Crikey, when you’re feeling a bit flat, a little bit of Glee always does the trick. It’s stronger than most antidepressant tablets. Between Glee and the Barden Bellas, I think I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been. And I’m a little out of breath from pretending to be Britney and keep up with Heather Morris in that dance routine.
The boxes packed and sealed with packing tape,
As rooms stand empty, sunlight in the dust,
There’s tears and tantrums buried here
But just a silent thought or two
Is all I need right now.
My childhood home that I always imagined that I would inherit from my parents and live in until I was old is all packed up and empty. My mother has torn the whole of our world apart and this feels like such a sad moment.
But, I really don’t know how I am supposed to deal with this. I couldn’t go to the house and I just got my dad to pick up anything that I still had there. I just couldn’t face the house and now I have the feeling that my dad’s friends think I’m a heartless bitch leaving him to empty the house with them.
It’s not that I was lazy or didn’t want to support him, but the anxiety I have around moving house and then the anxiety over everything that happened in that house when she was going crazy and pulling furniture apart and barricading me and Noah out. It’s just a lot to deal with.
And then, how might I have dealt with those feelings if I had actually gone with him? What if I had broken down or started screaming or hyperventilating? What would they all think of me then?
It’s really bloody hard to know what to do and how to react and I feel that I have always been told that my emotions make me bad, so I’m scared to show them. I will just sit here and do my best, but I think my whole family are a little bit broken at the moment.
The bricks are always crumbling down,
The fabric fraying at the edge,
Destroying life we know, we love.
Life is not a constant thing,
But ever changing, building and
A knocking down of all that is
Familiar, pleasant to the eye, the ear.
We need our lives to straighten out,
To weather storms and stay intact
But that is not the way it works.
Eventually those things we love and need
Will crumble into dust.
There has been some very sad news today. The Duke of Edinburgh passed away this morning and I feel like his death will leave a hole in lots of people’s hearts, whether they have met him or not.
He has been by our Queen’s side for over seventy years and so most people will not remember a time when he has been a part of our fabric that has woven us all together. He kind of feels a bit like the grandfather that we never had, making inappropriate jokes but always being there when really needed.
He has always been one of my favourite royals and I really hope that The Crown is accurate in its portrayal of him, because I totally fell in love with the character that we were presented with. He knew exactly who he was and what was important to him and that is something that is important in really uncertain times.
My heart goes out to the Queen and the rest of the family. I can’t even begin to imagine what you must feel to have somebody by your side for 73 years and then have them gone. It must feel like a body part has been cut away, you must feel totally off balance.
I remember when Colin left me and I took off my wedding ring after two years of marriage. I felt like I was falling over and gravity was having a weird effect on me. What must it feel like after 73 years?
I hope that the family get through this time of sadness and that they all put differences aside and really lean on each other. It’s easy to forget that a stuffy institution like the royal family is, at the end of the day, a family and they deserve the same kindness and respect as any other family in such a horrible time.
She’s blonde, of course
And kind of plastic with her lips,
Her tits that were a birthday gift.
And when she shops for bags and shoes
She’s snapped by men with lenses zooming in
Up her skirt, getting out the car.
She’s got no brain, though,
Only there to hook his arm
When he goes to flashy parties and awards,
She’s there as something shiny to admire,
No feelings, she just smiles.
And in the latest photograph
That graced the glossy magazines
I thought I saw a tear.
It rolled its way, a rivulet
Down her cheek before she swept
An arm across her face.
An argument, or news that bubbles
Underneath that glossy smile. It hurts,
Those comments on the internet.
She may look fake, a figure of romantic fun
Who we can poke and prod with words.
But think. She’s hurting under there
And no one’s there to soothe her wounds,
Just money and her shoes.
There she is, in the flesh,
That woman that I conjured for so many days
With jet black hair and espadrilles,
But really she was mousy brown
And wore stiletto heels,
They changed the end as though
They had the right, the Godly power
To alter lives that once were set in ink.
And sometimes it can bring some colour to
A world that was so black and white,
The greens and blues become so bright
And beautiful, in ways I never thought they could.
The book was good,
But I loved the movie, possibly much more that I should.
I know that movie adaptations of our beloved books can be a bit of a touchy subject for some people and a lot of those people will say that a movie can never outshine that text that it was based upon.
In some respects, I guess I agree. But there have been several occasions where the movie has at least been comparable to the book. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve breathed a sigh of relief, as I have worried that the film or TV series would absolutely butcher a story that I love.
One person that is doing a lot of book to screen adaptations at the moment is Reese Witherspoon, and I have to say, she is on point. I am currently watching her take on the Celeste Ng novel, Little Fires Everywhere and I’m loving it.
I absolutely adored the book (and after reading Everything I Never Told You, she became one of my all time favourites). So, of course, I had to hold my breath as I began watching because I wanted Reese to have done it justice. And, oh my word, she has – helped along a bit by the fact that she has cast Pacey Witter as her husband, taking me even further back into the nineties than I already was when I started watching the show.
Reese also filmed an adaptation of Wild by Cheryl Strayed and, again I was blown away when I started off as a little bit nervous.
I do hate it when people absolutely swear off a movie based on a book and I find it a bit snobby when people don’t even give it a chance. I adore books, but there are people out there that hate it, and if these adaptations give them a chance to enjoy a great story that they otherwise would not, what is so bad about that?
She thought that time was on her side
As the grains of sand slipped through,
Counting down to the bitter end,
And yet she lost a half of it,
Maybe even more.
She wished that she had held on tight
And used those early days
Wisely and with integrity,
What she could have now achieved.
But was it really wasted or
Did those dark and broken years
Need to be a building block
To where she fell and breathed her last.
I sometimes wonder if my life would have been any better if I had got myself sorted out a bit earlier. I drank to medicate an anxiety that ate me up and I didn’t deal with issues because of it. I hopped from job to job and friends always fell by the wayside. It was pretty chaotic.
However, there is the possibility that I needed to go through some of that rubbish to get where I am now. There is no guarantee that if I had stopped drinking and got some therapy when I was twenty, that I would have earned a million or be running my own company right now.
I look at some people in recovery who didn’t get sober until they were in their sixties and I realise that I have been given a real gift. Those people must really sit and wonder what would have been if they had stopped earlier.
I like to think that the bad stuff we have been through is necessary. In a way, I think that our paths are already written in the stars and we don’t have a great deal of choice in the matter. I think that the only thing we do have some choice in is that we are kind as we follow that path to God knows where.
Those tiny fragments of the past,
Like jewels I scattered underfoot,
To be picked and viewed underneath
The jeweler’s microscope
In finest detail it is seen,
Enjoyed enough to bring us hope.
I constantly hear that we shouldn’t dwell on the past or fret about the future and I think that’s brilliant advice. I totally agree that mindfulness and living in the present is the answer to a lot of our problems in the modern world. However, I also think that remembering the good times and thinking about nice things that could be happening in the future can be really soothing when nerves are frayed.
I don’t know about you but I have lots of memories of times that weren’t even that great, but the moment itself, made me feel so alive, and those are the moments that I like to reflect on when I’m struggling in the present.
One memory that keeps bubbling up at the moment dates from 2012 when I was training for my first English Channel swim. Every weekend I would drive down to Dover and go and train with the other crazy swimmers for six hours a day. We would just swim up and down the length of the harbour, whatever the weather. It was monotonous and cold and miserable but I knew that I had to do it if I was going to swim to France.
However, there was this one day that I remember more vividly than all of the others, when we had been going for about three hours when the heavens opened. It poured down so heavily that I couldn’t see the beach or any of the other swimmers. I could probably only see a couple of feet ahead of me and it was just a little bit scary.
But I kept paddling with my head up, the rain pelting my face so hard that it actually hurt. I was glad that I had goggles on to protect my eyes. And just as I was starting to feel a bit anxious about the fact that the coastline had completely disappeared from view, one of the other swimmer let out an enormous shout.
It wasn’t a shout of fear or pain though. It was more of a war cry; a whoop. I instantly went from fearful to full of… life. In that moment I realised that I wasn’t alone, bobbing around in the ocean; I was surrounded with wonderful people who were all experiencing something quite breathtaking with me. Just because I couldn’t see anybody else, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t sharing the journey.
As the rain eased and I got my head back down for the remaining three hours, I reminded myself that I should not let go of moments like that. I should remember them and cherish them. Those moments when life is so raw and so human and I am so very much at the mercy of mother nature. They are the moments we should dwell on when we struggle.
There is a little red light
Flashing in my brain
Telling me it’s not alright
For him to be here again.
But I could spell it out
And still he wouldn’t see
The need for isolation
To recharge and just remember who
I am, and where I’m from and what I do.
My lovely dad is here at my flat… A LOT. I love him dearly but he is an extrovert and I am an introvert. I need my space. I need silence if I am going to recharge my batteries and not get ill. But he doesn’t understand that. And he is inviting himself over more and more.
I feel so bloody ungrateful because he does so much for us and yet I just want to sit in absolute silence and eat what I want to eat and watch what I want to watch and read when I want to read.
I’ve always been really sensitive to sound and I find the presence of another person really exhausting because they are constantly making noises. There was this one time that I had to go for a conference with work and dealing with all the coughing and sniffing and whispering was just too much. I ended up crying all the way home because my brain felt so scratchy, and I had to chug a lot of vodka just to settle that feeling.
Obviously, these days I don’t have the vodka to fall back on so I just have to bite my tongue and ride it out. But it actually hurts.
So how on earth do you tell somebody so nice, that you just want some space? It’s like kicking a puppy. And that really doesn’t make me feel very good about myself.
I watch them from the warmth, their matchstick bodies
Thrown across the court, underneath the light,
Bright and white, unwavering. Their breath
Hangs in icy clouds as groans erupt from lungs
That long for wins in quiet pockets of the night.
They play to knock the wrongs, the awful shit
That rattles round their heads, they long for peace
And echoes of that devil ball, hitting racket, hitting court,
Becomes a meditation on the frosty day, as night
Begins to settle and the floodlights mark their world.
Outside their court their demons dance
In darkness, clawing at the fence of wire
In the knowledge that their prey is there, ready
For that moment when the game is won
And bags are packed, a silent walk with heads
Bowed low, in prayer. In contemplation they will leave
And sit in cars, windows fogged from deepest breaths.
A moment taken, quietness is needed
As the court lights dip and music plays
To end the show, the tennis was but secondary
In this battle late at night. And that is why
They play this hour as I stare, wishing that
I had an outlet just like that, to while away
Those lonely hours after darkness falls.
Every time that I get cold, my mind returns to the memory
That tucks itself away, and burrows out when chilly air
Pinches at the skin and sinks into my bones. The memory,
I’d given birth as the sun came up and now I’d braved
Leaving baby in his plastic cot, to let the water run
In rivulets, the pink tinged water circled in the plug.
But when I dried myself, that cold took hold as air blew through
The open window on the ward. The blood loss seemed to hit at once
And that was when the vision blurred, the shaking stopped
As something shifted deep inside, a slipping of the soul.
Heart rate hammered as I reached the place I slept, the place
Where the baby had been born, freshly made with starched white sheets
But now I’m sure it will also see a death, my soul is drifting
Hardly noticing that the baby’s gone. Reaching for the scarlet button
By the bed, the jug of water and the ‘well done’ card.
I had never thought of death before, but there I was, thinking
That he’d grow up on his own, looking at the aging photographs
And wondering what his mum was like, did she love him?
Why she had to leave?