Tag Archives: personal

leaving brighton

When I first moved here, it wasn’t so much a case of, “going to Brighton”, as it was, “leaving Leicester”. I felt, perhaps naively, that moving 150 miles away from what I believed to be the cause of all my misery and misfortune to that point would make me happy. Happier, at least.

I wasn’t wrong.

I have always loved Brighton. The first time I visited, in 2006, I wrote a letter to my best friend saying that we should move here. I thought it was magic: it had pastel houses, the sea, little shops. It didn’t have my family. I fell in love. The first time I came I bought a pair of pink and black striped shoes and a Billy Talent CD. That’s how young I was.

But I was tethered to Leicester, and burdened with a dog I couldn’t move away for University. So I stayed. My last year there was my worst: I was sexually assaulted. My friend died. I got really, really sick. I learned the true, awful extent of my childhood. All of this culminated and I barely finished my degree, despite it being in a topic that I still work in now. That year was difficult, and I honestly did not want to live. One of the only things that kept me alive was the idea that in just a few months I could move, finally, to Brighton.

Barely weeks after I handed in a dissertation that almost didn’t get written, my boyfriend, dog and I headed to the coast. We spent five days in Brighton looking for a house. We found one. It was shit, but it wasn’t in Leicester. A week later we moved into it, and I spent the summer working in cafés and shops and scraping by. I missed my friends, a lot, but they visited. I went to California. I felt free.

I did my MA in Brighton, and it wasn’t easy. My friends moved here, and that was fun. I made new friends. I fell into a way of living that wasn’t only comfortable, but was 150 miles from everything that hurt me back home. It wasn’t perfect; I was still trapped with my own not-great health and brain, I still met some absolute scumbags, I still had to deal with my family. But I am so, so far from them.

I am not leaving Brighton because I want to. I am leaving Brighton because it’s the right, proper thing for me to do right now. For me to stay here, when all of my work and meetings are in London, would be irresponsible. I have always known that it was not permanent, and I have always relished the time I have here. I would love nothing more than to sit around writing on the beach and skateboarding on the front every day, but it isn’t realistic. It isn’t sustainable. I have spent six months travelling to London most days for work and it’s come down to: work or Brighton. Me being me, I have chosen work.

So I am taking another leap of faith and I am moving to London. I have been stubborn for a long time, maintaining that I hate the city. Maybe I do, still. But it’s the right time. I am trusting that the friends and work connections I have there will be enough to make me happy. I am trusting that I won’t panic and want to flee to the seaside the second I get a bit sad. I am trusting that the decreased distance between me and anyone blood related to me won’t make any of them expect for me to visit more often. It won’t.

I spent three years in Brighton and it was everything that I could have realistically hoped for. It isn’t perfect. There is plenty that I hate about Brighton, but it’s more of an, “oh, you!” than a soul-crushing hate. It hasn’t always been easy being far from London while trying to work, but my mental health is better than it’s ever been. The space and time has been invaluable in helping me to recover from what was honestly a really fucking difficult, shitty 21 years in Leicester. I can value Leicester when I go back and I do value what being from there has given me, but I fucking hated it. Moving with no money and no work prospects was the right thing to do. It forced me into action.

I had some of the best days and nights of my life here just walking around vaguely tipsy, taking in the lights and the sunset and the sea. I love the sea, and I love to see a sunset here almost half as much as I do in California. I don’t like to be sincere or soppy, but I love Brighton a lot, and it’s hard for me not to feel as if leaving is a failure on my part. Brighton has given me everything that it could, and I am grateful.

And I’ll be back. Let’s just see what London is saying, first.


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I don’t miss it
not yet, anyway

Not like I will when it’s gone
when I think about the nights
(the very few nights)
that I spent, outside, breathing the sea

Because I didn’t savour it enough
because I didn’t enjoy it

When you live somewhere
shop somewhere
go to the doctor somewhere
it gets a little less special

There were nights that were special
tipsy, stepping off and onto the pavement
laughing and shouting and
daring to step into the sea

But I can still do that
I can come back
and that’s something

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Filed under Poetry


Oh, please don’t read my private poems

Although if they were private they’d be
hidden in notebooks, like the worst ones
like the more offensive
like the thoughts you don’t want to see

And the more of my life is put on display
the more I relish a private arena
(kind of)
the less and more I want anyone to know me

I do want to be known, to be seen
and I also want space to be naked
although what’s the use
if I can’t publish what I learned afterward?

Keep out / do not read
but tell me my private thoughts are worthy

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It’s been done by so many others
attempted descriptions of an anxious mind
but do you understand obsession?

I am exhausted by how full up I am on
blood and music and sex and maybes
and I can’t imagine a second of quiet

I crack my fingers, my back, my pelvis

And I think about the years I’ve yet to live
I think about the deterioration of my body
I think about the holidays I will never go on
the people I’ll never fuck
and the cancers I’ll surely get

I can’t just let myself enjoy my body
while I still have it 

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How are other girls soft / where I am hard
How are they sweet / when I am not
I grit my teeth and clench my fists

I long for a boy to break my arms
to be tougher than I am
to challenge me to a fight

And yet not one has, not one can soften me
or crack my ribcage
to see if there’s a heart

The boys I have loved have been gentle
and they have been cold
the second one tried to drink my blood
I would baulk, but it’s the trying

It’s the trying, it’s the challenge
it’s that relentless, violent obsession
that could serve to get under
my skin


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This year was good to me. I’ve already written about it and I won’t go on, but I feel healthier and happier and more successful than I ever have. 2016 was better than I could have hoped for and I did more than I had planned. It’s only a start, though. It’s a foundation that I hope to build 2017 on. Not everything is perfect, obviously, but I feel like things are happening and I want to do well and I want to be good and have fun and eventually be someone I quite like. So these are my goals for 2017. I won’t do all of them, I might even go a totally different direction, but what matters is that I have plans and I keep on working on something. My contract with VICE ends in February so everything is pretty up in the air, currently. I have no idea what will happen. Or how to plan for it. But here’s a few little ideas.

♡ Plan for Tokyo
♡ Write/pitch memoir/essay book
♡ Go on a work trip
♡ Work on emo diary/maybe do a zine/transcribe it all
♡ Write for Empire
♡ Keep track of finances/spend less/save
♡ Make 20,000
♡ Write 100 articles
♡ Take more photos
♡ Plan on moving to London
♡ Find an agent for my book
♡ Try to get a staff job
♡ Write more/more essays
♡ Read 25 books
♡ Watch more films/keep updated
♡ Take more photos

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After ten days apart will I still
will my heart leap into my throat
will my eyes search you for clues
as you glance up, as you would
to anyone. As we talk as you would
with anyone. As you notice details and
it doesn’t matter if you would
because ultimately, I wouldn’t
but I’m dying without the attention
I’m dying thinking of time she gets
and it’s that you’re just representative
of obsessions, success, shared pasts
and who were you at twenty-three?
Might you have fucked me then?
and I won’t regret a misstep
until June
when you are dead

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Filed under Personal