Light is the New Black

One year ago I decided to live on my own. It doesn’t sound like much, but for me it was the thing I wanted the most, the thing I feared the most, and the thing I knew would bring me closer to the person I wanted to be (on that note, your gut feeling is ALWAYS right.) I knew that I was going to live in Portsmouth for one more year while studying my master’s, and that my job paid just about enough to finally go for it. I did the maths and the overthinking and then I went house hunting across the city, with my only condition being that the place was unfurnished. After all, it had always been my dream to decorate my first house – where I had, I just knew I had, to live on my own. The first studio was awful. Tiny, smelly, cheap in every way. I was close to taking it only because it would have been mine. That’s how badly I wanted something of my own. The second place, however, was perfection. A one bedroom flat in the city centre at a price beyond reasonable became my home for the next 12 months. I put all my energy and enthusiasm into furnishing it as quickly as I could while sleeping at my best friend’s house. I must have done it all in less than a week, though. Charity shops, friends’ generosity and some savings made this flat look like everything I had ever dreamed of. And then, I moved in. And I cried. A lot.  [...]

You Call That a Knife? This Is A Knife.

You want to find more of your people, those who stand at the gates of your dreams only to break them open for you. Those who cut your lies short and ask for the real you to please stand up. Those who make your soul go, That one! Pick that one! Those who take off the veils shading pieces of you and don’t flee away. Those who make you say it, then make you think, Ignore it. But listen. Ignore it. But listen, but fucking listen, please fucking listen. They are such gold to carry and so you carry on living, because you know more of them are out there and you will find them. And you will come across more who only come to steal your sparkle again, the You were magic. You didn't know it. I figured it out pretty fast and forgot it even faster type. But there will also be the ones who come to make magic with you simply because they like it and they like you. Yes, yes they do. They see your spark’s gone but are not afraid of the darkness. "I beg your pardon," they will say, "I’ll just be here burning." "Ah, don't bother. The best parts of me aren’t even real," you will admit. "I think I’ve created this person for others to love and I’m a little too tired tonight to bring her out." And they will say, "Bullshit." [...]

I Miss, Therefore I Am

I want to believe in God, but I doubt He’d believe in me if I were to make Him up again. I’ve been staring into space for so long now and not once have I had the feeling that we may get on good terms, even if I allowed Him to exist again out of sheer desperation. It wouldn’t be like when I was little and He was bigger than the world, which, even for an imaginative child, was hard to picture. Hell no. It’d probably be more like "ok, you can come out of the bottle now, I’ve got my three wishes, you ready?" I shake my head – in disbelief, may I add – and laugh to myself, and it rattles something awake inside me. It's bittersweet to let myself feel something, no matter how small. I remain loyal to my tendency to shut down in moments of crisis. It’s just that I’m not sure this, too, shall pass. How do I manage, then? Simple. I disconnect. Thinking requires too much efficiency, and efficiency burns you out. The reality of now is merely a window I poke my head in and out of between daydreams. Memories like slow-moving tropical fish swim through my mind, some real, some slightly fictionalised by my loneliness, boredom, and need to up my bad-ass-ity here and there to better the stories. Most of them are about a man I met at the end of my life. Five months before the end, to be precise. [...]

Getting Ready to Meet the Devil

Towns at rest, people going home, intermittent patches of glitter and dark everywhere – life, dear life was happening all around her, dancing restlessly through her lashes. Head leaning against the car window, Kara felt wide awake with fear and curiosity. Houses rolled past her like a tracking shot in a film, blurring and disappearing from view the very next moment, as if reminding her not to bother because everything was difficult, and everything was also fleeting. The houses didn’t hold her interest for long. The passenger seat – the safe haven, and speed – a delicious break from the reality of the moment, were half-assing their jobs too. On the other side of the car Tomás kept giving sighs of helpless irritation, distracting her from her attempt to stay distracted. "Damn you," she mouthed silently to herself, and buried her face in her coat. He wouldn’t look at her. Driving fast without saying a word, his eyes were nothing like silence. Bright and alert, like a small animal that just realised a much bigger one is close, his mind was racing around her. Now she knew, and she wouldn’t keep quiet. [...]

How to Be Your Own Story

When you fictionalise your life you have to make up some of the words yourself – the way they taste, the way they sound in the air – and twist them until no one can tell what hell you dragged them out of, but see them for the engineering marvel they are. When they ask, you tell them you read a lot as a kid, then you let them poke at your surface thoughts to give them better clarity and fill in their doubts about the meaning. They don’t need to know how you encouraged yourself to leave the mind and step onto paper, with all your words held tightly in your arms, careful not to drop them and break the memories they were inspired from. How long you spent rearranging them, until they looked nothing like the story underneath the story. No. They don’t need to know the words are you. You must tell them you were inspired by books and talks and general knowledge, and carry on with your life as if art was merely an insignificant slice of it, and the first time you tried it you ate it whole. No big deal. [...]

The Storm Before the Calm

I feel everything, everywhere. My intensity is both a blessing and a curse. It comes with great responsibility, and a greater need for transparency. Not for the faint of heart. I love with both my hands and all of my fingers. When I hurt, I hurt in every colour, from every angle, in any lighting. Other feelings are bland, beige, tasteless. Mine grow into a thick, coarse darkness I have to keep kicking until it bleeds daylight all over again. Fiery, roaring, breath-snatching, red hot soul. Bubbles deep in your stomach and your head spinning and your heart pounding kind of soul. I feel and I feel and I feel, like I am banging at the insides of a cage. There is too much me in me. Anxiety takes away all the commas and full stops I need to make sense of myself, and all I can do is wait it out. And I wait, until a rage spread thin, like apathy, takes over. I lay down, exhausted at best, empty at worst. I still feel, but at a lower volume. I find comfort in knowing that the opposite of coherent is interesting – just enough to get back on my feet again. [...]

In Praise of Blood and Noise

He smiled; she didn’t. He fell for it, hard. How she seemed to believe her own fantasies eliminated all noise and blocked all escape routes. He knew he’d hold the image in his head for a long time after the moment had passed, like an object you already know that you love dearly and grow too fond of it to ever put it away again. "I like your stories," he said, flickering through it. She weaved words like a vivid tapestry in her stories, the kind one thinks of when it’s breakfast and they’re standing in the shower for over an hour, bar of soap in their hand, soaking in the light, wishing they could crawl inside a second skin and relive them reborn, wild-eyes, free. "Good, you’ll likely be in one," she replied, struggling up, smiling strangely. She looked like the edge of a map, the place where things are uncertain and dangerous and make little sense. Here be dragons her face read, and he wanted to be in her every town, on her every street. Alive. Alive was what she was, with her running, gushing, swirling blood, and amongst all the noises of the world. [...]