Driving

I want to drive. I love my city, I love that I can reach the other side of it in a twenty minute walk – but sometimes I feel a little claustrophobic. A few days after I passed my driving test I bought a classic mini, a beautiful little car that I fell in love with. I spent countless hours polishing it, restoring it, driving it. We took to the countryside, the motorways, the seaside. We went on holidays and night time drives and to friends’ homes. I sang in that car every single day, and I was in love with it. When I knew I was moving to the seaside it erased any need for a car, and I had to let my little Mini go. But not before a farewell tour, bashing around the Cotswolds’ hills and winding country road. Driving to me means trips to eat pub dinners, night-time tours of where we grew up, being able to stay at a friends past 4am.

Being a passenger is okay – I get to see the English countryside or American highways from the passenger seat, singing and watching the sights go by. I don’t mind too much. But being in the driver’s seat of my own car, to be in control. To be able to go anywhere at all. I long for it – the freedom of the road, the open fields, the cities I could go to. I want to rent a car this spring or summer and take it to Devon, the Lake District, Leicester. It doesn’t matter so much where. I just so desperately want to drive again.

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Filed under boring, creative writing, Personal, whatever, writer, Writing

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It is so easy to forget formative years
take for granted that I am now changed
and cast away how I got here at all
what’s past is past – and now I am new

Orphaned by circumstance
shadowed in the light of family
I spent so much time, my feet numb
under that bridge, our only fun
from crushed cigarettes
paperwork bonfires, warm cider
stolen pills and a little cash

Ignored and unnecessary
we needn’t climb out the window
for nobody noticed
when we used the front door

I never thanked a soul
for their input, for the tents
for the nights they let me stay
for the meals that I was fed
to the sister I don’t speak to
I am grateful, still
for my formative years
though the way was rough
I am still here

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Bartender

Write, redraft, abandon. Indoor living from my bedside is reminiscent of a time more sick, more disabled. My head knocks and bleeds and I am afraid that I will always be this way – slow, late to rise, early to sleep. I waste so many hours and still I am tired. A security radio outside crackles and reminds me of my increased responsibility – profit, targets, a set of keys, alarm codes. I am not ready, I am not the one. I am okay with shaking cocktails, cleaning plates, making coffee – because it doesn’t matter. But inputting data and sending emails and dealing with complaints – they feel real, and permanent. Something someone can chase up if it goes wrong. It feels like a mistake. I am afraid, too, that I will just get sick again and have to take time off to die on my own.

I am already so crushed under the weight of what I expect from myself. I want to be the youngest, the best, the first academic. I want to write so much and I want to see every inch of every country. I only work so that I can live in this city, so that I can go to California, so that I can live comfortably by the sea. Yet here I am – with responsibilities piled on that don’t relate to things that I personally want. I don’t know what to think. I am too tired.

I long for the days when sunshine broke through the bar windows and it started to feel like a glasshouse. Now we turn on the radiators, the overhead heaters, in some dumb attempt to counteract the 0 degree weather and make the customers feel comfortable. I long for watching beach-goers and tourists stroll by, I long for the jealousy I felt. I remember when I would go for picnics by the beach with my dog after work – now the wind rips at my skin, the waves pathetic yet stormy. I want to wake up at 7am, 9am, 12pm comfortably. I have to set fifteen alarms just to wake up at all and I feel like it would be different were there some sunshine outside.

I am sick of working, writing, never being content with what I come up with. I need a break, but I am trapped by term dates and rotas. On good days I feel like I am a writer, not a bartender. On bad days I know that I am neither.

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-

I am sick, but I am not dying
I lay in bed rotting, my head
exploding, my nose bleeding
the sea is vicious, the wind biting
and I have to crane my neck
to catch a glimpse of sunset

I am better, yet, and I bruise less
I have felt worse, I have seen
myself die with orange leaves
winter is hardest, and yet
I am still not a ghost

I just miss the West Coast
with sunshine, I might heal

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It is devastating – that I cannot measure up
I’ve an image of a person; whole and complete
smart and healthy, successful and plentiful
and yet here I’ve the antithesis, a 2pm awakening
and a procrastination that kills me
with every doodle, every flicker
ten minutes, maybe, I get from a day
where I am better – where my head is clear
and I can see myself actually living, here
7am runs on the beach, an evening art piece
a coffee with a friend that doesn’t drain me
anything, living, not taking my energy
I want a world in which my life is with me
and not separate – running beside
and passing

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5th January

It’s too late to build resolutions
so resolutely die for another year
life could be worse on this island
but it can be good, at most
even at its best – it’s no West coast
and I never saw the leaves fall
I never saw frost on the floor
not in the South, but in the middle
my feet froze, my hands numb
it’s a compromise
sparing me the memories
the sickness of the North
but not lending me the safety
or the warmth of the West

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2014

It’s taken me a few days to get around to this because I have been mad busy, but thank you for your patience. I came into 2015 laughing, at my friend’s house with my favourite people in the world. We were anticipating a year of finally being together in Brighton, after spending half of 2014 sadly apart. It was lovely, calm, and what I wanted from New Year’s Eve. I came into 2014 kicking and screaming, after being assaulted five days earlier. I was on a bathroom floor crying and wasted in a friend’s lap, and I am happy to see a massive contrast this year.

So 2014 started badly. I got really horrifically drunk a few times to try and block out memories of December, but it didn’t work. I let myself fail and fall behind and I didn’t do any reading or uni work for over a month. I fell out with my best friend in January, and by February we were putting the pieces back together. We drove around every night for weeks just talking and sifting through the shit and really sorting it out. I quit two jobs in late January – the one in which I was assaulted by a colleague, and the one where everyone around me did cocaine and drank everyday. That’s probably not good for me, I cleverly deduced all on my own. I remember the first time I felt like myself again was in early February – I took out about 20 books from the library, and I sat down to get back into my work. I thought – I understand this. I am this. Writing and films dragged me out of a really dark place, and they are more important to me this year than ever. In February I was accepted to my Master’s course, I spent an amazing 21st with my favourite people, and I started to visit the doctor and hospital to find out why I was passing out and bleeding from my ears.

March, April, May – they are all blurs. Blurs of writing constantly, of being sick, of hospitals and diagnoses and finding out that the cause of all of my problems was, of course, my upbringing and family and all of that. I started to try to feel better and embrace what had happened to me, but it was the hardest thing and I am still struggling and suffering. In June I moved to Brighton, had a few shitty jobs, and was dirt poor. But I was happy and I was by the sea. I started to pass out less, scream less, and be awake more. I missed my friends, but they come sometimes. In July I graduated and I cried, actually. I was alone and it was a reminder that I’ve no family, but a reminder too that I am the reason I made it there. I got a 2:1. I dragged myself up out of shit and complete hell for 21 years to make it to that stage and I was  really genuinely fucking pleased. I then went to California for two weeks, a life-changing experience that affected my entire outlook. I am still cynical, grumpy, tired, sick – but I feel a little better about who I am. The mountains, the people, the attitude, the Pacific – it is something I try to relive every single day.

August saw Sarah, Owain and I see The Hives which again was incredible. We hung out a lot, went to the Twin Peaks party, and then said goodbye again for the entirety of September, which was long and saw me starting my Master’s. It’s hard, the people are weird, and I don’t fit in well at Sussex. But it’s where I am and film is important to me. I also got to hang out with a member of my favourite band a few times, and he was cool. The girl I met him through wasn’t, so we lost touch. I quit another shit job and I found one that I quite enjoy. Through October and November I worked a lot and got to know my workmates, a few nice people who just want to bartend and aren’t dicks about it. We had a few lock-ins and pints and it was nice. December was long and I am here now, alive. The anniversary of my assault came and went. My best friend is moving here very soon, and I am so grateful.

For all of the incredible things I have done in 2014, I still had a hard year. I had a lot of recovering to do, and a long way to go yet. But I am alive and motivated to carry on. With my Master’s, with revisiting California, with applying for my PhD. Every single day feels impossible and I struggle still to stay awake and I still take painkillers daily, but I am not dead yet. Peace.

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