Damage: in his bell tower

Couples fight. About a bunch of stuff. That’s just a fact. Like the fact that there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing or whatever…
I can fight. Oh, fuck yeah, I can fight. Cut in front of me in a queue? Be rude to my friend? Overcharge me for services? I WILL FUCK YOU UP (to channel Lloyd Grossman, Tropic Thunder.)
And I used to go hell for leather with my lovers too. Such passion. Hell, I’ve already written on this blog about how in my culture it’s literally seen as the normal thing to do, be it healthy or not. If you fight, you make up. You fuck all night. It’s exciting, invigorating. Whatever you want to call it.
That IS continental love. Coup de foudre. L’amour fou. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH IT IS LITERALLY DRIVING ME TO INSANITY. Be inside me, or fuck up my world, just don’t ever, ever leave me.
I’m feral. I have a higher sex drive than most mutts, and a rage in my gut the likes of which has never even been seen in comic book villains, I HATE THIS, I despise that. Fuck this filthy world.

But up until a (relatively) short while ago, I was very uninhibited in my reactions. If something pissed me off, you would fucking know.
I don’t thrive on embarrassing whatever man or woman I’m fucking. No, not at all. I’d get them on their own and let loose. Then when my point had gone across, I’d fuck them like I had all hell to prove. That’s just what was normal for me. Tears, screaming and then passion. It’s all I knew.
     When my last relationship ended, something became fragile within me. Only recently, I’ve pinpointed what that thing is. You see, I would catch him in a lie, and he would ask me in a hurt voice why I was calling him a liar. I was the bad guy. The bad guy Ltd.
He used my passion against me. It’s not a crime to be unreasonable, but it very much is a crime to lose your shit entirely, and almost give someone a case to file against you for harassment. That was the place he trapped me in.
I honestly thought I WAS the crazy one. I mean, I have my problems. But being sent off the edge by a man who has basically lied to you about everything except his name isn’t necessarily a problem. A character flaw maybe….why didn’t I shove him to the curb the first time I caught him in that lie. I don’t know. Never mind.
     But I am different in my approach to actual relationships now. Timid.
I’ve always been easy going in the day to day. Even back then. Wanna do that? Sure. Wanna go get this for dinner? Yeah why not.
I just don’t care about the small stuff. I never met a food I didn’t like (What? I’m French, we aren’t actually generally faddy eaters, or picky eaters as children. We try everything. And I happen to love everything.)
My boyfriend says to me “what do you want to eat?” and I might say I don’t fancy X, but literally everything else is on the table. I don’t make him list possibilities and then say no to every suggestion. He’ll suggest something and I’ll say yeah, great. Let’s order.
That’s not what I’m talking about.
This week, for the very first time I talked to him about something that I wasn’t happy with. It took me ages to get up the courage. And alcohol.
But he replied and told me I was totally right and apologised, and it floored me.
You see, that little shit wherever he is now, probably poor, miserable and sinking into debt (his entire family is shit with money….it’s actually really sad), actually conditioned me to think that telling someone I didn’t like something they did made me this psycho loon. Because that’s how it started. Sure, It escalated, and I DEFINITELY did and said things that weren’t okay. 100%. But It began with him reacting SO BADLY to criticism that it made it impossible to live with. He told me he hated when we were up all night arguing. So I tried to stop. I spoke to him calmly. That didn’t work either.
Because my communication wasn’t the problem. The problem was that he had lied to me, and his family, and everyone he knew about everything. Everything. And he was drowning in it. He couldn’t keep me on, because it would have come to a hideous head at some point. Plus I was pointing out his lies on a regular basis.
We had nice memories. We took nice trips together. We fucked a lot in the short time we were together. Drove around a lot. Made films. Took plenty of pictures.
But I have trouble imagining that any of that was real, now. In the present I feel like that life is one thousand miles away. Or the tail end of a fever dream. It doesn’t seem real at all.
My boyfriend, today…..Is painfully honest. Seriously, if something is in his head, I will end up knowing about it. He’s honest with me about me, physically and emotionally. He’s honest about other people. He’s honest about his job. His finances. Everything. I never wonder. I’m never worried. He is the most open partner I’ve ever had. There doesn’t appear to be any game at all here. He wants me around. It’s that simple.

We have fun in bed. All sorts. And then sometimes, unexpectedly it won’t be about that. He’ll put his hands on me, and kiss me deep, and it really feels like….lovemaking. I think?
And as I’ve recently found out….I can tell him if something is bothering me. And he doesn’t disappear. He doesn’t say he’s gonna come to me, and then bail.
I’m not quite in the region where I can feel safe yet. I’m definitely flirting with the idea. Which is terrifying. My family life is so….chaotic, and my love life has been erratic at best.
I hardly dare put my head down on the comfortable nook of his chest, and shut my eyes and imagine I’m not about to be torn up, or told I’m crazy for having things that I need from someone I love.
But for the first time in nearly two years, I’m almost ready to try.
I’m spending time in his apartment. He works in the days, but not weekends. Once I go back to uni, it’ll really be weekends only, but while I’ve got annual leave, I can chill in the capital and amuse myself, or relax in his place until he gets back.
I’m in love with this guy. I look forward to him coming home. I look forward to his dumb goofball jokes about my accent, or French culture. I’ve come to really like that he’s Canadian. He’s not like anyone I’ve been with before.
And I don’t feel like he’s out to get me. I hope I can get used to the idea.
I really do have hope.




“mais que faire si tu aime quelqu’un mauvais?” 
This was in Slovenia I think. My mother was trying to explain the concept of religious heaven to me. I can’t remember what faintly ridiculous reason had brought this on, only that I didn’t understand the parameters of such a place. I had asked her many, many questions. Can you have pets? No. Can you see people you knew before? Maybe, I don’t know. Is it a big place? Yes. Will you be there? I don’t know. 
Part of her personality was such that she couldn’t tell me nice lies. Instead of doing what a mother perhaps should do when her tiny daughter asks hypothetical questions about the events that take place after death, where she would have said oui chèrie, after you die I’ll be in heaven waiting for you, and there will be all the animals you’ve had in your lifetime and everyone you knew in a lovely place, all happy forever so don’t worry. Don’t worry one bit. 
   She couldn’t say that. She never said nice things if they weren’t definitely true. 
Neither of us are religious. She wasn’t then when I peppered her with questions, and I am not now that I am a grown woman.
But I do believe in some loose concept of paradise, only not in the well intentioned, endless immortal form that religion dictates. Something else entirely in fact.

The interesting thing about paradise is that our view of it changes so often through our lives that we can never hold it, it is intangible and flighty and we cannot chase it because normally when we realise we want it, it is already gone.
Throughout my life, I think I have had moments where I was in a place and I didn’t want to be anywhere else, just there, happy and quiet in my mind- and when the moment passed, I would hang on at the fingertips to the moment I had loved so dearly before dourly accepting its fate, and watching it dither away into nothingness, a skin cell on a pebble or a breath dissipating into endless air, all molecules and all lost, and not to be regained, not ever. 

When I was young, paradise was a swirling vortex of people around me, ecstasy in my blood and music so loud I couldn’t think or feel anything. I experienced it once the first time I tried the drug and then spent a couple years chasing it again, attending rave after pointless rave before realising that I was being greedy for that moment that was already long past. That’s the first time I really thought about it. 
I soon realised that you don’t know when these moments are coming, and when they’re there and you wake up inside of one, you’re already doomed, already waiting to lose it which is a queer emotion to have inside a window of bliss, leading me to believe that perhaps the full spectrum of emotion has to live inside these moments for them to mean anything at all to us in the long run.
     Paradise has been some innocuous patch of pebbles by a Scottish river, cold stone against my back, white sun on my face and the sound of rushing, chattering water filling my ears, one hot, bony finger touching mine and the rest a resounding nothingness, to be worried about later, not now.
Long hair against a gaudy pillowcase, and a closed eye visible through the musky light of a sunrise through a heavy curtain.

When I was a child it was a sleepy experience atop a horse’s back, sun streaming in through the stable door, and the smell of hay and horse hair, and the sound of its giant beating heart lulling me away, safely into sleep.
This year has been hard in parts. I’ve chosen a gruelling craft for my career. 0450 in the AM starts, late returning home, aching tired legs and feet after, and another day of it ahead. 
Long hours of studying medications and anatomy and the art of giving a real shit.
But I also met a man and fell in love, and moved on from other things, other sadnesses that gave me nothing to remember and took everything to recall.

Now I’m in another country and all I can hear are deadly hornets buzzing around the base of fruit trees, gorging themselves on the putridly rotten, soft fruit that fell and was ignored by the people who grew the trees, and I can reach out and touch the cool water under the lilo I’m laying on that is a tacky, bright colour, or I can lazily pull myself over to the jetty and clamber out, straight into my sun bleached hammock, curl into myself, and fall asleep in the sun until my white skin pinkens like the peaches and the pears that rot in the grass not too far away from me. 
I can swim in the day, and lay out to dry in the sunshine, listening to the kids from the neighbouring farm squealing with delight when they jump in my pool, as I told them they can make use of it because the day is so hot. I can lay in a big fluffy white towelling robe, like the kind you get in a spa, listening to the lazy buzzing of bumblebees nuzzling my flowers, and drift in and out of slumber like I haven’t known a care.

There’s really not that much for me to do here except nothing, and plenty of it. I am queen of these lands, they are mine and I bought them to be alone or accompanied if I wish, and escape the grey of England, and to feel my bones getting warm in the European sun.
We eat lavishly in the evenings, marinate ourselves in wine and champagne and delicious food. I bite into properly ripe fruit and the juice dribbles down my chin and I don’t care because it tastes like paradise. The tiles on the terrace are warm under my feet, and everything looks camera-ready, like someone swept around the place and removed unsightly things, so whomever arrived here would know they were in heaven now. 

And they did. For my arrival because this is MINE and it’s all for me. A beautiful fake vista for the lonely queen. 
Because it’s lonely to love someone and to be away from them, even if you’re somewhere beautiful and they’re not. 
But what I said before about paradise is sad but true. There has to be a cloying aspect, a bitter side to the sweetness. Heaven has to be a lonely place, but offer you everything else you ever wanted to make it hard to refuse. The bad person you love can never wait for you at the end, says religion. 

And you’ll always love someone just at the very moment that they can’t join you in the beautiful place you’re going. And then you’ll question; was the horrible place where we fell in love paradise after all? 

Home: another stream of consciousness

“Home is a place you can navigate in the dark” he told me while I was rolling up my paper money and tucking it into my boot. We’d been talking shit all evening and I needed to go sleep on a thin mattress in the hostel because I had miles to walk when I woke. To the next town. To the next person with whom I would talk shit all night. Would the next one have tufts of hair growing out of his ears? Who knows. 
And while I’ve forgotten the guy’s name, I’ve chewed over what he said, on the Italian border when my hair was in line with my earlobes and dyed an obnoxious shade of orange. 

I’ve had loads of places where I’ve been able to walk around in the dark without bumping into anything. Places memorised so well that I knew when to lift my foot a little higher for the rug. 
But I’ve never had a home. 
To have a home, you need community. To have community, other people need to matter to you. And I’ve been badly trained. 
I imagine them standing in a line in front of me. All the people I’ve loved or who have ever loved me and I study them with cautious levels of interest as though their asymmetrical faces, or the way the skin on their neck smells might hold some secret as to why i evolved into the person I am now, or how I can evolve further into the person I want to become. 
I’ve had dreams where my feet sprout pale white roots and I stand rigid, letting them take, but then, alas, the wind blows a little stronger and my fresh virgin sprouts aren’t strong enough to hold me where I stood, and I scatter away like a trash bag blowing in an empty street, and I stare at my footprints in the dirt, and envy the skin cells I have left there.

But when I’m awake I don’t scrabble in the dirt for cells. I don’t and have never visited graves and I don’t return to places left discarded in the past. Does that make me callous? Or cold? When I hold my hand against someone’s face, is it like marble in January; unwelcoming and pleasing only to the gaze? When I exhale as pleasure builds up in my body, does the breath reach my lover’s neck like the dull exultation of a refrigerator door left open by someone who didn’t care enough to push harder?
Nobody knows all of me. But they can’t tell that they know so little. I’ve survived so long on my own because my early life taught me that unless people find some use for you, you’ll dash off into the charnel nothingness of their forgotten gallery of faces before you even realise what is happening. So you serve a purpose. You find a way. You amuse them. You fuck them. You feed them something they’re hungry for. You make them matter somehow. Then you matter to them. It’s the life of a leech, and at the same time it isn’t. It is a sick symbiosis. No one can be honest about it. We all pretend we’re friends and lovers and family and that everything is nice and no one is secretly right on out there for themselves. 
This network becomes home for these people. Girls and boys live and die in the same tired old towns, they replay the drama of their parents. They listen to lies because they are nicer than the truth and they die with regrets on sheets that other people have died on, just the same as them. 
I don’t know what is wrong with me, that I can’t buy into this cycle that could keep me safe. The mother who gave birth to me runs around the earth, scared to death that if she stays still she’ll hear the thoughts in her head; if the sound of her pounding footsteps ever falls quiet. My father rots in a pile of earth in a town he didn’t even care for. 

My grandparents barely knew my face and my grandmother’s hands were hard and calloused because she worked so hard to make up for her affair.
I watch people I meet, people I know, people I don’t know in their endless wheel of normalcy and it makes me sick. 
I never played at being mother as a child. I never laid in bed at night, dreaming of a faceless man who would give me children and make money so I could have manicured nails and a happy home with curtains and rugs and a neatly mown lawn. 
The truth is i don’t think about anything at night. I sleep soundly because I don’t care. I chose my career because I am capable of seeing terrible, awful things and maintaining a clear head. I’m excellent at it. And no one sees. No one sees that it’s me. It’s the most maddening, bizarre experience; knowing that those around you should shudder in your presence because you’re not fucking normal.
How can someone like me experience the essence of what home is? Can I ever have a home? Is it a warm, toffee feeling in the guts that I just can’t grasp because seeing people be familial ties knots in mine? 
Am I insane here? Am I just ranting inconsequential FUCK up at the empty universe while everyone else manages to find meaning, and hope, and fulfilment in the endless copycatting of stories told a thousand and one times before them? 
More importantly, can I ever be more than what I have been to people who need things from me? 
Can I transfer small pleasures across to my interactions with those I care about?
The sound of my closest friend singing tunelessly in the other room
The gut punch feeling of my dog leaping onto my chest in the morning
The smell of the lilac bush in the garden next to the place I once lived
The way my boyfriend wrinkles at the bridge of his nose when he teases me
Is it okay if the things that make me feel comfortable and still are miles and miles apart? Do I have to have ONE HOME
I always ask people in bars when I’m travelling what their home is like. They always have something to say, some sentimental portrait of a place they know so well that they can close their eyes and delve every sense in that place, that trusted cocoon. 
I never know if I’m jealous or fucking relieved.
Would I trade the things I’ve seen for a place to call my own? 

Oh, Canada

Nothing ever looks the same from one year to the next. If it does, clearly you’re doing it wrong. Last summer I was alone. Alone, alone, alone. In foreign countries. And honestly, I was a mess. I don’t think I’ll ever be one of these emotionally available, stable, ten out of ten healthy smiley soda commercial type women. But I adapt to change like it isn’t anything at all, and maybe that’s my strength. 
     The coldest winter I ever experienced was the snow strewn streets of New York in January. I was in love, I thought, and I was seeing my idol in the flesh. I couldn’t be further from that time if I was honestly trying to be. 
But I am in love, now. 
I didn’t think I would be to be honest. I thought it would be years, I thought I would be alone for the longest time. I avoided anything too earnest.
But chance is a tricky thing, and a lot of things have happened by chance. 
The 30th July was my lover’s birthday. We spent the whole weekend together but Sunday was just us, us alone. We wandered round the aquarium together, and under those weird neon type lights they have shining down around the large tanks, I knew how I felt and it terrified me. I may never have told him. I had accidentally said it once in french…while he was doing something very, ah, pleasurable to me with his tongue….luckily language and circumstance protected me that time from my blunder. At dinner I tried to summon the courage. Then I stopped and we ate, smiling at one another across the table, eating the exact same meal and drinking the exact same drink. 
If I hadn’t had something to be upset about that evening it might have taken weeks for us to say it. But there was something. A small, stupid thing. Insignificant even. But initially I reacted badly to it. He comforted me. I went for a shower. When I came back, he held me, though I was beaded with water and my hair hung in soaking strings, sending streaks of water down my back,
     We laid on my white bed in my dark room and kissed. 
My tummy churned because I knew. I’ve laid on my side before. I’ve watched these facial expressions once before. I knew he loved me too and I knew he was going to tell me, right then.
    And I knew I was going to say it back.
I worked hard to tell myself not to let this happen. But it happened anyway. 
Keep working hard on placement, see friends, don’t see him too often. Avoid avoid avoid. Jesus Christ. It was hard work.

If he said anything sentimental I’d mock him gently. What a bitch. But I caught myself cradling his head if it ended up near my lap. Stroking his face. Thinking about him at work. 
My lamp illuminated his eyes as he tried to tell me. He told me it was scary. I agreed that yes, it was scary. 
It’s a weird thing when everything is sort of going right and yet you know that there’s an underlying timebomb just waiting, biding its sweet time to decimate everything but who knows when.
       There’s nothing really wrong with my life right now. My troubles are quite literally FAR behind me. The growth in my spine is being supposedly controlled with anti neoplastics while consultants discuss the placement and how feasible it is to remove it. I am at a status quo. 
     What’s weird is the odd sensation I get that I am an imposter in this life that is going a little too well. 
I catch myself in certain moments…with my boyfriend or on my placement, and everything is just nice and functional and no one is yelling at me or expecting ridiculous things of me, or accusing me of horrible things I didn’t do, or lying to me and…..it’s kind of weird. Part of me doesn’t trust it. I’ve avoided these kind of….more meaningful connections for like over a year specifically because it’s been hard for me to accept that things aren’t gonna have to go the way they did in the past. 
I don’t know where any of this is going. My career will be fulfilling- I know it will, but who knows where it’s gonna take me. That’s one thing. But then, this new relationship is kind of….involving right now. We’re seeing a lot of each other. He’s nothing like anyone I’ve ever been with, the polar opposite actually. He has way more social decorum, way less exhibitionism and just pathologically tells the exact truth about everything. It’s nice. But I’m also kind of afraid of it. It’s a weird headspace. 
     I guess I’m waiting for him to find out I’m a piece of shit, like super uninhibited, unashamed piece of fucking shit. 
But then also….part of me thinks actually no come on I’m not that bad am I? I give time and money to charity, I’ll do anything for my friends or whatever….
I’m not sure I’m really in my body this month, it’s like Capgras syndrome. I’m not in my body, I’m witnessing myself from the outside and I’ve come to believe I’m an imposter and I’m just waiting for everybody to realise and for it all to come crashing down. It’s so hard to be this vulnerable. But then at the same time, when it’s all dark and I’m laying in bed with him and he’s holding me and talking to me in a low voice so as to not wake up my new roommate….i kind of feel shivery and happy and electric and I do want to be vulnerable. And I don’t. And I do. And I don’t. It’s fucking weird.

And I love him. Definitely. And in the light of my lamp we told each other. And we told each other again while we kissed. And again when we….made love? It wasn’t fucking. Not that time, for sure.  
And I’m going to experience a colder winter. When I go with him, to Canada to meet his family this Christmas. Holy fuck.

NASH: heart shaped sunglasses 

“This is my face” she crooned from the stage “covered in freckles with the occasional spot and some veins”, a song that I listened to as the train whizzed me off to university for the first time in 2009, watching the District I had nearly always lived in fly past me as I went off to finally start my life. The funny thing is that these times we wait for so feverishly as the “next chapter” of our lives are rarely those days that “the next chapter” begins. The days that truly can be said to have happened are often inane, and the closing of one part of our lives begins on an inoffensive and unremarkable afternoon, and we don’t notice it happening, it just does. 
     The weekend was weird for me in that sense. Hearing this echo of my adolescence in my present, live and loud from the mouth of the woman who wrote those words that me and my friends knew by heart and sang with gusto on the field out the back of our stuffy school took me on some kind of a weird trip. Without realising it, I have entered a completely new phase of my life. I don’t know which day, which hour or which minute it happened but it has. 
     2016 was a shite year in many ways. And a great year in others. Part of it I spent driving alone along the roads I knew so well, my music turned up so loud I couldn’t hear my thoughts, couldn’t string a thought together, I just drove and sang until my face felt hot and all the emotions that buzzed in my brain melded into nothing comprehensible and for those short periods of time in that crappy piece of metal I was free from everything. The other part of it was spent with that music in my ears, throbbing while my feet pounded also on terrain they had never touched, that my eyes had never witnessed and I was utterly, utterly and completely alone.
     The culture shock of my first few months at uni, with the people, the sounds and the smells of a new city, the total fucking assault on my every sense after all that quiet, all that nothing.

All of that should have been THE shift. Several shifts in life phases. But they may not have been. But I noticed the new phase in a field this weekend. I was wearing my heart shaped sunglasses and red lipstick, and as few cloths as I could get away with in the terrible sticky heat. 

      I was there with my boyfriend and two immensely good friends and we just stood in the crowd, and I realised that I knew this woman on stage, and she was singing songs that were so familiar and yet almost totally forgotten….and the closer I got to the front of the crowd the more I just closed my eyes and listened to the music, remembered what I have done and where I have been and who I have been in the past compared to who I am now, and it just felt like I was supposed to be there, with those people that day, crammed in amongst other strangers singing along to this song and it was like a weight just lifted off of my shoulders and out of my heart, that I’ve been carrying for so long.
     I have this recurring dream that I’m struggling to walk through a corridor and there is a terrible screeching noise, totally hideous and I can’t block it out no matter what I do I see blue light coming out from under one of the doors that lines the corridor. When I open it, there is a giant, deep blue swimming pool in there and I know if I can weigh myself down enough to sit at the bottom on the smooth tile under the water my pain will be over, so I filch pebbles out of the decorative plant pots around the pool, fill my pockets and jump in. The silence is absolute, and comforting and serene and I sit there on the floor cross legged with my hair pleasantly floating around me and I am just so free. 
That dream always sounds so terrible to other people, but honestly I don’t think it’s quite how it sounds. I don’t die when I’m under the water. It’s just I needed that change of medium to release me from the agony of that grinding sound that permeated the corridor. This weekend was kind of like that dream but….real.
I’ve carried a lot of hurt in my heart. I’ve cried a lot of nights, and I’ve shut out a lot of people who wanted to help. This weekend as I stood bare legged amongst people I wanted to be around…I realised that the hurt I’ve been dragging around is basically gone. Maybe not completely. But…it was almost happiness. That elusive thing I’ve chased for a long time. And even though today has been a hard day on placement and I’m tired and my spine hurts (my surgery isn’t for a while yet), that snippet of contentment has made everything much less….difficult. 
     I’m out of the woods, and things might be getting better. I might be finding a normal…

While the concept is in some ways scary to me, because I’m used to a constant uphill battle as ridiculous as that sounds….I’m hopeful. I think honestly I haven’t been hopeful in a long time. 
And that’s worth a lot. To me, at least. 
So this isn’t a terribly scintillating post….but it’s significant to me and that’s enough for me to want to diarise it.

Stream of consciousness vol 2: the little spoon

I’ve never had an out of body experience before but last week I had one for the first time. I was wide awake and laid in a bed with my face centimetres away from another face, just barely visible in the dark. The heat had been unbearable. Hell on earth. My week on my new placement had been sticky and uncomfortable. The owner of the other face and I had been out a couple of nights before, on something which he would wryly remind me qualified as a date but which I always shrugged off as ‘hanging out’.

We had eaten Korean food and gone for ice cream in the harsh sunlight at the end of my shift. We went back to my apartment and fucked. But it felt different, at least for me. He put his hands either side of my face as I climbed on top of him, and for the first time we made eye contact from start to finish. My tummy churned nervously the whole time, but not because I felt it was unpleasant. It was because for the first time, I didn’t feel the need to look away. That terrified me.
So for me, making my way over to his place that night had felt so dangerous. I had been to a god awful bowling alley with people from my previous placement, and pushed fries around on my plate while waiting for my turn.
Once I arrived, we hung out for a while. I fell asleep at some point, curled up on his bed like a cat. When he came to bed, we kissed slow and deep and his hands shot electricity through my body. I trembled for minutes after we were done. And he held me. And I let him. And then as we always do, we began talking. It’s the time I feel safest to have these little conversations, unseen in the dark despite my proximity to him. I heard myself ask him, after some skirting around the issue “do you want me to be your girlfriend?” And it was at that point that I sort of oddly felt myself raising out of my brain and watching the events transpire from above, where I frothed and freaked out and gawped at this version of myself I barely recognised.
Ultimately, I really only listened to one part of his response. “I do” he said, but followed it up with a bunch of rationalisations, which I realised were for my benefit. Don’t freak out, his words said without saying. No pressure or whatever. He talked about being willing to wait to have the conversation. In disbelief, I watched myself say “let’s not wait”. Aghast at my own lack of control over the situation, or rather lack of control over even my own behaviour, I froze rigid then, and he kissed me. Soft and hard somehow. And that was it. Some-crazy-how, this time I was the instigator. And it’s wild. Thinking of it now, I still can’t believe those words came out of my mouth.
The whole thing is continually odd to me. But a sort of pleasant odd. I’m fucking seething at myself sometimes for being so….content with it, but then also at other times I have mini meltdowns and try to self soothe by saying “it’s okay I can turn my phone off the whole day if I want to….I’m in control. I am in control.”
But then he disconcerts me by doing things that in theory I just want to hate. But I can’t get myself to hate them. Now we’re….together….it’s like I’m walking towards everything that fucking terrifies me, but for some reason I won’t stop walking into it.
After so long being ostensibly “alone” in the romantic sense, it’s just a trip to have him surprise me sometimes by being so gentle and whispering to me “it’s okay, I’m safe” while he’s fucking me at god knows what time in the early hours of the morning.
Although it doesn’t really matter why I feel so much like a free radical bouncing around in the ether, I find myself picking it apart anyway. It’s weird but I think somehow as I turned 26 I had persuaded myself that the ‘boyfriend, girlfriend’ part of my life was over. And furthermore I had persuaded myself that I was super okay with that. Relieved even. Ironically, in the months following my 26th I got slowly more reckless in my behaviour.

Until finally I decided I wanted to fuck a stranger. Not a stranger from a bar. That’s too easy. You have conversation, you have drinks, it’s too friendly, too safe. No, I wanted to just meet someone and let them hammer me like I was nothing. And I started talking to a few people on that blasted app. But I agreed to meet only one. It’s so fucking weird that in my effort to become even more off the rails and out of touch with romance…..I met a guy and had sex with him. Kinky sex nonetheless. And then I didn’t stop. And then….
I just wasn’t as in control as I thought.
There’s plenty I don’t say to him. But the craziest thing is there’s a huge part of me that is totally toying with the idea of just trying to trust him. What the fuck. I mean come on, brain, we agreed. We fucking agreed that we were gonna get some strange. No more making friends with goofball nerdy types and then descending into charged sexual relationships. Just some random stranger whose photographs provided evidence of a baseline attraction and then from there on out just primal rutting.

Hell, I even had myself persuaded that it would be one to three encounters at most. Fucking insane. What the hell is going on in my life, seriously. I can’t even read the manual anymore, we’ve gone totally rogue. We haven’t really casually fucked a stranger, and we’ve even left behind the friendy-Wendy nerdy goofball cookie cutter relationship far behind. We are on no mans land.
So I only really have one option left which is to persuade myself that I’m just throwing caution to the wind like always and that actually maybe I’m doing this because I’m just too darn wild, mmkay?
We’re still slightly strange to one another. I’m sat here writing this, while he occupies himself across the room from me. Occasionally he shoots me worried glances and checks that I’m not secretly #superpissed that we are doing separate things. Shadows of old relationships bugging him out. Meanwhile I sit here writing about him to my stupid online pseudodiary and wondering when it will be socially acceptable for me to fuck him again. Sex fiend problems.
Let the social experiments begin I guess…

Quasi: the Crown Jewels 

In the midst of an insane political era and morbid weekly attacks on groups of innocent bystanders, what better time to make a selfish, introspective, masturbatory blog post? Yeah that’s right. Come get me.

To the woman who has everything, I bestow unto you pestilence, confusion and the mild sensation of panic. 

It’s a weird time in my life right now. I fucking hate it when people say “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”. Holy shit, give it a rest. If I wanted inspiring quotes like that in my life, I’d buy a dozen cross-stitched throw cushions, each saying things like “joy” “love” “friendship”, let my bush grow out, start drinking sweet tea at every meal and change my name to fucking Brenda or something.

     I can’t cope with that level of earnestness. People choosing to surround themselves with positive words and cosy blankets freak me out. Don’t get me wrong, I like certain aspects of the modern world. The technology available to me enables me to write out my meaningless inner monologue while taking a giant sloppy milkshake dump, and Sssssshhhhhoooooooooot send it off across the ether, my flabby addition to the World Wide Web. See it. Smell it. Pretend you can touch it. Aren’t we so intimate reading each other’s thoughts. If we were friends in high school and you knew what you know about me, we’d be besties and borrow each other’s sweaters. Do you think that guy was looking at me in geography? 

Jesus, that’s enough of that. 

What I’m getting at is that gross, sweaty word. Intimacy. It’s so heart pounding, and invasive. It makes my bowels twitch like right before a presentation. I’m in a weird situation right now, in that I have accidentally managed to entangle myself in the present situational existence of another human being and any semblance of control is gently wriggling free of my grip, I can feel it at my clammy finger tips struggling free like a salmon evading a big hairy bear.

And it’s terrifying. 

I’ve tried before. And when I say tried, I obviously mean I’ve accidentally become someone’s “girlfriend” before. Obviously. You don’t get to my age without that happening unless you look like a Brenda. And while this situation hasn’t reached that apex, it isn’t what I had engineered either. It isn’t the self destructive fucking which I had designed. My mad tossing of acids and catalysts into the mix has not resulted in what I had intended. And with the mild sensation of having a stroke, I have no idea how it happened either. 

I’ve gently probed, enquired of this male specimen “when did this stop being fucking” much to his amusement. And he blames the short trip we took together. Last month. 

And then, without any hope of controlling my brain, I began picking that weekend apart like it was the beginning of time and I was a computer-voiced cripple with nothing better to do than to guess at its origins indefinitely.

I had had a spazzy meltdown before we left. Like the night or so before we left. “We said this was just casual remember” I had typed at 100 miles per hour into a crummy little whatsapp message. 

I’M DETACHED. DON’T IMAGINE I’M NOT. (Subtext settings turned on)

When he was suitably bitch-slapped into awkward silence, I went to distract myself with video games until finally I ended up admitting to the giant turd I had dropped into the mix. 

And the weekend proceeded as planned. There was levity on the train. Being a filthy North American, he made business out of winding me up with his Trump impression, loudly, and we talked a lot with our faces rather closer together than the usual FWB code of NO FEELINGS dictates is necessary. 

We’re very different people. We grew up thousands of miles apart, in wildly different circumstances. Disney songs make him smile, and he talks about women in terms of their score out of ten. Whichmakesmewanttokillhim. I’m sarcastic and the things that make me happy are very different. He’s earnest. I’m secretive. He’s a worrier. I have my feet firmly on today’s floor. He likes sweet soda and fast food. I never drank soda growing up, and I frequently give up refined sugar for huge periods of time every year. 

They’re not red flags, not at all. Just chasms of difference that are undeniably there. I can’t speculate about what goes on in his head. But one memory from our weekend trip strikes me as both telling (and disturbing for someone like me). Before seeing a movie in Leicester Square, we dropped in to the M&M store. Giant store. Like three floors of m&m merchandise. It was a little weird. Not the m&m’s but the situation. I had been in this exact store, but the equivalent store. In New York. Years before. With another. The two against each other stand like black and white, polar opposites of one another, and the experience in the store laughed at me, a gloating example of the fork in my road. This time, my companion beamed upon entering. “Look at all these happy people!” He exclaimed. Then to taunt me, he turned and said “all made possible by capitalism!” 

     I can’t speculate as to what facial expression I wore in that moment. I tend towards either resting bitch face or resting moron face depending on what I’m thinking at the time (and seriously my thoughts do not turn off whatsoever to the extent that it’s just easier to say “nothing” when someone says what are you thinking, because what I’m thinking is so weird and disconnected from what I’m doing that to tell the truth would probably get me sectioned again). 

But the weird thing is, I wasn’t exasperated or repulsed by his happiness. It was strangely…..endearing. Surround yourself with sardonic, negative people your whole life and see what happens when you then come into contact with a corn-fed, syrup guzzling, capitalism relishing yank. A big dumb Yankee smile on his face, and all of a sudden I’m desperately hiding the sentiment that I’m feeling which is that it’s pretty sweet actually; unbridled happiness. Like a child. Even though I kinda hate children. 

What I’m saying is it’s confusing. 

We ended up waiting in line to see the Crown Jewels. I’ve been to the tower several times, but I’ve never seen the Crown Jewels. The queue always stretches out, a giant L shape across the courtyard, and everyone I’ve ever visited with has been English. And while English people love queues (and what’s the deal with airplane food amirite? Hahahaha. Ugh.) they’re never willing to wait that long. Too skeptical, too cynical. It can’t be worth it. Not waiting that long, just to see a bunch of jewellery. 

      But what do you know. This guy waited in line with me, and joked around in his stupid Trump voice. And I saw them. I got to read all the little plaques underneath. So then, I knew which stones where how old. I knew where they had come from. And it was magical, seeing them, actually. History fascinates me, and I particularly love things that I know people have worn. It’s so…..what’s that word again? Intimate.

So yeah. Here I am, with no fucking clue what’s going on. Having conversations in the dark with a guy who couldn’t be more different from me, with my tummy doing flip flops when he asks me earnest questions, and nuzzling into him despite myself. 

What a crazy fucking turn of events. 

That’s it, that’s all I got. Just be thankful I didn’t choose to write about Theresa May. 


The uncanny valley: save the bees

Have you heard about the bees? Save the bees man. They do so much for us, and they’re DYING.
I’m not the only one. I bet you think you’re the same way too. I go through enormous amounts of my life feeling like I’m not even human. Not a real person. Some jumped up piece of junk encased in flesh and parading around the streets like a marionette. Touch my hand, I’ve got no strings as you can see. But I’m not in control. I’m not in control.

     It hurts my head when I’m in a car at night, in the back of a taxi taking me home from somewhere. I look out of the window and see all the lights on in houses I’ll never go and I can’t let myself imagine all the people thinking their individual thoughts and living their own complex lives. I can’t let that in. It makes me feel like my head is full of those bees. Buzzing around my head until I can’t hear anything else.
     I can spot others like me in the street. Something happened to us. We’re an underlying cult of peculiar engines, functioning and breathing and going to work, but we simply are not the way we ought to be.
     I drift into other people, like a lazy tide, seeping into them until I’m almost an enjoyable presence. Then, typically, like the tide,still, I pull away; far away, at the speed of wild fucking horses, retreat retreat DON’T GET CLOSE. What do I even want? Does it matter? Will I ever know, ultimately what it is that I want? 

     People sense us. They’re not sure what they think. Our parade of professionalism, or our veneer of warmth isn’t convincing to everyone. 
We are a community that isn’t a community, a cult, a gathering that does not gather. We are as threatened as the bees that cultivate our natural world. 
Isn’t that a stupid thing to say? Are you feeling pretty derisive of me right now? Sat there, probably in your underwear and a tshirt or something, a cup of soda on the side and the remnants of a snack on a cracked plate, scrolling through blog posts from all your *interests* because you’re a 3D person so lots of things *interest* you, like to do with your hobbies and “stuff”, right? 
But trust me. 
Something happens. Events in your life change you. It’s like misery or misfortune or just poor development shapes this bizarre amalgamation of human traits into this trough of peculiarity that never gets fixed.

The world isn’t riddled with this type of fuck up, but they aren’t hard to come by either. 
Patrick Bateman from American psycho put it one way (although let’s be clear I’m not likening myself to a psychopath. I like the quote. Fuck off.) 
“There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction; but there is no real me. Only an entity. Something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours, and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there.” 
Although that character is talking about a rather different sensation, in that he feels nothing, I think that the quote is rather chilling for people who have suffered any real trauma. 
Trauma numbs emotional response. It can produce anhedonia even.
     For myself I know my ability to relate and behave in a relatable way is impaired. Laughably impaired. Homeless, orphaned, physically, emotionally and sexually abused for years as a child, I AM NOT WHAT WAS INTENDED.

     I am not what evolution had in mind for a female adult in their prime. I have no ticking biological clock. Children annoy me. At best, I enjoy being childish with them until I can give them back to their parents. 
     I wax and wane in my affections. I’m easily distracted. Spooked. Friends go weeks without hearing from me. Family never hear from me. Not that I really have any of course.
But the internet is causing something to happen. These broken children, these hapless souls are finding each other. Hell, we’re even writing about this stuff on self indulgent blogs for the whole world to read. Those expressionless, wooden faces you see in the street are interlinking invisibly every second of every day. 
Our leader is our shared conundrum, our manifesto is simply to survive and blend in.

You and I don’t know each other. We never will. But someone you meet this week might know me. Not intimately, but they might know of me. They might be just like me. They might be in a better package. Or a worse package. They might be more or less emotive, but we’re out here in growing numbers and we’re not sorry for being the way we are. Setting your creepy tingly neck hairs on end when you look into our evasive, shifty eyes for the split second that you can before we look away because we can’t stand eye contact with you, you filth.
You make jokes about us sometimes. So and so wouldn’t surprise me if they shot up a school. Whatserface is the next Myra Hindley. That guy gives me the creeps. She’s so weird. Why do they fidget like that.
On and on. The cringe that runs through you when you hear that deep ominous buzzing and it could be a bee or it could be a wasp but you’re not sure yet and you’re afraid to feel that sting. 
Well we don’t care about that. Your preconceived notions mean nothing.
Because we don’t feel what you feel, it may surprise you that your opinions don’t keep us awake at night. The only thing we really care about is not ever going back to that time, not ever.
So we live, like aliens among you. We feel in our own way on our own terms. And there are more of us everyday. 
     Every time you hear misogynists ranting on the television like lunatics. Every time the news reports a sex crime. Every time a paedophile ring is busted. 
That’s us being born in great numbers. Men and women who are re-shaped into something else. Made anew. Don’t like us? Find us off putting? Do something about the people that create us.
And, you know. Save the bees.

Transatlanticism// little white ego box

There’s a saying that you should treat potential lovers like serial killers. What does that mean? I’ll clarify. There’s a phenomenon regarding a slightly odd behaviour observed in the anecdotes of young women who survived encounters with men who later turned out to be serial murderers of other unfortunate females. The killer tells their victim in some way, what their intent is. That’s to say, whatever things your potential lover accidentally tells you in the early stages of your encounters, you should BELIEVE THEM. 
     Getting ready to leave my apartment was a little surreal. I was not meeting this man through friends. I was not meeting this man through an accidental shared interest. I did not meet him at a society meeting, or a book shop or even in a bar. 

The word transaction sprang to mind. I had certainly had casual sex before but not like this. Not meeting someone with the sole intent to let them fuck me for the afternoon. But there I was. Doing it. I’d scrolled through dozens of men and spoken to more than a few. A wanton afternoon of curiosity quickly turned into an arduous task. No one interesting enough really. 
But I managed to choose someone all the same.
I had more than an agenda as the conversation progressed. I didn’t just let the conversation go wherever. I steered it. He seemed nice, maybe a little shy. But enjoyable levels of sarcasm and some interests similar to my own pushed me forward. Emboldened me. I found myself saying all sorts of things, and meaning them. 
We exchanged numbers. And then a mutual declaration of intent. A frank discussion about sexual health. We set a day, a time. And that time was now.
I’m a cocky fuck. Not much rattles me. But I was a little squirmy. I sauntered along in the sun, towards the meeting place, headphones in. But there was an undercurrent, for sure. A pulling, somewhere behind my belly button. 
He’s Canadian. Well educated. Not in my field, something very different in fact. I pushed my food around on my plate, not particularly hungry- no place for food. I was attracted to him, pretty immediately. 
We didn’t waste too much time before going back to his place. I used the bathroom and when I came out the curtains were drawn, and he was sat in a somewhat arrogant manner in his office chair. Regarding me the way I imagine he would regard an interviewee. But there was something very sexual about it. It made my cheeks a little warm to realise I kind of liked being observed like a commodity. All shades of wrong.
Under the façade of a joke I sunk to my knees on the floor, and he lunged at me, pushing me to the ground. I wanted him to hurt me a little. Why was I allowing the dynamic to change so much? Why was I so…..differently inclined by now? I didn’t really have time to consider the answers to these questions. Every time he hit me, I smiled and asked for more. 
I let him direct the encounter. I let him restrain my hands in handcuffs, whip me, bite me. He fucked me so hard it made my head spin. I’ve never slept with someone from North America before. And it pained me to admit it to myself but I felt my toes curl every time he told me in his Yankee voice that I was being a good girl as I obeyed his orders.
I’m an egalitarian. I’m not a sad victim of the patriarchy. I know what I like and what I don’t. But I liked this.
The next day, I went to his place again. Just until midnight. I wanted to fuck him again. I wanted to feel his hands on my forearms, pressing me down. How humiliating for someone like me to want such things.
Then a series of events led me to spend four days in his bed. 

I’m torn by my predicament. I was being loose. That’s how this started. I was trying something different. But I can’t deny that when he asks me now if I like being his good girl, with his mouth so close to my ear like that, and a clever hand in my underwear, I nod vehemently and I fucking mean it. Sincerely. Hearing that North American voice talking to me like he owns me…… Well, in a time of Trump and brexit, it causes me some discomfort….
It’s very different from a lot of my previous experiences. How do you reconcile yourself as a professional and as a woman, when you find yourself enjoying the feeling of a man pulling your hair and bruising your ass before he fucks you in the throat like a whore?
What a dilemma. 
When we first talked, we had the perfunctory exchange about what our expectations were. We both typed a little statement about how we weren’t looking for anything serious, but for the right person blah blah blah….and he informed me that he’s moving in four months. Fine fine fine I thought to myself, I’m used to flitting in and out of people’s lives, IDGAF right?

However. It’s not just a fuck and go situation. We hang out. We watch movies together sometimes. Our humour is actually pretty similar. Even if he is a filthy elitist compared to my free range hippie vibe. Laying in his bed, head and arm slung across his chest, I do feel something. It almost makes me want to meet his gaze, let him see me. Travelling on the train to another city close by, we earnestly discussed going on a weekend away. 
It’s like having an out of body experience, feeling this happen to me. Because I don’t remember what it was like. I don’t know what’s happening, I can’t know and neither can he. 
But i guess it would seem that how you meet someone and what kind of sex you end up having with them…it’s all good. When you see people in the streets holding hands it doesn’t cross your mind whether or not he ball gags her, or if she lets him blow his load in her hair. Because that stuff….at the end of the day, whether it’s considered degrading or not is still intimacy. It’s private. There are just loads of forms of it. No matter how uncomfortable it is to be sincere and open with somebody, the second you fuck them more than once you are slightly inviting them to see you. Terrifying, right? 

But titillating all the same.

Look at how the kids have grown

“I remember the face but I can’t recall the name….now I wonder how whatsername has been”

The days are long and light past ten now. When my alarm goes off in the morning, I feel muted and distant until I emerge from my bed, and feel the sharp crisp sting of the air outside on my face. While the day heats up, I am working, working in an environment I dreamed of, working for my place in a life I have built for myself. 
Working in a hospital is like an endless parade of all the oddities life has to offer, every type of person graces the halls like a curiosity. I smile a lot, and I walk up and down all day long until my feet feel like lead and I fall into my apartment exhausted when the sky is finally getting dark. 

Every time I learn a new skill, every time I succeed in some new medical endeavour, I feel this elation that I haven’t ever truly experienced before. I feel like my whole life has been leading up to this. I’m on placement until late August, and juggling working, assignments and planning for my next trip abroad. Time just feels like it’s flying. It got me thinking about how the days blur into one and it can be hard to remember particular events. I ended up seeking out footage from the last few months, recycled from the phones of friends et cetera, leading me to the disturbing realisation that the electronic appliances of my friends know more about my life than I do to some extent….I compiled them into a trash dump at the bottom of this post if you want to witness the bric a brac of my recent days…
I recall a strange moment, when I was sitting, foggy eyed on the bus on the way back into work, when my iPod put on a song straight from my late high school years. Back then, we were all super excited to live in a time where green day were releasing a new album which meant we could put dookie away for five minutes and listen to billie joe drawl out something new. I sat on the bus, 26 years old and in the golden era of my life listening to this crumbling relic of a song from a time where I got sent back to France for a couple of terms because my behaviour in my English school had gotten out of hand. 
     As the ethnic shops funded by the EU -that Britain will be leaving soon- flew past the window, billie joe sang into my ear the last refrain that I knew so well, and yet had not heard for so long;
“The regrets are useless in my mind.

     She’s in my head, I must confess”
I remember being the only one in school that spoke fluent English, and telling them that the words were “the mud rats are beginning to whine, Jesus likes bread I must confess” and the others were like “what does that mean in french?” And I told them something completely different. I got a real kick out of them singing “the mud rats are beginning to whine, Jesus likes bread I must confess” but thinking they were singing this profoundly meaningful line…

I remember listening to the song by myself, in bed at night and wondering what it would be like to feel the things described in the song. What would it be like to wonder about someone that you’ll never see again? 
So strange that this lamenting little tune only sparks a slight nostalgia in me now, remembering a time when I was still developing as a person, still slightly unsure, still slightly lost. Listening to it now is a trip because I know exactly who I am, I know exactly what I like and what I do not like, and I know I’m on my way somewhere (just not necessarily specifically where). 

Like billie joe sings in the song “it seems like forever ago…” that I felt unsure of who I was. There’s a comfort in knowing that I don’t have to wonder who I am anymore.

     If having this experience with my spinal tumour has taught me anything, it is that I was right. When I cemented my motto of not letting any experience slip through my fingers, that was exactly the way I needed to live. I lost sight of that for a short while, but I think that sometimes losing something and sorely missing it is the best way of figuring out how to hold onto it for good.

It’s so easy to doubt yourself, and to think that you’re not doing good enough, or that you’re failing in some way because your vision is not in alignment with the vision that other people hold for their lives. But you’ve just got to decide what you want and go for it. 
For me, all I want is to feel happiness and excitement on a regular basis, be healthy in my mind and healthy in my body and to make worthwhile connections with people (not necessarily long term ones!) 
I’ve felt like an alien so many times in the past, disconnected and disjointed from people around me. I guess listening to music from my past makes me wish I could use the songs as a medium to talk to that teenage girl and tell her that it’s all just part of growing up, and that life gets better and better. 
I’ve been looking at myself through the eyes of others a lot, especially in the recycled footage from friends phones over the last year, and I’ve been finding that what I see now is different to what I maybe thought was there. It’s a strange sensation to not recognise yourself really for a long time, and then suddenly to greet yourself head on like an old friend.

I love meeting new people, and listening to their ideas and participating in their projects. I love that right now, that’s what my life is centred around. I’m just doing things I love all the time. The people around me are chasing dreams of their own, and we have the chance to find one another’s dreams beautiful and moving. 
I think that’s something to really cherish in times as troubling as these. 
Who are you? Are you happy with what your life has become? Where does your mind go when you listen to the songs of your youth? Are you in love? Are you heartbroken? What makes you feel alive? 

Joyeuses Pâques..

Watch my trash here: PHONES ARE THE NEW PLAGUE

-Here are some irrelevant pieces of phone footage. There are so many polished, pristine pieces of film on the crusty internet, my gift to you is grainy bullshit nuggets of my recent life. Phones are the new plague. Ciao.