Saturday, August 30, 2008

Got (No) Brass, In Pocket

Possibly one of the most terrifying experiences, as an adult, is to be staring down at three coins - a five pence, a two pence and a penny - carefully lined up in order of size on your kitchen table, thinking: "That's it". Like seriously, "That's it".

One morning, when you wake up - there's no money in the bank, (in fact you owe them money) and the Benefits Agency has slammed closed your benefit file without warning or explanation. Wham. Just like that. You simply, "... don't exist" on their files and databases, you find out, when you call them to find out what's happening. As if getting benefit isn't humiliating enough - you are now a suspect in a crime that hasn't yet happened, and have to prove that you are who you say you are, (try doing that over the phone) that you do exist, "Hello!" and that you are... mental. Yik.

So het up are they, at the old DSS with Whistle Blowing and Benefit Fraudsters, that there is no sense in even saying: "But I called you to tell you I've moved. Or I think I did. I wrote down that I had. And I told the Council Tax people to keep taking my money and gave them my new address". No point my friend. You're out. And Shift + Alt, deleted.

Today I am there, I am the laughing bee on the stalk, shuffling from morning to breakfast. Thank you Anne Sexton (I love you).

Eye thought there was rock-bottom when I wanted to die. But, when you want to live - like really live and you have no-idea how to crawl back from the edge and save yourself - then you really find 'it', a completely different bottom, with rocks. One that suggests that you might never get away from your circumstances. Then you roll and shake and cry for all you're worth. That was me today, clinging onto the bars of my bed, praying to anyone who'd listen for help. And not just little help - "Give me the strength to fix this", help - to "Get my life back", help. "Just help me to be strong enough to get through today and we can talk about tomorrow - um, later?"

From the outside, I look well fed, I look well dressed. I pretty much look clean, and apart from never seeming to wear make-up these days, (to cover up the enormous dark circles around my eyes) I look like I'm still breathing. I might still look like an androgynous blob or very butch girlie - save for my enormous (for me) cleavage - but there is something there. People would say, "Yup she's OK". If only they knew... I answer the phone and mop up the tears and by God, offer all the help and support I can to others, but bugger me backwards if it ain't there when I need it. So I'm done, I'm done with the cheery emails, the trying to keep friends one, two, three, four, five, six and seven happy and trying to make sure they know I'm there, when they need it/me. I'm fucking done. That cottage I once wanted - that croft - it's mine baby. I'm off. Even if it's only in my Goddamn head.

Oh, and apart from having eight pence to live off and pay my rent, I want to split up with Thursday. At the very least - I want to split up with her method of psychology. It blows. There is no good in re-living the past again and again and again. I started recording my sessions with her two weeks ago. Do you know how fucked up it is listening to yourself in a therapy session?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Am An Idiot

That would be twelve cakes and thirteen candles. What a dick.

Twelve Years, Twelves Cakes And Twelve Candles

My, longest standing, best mate celebrates her 30th Birthday today. We've been mates since 1996, when we all first piled into our painting studios together. Twelve years ago. Christ.

We used to sing across the chipboard divide (walls) to each other, on a good day - and continued to share our studios for the next four years. Those were the days. Heady on turps and pints for a pound. We could probably drink about ten of those, Drip-Tray-Water Cocktails back then, and still remain standing. Pah. Not now lady - as the little nut in her belly wants to come out pretty darn soon and I don't drink for religious reasons, obviously. Oh how the times have changed. Makes me feel slightly emotional. And deeply nostalgic. "Oh to be back there, with all that I know now... "

I am now going to attempt to make twelve, (clever me) small, slightly scary looking cakes. I might need coffee and a fag first. (The hilarity of size nearly made me pee my pants laughing) Each tiny blue (yes) cake, shall have a letter, (H-A-P-P-Y-B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y) in the form of a brightly shining candle in it. Voila.

I have spent the entire morning leafing through Martha Stewart Wedding magazines, ("Ha, ha - yeah. No.") on behalf of my sister. I think I may become a Wedding Planner - I can totally spend other people's money. Oh and I've been hoovering. And trying to work out why I am so disorganised. And so broke. And why the postman always seems to arrive while I am in my most see-through of grannie nighties...

This is the life.

I think I'm a little hyper today.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ha-Ha, Look At The Crazy Person

I have completely lost my sense of humour:
"I can't believe Amy Winehouse self-harms. She's so irritating she must be able to find someone to do it for her." Zoe Lyons

Awarded Funniest Joke of the Fringe. Um, yeah. Not funny.

But in second place:
"Most of us have a skeleton in the cupboard. David Beckham takes his out in public." Andrew Laurence


Maybe if I was anorexic, I wouldn't find the latter quite so funny...?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fuse Boxes Are Easy When You Don't Exist

The phone never rings for me. I text and email and check to make sure everyone is OK, and it only ever comes back when they're in trouble, or suddenly realise that I haven't been about for a while - which could take weeks.

Maybe I expect too much, maybe when you reach the thirty-year-old threshold, and pass it, you shouldn't expect people to check in like we all once used to. There are babies and husbands now, extended families and 'other plans'. The thing is, in the throws of all of that, they never seem to remember what it's like to be single. Sex and The City lied to us, to me. They promised and conditioned even the most cynical of hearts, that great friends would always be there to be fabulous with, regardless how round their bellies or how sated their sex-drive, yet it's a Saturday afternoon, I'm holed up in my house and there is no sound of existence, apart from my TV talking to itself in the other room and the radio singing to the dirty dishes in the kitchen. No bubbly chattering, no laughing of life. There isn't even room for tumbleweeds to tumble, should they have wanted to.

It gets boring, wearying, making a Life For One exciting, every single day. You get bored of entertaining yourself and making your own popcorn to watch your own films with. Looking after your own self when you get sick, like I did last night. No-one to hold your hand when things get scary, or just hold your hand. Nobody tells you look pretty when you need them to. No-one to go "halfer's" on the bills and the shopping. No-one to take up the slack, when you can't be bothered to phone the estate agents again because there is water pouring into your living room. They tell you to: "enjoy it" - that: "you are so lucky to have the 'space'".

They can say that because they have to carve out their 'me time', in between starting families and going out to dinner, and a few hours or days of "peace" is very different when you know that your partner/husband will be there in a few days, back lying beside you in bed and chattering away to you about this and that.

My other single friend and I talk about this a lot, and last weekend I surmised that we were still single because, essentially we know we can cope on our own. We know that when a light bulb blows you have to get out the scary-high ladders; where the fuse box is and how to re-fill an empty boiler tank. We know that when we are miserable that we can survive the painful nights of self berating joy. We can survive the very worst that life can dish up, so we'd rather be alone and surviving that ever settle for second best. So, we have impossibly high standards, in friends and in lovers. How does anyone have both? How do you remain your own Swiss Army Knife and find room or indeed, lower the trip wires enough, to let someone pass/join in too? Even with friends - I pretend I can do it all.

Dunno. Dunno, dunno. "Hey house, stick the kettle on...?" Nope, I guess that would be me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


There is a point when you just can't be arsed beating yourself up anymore for the things you've done in the past - even if you think they are affecting you in your adult life. I'm glad I know what they are - so I can look out for them, but honestly if I feel guilty one more frikkin time for something I did/said, when I was TEN, I might cry.


At what point do you hold your hands up and surrender your past to make way for your own future?

Today, for me it was leaving my appointment with Thursday. So heavy was I with wading through the past, it occurred to me that there must be a point where you say, “Enough”. ("I'm having dejavu - have I said this before - seriously?") A point that when you feel that going over and over something might be doing you more harm than good? I think that must have been the first time that I had sat in a therapists’ office and upon my leaving, thinking: “What did I gain from that, apart from re-living a torturous time that I want to forget?” Bringing it all back into the forefront of my mind, instead of leaving it shoved waaaay back in there with all the other hideousities of my past.

Something that stood out from my session today was this particular gem from Thurs: “Did you ever use your flirtatious, newfound sexuality on your father?” I looked at her. Repeating the horror of her question in my mind, "Did I manipulate my father with my sexuality as I, apparently, did with all other males at aged twelve?"

I actually sat there thinking about it. Ready to be guilty as charged. Thursday instantly became one of ‘them’ – suggesting that I was weird/sick/dysfunctional/whatever, enough to flirt with my own father.

I adopted my: “You must be right”, child pose. I must have been the bad one. What was I thinking that someone else could be up for this hanging other than me? Maybe I did and I can’t remember? "NO I DID FUCKING NOT. I TRIED MY BEST TO FLY UNDER THE RADAR IN THAT HOUSE!" I just wanted to be loved unconditio-n-a-l-l-y (I realised the humour in my writing - partial way through that word). I could/can never imagine being loved unconditionally by my father or stepmother. The other part of that sentence was... "To be protected and nurtured and brought up in a loving safe environment". Now to me, that sounds tantamount to or verging on sexual abuse. There was none of that shit in my father’s house. No hugs, cuddles, sympathetic ears. Emotionally charged letters were shoved under doors at nighttimes. Boot camp control and degrading, belittling remarks, slaps and beltings were on offer instead. God I feel sick. Even 'Huddle Formation' is failing to do its work tonight. I just want to curl up under my duvet with a hot water bottle and a teddy.

When I was walking, home, via the library, I couldn’t get the distress of my apparent dysfunction out of my head. I felt she was telling me, that until we worked out this tangled mass of matted, dirty, knot-filled hair (the kind you would find down your shower drain) I would continue to fuck up every relationship I could have.

I am in the beginnings of a ‘potential’ relationship now and I thought “I’m going to fuck it up because I will go into this relationship the same way I have in every relationship since I was fourteen years old. But I haven’t. In the weeks of getting to know this person – I HAVEN’T. And I am so conscious of not playing the same ‘game’ again with either his cards – or mine that I want to sabotage proof any self-destructive behaviour on my part.

But Thursday, and our appointment today made me feel like I would never, not be that kid that lied about being raped, that lied about being pregnant, (aged ten/eleven). The kid that got made to feel like a whore and a slut by her own father and later step father when I actually did fall pregnant. The child that became the woman that cannot connect with a man on any physical level whatsoever – "Oh yeah, they get their happy ending, but mine (ha) it stopped being part of the game a long time ago". “You could try – but it won’t work”, is usually what I say. I am dysfunctional on that level too. "So, as well as being depressed, battered, abused, broken, suicidal and covered in the scars from tearing at my own body, you will never be able to satisfy me in bed. Oh yup - sure, there’s the door. Thank you for trying. It can’t have been easy for you. Oh and by the way, the door - it revolves – one in, one out… so watch you don’t get hit on the ass on the way out. And if you change your mind, I will be here waiting hopefully."

I was clearing up piles of clutter – papers and whatnot in my lounge a few moments ago and came across some emails and draft emails/notes for conversations I would have liked to have with TRD and some other faceless wonders. Each one of them was a begging plea to undo their rejection. I had gone over and over the same points, never satisfied that they had heard me the first time. Holding those tattered pieces of emotion made me worried. Who am I? It makes me feel physically sick. If I could vomit up all of my past and get rid of it with a flush of the toilet bowl – boy would I. Right now. Let it all go in one giant purge. I don’t want any of it anymore. I don’t want to remember any cringing horrible bile producing moment of those years especially between the ages of ten and nineteen. I have to take a sleeping tablet now because if I don’t I will self harm tonight – I know it.

Who am I to expect anyone to love this?

Now is that me talking or my father/parents/sister/ex boyfriends…?

I Hate Waking Up On A Thursday

I did go and get my prescription yesterday. By about 3:30PM, I had managed to venture outside, and even though I'd been out twice the day before, it felt as though I hadn't crossed that particular threshold for such a long time.

I got to sleep at about 4:00AM (this morning/today) and have been, 'not awake but vertical', since 8:00AM. Mum has been talking in my ear for an hour, just trying to keep me awake. I think I might have a shower, even though I last had one of those about 3:00AM (today/this morning too). I've missed more of my week this week, than last. I woke up, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday last week. This week - I don't think I'm even awake now - and it's Thursday. I have to see Thursday today and remember to take the dictaphone that we recorded last weeks' session on. And my file. ("It's something we're trying")

"I have to go to the Library" Shit. They're totally going to fine me. And I think I've just consumed half a packet of Jaffa Cakes without tasting one of them - apart from the one that is trying to come back up my down pipe, right now. (I eat more Rennies than real food these days)

Oh bollocks and I still haven't posted those presents. ("Thank you presents from my last trip to London - ooooh, some - ach, no idea, when did I go there?")

"Today is a good day." "Yeah baby. Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaa. Ow" (Sides splitting)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Withdrawal, Day Three

I have been sitting/sleeping here since about 8:00AM trying to convince myself to go and pick up my medication. I have been without medication for three days and the withdrawal symptoms started kicking in yesterday lunchtime. I feel faint and have pins and needles all round my mouth. When I move my head - the world swoons. Yet, I am still sat in this chair, trying to convince myself to go and pick up my tablets. I would laugh if I wasn't so tired.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Decision Made 8:27PM


As you requested, your Online Dating profile, "Lady_In_Red", has been permanently deleted.

You will not receive any more emails from Online Dating at this email address unless you create a new profile at some point in the future.

Thank you for using Online Dating. We're sorry to see you go.

Online Dating support team

Names Have Been Changed To Protect The Innocent

My Conclusion

Online Dating is shit. That is my conclusion. It’s a big old load of fakery and no one should do it ever.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Good Night

"You are making me feel like I have to break up with you and I don't even know you"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Oops Upside Your Head

Dandelion seeds are dancing like ghostly white spiders across my kitchen as I sit here – at my newly assembled/created kitchen table, in the flat that is at last, although slowly and shakily, becoming my own. For the first time in what feels like months, I find some semblance of enjoyment that can only be found in a self-created haven. It’s an advert for the medicated and depressed in here: “Martha Stewart Living” meets Disney’s “Fantasia”, as the aroma of fresh coffee emits from the talking pot and all the seedpods have been given names…

I have always craved a kitchen that feels like the heart of my home, one in which I can honestly and with comfort, enjoy spending my time, and in this flat - my leaking blank canvas - I feel like I’m finally finding that; and working out some of the things that I am looking for in life. “Yeah, yeah – don’t get too excited…”

Sounds overly poetic and dream-like for the lass that was, until about three-quarters of an hour ago, dancing round her lounge still clad in her nightshirt to The Go! Team: Huddle Formation - pretending she was part of some kind of American, teenage based, TV drama series.

Huddle Formation, I have so recently found, is the one song that can dispel dark moods and apathy on pretty much every occasion; if I can remember this fact at the time of implosion. A harder task than you can imagine – but I have managed it three times this week. The first time during, what turned out to be a very dark day, The (Not-So) Glorious Twelfth.

Apart from the obvious (?) distress of it being my absent father’s birthday, I had one of the biggest (and probably most deserved) slaps upside my head that I’ve had in a long time – if ever. Such clarity came that morning upon receipt of one of the most surprising emails I had been sent during my sojourn through the murky waters of online dating.

[OK, now those fluffy little Dandelion Clocks are freaking me out – they look like spiders scuttling across the floorboards out of the corner of my eye. I have jumped a total of seven times in the last five minutes at one particular little floater that isn’t behaving quite so dreamily now. “I’ll give you Fantasia in a minute - with a broom shaped like my Hoover!”]

The email was from one particular self-styled Lothario - whom up until that exact moment, had been disguised as a downtrodden, overlooked romantic - whose protestations of allegiance, alliance and affection were constant, lengthy and oh-so-hard to resist. Ninety-two emails and hours of phone calls over a period of three days had started to make my battered heart question it’s apparent desire to stay firmly and raggedly, stitched into the past.

His fast work and flowery prose had encouraged my rooted feet to want to move away from my own stereotypical wilderness of unsuitable suitors. (“Who was that pointy guy with the flute or the music or something that scared the shit out of me as a child? Ah, yes - The Childcatcher. Dear Lord; with the evil net and the Pied Piper that put everyone into a trance…”) I had allow this ‘uncharacteristic choice’, to slowly begin to edge toward my flippant and removed state with words that made those bloody (treacherous) protective stitches, want to untie themselves. He constant tending made it want to let go and play with this entirely new, completely affected, gushing indulgence. I was beginning to allow myself to be swept.

In advising him about his inappropriate choices of women, (“I really appreciate having the opportunity to vent and thank you so [,] so much for your common sense and fabulous answer.” “Oh, ________, an insightful, thoughtful, and amazing reply. Thank you so much. Yes, all of it helps and makes sense.”) I had guiltily noticed that I too carried some of the faults I was criticizing his lame, cast aside mates for. I was completely enveloped in my vision of perfection: a very tall perfection, an adoring chef that would bestow me with gifts and compliments with his every breath (that was a total lie) that I overlooked all others that didn’t fit my idealistic visual dream. And then there was this guy, five-and-a-half inches shorter than I, virtually and contradictorily standing in front of me telling me everything I thought I wanted to hear.

“A penis length shorter, how appropriate” she scathingly said. “Now, now…” I replied, in mock shock, at the same time giggling with revengeful delight.

Oh there were no complaints – I lapped it up: “You are absolutely charming and delicious.” “… you stand out like a rare gem in the murky, illiterate, and generally gloopy dullness” “Any excuse to be able to fall into *those* eyes...” “In reality, you're perfect, apart from the fact I'd need to stand on a box to kiss you. Incredibly articulate, sublimely beautiful, hilariously funny, immeasurably maverick, engagingly intelligent, and wantonly forthright. Perfect.”

I challenge anyone, not to let some of that applied flattery – even though looking back it is scarily and theatrically camp, pretentious and piously verbose – sink in. “Twat”

So, back to that fateful day… We, Mutton Dressed As Lamb and I, finished chatting on the phone at roughly 3:35AM on the morning of the twelfth. I emailed him some songs (at exactly 3:46AM), to add to his seemingly melancholic bedtime play list; songs that I thought appropriate considering some of the things he was telling me he was feeling/thinking/going through (takes one to know one). After a few hours of sleep I awoke and sent him a genuinely: “You’re quite ace”, text message. Some hours later I received a bizarre and entirely unsuspected: “Dear John”. It was immediately and shockingly clear, through those few lines of carefully chosen words that this, this was the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing. His now, glaringly obvious, passive aggressive formula had been masked as honest adoration, genuine gratitude, admiration and a hefty dose of lust and I hadn’t suspected a thing.

Even though I was entirely and continually unconvinced at our compatibility, there had been a weensy part of me that was willing to consider the possibility of a ‘he and I’, and here he was gaily, although with sagely implied, gut-wrenching trauma: “How one email and a text can make me debate for over 45 minutes of how to word an email in reply is a testament to your magnetism, presence, and total lovableness”, telling me that I wasn’t “It” for him. Using my own negative “con” list that I had used to deflect his wanton loins (“… don’t fall for me I am mental”) to back him up: “Remember the list of cons you spoke about? Let them stop you...” Twat.

As someone who HATES rejection of any kind via email and wanting to clarify that he was actually saying what I thought he was and had actually made an almighty gaff in the translation of my songs of choice: “Falling Slowly” (“Yeah, yeah I should know better – but I thought the connotations were OBVIOUS”). Admittedly my text was entirely groin based – “What?” “He had a voice for reading the Yellow Pages - making it sound like high-brow erotic art…” So, some six minutes later, (that was a guess – I didn’t time it) came the best passive aggressive smack-down I had heard in my entire life: “I fancy you, but could never fall for you” It was the most insightful portion of my, now daily, lessons in: “The Truth of Online Dating”. One sharp, physical slap, administered to the side of my twirly, powder-puffed head was enough to turn me from a cheerleader on the verge of changing her mind, back to the reality of my more comfortable and darker, self-styled cynical pledge.

I suppose ultimately, I would have never gone there if I hadn’t wanted all he said to be true. And that’s probably why I am so gob smacked at the horror of it all. I had been entirely and incredibly in both fantasy and reality - DUPED.

Oh and while I’m at it - he’s married, not “single” – not even Divorced, just separated. Perhaps…

After lying on my bed for what seemed like forever, (my trailing jawbone got heavy after a while) I got up and started washing my hands – then I started scrubbing them with the nailbrush, over and over. Finding hands were not the only part of me that felt so incredibly dirty - I got into the shower and started scrubbing my entire body until I was a frothy mess of red raw. The fervent scrubbing of that day failed to reach the depths required for such feelings and I keep finding myself standing back at the sink, brush in hand.

It was after my smack that day, that I found the power of the “Huddle Formation” and it has saved me several times since, what will now go down in history as, The Day Roz Woke Up.

“I’ll give you The Fucking Glorious Twelfth – nothing remotely glorious about it” “Awww, shame…” “Piss off you.”

(Probably) To be continued...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Day of The Father

It's my biological father's Birthday today. The Glorious Twelfth - the day things get shot to death; usually animals.

I have thought about him all day long.

Apparently 'he' was in all of our heads today - my mother's, my sister's and mine. Long emails with my sister and a deeply uncomfortable conversation with my mother, were proof enough of that. He will never be truly gone, even when he is finally under the cover of soil, or dust upon the air; he has cleverly cemented his place in our lives, with both natural and unnatural forces.

I presume he will always be able to silence a room in our various houses. He would undoubtedly, quite like that fact. Gift enough in my mind.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Windows Are Not Doors

Today is national Dealing With Shit Day, in my house anyway, and honestly - I am so close to jumping out a window to avoid it, it's not even funny.

The fact that I can no longer write things like: "I am so close to jumping out a window..." without thinking - "... It's not so funny when you've actually been there", is a strange/sad thing. Same as being called: "Crazy Auntie Roz", by my nieces. Once upon a time, that would have made me crack up laughing, now it just reminds me how I cracked.

Oooh, not a good day today. I can feel it in me waters... or maybe it's the complete numbness, that makes me sit here and stare out the window, wondering what would happen if I never did anything ever again - that has given the game away? "I wonder if I would avoid all the fines because I'm mental?"

"Wanna try?" She said, twirling her matted hair and chewing on a black painted nail like a caustic teenager.

"Shut up you - you're all I need today..." said the numb one, sitting on the floor looking at windows vacantly.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Re-Beginning

"Morning, friend", said she, literally running her hands over the keys of her laptop, wondering what, how, why, when, which - order? The keys become that of a piano at times like this; my hands rest lightly on the keys, my head bows forward, I breathe in and my hands, they wait to feel what my unconscious wants to play.

After this absence between us, it feels something akin to reconnecting with a lover that I haven't seen for a while. Getting used to how we are when we are together, how I behave; what level of honesty we/I had before the separation. Wondering if you've changed; if they will still like you, respond to you - the 'who you are' when you are with them? You wonder what to tell them, out of all the things that have happened since you were last together. Do you report the minutiae of your every day(s)? Or do you skim over events to get to where you now lie?

I'm not sure. Yet.

I just find myself playing with the keys, trying to focus on them through a buffered, battered, drunken, drugged-up hazy. Trying to hush my conscious brain to let the truth, tumble. Unfettered. The keys, they feel comforting under my fingers. Satisfying in their ability to make marks on a page; the level of pressure and at pace with varying speed - determined by my unconscious - to make those letters and form those words. A lysing. Of sorts.

With eyes closed, my mind scans through picture after picture of events like a virtual Microfiche. Like a character in a film, trying to find exactly the right piece of information through pages and pages of newspaper text. Hurtling through pages until their scanning eyes catch a word - a phrase, through the thousands that pass before them. Somehow, through their unconscious panic, their eyes have found what they need without their mind being present at all; at all...

Friday, August 8, 2008

But, She Did Have Internet Connection...

"I want chicken and rice soup", said the girl with bleary eyes and rumpled hair, who had also decided to lose her voice, that very same morning.

"No answer", was the loud reply, for the girl - she was all alone in her big new house - apart from the scary girl, locked in the hall cupboard, for safe keeping.

"Well, she has been leaving pools of water and matted hair all over the bloody place...", said the croaky girl...