Sunday, December 30, 2012

I think I miss you.
And this is not a good thing.
And this is not an honest thing.
This is not a thing that leaves me lying peacefully in my bed, while she sleeps beside me, our joined hands clasped tight, and our joined breath condensing on the ceiling to fall in droplets on our faces when the air cools.
This is not a thing that lets me kiss her with open lips.
This is a thing that fills me with bitter taste.
And makes me hope, that this  is just the result of premenstrual syndrome.
A particularly bad bout.
And makes me hope,
that this is not a true thing.
This is a thing that ruins my grammar, ruins my peace less mind.

Friday, December 28, 2012

We walked around the gravel lots, hand in hand, peering through the windows of dispossessed houses.
It was dusk. We passed signs that said HAZARD CONSTRUCTION AUTHORIZED PERSONAL and you helped me up into the doorway. The floor was split in two, we stepped carefully.
Skeleton walls and gutted out rooms, I was a little bit frightened.
Even though it was just a house. Less filled with ghosts than piles of plywood and abandoned paint tins.

They like to say that we are post feminist.
That men and women are equal, that we have nothing to fear anymore.
Nothing to really be angry about.
And I can never find the words to disagree.
People like that, who like to make clever sounding, dismissive statements, always want the right words.
As if a lapse of grammar, or an inability to cite sources can render an opinion null and void.
How can I say to people like these, people who care more for glib epigrams than real emotion, that now, when I hear about a rape-
I used to feel sick and horrified and angry and hot and cold all over-
But now, I feel sick and angry, and grateful.
That it has never happened to me.
And then I feel guilty.
And then I feel apprehensive, because maybe it just hasn't happened yet
So you can tell me I'm wrong, that I don't order my arguments coherently.
You can tell me that "null and void" is cliched, and ask me if I even comprehend what it means.
But you can't tell me that I'm safe, to walk alone at night.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Panic

When I am having an anxiety attack, I walk as if I am drunk.
I see things, and then I don't. Until I decide that I didn't see them after all and step forwards.
And then bam! There they are, directly in my path.
Today I stumbled out in front of a blue jeep.
They swerved but didn't beep. I wouldn't have blamed them if they'd blasted their car horn. Or stopped the car to shout.
I caught sight of the drivers face for a moment.
She looked confused, and then concerned, and then disgusted.
I could hear her in my head "That young lady, with her holey jeans and her clumping boots and her raggedy cardigan. Gone. And it's not even noon. Probably drugs. This used to be a nice neighborhood."
No ma'am, I mean yes ma'am I am, on drugs. But this kind, not that kind. And I'm not drunk, I don't even really drink. It's my body, it's my body, it's my body, it's my body, it's my body, it's my body-
And oh shit, I'm stuck. If you have to do that, repeat something constructive-
I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay-
My mind I can quiet, mute with some effort, my body is a different story.
Still stumbling, I think I might fall soon. I hope I don't fall.
And now. Electric shocks running from my chest to my middle finger.
I'm a live wire. I could believe, in this moment, that if I reached out and pushed up a palm, a building across the street would collapse. Under a beam of pure energy.
Or if I pointed my finger. Like that Roald Dahl story.
Or I could believe that I was about to succumb to a fit.
I don't have epilepsy. They tested me when I was small.
It's just my body. It's just my mind.
I'm okay.
I hope I don't fall

Friday, August 24, 2012

I am thinking tonight, as I often think, that it would be much nicer to be a cat.
I could lead a happy life as one of those small hedonistic creatures.
I would refer to myself in speech as "The Cat".
Example; "You are sitting in The Cat's chair, kindly remove yourself."

Monday, August 06, 2012

Miss Scarlett in the kitchen, with the candlestick I think.
Because yellow wax had settled in mysterious splotches, in far flung places.
And blood that should have by rights belonged in Colonel Mustard's head was pooled by the fridge.
And in the sink. And on the step.
It had congealed by morning, and when I stepped in it, heaving my everything-I-own-suitcase through the doorway, it coated my sole thickly.
I tried not to think about it as I balanced over the bath, one foot in, one foot out.
And now I need to find a flat.
Oh the melodrama.
And oh the conceit of this convoluted conceit.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's pretty strange being a grown up. Not so much the rent and the bills and the putting myself to bed by a reasonable time, I've been doing those things for a while now.
I can navigate a supermarket and rarely miss a bus. Not more than twice a week. I planted a herb garden in pots on the porch and it isn't dead yet.
My knickers are on a makeshift line above the heater. They look rather festive, like bunting, in red and white and fuchsia, sea green and orange.
But I'm in a relationship with a real live woman. Not a girl.
And she says that I am an intelligent, beautiful woman. I think I feel like a girl.
I say "when I grow up I want to be..." and she says "why do you say it like that? As if you're not?"
Sometimes she says "I'm sorry. I forget you're 23."
Sometimes I say "I'm only 23!"
We make plans, saying "One Day We Should", even "In A Couple Of Years We Could." And we're starting to move past the point where one of us rushes to fill the gap with "I-mean-if-we're-still-you-know...we."
I find the magnitude of these plans overwhelming, often.
I circle them warily, sizing them up. Will you fit? Will I fit? Should I build my life around this?
We argued the other day over where we would get married, if we decided to In A Couple Of Years.
I said "I'm not going to get married at the bloody Club." She said "We can't have it in the garden. What if it rains?"
I thought, we will have it in the garden, you just don't know it yet. And we will make paper lanterns to hang in the tree branches.
I think I want to learn to knit. A small goal, to slip in my pocket.

I don't mean to make it sound like we are all seriousness and settled.
We drove to the beach the other night. She had towels in the back seat.
We stripped naked and left our clothes in the sand. And screamed as the water hit our bodies.
Mid-night. Mid-winter.
I've always wanted to do that.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fear

I'm sleeping in a junk yard and breathing in mold.
The crazy hits and then it hits again.
 I want to be in free fall. Falling free.
Gravity's got a hold, pulling me closer than most. Affectionate embrace, clamped to the ground. I haven't seen the sun in days. Haven't tasted in days. Haven't slept in days. No wait, that's all I do in days. Haven't slept in nights. There are caves in this bed, there's a world in this bed, I could live a lifetime in this bed. If I get up in the dark there's no one around. Haven't spoken in days. Haven't changed my clothes in days, they are growing close up to my skin, like these sheets, close to my body. Welcome to my lair, welcome to my animal home, sit your bones in that corner, burrow down in that corner, hide your heart in that corner. Sit with me, sit, still, still, stiller.
There is more life growing in that bowl, than I hold in my body.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hard

Getting to the point where it's hard again. And it's all hard. The not being there, the being there and feeling like I've come home, the thought of never coming home again.
It's scary, when the continuation of "things that are good" relies on someone else.
When you could walk through the door one day and find that they've had it, they're tired, they're bored, you're too much work, too much effort.
Of course my life as a single person was still good, and would be again. A myriad of things belong to just me.
It's just scary.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Excerpt From A Much Neglected Journal

Having one of those maybe I've been talking out loud all day, days. Instead of thinking.
I do hope not. Because otherwise, when I was running late this morning I told the old dear who stopped to wish the bus driver a Very Happy Easter, to "get the fuck off the bus so we can move already'.
(I told Jude about this, she seemed shocked. Probably it's not always best to let our loved ones in on the inner working of our minds.)
The back of the-girl-in-front-of-me's head is perfect.
She has the hair I wish I had. Close cropped curls bob.
But it's been two hours now. And I think I can see the grease, seeping through from her scalp.
Close cropped curls getting heavier and darker. Stiff.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Untitled

Today I miss my girlfriend and my kitty, and my goodness I'm tired.
I had the strangest, most unsettling dreams last night. I won't tell you about them because other people's dreams are never very interesting "and then all of a sudden I wasn't in space, but I was still wearing my space suit.." etc. But they were intermingled with strains of Bon Iver. I thought this was odd. But it turns out my laptop was just on and singing to itself.
Bus trips leave me exhausted. Two per week are too much. But two weeks away from home feels so long.
I get lonely. And low.
I went for a walk tonight and thought about how beautiful this city is in the rain. The streetlights smudge into the night, and the light spills across the wet cement and bounces back to illuminate, just everything.
This was meant to be the most exciting thing, moving back to the city that's always felt like home.
It's vibrant, and busy, and unique.
I took some photos the other day to remind myself, but I've lost my phone, so that doesn't really help much.
I know that if I let it, this environment will stretch me and fill me up. It will help me to become the person I think I want to be.
I think. But some days, some hours, today, this minute, all I want to be is... is--
Is a someone with a blanket, and a purring white cat, reading in bed while my love sleeps beside me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Little, A Letter To My Fourteen Year Old Self.

Little One,
 (I know you don't think you're little, in any sense, but you are oh so small and fragile),
I know you're not happy right now. That's OK, things are bad. In lots of ways.
You're looking in the mirror, and you don't like what you see. Your body's changing, it's soft in all the wrong places, it jiggles when you move. Disgusting- you think.
Your face is puffy. Your skin's too red. In the winter you get facial eczema. Redder. Flaky. Sore.
Your hair is limp, and that henna experiment went badly wrong.
Your eyes are too close together, your nose dominates your face, someone told you once that you have thin lips. You're short. Your teeth are crooked.
You try so hard but you're never dressed right.
And what's worse- you think you're forgettable. You think that if you just up and vanished, not one person would notice. You think that if people see you at all, they probably don't like you.

If you talked about any of this (and to who?) it would become realer than real.
So you keep quiet.
You like the way it feels when you don't eat. Like your body's floating.
Virtuous.
You like the attention you get when you pick at your dinner.
You like how easily the lie slips from your lips "not hungry". It's powerful, keeping this thing for yourself.

You don't like the way it feels when you give in, and eat a family sized bag of chips.
Eating and panicking and on the verge of tears.
 In your room. In the dark. Secret.
You tell yourself, that because you're not thin, and you don't throw up, you don't have a problem.

Here are the things, you and I, we, know now:
- We were beautiful then. We are beautiful now, even on the days we don't feel it.
- Curves are awesome. They're sexy as all hell.
- Food is good. You're a great cook. Few things give you as much pleasure as putting together a meal and sitting down to eat it.
- Food is also necessary. Without it, your body won't work.
- It's not about how much you weigh. It's about how you feel.
- There are people who love you. So much.
- There are people who's hearts would break if they read this. They'd probably be pretty pissed off as well, but again, because they loved, and continue to love you.
- 8 years from now, you will not only be able to buy an ice cream without feeling hot and cold all over, and wanting to die- you'll walk through the center of the CBD, past skinny girls in suits and yummy mummies out for their mid-day-pushing-double-strollers-not-even-out-of-breath-what-baby-body-run. You'll stroll though the city center eating it.
AND YOU WON'T GIVE A DAMN.
It'll taste like fresh raspberries, and cream, and pride.




Monday, March 26, 2012

About Me Now.

I am in a new home! Everything is changing.
But it's all pretty good.
I think this is what I would write in "about me" if I felt like changing it-

My name is Bethany but that's too biblical for my liking. So I'm a Beth.
I have a cat named Molly and a human named Jude.
 I love them both equally, in different ways. But Molly appeared first.
I'm 22 at the moment, but I seem to grow quickly.
During the week I live in Newtown, Wellington, in a big beautiful room with wooden floors and a skylight. I spend most of my time at uni or the library. I grow herbs on my windowsill. I walk fast, because everyone walks fast here. I sit in cafes and worry about the scruffiness of my shoes.
At the end of the week I go home to an undisclosed rural location. I'm greeted at the door of an 19th century cottage, by a very big dog who tries to lick my skin off. More casually by our cats, they like to pretend that they hadn't really noticed my absence, "Oh, you, did you go somewhere?".
And I'm wrapped up by a woman who despite my insanities, inconsistencies, and a propensity to use up all the hot water, still seems to love me.
I am suddenly a We.
We spend Friday nights at "The Club". Meat raffles and beer and sensible clothing.
I'm learning to play pool.
Sometimes I sink a ball, it's very exciting.



Tuesday, March 06, 2012

First Day.
Wellington. Observing this city I've called my home and will again.
The waterfront is crowded, warm, bustling. Filled with people skiving off work, stretching their lunch hour to the limit.
People watching.
There is a woman. She calls loudly to an acquaintance, too loudly.
She is walking backwards now. Tilting her head up to the sky, stretching her arms back.
Performing. For who?
For her friend? He isn't watching.
An audience of strangers, filled with their own concerns?
Someone she loved once, briefly?
In moments like these she half-thinks he might pass by. And he must see how good she is, how alive she is without him.
She acts exuberance well. I wonder if she knows that she is acting at all.

There is a man sitting next to me. Close enough to see what I am writing but not read it.
Small spidery marks.
He sat down quite close to me, and pulled out a book.
I don't know that I could enjoy a book, so close to stranger.
In a minute I will get up and head for the concrete steps that I like, close to the water.

A man came to me once there. He said that it was getting late, that it would begin to be dark soon.
He said that I should go home and keep safe.
He said that he had 12 pretty daughters like me at home.
He said that once he was chased by a seagull.
He said that God talks to him, but the world thinks he's crazy.
He said, who needs a belt anyway, when you've got a bit of rope.
I thanked him and finished writing a letter that I would take home and forget to send.
Until it was too late, and had lost any meaning it had in the first place.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Something Old


Last night I felt as if I would implode.
 I wanted to go over to the person who knew me when my edges were still visible, back when we didn't mind getting roughed up. I wanted to scream and I wanted to cry and I wanted to ask if she recognised me, if she knew what had happened.
I wanted to say I've changed, and I don't know if I Iike it.
She used to call me a feisty little bitch, and we were so, so young and tough, and scrappy. We started fights and compared bruises. And wore our blood like trophies.
I thought I was already broken and she'd sit with me while I cried.
 And it's not like I think those were the best days of my life or anything. It was all a long time ago, and we were children, even if we didn't know it.
But I wondered if she recognised me, in this body.
With the soft curves and long hair and red wine lips. Packed into a dress and pretty little shoes. Quiet voice and restrained movements. Sweet and bland and light.
I miss my bones.
I'm still obnoxious on the inside, I long to say the wrong things and watch the shock register in peoples' faces as they struggle to formulate a response.
But I've learned to make small talk and ask about their families instead.
If you push me I'll still bite. Except for when I don't.
Except for when it feels like a punch thrown in my direction would hit and just keep going,
sinking into soft folds.
Like I wouldn't even feel it.
I find myself predictable and unfamiliar by turns. I have to get out of this town, or this head.
I can't tell anymore.
And I can't tell if it matters.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Other Night

We played knuckle bones with a fistful of paper stars.
I thought about my child-mother playing them with the bones of a sheep.
Amielia played them with her own wisdom teeth.
I had metal heavy ones.
I tossed them and snatched them from the air until my own knuckles bruised, and my fingers swelled.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012