Shower thoughts #1

Why do I get spots on one side of my face, but almost never the other?

(And why is the clear side of my face, also the side that I sleep on?)

Why does Disney want me to cry at least once during every film?

Will I ever feel like a grown up? And if I don’t then, how do I know if I am one?

Why do people hit on people in bars and not book stores, or Boots? Offer to buy my face cream, not a triple Vodka – that’s real love.

Supermarkets place baskets all over the stores, but never trollies – even though the only time I’ll admit I need one is when my basket is too heavy half way round the shop.

I have no idea what peoples dicks being out has to do with Harambe.

Do I have to use dishwasher salt? How often? How much? Where does it go?

I think cars should have little fans by the tyres, like road sweepers, to blow away any glass, heavy rain or small birds.

I wonder what the next human evolutionary trait will be?

How much are our governments really hiding from us? Is it all as big as aliens and plots, or is it more like tax codes and text messages?

Why do I never look as good in pictures as I do in my make up mirror?

… Even when I try to take a picture of the mirror…?

Why is it ok to eat in front of people, but not to poop with people?

What causes that warm fuzzy feeling when you cuddle into someone you care about?

I want my cat to be able to speak to me, more than I want to learn other human languages.

 

An explanation, and an apology.

Making idle conversation or forcing questions and answers doesn’t come easily to me.My instincts yell “answer quickly, brush it off and your turn will be over!”, it’s only when my sparring partner finds themselves on a topic which captures their interest long enough for them to begin talking unaided that I’m able to relax and close back down again. Remember being in school; the teacher scanning the room for a victim to question, everyone bowing their heads and praying they won’t be picked? That’s me.

So why is it that all of my school reports from toddler to teen say that I am chatty, loud, sometimes bossy and find it impossible to keep my opinions to myself? Reports of my unabashed vivacity far outlasting any reputation as a wallflower type?

A strong child, far too self-assured. A selfish teenager, absorbed entirely by my own emotions, blind to the victims I left scattered behind me. A daring young adult, if something could hurt me, I wouldn’t care if it did – I dared it to, desperate to be shocked.

“Like a pig in shit”, was how I described my darker moments. Like climbing on monkey bars high up in the trees, a harness on, but just in case. To climb to the other side; you’re tired, your muscles hurt, your hands are blistered and you’re tempted every second to just sit into the harness and let yourself swing. Usually, I would get up, hang onto the monkey bars and get myself across from morning to night. Other times, I would relax my whole body and let myself fall. Other times I would jump so I could thud back down – hoping I could bungee my way back up, or if not – for it to snap and let me collide with the ground.

More often than not, I would just close my eyes, let go of the bars, and let myself sit back into the harness, a long breath out and a perceptible shift in my mental equator. This always scared me the most. When I would choose to jump, there was a part of me that did it because I was hoping to be hurled back up to the bars, the results were often far more devastating, but usually only had short term effects. A quick stroll into the middle of a busy road, a swift razor to the thigh, a forceful fist to the throat, a shot or two of a Dettol cocktail. Whatever would be a mental slap in the face, a shake, to wake me up and scare me back into wanting to climb the monkey bars. I don’t remember this method ever working. It did, however, tire me out enough to make me sleep for a couple of days and when I woke, I would usually have enough in me to plod back along again.

What scared me, was the long breath out. The relaxing of the shoulders, the drop in my stomach and the glee of the dark, rubbing it’s hands together in the back of my mind, furious with me for having been gone for so long. The punishments cooked up and ready for me, the penance. For it to carry me, to keep me up, to take over, I had to deserve it’s direction. To pass the tests, to see if I was good enough yet. “throw away your favourite childhood book, don’t question why”, “cut your new jeans in half, you don’t deserve them anyway”, “£20 note? tear it up.”, “tell your boyfriend you kissed someone else, hurt him”. I had to prove that nothing physical mattered, that I wouldn’t chose any of it over the darkness. I had to put her first, above everyone and everything else. No limit could remain, otherwise she wouldn’t take me.

Maybe I always became too comfortable in the darkness, because I always ended up slipping out of it. The cruel irony of getting what you want, is that you become a certain kind of happy, and slowly, you lose sight. You chatter away to her as you stroll along, until you turn around and realise she isn’t with you anymore, and you’re alone, talking to yourself. Like a child, lost in a supermarket, you panic and think of all the terrible things that might happen now that you’re alone. You felt much, much safer in the dark.

But the door to get back, requires a very certain type of exhaustion. The great grandchild of panic, the grandchild of desperation, the child of succumbing, a submissive newborn. To be reborn into this state, takes time and coincidence, it cannot be born of deliberate desire. And every second alone counts.

As with everything, there is a fast lane into the neonate state. I bought and consumed a lot, all day, everyday. Eyes blurred and head fuzzy, I found that I could fall into a newborn state much more easily. I could collapse myself and let her take over. As long as I could keep up the intake, she would stay with me, it was too cloudy for her to leave.

That is how I ended up in the waiting room at a drug addiction facility. Criticising the brown, short-pile carpet with stain camouflaging patterns. Wracking my brain to try and figure out if I had spoken to the lady at reception or if I had just walked in here, sat down and said nothing. She was surely wondering why the fuck I hadn’t come over to her yet. So maybe I had, walked in, introduced myself and she had told me to sit down. Surely I wouldn’t have sat myself down? Did a doctor tell me to come here, did I google it, or just walk in off the street? And which street am I on, am I even in the city I think I’m in? But, more urgently, did the receptionist just ask me something, or am I now just looking at her like a lunatic? Is she definitely the receptionist or am I supposed to answer some sort of questions now? How long have I been here, has it been silent this whole time? Am I definitely here? Maybe I’ll wake up in my own bed and it will all be ok.

I remember being taken into a room with a lady, I remember she had a brown folder and she wrote some notes. I don’t remember a single word that she said, and I have no idea if I said anything out loud back to her. I don’t remember standing up and leaving, or walking out of the building.

I remember spending days locked in my room, seeing no one, not even drinking water, terrified of making a single sound in case someone heard me. Controlling my breathing to make it as quiet as possible. Standing with my ear pressed to the door in case someone was outside. I remember a knock on my door and I froze, it was the loudest noise I had ever heard, and I was absolutely petrified, I stayed perfectly still until it became light outside again, barely breathing. My muscles were so stiff that it took me nearly an hour to be able to stand up. The second I did, I passed out and woke up with dried bile crusty on my cheek. For months, I lost the feeling in my hands and feet and my eyes were always fuzzing and filling up with black from inside my brain. I was constantly bruised, my face was funny colours, all of the veins in my chest were clearly visible and you could see them all going to my heart, my frame was sharp and pointed.

I had gotten into an elevator, going up and up and up through the ceiling into space and way past my brains comprehension, I went to the outer edges of the universe, to islands far beyond, and then new islands further than that. I was outside of it all, observing the metaphysical from a distance. No longer myself, or anything at all, just an observing thing. with nothing hidden behind me, no consciousness or even sub-conscience, I was at the very back looking at everything in front.

I looked at my body as if it was hidden behind a TV screen, it didn’t belong to me anyway. Part of it belonged to the me that used to slice into it to see if the blood would still run. Part of it belonged, safely, with the boy who protected it for a time. Part of it belonged to the man who spiked my drink and took too many of my Firsts at an 18th birthday party. Part of it belonged to smiling photographs for people I thought I loved enough. Part of it belonged to the men who excited themselves with broken little girls. Part of it belonged to the victims in my wake, to the hearts I left open and exposed. Some parts, I had tried to donate to anyone who wanted to take them. But the rest of it, was hers.

I used to cut, very slowly, eyes always wide open, fascinated at how the skin could fall apart so easily, and little bubbles of fat and flesh would be visible for so long before the blood would start to come. That was me, my gluttony, with my own body. But that was when I was young and still bold. After you take the long breath out, it’s no longer up to you. Eyes would be closed, moving quickly, slip, not bothering to take care of it, anything to add to the shame, to make for better punishment.

I once wrote; “I don’t remember what my voice used to sound like, how I used to speak. I don’t recognise any of the voices inside my head, even the voice reading this as I write, all I know, is that they all must really, really hate me, and I don’t think I know why anymore”

I remember feeling like a child as I wrote it. I remember writing it and believing it with every atom of my being, any pride of self preservation was gone, any sense of entitlement or dignity was diminished.I remember feeling a group of grown ups yell and shout abuse at me as I wrote it, betraying the privacy of them as secrets. I was a bullied child, and I didn’t know what I had done wrong, what I had done to make them all so hateful. I knew I was truly, truly sorry and I knew I was alone.

****

But then it was summer. And my body was cared for. Still sometimes punished, but always then mollified.

****

I can still remember how to be bolshie, vivacious, sassy, curt and crude. I know how to be shocking and brave, to say things that are controversial and bold.

But when I come home, I like to nestle in for the night, to hide behind locked doors and closed windows, to relax knowing that I cannot be seen or heard. To spend some time saying nothing at all and decompressing the day. I like living in the cold, logical reality of the world. I find comfort in pragmatism and scepticism. Pessimism makes me feel safe and guarded, protected and realistic. I don’t like getting lost, or not knowing the plan or what’s going to happen, I hate getting drunk or sleepy and its never a good idea for me to spend too much time alone. I know, not very romantic, or spontaneous, I can’t stand surprises, I don’t want to run away with anyone and get lost or go on adventures that haven’t been planned out – preferably by me. Don’t try to get me to go anywhere with you without telling me exactly where we’re going and what time I’ll be home. I will not sleep if I’m at someone elses house and I’d rather die than to stay there anyway.

And yes, I know you thought I was dangerous and wild and a little bit untamed. You thought I would push your limits and take you places you’ve never been, you thought we’d get lost together and go to mysterious places for no reason. Fall asleep on trains with you and wake up some place new. You caught me at the wrong time I suppose, you should have met me in 2012. You could have come with me in strangers cars into dark alleys to be introduced to men with knives in their belts and sickly looking women sitting behind them. You could have joined me when I would run up and down the railings on motorways and slept in bus stations. When I would leave at 4am and return days later, with no one, for nothing. But I’m a little more cautious now in 2016, older, more brittle. I look forward to locking the door behind me in an empty flat, or going shopping alone. I enjoy the mundane Tesco shop, I like cleaning the kitchen, I like anything that feels real, normal, light.

Sorry to disappoint you. But not that sorry, because I would rather you leave me all alone, than to have to go back to that part of my life.

 

 

 

 

JFT96.

Today, the results of the Hillsborough inquest were finally concluded. For the people of Liverpool, this has been a journey that the city has lived along side for over two decades. Today, I wanted to write about an outsiders point of view. I moved here in 2011, from Cambridgeshire. I have no history, no claim and no right to this city I now call home. I am an outsider.

Around a year and a half ago, I was sat on a balcony with a guy I worked with, this person is a Liverpool native, and is now my best friend and boyfriend – Dave. He presumed that I would already understand what his “96” tattoo represented. I, naively didn’t have a clue. I had never even heard of Hillsborough, I didn’t know where it was, what it was, when it happened or what happened. With complete openness, honesty, respect and patience, Dave explained to me exactly what happened and answered all of my questions without offence or judgement. To him, it was something he had grown up knowing about, for me, it was brand new information, and I couldn’t believe that something so horrific had been silenced to me.

After hearing the graphic descriptions and shocking numbers and facts about the event, I tried to stay respectfully calm. Our conversation moved on and a few hours later I went home. But I couldn’t get the images of Hillsborough out of my mind, I thought about it more than a few times a day, every single day, for a long time. I was shocked by my own ignorance, I was shaken by the disgusting behaviour of a system designed to protect us, I was hurt by the lies published and never revoked, but mostly I felt so strongly for the people left behind. I would find myself crying at random intervals, plagued by the graphic images. I could think of no way to help.

I cannot even begin to fathom the sheer terror and panic that each individual will have experienced, having no control at all, and being fully aware of the situation, knowing what was going on, and knowing that you won’t survive. There are statements from parents, children, friends, strangers, of the heroic and horrific things that people did in order to try to save each others lives. Fathers, sucking the vomit out of their children’s mouths to stop them choking to death. Mothers, only being able to save one child and leaving the other behind. Children, presumed dead and piled among dead bodies. Siblings, being swept away from each other and left to die alone. Strangers, breaking their own bones to help another try and make it to safety.

But, for the families, it is a whole different kind of fear. Vague phone calls, police statements, seeing the footage on the news . The not knowing seems, to me, somehow worse. The waiting, the worry, the stress. For some people their children, husbands, wives, parents, came home that day. For some people, they were able to visit them in hospital before they came home. But for too many people, their loved ones never said hello again. Imagine having dinner ready for your family for when they came home from the match, your biggest concern is wondering whether their team won or lost, a dinner table of food slowly going cold and the realisation that you will have to scrape that food into the bin because there is no one coming home to eat it. Going into their houses, their bedrooms, still alive with their old socks and dented pillows, unfinished school work, half empty shampoo bottles. For the families who have lost their loved ones, they will forever wonder what happened, exactly what happened. Did someone try to help them or did they die unnoticed by anyone at all? These families have had to cope with grief that is unimaginable.

These people, the people left behind, went to bed that night and began the next day with a headline from The Sun newspaper stating that fans were robbing from the dead, pissing on dead bodies, were drunk and violent. That the police did all they could, but the overwhelming scum of Liverpool was too much for them.

That, is fucking disgusting.

In the days that followed, it had been decided. It was the fault of the fans, they were the reason that people died that day. Legally, it was stated as “accidental death” on the death certificates. For 27 years, the media has lied to the people. And for 27 years, the people have called bullshit.

There is nothing in this world, quite as powerful as the mums of the Hillsborough victims. The South Yorkshire police force, are no force. Hillsborough mums, are a real force. They have battled, and campaigned for over two decades for justice and for truth.

Today, they won.

I am an outsider. Today, I cried as I watched the results come through. I cried for the families who can finally find some peace, I cried for the people who have fought so tirelessly for all of these years who can finally stop  fighting. Today, this incredible city took a long breath out and has been vindicated, at last. I have such infinite respect for the families of the victims, who never stopped fighting. They could have focused on their grief and on working through it, accepting the decision and been content knowing the truth for themselves, they could have given up the fight after the first decade, but this is not a city that settles and these are not the mums who would lay down their swords. This inquiry could have lasted another 50 years, and the fight would still not have been silenced. It takes a lot for the public to win against the media, against the police force, against the government, against the prime minister. It is so rare that the truth honestly wins, and today I am lucky enough to have been able to witness such a momentous occasion.

Justice for the 96, is no longer a command from the people. It is a statement of what has been achieved by the people.

JFT96.

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Thanks Mum

Something that my mother always instilled into me was a strong, ingrained sense of self-worth. My mother – although technically bred to be a southern fairy who dotes on her offspring and rejoices in sprucing her abode – could never quite stomach the thought of being a housewife, or a typical southern lady, or frankly any image of woman that placed her below ‘man’ or as a secondary being. Her strength was something I grew up around, and from such, was absorbed as my own mantra.

I am lucky, and incredibly privileged, to have been raised by such a strong woman and am eternally grateful that I was able to grow up with the knowledge and belief that I am not subordinate, but equal – not just to men, but to other women as well. (Thanks mum)

The term ‘feminism’ has a fairly bad rap, its about letting our pit hair grow freely, letting our children run riot and demanding double standards and unfair expectations of men as some sort of punishment for our unfair treatment. It’s also recently become almost ‘trendy’ to be feminist, with a lot of people jumping on the band-wagon without really understanding it. I am certainly a strong feminist, and while I fully support the human choice to allow any area of body hair an equal chance to flourish, I choose not to. Shock horror. Katie Price, Jodie Marsh, Adriana Lima, Oprah, Beyonce; any of these women could all equally be feminists – the point is that it is not about looks, or how anyone may appear to be, it is about an attitude and an opinion – the right to be an equal. It is not about taking a side, or about choosing women over men, or about punishing or devaluing men, it is about promoting a freedom of living in which there is no need to make a choice at all. It would be absurd for any human to be chosen for a job over another for any reason other than merit, or for any human to be dismissed for a spurious or unjust judgement, it is insane to me that – on average – women get paid less than men for doing the same job, working the same hours, even in industries that typically champion a strong feminine role such as the music industry.

I am not denying that there is a difference between men and women – that much is clear; if there was no difference then there would be no need to classify them in different terms. There are plenty of things that most men are better at, and plenty that most women are better at, this is in part because we are physically composed of different stuff. My gripe is when an individual – male or female – is not given an equal opportunity because of a stereotype; there will be men who are better at the more stereotypically ‘female’ roles and vice-versa. A feminist is fighting equally for both men and women to be given equal opportunity. (should I say ‘equal’ again? One more time maybe.. equal.. have I said it enough yet? equal, equal)

Honestly, the term ‘feminist’ has always bothered me a little. As a racist – you have racial bias, as a sexist – you have gender bias, as with most of the ‘ists’ there seems to be bias involved, a preference one way or the other concerning a specific classification of human – be it gender, race, political beliefs or religion (among others). The term ‘feminist’ initially assumes a prejudice, it assumes that a feminist will be bias towards the feminine, which is inaccurate.The goal of feminism is equality, not a victory of the feminine over the masculine.

I would like to see the perception of feminists changed. A male feminist does not in any way have to be feminine, nor does a woman. The most masculine human alive could very well be a feminist – and it would in no way affect their status as ‘the most masculine’. As the old saying goes; “every little helps” (thanks Tesco), for every tiny voice fighting against prejudice and distorted stereotypes, it is a part of a larger voice. Knowledge is power, and education is key. Even if this post reaches only one person, at least it is out there as a tiny voice, hopefully contributing to a much larger one.

I promote equality, freedom and choice – this is my tiny voice. Hi 🙂

A day in the life…

So I thought it might be kind of fun to show you guys what I get up to in an average weekend day so you get a better picture of who I am (dangerous move no?) During the week I tend to work slightly shorter hours, so insert extra Netflix and sleep where appropriate for those days.

So welcome to my average weekend day…

7:00am – Alarm goes off. Hit snooze. Roll over for cuddles.

7:10am – Snooze. Grunt.

7:20am – Snooze. Grunt. Guilt.

7:25am – Cling to man and bury face in hopes that the day will go away.

7:30am– Haul ass out of bed due to desperate bathroom needs.

7:35am – Wash face, tone face, apply eye-cream, apply serum, apply secondary serum, apply moisturiser. Internally mull over high maintenance skin routine and curse my skin for being so needy.

7:50am – Roll around in make-up drawer and hope it lands on my face

8:15am – Pull on any clothes that are; 1) all black 2) most closely resemble pyjamas

8:20am – Late for work. Say goodbye to sleeping duvet burrito human and leave apartment.

8:40am – Finally arrive at work (only 10 minutes late), make coffee, make toast. begin day.

8:40am – 6:30pm – super boring work stuff.

6:45pm – Arrive home, throw everything on floor and flop into bed with duvet burrito human and proceed to binge on Netflix.

8:30pm – Hunger is now unbearable, forage around in kitchen for anything edible and not mouldy

9:00pm – Man leaves house for ‘work’ (he’s a musician.. it doesn’t count). And my fun really begins.

9:15pm – Remove make-up, cleanse face, apply face mask, hair mask, body mask, foot mask, all the masks.

9:45pm – Make 100th cup of tea of the day, put on a Disney film, paint nails, mess the bedroom up somehow, browse social media, be lazy.

11:30pm – Shower off all masks, clean self, brush teeth, return to bed for Netflix and second coat on nails

12:45pm – Final skin-care mission; wash face, tone face, eye cream, all the serums, all the oils (This is also around the time I decide whether to go out and watch my human play instruments, or stay home. At the weekends, I tend to stay home – longer hours at work – but during the week I’ll usually play supportive girlfriend and haul my old ass into young people town and pretend to drink alcohol.)

1:30am – Set alarm and nod off to sleep

2:30am – Am awoken by sweaty man bearing take-out food and cuddles

3:00am – Sleep. sweet, beautiful, glorious sleep.

So there you go, you probably weren’t interested but that is my honest day. I know a lot of people like to add in “go to the gym, volunteer in a dog shelter, donate to charity, cook 5 course meal for friends” – that is not my reality, my reality is Netflix and sometimes I bring home some sandwiches that went out of date at work. Glamour.

Ten things we are not ready for.

Officially, I have to go out into the world and Adult now. It is expected that in my years of being alive, I have naturally just slid into competent adulthood seamlessly from adolescence and therefore have magically evolved the inherent knowledge necessary for Adulting. As it goes, I have – on paper – got all the necessary qualifications for adulthood; I live in a city centre apartment with my partner, we are considering getting a dog, I have a full time job, I pay bills on time, I sometimes wear high heels in the day time, and I am on top of my laundry.

eoc111

In reality? I share the apartment with two other dudes to make rent cheaper (one of which sleeps on the living room floor), as much as I want a pug – it’s not guna happen, I work in a coffee shop, heels in the day? what I meant was slightly raised biker boots, and as for my laundry? it’s clean alright, but definitely thrown in a pile in my wardrobe…

no idea dog

There are certain things about adult life that just blow my mind, and I have no idea where I am supposed to learn these things. The internet is great, but incredibly overwhelming – have you ever tried Googling “my bathroom is flooded because part of my loofa got wedged down the drain and now my apartment smells like a jock-strap, what do I do?” – the results are somewhat less than helpful I assure you. These are the things I wish were included in the adults handbook…

1) Anything to do with property law and rental contracts

2) How to go about finding a good dry cleaners

3) How to pay your bills properly and keep on top of them

4) Anything to do with banks/paperwork/financial lingo

5) Tax. Any and everything to do with tax.

6) What to do in an ’emergency’

7) All the laws you are definitely breaking but have no idea exist

8) How/when you pay back your student loan

9) How much effort housekeeping really is (and how expensive bin bags are)

10) What you are supposed to do/how to act in basically all adult situations.

Closing thoughts: Is that adults handbook thing real? Is this a thing that exists? If not, is there an adult out there willing to create one? I can’t pay you for it because I am desperately broke, but I promise to really, really, really appreciate it?