The motorway can be long and dry -
like the summers here, the sun
beating down on empty streets
stay inside, look out on disused
fields and cemeteries, dirty
rivers and walls of nettles
christmas comes quicker and
the nights are longer, but still
empty beer cans, still the nettles
dirty rivers and the same stores
the only options two hours
from the beach or the city
and while I’ve friends here,
I’ve a little family too
I am still grateful that I got out
and I hope, someday, so will you
The motorway can be long and dry -
Myself (on the left) and two of my close uni friends after graduation.
Originally, I had not planned to graduate at all. At thirteen I wanted to drink and take pills and cry in other people’s beds. I had been a little scarred and while I was capable at eight or ten or so, at thirteen I fell to pieces. A few years after I recovered – a little – and I could hold it together mostly. I did my work and I kept out of trouble and while I cried, still, I found a system of support that worked for me. At seventeen, I returned to who I was at eight or ten – I just wanted to write, and I was good at it. But I never was that hopeful for the black gown. I went to University to waste a bit of time and there were a few times I thought – I can leave, I can’t cope, I do not fit in here.
When I was ten I wanted to watch films and write and do nothing else. When I was fifteen I wanted to live by the sea. When I was seventeen I wanted to visit California and see Orange County, Beverly Hills, the walk of fame. Gradually I put the blocks in place to get there, even though there have been days or months even now when I regress. I want to drink in the afternoon, I want to puke, I want to never wake up again. But the blocks built steps that led me until today and last week and all the tomorrows afterwards. I got my black gown, and I have my certificate. I have the same support system I had at seventeen, and I am so grateful. I live 200 metres from the sea and I no longer want to drown myself in it and my own misery. I can be difficult – but I overcame a lot to get that hat and my plane ticket to LAX.
I am proud, and ten year old me would be proud too.I have not changed, much, only grown.
To be beside the sea, on your coast
or mine – is to be a little free
from the crushing edges of earth
from flat and grey, to pebbles
mountains, lapping waves – I
haven’t yet seen it, but I
have been imagining it since youth
to be there is to be almost free
and to be here – is to be safe
so I follow the coastline from
South Coast to West – I take
myself safely, and leave
what is left
I have been in Brighton for about five weeks now and I’m having a pretty good time. Sadly the combination of good time and no internet has left you pretty post-less. But I fancy changing that. I plan on setting up a huge queue for you tomorrow because on Thursday morning I am – wait for it – flying from Heathrow to LAX for an American adventure! So what have I been up to? When I first got to Brighton my best friend was here and we had a cute time. I had no internet and had to go to the library to order anything for my house. Then I got a shitty seafood restaurant job which I quit immediately, had a few interviews, and eventually ended up at a cafe. It was alright but then I got ‘let go’ because they couldn’t afford to hire me. Whatever. I got a job at my favourite Homestore and that’s where I am a lot of the time earning sweet money doing a cute job. Then we got fleas and had to wander the streets of Brighton until 3am. We still had no internet and watched a lot of boxsets while we unpacked our house and fixed our little lives.
Next my friends came down for the weekend and brought a world of glottal stops to Brighton. We played, we drank, we brought Leicester to the coast and it was the best. I miss them now. Last week it was my graduation so I had to take myself, Owain and our dog up there and it was okay. I got to see Sarah, Aidan and Liv so that was swell. We ate dinner, sat on Huncote park, and relived old times. I felt 14 again, but a bit more sober. Graduation was adorable while a little boring; we pretended to reenact The O.C. and winked at Santa. Nice.
Now – I am settled and so happy. I have another job at a boutique homestore where famous people shop and have worked and it is pretty awesome. I eat vegan food and I can have bagels every day and I have a huge discount at all of my favourite shops. I see the sea every day and sometimes it makes me so happy I want to cry. This week I am going to see California, something 15 year old me wanted more than anything else in the world.
I am ready! xo