Category Archives: A Series of Lamentations

A Series of Lamentations: Body Confidence

In a society obsessed and unable to take the attention and (male) gaze away from women’s appearance, whether it be their body shape, clothes, hair styles, make up, legs, arms, body hair, fingernails, cuticles, pores, inner thighs, vaginas, phantom limbs… you name it, we’ve been scrutinised on it, so I thought this episode of A Series of Lamentations (said dramatically like I’m narrating Days of Our Lives) should cover the topic of body confidence. It’s something I’ve never written about, but write about sexual confidence freely and confidently. For me, the two are synonymous, but for so many women, the idea of being sexy is nonsensical; you can only be sexy if you look like the girls in the lad’s mags, right? Wrong… So very, very wrong, ladies!

As soon as I was catapulted out of the warm embrace of childhood and puberty rolled in like a thick, black cloud, catapulting my idea of self into a state of perpetual doubt, my beanpole limbs suddenly bending and stretching, pimples exploding onto my face like a surprise hailstorm in summer, I would cry and for years, enormous, fat tears would roll down my cheeks and sobs would escape my mouth as I looked on in horror at my naked self in front of a mirror. In spite of being born gloriously tall, I had a perpetual hunch in my shoulders, forced as a result of trying valiantly to appear small, petite and perfect like all of my friends were. I would take one of my long, bony (elegant, maybe?) fingers and prod at the almost non-existent pot belly that I had and wail that I was enormous, cursing my hips and size fourteen jeans that hung off my hips and perpetually retreated down my legs, as though wanting to rest around my ankles, a non-existent arse unable to keep them upright. My breasts, a reasonable D cup from the moment I hit puberty and further growing to the exponentially larger cupsize they are today, were far too small, too strange, too saggy and unappealing. I didn’t look like the girls in the films, or the magazines or the music videos; I wasn’t, as my mother described perfect and she was a proven god damn liar, if only she knew what I saw when I looked in that mirror…

As I got older, my metabolism abandoned me and all those nights I would order takeaways or eat convenient packets of party size crisps, huddled over a laptop writing essays, my body shape changed; it became softer, more round, my hip bones lost their definition altogether, replaced by rolls of extra skin that stretched violently, erupting in marks that highlighted my new body shape with sickening candour; my dress size soared through the roof and I looked at my jeans mournfully, longing to be able to get those size fourteen skinnies beyond my fat knees. Elasticated waistlines and baggy, loose fitting dresses became my staples. Jeggings were my saviour. When I went out, I wore black, thick tights, multiple pairs of spanx, anything that would slim me and make me look like the other girls in their crop tops, bare arms flung in the air, moving to the sound of the music; mine, shoved inside a cardigan, sleeves pulled over my sleeves, shuffling from side to side, hating them, hating me.

I fought with my body for so long, I became resolute that I was too fat, too unattractive, too boring to be anything other than the person that I was; I hated myself and it was a recurrent, constant theme in my life. I struggled with my body confidence until this year, twenty five years into my life. But it took me a while. When I first became single, my dad, bless him would say things like ‘lose a few stone, get your high heels on and go down to the rugby club and bag yourself someone who can throw you round the bedroom, even if you’re still a bit heavy!’ thinking that I would laugh and agree, which of course I did, he meant well and thought I was the most beautiful girl in the world even with an extra three stone strapped to my body, but it didn’t make me feel great. I didn’t want to be the person who people would look at for her body and then decide whether or not to have sex with me; I wanted someone to engage with me on an intellectual level, someone who would drink wine with me and stay up until the early hours of the morning talking about a stupid piece of music we both obsess over. I wanted someone to wrap their arms around my stomach and not be revolted that I don’t feel like a model, or someone who goes to the gym. I didn’t want to be someone who relied on their appearance to feel beautiful, I wanted to feel beautiful inside and out and be with someone who agreed.

I don’t feel too self conscious anymore; I have my moments and I sometimes ask my boyfriend to close his eyes if I’m leaving the room naked or with my stomach on display. For months I didn’t let his hands wander anywhere near my stomach and now his hands will wander and touch the ridges of my stretch marks; nonplussed that i was once a significantly larger human. I guess it’s a bit ass-backwards to say that Brain gave me body confidence, because he didn’t. I think it was the moment that I realised he liked me and I wasn’t a stick thin model I thought hmm, so to be attractive, I don’t have to be wearing matching underwear or look like an on-screen siren? I can just look like me? Okay… and I guess he helped, but to me that isn’t really the problem; if you have someone who helps you feel body confident that’s so great. But what about if you don’t?

When you’re single and reading articles on how to be great in bed or how to dress to impress, there’s the overwhelming, choking feeling of expectation and I think that’s what prompts so many fits of self-doubt and loathing within female society and if you’re reading this and thinking ‘I feel so unconfident in my appearance!’ then nothing I say will make you feel any better, it’s one of those things that creeps up on you like old age, or ill-fitting underwear; it’ll happen one day and you’ll just feel and act differently to the way you did before. When I realised that I was funny, smart and that my words had prompted someone to fall in love with me, I realised that no one actually gave a fuck about my stomach or the fact that I have a severe aversion to running or sit ups but me. I stopped caring what other people thought of me and started focusing on what I like about me. So what do I like about me? I like everything. I like my hair, I like my overly large eyes, I like my teeth that look like pegs and my nose that is slightly upturned at the bottom so that it looks like, as my dad lovingly describes, a ski jump. I like my sticky out ears and my hair that has no style other than the fact that I own it and no one else does. I like my breasts and my legs and my flat, long feet. I like everything about me and that’s something I never thought I’d feel. I stopped giving a shit about what society deemed sexually attractive or acceptable and I just embraced myself for being exactly who I am.

Now, thinking back to how unconfident I was, I feel sad that I spent so many years restricting myself and not doing things out of fear of being the fat one, that people would realise that I was fat… as though people didn’t already know… I wish I’d gone with my friends to Greece and finished my application for Camp America and went to New York to study when given the opportunity, but didn’t because I thought my appearance wouldn’t win me any friends. I regret that, I’m sorry about that and I lament it, as expected.

moi

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A Series of Lamentations: My Granddad

Thirteen years ago today, my family and I lived in the south of Holland and had done for a while. We lived in tiny village, beautifully picturesque and small enough that you knew all the nooks and crannies. I was in my first year of comprehensive school, which was in a city to the south of us and the manner in which we got there as kids was to meet all of the other kids in the village and bike there; we were advised not to go it alone, because predators lay waiting in the bushes, so all of the other kids would meet at the dirt track road on a morning and bike there together. I never enjoyed it because I always had to ride at the back and no one talked to me, but I never expected them to simply leave me one day… but they did. Eventually, my dad had to drive me there and pick me up, because, as the kids explained when I dared to ask them why they left me, I was English and obviously a whore, thus didn’t belong in Holland.

That day was like most – boring. I was alone all of the time and when people did speak to me, it was usually to laugh at me or judge what I was wearing, or laughing at my sandwiches of choice that I’d taken that day. I remember one day some girls found a tampon that I had in my bag, after rooting through my purse, and parading it around like I was some kind of monster. They assumed because I was twelve (not quite thirteen), on my period and using tampons, that I must also be having sex, which made me an even bigger English whore than before. Fun, right? Yeah I know, buzzed off school, me. Anyway, this day was a non-day, as far as I was concerned. It was the day that I had history class, learning about the riveting history of Dutch farm life with a supply teacher. The children started bullying me; I was stupid, English and the reason that wars started and the sole reason why everyone hates the English. My mother was a whore too, because only whores gave birth to whore children like me…you know, basic bullying that builds character? Well, the supply teacher, naturally, sat down in front of my desk and joined in the bullying, which is always the way; professional and providing the duty of care that any parent would expect their child to receive. I stormed off, because I was going to leave school and never go back, but I forgot my coat and thought my mam would go insane if I came home without a coat, so had to wait like an idiot and have each of them walk past me as I tried to go back in, shouting Dutch obscenities, making me wish I had enough fists to punch them all, fighting back tears. This was also the day I found bubble gum in my locker, so I couldn’t get my key in, which added to the awesomeness of my day. At the end of the day, I waited for my dad to pull up in his car (a black Citroen Picasso, which I still miss to this day, it was like a bullet and I got to sit in the front because no one else was with him and I felt super cool in it) and he was a little later than usual. I got in the car, he didn’t speak much, but then again, neither did I and we drove home. My favourite part of the day.

When we arrived, something seemed decidedly off. I remember walking in and everything feeling cloudy; the house wasn’t as tidy as it usually was, the dogs weren’t excitable, my mam wasn’t cooking our evening meal in the kitchen. A half-eaten bowl of cereal lay on the breakfast bar… I looked into the living room and there lay my mam, still in her pyjamas and dressing gown. She looked pale, crestfallen, sad. My sister sat next to her, grinning at me, which confused matters slightly. I sat down beside her, my dad sat down beside me and she told me… she told me that my beloved granddad, her dad, had died. I instantly looked at my sister, who sat grinning like a Cheshire cat, prompting me to instantly question my mam and tell her to stop joking (turns out, when faced with tragedy or any form of emotion, my sister grins. It’s awful and we tell her to stop, mostly because we can never figure out if she’s happy or sad at certain news). My mam told me that she wasn’t joking and my sister was chastised for being insensitive and then told me that she had been contacted by a family member, either my grandma or one of her brothers, I think, to say that he’d passed away in the night. That’s it, just gone.

Today marks thirteen years since my granddad died and it still hurts just as much as it did then. In fact, that’s a lie; it hurts more now. I still miss him more than I ever have done and coming to term with his absence doesn’t get any easier. He was such a funny, amazing and brilliant man; I adored him so, so much and he adored me right back. He was my favourite person in the whole world, I idolised him. When I stayed at my grandparents, my seat of choice was either opposite him, so I could look at him at all times, or right next to him, so close that I touched him with all of my right side. He was so smart, stoic and handsome; he looked like a proper granddad and his wit, playful nature and attitude so full of joy made him an absolute pleasure to be around; he adored his children and grandchildren and we all adored him in equal amounts, if not more. His absence in our family, at Christmas time, birthdays, father’s day, is palpable; his empty seat filled by another person’s body hurts.

I’m so sad today. I’m sad because so much stuff has happened in my life that he hasn’t been able to be a part of. He loved hearing the stories that I wrote growing up, or receiving letters when I lived away (I once wrote an incredibly insightful and detailed letter telling him that I’d been suffering from diarrhoea, which he laughed at to no end, apparently!) and I think he would have enjoyed seeing me grow up, to see me as an adult and have conversations with me. My mam tells me that he would have been so proud of me, loved me so much and cracked up laughing at all my stupid jokes, that have all my other family members in fits of giggles whenever I’m with them. I’m not the success story of my family, I haven’t really done much other than become a writer with a wine habit; I’m not married, or doing a job like nursing or having babies, or going off on holidays whenever I can. I just live my life, writing away. But I think he would have liked that.

I miss him so much. It still hurts so much. I still grieve for him whenever I see his photographs on my fridge, I still remember the games we played and I just wish that I’d been able to see him before he died. Give him a cuddle and tell him I love him one more time. I can’t even remember what the last words I said to him were, presumably because they were so nonchalant, because as a child, I just assumed I’d speak to him again. I miss him. I miss how he smelled and I miss how he had an afternoon changing time, where he’d go into the kitchen and change from his morning pants to his afternoon pants. I miss the drawers in my grandma’s kitchen that were full of shirts and cardigans and trousers, because he liked to dress in the kitchen. I miss the scramble we had as kids to pick all of our toys out of the way on a Saturday morning, when he’d put off hoovering until midday and then run our toys over, laughing heartily as we shouted NO, GRANDDAD, NOT BARBIE!! I miss his smile, I can still hear his laugh and I ache, because I want to hear it again. I miss him. I love him. I wish he was here.

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A Series of Lamentations: Self-Love and Being a Woman

If you are here because you read the title and thought that I was going to embark on an intricate journey of self-discovery and ultimately, public discussion of an internalised regret at having spent the majority of my twenties attempting to perfect my masturbatory habits, then you are, unfortunately, very much mistaken. If you are here for anything that may potentially resemble masturbation, or the desire to read one girl’s tale of sexual awakening, then you should leave, right now. This is a series of lamentations and I, admittedly, have nothing to lament about regarding that particular element of self-love: I’m awesome and I get shit DONE. No, this is a little bit of an insight into the life of someone who was given all of the opportunities to become a self-involved, worshipper of one’s self, but someone who, through life experiences, hasn’t taken those steps and has suffered exponentially as a result.

There is no real method of denial for anyone to exercise when I say that, as a woman, we are not taught to love ourselves at all. From the moment we are catapulted from the warm bosom of childhood into the cruel and harsh world of puberty, with tiny lumps growing out of our previously flat chests and hair where we never thought hair would grow (which we are then immediately taught to shave, wax or make deals with the devil to keep it off, right there and then), and blood torturing our crotches on a monthly basis, all in the name of eventual reproduction, (because, there’s not even a choice in the matter, we all just have to suffer regardless of what our life choices end up being. Lesbian? I don’t care, PERIOD. Double period, because you may eventually live with a woman and you’ll have them at the same time and not only will your crotch be bleeding, but you’ll be attempting valiantly not to enter into some kind of Hunger Games style lifestyle for the entirety of your period which only lasts about seven days, but seems to last lifetimes in your pants. I mean, we never even got the opportunity to ask Mother Nature about periods, you know? Like, I would have appreciated sitting down with her and being like ‘so, here’s the situation – I’m eleven and I’m not really sure where my life is going to take me, I might not want children in the future, they are small and the idea of housing a tiny human in my uterus for nine months seems an unnecessary downfall of my gender, especially seen as how I will then have to shove it out of a hole that doesn’t look big enough to push a giant head out of and I am sure older me would agree, that I could probably not fit a giant head IN there, so where’s the logic, sister? WHERE?’), we have had no real control over our bodies or states of mind; it has all been done for us via the over-arching glue of the media – keeping women in a state of perpetual self-doubt since its inception. YAY!

Admittedly, growing up, I was given all the fodder to potentially become someone who promoted love of herself in every possible form; my parents were my perpetual cheerleaders and there wasn’t a concept of ‘no’ or ‘this isn’t possible’ within our family. My sister decided when she was little she wanted to learn origami, leaned towards my mother one lunch time and stated, “I want to learn pornography!” and kudos to my mother, she didn’t say that she couldn’t, only asked where she’d learned such a grown up word. The only time I ever really heard ‘no’ was when I decided I wanted to be a pop star and actress, but that’s something I’ve covered and generally have come to terms with (weeps). It wasn’t until we became teenagers and allowed external factors to govern our opinions of ourselves, did our family dynamic really change. Whilst we were never told that we couldn’t do something, I remember our parents’ perception of what others thought of us was greater than it had been before, which I blame entirely on the fact that my parents were raising two females of a very similar age – if my parents had sons, there wouldn’t have been any issues over what they were wearing, or who they were hanging out with. The general adage, boys will be boys would have meant that any sons of my parents wouldn’t have hit the barriers my sister and I did when we were teenagers. I guess it’s the same notion as society teaching girls how not to get sexually assaulted, rather than teaching boys not to sexually assault; my parents taught us how to adhere to gender stereotypes and behave in a manner that one would deem as ladylike, thus hoping to potentially decrease the potential of anything terrible happening to us, so I totally get it and I’m not trying to say that my parents did anything wrong at all – because they didn’t and I thank them every day for giving me the best life I could have wished for – but, their actions were only symptomatic of the society we were all born into: That women need to behave in a certain way in order to ascertain their true meanings in life… marriage and babies. And that is pushed onto us as much as it possibly can as soon as puberty rears its bitch of a head; we need to find a man and keep him in order for us to fulfil our biological duty. They were taught by society and the media on how to appropriately parent as much as we’re taught how to dress and how to truly satisfy our man in Cosmopolitan magazine.

Granted, my sister and I never bought into any of that shit. I decided that I wouldn’t rush the marriage and baby thing, because there is SO much do in life before I have to settle down and have kids and whilst there is always the tick tock of my biological clock, that the media is always telling me to listen to, it’s not something that bothers me. My sister decided straight up NO WAY I AM NOT HAVING KIDS I HATE THEM THEY ARE SO SMALL AND NEEDY I JUST DON’T WANT THEM and has only in the past year or so slightly changed her mind (as long as she never has girls) because she fell in love, but before that we all pictured her as some kind of spinster, living somewhere covered in televisions, game consoles and random Legend of Zelda merchandise. She would be the auntie to my children and they’d be the only kids she ever liked, but they’d be scared of her because she is a little foreboding. But, I was still the weaker one of the two and fell victim to a lot of aggression because of my independent nature… so much so that I entirely changed for a long period of time.

I’m not going to go into that element of my life in too much detail, but I did get to the point where I genuinely thought I was deserving of all the aggression, of all the ‘why aren’t you pregnant, what is wrong with you’ type conversations and a lifestyle that really didn’t cater to my needs or desires at all – my passion for writing was non-existent, because it wasn’t supported, I couldn’t even watch what I wanted to on television and my happiness hinged on the happiness of another woman; if she wasn’t happy, or if she decided I was in her bad books, then my boyfriend would act accordingly and it was usually to the detriment of my state of mind, my happiness and my emotional well-being. So, this is what I lament most out of all of my series of lamentations; I grieve for the woman who was given every opportunity in life; who did so well at school, college and university and could have explored the world, but instead ended up in a relationship that she wasn’t enjoying as it was happening, forced into being with someone who put her down at every opportunity, who’s opinion of women was so fucked up because he was raised by someone who kept him sucking at the teat of motherhood well into his adult life and who’s only real goal in life was to get to the pub; he was raised to be a misogynist and any woman who exercised any form of opinion that differed from mammy dearest’s, was punished. It was your typical, run of the mill, Norman Bates style relationship between mammy dearest and her little boy. In hindsight, I was clearly a mentalist and I am genuinely ashamed to have been a part of that misogynistic lifestyle that allowed me to become stuck and think that there was something wrong with me for not wanting to have his babies at the age of twenty one (or, ever, just to be clear).

I have learned some valuable lessons from this relationship, though and have since become a self-sufficient, adult woman who has learned from those mistakes and become someone who is pursuing her passions and living a life that I choose to lead. I have a boyfriend who isn’t necessarily a feminist, but someone who believes my passions and interests are just as important as his own and deserving of pursuing, so I get to write in abundance and be in a relationship where I’m not pressured to be anything other than myself. And that’s definitely something worth celebrating and definitely something I intend to keep up in my late twenties, because what is the point in a series of lamentations, without attempting to either celebrate my future, or make plans involving handsome beards?

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A Series of Lamentations: Food

My boyfriend (Brain) is constantly admonishing me for my relationship with food; he accuses me of being picky, which tends to catapult me into an irate state of melodrama that involves me screaming “I AM NOT PICKY, I AM THE OPPOSITE OF PICKY, I AM FAT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, ISN’T IT OBVIOUS THAT I LOVE FOOD IN ALL ITS GLORY?!” before listing items of food that I enjoy eating, that many people wouldn’t enjoy eating, either because their tolerance for dead animals and the food created from their insides is significantly less than mine (read: non-existent) or because they are vegetarians/vegans and their love of vegetables is so extensive that they would eat things that I never would without wanting to smother everything in thick layers of cheese and probably also some chicken.

However, and this is something that I have never told Brain, through genuine fear of him turning into the haughty, self-righteous know it all that he loves to be when he realises that he has bested me and that I am, as predicted, an unending example of persistent contradictions that render all of my arguments to the contrary positively inept (like, seriously, bro, how perceptive do you really need to be? Give a girl a break!) and that I did for a long time have genuine issues with food and most of my culinary discoveries only happened in the last, perhaps, one to three years of my life.

I still maintain that I am not picky, but that I grew up in an environment where culinary exploration wasn’t really a high priority; that set meals and an avoidance of foods that my mother didn’t want to cook was imperative and as a result, my palette was relatively infantile until I went to university and discovered an abundance of cheap restaurants that allowed me to explore food in more detail. So, if you are the type of person to read between the lines, I guess you’ve come to the conclusion that, not only do I blame my alleged pickiness on my mother, I also blame her for being fat too.

Isn’t that always the way: Slightly fat human in her mid to late twenties blaming her mother for her current state of tear inducing chubbiness that no amount of Spanx can conceal? Let’s not acknowledge the fact that I don’t live with my mother and that I haven’t done full time for the past three years and that, since the age of perhaps sixteen or seventeen, she had no actual control over what I ate for lunch or dinner unless I ate at home and no she doesn’t know that today for lunch I had a handful of Skittles and salted popcorn with extra salt, because she would judge me harshly. Quite rightly too.

You see, my mother is the true picky eater in this game of life we all play and therefore, my lack of knowledge where certain foods were concerned is because of her dislike for something. Chicken, for example, is something we very rarely ate; we would sometimes get a chicken curry for tea, but not very often because she hates touching it and thinks we are all going to get salmonella and die, which is why I have never been too fond of cooking chicken, because I’m frightened of getting salmonella and dying, fitting in all too well with my upbringing. This is also why I very rarely order chicken in a restaurant, because I will sift through the chicken, sticking bits in the face of the person opposite me asking if the chicken looks too pink to them. And that if I taste a piece of chicken that tastes too chicken-like, I will refuse to eat any further and want to order something else. And this is from someone who loves chicken.

I remember once we were ordering a very rare Chinese takeaway when I was a teenager, my sister and I opted to share a chicken curry together and my mother, who was writing down what to order so that she didn’t forget, looked at us with a face full of genuine concern and said: “chicken… Are you sure you don’t want beef?” prompting, naturally, my sister and I to burst into fits full of giggles and retort with something pithy and harsh, but all very well-mannered that no,  we actually want chicken and if we’d wanted beef, we would have said. But, her attempts at coaxing us towards the evidently far better takeaway option of beef did work, because I remember eating it thinking “this tastes too much like chicken. I don’t think this is cooked. Actually, I don’t think this is chicken at all…WHAT AM I EATING?!” and I have never ordered a chicken curry from anywhere since.

My mother has always had a genuine difficulty with handling meat (much to the lament of my poor dad! HA, sorry, but a good innuendo/inappropriate joke about one’s parents’ sex life should NEVER be missed…Let that be a life lesson to you!), and whilst we can’t class her as a vegetarian due to her love of beef roast lunches and the occasional lamb dish, we can’t class her as a meat eater, because she’d never eat spaghetti Bolognese or fish and chips if it was cooked by anyone other than the one man she trusts to cook her fish. Up until Christmas last year, she hated pork and was quite pissed off with my dad for buying a huge joint of pork and cooking it in her oven, until she popped her head around the kitchen door where my dad, myself and my sister were huddled, practically suckling the pig fat dripping from it’s delectable carcass and she actually tried some. Now she likes hot pork sandwiches. (Another great excuse for an innuendo, but I’ll let it slide.)

So, as you can see, any pickiness that I have exhibited is not pickiness at all, but a deep rooted loyalty to my mam that no one – not even you, Brain – can judge. And whilst I have always heartily enjoyed meat, rarest of rare steaks and chicken in abundance (only if it doesn’t taste too much like chicken), it wasn’t until the past few years I’ve discovered food that I like:

Haggis – as a result of my ex’s dad who played bagpipes and took me along to a Burn’s night where I had Haggis Neeps and Tatties for the first time (also the first time I realised I love turnip, but only if it is cubed) and it was divine.

Black Pudding – through walking in Tesco with my dad who asked me if I liked black pudding and before I could answer, my mam shouted, ”NO, SHE DOES NOT LIKE BLACK PUDDING!” prompting me to feverishly stuff it in my mouth next time I saw it on a menu in a restaurant, which was positively divine. I think I went home that evening, pointed at my mam and screamed “I DO LIKE BLACK PUDDING, WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE, YOU HARLOT!*” and locked myself in my bedroom because I am mature and not at all melodramatic.

Mussels – I didn’t realise I actually liked mussels for a very long time, mostly because I thought choosing this dish in a restaurant meant that I was eating the muscles of fish, which seemed an unnecessary delicacy that I didn’t want to try. I mean, I had tried sushi and some of it was lovely, I’d tried salmon and loved it cooked, but would never try it raw and the idea of eating a fish with it’s head and eyes and bones still attached freaked me out, so why would I eat a fish muscle served in a white wine sauce? Waste of wine if you ask me! Then I realised they were actual shell fish and served in a white wine sauce, because mussles go amazing with a white wine sauce, also a coconut and chilli sauce if you like spicy things and taste more meaty than I would have given them credit for (because I also don’t like things that are too fishy, another trait I owe to my dearest mama).

Admittedly, I have wasted a lot of my life thinking I hated foods when I don’t. I discovered that I love both olives and soft goats cheese this year as well as gnocchi and charcoal cheese. There are also things that I knew I didn’t like, but I tried any way, because Brain peer-pressured me, like camembert, stilton and other cheeses that smell and taste like mouldy, dead people feet. I will try to amend my lack of education in the culinary arts, but only for things I want to try like ostrich and venison and shark, but won’t ever eat pigeon or tomatoes because they are sinister looking and I hate them. So fuck you, Brain**.

*Slight dramatization. Probably didn’t happen like that at all. I’m a liar.

**I say this jokingly. For the most part. Love you, really, kidda!

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A Series of Lamentations

Today is 24th November 2014, meaning that in one month’s time, I will be celebrating my twenty sixth birthday. I’ve never been the type of person to lament over my age, instead embracing it like a new challenge, intent on living the next year of my life to the full and becoming slightly melancholy the day before my birthday the following year, realising that I have not fulfilled anything I had desired during my previous age. This was all fun and games in my teens and early twenties, when thirty seemed really far away and having one’s shit together didn’t seem as pertinent as it perhaps should have been. So, after standing in a queue in Aldi on Friday and discovering the stark, horrific revelation that my twenty sixth is not that far away (“Brain… On my birthday I will no longer be in my early twenties, or in my mid-twenties… I will be in my LATE twenties! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME? MY LIFE IS DRAWING TO A CLOSE!”*) ((Also who has a practical break down in Aldi of all places, I AM old)), I started to lament for the foregone years that have been wasted by my general nonchalance and ignorance that age is not just a number and anyone who tells you that is a liar and should not be trusted.

I know the word lament conjures up images of abject misery and an arduous solilioquy of previously unspoken guilts and regrets, but this series is not going to be entirely miserable. I am hoping to add a dash of glitz, some well placed glamour and a bit of humour in there for you all as I discuss a degree of topics that I have decided to lament over, blame being placed entirely on other people, so I remain unencumbered by the not-so titillating fact that I’ve wasted a large portion of my life existing rather than living, and something that I am hoping to change in the next year…but actually sticking to it this time, instead of ignoring it and posting another series of lamentations next year, when I realise I am almost twenty seven and nearly at that point in life where thirty is glaring at me like impending doom; grim reaper, slowly emerging from behind waving his scythe, greeting me like an old friend about to be reunited. Anyway, I’ve decided I’m not going to turn thirty, I am just going to stay twenty nine forever until I can die.

I might end my lamentations on a high note and write a list of things I would like to do before I’m thirty, but I might not because I am consistently inconsistent and also have written far too many lists lately, making me question my own sanity.

Anyway, enjoy and if you are in the same boat as me, send me some of your lamentations and we can share our misery over a few glasses of wine and a tearful Skype chat.

*Slight dramatization, but I was pretty upset.

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