A mile and a half on a bus takes a long time

The keys on my laptop have finally unstuck themselves, so I can write again without screaming in frustration and hitting them as hard as possible. I was beginning to think I’d have to take it apart, which I really didn’t want to do. Serves me entirely right for eating, smoking and drinking over it. I need to stop the bad habits.

Today has been much of a muchness; bad horror films (the House On Haunted Hill remake is beyond awful), coffee and too much food. The weather is terrible and I still don’t have much energy. Dad’s been ’round today to put the shower curtain pole back up after it fell on me last week, and to shout at mum as usual. This is yet another reason why I need to get out of here; they seperated for a reason and I shouldn’t have to listen to the constant bickering. Nothing gets done while he’s here, yet mum won’t quite cut that cord. I understand that she needs him to fix things around the house, but it’s been five years since he retired and very little has been achieved except for things being broken and hurled around when he gets in a temper. Of course, it’s then up to me to listen to mum letting off steam; which I don’t really mind, but I feel trapped in the middle. I simply have no opinion either way; he did very little to bring me or E up, he abused my mother, he won’t give her money she’s owed from his retirement… why does he still come here? I just want to wash my hands of him, and it’s hard to do so when he’s here. It makes it painful, even though I know I’m doing the right thing by denying him a relationship with me.

This weekend I learned a few things; mainly that I don’t like pumpkin pie, and that it annoys me when people in the UK wish me happy Thanksgiving. I dislike most public holidays (Christmas especially) and having a tradition forced on me which isn’t even relevant is frustrating. Still, I quite enjoyed the Thanksgiving dinner S’s landlord’s girlfriend put on, even if it was awkward at times trying to have conversations with die-hard Christians without somehow offending them. Even a conversation about music turned a bit awkward when Aphex Twin was mentioned. S and I spent most of the party hanging out in the kitchen and garden with his landlords son and his girlfriend, talking about astronomy, computer games and experiences with drugs. God knows (ha) what the timid young Christian couple would have thought of that. I mean, they were nice people but… well… too nice. Too afraid to have their own opinions. The smallest swear word or slightly dirty joke was met with blushes and stares. They left early. They simply weren’t my kind of people, I suppose.

S got wonderfully drunk on J&B and we fell asleep together. Woke up the next morning with a sore head (I only had a few fake-Malibu and cokes, but I suppose the Metformin is reacting with alcohol) and we spent most of the day in bed. He’s adorable when he’s drunk; nothing like the experiences I’ve had before with boyfriends getting pissed and either shouting at me or ignoring me entirely.

I have an appointment with my doctor on Thursday morning; I need to get to the bottom of all that’s going wrong with my body. Along with exhaustion and nausea/vomiting, I have a rash all over my feet and on my right hand. I’ve seen a doctor twice about it, and nothing they’ve given me (steroids, anti-fungals) has even begun to work. Sometimes it hurts so much that I can’t sleep – the skin is red raw and full of cracks and deep holes where the skin has simply died away. It’s not eczema, I’ve suffered from that since birth and it’s not the same thing at all. I’ve been suffering with this rash since the summer, and I’m at my wits end. I’ve tried every natural remedy, I’ve tried leaving it alone… nothing fixes it, and it’s depressing me. It feels like my whole body is being attacked.

White Noise

Tuning into radio stations
just to hear a voice tonight
but all I hear is white noise
broken fragments of songs
which never had any meaning
to us.

Dialling your number
just to hear it ring out
just to make contact,
I know you won’t answer.

You couldn’t fix this.

White noise
will never be music.

(c) 2008

Send me the pillow / the one that you dream on


I was thinking about things you don’t know about me. After nine months together, there’s still so much I have to tell you, and sometimes I wonder how I’ll ever manage to be honest about those parts of my life. I’m never quite sure what holds me back; fear and the worry of judgement, I suppose. Which is ridiculous, because I know you’re not the type to judge and if you were going to, you’d have done it long ago.

One thing you don’t know is that I used to spend a lot of time writing letters. It started when I hit puberty, and carried on until everything turned to shit in my twenties. I wrote my way through every little drama. Teenage angst was smoothed over by pages and pages of poorly-handwritten letters to everybody and nobody. Sometimes I would give them to the person I was writing about, but more often I ripped them up and threw them away, worried that laying myself bare on paper would somehow destroy the tiny grasp I have on the world. When I felt brave enough to share my letters, they never got the desired response. This is why I’ll never show you this. I don’t want to be disappointed by you.

You know I felt bad today. I told you, although I held back from pouring out the emotions I wanted to. I’m frightened of overwhelming you. I wasn’t lying when I told you I was scared of life never changing and the fear I’d always be ill… but I didn’t tell you just how the reality of that scares me. I told you I’d spent the entire day in bed feeling sorry for myself, but I didn’t let on just how low I became or how much I fear for my own future. I’m frightened that my dreams are dying, and that I’ll become worthless without hope to hold on to.

I used to have so many dreams. I wanted to be a zookeeper, an astronaut, a writer. I wanted to dig up dinosaurs. When the dreams became more realistic, I wanted to be a secretary or design clothing. I wanted a nice house with a garden, a car, a big kitchen and somebody just like you to come home to every day. I wanted a social life and close friends I could depend on. Eventually, I wanted a family. All normal dreams, things people achieve every day… yet as each day goes by, I feel as though those things will never happen. Even though I was ill throughout my childhood and teens, I thought that things with work out when I was older and that I’d follow the path everyone else took. Perhaps with a few deviations along the way, but that I’d eventually settle into a normal life. Really, that’s all I’ve ever wanted.

Now I look at myself and my situation, and those dreams seem so damn far away. I can’t grasp them anymore, I can hardly see them. I get frightened on public transport. I panic when something’s been moved and I can’t find it. I destroy friendships so they won’t have a chance to hurt me first. I can’t walk down the street without hurting all over. I can’t eat without the fear of calories taking me over. I can’t reach for something on a shelf without my arm muscles giving up on me. I can’t stand still for more than a few seconds without pins and needles shooting through my legs. Heck, I can hardly stand at all. Just walking to the park with you cripples me for days. I catch every virus going. I lie awake at night, hurting so much in my heart that I think I’ll explode. My past is a dead weight I carry around with me, always waiting to trip me up and bring me crashing down. I refuse to focus on my own face in a mirror. I want to hide from everything. Sometimes, I don’t want to be here at all.

Then there’s you. Loveable, adorable you. The only man who has never asked anything of me, who has never let me down or betrayed me. The one who always sends me a goodnight text, and who always remembers to kiss me before we fall asleep together. You who holds my hand in public and tells me every day that I’m beautiful. Who makes me coffee in the morning and doesn’t complain when I’m too tired to do anything but sleep. You who rubs my shoulders when I’m sore, who always notices if I have new clothes on. You, who has always been there for me.

I took a chance with you. If hearts can truly break, mine was in a thousand pieces when we met. I wanted a friend, and what I got was more than I could ever have imagined.

I feel that you deserve more than this nervous wreck of a girlfriend. I hang on because I know that I can be better than this, and because I know that, with you, I have something most women only dream of. I don’t understand why somebody so perfect for me has been given to me; I don’t think I’ll ever understand it. I don’t feel worthy of it, but I do know that you make life so much more bearable. Before you, I was waiting to die. How overdramatic does that sound? It’s true though. I was watching life pass by, waiting for a truck to hit me or for my body to finally just pack in. I was considering doing something downright crazy, just so I could be locked away, away from the pressures of having to live a normal life. You always say how I seem so capable and confident… but I’ve been wearing that mask for a long time.

I love you, so damn much. More than I ever thought I could love anyone.

I just wish I could love myself.

A Thousand Questions

I sat alone tonight.


Incense burning.

For the first time,
I can’t stand the music,
they sing words which fit
too well.

I want to confess but the words won’t flow,
and it fills me with fear to lay myself so bare.

I was alone tonight.

Still feeling pressure where your fingers
touched me.

Your taste
on my lips.

Your smell
on my skin.

I want to admit, but it makes me afraid,
it’s all so unpredictable and you’re in control.

I will sleep alone tonight.

Holding tight to memories.

Reading your messages.

Holding on.

I need to speak, but fear keeps me silent,
I want to find a table and lay my cards down for you.

Tonight, I will be alone.

Lulled by tiny blue pills
and imagining your arms holding me, like before.

I want to ask
a thousand questions.

And I’m afraid
of the answers.

(c) 2008.

10 Day You Challenge – nine loves

1. Knitting. I know it still has a bit of a bad reputation for being a granny sport despite the now fashionable status of it, but I love it. I love the repetition and the satisfaction of the end result. I love knowing I’ve created something, it makes me feel worthy. I love wearing my own hats and scarves.

2. Music. It’s a popular answer to these questions, but I really do adore music of all kinds. My tastes lean towards electronic, dub, new wave and acoustic, but I can honestly say that there isn’t a genre I don’t have some appreciation for. Key moments in my life have a soundtrack; music was my first love. I adore discovering new artists and songs.

3. Cannabis. I know the inevitable links between mental illness and pot are now going through your head. All I can say in my defense is that without it, I would be unable to do so, so much. The pain-relieving properties are undeniable, and medication for anxiety can only do so much if you’ve suffered it all your life. Mental illness, for me, came way before I even knew what drugs were.

4. Smoking. I also love smoking; the feel of smoke going into my lungs feels natural somehow. I never claimed to be the healthiest person.

5. Autumn. I love everything about this season; the colours are fantastic. I enjoy few things more than crunching through leaves on a sunny, cold day. Being able to cover up in coats and hats helps enormously with body image issues.

6. Sleep and dreaming; I live for my dreams.

7. Sci-fi and horror films, especially monster movies like Alien and The Thing. Sci-fi can be looked down on but when it’s done well, it’s done brilliantly. I’m not keen on slasher movies; not because they scare me, but for the opposite reason. I prefer the fear of the unknown.

8. Terry Pratchett, the Discworld series especially. I treasure my Discworld collection and have number of maps waiting to be framed in the house S and I are hopefully gettting next year.

9. John Frieda Frizz-Eaze products. I don’t know how I ever lived without them.

Anything But Me

Would you sing a song for me?
Guitar in your hands
your head on my chest
words in your mouth
but never the ones
I need to hear.

Would you write lyrics for me,
like poetry?

Your voice in my ear
breath on my cheek
singing songs about
but me.

(c) 2008.

Ode to my family

It’s a cliché to say I was always the black sheep of the family, but I suspect I’ve always been on the outskirts.

Our family isn’t close. Not in the sense that we all ‘phone each other regularly, hang out together or share secrets. We fall out regularly, there are so many bitter skeletons in the closet that it would take a book to list them all. Unplanned pregnancies, children out of wedlock, violent husbands, alcholism, therapy… my family isn’t what you’d call stable. It’s taken me most of my life to feel a part of it all; I never felt like I belonged. Like a lot of kids, I used to wonder if I was adopted; which is ridiculous, as I have my mother’s promient nose, her large hips, my dad’s muscle-bound calves and the undeniable blue-grey eyes. I have the red hair, the pale skin, the temper and I’m prone to addiction.

My mother.

My mother has brown hair with streaks of grey, cut into a graduated bob. She has deep wrinkles from smoking, an addiction to buying books she doesn’t need, and rarely eats. She’s skinny; a size 6 at most. She nearly always wears bootcut jeans, black ankle boots and flowery blouses. She’s prone to taking things the wrong way and is quick to anger, nag, and pick holes. She’s been married twice; to her childhood sweetheart (who died recently), and to my father. She left her first husband for a man who worked with computers. Her excuse is that she knew she would never have the life she wanted while she stood in the same kitchen every day, doing the same things, listening to the same songs. When she left her first husband, she moved to the town I was born in with my half brother and sister, and bought a newly-built semi by the sea with her boyfriend. I don’t know much about her history; only that she was brought up by her mother and father, her brother died when he was young of something like cerebal palsy, and her father died of cancer when she was 15. At this point, she gave up her Catholic faith and became a bit of a rebel. Like me, she has fibromyalgia, and also suffers from arthritis, bouts of depression and, I suspect (although she’s always denied it) an eating disorder.

My father.

My father is short, grey-haired and is losing his memory. Years of alcoholism have left him with yellowish skin, trembling hands and bloodshot eyes. When I was little, I was a total daddy’s girl; I adored him, worshipped the ground he walked on. My mother and father seperated before I was born, and so I spent my weekends having ‘dad time’ – he taught me to ride my first bike (a Raleigh Bluebird), he showed me how to catch tiny fish with a net, how to row a boat, how to build a fire. At the age of fourteen, I discovered he had beaten my mother. Until then, I didn’t know he was an alcoholic, had no idea of the violence of his past. I sat in a small office in a child psychiatric unit, listening to my mother give an account of our family’s history of mental illness; anything which could explain why I had lost my way. Suddenly, everything changed. I was confused. I loved my father, yet despised wife-beaters. Our relationship now is fragile, almost non-existant. I know one day he’ll die, and I’ll regret my coldness towards him.

My siblings.

W (my eldest sister) inhabits a world I can never hope to break in to. A world of £100 haircuts, Bobbi Brown eyeshadow, designer shirts and business meetings. Physically, we couldn’t be more different; we’re the same height, but she’s tiny, a size four or six. Her nose is small and snub, whereas mine is long. Her lips are wide, unlike my tiny, geisha mouth. Her teeth are perfectly straight and white, her jeans cost a fortune and her voice is peppered with Southern tones, from living in London and Yorkshire. She manages a number of famous bookstores, driving hundreds of miles every week. Recently, she bought and restored a cottage in a well-to-do area of the midlands, filling it with White Company and Laura Ashley fabrics, Emma Bridgewater crockery and a bath I could never hope to afford. We don’t speak much; she makes me feel inferior. She’s somebody I could never be, and although I don’t really want to be like her (her lifestyle makes her selfish and materialistic), I envy her opportunities.She doesn’t believe in disability or mental illness; everything is a weakness to her. She studied English literature at university, where she developed an obsession with exercise, losing huge amounts of weight. She runs marathons, and although she eats like a horse, I suspect her relationship with food isn’t as healthy as she’d like to make out.

E (my other sister) is more like me. We both have too many teeth, rugby-player’s calves, wide hips and a tendency to put on weight (although she’s incredibly skinny, as she refuses to eat most foods). We both suffer gynecological problems; she’s infertile, and every course of IVF she’s had has failed. At 5ft nothing, I used to call her my ‘little big sister’. E has a history of choosing the wrong men (addicts, violent men, users and cheaters) and is incredibly insecure, although she’d never let you know it. Her skin is often the colour of fence paint, thanks to liberal applications of fake tan, her hair is bleached bright blonde, covering her natural mousy brown. Her eyes, unlike the rest of the family’s are brown. We fought like cat and mouse throughout my childhood and teens, and even now we get snappy with each other, but we’re starting to develop some sort of relationship. Like me, she has a history of eating disorders, alcoholism and self-hatred, although she’s never been under psychiatric care. Also like me, she used to run away from home a lot, blaming our mother for her problems and difficulties in life. In many ways, we’re scarily alike.I know she resents me; I’ve heard her say so.

C is my ginger-haired, 6ft tall, soft-as-shit brother. He lives with his wife and three children in a house which the death of his father (my ‘stepdad’) paid for. Before buying the house, he was seriously in debt, struggling to feed the childrenor run his car. His wages as a train driver are pretty high, higher than average, but his wife’s obsession with keeping up with the neighbours meant all the money got poured into huge flatscreen televisions, sofas, computers and Sky TV. I adore my brother; he introduced me to a lot of the music I love today; Madness, Bad Manners, Faith No More, OMD. His repeated playing of Cry Little Sister from the film The Lost Boys when he lived with us introduced me to my favourite film. It was his porn collection I learned about sex from. His room I found my mother crying in when they had an argument. I hate his wife; hate is a strong word, but I can’t feel any other way. He only married her because she was pregnant, he looked so unhappy on his wedding day. In fact, I refused to go to the wedding, only turning up for the reception and refusing to speak to her. She turned him into a doormat. He’s always been soft, but she controls everything. She’s mouthy, outspoken, has no problem with swearing in front of their children and is currently undergoing anger management (which I doubt will work). I haven’t seen my nieces or nephew for years; she said I was dangerous and crazy, and shouldn’t be allowed near them.

B (my stepdad) was a wonderful man. I never used to understand why my mother divorced him. She said it was because he was boring, although she never stopped loving him. I have more understanding now; as much as he was lovely, he was too nice. Quiet, obsessive, and nice. She didn’t want that from life, and who am I to judge? He was a constant feature throughout my childhood. Every Thursday he would visit, bringing After Eight mints and nature books for me. I would climb under his huge, knitted jumpers and listen to his stories of working on the railways, of his trips to Llangollen and the old lady who lived next door. When I was fifteen, we got a phone call in the middle of the night to say he was in hospital, having been attacked by two teenagers. Over the next few weeks, it became clear that he was severely brain damaged; able to speak, but unable to remember our names or how to get dressed. He went from being a proud, kind man to an angry, unpredictable mess overnight. He’d been kicked repeatedly in the head, leaving him almost unrecognisable. And for what? Nothing. No money was taken, he wasn’t mugged. It was done for a laugh. Medication and therapy returned parts of his old self, but he was never the same man. I confess; I was sometimes scared of of the change in him. Last year, he died of cancer. It spread through his entire body, eventually taking over his brain and leaving him in a hospice. I never, ever want to receive a phone call like the one I got when he died. Although we all knew he was going soon (it was decided to deny him food and fluids, as he was in tremendous pain and incredibly confused), he hung on for long enough for me to wonder if perhaps miracles exist. They don’t. I miss him terribly.

I don’t speak to the rest of my family. They’ve all let me down in various ways, from my aunt who promised she’d always be there for me and who then dropped me like a stone when my mental health declined, to my uncle who sold my stepfather’s beloved train set. I don’t have any grandparents alive, and barely know my father’s family.

I always swore than if I ever had children, I would be different. I would break the family habits. I would give them the childhood I missed out on.

I blame you for the moonlit sky.

In hindsight, I don’t know why I was so stressed before. I came back home from a night out with S (more about that later) to re-read and publish the draft of my last post. There were so many spelling mistakes, so many words running into each other… I haven’t been so on edge for a long time. I confess; I’m still not taking the beta blockers properly. I try to, but I just get so muddled with all the medication I’m taking, that remembering to take them three times a day just slips my mind. I need to get a grip on that; I can’t afford to lose it again.

I’m glad I didn’t do anything about the urges to harm myself. I was so happy this evening, that knowing I had evidence of a freak out on my body would only have brought me down.

S got paid today, and he met me in town. I got the bus, for the first time in months; it seems a silly thing to be proud of, but I’ve been so uncomfortable with social situations lately that it feels like a huge achievement. I even made an effort; wore a maxi dress and boots, did my hair straight, took care with my makeup. I still felt itchy and exposed, but I’m beginning to accept that I’ll probably always feel that way. I’m no superwoman.

Bought some cigarettes, went to Boots and allowed myself a brief look at the makeup (I don’t like the mirrors, they make me nervous) and bought two nail varnishes, before waiting for S at the monument. It sounds childish, but I get so excited when we’re meeting, and when I saw him walking towards me in his nonchalant way, I had to stop myself running over to him. He looked gorgeous; even more so than usual. I still can’t quite believe he’s mine.

After a few drinks in the pub, we went for a curry. I’ve discovered lychee and banana curry, possibly the nicest (and strangest) thing I’ve ever tasted, and for once I didn’t give a damn about any diet or weight. I just enjoyed spending time with the man I love, in a nice restaurant, talking about the education system and my mum’s continued insistence that I have a drinking problem. Not for the first time, he said, “you need to get out of there”, which I know is true. I just wish it were that simple.

After the meal, we played pool in a deathly quiet pub, spurred on by Phil Collins, Nilsson and Jeff Buckley. The quiet pubs always have the best music (although S doesn’t share my adoration of Buckley… he’ll learn).

Finally, we walked to the lake, hand in hand. Lay on the grass together, his arm cushioning my head, and talked as we watched the stars. I asked him what he’d wish for if he had three wishes. He answered:

“For everyone to appreciate what they have, and not material objects like money or possessions, for wasps to be eradicated, and for people to look outside themselves and see the bigger picture, the things which really matter, to stop living their own secular lives and see the world around them”.

Mine were similar, except my first wish was that nowhere would ever serve watered-down Coke. Heck, that stuff’s important too.

He told me I’m beautiful. He wished on a shooting star; said the wish was about me. I told him how happy I am.

First World Problems

Today was the day of the iPod disaster. When I say disaster, I mean minor problem, but it annoyed me nonetheless. After waking up around 2pm and still feeling like fibro had kicked me repeatedly in the night, I decided to tidy my iTunes music collection up. First I tackled the missing cover art; thousands of tracks, all missing artwork. After getting it down to 2000 tracks without art, I gave up and accepted I was never going to have the patience to go through each individual track, just to satisfy my occasional obsessive-compulsive behaviour. 2000 out of over 20,000 isn’t bad, right?

So, with dreams of a nice tidy music collection washing over me (and the knowledge of a day entirely wasted), I went to sync my iPod. Here lay the problem.

121.76gb of music will never fit on a 120gb iPod. Never. No matter how much I beg, plead, and pretend it will.

Fuck’s sake.