Letter to my daughter


 

 

 

Daughter,

I don’t know if you’re going to exist, but I’ve grown a few maternal bones over the years. Whether you will be born from me or another woman, or even at all, I now often daydream about you. 

There was once a time I didn’t want any children. It was in my later teenage years when I first saw how horrible the world was, when depression grabbed hold of me, when I knew what it was like to be purposely misunderstood. I couldn’t bear the thought of bringing anybody else into these feelings of helplessness. Then I got older and wanted to kill myself. 

Children still weren’t a thought, but this time it was because every day that I lived was a day that wasn’t even meant to come, so I really took it one day at a time. I didn’t look further ahead because there was nothing there; I literally woke up thinking ‘nice, another day. Here we go again’. It’s only now that I can see a future in which I can almost see old-age. I have love to thank for that.

I realised that my mind and heart had sustained way too much for me to not pass on what I’d learnt. I had too much love to give, I had masses in reserve. Some for a lover. Some for his family. Some for friends… and some for those I will call my own. I learnt what love for a child was through learning what it wasn’t, and I suddenly felt that part of my purpose in life was to give it. It may be selfish of me to want you to exist simply so I can give you what I didn’t have. Is it bad to desperately want to give the good to someone else so that they never have to feel like they should just.. jump? Maybe. Everything I once thought I knew about family had been destroyed, and the concept of it no longer exists to me. I want you to love, not because you have to, but because you want to. It is my responsibility to teach you that.

Let me start by telling you the objective truth. Read more

Gratitude


This is a quick one on the importance of practising gratitude.

I’m not going to deny the fact that I’m a miserable bastard. I’m prone to feeling sorry for myself and believing life keeps throwing shit cards at me; every time I overcome one hurdle I’m already tripping over another. I know there are a lot of people who think like this. Those of us who have, unfortunately, been a little on the rapidly deteriorating side of mental health are very familiar with it. It’s helplessness, it’s pessimism (that we like to call realism because, let’s face it, we live in a shit world and things are more than likely going to go wrong more often than not – that’s just the way life is), it’s feeling oh-so tired of all the bullshit because when will it end? When will I get my walk in the park, when will I get my rainbows and butterflies? When will life slow down for me, when will I finally catch a break?

It feels like a storm and it’s never ending; sometimes I would have a fleeting burst of happiness and joy, and I’d clasp my hands around it in a desperate attempt to hold it close to me before it disappears forever, but it always flies away just as fast as it came. So I’ve learnt to not hold on; I let it come and go as it pleases. I don’t force it to remain, because the little happiness I do get I want to remain genuine, and I hope that it chooses to stay longer and longer. If I’m happy, I feel it. If I’m sad, I feel it. I don’t pretend it’s something else.

In amongst all the bullshit, though, there are ways to find something closer to happiness. Just like you can think your way into a bad mood, you can also think your way into a semi-good mood. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through gratitude. As a species, we are never happy with what we have and we’re always looking for more; consequently, we’re always dissatisfied. But stopping to really absorb the good that you do have does wonders.

No matter how low you feel, there are always things to be grateful for. I want to make it clear, however, I am never someone to say ‘you should be grateful because somebody else always has it worse.’ I don’t believe that, because all pain is subjective. When I talk about gratitude, about your own life, about finding things to be happy about, it is never ever in comparison to anybody else. Your life and your hardships have nothing to do with anybody else; there is no such thing as ‘be happy; someone else’s life is more shit than yours.’ Not only is that insulting to the other person, it does nothing to help you. Another person’s suffering does not negate your own. Not only do you still feel horrible, you now also feel guilty for feeling horrible. Yes, there are people starving to death, but that doesn’t make your pain any less valid, no matter what it’s about.

I digress. Let’s think of gratitude as a source of light in your life.

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Beauty Standards // To B(BL) or Not to B(BL)

 

 

Unless you’ve been hiding in the deepest depths of the internet away from everybody else, minding your business buying human bones and watching decapitation videos, you’re aware that BBLs, lip-fillers and everything in-between have crept their way into the lives of normal folk. Normal women-folk, should I say, because it seems that men aren’t subject to the same pressure with regards to their physical appearance. Sure, there are men getting beard and hairline transplants… but that’s as far as common, invasive treatments for men go. I also don’t think there’s a desire for ‘mum-bods’ as there is for dad-bods, but alas.

Once upon a time, most of us could only sigh in amazement as we saw celebrities with chiselled faces and voluptuous bodies. Now, it’s within reach for a lot of us who are willing to make some sacrifices to the quality of our lives. It’s scarily accessible; women can now opt to purchase a body modification for less than the price of a car, depending on how reputable she wants to go and whether or not she wants to actually live to enjoy the fruits of a dodgy doctor’s labour – and I’m sure there are a lot of women who will happily ride a bike for a couple of years if it meant they had two brand new bum cheeks to show off. I remember a time where these new bodies were mocked; her lips look swollen! She looks like she needs her nappy changed! Why does she look like a man who can’t smile? Does this not firstly highlight how ever-changing these standards are? Only now it’s not about new makeup techniques – you’re changing your features and sometimes putting your life at risk.

On the other hand though, I notice I mentioned “sacrifices to the quality of our lives’, when the truth is a lot of women are doing it to improve the quality of their lives. Beauty standards are so ingrained into the minds of some people, to the detriment of their mental health, placing them into a perpetual state of anguish because they’re not as attractive as the girls whose pictures their man-who’s-not-their-man is liking on Instagram. “Improving” the quality of your life based on a fickle beauty standard that will change within a few years, when your implants have sagged, your lips deflated, your nose bridge collapsed is… risky. I’m all for improving your appearance if you want to and you have the means – but never if you don’t fully understand what you’re getting yourself into. I’m especially against anybody undergoing a procedure but claiming to be natural, particularly if you’re in a position of influence. Read more

AMSTERDAM // The Bulldog


‘Hello, girls.’

I groaned as I saw someone pull up a stool in front of us.

We were sat in a corner of the Bulldog, smoking and talking about every single reason men were the certified worst, about past lovers, about the men who were currently on the shortlist, and men who were just booted off.

He was around five foot eight, with a small frame and a baby face, and he had come to join the boys in the far corner of the room. About eighteen years old, tops. A child.

‘Please don’t do this,’ I muttered under my breath, as she laughed and nudged me in the ribs. I was never good at this sort of thing, because I found it very acceptable to physically turn my head and ignore people I didn’t want to talk to; like a dog playing innocent after ripping apart your brand new goose-feather cushions. Apparently, though, that was rude. I still did it because I never cared, and she always dealt with them because she knew I would have happily just sat there in silence, making it awkward for everyone involved. I was immune to awkwardness, and silence was never a bad thing. I could ignore every problem that was right in front of me; she preferred to tackle it head on.

‘So, where are you from?’ he asked.

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The path to healing.

 

 

Some would say a broken heart fuels creativity; that’s why we write, paint and make music. 

The pain and the hurt that translates into art feels good because we love ripping it out of us and pouring it onto a page. Sometimes the feeling transcends words, so we put it into metaphors and abstract oil paintings, and people lap it up because they love the feeling it gives them. Sometimes the art touches them in a way they can’t explain, simply because of that incomprehensibility.

They love to read about it, to watch it, to hear it. Driving home as the rain hits your window, pretending you’re in a music video whilst you listen to songs about cheaters and broken homes, songs about violence; it’s cathartic. Marvin’s Room makes your tears feel hotter, but you listen to it on repeat and God knows why. 

I have a hunch.

Misery loves company, and nobody wants to know they’re the only one suffering. Maybe they want to know their feelings are valid and shared. Maybe they desperately want to see how much worse it could be. Maybe they like the idea of other people suffering because the feeling of bitterness is perversely satisfying. We like pain and we like to know that we aren’t the only ones in it. We all exist somewhere on this spectrum of sadomasochism.

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2020.

 

 

The cheers, the whistling, the joyful jostling consumed the room as the clock struck midnight and we were pushed, suddenly and violently, into 2020.

People were hugging, kissing, drunkenly singing Auld Lang Syne, slurring ‘happy new year’ into the phone, to their families miles away. Or just down the road, having a quiet one. We made our annual vows to make this year better, messier, louder, than the one that had just passed us by. In a blink. 

We vowed to live our lives to the fullest, to travel the world, to quit our jobs, to cut people off, to make more money, to find love, to achieve things we hadn’t achieved over the last 365 days. We vowed… that this would be the year. Women in bathrooms telling each other they were too beautiful to let that man into 2020; leave him behind, you’re stunning, he doesn’t deserve you. Take my number, we should all go out one night. 

The atmosphere was all joy; vodka, rum and whiskey sending sentiments sky high.

By the end of the night, strangers were sitting knee-to-knee, having wide-eyed conversations as they took shots together. Tequila, to melt away old memories and make space for new ones. The room softened and lines blurred.

2020 will be our year.

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