The waves sent their chorus of voices crashing onto the weary boulders that littered the shoreline as the sun began to slip out of sight. Its rays were casting deep orange light onto the water, causing it to glow like lava as if it were lit from within. As the final streams of light were extinguished upon the horizon, the lone figure of a man began his descent. When he reached the boundary line between land and sea that had been drawn by the water as it repeatedly caressed the sand he paused for a moment. He allowed the waves to submerge the toes of his boots, before stepping forward with purpose into the sea before him. The man did not falter as he quickly moved onward and became immersed in water up to his chin. He made not a sound as his head went under. For an instant the water seemed eerily still, until bubbles expelling the man’s final breaths scattered upon the surface. The waves hurtled on, obliterating any evidence of what they had witnessed. As the moon cast its silvery tendrils of light over the sea, the lone wanderer was carried far beyond the skyline like a forgotten memory.
I always thought I’d known love before.
I was certain that I had experienced it in all its intensity when I was 19 years old and when I eventually lost that ‘love’ I would now forever be striving to even attempt to replicate it. I know now, that the love I felt at 19 wasn’t really love, but fondness.
And boy oh boy, is there a difference. It’s only now that I am truly, deeply, irrevocably in love that I can see and feel the difference. I never knew that love could be so all-consuming, so intoxicating, so life-changing without feeling difficult.
The unconditional acceptance that I get from my boyfriend, even when I’m being unreasonably grumpy, selfish or just plain hangry is something that I thought I would never find. It both terrifies and exhilarates me in equal measures and I never want it to stop. He constantly says that he doesn’t deserve me but what he doesn’t realise, and what I only did when I met him, is that we deserve each other. Both of us have been mistreated and unappreciated by previous partners and so we have settled for less and expected that less was the best we were going to get. Now we have found each other I know that every other person I have allowed into my life was a stepping stone, a lesson to be learned and a scar to be worn to get to him. He holds my face in his strong hands and tells me I’m beautiful and I believe it. He screws up his face when I tell him he’s gorgeous but the smile he gives me after lets me know he’s listening. When he says I’m the love of his life I never feel that panic that I used to get when someone told me they loved me where I’d think ‘yeah, until when?’ because with him I know it’s true, because he is mine.
Forever used to be a word I never used because it was too scary, too big. Now it just makes sense, for us. I’m still terrified by what the future holds because of his illness and my insecurities but I feel safe in the knowledge that through everything, we’ll still love each other. If I try and imagine my future without him in it, it just doesn’t exist. It’s like before him I was stuck in the Upside Down evading the demogorgon that was my past before it caught up with me, but now I’ve found him I’ve been righted and returned to where I’m meant to be; thrown into a world bursting with technicolour where my smile is always so wide it aches in the best way.
He fills my heart and soul; to me he is the epitome of hope for the both of us going forward, and my heart will always be where he is. So, Hope Is Where My Heart Is. May it never fade.
It has been far too long since I have written here. Freely, without judgement or the fear of what I might write. I still don’t know what might appear from underneath my fingertips, but here goes.
I have been on a journey, physical, emotional and spiritual, without really going anywhere.
Last summer was the most changeable of my life, the most evolutionary, the most eye-opening.
It made me realise that I have spent so much of my life trying to figure out what everyone else is thinking, feeling, experiencing, that I lost my view of myself. I just got caught up in everyone else’s emotions and thoughts and took them in and claimed them as my own. Truth is I never really knew what was going on inside my head.
I would like to say this realisation came to me on a nice quiet summer’s day, as I was looking up at the sun speckled sky. Instead it came to me in a series of dark days, beginning with an honest confession and ending with the death of a treasured childhood friend.
It takes someone else’s demise to make you question your own mortality, your own purpose. I won’t try to immortalise him in the typed words of an online blog because it won’t change what happened, it won’t change the pilot’s course and it won’t put life back into his lungs. However, I would like to take a moment to remember and honour him and, in the least selfish way possible, thank him for jolting me awake the moment he began his eternal sleep.
The journey has been a slow one, one that has taken me many hours, weeks and months to contemplate and pluck up the courage to begin, but now I have put one foot on that path I know that I must continue down it.
For that, I thank you, Jacob.
Time continues to tick by, drip by drip, segment by segment, smile by teardrop. I know that my time is coming, the time when I must evolve and embrace whoever this scared young woman will become. The feeling that coexists with the knowledge of the unknown that faces me is one of terror, excitement and regret.
Regret. Such a tangible word; it encapsulates a hurricane of feelings so intense it can make you physically sick. Such a weight that anchors you, a cross to bear. Fills your mind and sight with swirling orbs that pulse and shift in colour like the tide. Blue.
Blue like the ocean.
Blue like the sky.
Blue like your eyes.
You never knew, I never told you.
You were mine for almost two years and I never told you.
I was so wrapped up in the ones that had caused my scars I never noticed you applying the ointment that would heal them. Patiently, so patiently you waited. Hoping that I might wake up and notice. I was always searching for something, for someone more.
You were so sweet like honey but it tasted bitter in my mouth; my inner turmoil turned the goodness sour. Now I am parched in the drought you left when I said the final goodbye.
I was so used to having to fight for my right to feel and have something felt for me that when it was right there, it didn’t feel right. It wasn’t comfortable because I’d never had it like that. I’d never not had to work for something, for someone. Nobody had ever just been there because they wanted to. And so you became a casualty in the war against myself; you got caught in the crossfire of my own self-hatred and doubt. I treated you the way I had always been treated because that was my twisted version of security. I was so wrapped up in everyone else around me that I never noticed us. We were all that mattered, and I never figured that out. You were my safety, my love, my port in the storm. You gave me everything I wanted, you gave me your heart but I was too stubborn to take it and accept it as real; instead I accused you of being stifling and struggled to escape the bonds I imagined held me. I never knew that one day I’d be crying for the loss of those things I called chains. You weren’t perfect, Hell nobody is. But now I’m sat here finally seeing clearly that you were the closest thing to an angel I’ve ever known. I just didn’t notice because you weren’t the angel I was expecting.
Now all I do is wait for you to come for me again.
I wish I’d been alive enough to see before that you always had. You always chose me.
I wish I could choose you.
But now you’re someone else’s guiding light. Someone else’s comfort. Someone else’s joy. Someone else’s pride. Someone else’s trust.
Someone else’s love.
I love you, still. The only one. The only time. How I wish I’d known. Known that only with you could I breathe evenly. Only you.
My best friend, my lover, my hope, my loss.
Regret. It’s in every one of my heartbeats. The weight that anchors me, my cross to bear. I carry you around with me like a secret clutched inside my fist, I can feel you, still. In my heart you are mine. I set you free because I loved you too much to carry on hurting you. Now without you, I’m just hurting.
I can’t imagine my life without our breathless moments breaking me down.
Love. Received. Abused. Discarded. Unrequited. Lost.
I’ve walked these streets all my life.
Every street corner holds a memory, every building sparks a flurry of emotions inside my gut; swooping and diving within my chest like the seagulls screaming above my head, sending a chill through my bones that reverberates throughout my entire being.
The city of dreams, the party that never ends, the safe haven for sexual expressions and alternative idealists. My home. I much preferred it when it was still a town, when the Pier was called the Palace Pier, before the city self-titled it. When the shops that lined the streets were alive and full of colour; instead of being intermittently boarded up with cracked plywood and defaced with incoherent, uneducated graffiti from insolent youths trying to find their identity and spread their message of hate and repression to those who couldn’t give a shit.
I preferred it when my feet were a half-size smaller, my hair wasn’t wrecked by too many poor-dye jobs and my eyes were less weary. Much as I continue to struggle along trying to carve a niche for myself in this bustling sprawl of a city, I know I don’t belong. I have become one of the lost souls who dreamed of finding themselves here; I thought I would find it easy, find myself easily, for this is my home-town. Yet as I walk yet again to the clothes shop where I work, that holds itself in too high regard; battling constantly against the upmarket shops to be the most desirable, I know this is no place for me.
Some people say I am committed for having worked here for 5 years; others say I’m a fucking idiot. I agree with both simultaneously. Commitment has always been my failure; when I find something I feel comfortable with, I cling on for dear life. That goes with people too. I trust too easily and love too fast. I would say I’m a hopeless romantic but really I think I’m just hopeless. I like that. It means I’ll always keep trying.
Monotonous and uninspiring music from the charts is blaring from the speakers as I jostle past Christmas revellers and try to navigate my way up the escalator, gritting my teeth and clinging onto the moving hand-rail for dear life as I’m elbowed in the ribs by oblivious shoppers.
By the end of my shift my throat is sore from constantly yelling ‘can I help?’ to customers lost in their own world whilst standing in a queue one hundred miles long. My fingers are numb from where I’ve stabbed myself with the security tags in my haste to serve a continuous stream of impatient humans. Only their frowning mouths are registering in my conscious mind; otherwise they are faceless. My own mouth is always stretched into a smile, always ready to offer grateful thanks to ungrateful people. I’m very good at acting like I give a shit.
Once I’m back outside the city stops being quite so ugly as the automated time-table at the bus-stop promises a chauffeur-ride home in less than 10 minutes time. I take my seat at the bus-stop outside Marks and Spencers, beside a mumbling-elderly lady and a man with only sweat for hair on his bald scalp. He is listening to Jay-Z far too loudly; the sound is leaking from the sides of his neon-yellow headphones. Darkness has already fallen and I stare in vain at the navy-blue sky; trying to find one solitary star that hasn’t been obliterated by the harsh lights of the city centre. Across the street two cackling school-girls step aboard the number 1 bus to Mile Oak, the tyres squealing in protest as it pulls away from the curb. I look at the orange numbers again and stand as my bus is due. I find a seat near the front; the days where I lounged at the back have long-since passed; those seats are reserved for the next generation. I catch my reflection in the front-window and scowl at myself, wishing away my tired eyes.
Soon I will be leaving this city, and so I swallow down my feeling of discontentment at my surroundings and try to drink in every building, passer-by and Christmas light that glides by as the bus picks up speed down North Street. I experience a middle-aged moment when I see a young boy climb the stairs and retreat to the back of the bus, speaking into his phone; profanities spill from his mouth and taint the air with discomfort; the majority of these words should be foreign to someone so young. I catch his eye in the front-window and hastily look away; a knee-jerk reaction to my school days. I sometimes forget I’m not the victim anymore.
My bed is calling me by the time I’ve climbed off the bus and watched it continue up the hill towards Asda. When I get to it however, I find it already occupied by two cats. They refuse to give me room and when I protest by trying in vain to move one, he clambers onto my chest and settles down, pinning me in an uncomfortable position.
Tomorrow I will do it all again; this is my hometown. Even when I leave I know I will return; there are too many ghosts walking these streets for me to desert them. The two most profound ghosts of all from
my Brighton resurface; dragging me down into sleep as they swoop and dive inside my head, like the seagulls screaming outside my window.
This is my home-town.
So I’m trying to write again. Just got ideas in my head.
(Wish me luck. Here goes.)
Darkness is my safe place. It cloaks me, conceals me from harm and sight in its rich blackness. Sometimes I close my eyes just to experience the instant surge of calm that comes with seeing nothing. I make sure that everyone else sees nothing too; I keep them in the dark so that only I can see the truth in all of my lies. Only I know who I used to be, and he’s still inside me. Most of the time he sleeps silently, biding his time until he can conquer my ageing body. I know that when they open me up when I’m finally good and dead, he will come rising out of me like a fist, roaring his contempt and demanding justice now that my beating heart lies dormant and I cannot control him. He writhes inside me now like a hungry spitting snake, reminding me of what we have been through, what he has been through, how revenge has not been served. Some people suffer with demons called drink, drugs or sex. I suffer with the demon I used to be, the Old Me. The hurt, vulnerable, scared little boy who grew up to be angry, bitter and hell-bent on finding any kind of justice he could wrap his filthy hands around. I’ve managed to contain him until now, but when I am in the shroud of darkness with nobody to talk to but him, he becomes convincing in his hatred. It’s like those preachers who stand on street corners with their big black books, yelling to all and sundry that if they do not repent for their sins they will go to hell. He is the preacher inside of me, and I am his messenger; my body the vessel he needs to carry out his acts of revenge. I know that he wants revenge, and I am the only one who can take it for him. There comes a time when you have to fight your demons or work with them, pacify them and make them trust and like you. Some even grow to love their demons; for how can you not be fond of something that is embodied inside of you, in the end? The more I sit alone with my demon, the more I like his ideas. Change is coming.
The moon hung like a silver lantern cast upon an inky black sky, creating shafts of light that illuminated the world below its scrutinizing gaze. As the night continued to pass by, the whispers of those living their lives slowly faded into silence as doors were closed and candles snuffed out, and soon the cobble-stoned streets lapsed into quiet ignorance that waited for the dawn.
Over the past few years I’ve been going through some really hard times. I wrote some poems during this time, and before I move on from them and continue on life’s journey I’d like to take a minute to reflect on how I felt then, and how different I have the power to feel now.
I remember when you were mine and I was yours
Before the hurtful words and the slamming doors
I remember the candy-floss and the Ferris wheel
Before your heart told you not to feel
For anything, not for you and not for me
And so we lost the comfort of our loving harmony
But hush now, the time has passed
To speak the words that could make us last
Through the hardships and the pain
I know I won’t see you again
The fairground rides, the lights that shone
I don’t know why or where our love has gone
It left us swiftly, flew far away
To mock the memory of our glory days
Do you remember the sounds of the crowds
That hid our fears and shrouded our doubts
As we held hands, fingers clasped tight
The smell of dying love was strong that night
But yet on we clung, to the hope of better things
Even though you’d shattered my dreams and clipped my wings
So I could not fly, escape the fear, the lust
That crushed our souls and killed our trust
In each other, ourselves and all around
It’s funny how silence is the loudest sound
That fills our heads and ears with sorrow
You were my today but you’re not my tomorrow
I’ve left you behind and I’m moving on up
When it came to last chances you ran out of luck
With me and with her, she was not yours to take
Everyone must pay for the choices they make
Now as I sift through these memories I’m cold to the core
I remember it all but you don’t anymore
I’ve never understood how you could so easily forget
I’m sorry I was just another girl for you to regret
But the regret is all mine, don’t you worry my friend
The wounds you caused are well on the mend
I’ve fixed them up tightly with tape and with gauze
And filed away the pain with tumultuous applause
From my friends and my family who never approved
Of our love and our loss and the things they ensued
Although I regret you, I don’t regret her
For she is the epitome of what we were
When we were as one, alive and free
Before the tragedy happened and you meant nothing to me
I may be unsure of every detail and fact
But the day I lost her I made the pact
In my heart, my soul and in my mind
That she would be the thing I would one day find
With or without you, with your lies and your greed
I will make up for my mistakes and be redeemed
Be the person I should have been during that time
And only then can I feel at peace and call her mine
So when you’re standing under the fairground lights tonight
Ask yourself this: without her, without us, will they ever shine as bright?
Five names, tattooed on your back
The only two you still see are the ones of no relation
Where’s the sense in that?
What’s the use of letters when words don’t mean a thing
The promises you made were all lies
I was so young when you clipped my wings
Now I can’t fly up, up and away
Escape the ghost of your memory
I’m haunted by you everyday
If you could see me now, would you tell me you were proud?
I wish I could say the same
But I can’t seem to make a sound
I know that if I did, you wouldn’t hear me
Even when I was right in front of your eyes
I could never make you see
Now the void of your absence is like a wound
That can never be fully healed
You never heard my pleas as you left too soon
I can’t even summon the hope to call you my father
When all that you’ve been since I was four years old
Is my relentless antagoniser
Always stopping me from getting to what I need
Which ultimately daddy, was you
Now from this endless cycle of hate and regret, I cannot be set free
So do you feel guilty, should you apologise?
No, I wouldn’t expect that of you
The little man with no love behind your eyes
Eyes so similar to mine, a part of you I cannot disguise
Despite that fact that three years ago in November, you cut off all ties
I know you can’t see this, as you’re too far away
But if you could I really hope
That it would fuck up your day.
What do I do now that you’re gone?
Since you left the pedestal I put you on
When you took away all that you felt
The cards of broken hearts were dealt
I said this world was yours and mine
So I can’t see you leave if I close my eyes
For I refuse to accept your words
Meaningless sounds trying to ease the hurt
How can you say this is easy?
When without you I can’t see clearly
How can you sabotage everything we planned
When the footprints we imprinted in the sand
Will stay with me forever
Just like your smile, your heart, my Superman
The silence of your absence cuts like a blade
As I take in the destruction your choices made
When you said it was never meant to be
I lost the light I used to see
Now that your eyes have turned cold
And your hand is not mine to hold
Where is your heart, our footprints in the sand?
They’re gone, lost, like you my Superman.
Generic Love Poem.
Where does love go when it is no longer there?
When all that’s left are broken hearts and a sombre stare?
Why can’t we find it when it’s all we need?
When our days and lives are filled with hate and greed
Why do some people have more when others have none?
Those who suffer most when their lives have just begun
If they’re born into a home with no love and no hope
How can their lives be anything other than a downwards slope?
If there is more than enough love to share and go around
Why do others suffer without making a sound?
Carry on living without the need of love
And try to get their needs met by a man up high above
Who may or may not exist, through stories that are told
Passed down through generations, so people sell their souls
To the hope of finding love, from an unseen entity
What good is that, for our lives and our mentality?
If the only way to find love, truth and a wish upon a star
Is to create someone invisible to tell us who we are
So if love is all around, and it is all we desire
Let us share enough with others to build an empire
Make up for all the losses, that our lives cause us to suffer
And spend each day and night giving love to each other.
The lights are fading and the sun is going down
The revellers are getting ready to leave this town
All around me is the scent of your skin and the taste of your smile
I’m plucking up the courage to ask you to stay for a while
For the past few days you’ve been filling my head
With the sound of your laughter and the words you said
I’ve been trying to figure out what it all means
When you make me stutter and blush like a pre-teen
I wish that I could discover what it feels like in your arms
But I’m trying to build a wall between your eyes and your charms
So I don’t want to fall too quickly under your spell
If your feelings for me are too unclear to tell
So until the sun comes up to greet the town again
I’ll spend my time drunk on you, my wish, my hope, my friend.