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. 

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.

a birthday card i’ll never send

(context: it was my ex’s birthday yesterday, and i still can’t forget the date, as much as I’d like to. This is the birthday card I’ll never send him. Writing it last night was beautifully cathartic, even if it still made me shake with rage.)

HAPPY FUCKING BIRTHDAY
(I HOPE YOU ROT IN HELL ♥)

Oh, there’s no need to be so rude, is there?
People know, you know?
Maybe you thought I’d told everyone immediately, but I had a lot of therapy to get through first.
(Just let me know how best you’d like to pay. I’d take PayPal.)

No, but people know now.

I only told two people at first.
No, three.
No, actually, four.
But people talk. And a rumour like that isn’t going to stay a secret.
Guess it’s not a rumour though is it?

I mean, I had to give a reason for having you removed from that group chat so quickly.
And yes, I could have lied but
I have no interest in protecting you anymore.
I don’t give a fuck about your reputation.
You deserve what you get.

I hope it plagues you everyday.
I hope you lose sleep over it.
I hope you’re terrified of bumping into our old college friends.
I hope you’re wracked with guilt.
I hope it’s a secret that’s destroying you from the inside out. The way it did me.

I hope your new girlfriend finds out.

Raise a glass to the birthday boy!
And many
many
happy
returns.

a shit scrabble hand of mental health diagnoses

I don’t like to subscribe to micro-labels when it comes to mental health, i prefer to think of it as a sliding scale. like sexuality or gender. thankfully my therapist also shares the same opinion.

however, sometimes a diagnosis is necessary. sometimes putting a label on things can help you breathe a sigh of relief, or connect with those also suffering from the same branch of mental illness.

i have personally tiptoed around this diagnosis for a while, for almost a decade. but to have a therapist finally say “yes, that’s what i’ve thought from our very first meeting” is a relief. but it’s also a source of great upset because i have already been met with prejudiced attitudes from people who i thought were on my mental health “team”, if you will.

my diagnosis is bpd. and histrionic. as well as what i already knew; ocd, gad, and mdd. that looks like a shit scrabble hand of mental health diagnoses.

so there you go. a brief and unimaginative life update.

interlude / interruption

i watch teen romance
because i mourn the loss of an adolescence
i didn’t have
whilst i was busying trying to prove something
to somebody
i didn’t need
somebody who wasn’t good enough for me
even before i saw the contents of his laptop
is it possible to miss something you never had?
an idea of what might’ve been, but never quite was?
i miss awkwardly catching someone’s hand
and misplaced, mistimed kisses
hearts beating fast
first touches
drinking too much and making poor decisions
easy, naive heartache
clean breaks
with soft landings
not blood boiling, fists balled, skin crawling, retching fear.

there was a brief period at sixteen
an interlude
from mental illness
from the bird-cage where i was
hostage to compulsion
for too long

an interlude
where
for the blink of an eye
i was okay
i laughed, drank, flirted, played the sixteen year old
and as i climbed atop my pedestal
finally taking centre stage for the young protagonist i’d dreamt of whilst my brain had been wrapped in wires,
i fell
into your arms
and into the fire.

for a while i thought you’d saved me
oh knight in shining converse
but you’d done nothing more
than interrupt me
from saving myself

a 7 year interlude
of something i never deserved.