulder, so I’d walk hunched and stooped.
One in my eye, so I’d never quite trust my own judgement again.
One in the back of my head, so that I always felt as though you were lingering right behind me.

Another in my heart. That one I leave there. I don’t try to dislodge it. Nor do I let anyone else close enough to try.

I feel like second-hand goods.
Used, broken, less valuable.
Dirty. Unclean.

But I can feel my seams splitting now.
And this darkness oozing out.
Covering my clothes and hair with thick black tar.

Everyone can see.
They give me a wide berth.
Don’t want to get any of it on them.

I’m trying to stitch it back up, I really am, but I’m running out of thread and I’ve been sewn up so many times before that there isn’t any material left without a puncture wound already.

My hands are slipping and I can’t even see my needle and thread through tear-filled eyes. I tried.
Like a mouse on a wheel, I am not making any progress any more. I’m tired.

I’m just holding the fabric now.
The fabric of what was,
what could have been,
and what never should have been.

Sewing was futile. I can feel myself, covered in that viscous, black tar.
Tarnished.

Landmines only explode when you take your foot off them. I wish I would’ve paused.
Splendid suspension. For just a fraction of a second more.

waiting

i wait.
because i’ve waited so many times before
stupidly
blindly
for a text, for you to come through the front door

you’re not like them, i know
but 8 years of being treated otherwise
obsolete
is hard to unlearn
harder to let go

years of
nights without texts
still,
mornings without texts
all the next day without texts
i guess i should’ve known this was a precursor
to my calling you “ex”

foolishly waiting like a puppy at the door
your absence
an abscess
i couldn’t ignore

i guess that’s because you’d lost all my trust
and i was right
these inklings
these nagging sensations in my gut
because two years ago i found out what i already knew
and i was just painting over rust

regardless of who it is
i still feel the same
i can’t sleep til they’re home
i won’t switch off that part of my brain
because i’ve lost this before
my sanity
and
this game.

how do you mend a trust universally broken?
i can’t say it out loud
“fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself”

best left unspoken.