This is not the greatest thought process in the world, this is just a tribute.

Tonight I feel alive.

For the first time in such a very long time

I walk through this City’s streets with my head held high

Like I can see it again as I did for the first time

Thinking maybe this time I can actually thrive

With no fear as I walk past two white guys fighting

and for a second they stop and I can feel their eyes like knives, prying

Even though I walk past doorways where in the past I’ve sat crying

Somehow it all still feels vibrant

 

I no longer wear your hand-made rose-tinted glasses

I’m finally free to settle back in amongst the masses

Instead of being stuck home alone,

Lonely

While you’re sat next to me staring at your phone

And later I’d dutifully lie on my back and moan

Though for those final months there was always something a little ‘off’ about the tone.

 

Tonight I feel alive

For the first time in a very long time

My mind on fire as I race to get home

Because fuck me the one time I’ve actually left without my phone

 

And I have no pen to write down the lines

That are spilling forth from my tortured yet newly-inspired mind

As hard to retain as sand

And yet here I stand

for the first time in a very long time, rhyming

Fingers dancing across the keyboard, typing

Trying to remember how it went the first time, unbridled

How do you capture inspiration when for the longest time it’s been silenced?

 

Messy and raw, it’s never going to sound as good on paper as it did when it was just a thought.

 

This is not the greatest thought process in the world, this is just a tribute.

 

I’m RSVP-ing a big fat ‘NO’ to your pity party.

I’ve done my research on narcissistic and emotional abuse. I started looking into it while we were still together, which should’ve been a HUUUUUGE red flag. A tip for all of you out there –

If you think you’re being subjected to verbal/emotional abuse enough to look it up on the internet at least once a week for MONTHS and sit there thinking “yep that sounds exactly like what’s going on”, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT ignore it and carry on like it’s not happening. Because it is happening. You’re not being crazy. Admit what’s going on to someone to someone you trust. Make a plan. Then get the fuck out.*

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A note I found on my phone from before I stopped getting high with you and we finally broke up.

It’s all a lie.

All of it.

It’s not love, it’s settling. It’s fear of leaving. It’s cowardice. It’s hurting myself for not wanting to hurt you, because when I tried you were so distraught and violently ill that I stayed and hurt myself more. Whether you were aware of how manipulative that was or not, that’s how you got me to stay. That’s how you always got me to stay.

It’s not living my own truth, which is live music, museums, art galleries, red wine, culture, laughter. Moving somewhere other than Nottingham.

It’s cheating myself out of a life of the kind of happiness that I want. That you can’t give me. Because you have no idea what real affection is and I am SO STARVED of being touched and held with affection.

It’s staring at the back of your head while you play endless fucking video games and then listen dumbfounded while you have the fucking audacity to say that I don’t make time for you. Because I’m trying to do a Masters Degree.

It’s realising that I’m the only one who ever talks in terms of ‘us’ and ‘we’.

It’s realising that you never apologise when you’re wrong. But worse, I apologise whether I’m wrong or not. It’s being in a relationship where I feel like I have no backbone, and yet in every other area of my life, I’m fully capable of voicing my own opinions.

It’s feeling like I’m unintelligent next to you, and believing it over years. This self doubt has spread like a fungus and I don’t know what to believe about myself anymore. Questioning my sanity, my memory, my intelligence, keeping me confused so I’ll stay put.

It’s watching you take a week off work without thinking to tell me about it in advance so we could try to arrange anything for the two of us. It’s STILL having to cook for you when I GOT HOME FROM WORK even though you’d been sat there in your pants all day doing absolutely nothing but avoiding reality by getting high and playing more games, and complaining that you never do anything, and that you’re wasting the ‘prime of your life’.

It’s being ignorant to the fact that it’s because all you do is get high and play video games.

Or get high and watch films.

Or get high and invite people over to watch the same shit YouTube videos and series’ until they’re so fucking bored of the same routine that they stop coming round and you’re so fucking high that you can’t even see the pattern and you’re so confused as to why any of this is happening.

Or just getting high.

Or getting high and going to my Grandad’s 70th birthday party and spending the day not talking to anyone and then getting mad at me when I take too long saying goodbye to my family that I never get chance to see, and then we miss the train by 40 seconds even though my dad ran red lights because you were getting so pissed off at the possibility of missing the goddamn train. AND THEN when I tried to make light of the fact that we only had to wait for an hour by taking you to an old pub that I went to in my childhood and try and have fun with it, you sat there in silence like a petulant child while I did my best to fake smile and be fake happy until I sobbed in the toilets. But then you later told me that you were only so mad because you’d already arranged to meet your dealer and we’d missed that. As if that made it all fucking understandable.

We only along when we’re both high. I don’t want to be high all the time anymore.

We have nothing to talk about because we are nothing.

I avoid talking to you because you are so dismissive of whatever I have to say and I don’t think you even realise you’re doing it. Which is why I get so ‘defensive’. I don’t want to hear you speak because that’s all you ever do. You speak over me ALL the time. We haven’t had a decent conversation in YEARS.

You are so negative and draining, though I tell you you aren’t because I don’t want to hurt you. But you are. And it hurts me. Even when you recover from this latest bout of depression and anxiety I will still resent you for making me live through the years that you did nothing to help yourself. I understand that I don’t leave because I don’t want to hurt you but it’s killing me and I know it’s hurting you too. Maybe that’s why you’re so depressed. You’ve already insinuated that it’s my fault enough times to make me really believe it.

Sometimes I think that we reflect in each other all of the bad traits that we don’t like about ourselves. You used to get angry with (housemate) for always complaining and never doing anything other than playing video games. And yet you do the same. Maybe you complained that he was a loser because it made you feel like you weren’t quite that much of a loser. That’s what we all do. I do that with you. Complain about you so I don’t feel as bad about the things I hate about myself, and it has to stop.

Please, Amy. This is never getting any better. You’re killing yourself over this manchild that hasn’t given you any of what you need for years. Who can’t, because he doesn’t know how. But it’s not just him, you don’t know how to ask. Please focus on learning how to vocalise the things that you want. Stop putting everyone else’s needs before your own because you’re scared that if you start putting it into words, you’ll both realise that he’s not the person to give any of it to you. You are. Start doing it. Start sticking up for yourself. Start standing your ground. You deserve to have a voice. You deserve to find someone who will sit with you and play with your hair and listen to what you have to say. You deserve a guy that will want to take you to the places you’re interested in, even if he’s not, because he wants to see your face light up even if he’s bored. You deserve a guy that won’t ignore you all night and then be confused why you don’t want to have sex with him. You deserve a guy that will caress you and kiss you.

Seriously. Go find yourself, then go find that guy. Hope he’s a vegan.

 

Change

The beautiful thing is that now when I say “I’m fine” and you say “I don’t believe you”

I can walk away.

Because it’s not my business to explain your behaviour to you anymore.

It’s not your business to probe.

It’s not my business to relent and sugar coat the pain of trying to explain why I react the way I react.

It IS my business to recognise the old toxic patterns. To walk away. To reflect. To realise that we are two people who will never change around each other.

Except…maybe I am changing. Because I just walked away.

We once stood side by side

Ignoring the small fissures starting to form

And now

We’re both standing on opposite sides of an immense chasm,

And I’m shouting across to you

Trying to get you to notice me

But my voice is swallowed

By overwhelming nothingness

And blank stares from the other side, as you look straight through me.

I am running out of things to say and my voice is getting hoarse.

The Cloth Bag

He tied a small bag of the finest cloth around her neck

Filled with the most delicate sand, every colour she could have ever imagined. Microscopic beads of brilliant glass.

She gladly wore it with pride because it was the most precious gift she’d ever hoped to receive.

But as the years passed, with the power of words left unspoken, the immense pressure turned the sand into a dense black rock, so heavy it had its own gravitational pull.

As her back bent under its magnificent weight, she cowered and grew smaller and smaller until one day the pull ripped her once brilliant soul out out out from behind her eyes and into the bag which by now was tattered and worn. Doomed to orbit the black dense rock forevermore, whilst her soulless body continued to shuffle along, buckling under the weight of what was once the most beautiful gift she’d ever been given, remembering a glimmer that once lay behind her eyes.

It’s been four very long years…OR my rape story. 

Around this time of the morning four years ago, I woke up to realise that there was a man inside of me and I had not given him permission to be there. This was a man that I knew, very well. That I really cared for. That I’d dated on and off, that I thought would someday stop treating me like shit. I was naive, but the night before had been my birthday party and he’d finally told me he loved me and I believed him because I’d wanted it to be true. I went home with him that night, drunk, and we talked. Then he tried to initiate sex and I said no, to prove to me that this is how he felt when he was sober. So we went to sleep. 

And I woke up to him raping me. 

Going to the police about my sexual assault was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Telling my friends was harder, because a lot of them weren’t my friends. He was more popular than I am, more fun to be around and so a bigger social loss if they were to abandon him for what he did. A lot of them didn’t want to believe me, saying that I looked fine externally, whilst telling them I was dying on the inside. A lot of them gave me sympathy one week and a slap in the face via smiling photos with him on social media the next. 

I had to tell my already emotionally unavailable father that I had been raped. He’s not really looked at/spoken to/treated me the same way since. Like I’m too fragile. Like I’ll shatter at any minute. 

Weeks turned into months of nightmares, breakdowns and outbursts, Police questioning and interrogation, health checks, vaccinations. I quit a job and group of people that I loved because it was too painful to keep myself there. I still look around certain bars and night clubs with an anxious tick because he might be there. I might run into him. I might have to see him and look at his face mirroring my own sadness/loss/fear/anger/bitterness. Sometimes I get too overwhelmed and stomp home alone with hot tears streaming down my face. 

Years of therapy later and I still don’t understand. 

A relationship tainted with a black cloud that has caused both of us stress, anxiety, depression, social disconnect. 

On the face of it, it was all for nothing. I was let down by the judicial system. He didn’t get the punishment that he rightfully deserved. 

BUT. 

That man taught me that my body is my own and does not belong to anyone else. If it’s not treated that way, it is my right, my duty to stand up for myself and shout and scream that this is unacceptable. 

Women are not play things. 

We are not sex toys that guys put kindness tokens into until sex falls out. 

We are not a pair of legs, tits and ass. 

We are not the makeup and clothes we choose to/not to wear. 

We are not obliged to have sex with you because we laugh at your jokes. 

We are not obliged to have sex with you because you want to have sex with us. 

We are not there for the taking because we are drunk, unconscious or asleep. 

We are not going to keep letting sexual assault victims be ignored and pushed into a corner because the word rape makes everyone else feel uncomfortable. We are not going to stay silent. 

We are going to teach our children that the ‘boys will be boys’ culture is not okay. We are not going to raise girls believing that ‘he is being mean to you because he likes you’ – that might be true but you’re much better off with someone who just isn’t going to be mean to you. 

We will give our children proper sex education. He will not die of blue balls because you don’t have sex with him. He should politely go and sort himself out if he’s more concerned for his own balls than how comfortable the girl is next to him. 

No means no. 

We will go to the police if you rape us. Even if it goes nowhere. Because that’s one more woman who has stood up for herself. One more statistic. One more crime reported. One more woman being brave and making it easier for the next. We will stand up and stand together until the word rape doesn’t make everyone else uncomfortable. It is happening at an alarming rate. It should be freely spoken about. 
I’ve been told that he suffered too. That I caused him pain and drama and hurt his social image and his pride. As if that’s meant to be some form of consolation, or reason for me not to talk about it ever again. Like enough is enough, right? Wrong. 

Good. Keep suffering. 

Because when it comes down to it, it was not me raping him while he was unconscious. So I could not give less of a fuck about his pride.  

Today I am so proud of myself and the strength that I found in that moment, to walk into that station and tell my story. 
Today I will not be silenced. 

Today I know that I did the right thing and I would do it again. 

Birthdays. 

I have the itchiest feet

For brand new streets

New faces

Strange places.
New things I long to try

But how, when I’m so tied

To a life that doesn’t feel like mine

In a place on borrowed time.

I should’ve left

When I knew it was best

Packed up like the rest

So scared of life’s tests

While others were right
I am left, bereft.

And yet.

A seed. A well protected yearning

That grows stronger

With each year

Each number.

Another chance to make a change.

Another chance to age

With pride in choices that are mine.

I’ll just give it more time

Marinate in this hopeful skin crawling yearning

Until there’s nothing left to do but move

Fumigate my entire being

And emerge anew.

Risen. Cleansed. Raw and ready.

To meet myself face to face
And she’ll say

“Finally.”