Tag Archives: Anxieties

Anxieties About Blogging & The Future.

As a writer and blogger who allows literally the entirety of the internet a stark, honest and unabashed insight into her life, hopefully using smidgeons of comedy and interesting, bold content, I feel that I might be, somehow, holding myself back. As proud as I am of the content I discuss on my blog, I still write under a pseudonym and nothing about my online presence, or manner in which I market my blog could be described as personal; other than my boyfriend, no one I know in real life reads my blog and no one, other than close friends and family, know of its existence. Those who do know of its existence have never seen it and wouldn’t know what to search for, even if they wanted to read it. Its instances like this, which I feel assist to my feelings of general despondence when it comes to my blog and my plans.

To speak of my goals, of the things I would like to accomplish by habitually providing my blog with content is something I have never done. It’s something I feel that I am not talented enough for, that I am not someone whom people would regard as ‘serious’ enough to write on a professional level – which is a ridiculous concept. There are countless female comedians, females who write for excellent newspaper outlets, magazines, businesses, television networks who are unashamedly themselves; silly, rude, confident, hilarious and this comes across in their writing too. So why do I feel that I’m not good enough? Is it something that could have an element of truth or something that I’m being entirely paranoid about?

Recently, I have been asked to write for a rather large UK publication and also asked to become a paid writer for a large establishment in the North East and whilst these are enormous accomplishments, part of me thinks that it’s all a joke – that someone will eventually jump out from behind a wall, point at me and laugh at me for ever thinking anyone would want me to write for them professionally, let alone get paid for it. Which is an entirely foolish concept. I am so lucky to have wilfully left a job that offered  me no real – right within my grasp attainable and financially viable goals – with no jobs lined up for me and have had these amazing opportunities, essentially handed to me on a platter. In two months, I have dabbled in the waters that will, hopefully, if I’m very lucky, lead me to my dream career: Published & modestly paid writer.

I think it’s a confidence thing, but I’m not sure if it’s something other bloggers face. To me, it seems that the only concept that people can employ and consider when speaking to/about female bloggers is that we all write about clothes and make up – things that employers, particularly male employers, find non-threatening and just a bit of fun. I feel that when I tell people that I write about feminism, mental health, confidence, sex and pop culture in a stark, honest and hopefully witty/funny manner, their eyes darken and I can almost see their mind working away, wondering what I am doing, daring to interview with them, or leave my house without a big neon sign pointing: INTELLIGENT, OPINIONATED, PROBABLY A BITCH, STEER CLEAR at my head.

It may be paranoia that is sifting through my unconscious mind, causing me to cast doubt upon my passions and evident talents, or it might be something that is true: Everything I do, everything I use in order to market my blog and share it with people is foolhardy and that I won’t be taken seriously as a writer due to my attempts at comedy or somewhat self-deprecating manner in which I write.

This blog doesn’t really make too much sense, but I had some concerns and having spent the day not feeling rooted in reality and that I am not real today, I have also been incredibly anxious and panicky about my future. I’m hoping that I’ll read this tomorrow and some worries will be put to rest, but if you’re reading this and would like to help or share some words of wisdom, they would be much appreciated.

Thank you. Lots of love x

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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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Twenty Something Midlife Crises:

If you’re reading this, then you may be a twenty something individual going through a little bit of a crisis. I understand. Crises are usually reserved for the middle aged and are thus appropriately glamorised because they had their shit together in their twenties and have therefore earned enough money in their lives to buy a new hairpiece, fill their faces with botox, buy a red sports car and develop a drug addiction, derived from having many dinners and sexual dalliances with high end prostitutes. Twenty somethings are not privileged enough, nor have they earned enough money prior to fly around in a sports car, paying people to have sex with them. (I should also point out that mid-life crises are not gender specific; women have them too, only they are far less glamorous and probably result in drinking wine in the afternoon and declaring themselves ‘cougars’ hitting up clubs with their other miserable friends in order to revitalise their youth in a manner which botox and sex with prostitutes wouldn’t be able to fulfil). Therefore, there is no readily prepared information on how to stop having a crisis in your twenties, get your shit together and stop lamenting over the fact that you’re in thousands of pounds worth of debt because of a degree you were encouraged to get to improve your quality of life/employment chances has resulted in unemployment and eating dried garlic bruschetta for lunch because you’re too cast adrift in your life to consider proper food consumption. I get it, so I’m here to help.

You see, I too have been, adrift and in crisis. One could argue that my current state of affairs is akin to feeling adrift and in crisis, but I would say that you are wrong, because the first stage of a crisis is denial that you are in a crisis. Much like a red sports car is such a good idea, because the ladies love a red sports car and no the media has not bastardised the red sports car to the extent that driving in one is synonymous with being an old creep looking to touch people young enough to be their daughters. You see, denial, it knows no boundaries. I am not denying that I am in a crisis, because I’m not – there is a checklist, which I have handily drafted for you all to highlight that you may be having a twenty something crisis, but I, most certainly, am not:

  1. You have a degree in some kind of artistic pursuit that filled you full of purpose during your formative years, but has since left you feeling empty in body, mind and pocket.
  2. You choose to pursue the talents bestowed on you by said degree by pursuing this as a hobby, which will accidentally, one day, flourish into a career.
  3. You have more wine glasses than you do any other type of glass in your flat.
  4. You take stands quite a lot and are often incensed by things such as the news, adverts and the inability to use your television due to your partner’s inability to explain how to use said device properly.
  5. You have too many dishes to clean on a daily basis.
  6. You have stood in front of a mirror and lamented over your girth, foaming at your reflection, but happy in your resolve that this must be your natural body shape and not a sign that you should stop eating ice cream.
  7. You don’t often wear a bra during the day, so that when people deliver packages to your door, you look like you’ve been breastfeeding two baby elephants simultaneously for the past half an hour.
  8. Or, if you’re male, don’t wear a shirt and the results are pretty much the same.
  9. Your mother often rings you to ask you if you’ve had any joy on becoming a proper adult, instead of the overgrown toddler you have essentially become, given your addiction to bottle shapes, afternoon naps and tears at not getting your own way.
  10. You write lists.

If you have checked positive for any of these, then I am very sorry, but you are probably going through a twenty something life crisis. Given, of course, that you are in your twenties. If you are younger than in your twenties, then don’t worry, your parents pay for shit and this is just childhood, enjoy it, get a tattoo. If you’re older than in your twenties and/or are married with children, then you should probably get your shit together, get off the internet and do something more worthwhile in your life. There is no room for you here.

The main problem, I think, with people who are going through twenty something life crises is that it’s not glamorised enough. Instead of being rich and having sex with people, we are poor and watching Netflix on loop every day watching actors have simulated sex with other actors. It’s all very drab. Plus, if you decide to inform someone that you feel you may be going through a little bit of a crisis, that you feel that your talents and life are dwindling away, that you’re at a point in your life where you see others with their shit together and it gives you feelings of intense anxiety to know that you are at the bottom of the gene pool in both terms of sexuality and employment. These people who you talk to are inherently selfish and will therefore laugh heartily until tiny tears are coming out of their eyelids, they will shake their heads, smile at you and tell you that you should pursue a life of comedy, or that you should write a fictional novel because the stories you come up with are crazy. If you don’t speak to someone selfish, then they will tell you how great you are and buoy your confidence up to a level where you feel stupid for ever feeling that you were in crisis, until they leave and you realise all they did was make you feel temporarily better and are probably worse than the people who didn’t support you and thought you were insane.

The truth is, twenty somethings worldwide are the first generation in life who are on the precipice of life but unable to jump over into that ship of self-sufficient adulthood and money in the bank that doesn’t need to be saved for bills or you’ll be kicked out of your house for not paying rent, because it’s just too far and you’re scared of the presumably shark infested waters that undoubtedly lie beneath. Our parents had their shit together, when they left school at sixteen, careers were pretty much handed to them, having been crafted throughout their school careers. My dad knew he was going to be an engineer and became an apprentice, my mam a hairdresser and did the same. I left school and I knew that I was going to spend a significant amount of time lying around looking at pictures of Ryan Gosling on the internet and reading books, before going shopping two days before college and buying clothes that made me look like a weed smoking hippy from the 1970s that wouldn’t make me any friends. We’re part of a generation that are in debt before we even decide what we’re doing in life, meaning we can’t pursue the things that we should do in our adult lives: mortgages, weddings, financial stability, babies, buying a car that we don’t have to lease, decorating and weekend DIY. Instead, we remain in an almost infantile state, attempting adulthood but failing miserably, working temporary, shit jobs whilst holding out for our degrees to finally pay off, developing addictions to things that remind us of childhood: which explains why EVERY male human you know has either an addiction to some kind of Japanese anime, playing army on his playstation or his xbox with his friends and that girls are weird and icky and why EVERY female you know has at some point in their lives bought a hat with animal ears on it and changed their Facebook status to Disney princess in training because they spent an entire evening drinking wine and singing along to Disney songs in their pyjamas, wishing that men were like Disney princes (not the parts where they kiss you without consent whilst you’re asleep, or kidnap you and refuse to let you see your family so he can force you to love him, though).

To me, it seems like the only thing we can really do at this point in our lives is develop the ability to time travel, go back in time and punch our childhoods right in the face. Tell them to not pursue academic excellence and instead settle for the mundane, because everyone you know who didn’t go to university is now in a proper career, has bought their first home and is married to someone they overlooked during childhood. Let them know that if they do pursue the arts they will end up fat, miserable and unemployed, the only joy in life being the fact that you have found your forever human, so at least that’s out the way and that if you’re asked to join companies under zero hour contracts or for barely minimum wage you should laugh in their faces and explain that they are what is wrong with the economy and spit on their shoes before storming out of their building, indignant and…well, unemployed.

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SEX. Sorry, did that shock you?

Sex is everywhere; it is inescapable from the moment we reach puberty until we’re ancient, our sexual years way behind us, instead we find joy in other things, like chess or our grandchildren, or watching paint dry on walls, cursing those years we spent simply worrying about sex. Because it’s true – everyone, at some point in the lives, has irrational worries about sex. I’ve spoken to countless men and women who have worried about pleasuring their partners, or lamenting over the fact that they’re not sure if they can actually reach orgasm; spending their time hopelessly thrusting, desperate to achieve the one thing we all hope to achieve during a sexual encounter: The Big O (a term I find disgusting, I have to admit). The reason we’re all worried, of course, is down to the incessant media barrage we’ve encountered since we were young regarding all things sexual: we should be having sex, but we also shouldn’t be having sex because of STIs that we are bound to catch. That we should be exploring our sexuality, but not to the extent where people will think you’re a homosexual, heaven forbid. The magazines that scream at us as we stand in line at the news agents: ‘how to pleasure your partner’ / ‘how to stop him/her from cheating’ / ‘how to give great head!’… Our lives are essentially controlled from the get go and thus, our perceptions of sex have been warped – we’re all stood around wondering how the hell do you have good sex?

Admittedly, perhaps not unexpectedly, I was a pretty sexually confused teen and my introduction to sex wasn’t the most nurturing of experiences, so for me to be as confident as I am about talking about sex, having sex and being a human with whom other humans enjoy having sex, is something that I never expected. But, I also think that because of my horrendous past experiences, I feel that I am also in the best position to have sex, because, through my own sexual awakening (which I’ve documented previously), I was able to normalise sex in a manner which the magazines and TV shows that targeted me and my age group weren’t able to do. I was able to realise that sex wasn’t about a yoga class full of perfectly executed karma sutra positions, or playing games, or using certain techniques with kitchen appliances and food in order to keep another human interested in my vaginal regions – it was about, ultimately, being myself and exploring my sexuality in a manner that included my own methods of research. I have to admit that my sexual research was more ‘sitting at my laptop with a notepad open to jot down some stuff’ rather than going out there and actually doing it, but I think that by reading about everything sex had to offer, stuff that I was confused about and things that people I knew were talking about (anal sex: will it really rip out my intestines and result in my death? No), helped me to realise what I want out of my sex life way more than actually being involved physically in any of the things I researched would. Now, it’s upsetting, because not a lot of people my age had those types of experiences and as a result, my opinion about sex differs greatly from many other people’s (so much so that I have been accused by actual family members of being a dominatrix… Not that the accusation is a bad thing, but it is said in a manner that people must find confusing: What? You find sex empowering? So you whip people and stamp on their genitals? No) and it makes me feel sad that as a society, we don’t have anyone normal that we can go to for sexual advice and have it normalised as much as we can in order for it not to be such a huge deal for so many people; men and women, young and old.

I think the thing most people, unless you are as comfortable in your sexuality as I am, don’t realise is that sex isn’t a public platform on which our peers judge us. Women don’t all sit around rating their boyfriends out of ten and there are so many ways of doing every position you can think of that you can guarantee that one person doesn’t do it the same way as another. Sex is personal purely to the two people having sex at that particular moment in time; missionary for one person is totally different to the next and that is what a lot of magazines and media outlets manage to deceive us in: That we’re all mechanical and by fingering a girl that way, or giving him a blow job this way is an access all areas guide to having successful sex with every human you encounter. So the question remains: How do you have good sex?

The best advice I could give anyone in a position where they feel that their sex lives are stale, or they don’t know what or how to do this certain something to someone that they really like and would like them to enjoy it, rather than flee the room in tears, then my honest advice to all of you is: You talk to that person. You don’t ask Cosmopolitan magazine or scroll through online forums (because believe me, the majority of those are either trolls or people who NO CLUE on how to please someone other than themselves) or even watch porn or a graphic sex scene in a movie; none of it is real and none of them care about your feelings on the matter. Talking about sex is so sexy – talking about your needs or desires or things you don’t like or things you would like to try but you’re really scared about trying because you read on the internet that it can make your intestines fall out of or you arse, you talk about it to the person that you’re having sex with. Because you should be able to. If you’re having sex with someone you can’t talk to, then you shouldn’t be having sex with that person and I urge you to stop, immediately, because no matter what your favourite magazine tells you, no matter what you are doing to please a person in that situation; if you can’t talk to that person about your needs or desires, then it doesn’t matter whether you learn to give the best blow job in the world, or give her the most amazing orgasm she’s ever had in her life; it won’t work in the long run. This goes for long term relationships or not; this goes for every single person you’ve ever thought about having sex with. Communication is an aphrodisiac and if you don’t consider it one, then you should, because in order to achieve awesome sex, ridding yourself of the stigma of the act, you need to be able to communicate.

This post, I guess, was written for anyone a little sexually confused. From my research into this as well as reading people’s Twitter feeds or social media pages is that sex is too much of a big deal and that no one really knows how they should be having sex. I guess I could redirect you to sex bloggers I love or a really great article, but the truth is, these people would probably tell you the same; communication is the key to a great sex life whether it be communicating with yourself, or another person. So remember that and go forth and enjoy all the awesomeness sex has to offer, kind regards, your cheesy normal sex advice giver (who gives advice no one asked for).

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She.

One year ago: A pale, shivering woman sits in a barely lit room, swathed in blankets. She stares blankly in front of her at the blackness of her television screen; she doesn’t move, she barely thinks. She is scared to turn on the television, frightened to turn on another light as she’s unsure of how much electricity is left on the meter and with no money to top this up, she doesn’t want to be left in darkness; darkness terrifies her. Everything terrifies her. In her cold, shivering hand, she barely grips a bottle of tequila, a gift from a friend. The taste is acidic in her mouth, causing her to gag every time she allows a sip to slink down her throat into her empty stomach. But it keeps her warm. The gas in the house went off ages ago; the house is freezing through, a draught blows through the ancient fireplace, sweeping through the house with frosty vigour. She shivers deeply and tries to grab the bottle tighter. Her stomach rumbles, a low, incessant, deep wailing from within: She hasn’t eaten in 24 hours. She’s starving, but there is no gas to light the stove, no food in the cupboards. She wraps the blanket a bit tighter around herself, wishing that this was not such a familiar scene. I wish I was dead, she thinks.

Her phone lights up, a message from her sister:
Hi sweety, how are you? Xxxx
I’m ok thanks. How are you? Xxxx
I’m great thank you! What are you up to? Xxxx
Not much. No heating. Not much electricity. Am keeping TV off so the lights don’t go off before bed. Xxxx
Have you eaten? Xxxx
No food. Or gas. Haha xxxx
Stop being lazy, go to the shop! Xxxx
No money. I don’t have my bank card either. Xxxx
What? Where is he? Xxxx
I don’t know. He took the money dad gave me out of my purse, along with my bank card and left this morning. Xxxx
Oh, Doris, man… Do you want me to Just Eat you a pizza? Xxxx
No, no thank you.  I’ll be fine. Love you xxxx
Love you too xxxx

There is a loud knocking on the door. Her heart pounds, her entire body heaves with fear. Cautiously, she stands up, blankets slipping from her body, cold biting at her warm body. She tiptoes towards the door and peeks around the corner. The large shadow of a man casts a shadow throughout the empty hallway.

“Hello?” she asks the shape at the front door.
“Hiya, there’s a delivery for number 23?” smiling, she opens the door.
“Thank you!” She closes the door, locking it, remembering to remove the key just in case he comes home and is angry that he’s locked out. If he comes home. She smiles as her tummy rumbles loudly in anticipation, thankful of her sister’s act of kindness. She puts the pizza down on the coffee table, picks up her phone and types out a message to her sister:

Thank you for being you xxxx

Later, she makes her way to the bedroom. She sends a quick text message, asking when he will be home. There is no reply. She finds the scissors in the bathroom and begins to scrape at the long, healing scab on her thigh.

A few hours later, she hears the door slam, but doesn’t shut properly, banging even louder off the wall as it bounces. Another hole she thinks. Footsteps make their way upstairs. She wraps the duvet more tightly around herself and closes her eyes, slinking down in the bed a little bit, moving her body to the very edge of the bed, trying to act asleep. There is movement in the darkness and a figure stinking of booze and something else falls into bed beside her. A few moments pass and snores that only someone deep in a whiskey induced sleep can produce. Carefully, she slinks out of bed and makes her way downstairs to close and lock the front door. In the dark, she stumbles over a pair of shoes and falls sharply to the floor, slamming her knees off the cold wood. She feels blood trickle down her leg. She sighs.

She climbs back into bed, the booze and unfamiliar smell washing over her, causing her to turn her nose up in disgust. His phone lights up and she notices a message from the girl he works with:

Thanks for tonight 🙂 ❤ xx

She rolls over, wraps the duvet around her tightly, picks up the sharp object she keeps under her bed and begins scraping along the freshly healed scar on her wrist. Oh.

A few days later, she would spend the day with her mother and sister, trying to find some joy in the fact that it was almost Christmas, feeling nothing but emptiness; an encapsulating feeling of non-existence that only cutting into her flesh seemed to eradicate, even if only for a little while. She follows a jubilant mother and cheerful sister around shops, remembering to react to their questions, smile at their jokes, making jokes of her own; anything to appear normal. Eventually, it’s time to go home and the dread associated with going to the house she lives in envelopes her once more. Just a little while longer, she thinks, hoping for a traffic jam or the car to break down. All too soon, they pull up outside of her house. She kisses her family goodbye, noticing her mam staring a little too hard, something impenetrable behind her eyes. She knows, she thinks as she climbs the steps to her house. She turns around, waving at her sister’s disappearing car and steps into the cold, dark house.

She walks through the dark hallway to the living room, flicking on the light as she walks past. She stops in her tracks, turns around and leaves the room, remembering to turn off the switch. Too cold, she thinks. She makes her way into the kitchen, opens the fridge and sighs at its lack of content, turns around and makes her way upstairs. Bed seems like a good a place as any, she thinks, noticing the time: 7pm. As she ascends, she notices a large cupboard door ajar. Frowning, she walks over to it and peers inside. Empty. Her frown deepens as she walks into the bedroom and sees that there are drawers open. They’re all empty too. The wash basket in the corner has been emptied; only her clothes remain, littered on the floor. Hmm. She turns around and goes back downstairs, flicks on the living room light and takes stock of its contents. Computer gone. Xbox gone. On the table, she notices her bank card. Oh.

She sits on the edge of the sofa, heart pounding. She unlocks her phone and brings up her banking app, checking her balance: 43p, a lot less than before. She takes her purse out of her bag and finds a 2 pence piece in the bottom, littered amongst the old bus tickets. Oh.

She texts her sister:
I think he’s left me. Xxxx
What? What do you mean? Xxxx
Well, I got home and all of his stuff is gone, my bank card was on the table. 43p in current account. Xxxx
THAT BASTARD. I’m coming to get you. Xxxx

She didn’t feel anything. She cried, she fell to the floor and sobbed, clutching at her chest, clawing at her face, but she didn’t really feel anything. The truth is, she hadn’t felt anything in a long time; she acted, of course, she knew she was supposed to be happy, she knew that she was supposed to be grateful that there was someone out there who could put up with her: She was difficult, she was unattractive, she lived only to depress people and bring them down to her level of depraved melancholy. She should have been grateful, but she couldn’t feel anything. The only time she felt the semblance of happiness was when she drew knives or scissors or anything with a pointed edge against her skin – not fine cuts, but jagged claw like marks into her skin. She would cry, she would feel guilty and she would think of her mother and cry more. What would she think? She felt empty for a long time. Years. She knew she should cry, so she did, but she didn’t know what she was crying for. It wasn’t loss, or remorse or heartbreak. It was because she knew she had to. Society dictated that. So she cried.

Eventually, when the rubble had cleared, so to speak and when she had time to take stock of her thoughts and consider what had happened to her throughout 2013, she felt humiliated. Humiliated that she had wanted to leave, but was convinced to stay, that things would get better, that this is what relationships were, these days. She felt humiliated that she was followed around, screamed at and bullied by an ancient woman posing as a mother, wishing instead of being respectful of another person’s mother, she had punched her in her botox filled lips and thrashed her senseless for inflicting so much pain onto another human being, allowing her own son to make her the victim of domestic violence (more emotional than physical, admittedly) knowing that she too was once the victim of domestic violence. She felt humiliated that he would take her money, money that her dad gave her for bills and food and warmth; he would take that and spend it all on booze, cosying up to other women, saying vitriolic things about her to these people, laughing at her ignorance of what was going on. Poor, fat, ugly girl, doesn’t know how good she has it, I’m god’s gift… my mam says so. Eventually that humiliation turns to anger and eventually the anger dissipates into an intense lingering pity, until that pity disappears and all that is left is a desire not to have ever known him.

She gets on with her life. She meets new people. She writes again. She smiles as soon as she wakes up. She doesn’t take prescription drugs and downs them with tequila any more. She doesn’t take sharp objects to her skin. She doesn’t wish she’s dead. She comes back to life; like a flower in the spring time, reaching towards the sun. She is brighter, she is stronger. She is happier. She won.

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Emotional Interlude Dedicated to The Internet.

Following my recent blog post – and my rather serious revelations of what happened in 2013 – I received a lot of e-mails from people who read my blog, who were both concerned and empathetic towards my situation. I had reems of e-mails of people sharing their stories of sadness, depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts etc. I have responded to each and every one of them via e-mail and have opened lines of communications for anyone who is feeling that low to contact me whenever they need to get something off their chest etc. But, I just wanted to reiterate that here in case some of you thought I was just being polite: Seriously, get in touch. And also, thank you so much – you have no idea how much it means to me to have people actually take time out of their day and e-mail me, just to see how I’m feeling now.

A lot of people criticise me for writing so unashamedly and candidly about the events of last year (which I like to call the shower of shit that was hurled at me from a very great height by someone who I should have poisoned ages ago because it seems so much more light-hearted than the reality, I suppose), people who I know haven’t bothered reading my blog and those who have, have rolled their eyes and been pretty judgemental about the whole blog writing process. I suppose some people just don’t get it or think that I do it for attention or something; casting aspersions that suggest I’m hard work or a pretty shitty person for being so candid about my life’s experiences. However, when I receive e-mails from complete strangers who’ve actually showed a lot more compassion for me than my own friends, it kind of puts the whole experience into perspective to me. If I had friends who said ‘come round mine, we’ll lie on the sofa and watch shit films and cry for a few hours’ when I first broke up with my ex, would I need to write about it online in order for me to gain closure? Not a lot of my friends know how low I’ve felt and I know that there are friends of mine who’ve read the blog and not a single one of them have said ‘I’m sorry you went through that’. I get that they might not give a shit, but at the same time, I’ve had a lot more compassion from strangers who want to be my friend and meet up for drinks etc – what does that say about my actual pals? And this is the exact same reason I blog: I don’t want to be friends with people who don’t appreciate my passion and who don’t want to be my friend even when I’m at my lowest. You internet strangers have actually been a lot friendlier than my life-long friends.

I’m not trying to be immature or selfish towards any of my real life friends, by the way. I get that people have their own shit to deal with and I am in no way trying to suggest that mine is more important or that they should have dropped everything to be with me. My best friend lives in Whitehaven and he had no choice but to not see me until a few weeks ago and I know that other friends of mine have busy lives and relationships, but from my perspective: I always send them messages etc just to see how they are. A friend of mine broke up with a lad she’d been seeing for 2 month and there I was, comforting her and making her feel better, when she didn’t even realise I had broken up with my ex. I’m not sure if I’m just being sensitive or that I’ve just removed myself from my friends over the past five years until they simply don’t give a shit. They don’t realise that none of that was down to my choice: I’d see all of my friends as often as possible if it were up to me, but still… I suppose it is my fault, but never mind.

However, I will say that starting this blog has actually helped me become a more confident person and I do feel, generally, a lot more comfortable in my skin than I ever have before. Being so candid about calling the Avon lady a mother fucker, or sharing some of the incredibly awful chat up lines I’ve received or even telling people that I suffer from General Anxiety Disorder and last year I was bullied to the point of self harm/suicide by my boyfriend’s mother has been so cathartic to me and it has helped me gain closure and move on from it. Do I need to share it with the internet? No, I suppose not, but at the same time I don’t force anyone to read it. The way I see it is: Blogging takes an immense amount of confidence and courage and being able to be yourself takes every single shred of strength, because you know that people are going to judge you and think you’re either seeking attention or just a dick.

Blogging is a learning curve for me. I have made so many mistakes over the past five years and I have lost so much of what made me me by trying so hard to be the girl that someone else wanted me to be and I have suffered so much and so unnecessarily for that that I am more determined now than ever to become Doris in a way that I’ve never been able to do before. I am so intelligent and silly and I think I’m hilarious even if no one else does and this is my outlet for that. And, recently in particular, I’ve been put in touch with so many lovely people who blog in the UK as well as closer to home in the North East/Newcastle area and I can’t wait to attend events with them and widen my social circle with people who love to blog/write. Blogging is my favourite thing in life at the moment and it has helped me over come the worst period of my life, and, I think, that it is also helping me become a better person in so many ways.

So, yet another serious post, but I will finish by saying: Thank you so much for your kind words, internet friends, I like you all a great deal and am enveloping you all in a massive bear hug in my mind right now. My poor attempts at comedy will continue soon enough, but until then, just keep sending lovely e-mails and know that I am happy to lend one of my massive ears for you to chat to.

If you want to get in contact my deets are here and on the ‘about’ bit of my blog. Lots of love, internet.

Email: whatdorisdidblog@gmail.com
Twitter: @mzjaggah

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National Sibling Day

I didn’t realise it was National Sibling Day today. In fact, I didn’t know that it existed until today, but the internet informs me that it is, so I shall write a blog dedicated to my only, thus favourite sibling: My younger sister, who, for the sake of the blog will go by her nickname Ingrid.

From being tiny humans, my sister and I were always instilled with a mantra our mother taught us:

When you have a sister, you’re never lonely. When you have a sister, you always have a best friend.

us

My sister and I would roll our eyes and look at each other with a sense of disgust, presumably thinking, whatever, mother! When we grow up we’ll have our own lives and our own friends and only se each other on family holidays! What kind of saddo actually chooses her own family as her best friend anyway, mam? EH?! But, as she would countless times throughout our lives, our mother proved us right (let’s never speak of this to her). Even though we had our own friendship groups and gone off to do our own things in life, we’ve always gravitated towards each other and sought each other’s company when, to put it simply, no one else will do.

My sister and I are so similar, yet the complete polar opposite of one another at the same time, and, I think that’s what makes our friendship so solid. I’ve often looked at our relationship critically and thought to myself if that girl wasn’t related to me, I’d probably hate her and I know Ingrid feels the exact same way about me too. Yet, there is nothing about each other that we dislike. I suppose it’s a sibling thing, but I haven’t actually met another set of siblings as in love with one another as my sister and I are (platonically, might I add. There’s no Lannistering going on in this family… Well, at least none that include me, which would be typical. Bastards!) to ask them. Where as I am incredibly girly and I enjoy doing my hair and make up, going shopping and spending hours wandering around just looking at clothes I don’t even intend to buy, she absolutely hates it and would rather chop of her tits and fling them at me in a rage before running away sobbing, than spend five minutes in a shop without having a specific reason to be there. She is the opposite of girly; she’s more like a brother to be honest. Ingrid is also one of the most intelligent people I have ever had the privilege of knowing; she is one of those people who are just so knowledgeable about everything and so passionate about their chosen subjects. It really is awe inspiring, particularly to me, because as much as I love literature, cinema, music, comedy etc, I often feel pretty reluctant to have conversations about them because I never feel intelligent enough to be having a conversation pertaining to any of the aforementioned. Where as, Ingrid discusses her interests with no real academic knowledge, just information she’s picked up subconsciously from a book or the internet, or a documentary she watched one time about ten years ago. You’d think she’d studied it for years, the way she talks and I think it’s one of the most amazing qualities to have.

In the past two years, at least, my sister and I have gone through some really horrific times and we’ve suffered quite a bit from depression etc. My depression got quite bad last year and my sister was actually the only person in the world who supported me wholeheartedly and understood what I was going through. My parents thought I was being dramatic and my boyfriend at the time thought I was lying about it, that I was acting out and doing it because I liked to make him miserable; he made my depression all about himself and how it affected him rather than seeing I was at the lowest point in my life. I actually felt so low that I wrote my parents, my sister and my boyfriend each a note, explaining why I didn’t want to be alive any more and I told them all pretty much the same thing: That I loved them with all my heart. I put them in envelopes and left them next to my boyfriend’s Xbox controller, because I figured that’s where they’d best be seen and I left the house. I fully intended to kill myself because that year, I had been bullied and worn down so much by my boyfriend’s mother who decided she didn’t like me any more and I felt like nothing, I felt like existing was too much for me. I’d rationalised that me killing myself was actually the best thing for everyone; my parents and sister would have each other and my boyfriend wouldn’t have to break up with me to please his mother. Now, they seem like pretty stupid reasons to want to kill myself, but I don’t think anyone who goes through those thought processes ever has anything eloquent in mind other than: I want to die. As I was walking towards where I needed to be, I felt pretty numb and I wasn’t really thinking about anything, but at one point, I realised I still had my phone on me and I looked at it, to see a text I’d received before I left the house: I love you xxxxx from my sister. I stopped dead in my tracks, turned around and walked home. Later on, I rationalised that I was being selfish to make my boyfriend go through the whole ‘telling my parents’ thing, but when it came down to it, had I not received that text message, I’d not be here writing about how amazing my sister is now. I know that with one hundred percent certainty. She saved my life.

Ingrid doesn’t know any of this and I don’t think she’d be able to handle knowing, which is why she doesn’t read my blog. But, the love I have for her extends far beyond any love I think I’ll ever feel for another person in my life; that girl is everything to me. Since then, we’ve gotten even closer and I have made her my priority in life. I’ve stopped seeing a lot of my friends, because even when they knew I’d broken up with my ex, they were still pretty nonchalant and behaved as though it was nothing and I realised that all the love and care I had for them, wasn’t really reciprocated and I don’t go out as often as I should, because I choose to see her when she’s free. We spend days lounging on  her bed, playing Skyrim or watching Friends and not even talking at all, but just being near her makes me happy. Since that day, I decided I was going to try and be a better person for her and be the sister she needs me to be. I mean, I’m the eldest sister and she needs me, even if she doesn’t know it. I’m her best friend too and to ever leave her would destroy her – I couldn’t do that to her.  She needs me just as much as I need her and I think that’s what our mam meant when she recited her mantra to us throughout the years. She didn’t mean having someone to go drinking with, or someone to hang out with when your friends weren’t free – she meant that when we felt like we couldn’t breathe or didn’t want to any more, that we just needed to look towards each other for guidance and we’d find our way back to feeling normal. My baby sister is my best friend and I have, quite literally, everything to be thankful for. I am so lucky to have her in my life. Love you, little legs.

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Thanks for the Cock-Blocking, Parents!

When you’re a kid – especially when you’re a teenager – you always say to yourself that you’re never going to raise your children the way your parents raised you. Like when you begged to dye your hair bright pink and they said no because you’d look ridiculous: fuck you guys, my kids are going to have the BEST and most OUTLANDISH hair ever! Or when you were banned from going to parties because despite how many times you said you weren’t going to drink because it was entirely irresponsible and my liver hasn’t even properly formed yet, I don’t want to get cancer or anything, you guys! Look at how responsible I am! That kind of parental guidance that has you thinking about certain injustices way into your mid-twenties and makes you feel that their shitty (excellent) parenting led you to not experience things that you wanted to experience and, in the most idealistic and nonsensical way possible you blame your parents and their shitty (excellent) rules and boundaries that essentially, cock-blocked you throughout your teenaged years. Way to go, parents, thanks for loving me… Not!

All throughout Comprehensive School, I was madly in love with a boy (who shall remain nameless because I can’t think of a fake name that embodies just how cool this guy was. Like, even his name was cool) whose bright blue eyes and jet black hair made my heart flutter from the very first day I laid eyes on him, at the tender age of twelve. I wasn’t all that cool; I was too tall and my limbs seemed to grow at an alarming daily rate and I wore glasses that made twelve year old me look like I was constantly in wait to stand in for Daniel Radcliffe should he not be able to play Harry Potter any more, but I was pretty smitten with this guy from day one. And this love would continue until I was sixteen and then never saw him again because he wasn’t a super nerd like me. It was difficult to fancy someone who, to me, seemed entirely unobtainable. Like, even girls in my class would whisper when he walked by our tables and say things like “we’d never stand a chance with him, he’s so amazing!” and it made me feel a little bit like he was a celebrity and my adoration simply grew, despite not having a chance. As I said, I didn’t have much going for me in the looks department. And his on/off girlfriend (which always seemed a bit too adult for me at the age of twelve… Like what kind of problems could they really have?) was one of the cool girls.

The cool girls of my age actually looked like fully formed women; their tiny breasts were far larger than my non-existent ones and their school bags were like the kind of bags I take on nights out with me now. Their hair, usually blonde, were all worn in super thick high pony tails and their gym kits were always the en-vogue brand of the season. I was not that cool. I had no-brand PE trainers because my parents were smart and didn’t see the need to spend £50 on trainers that I was going to wear solely in the PE hall (I’m sure my dad’s argument would have been “you have expensive trainers for kicking about in, you don’t need expensive trainers for an hour of PE a week!” and my PE uniform was of the same vain. My parents’ financial responsibility and general logic was a burden to my desperate desire not to be the too tall Harry Potter look-a-like I was. My only saving grace was (and always has been) my sense of humour and my pretty excellent taste in music and I had that whole ‘lived in Holland for a while’ exoticness going on, which actually did grab my school-crush’s attention. Take that you big breasted bitches with your bouncy pony tails!

I should probably point out that he didn’t really know where Holland was and my music taste wasn’t really his kind of thing; he was way into that so called music that sounds like someone is performing an exorcism over a really loud and incessant beat and I was pretty heavily into the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Clash and I think at that point I was still pretty besotted with Good Charlotte and CKY, which prompted a lot of people to call me a GOTH, but I was always generally well liked because of my sense of humour and ability to use big words and throughout school, my crush and I bounced our sense of humour off one another and that was pretty much it as far as our romance went. In my head, he and I were going to get married, but in reality my parents’ shitty (and yes I’m still calling it shitty because THEY RUINED MY LOVE LIFE) parental skills stopped what could have been the Ben Affleck and J.LO relationship of 2001-2005. Thanks again, guys.

When we were thirteen, my best friend’s family were going away for the weekend and leaving her at home, under the illusion that she would have her best girl friends round for a weekend of film watching and general girly banter. Which of course, was the plan, however, she did also invite a bunch of boys round and managed to get her hands on a lot of booze (how did we ever manage this? I never had any money, but I was always drunk… Then again, I still am, I think it’s just a Geordie knack). I had never been to a party before, other than the parties we had when we were kids and I was guessing there would be no pin the tail on the donkey or, indeed, parental chaperones of any kind. However, with this lack of knowledge surrounding teenaged parties, I didn’t know what to expect and of course, like a total ding-bat, I told my parents the truth: That my friend was having a party because her parents were away for the weekend, there will be boys there, and can I go too? I was genuinely surprised by their resounding NO followed by a you must think I was born yesterday style lecture. What the fuck was their problem? It was a party not a satanic ritual followed by mass suicide. Anyway, I couldn’t go and I was pretty put out about the whole affair. I remember sitting on my bed all weekend receiving text messages from my best friend asking me where I was (I lied and said I was doing something way better, like sky diving or hanging out with my friend Mick Jagger) and weeping dramatically at the unknown, until they realised that I wasn’t coming and got on with their, what turned out to be, AMAZING party – a party people would actually talk about for years to comeSo, when Monday rolled around and I got to school, pushed slightly out of my friend group because I didn’t have the inside knowledge on the past weekend, I felt like a giant heap of steaming shit. That was, until my best friend grabbed me by the arm and said, “when he got to mine, he kept asking where you were, like literally all night!” and I swooned like I was in an old fashioned film and Etta James’ At Last began playing in my head (not really, but now when I think about how excited I was by this, I can totally imagine modern day me singing that song out loud and swinging round a lamppost). Monday was also the day we had music in the afternoons and music lessons were my absolute favourite because our music teacher could actually never be arsed to teach us and just sat us in front of keyboards, told us to learn a song with our headphones on and locked himself in his office, which meant that the majority of us didn’t play at all, but caused general mischief until our teacher came out and screamed at us. In hindsight, I probably should have paid more attention because I always wanted to learn how to play the piano, but at the same time, I also really wanted a first kiss and at the age of thirteen, that seemed way more important than musical talent (until at the age of fourteen, I discovered the boys who played guitar in the year above then I realised its importance). Anyway, I still remember this lesson as being the best lesson in the history of all lessons because he sat behind me and kept playing with my hair. I would turn round and we’d have a conversation, usually ending in fits of laughter and we’d just stare in each other’s eyes for what seemed like an eternity until one of us looked away, blushing. We seriously had the hots for each other.

The flirtation lasted, horrifically platonically, until we left school. Alas, it was never meant to be, because my parents obviously heard my ramblings of a teenager in love to everyone and anyone who would listen, and decided to put a stop to any of this boy behaviour before it grew wings and also out of control. But the reason I’m posting this blog post is because I saw him recently and he still made me blush and grin like an absolute maniac and I did exactly the same to him and it made me really angry that instead of having the most perfect first kiss with my most perfect and hilarious school crush, I kissed some ghoul human who shoved his tongue as far down my throat as he could get it, which, if you were watching, looked like he was the mama bird and I was the baby bird, which makes me feel a little sick. It also makes me wonder what if? And if I had gone to that party and let him touch my non-boobs and kiss me, would I have taken different routes in life? Instead of discovering those boys who played guitar and wanting to be the next Marianne Faithfull and kissing a boy who couldn’t even play guitar all that well (and he played bass guitar, which was always my least favourite) because he was there and I was fourteen and hadn’t had a proper kiss yet  and had drank a lot of Iron Bru flavoured WKD, if I’d gone to that party and kissed my school crush a year before and then began socialising with him outside of school with all of his strangely adult friends (they also took drugs, which was never my thing, but you know, Amy Winehouse was pretty well behaved before she met her crush) that my life would have turned out any differently. I can guarantee you I probably would be more tanned and a bit less chubby because when I saw him, I literally stopped breathing for about twenty seconds because dayum! He was a beauty and his arms were like the size of both my legs wrapped together in a neat little muscle bound parcel. I think I might have re-developed my school crush.

Any way, this is one of the many stories in my life where my parents have inadvertently ruined my life in the short term. I’m sure there are plenty more, but I was thinking about this today and got really angry about it, so there you have it. But there is a lesson to be learned, either for parents who have small children, or people who intend to procreate and not let your children make the same mistakes you did: Let them. My parents tried to shield me from the bad things in life as much as they could and whilst their parental guidance has always been for the benefit of me, it has also worked to my detriment too and saw me in situations that I should never have been forced into. Like, oh, let our daughter hang out with the game nerds and band geeks, they are pretty non-threatening because of all the Metallica songs they obsess over then when you’re locked in a room with the most predatory human ever, crying because he won’t let you out until you touch his cock and let him force himself onto you, then you think BAM my parenting could have been a bit better there and my fifteen year old daughter wouldn’t be terrified of being in rooms alone with men she doesn’t really know very well  ten years later. Not that that’s anyone’s fault other than the fuckwit who did that to me, but still, my school-crush would never have forced me to touch his man parts. So really, you should have let me go to that party when I was thirteen, mam and dad! GOD!

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This is My Life?

I have recently taken to reading biographies, mostly written by women I admire greatly and also by people who make me absolutely howl at the moon with laughter in public places. I do however, wonder why biographers always start at the very beginning – birth or childhood. I mean, we all know they were born and were tiny humans before they became relatively functioning adults, so why start there? I decided that when I write a biography (to which I have already committed the name: The History of Dildos: The Story of a Perpetually Single Wine Addict) I won’t start at the beginning. I would start half way through my life; with a story that bears absolutely no relevance in my life other than it was something insignificant that happened to me one Tuesday morning whilst I waited for a phone call. I like to imagine that the reader would grab their books/kindles a little tighter and think that my preamble must mean that the phone call is going to be life changing for me. The reader, of course, would be right to assume that the beginning of my life as I would come to know it would rest upon that one phone call – fiction has taught us to be endlessly optimistic dreamers – but it wouldn’t be. It would just be another story with no real meaning or moral because life is full of disappointing endings and we should just get used to it. Either way, I am still going to tell you how I would start my biography and hopefully with the knowledge that it doesn’t lead onto anything particularly interesting, you can exhale impatiently and just read it as it is meant to be read: As something really shit that happened to me one Tuesday morning as I waited for a phone call.

Chapter One: Tuesday Morning Murder Squad

For a few days now, the fog had rolled in with the dawn and engulfed our tiny, ugly town in mist so thick that it caused intense discussions between people who argued Stanley looked like Silent Hill and others who insisted it looked more like Brigadoon. Then there was me, who decided it was a horrific hybrid of the two and that we’d eventually see Pyramid Head dragging Gene Kelly’s bloody body through our streets, his dying wails of ‘Brigadoooon, Brigadoooon!’ would echo through the streets and we’d all stand at our windows, peeking from behind the curtains, clutching our chests melodramatically and weeping for the loss of one of the greats. I say this, because, if there was ever a situation where Silent Hill and Brigadoon met, it would definitely mean that Gene Kelly had never really died and had also stayed youthful and handsome as he was in every film he ever made. Come to think of it, did Gene Kelly die? He might still be alive, in which case all he’d need is a bit of cosmetic surgery and he’d definitely be up for the film I’m creating in my head: Silent Hill VS. Brigadoon: Our Fog is Better than Your Fog, which will undoubtedly be a Box Office Hit.

However, this Tuesday morning, the fog had lifted and with it, so did all the negative thoughts pressing on the simple minds of Stanley’s inhabitants. They all woke up feeling invigorated and productive, and in some cases, people woke up and didn’t want to beat their partners or dodge their taxes. The lifting of the fog had changed our town forever (it hadn’t, it was still the exact same shit hole that it was before, I’m just being dramatic). I woke up late because I’d stayed up all night unable to sleep because I’d watched American Horror Story and tried to distract myself into sleep by watching Kate and Leopold but was far too upset by Meg Ryan’s face in order to enjoy it properly (and her hair, what was up with her hair?!), so didn’t manage to fall asleep until after that. By this time, the sun was fully up and I’d missed two important phone calls. I knew from my voicemail that one of them would call me back in the afternoon, so I decided to hop in the shower and refresh myself for a day of writing/phone call taking/Twitter complaining.

When I got out of the shower, which is in the en-suite pretty much directly opposite my bed, I heard a loud bang, which sounded like someone had just entered my house. Considering I live alone and the only person who has a spare key is my sister (because she was here one day and I couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed to lock her out, I gave her a key, should an emergency similar to this ever arise), I was instantly terrified. I was also sitting naked in the middle of my bed, which in hindsight, would probably be far more terrifying to any potential burglar (on a Tuesday morning) than he/she would be to me, but I didn’t think that until just now; at the time, I was imagining the police finding my lifeless, naked, bloody body and one of the younger, rookie type policemen remarking on my tummy rolls and wobbly thighs and saying “Well, even pigs are fuckable to farmers!” and ho-hoing with laughter as the lead officer shakes his head, suppressing a chortle with a forced grimace. He would also make a mental note to tell that joke to his family later, around the dinner table, where they would all laugh heartily and then say a prayer for me and beg God forgiveness for laughing over my chubby, dead body. I could still hear shuffling around my house and part of me wondered if it was actually Pyramid Head, upon finding out about the film I was creating in my head (I don’t know if he’s psychic, I never played the Silent Hill games and when I watched the last film, I spent the majority shouting “LOOK, IT’S JON SNOW! HE KNOWS NOTHING! NOTHING!” (I watched it drunk okay?!)) and came to have a discussion about which direction his character would take, but either way, the thought terrified me, so, after sitting for another few minutes, poised awkwardly – and still naked – I decided to get up and grab some essentials: Clothes, bra, socks and also my weapon of choice, a stair spindle which fell out of my stair case when I decided to play football with my yoga ball (what?).

And this is how I ended up locking myself in my en-suite dressed in tracksuit bottoms, a Marvel Heroes t-shirt sitting on the toilet seat with a stair spindle in one hand and a bottle of spray-able bleach in the other, head tilted to one side as I listened to the noises my house was making, convincing myself that whoever was in my house had heard me slam the bathroom door shut, lock it and then slam the toilet seat down so I could use it as a chair and was running up the stairs with automatic weapons and a team. My mind was reeling, I’d convinced myself that it would be exactly like Law Abiding Citizen and I would be arse raped whilst my imaginary husband (who, for all intents and purposes would look like Gerard Butler) watched, unable to do anything to save me because he was tied up. And also imaginary. If you’re still reading this, you’re probably wondering what would prompt me to want to live alone given the fact that I was locked in my en-suite, terrified of being murdered on a Tuesday morning and I could tell you that I had no choice in the matter, but I could also tell you that I did, because I could have had a house mate, or simply gotten involved with seven different men and asked them to come over on allocated nights every week so that I was never alone on a morning should the Tuesday morning murder squad be in town, but I didn’t want to get a reputation, so that’s why I live alone.

I don’t really know how long I was in the bathroom for, but I was texting my sister who was convinced that my texting had something to do with it being April Fools’ Day, wasn’t taking me very seriously at all. Instead of replying to my texts with increasing nonchalance, she should have really bolted out the house, got in her car and brought a SWAT team to save me from almost certain doom. Because, what’s worse than being found naked and wobbly by judgmental policemen? Being found sat on my toilet seat surrounded by bits of my stair case and bleach, that’s what.

For those of you who know me – and I guess for those who don’t, but think you do – I am not the most patient of human beings and eventually, began to tire of this game of cat and mouse I was playing with gangsters who’d mistaken me for someone who owed them money and were lining up outside my bedroom, Tommy Guns in hand, waiting to hear me move so they could shoot the shit out of my walls. I decided that if John McLane was in this situation, he wouldn’t be sitting in a bathroom with bits of broken furniture; he’d be out there, constructing weapons out of tampons and ripping open his feet on bits of broken glass. And I did an online quiz once that said if I were an 80s Action Hero, I’d totally be him, so I decided to take my fate into my own hands and the super villains and their henchman at the other side of my door didn’t actually scare me. Super powers be damned! I also realised that I hadn’t taken any snacks into the bathroom and was pretty hungry and that if Jean Claude van Damme in The Expendables was going to kick a knife into my pretty chest, I should at least have a stomach full of ill advised snacks first. It’s only fair.

I stood up, gripped my stair spindle and bleach bottle tighter and unlocked the door. I tentatively pushed the door handle and tried to open the door. It wouldn’t work. My heart began to pound as I realised that the Russian spies, sent to murder me because of a case of mistaken identity (no, I’m not the beautiful double agent you thought I was!), had locked me in and were rigging my house to explode by turning all of my gas hobs on in the kitchen. It would look like suicide, especially because I’d locked myself in the bathroom! I’d forever be known as a coward; my parents would spit on my casket as I was lowered into the ground and people would only visit my Facebook page to leave abuse and inform newcomers that I had also murdered my entire street because I lived on a terrace. I’d be a national pariah. I then noticed that I hadn’t unlocked the door all the way and chastised myself for being so dramatic and pushed open the door. I immediately swung my weapon (stair spindle) out in front of me and screamed ‘FUCK OFF, YOU!’ to the air as I practised all my non-professional karate moves. I even kicked the air. Opening my eyes, I realised that the room was empty and my heart dropped because I knew then that The Grudge wouldn’t just hang out, waiting for me in an obvious place. I was going to have to search for it. Shit. I did eventually search the entire house and despite kicking open all of my bedroom doors rather aggressively, lest Voldemort be waiting to wand kill me from behind the door (because my kicks are that aggressive that the door would have knocked him out cold) I was completely alone. I was finally able to breathe properly and eat something.

If there was a clause in my biographer’s agreement (not sure if that’s a thing) that stated that a moral was necessary for the ending of every chapter, the moral for this story would be either not to live alone if you have a propensity for dramatics and also, don’t watch romantic comedies instead of sleeping, especially if they’re not very good.

So yes, that would definitely be the introduction to my biography and from there, it would become further removed from reality until it was a full on sci-fi comedy with romantic alien interludes and you’d finish it and genuinely not know if you’d just read a pretty accurate biography full of far fetched metaphors, or the ramblings of a mad woman. Then you’d Google me and realise that I’d died long ago in a murder suicide pact with my elderly lover and you’d discover that you hadn’t read anything it all – instead you were in a coma because you’d been there when they electrocuted me (because I lied about the suicide, I only killed my elderly lover for his money) and I had rigged the entire building to be electrocuted and only you survived, haunted by my life’s non-existent achievements. Sleep well. (Insert laugh from the end of the Thriller video here).

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