T is for…

I feel overwhelmingly like I don’t have permission to be feeling sad, or to even add my voice to the overwhelming chorus of your friends who are mourning your absence. But, here I am.

I made a dedication to Jacob and now, as much as I wish I didn’t have to; that the air was still filling your lungs and your heart was still beating, I feel that it is only right to do the same for you.

I know that I haven’t spoken to you in over 7 years. I know that even when we did speak, it wasn’t like we were lifelong friends. I know that my memories of you are sparse, and that the ones I do have aren’t all positive ones. Despite these facts, your death still haunts me.

Is it because of the nature of it? The hopeless, helpless, all-consuming feeling of sadness that overcomes me when I imagine what must have been going through your head in those final moments? That you felt even the slightest pull to make that choice…I was about to say I can’t imagine being in that position, but I can. I have been there before, and I am grateful daily that I had people around me to pull me back from the abyss. I am just so, so, sorry that you perhaps didn’t have that. As I say; I did not know you, have not known you, for a long time. Maybe you did have those people around you, and despite that, the final choice was still inevitable. I won’t spend time dwelling on ‘what if’s’ and ‘if only’s’ because that is not my place, that is the plaguing, tormenting place of your real friends and your family, and I wish them all of the love and courage in the world in finding peace within that place.

I truly and sincerely mean it when I say that I hope that you have found peace and contentment from your inner turmoil, wherever you are now. My heart aches when I think of the essence of how you took your final breaths. The desperation, the physical and mental pain, the body fighting against the mind’s decision even as and if you willed it not to. I’m so sorry; over and over I will repeat it: I am sorry.

You were laughing, joyful

Ever so slightly spiteful

Reckless, hell-bent on chaos

You lived and breathed your own ethos

Converting those around you to your rebellious state of mind

You tried to convince me otherwise but I knew that you were kind

You forgot that I’d known you since we were kids

And that I’d forgive you, no matter what you did

The image I have of you, that reckless, cheeky boy

You were unique, charismatic; the real mccoy

That time in mathematics, when you told me the story

The one of your broken foot, and your shattered glory

You told me you weren’t afraid of danger in any form

No, not you, never the one to conform

To the expectations of your fellow men,

I don’t know you now, but I knew you then

And I miss the rare moments of clarity

When the mask came off and I glimpsed your sincerity

I’m glad at one point I could call you a friend

And I’ll be sorry forever that you had to transcend

Away from your life, your heart, this earth

And that, perhaps, you did not know your worth

So this is a way for me to say goodbye

To the boy I once knew, who was one of a kind.

Rest in peace, Tim.

 

 

 

 

 

I Hate You, Please Love Me.




Being in limbo is the worst feeling in the world. It feels like you’ve lost all powers of gravity and you’re just spiraling through the air without any traction for your feet to steady themselves on to save you from the free-fall.

I’ve been so in-and-out of my head these past few days that I almost feel like I’ve become permanently disoriented and it’s difficult to separate reality from dreams.

Uncertainty is my kryptonite. It eats away at me in a slow, relentless way, that leaves me helpless to overcome it and banish it from my mind, from my heart.

I wasn’t uncertain before, until you became the definition of what uncertainty feels like. Will you still love me tomorrow? I never questioned it up to now, but it’s the only thing that’s taking seed in my head these days.

Can you die from how quickly and how often your heart plummets to your stomach? Because if you can, I must be in danger, because mine has been doing it at least 80 times a day, at a speed so fast it makes me feel sick.

I’ve managed to convince myself that this is just delaying the inevitable, because how can you still love me if it’s ever been a question mark in your head? I just never thought it would be like this, that it could be like this with us. But, here we are.

Here I am.

Just waiting. Waiting for, what? I don’t even know. Validation? Love? Permission to come back?

I guess now we both feel lost. 

I can’t allow myself to imagine that you’re going to stay in love with me and that we can just carry on like before after this blip, because you’ve said yourself that you don’t even know if you’re going to love me once you’re better.

Well now I’m sick too, with a little parasite called hope.

I know how this story goes, because I’ve lived it so many times before.

“When they love me, they leave me”.

I just thought we could make it through. People are saying we still can, and I hope it’s true.

But right now hope is what is making me feel like the world’s biggest fool.

I feel like I’m just treading water. Is it the same for you?


Hope Is Where My Heart Is…

‘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.’

…And I Think It’s Going To Die. 

Story Snippet

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.

Hope Is Where My Heart Is.

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.

J is for…

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.

The Monsters Turned Out To Be Just Trees.

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.

Regret. 

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.

Regret. Tangible.
Love. Received. Abused. Discarded. Unrequited. Lost.

Found?

City.

Image

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.

Brighton.

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.