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 becoming 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.” 

I’M PULLING A RACHEL GREEN AND GETTING ‘THE FEAR’ OR HOLY SHIT I’M ABOUT TO QUIT MY JOB, A JOURNEY. PART 2. OF MANY.

I wrote Part 1 at the end of March before I handed my notice in, and found it still in a draft- 19th April. So I posted it, because it’s better late than never, right? Wrong. I read through it and none of it makes sense because I posted it so late.

Let me back up a little bit.

I handed my month’s notice in on the 1st April this year, with no plans for the future. It was terrifying and exhilarating, and I knew that I’d made the right choice because of the intense wave of relief that I felt.

Within two weeks, I:

  • Applied for, and was accepted onto, a Psychology Conversion Masters Course at uni. I’ll essentially be doing a three year degree in one year;
  • Had an interview for and have been asked to start volunteering for a local befriending and mentoring service, working with people with low level mental health and learning difficulties.

It’s now the 7th May, and I finished work a week ago.

I. Feel. Amazing.

I’ve just about started to fully relax into myself. I still have this lingering anxiety that I should be going back to work tomorrow, and this residual guilt that I’m enjoying myself. Maybe that’s left over from the Catholic upbringing.

I’m already starting to get a little bit scared about September, I’m a huge procrastinator, hence the sporadic blog posts. When I think about what I want from next year, I see this really productive girl, sitting in a coffee shop, typing away with an open textbook and a pen in her mouth. I hope I actually become that girl.

I’m pulling a Rachel Green and getting ‘The Fear’ OR HOLY SHIT I’m about to quit my job, A Journey. Part I. Of many.

I can’t, at this point, be bothered to type out the past few weeks’ events that have culminated in this post. It can be a whole other blog post in and of itself.

I’ve not written ANYTHING since February, and it’s April next week. I’ve not had the focus to get anything down. I probably should have MADE TIME, because it would’ve helped, but hindsight is a wonderful thing, and life is a string of lessons.

Anyway. I’m quitting my job. Handing my notice in on April 1st, and working my month of notice. After that, I have nothing. No new job. No concrete plans. Only at this point a few loosely put together ideas -and I’m terrified.

BUT I AM SO EXCITED.

I know that this is the right decision. I have spent far too long stuck in this rut, complaining about how much I can’t stand my job, how little I can stand some (not all!) of the people, how mentally, physically and emotionally drained I feel, have felt, for months.

Depression and Anxiety are odd life partners. It is so very easy to get comfortable being with them, and being terrified of leaving them behind and moving on without them, despite wanting with all of your might for them to just leave you alone forever.  I’ve been comfortable just plodding along hating life, being depressed and anxious, and I think that’s because this state is all I’ve really ever known. I don’t know what it’s like to change, take risks, to put myself first, to be consistently happy, to fight for what I want and really make an effort to get it. So I’ve stayed. Weeks have melted in to months and despite promising myself that I wouldn’t reach the 2 year mark, here I am, sat in this same office, 2 years and 5 months in.

Enough. I am done. Not the kind of ‘done’ where I get home and rant for an hour and then put on my happy face when I get into the office the next day like nothing ever happened, but really, actually, absolutely and completely done. Notice letter is being written and handed in next week.

I am good at my job, but I’ve been slipping. Things have been missed. Mistakes have been made (and quickly corrected, but that’s besides the point.) That’s WHY I need to leave – I DON’T CARE. I don’t care enough to double and triple check that everything is correct. I don’t care enough to really push myself to do more than the bare minimum. I don’t care enough to not get distracted by other things. I know that that’s awful in terms of work ethic, it really is. I’m a bad employee at this point, but that’s because my spark has gone out. I’ve been stifled, suffocated, pinched, snubbed. I couldn’t give any more if I tried, because I have no more to give. My confidence and self worth have become all but nulified. I can’t remember if I ever had it in the first place. Fake it till you make it, I’ve always been told – but I’m 26 this year and I don’t think *THIS* even comes close to making it, whatever ‘it’ is.