10 Day You Challenge – Two Songs

I realised I’ve sorely neglected the 10 Day You Challenge.


10 day you challenge posts:

Ten secrets / Nine loves / Eight fears / Seven wants / Six places / Five foods / Four books / Three films

Two songs

Many songs have meant a lot to me, and it’s nigh on impossible to choose. I mean, seriously choose. I feel disloyal to any song I leave out, and so I don’t think I can choose just two. My first song has to be Somewhere In My Heart by Aztec Camera (which I wrote about here)


And secondly, Sweet And Tender Hooligan by The Smiths.


10 Day You Challenge – three films.

1. Pan’s Labyrinth.

In 1944 fascist Spain, a girl, fascinated with fairy-tales, is sent along with her pregnant mother to live with her new stepfather, a ruthless captain of the Spanish army. During the night, she meets a fairy who takes her to an old faun in the center of the labyrinth. He tells her she’s a princess, but must prove her royalty by surviving three gruesome tasks. If she fails, she will never prove herself to be the the true princess and will never see her real father, the king, again.

I love everything about this film; the music, the scenes, the CGI and the story. It wasn’t at all what I expected it to be; it was brutal and charming, all at the same time.

2. Alien

The crew of the deep space mining ship Nostromo are awaken from hypersleep to investigate a strange signal from a nearby planet. While investigating the signal, they discover it was intended as a warning, and not an SOS.

Alien appeals to my love of asthetic horror. Gieger is an artist I have a lot of respect for, and to see his work in ‘real life’ (as it were) in a film was wonderful for me.

3. The Lost Boys.

A mother and her two sons move to a small coast town in California. The town is plagued by bikers and some mysterious deaths. The younger boy makes friends with two other boys who claim to be vampire hunters while the older boy is drawn into the gang of bikers by a beautiful girl. The older boy starts sleeping days and staying out all night while the younger boy starts getting into trouble because of his friends’ obsession.

Much love for this film. I adore the soundtrack, and even did an essay on it in college.

10 Day You Challenge – four books

1. Girlfriend In A Coma by Douglas Coupland.

Girlfriend in a Coma is a novel by Canadian writer and artist Douglas Coupland. It was first published by HarperCollins Canada in 1998. The novel tells the story of a group of friends growing up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in the late 1970s. On the night of a teenage house-wrecking party, one of the protagonists, Karen, falls into a coma. More alarmingly, she seemed to expect it, having given her boyfriend, Richard, a letter detailing the vivid dreams of the future she had experienced and how she wanted to sleep for a thousand years to avoid that dystopia.

The book was named after the 1987 singleGirlfriend in a Coma” by The Smiths. Additionally, Coupland uses other Smiths lyrics and song titles within the book such as “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” “Hand in Glove,” and “The Queen Is Dead.”

2. The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell.

Teenager Raymond Marks has not had a charmed life. His profligate, instrument-loving father made an early exit, leaving him with a struggling mother and doting Sartre-fan grandmother. Fifteen minutes of potential glory when he saved a boy from drowning are cruelly compromised when it’s discovered that the boys were near the canal indulging in what they called “flytrapping”, and Raymond becomes “the precocious pervert, the evil influence, the filthy little beast”. Eventually packed off to “Gulag Grimsby” at the suggestion of his despised Uncle Jason, Raymond pours out his life’s woes in a series of missives to his idol, one-time Smiths’ star Morrissey.

Writing his letters with improbable speed, Raymond is ingratiating, unstoppable and superbly miserable, as befits a Morrissey devotee–and lucky enough to be surrounded by a bevy of gift-wrapped Northern character parts.

3. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake.

The series consists of three novels, Titus Groan (1946), Gormenghast (1950), and Titus Alone (1959). A novella, Boy in Darkness (1956), tells the story of a brief adventure by the young Titus away from Gormenghast, although it does not explicitly name the castle.

Peake had intended to write a series of books following Titus Groan through his life, as well as detailing his relationship with Gormenghast. At least two other books, tentatively titled Titus Awakes and Gormenghast Revisited, were planned; but Parkinson’s disease and Peake’s ensuing death at age 57 prevented him from writing down more than a few hundred words and ideas for further volumes. Only three pages of Titus Awakes were coherently written, and these appear in the Overlook Press edition of Titus Alone (ISBN 0–87951–427–2) and in the omnibus volume (0-87951-628-3).

In the 1970s, Peake’s widow Maeve Gilmore wrote her version of Titus Awakes, which she called Search without End. The Peake family rediscovered this novel at the end of 2009 and it was published by Overlook Press as Titus Awakes: The Lost Book of Gormenghast. to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Peake’s birth.

4. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.

Fight Club is a 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk. It follows the experiences of an unnamed protagonist struggling with insomnia. Inspired by his doctor’s exasperated remark that insomnia is not suffering, he finds relief by impersonating a seriously ill person in several support groups. Then he meets a mysterious man named Tyler Durden and establishes an underground fighting club as radical psychotherapy.

Information taken from Wikipedia and Amazon.

10 Day You Challenge – five foods.

Ach, food. A difficult one for me, but I’ll try not to get into any eating disorder rants.

1. I’m a vegetarian, so I eat a lot of tofu, Quorn and eggs. I try not to eat cheese; it’s an addiction of mine, but there’s no such thing as low fat, delicious cheese. I’m lactose intolerant, so that doesn’t help either.

2. Cashew nuts. I absolutely love them, especially in a balti coating. Horrific for my diet.

3. Complan and Slimfast. I sometimes rely on them when my willpower to diet isn’t strong enough; I water them down and can convince myself I’ve eaten something. Strangely, I actually quite like them.

4. My boyfriend makes the most amazing roast dinner. He does veggie sausages for me, alongside broccoli, roast potatoes, honey roasted parsnips, stuffing, onion gravy, mushrooms… we eat it a lot, usually at 1am with a bottle of vodka and music on Youtube.

5. Spinach; my mother ate loads of it when she was pregnant with me, and I’ve been obsessed with it since I moved onto solids. I can’t get enough of it, but ever since having my gallbladder removed I can only tolerate small amounts.

See? No rants.

10 Day You Challenge – six places

I wasn’t quite sure how to take ‘six places’. It could be favourite places, places you’ve been.. so I’ve gone with places which mean something to me, whether positive or negative.

1. My bedroom. I have spent years in this room; living in it, sleeping in it, eating in it, crying, loving, hating in it. My walls have seen fights, heartbreak, tears, sex, drugs, breakdowns and happiness. The essence of who I am is contained in this small room; from the purple flowery duvet cover, to the Buddah. From the wicker basket of knitting yarn, to the stacks of CDs and horror films on DVD. From the pre-pubescent me, burning incense and writing bad poetry, to the present day me; still burning incense, still writing bad poetry. The carpet is stained with evidence of late-night drink and food binges and is black and grey from spilled ashtrays. My clothes, my music, my books, my knitting, my shoes, my posters… they’re in here. This one room has seen so much of my life.

2. The embankment near my house. It used to be part of the sea defences, before they were moved nearer to the coast. I live a 15-minute walk from the coastline, and you can see the beach and the lighthouses in the Irish sea from the embankment. I often go there to sit and think, to simply be alone for a short while. It’s used by dog walkers, but they tend to ignore me; I suppose they don’t often see someone just sitting there, staring at a sand dune. I’ve been going there since I was old enough to discover it, often sneaking out of the house as a young teen to watch the sun rise from behind the water treatment works. I’ve gone to sit there when my heart has been broken, when I thought I couldn’t face another day alive and breathing. I’ve gone there to escape the drama of my family. I’ve sat up there, screaming into the phone at O, begging him not to destroy me. I’ve sat there and contemplated suicide. I’ve smoked dope and stolen cigarettes up there. I’ve had sex, hidden away in the tall summer grasses which grow next to the cow field. I’ve spied on the houses of other people, watched the occupants go about their lives. I took S there, and we sat together, talking and smoking dope. We kissed. I told him how much this place means to me.

3. A local college. When my child psychiatrist failed to diagnose me with anything exciting such as schizophrenia or bipolar, he decided I had Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s taken me a long time to write about this, as it still pisses me off. At the time, Asperger’s was the diagnosis of the week; everyone had it. If you didn’t have it, you had traits of it. Now, I have nothing against anyone with AS, or any autistic disorder, so I apologise if I sound insulting. I was incensed by the diagnosis; I had hardly any traits, and those I did have could easily be accounted for by the bullying I experienced in school, my ever-loosening grip on the world, and the incredibly stifling atmosphere I grew up in. I refused to accept what I saw as a negative label; I may have problems, but I did not have a learning difficulty. I didn’t lack empathy or find patterns in things. I didn’t misunderstand sarcasm (it’s my favourite type of humour), I was terrified of numbers, and I knew exactly how to fit in with the world and society; I just didn’t want to. I was a normal, albeit fucked up teenager. Still, the diagnosis was stamped, at at the age of 17 it was decided to send me to a college for young adults with learning difficulties; everything from ADHD to Down’s Syndrome. The night before my first day, I overdosed on my antidepressants. I cried, I begged, I pleaded, but it seemed I had no choice.

The decision damaged me, without any doubt. I had nobody to talk to bar the staff, and they treated me like I was stupid. I spent my days doing very basic English skills and acting out social situations in drama with a partner who couldn’t even eat by himself. I was sexually assaulted in a hallway by another student, but it was dropped by staff because “he couldn’t help it”. He grabbed my crotch and licked my face. Still, I had to turn up.

Nowadays, I have the Asperger’s diagnosis struck off my medical records. The psychiatrist who diagnosed me was later sacked for malpractice.

4. Haydock Park. It will always hold a place in my heart for being where O proposed to me. It wasn’t the most romantic of situations (we were in a tent and had been arguing), and the relationship came to a bitter, damaged end, but at the time, I was happy. Although I look back now and realise he probably never meant to propose, and that he was always scared to tell me… at the time, it meant everything. I don’t believe in letting go of the happy times in life, no matter how much they end up hurting you in the end.

5. A local bookshop. It doesn’t just sell books, it sells crystals and comics and fossils. It’s tucked away in a little side street on the main shopping road, and I’ve been going there since I was a young child. Along the alleyway entrance there’s shelves of books; books on every topic you could imagine. Books from the 1900’s, maps, instruction manuals. Inside, it smells of old leather. Floors creak under the weight of thousands of books; from modern classics to rare first editions. You can’t touch some of them, they’re worth so much money. Leatherbound editions of Alice In Wonderland rub shoulders with pieces of meterorite and shark teeth. I love it in there.

6. I honestly can’t think of a sixth place. I’m sure one will come to me as soon as I publish this.

10 Day You Challenge – seven wants

1. Happiness. Everyone wants happiness, so I’m not unique in that respect. I want to get to the point in my life where anxiety doesn’t feature and I can allow myself to be happy without questioning it or purposely breaking it apart. I’m not expecting life-long unadulterated joy, but I’d like some peace within myself.

2. My own home, be it a flat, a bedsit, or a house. I’ve grown up under a blanket of overprotectiveness, and my brief forays into living away from home have always ended in disaster because of my urgency to get away from the house I grew up in. I need more independence than living here can offer me; I’m stagnating here. A friend of mine offered S and I her house to rent when she leaves the country next year, and I dearly hope it happens. I need it to happen, I’m going crazy being surrounded by these walls and motherly constrictions. I don’t care that money will be tight, and I don’t mind paying bills, finding enough for the rent and buying my own food. I want to do these things.

3. Boots. I utterly adore knee-length boots, and will do anything to get hold of them. I order most of mine from a company called Duo; they make them to your calf size, so they always fit. They’re expensive, but worth it. I’m currently hankering after a mid-calf pair in brown leather with buckles.

4. To learn how to make my own clothes. I’m an odd body shape and size; hourglass, with big boobs and broad shoulders, big hips and a small waist. It sounds like the perfect female figure, but it really isn’t. Buying clothes is a nightmare, they simply don’t exist for women of my proportions. Jeans won’t go over my hips, but are massive on the waist. Shirts and blouses gape at the front. Bras always have too-thin straps to hold the weight. I’m never an exact size either; I’m always a 9, 11, 13, 15… not the usual 8, 10, 12, 14, 16. Most fashions look awful on me, but it’s hard to get well-tailored items which aren’t highly fashionable. I’d love to make my own patchwork skirts and dresses.

5. A dream recording machine. Seriously, how great would that be?

6. An antidepressant with no side effects. Similarly, a contraceptive pill with no side effects. I know it’s an incredibly tall order, and it’s very much in the ‘impossible dream’ section of my brain. I resisted antidepressents for a long time in my late teens and early twenties, after some very negative experiences with Effexor, Mellaril and Clomipramine.   Effexor worked brilliantly for about a year, when I was sixteen. I was a new person; energetic, less prone to panic, and slightly happier. It seemed like the miracle drug. One day I woke up and wanted to die, overdosed on two packets of them, had a seizure and ended up in hospital under constant observation. Mellaril, I partly blame for my emotional state now; I was prescribed it at the age of thirteen by a child psychiatrist I’d been seeing for self harm and instability, and straight away it changed me. I became violent and angry, I saw things, I had aural hallucinations. I cried constantly and took to harming myself on an hourly basis, just to let the badness out. I became psychotic and had to be admitted to a child psychiatric unit. I don’t hold the medication entirely to blame for that (I was on a downward spiral way before it was prescribed), but it certainly didn’t help. Clomipramine did nothing for me. My moods stayed the same. I stayed introverted and grief stricken by nothing.

Now, I’m settled on Cipralex, amitriptyline and beta blockers, but they all have side effects. I’m always slightly removed from what’s happening, I can’t quite touch the world. They make me exhausted in the mornings and unable to sleep at night. They make me itch. Cipralex affects my stomach. Still, I’m glad I gave up resisting; I’d be dead without a little chemical help.

7. I want to be special to somebody.

10 Day You Challenge – eight fears

1. Cotton wool. I am absolutely terrified by raw cotton wool. Pads are fine, but the cotton balls some use to wipe make-up off… they make me want to be sick everywhere. It’s not just that cottol wool disgusts me, it’s much deeper than that. I can’t be in the same room with it. Somewhere in my past, I suspect I had a traumatic experience with a cotton ball.

2. Clowns, puppets, dolls, and anything which looks slightly human but isn’t. Puppets and dolls are the worst, followed by clowns. Marionettes send me screaming from the room, it’s the jerky arms and the wobbling head, they just send me west. I also hate those statue performance artists who paint themselves silver and wear stilts. They’re horrible.

3. Being alone. Or rather, being alone in social status. I enjoy my own company hugely and find it easy to entertain myself, but I fear being rejected and abandoned by friends and family. Sometimes I worry that they’ll all go away, and I’ll have nothing. Nobody to rely on, nobody to talk to. Considering I’m a bit of a loner, I feel much better knowing I have people out there who know me. Who want to know me. I consider myself to be an intelligent woman, but I still subscribe to the playground popularity belief that you’re nobody without lots of friends. I can’t help it.

4. Being fat. Yes, I’m another woman who is scared of being fat. Now, don’t get me wrong; I find curvy women incredibly attractive and like to see a woman enjoying food. I don’t judge anyone on their weight; except me. I judge myself constantly throughout the day, I find myself glancing in mirrors and sucking my stomach in, I scour calorie content on packaged foods and I console myself after a bad day with mountains of unhealthy food. I worry that I won’t be taken seriously because I’m overweight, I find myself overcompensating for my perceived physical flaws by being outspoken and bolshy. Weight means nothing to me when it involves other people. When it involves myself, it’s the whole world.

5. Never marrying or having children. I have always wanted to get married and be a mother, it’s the old romantic in me. I know the reality is never quite a fairytale, but I’ve always seen it as my ultimate goal. I love babies and children, and I would love to have a child of my own. However, I’m sub-fertile due to polycystic ovary syndrome and untreated infections (get yourselves checked for STDs; it’s the best advice I was ever given). There is a chance I will never have a child. I have also suffered miscarriages, and the risk is high that it will happen again. For the first time in my life, I feel ready to have a baby and, dare I say it, I think I may have found the man I want it to happen with. Not that I’d ever tell him that; I may be crazy, but I’m not freaking him out by forcing commitment on him. I think I may have found the man I want to marry. Yet so much has gone wrong in my life, that I sometimes fear it will never happen.

6. Recovering entirely from depression. Yes, it sounds odd, but hear me out. Depression has been an integral part of my life since childhood. It has shaped me, it has changed me, it has taught me lessons. It’s been my constant companion. Without depression, I simply wouldn’t be the person I am now and, although I have many flaws, I accept who I am. I would like to recover from anxiety and eating problems, but that’s a different issue. Neither of those have ever shown me any respect. Depression has enabled me to be myself.

7.  Being seen as ugly. Another womanly stereotype I fight right in to. As with weight, I don’t care what other people look like, but I care intensely about my own appearance. I’m not naturally beautiful; I have a bump on my nose, I tend towards being overweight, my lips are too small and my hair never behaves. My skin tone is very pale, bordering on grey at times. I have a massive collection of toiletries and make-up scattered around my bedroom in an attempt to look like the women on magazines. I fall for every new mascara and moisturiser claim. If I feel ugly, my day is ruined.

8. Never being independent. I rely on others for so many reasons; to keep an eye on me, to make sure I’m taking my medication, to get me out of bed, to watch out for side-effects and breakdowns. I want to be free. I want to be my own person.