"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Single Ladies.

Now Playing: Blank Space by Taylor Swift (oh my God, look at that face, you look like my next mistake)

"We raise girls to see each other not as competitors; not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are."


- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Nineteen years is a long time to be single, huh.

As a writer, I've always been interested in the business of reading about, creating and writing about multi-faceted women.

Which is actually astonishingly difficult, because even though I am surrounded by beautiful, intelligence, fiercely independent and complex women, the media and subsequently our society insists on viewing and treating women in a narrow range of one-dimensional stereotypes that consist entirely of tired cliches and characterizing women in the context of their relationships, or lack thereof, with men.

And it's fucking bullshit.

One thing that's stung me the most is this idea that single women are 'on the shelf'; there are many lovely terms for us ladies, including but not limited to 'leftover girl' and 'yellowed pearls'. The thinking here is that women are incomplete without men, and that all women really aspire to, at the end of the day, are romantic heterosexual relationships, suburban marriages, and changing diapers.

Single women are unsexy and sexless; because if they were sexy, they'd find someone to wine and dine with, and heaven forbid a woman look at a man without being lured in by a shiny ring. Single women are, apparently, not only deprived of the only thing that gives their life meaning - a man - but also sex. I've always found it hilarious that we don't see single men as these sad pathetic childless people who are never getting laid. We view single women as being on the shelf because we can't wrap our heads around the idea that good girls would get off the damn shelf and find a pretty person at a club just like boys do; we can't imagine women wanting any kind of sex that isn't romantic anniversary face-holding sex, and we can't fathom ladies who want relationships that aren't of the somewhat-permanent marriage variety.

In heteronormativity, guys do the asking out. Guys do the proposing. Girls just stay put and let it happen. When we view male sexuality as strictly aggressive and female sexuality as strictly passive, it's easy to see single women as being single because nobody wants them, rather than looking at the whole plethora of reasons why anyone of any age or any gender is, at the moment, not spoken for. We are afraid of women who resist this imposed passivity; which is why when you're single, you can either be a fat sad virgin or a fucking slut.

Our fear of female sexual agency and this need to view single women as needy or incomplete has led to the weirdest kind of rivalry that has, in my experience, even managed to penetrate the most rebelliously feminist circles; the Crazy Single Bitch Trying to Steal My Boyfriend.

You can't steal anybody, because nobody owns anybody. It's not like your boyfriend is a parrot in a cage and I casually broke into your house and whoop, it's mine now. That's not how human relationships work.

Also, I don't want your damn parrot.

Single women, even the most cynical, bitter, twisted sort, are not looking for boyfriends. Any idiot can get a boyfriend. Most women, just like most normal people,  are looking for a person or people who make them feel safe, loved and secure; we're looking for spark and chemistry and affection, not some trophy to drag around to pretentious cocktail parties. If I wanted just any old boyfriend, I could go out and find one within ten minutes; I'm not especially hideous or exceptionally stupid, so why not? If all I wanted a *boyfriend*, if my only criteria was 'under 70 and preferably male', I wouldn't be single.

When you're looking for a sweet, smart, partner who is committed to you, other people's boyfriends is not a great place to look because they are, at least in theory, already committed to someone else, which is kind of a deal breaker if monogamy is your thing. Yes, maybe I could make your boyfriend leave you, maybe for good, maybe just for a night. But you can't make someone leave if they want to stay, and, at any rate, why would I want to? If someone can break one heart, they can break a thousand, and I'm not looking for a cheater no matter how perfect his abs are. If you really think your boyfriend is so easily distracted your problem is with your man, honey, not with me.

In a world that privileges romantic relationships, people in these relationships simultaneously feel superior and ferociously insecure. Because there are so many thirsty, incomplete women out there who want to take your perfect white picket fence life away from you. THEY'RE ALL OUT TO GET YOU.

Single women don't want your boyfriends. If he's your boyfriend, he didn't want any of those other single women. That's how this shit works. We move on to hit the clubs and give ourselves RSI dancing to Single Ladies, and you're supposed to move on and create a relationship for yourself instead of stressing that every vagina within 100 miles of your new man is some irresistible slip up waiting to happen.

The worst offenders, of course, are the girls who date your ex, or that really temperamental friend, or that guy you once liked, or your abuser, or the girlfriend you didn't know your boyfriend actually had. The narratives of single women that also involve men are notoriously few and far between, mostly because single women who have men in their lives are sluts; or crazy homewreckers. There are girls who are so ferociously insecure about their perfect relationships that anything you say or do that is in any way vaguely connected to the man they're swapping saliva with is read as a declaration of war. Guess what, honey, your bae was a dick to me and I'm going to tell the world. It doesn't mean I want him; Jesus Christ, you can keep him. But I'm going to talk, and you're going to have to deal.


If you're with someone, and I'm not with someone, there is a good reason. Unrequited love, incompatibility, 'hey, I love you, but kind of like a brother if you weren't white', I like my own company and I hog the blankets, nobody digs my noodle fetish, whatever. There are millions or reasons why people are single and 'not good enough' ain't one of them, with the sole exception of Robin Thicke and MRAs. Singleness in a woman isn't a failure, or a lack of anything but receiving some fucking respect from a society that thinks that you need a man, or would kill to get one.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Talk

Now Playing: Talk by Coldplay (you tell anyone who will listen, but you feel ignored, nothing's really making sense at all, let's talk)

Since arriving at university two years ago, I've pretty much kept an open book policy about my life. My heart isn't so much 'on my sleeve' as 'literally written on the internet'.

I like it that way. For many reasons.

1. I'm something of an over-thinker. I've been described as lightning fast and razor sharp before, but when it comes to big heady emotional things I'm sort of slow at processing them. I find it cathartic to talk.

2. A lot of my friends are older and all of them are smarter than me. I was very young when I came to uni and I still rely heavily on the advice of my betters.

3. When I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, the part that rankled the most was the secrecy; not only because I am terrible at keeping secrets, but also because the secrets allowed my abuser to get away with so much shit. People know I talk; it stops them from doing the worst.

4. When you talk about your own life in excruciating detail, it takes the shine off of people wanting to gossip. I've been what I am for long enough to know that nothing you do will stop people from talking; but when you're not ashamed of anything you don't give anything for people to talk about. And no matter what bullshit stories people make up about me, my stories are always better.

5. To a writer, the truth is no big deal.

6. As mentioned previously, I am terrible at keeping secrets.

7. I lead such a vastly different life to many of my friends, and we enjoy amusing each other with stories of things we will never personally experience.

8. 'You own everything that has happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to speak warmly of them, they should have treated you better'. (or words to that effect by Anne Lamott)

9. The best stories are all kiss and tell and I've always been a storyteller.

With all that being said, it has come to my attention that people are deliberately taking my words out of context, mixing names and muddling stories to hurt people I know or have known, or to cast me in a bad light. I don't believe in putting lipstick on pigs and I know I talk very harshly and critically about some people I know, but I take allegations of abuse and assault seriously and I would never point fingers at random people I don't like; and nobody could possibly hate me so much as to paint innocent bystanders as abusers for shits and gigs.

Think about what you're saying, guys, and think harder about what you're hearing. That's all I wanted to say.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Drops of Jupiter

Now Playing: Drops of Jupiter (Cover) by Taylor Swift (tell me, did you fall for a shooting star? One without a permanent scar, and did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?) 

I had my first panic attack in a long time today.

Panic attacks, beyond the prerequisite feeling of choking, suffocating, and impending doom, are just fucking humiliating. Along with feeling like you're losing grip on the here and now and your own sanity, it's all tied up with guilt and shame and frustration and embarrassment.

I'm someone who always likes to be in control. I'm what they call bossy. And panic attacks rob you of that need for agency, that need for autonomy.

An old friend popped up on social media, someone who would, had fate not intervened, be bombarding me with random 'did I ever tell you about that story about my ex-girlfriend and the kettle?' messages. But he's here but not here. He was talking to another friend, someone who I wish I could talk to more often but can't, because everything I say apparently sounds like a proposal or a declaration of undying love. It's lonely and frustrating.

I'm nostalgic for a fantasy that doesn't exist. A fantasy world where love was simple and life was good.

I have been strong, all things considered. I lost a friend. I lost my mentor. I lost my job. I've never lost my bravado, but I can feel something faltering.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ghost Carnation

And it's gone
To the wind
To the earth

Like a ghost carnation

And the smoke filled my lungs
Filled my heart

And then was gone.

*          *          *

I try not to live in the past
And I try not to bear a grudge

But you tried to make me read your mind
And you thought you could read mine

(How will I ever forgive you?)

*          *          *

You are right, you know
I will forget.

I have forgotten.

I will forget.






Thursday, February 12, 2015

Going Under

My hair got caught
Under my arm

As we danced;
And you got under my skin.

sixfootone

There is a grim confidence in knowing
You cannot hurt me
As much as they have

And I knew, as I pushed against you
When you pinned me down

That I have nothing you can take from me

I know that my sanctity is in my heart
And not between my legs

I cannot bring myself to regret you

Sixfootone of pure danger

I'll never forget the thrill of your tattooed arms around me
Your scarred hands on me

I'll never forget your kisses that tasted of
Cigarette smoke and broken dreams.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Ten Word Story: L'Heure Bleue

We met at twilight and you were gone by sunrise.

Cointreau

It's been a long time
Since I've seen your Cointreau smile

Made my heart glow
I'm your Cointreau girl

I love your wandering eye
As much as your wondering eyes

We have pieces of each other's hearts
And that's enough for both of us

Keep smiling your Cointreau smile
For me, and all your other girls

I can't sleep in cold beds for you
But I can sleep with sweet dreams of you

I won't sleep in cold beds for you
And I wouldn't ask you to

Don't tie me down
You always come back for me
I will always fly back to you



Thursday, February 05, 2015

Never Grow Up: A Letter to Eighteen Year Old Me

Now Playing: Candles by Daughter (blow out all the candles, blow out all the candles, 'you're too old to be so shy' he says to me, so I stay the night)

Dearest Eighteen,

Let me just tell you, you never feel less like an adult than in your first year of adulthood.

You're learning how to drive; you haven't killed anything yet, so I suppose I'm proud of that. It's a year of lost tempers and sarcasm and scraping through on loose change.

Rein in your PayPal, woman. Impulse spends at 4am when you can't sleep aren't entirely a bad idea, in that you've never bought anything completely stupid, but you do spend a stupid amount of money.

You come out of this year relatively unscathed, and you owe that entirely to your still-pathetic alcohol tolerance and copious amounts of Taylor Swift. You still haven't lost your fight or flight mode yet, and maybe that's a good thing.

This year, you lose your mentor; the person who was always there, from the beginning, to watch and help you with everything. Things turned sour and went south and I know you miss her, but friends come and go. You just have to keep on being you.

This was the year of the parties, and it's all new and exciting to meet new and exciting people. You meet B and, somehow, amongst all the Texta moustaches and tequila drenched sombreros, you find someone you can talk to for hours, at all hours, and it makes up for a little of all that you've lost. You weren't looking for anything, but the more you tried to hold on to what you had the more everyone accused you of wanting more than you deserved, and even now I can't find the words or the energy or the courage to try and convince them otherwise. You've still got haters, Dearest Eighteen, but you can't make everyone like you. You'll be the most popular dead man if you did.

You make mistakes. A lot of them. There was a lot you had to make amends for. But that will never excuse what he did, and how he left without saying goodbye. It was good whilst it lasted, but maybe next time find someone who gives a damn.

This time, though, you've got real friends to catch you when someone lets you down. We're planning a big night out, just for you, and I hope this coming year is better for you than the last. Never be afraid to speak your mind and stand your ground. This year you've learned that there are too many people willing you to be quiet, and trying to bring you to your knees, but you're made of stronger stuff.

Dearest Eighteen, you will get through this. You can get through anything. In two years time you'll be jetting away to a big city, you've got to believe that. It's the only thing keeping me going.

You've grown up a lot, but never lose your innocence. I want you to keep diving in head first, fearless.

Keep wearing red lipstick and give no fucks. You'll be okay, I promise.

Love,

Just Nineteen.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Bad Blood

I come from a family tree
That has forgotten the names
Of their wives and daughters

I come from a family
That invented a brother from the aether
When none sprung from the womb

I was not enough.
They needed a phantom to take my place.

You said your father wanted a son.
I was replaced by a ghost.

Do not talk to me of a woman's insecurities
I know them all

You were never the brown girl
At the back of the ballet studio
Nursing a red weal from white hands

I still am.