I want this one

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.

mevlana jelaluddin rumi – 13th century

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In the gentle swaying of the trees, somehow she eclipsed me. Like weather: the way we are going to feel is seldom certain.

I have spent too long moderating the way I feel, for fear of being hurt and of hurting others. But there has to be one true place that’s just yours in this world. Where you can boldly be with respect enough for the past and for the future. If only I could find it, I’d go there with her and we could flail around like a couple of happy pricks with complete abandon.

She makes believe that time began the second I walked through her door. Because willingly she wiped out the test-runs of the past. And I betray her in the sense that I don’t, or more aptly, that I wont. It has to be a form of self perseveration or perhaps the endeavour’s of pride: that I struggle under the weight of my bygones like a bag-lady. Bringing with me everything I ever had, everything I ever was and everything that has at one time or another touched me. It’s a wonder she has room enough in her soul for me and all my shit.

Five years ago today I left some words on a page, like a time capsule, for my future self. Although written with love and joy, the strokes of my pen slashed across my emotions like a rusty nail. Because life then was so different to now and I could not have anticipated the horrors yet to come.

But in the same way that the world is sometimes unkind, it is also nurturing. Perhaps if I were a nun I would say ‘when god closes a door, somewhere he opens a window’. I want this to stay forever true.

I think I now see the value of both the memory box as well as the hope chest and I treat the two the same, like a pair of incessantly squabbling brats, each selfishly demanding attention over the other. I acknowledge them, I thank them and through love, I tell them both to shut the fuck up. Because in this moment I want to give her something. Just for her. Something she can palm and keep close to her heart. I love her now.

And what I realise is that loving again and moving forward with your life is not an insult to everything that came before. The newest blossoms of an old tree pay a pretty homage to the pollens of the past. The tireless cycles of nature depend on them, so we do what we can to force out a flower from the ends of our lonely sticks. And who knows, maybe this year’s blossom will prove to be even more fruitful than the last.

The spark that saves

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It wasn’t just that she nearly killed a grasshopper on her windscreen, it was that I was hellishly miserable. Casual murder everywhere I look. And it’s no wonder I dreamt I was working in the library again. I told my boss that I’d come full circle. A complete back-track to the past. She smiled and showed me a courtyard that hadn’t been there before, a jungle of abandoned bed frames. It’s not just the meat, that I too have started eating, but the newspapers too. The radio interrupting my peaceful cooking time with a forced injection of panic. And why doesn’t the news come with a forewarning. Nudity and extreme language in films aren’t going to affect you as much as the random massacre on a beach full of sunbathers. It affects you deeply. This darkness, like a tumour, spreads until it’s stage-threed every last shred of your happiness, shattering the illusion of safety.

And now I’m blindfolded with the image of a man pointing a gun at a tourist, the image of the grasshopper getting almost crushed to death by the windscreen wiper. All this horror and I can’t bare it.

For all those of you ready to pounce on me that terrorism isn’t quite the same thing as bug death, I’d like to say yes I know. I appreciate that. I’m not comparing the deaths of many to one insect. I’m speaking from the perspective of my own feelings. And now I’m pissed off at all this self editing, too much awareness of my audience and who I could possibly offend with my words.

As with everything, it makes me think of Dylan. How much more I would have feared the world he would have inherited. I’d like to say he’s safe now. But who knows if that’s true. When I buried him my mother in law at the time said something to me which was barely audible. I think it was this: he’s beautiful now. It saddened and angered me all once. Provoked something in me that rebelled against the acceptance and peace she was trying to share with me. But it’s stayed with me, why? Because I think I want the sentiment to be true.

It’s an argument I have constantly with myself but I wonder why people breed when the world is so frighteningly dangerous? But then I see something a friend wrote about his son on social media: ‘what do you want to be when you grow up? A little tiny woman’ and I know why people do it. I suddenly know why they all would given the chance. Why I would if I wasn’t so riddled with indecision and fear. As simple as that. A new life. A little growing person who takes the world outside of itself and reinvents everything. It’s not Disney sentimental, its the spark of something brilliant in a haze of heavy shit.

Why do people hate so much. What is the impetus to kill when our days are numbered anyway. And why is it always the people who have nothing to do with the quarrel that end up losing their lives. Why must we sit in fear of our flesh being penetrated by the bullets of emotion sprayed like tears from dulling eyes? I don’t understand the horror that most have suffered, but I guarantee it’s enough to have ruined them. To have made it seem right to pick up a gun or a bomb or a sword and to lash out at the world, as it has done to them. And who am I to judge when I have never seen war from the wrong side of a TV screen. I feel for them too. I really do. And at the risk of sounding like a fucking idiot, I want the killing to stop. I want the aggrieved to heal, as we are all trying to do. I want armies of compassion to run bravely onto the path of war and disarm and diffuse till everyone realises what a prick they have been. Till every war monger looks themselves in the face and decides there has been enough killing. To see they have made their point loud and clear. On both sides of the fence. From all religions and governments and walks of life. Lets stop fucking killing each and take on the much harder task of doing a little good.

Be Four: And After.

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The Overview

Another year has passed. And don’t other people’s children seem to grow so fast. One minute they are seeds and the next in bloom. But this period of only 4 years, feels like an eternity stretch. Slow burning and wearing, like the sun in the Sahara.

I lay awake last night, as I do most, trying to picture how big a four year old feels like. How heavy they would be. How I would hold one. And I couldn’t. Despite of all my dry heaving, I can never bring anything up.

Losing a baby is something you’re tarnished with forever. I suppose most of us choose to be, because it’s all we have left. The pain and misery over the emptiness any day. And have I turned weird because of it? Do other mothers feel cautious around me? Nervous of me even? Do they hold their children harder when I’m around because I’m a reminder of how it doesn’t always work out? Or perhaps that’s all just in my head.

Bitterness talking

I half wonder whether people aren’t tired, in the honest bitchy part of their brains, of me ‘going on and on about it’. I can’t say I blame them if they do. But it won’t stop me because ours is a grief that never expires and if that’s tedious to witness then off they can fuck.

The bit I hate the most, is feeling at a stand off with other mothers. Because for their sake, you have to be ok around their children. You can’t grab their baby, smell it’s little head and cry for all you’ve lost. You have to be cool and relaxed and non-weird about everything. Which is easy for me to do because other people’s feelings seem to matter more to me than my own. Which is weird in itself because I didn’t think I was that considerate. Or perhaps it’s that I have a deeply coveted envy like a lord of the rings Gollum, seeping out of me like the glistening goo of a bed sore. Mop it up, quick, before anyone sees. God forbid anyone should see: smee.

Most of the time I feel for them. Their little tired bedraggled faces: never getting enough of anything they need. And if I really look with my Cypriot seeing eyes, I can see. Of course I can see. They are just as weird as me. Because having a baby brings it out in us, whether alive or dead. Something so precious brewing within, sends the whole world on a wonk. And the slip-sliding of another soul from the wetness of our knickers is surely the strangest and sweetest thing we will ever know. After that, how can anyone ever be the same again.

So if they’re strange and too clingy, I forgive them. If they gang together in gaumless groups, visiting farm parks and purposefully adopting speech impediments then again I’ll forgive them. If their only subject is the little shit dragging itself along the carpet then so be it, I’ll revel in every word they share. If being a mother brings out the worst in them, estranges them from their partners and everyone who doesn’t have a baby, then of course again I’ll forgive them. Because they are just becoming everything I couldn’t, and I would be a fool to judge.

I sometimes wonder whether people don’t just have children because they can’t think of anything else better to do with their lives. It’s not a bad way to pass the time is it. It gives you some focus, something to take your mind off the here and now, the realisation that you’re hurtling through space and time towards a certain and relatively pointless end. And if relationships are target driven vehicles to get you from a to b, then parenthood surely is one of the major destinations on your hop and ride tour of the same old shit. So keep squeezing out children people, why not, they are fairly cute most of the time and hopefully one in 500,000 of them will be a child genius who will solve all the worlds problems and the drain on the earth’s resources that all the others caused will have been worth it because we would have one beautiful soul in a sea of dumbfucks.

Backtracking

It pains me to think that I might never have another child. Especially when I think of the autopsy. My poor baby in bits. How many? Who knows. But I can’t think of it, not even me, it’s too dark a place even for me to go. So I picture him whole, complete, perfect at last.

If I’m offensive I apologise. I don’t mean it against you and your children, you’re lovely and deserving of all the things you have, don’t feel guilty about it not even for a second. Just because some bitter old bitch casts a critical shadow on everything you do, it doesn’t mean you have to pay attention, shrug it off and lets both pray you never know what it feels like.

But I must lash out now and then because this wolf is hungry and I’m not very good at starving it. Because even though I might look normal, I’m actually screaming in agony somewhere in the corner of my soul. Isn’t it funny how we can do that. Split ourselves off into sections, nice and neat. I’ll wear my work persona today with my yellow office shoes. Today I fancy the goth bitch who’s sarcastic and relentlessly sulky, she’ll compliment my handbag perfectly. Today I’ll be loathsome and intolerable…today I’ll be the sexiest woman you’ve ever seen, lean as you like, slithering my way up your legs….

If I’ve turned into a horror, simply because I have suffered, I hope that some of you will forgive me. Because underneath it all, I’m still mostly me. And that’s not such a bad person to be, despite it all.

The conclusion

Today I want to make peace with something. Even though I don’t know how. Even though I know it’s fleeting and elusive. I miss my baby and wish I could have held him. With all my mite I send out a love so hard I pray it bends the barriers of life and death and penetrates his little heart. I hope he feels it when I’m lying on my bed listening to the special music that connects me to my grief, soaking my pillow with snot and secretions.

Four years old. I should have written him something about butterflies and moons and beautiful magical childhood things. But that’s just not us.

Filling the hole (Part Two): Now the post about being a lesbian.

And although I’m not one, I still feel I can speak about it because I am in love with one. And she’s so quickly and fluently become my everything. When I look into her eyes, it gives me faith in the crooked tragedy of the path that lead me here. The way she lets me in. Lets me see who she is, her insecurities and her strengths. She lays bare for me and I don’t just mean in a slutty way.

Emotionally intelligent, we get each other. And in this way I see how same sex relationships make sense. She tells me daily how she’d happily forgo happiness with me if she could go back and undo the holes: make it so Dylan had lived. I fall in love with her harder every time she says it because her selflessness is beauty and love in it’s human form. And my heart breaks a little too because my feelings are split. Of course I would want my baby back, I can’t deny the strength of that, but the pain comes from knowing it would mean I would never be with her, in this new life. And how can I wish for the undoing of the one thing that’s saved me? How can I remove her from the equation now I have grown to love her? The paradox is too great and the result of which makes me a shithead which ever way I choose.

I want it to be perfect for her, although I know it isn’t. Living in the shadow of what came before, it’s not easy. His photo’s are down but his footprints are everywhere. But she accepts it with grace and dignity and love. Living with my mum, you think she’d complain of the lack of privacy once in a while. But she doesn’t. She’s gentle and loving and treats my mother like her own. Showing interest in the things she talks about, doing DIY and making her coffee the way she likes it. And she makes her laugh: the biggest gift anyone could ever give me is hearing my mum laugh. When the three of us are together, it’s amazing how much we laugh. Constantly cackling wildly and honestly, seeing my mum’s face contorted and stretched in the most uncontrollably delicious way, sides splitting with laugher, I melt and smile and breath. Because I’m lucky to have this. Truly. And when I think of a day when my mum might not be here and it makes me love her harder in the now: the only definite there is.

She gave me back the love I once had for my home. She makes me want to be there. To stop running and to rebuild from the mess that was left behind. It’s befitting I finally ended up in a relationship with a  woman, given my love of womanhood. It makes sense with who I am now and who I have been. There’s no dilemma despite the lack of definition. Together, we make sense.

Not just for the L of it.

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Sexuality is fluid: like the pouring of a cold coke on a hot day. And haven’t I always said that ‘it’s about the peanut and not the shell’? So this new romance shouldn’t surprise those that know me. And if it does, well, what can I say, life is full of surprises.

So I fell for someone who wasn’t Phil. I never thought that would be possible. I didn’t want it to be possible, because moving on means you’re really finished…and I’ve never been good with endings. God knows I’ve said goodbye to too many people to now start doing it willingly. But life is a constant lesson in impermanence, and I feel like I’m learning it the hard way. He went one way, and I went the other. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. Looking over my shoulder constantly, remembering how sweet it used to be…before either of us knew really what devastation was. I drag myself forward kicking and screaming, the way my mother took me to school every day. I brat it up big style, sulking my fucking socks off till finally I look up: huffy, over the top of my glasses, arms folded, chin squashed to tits and what do I see? Something that was already there to begin with, right under my nose. The sympathetic blue of her eyes met with the begrudging brunt of my brown. A shining smiling patient beautiful soul that always saw something other than just darkness within me. Offering her hand, ‘come on you silly cow, get up’. And she was there. More ‘there’ than I ever allowed a friend to be. And although it took me a while, eventually I took her hand.

It’s been that way ever since. And now everyone knows about it and fuck knows what they really think but I’m not going to ask because quite frankly….I couldn’t give a flying fuck. Nope. Not one. I really couldn’t. All they really need to know is I’m happy…after a really long time. I’m happy. And no happiness it isn’t conducive to dark edgy writing and god knows this gay new image doesn’t suit the sorrow that’s been my shawl for so long. But fuck it, it’s what I need and it’s what I want. That should be all that matters but I know it isn’t always going to be to everyone, to some of the people who love me the most, to random fuckwits on the street. But I’m not repentant and I’m certainly not reluctant, instead I’m revelling in this romance that leaves me swooning like a sap and I’ll do everything I did when I dated a guy. I’ll hold hands in public, I wont refer to her ambiguously as my ‘partner’ or my ‘friend’ and I wont suddenly crop my long locks dyke short and act all geeze, ogling everybody’s tits thinking I can get away with it because I’m a girl. No I won’t, because my friends, this isn’t a political movement, it’s an eternal moment. It’s a romance between two souls and when all’s said and done surely THAT is the meaning of life. I don’t kiss her soft pink lips to make a political point. I don’t flaunt my attraction for her to show off or get attention or to rub anyone’s nose in it. I do it because it feels natural and it should be taken so. I do it because a new romance should always piss people off and nauseate with its cutesiness. A new romance is something to be thankful for because your friends can now stop worrying about you being bereft of a kindred. They can rest easy, knowing you’re looked after and the panic is over.

And what will be of him, I hear you ask? The him that will always have a special place in my heart. The him that was here before her. He will simply be. We chose this: he as well as I. And when the two of us meet there’s no hatred. A little sadness, sure, but that’s to be expected. We can smile and we can be honest and we have respect for one another and that is more than I could have ever asked for. That’s more than most ex-marriages have. I want it to be this way because I’m fucked if I lied before all the people we know and respect when I said ’till death do us part’. I meant it and I will always mean it. Granted, not in the same way, but certainly with the same strength and with the same conviction. And I know one day in the future I’ll be proud to say I loved both the best man AND the best woman. Through my terrible misfortune I’ll hopefully be able to come out the other side and say I was one lucky fucker to have had this.

If you saw her, you’d know how we came to be. Because she has a soul the size of a galaxy and a capacity for love and laughter that I cant help but adore. And me, with my tiny shrivelled sultana of a soul, how could I not be moved and amazing and quietly in awe? She is quite something in her own right and she sees both the wood AND the trees. When they get to know her, they’ll see she is both the birds AND the bees. I know they’ll instantly see what I see: a true sister of my soul. Hopefully then gender will be as irrelevant to them as the urinals that segregate it because the really worrying thing isn’t that I’m sleeping with a woman: it’s that I’m now listening to dance music!

 

 

Beware of the mad woman.

A matt that once sat on her doorstep, warning crossers of her threshold what to expect. And there’s no disputing it, she was mad. She probably is still bring utterly mental and brilliant somewhere else in the universe. I really believe that.

I still dream of her, in a prophetic way. And it scares me how alive she is. Telling me she’s too busy even in the afterlife. Cooking, making tea, washing, bitching. Forever a fingerprint of the woman I clung to growing up. And in her company, I was never afraid.

Four years later and hers is still the name on everyone’s lips. I could still easily piss myself laughing thinking of the things she said. Phrases so harsh and hilarious, said so vehemently in a flash of passion, then followed softly by a smile, aware of her audience’s reaction. From her I learnt all the harshest phrases; Shisto mavro, morre butana, yamo tin havra sou, yamo tin ratsa sou and pushto betho. And I don’t need to translate these for you because even my English friends know what they mean.

Four years to the day that she left us all to get on with it and man up without her. I’m quite sure she’d have a thing or two to say about everything that’s been going on. Fuck knows she likes to tell me often enough in my dreams. But she always finish off with ‘I love you’ and that funny squawking excited noise she made when she kissed me goodbye, told me to stop eating so much and waved me off at the door. But I’m certain she’s somewhere in the universe still, with Marroulla and my dad, with cousin Sugar and aunty Anastou, with Dylan and with Bapoo:winding eachbother up, cackling and wheezing, playing cards and being brilliant. Even if that place is only in my head.

Delivering Happiness: Amazing People. (And all the other things that make my beard itch.)

Rejection: like the stinging of a cane across your soft bare arse when you really did nothing to deserve it. It hurts and you’ll be sore and angry about it for years to come. Another harsh lesson in impermanence that life dishes out. Another thing to feel cynical about.

Splitting a bond like an atom and there’s bound to be a reaction. I can’t bare to think of my day without them there. The people who watched me get married. The people who know how brave and strong I can be when inside I’m fucked. The people who kept me coming back, day after day, just for the jokes and the piss-taking, if nothing else. The ones who i ‘stick it to the man with’, the ones who I talk food with, the ones who know when my farts smell like peanuts. I can’t face the soul-drudgery of a 9-5 without them and I long to do something drastic. To revolt. Show them all how much I love them and how personally I take injustices against them. But I’ve got bills to pay, I’ve got the sweet-hearted woman who begat me and a grumpy arse cat who depend on me to keep my mouth shut.  And i cant let them down, even though every fibre of my being screams for action: to rage against the dying of an artificial light, to rage against the machine in the way I would have in my teens (or when Dawn and Owen left). Those who know me best know how hard it is for me to ‘keep calm and carry on’ (and all the other pacifying poster boys I can’t be doing with).

And who would have thought that after failing GCSE maths 3 times, I’d spend my days pretending I can add without using my fingers. Pretending I did learn my times tables and all the other useful maths tricks instead of dossing around in car parks looking for good hub caps to steal. 8 years later, I’m unrecognisable to myself. Not just chubbier, but more diluted. And now, this is the only place I write. Because I don’t have time and when I do, my eyeballs reject the screen like the biggest case of rastaburn you ever saw. This is the ‘short term’ job  that came about from a deal I made with Phil whilst laying on a bean bag talking about the universe. He said he would move back in with me if I promised I would stop walking out of jobs and knuckle down for a change. In turn he promised he would take me seriously. Maybe now he’s gone that deal doesn’t stand? Maybe there is some poetry to the fact that everything around me is being snatched away prematurely, like the baby I had and the dad who always made me laugh. Or maybe I over-dramatise (as I always do) for the sake of my prose. 

Where you invest your love: you invest your life. And that wisdom works the other way around to. So you see they aren’t just colleagues. They aren’t just people I stop thinking about after hometime comes. They are people I’ve grown to love, people whose secrets I keep, people who deserve a fuck load better than they have. I can’t just shrug it off that they wont be here anymore. I can’t rest easy when I see their heartbroken furious faces. But there’s fuck all I can do about it but hug them and swear and try to reassure them that this wasn’t what they were destined for anyway. And in a funny way, we are all redundant.  

Delivering happiness: amazing people. This statement is truer than anyone knows.  It’s a shame that the people delivering it don’t have it reciprocated.These people are amazing, and they’ve been the backdrop to all my dramas and daydreams. They’ve made me laugh at times when happiness felt like a fairytale and I wont fucking forget that as long as I live.  And when a decision is made from so high up the management chain that no ones sees the mess it makes when it drops: it’s easy to be callous, to be cost-effective and keep the capitalist dream alive.

There will always be an era that belongs to us. Like the hippies in the sixties and the Wonder Years: we’ll have our own ‘back in the day’ stories of the humiliating hilarity of fights, fancies and fucks we witnessed during our time here. So almost a year after my dad died, his words come back to me now more than ever: the best way to say ‘fuck you’ is to be nice.