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.

Lucky lucky

Shake up some san pellegrino and blast it into my asshole and ask me if it’s still or sparkling. Ask me where I’m going and wait for me to tell you I don’t know. 
I’m not puking rhetoric and bullshit for the good of my time or my health, so why am I doing it at all. Why does anyone write anything. Why are we so obsessed with documenting everything on the internet?
Shit, dog, ask someone else. Anyone else.
I’ve been having a fairly nice time lately. Lingering on the cusp of romance with him or her; here and there, travelling around wherever. Doing whatever. 

It hasn’t felt all that taxing to hand in work once or twice a term, sit an exam, on the understanding that a fuck-tonne of the rest of my time is MY TIME.
It’s been fulfilling and I have so little to moan about when I’m this…..not malcontent.
So if I’m not going to moan, what the shit else is there to do? Well big things are going on in my life right now….so I’m going to twiddle on about something small. Tiny. Inconsequential. 
I have an underactive thyroid. My clinical symptoms were negligible when it was diagnosed, years ago. Normally people who have this get fat, lose their hair and develop dry skin, all the while experiencing draining fatigue. I experienced none of this. Seriously. Not one symptom. It got picked up on during a check for something entirely else. My TSH test showed up as being something ridiculous in the region of 98. So ever since, I’ve been taking thyroxine. 
What the fuck am I rambling on about? Well, this condition requires me to go get a blood test at certain intervals. And one of them fell this week.
I sat there in this complete shit hole of a walk in centre. Seriously, it was like every festival toilet queefed their contents into a centre for troubled youth, and there we all were sitting in there together hating every moment while the building’s security and reception staff minced about ineffectually, irritated by their own perfunctory existence. 
I was on my own, which was weird, as I normally recruit people to flank my attendance to this type of boring formality. But I forgot about it. And I don’t want to call people off the cuff in case it gives them the impression that they can call me off the cuff. Which I do not prefer. 
So I was sat there, alone, waiting. This place is such a sewer that they still work on a “take a ticket, take a seat” basis, so I was sat there with my ticket, getting stared at by people who obviously thought I was a curiosity in my heels, with my hair blow-dried all big and my lipstick. I needed to pass the time as I had like ten fucking tickets ahead of me, and all the accidental eye contact with grim strangers was making me nauseous. 
So I made a deal with the universe. 
I was sat there, thinking “well here I am. There is no better time for you to talk to me. I am literally otherwise completely Disengaged. Talk to me.” 

I looked around for something to demand. Anything. I stared up at the ancient red LED lights on the ticket marquee. The ticket number and the allocated bay. 
“Give me seven” I thought to myself. I made all sorts of things that me getting bay seven would mean. Implications about love, how my life was going to go henceforth, my health. Everything. 
“If you give me seven, it means all of these things are true. All these great things are true. If I get bay seven, that is you, the universe, telling me they’re true.”
I bargained and bargained. The whole time I sat there. I watched other tickets get called, bay four bay two bay nine. I repeated it in my head like a maniac.
I got seven.
It means nothing I know. Nothing nothing nothing at all. How could it possibly? It cannot and does not.

I was so stunned, I took a picture of it. And my ticket. But then I realised, I can never prove the thought that was in my own head. That moment was all me. I can’t give it to anyone, because it only exists in my head.
But as I walked away to let some stranger stick a needle in my arm, I felt strangely comforted. Reassured. Mental, I know. Why be reassured by something that means nothing.
But I think the whole incident speaks volumes about where I am right now. I’m allowing things to make me happy. No matter what they are. I think I’ll always have a baseline of sadness. It’s hard to have a past, and it’s worrying to have a future. But I think I’m easing my grip on those things a small amount, and it is just making my present so much more pleasurable. 

It’s a total revelation. Everything else just seems so silly in comparison. Why did I ever let myself get tangled in perspectives that weren’t my own? Family burdens, friendship expectations, colleagues. I mean who are they really, except just separate entities that have no jurisdiction over my life. 
I feel like right now, anything could happen and if it was good and I wanted it, I could open my arms and welcome it in. Anything. Do I sound psychotic? Maybe I am. And I fucking love it. I want more of it. Much more.
The people I’m meeting lately, the people I’m spending time with (why are so many of them fucking danish anyway…??) I’m not sure at what point it happens, but each time my life changes a huge amount I have a moment of lucidity, a sort of whiplash where I just have this feeling of “wow, this is all so different to before”. 

     I guess I’m taking a long time to say something very simple which is I think my experiences are becoming more tangibly positive (once again, as opposed to for the first time) because my attitude has finally shifted from learned pessimism to open minded hedonism. I was always a hedonist really, but I’ve had patches of real apathy. I’m not talking about magazine page, Facebook status apathy. I’m talking lay under the duvet and die. Sit under the bare sky all night in shorts and a t-shirt in winter apathy. I might die because I am not looking after myself apathy. Idiot apathy.
My experience with my back is teaching me that emotional pain and physical pain can often be treated in similar ways. There’s so much in the world to distract you that if you just fucking live in it, then it’s fucking tantalisingly wonderful. 

     I’m starting a placement in an oncology ward this month, and taking a fair few trips. So I’ll have something less wanky to say next post I’m sure….
But put your fingers in the dirt people, and enjoy the way it crumbles.
We only get one go.

The chameleon soul

It’s hard to feel truly free amongst concrete and pollution, until you decide nothing really matters. There’s a lot of romanticism involved in the idea of drifters and wanderers, but in reality my mother is just that. She never really felt comfortable anywhere, unless she knew she wasn’t staying long. I don’t talk about her all that often, and in truth she never really has been my mother. She’s a complicated woman, who despite her age still has raven black curls and skin like sand. She is beautiful still, perhaps because she found the way to live that keeps her completely alive.  

     I don’t want to deceive you. She isn’t the best person. People who live on a wing and a prayer rarely are. I can’t ever imagine her decaying in a nursing home or paying a mortgage. She makes connections, all over the world, and moves to the next place soon after. But she has a child. I am her child. She has other children too, make no mistake. With other men. Other stories.
I only know my story. Our story. But she has many others. Recently though, I realised that I do too. 
I wonder sometimes, how much do I resemble her, physically and in temperament. My hair is not black. My skin is too pale for sand. I have my father’s eyes, with only a slither of her colour in one. A lopsided stare and my mother tongue are her only resonant gifts to me. 
     I had a horror, when I was a little girl, of being just like her. She made friends with strange men, some of them a lot older than her. She would come out and find me, and then we would sleep at their house. She never learned to drive, so we travelled everywhere by train, coach, ferry. Sometimes she would stand at the side of the road with me on her hip, and tell me to put my thumb out. 
     Some of the men didn’t want to speak to me, so she would usher me to whatever bed, makeshift or real that awaited me inside, shushing me and telling me it was time to sleep. Because of this I can fall asleep anywhere, and fast. 

Other times, they were pleased to see me and would fuss over me, tell her I was sweet with my broken English and my easy smile.
      On some level, I think I knew that she was doing something with them that I didn’t want to know about. But I never saw it with my own eyes. 
I asked her once if the nastier ones ever paid her. She just shrugged.
I remember her doing her eye makeup in the mirror in a public bathroom, and some lady tutting at her and rolling her eyes. When I was little, I thought the lady was jealous because my maman was pretty. But now I think maybe she thought we were a certain ‘type’ of people.

And we are. A certain type of people. It isn’t anything to be proud of. My mother was from a fairly well to do french family. I never met my grandpère but grandmaman told me he was loving to my mother. They had a large farmhouse in central France, with horses and lots of land. Still today, a tree swing from her childhood rots in the garden in the rainy months, drying to an aching, crispy texture in summer, creaking when it rocks but still functioning, like the bones of an old, old lady.
My grandmaman had a secret of her own, it turns out. On a trip to Versailles with her cousins, she fell in love with an Iranian man. She returned home, sad and heartbroken at the prospect of him being back in some anonymous dusty place, never to be seen again. She found out soon enough that she was pregnant. With my mother. 

     I don’t think she lacked for any love, despite her obvious lack of genetic kinship with her father. I don’t think she wanted anything, needed anything that she didn’t receive. 
I don’t truly blame her. Some people are just flighty, restless. 
I feel it too. Coming back to the UK after all those months alone, and only the occasional nightly company of pure strangers, was incredibly difficult. Muscles that were not exercised were once again needed. Social propriety, consideration. Alone is a selfish life, it’s just that it doesn’t hurt anybody at the time. 

     It didn’t take long for that feeling to return. That feeling that I need to get out of here. I know my travelling will be so much more fruitful once I have this qualification that I crave, I’ll be able to do things I’ll feel really good about. But sometimes I just need to not know where I’m going, or who with. 
I’ve been leaving on a Thursday night, with my backpack, to hitch somewhere. Anywhere really. Salisbury. Ely. Brighton. Gwynedd. The weekend just gone I made it up to the isle of Aran. 
The best kind of friend is the friend you have for one or two nights. They’re all out there, doing this exact same thing. Not really going anywhere, but going somewhere all the same. They never let you down. You never fight. You never think the worst of each other. None of your jokes are tired. None of your habits are all that annoying. After having this night, or these few nights, with these people or this person…..you say goodbye, good luck and you mean it so sincerely that it moves you almost to tears walking down to the nearest main road.
I feel warm when I think of these people. And the world doesn’t feel all that big. I did this in Europe, I’ve done this in England. Someday I’ll do it in Asia, America, anywhere. 
     When I come back it feels like a dream in some ways. I did it, but it’s gone now and I rarely have any photos or trinkets as aide-memoirs. 
I realised recently that I probably won’t see my mother all that many more times. She’s off, somewhere in Croatia right now. She met a new friend while visiting France, and they left together soon after. 
The reason I can’t imagine her being old enough to need nursing care is because she probably won’t ever be that old. I think some people live frenetic lives and spare themselves the indignity of dying old.
I’m beginning to make peace with being her daughter, and all that this means for me. We share some traits, and in other ways are poles apart. But the things she instilled in me are that you’re never going to lack friends and fun if you put yourself out there, love is many different things and none of those things are easy to understand, money is nice but it freeze dries the heart that cares too much about it and it is never ever too late to pick up and try again somewhere else. 
     I posted a picture of myself in Aran at the weekend to the old farmhouse in France. She’ll go there eventually, and open the envelope, wondering if the writing might be mine. She’ll see the photo, and probably feel a range of emotions. I know she’s proud of me in her own way. I know she’ll resent me in her own selfish manner. I know she’ll respect the bliss on my face, dancing outside in the freezing cold among people I have never known. And maybe, but only maybe, she might miss me just a small amount. But the strongest urge she’ll feel, as ever, is to run and run far away. I feel it too.

If you’re ready (Fun in the meantime)

A year of fleeting days, unappreciated, is no time at all. But when you consider a moment spent looking at the birds, or feeling air touch your skin a year becomes hundreds of thousands of those moments and really a very long time indeed.
     What does a brand new year mean, when every 24 hours we are given a brand new day?

Like a hermit crab, I have scuttled out of my old shell in search of a new, bigger one. Times are different, and old words mean new things. 
But enough of that shit. What does that even mean? 
This time last year I wasn’t a person. Seriously, I’m not fucking joking. In terms of getting anywhere close to having ‘resolutions’ I have held some small values, little promises that in action are not all that significant but in meaning are large.
I won’t write about that shit again.

I’ll try to help the homeless problem in my new city (it’s seriously probably the worst in the country)

I won’t worry about the future

So in layman terms those boil down to: staying out of the mud (life is wicked short and thinking of the bad does nothing), doing something for people I don’t know just because it puts some good out there into the world, and living RIGHT NOW.
I have a course of meds, whose purpose is to temporarily stop the growth in my spine. I’ll be hoping to have a surgery for that a little later in the year. My new term begins on the 9th, and my grades have been all been in excess of 80%. I’ve worked hard, and I’m proud of myself. I’m gearing up to go back out to Africa before I graduate, and then again after I graduate. 
     This Christmas I’ve been back in the north with a rented car, just reconnecting with people. I’ve noticed how much a little appreciation of my surroundings helps me to stay in the moment and stay well. 

Sometimes my back hurts me so badly, such an aggressive bone pain that I can’t even bear to lay on it, but sitting isn’t comfortable either. The relief has turned out not to be in pain killers, but in the cold winter air, the dark sky and a hot mug between my hands. 
One particular day was so glorious. The sun was ridiculously bright, but the temperature was crisp. I walked up a fell with friends and looked down at the Lake. We walked seven miles in a circle and then came into one of the towns. We sat and drank hot chocolate outside the little grotto, under heat lamps, looking up at the moon and Venus. As they were closing, the sweet waiter gave us free cups of thick traditional Swiss recipe hot chocolate, and we sat enjoying them, our breaths fogging the space outside of the heat lamp’s umbrella of warmth. My dog sat contentedly at my feet, and I remember looking at the baubles still hanging from the greenery around the top of the grotto. 

     It was a simple day. Ended by a drive in the car down the country lanes so fast, everything shooting by, struck with light from our headlamps and then gone forever. But it was special. Special to me. 
I think that’s all life is.
There are things that happen that are hard to deal with, or painful even. But the time you have here doesn’t pause while you get over it, or fix things. It keeps going. And so, that’s my ‘resolution’ in its purest form. To carry on as well. Whenever my thoughts start to get loud, dominating my experience, I’m going to come back to the room. Back into my toes, my fingers, my eyes. 

I used to frown on this ‘living for the moment’ dogma. And while I’ll never preach it, I’m certainly trying now to live by it.

It doesn’t feel so bad that we’ll all die, that I’LL die, if I know that I’ve been awake in the experience of every moment, and even if I haven’t actively made it everything it could be, I’ve enjoyed it for what it was. IS.
So far I’ve found that living this way makes old friends feel connected again, old haunts feel electric and days feel oh so long.
I’ve done a lot of things and I’ve been to a lot of places. But lately I’ve rekindled that feeling that there’s so much else. 
I can’t ask for more than to feel that.
Bonne Année, 

Happy 2017 fuckers.