Thursday, February 8, 2018

Egg Layer

I had the dream childhood; just hard enough that people still seem to like me now I'm an adult, but so easy that I never would have believed how much effort went into keeping my days breezy.

I grew up in the middle of Somerset; fields to the side and back of the house and estate of cycleable roads and playwithable children to the left. Pubs that could be worked in come my teenage years and plenty of villagers to nod at whilst walking the dog.

Nodding took on several meanings as I progressed through childhood... in the early days the nod meant "Yeah, you're damn straight I have a dog" then it progressed through several different incarnations of dog-nods from "Yeah, I can't believe my lazy ass parents make ME, a child, a prodigy waste my time of walking this furry shit-machine either" to "I'll nod at you but you really need to get a life, you're friends of my parents don't act like you know me" to finally "This nod is going to really mean something to you when I've gone away to University and become a famous actress."

I was always above my station.

Nowadays when I go back there is no dog left to walk, Caspar our golden retriever ate one sock too many (true story: you always knew which shits were his up the field because they'd have one of your best socks curled through it) and bit it about a decade ago. Now when I pop back the only option is to maybe walk mum; easier in that I rarely have to port a bag of her offerings around the block, harder because she has opinions on more than lamp posts and other dogs. If I ever have to manage a nod to someone on one of these walks you can be sure my inner monologue is "How are you still alive?! I left YEARS ago..."

The highlight of my childhood memories are the holidays... I am one of four children and every year come redundancy or high water we would be loaded into a car, top box bursting and tent at various stages of decomposition and carted off to some form of escape.

As I understand it, my early years were dominated by trips to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean but then my gluttonous parents decided that two angels were not enough and they bred two more... significantly reducing the luxury of our trips but greatly increasing the chances for excitement. Not that I really remember the beaches of St Lucia or the bays of Turkey... the one thing I can recall is having to have my hair braided at kids club and being utterly condescending about the ridiculous of the whole affair.

Looking back now as the wannabe liberal, left loving person I've attempted to become I'd like to try and claim that my reticence for corn rows was based on a desire to not culturally appropriate and not to use someone else's culture as my whimsical fashion statement. In reality, I think it just fucking hurt and I was annoyed that my sister had already cried off it and so I was stuck in the chair to save my mum's blushes at having two awfully behaved daughters.

Our family holidays soon gravitated to boats; a life long passion of my father's and something we all learned to yearn for. We would spend a week on a little watery caravan pottering up and down various rivers and canals in France - pulling in to small villages just in time for them to shut for whichever local holiday that day was (in reality I think they just enjoyed pissing off nob-head tourists by closing the shutters whenever someone with a guide book strolled into town) and begging my Dad to let us steer.

About three times a day Dad would need a beer or a wee and so the steering of the boat would be left to one of us. Whichever one it was would sit in the drivers seat looking piously at the others and pitying their total lack of competence. That was until the nose of the boat gently edged into the river bank and the cold sweat would appear instantly right the way down the back. Dad would reappear with a beer in one hand (regardless of whether he'd gone for a pee or a beer) and a small cigar in the other and try to coax us back into a straight lane with some encouragement, guidance and passive aggressive comments on our ineptitude at boat driving. One can only assume that by 8 he was Nelson.

Once the driver child in question was safely in tears and despondent at the idea of driving they would release the wheel back to Dad and he could resume his holiday. As a child I remember worrying that holidays were not fun for Dad; he just had to sit there steering the boat drinking beer and no one was allowed to talk to him much in case he couldn't concentrate. The man is a genius.

Last year we all went on holiday again. Unfortunately we were missing one sister, who has, one can only assume spurred on by the popularity of Game of Thrones, gone to live in the wild. They claim to have a house and cars and roads and things but I have looked on a map as to the location of their village in the Scottish Highlands and I refuse to comprehend how late night food deliveries and other such essentials arrive.

Since childhood we have now gained husbands and the next generation... they were all loaded in too. Minus my husband because he was working and my next generation because they do not exist. I needed to rewind the clock; I needed to feel that the world I used to know still exists somewhere hidden under a layer of decisions I now have to make and consequences of decisions I didn't make well enough. I thought if brie could still taste the same when eaten with trembling, exhausted post-swimming pool fingers, and air beds still went down in the night and pine needles still got everywhere despite your best attempts to brush your feet off before you went in the tent then... then what? I don't know. Then I was still living in the same world; it had all happened, and I could still be happy.

I bought an inflatable crocodile and orca on eBay, I got myself a camping chair and I booked a ferry and a campsite that looked like the past. My past. Off we went... I was loaded into the back of my sister's car with her two children... two little boys who were utterly furious with me for not being my husband but delighted because I have an inferiority complex and was therefore trying to make them love me by outshining my husband in the fun stakes. I failed but they let me try.

We put up a tent in the crushing rain, I argued with my mother, she argued back, we played cards into the bug filled night and we searched for gluten free food for my sister amongst the very few French words we could string together.

"Sans... what the fuck is gluten? Gluteene? Sans Glootin? Sans *mimes stomach ache*?"

Day after day of this holiday kept happening and I was having two different times; a time that was magical; a time that I knew I would always look back on fondly. Watching my one nephew spend the day wearing ear defenders and playing chess; refusing to come swimming or join in anything because he's 8 that 8 year olds are weird. Watching my other nephew come flying out of a tent shouting and wetting himself because he was weirded out by this prospect of predicting your pee in time to get to the toilet block. 14 is no age to go camping for the first time. I'm just kidding; he's 5.

The other time I was having was... hollow though. This wasn't right, was it? Sure - all the components of my childhood memories were there but I was different. I felt panicked and frightened all the time that I wasn't doing it right; I wasn't making the memories properly. I was shit now. Am I shit now? Has France and inflatables and everything stayed the same and it's me that's wrong? That's a route I'm scared to explore for long.

And then one evening, I found the clearing in the wood where the two paths converged. The nephews were grumpy and my brother was drunk and my sister and her husband were cross.

"Let's play 1, 2, 3, and in."

I think it was my idea but I'm sure family legend stated that we by now all think it was our own idea.

"What's 1, 2, 3 and in?" My brother the IDIOT asks.

"You know," I said, "Like hide and seek but you have to get back to the base and tag yourself in..."

"Oh!" He says, "You mean 40/40 in?"

My brother is 10 years younger than me and, it turns out, generations of children (much like regional herds of cattle) have slight variations to the way they speak. The very same game will have a million different names and variations as it spawns across years and counties.

We played. First we played on the empty plot by our tent... each running and chasing and hiding and laughing. It began to entertain the nephews; us playing a 1, 2, 3 and In Lite in order to patronise and occupy them but it soon turned into an all out war between the adults that delighted the children even more than the game set up to pander to them.

Footwear was exchanged for items with a more competitive grip on the foot and pretty soon we were all in agreement that we'd "completed" the game in this area of the campsite and a further challenge was required. We were off to the park.

There we were; four adults ages 21- 34 slamming round a childrens park with a 5 and an 8 year old losing their minds over what appeared to be happening.

"I'm not sure we should be doing this" says my wonderfully socially conscious brother in law, "it might be offputting for actual children who want to play here? The park is meant for them."

I looked over at the line of curious looking french children who were peering out from the edge of the park. They looked back at me. Feeling more self-conscious than I've ever felt before, conscious of being too old to be doing this in every possible sense of the phrase; I waved.

"Vous joue avec... us?" My half-baked sign language and I asked. The children looked to their leader; the older girl who looked like she'll be taller and more competent than me but July this year. She looked at them and let out a stream of the language I had so viciously mocked.

"We would love to; thank you."

And with that we had 5 little extras added to our game. No rules needed explaining; they'd been watching. They got it. "Un, deux, trois et ici" (None of us could for the life of us remember "in") had begun.

I felt not shit.

"Tell them off for egg laying!" My brother shouts, in response to the smallest French girl hanging around the base just waiting for us to peak out.

"Oh piss off, what the hell is "egg layer" in French?" I shout back.

"Oeuf! Oeuf is egg!" says my triumphant sister sprinting towards the bench that counts for the "maison".

"Couche d'oeuf! Couche d'oeuf! Pas de couche d'oeuf!" is our best approximation and we launch it at the baffled children who continue to giggle and run around with these laughing adults and their two little boys.

I felt really not shit.

By the time the light faded and the French parents began ambling across to find out where their children were and take them home to their first night of sleep with their own new family holiday memories in, we had 14 French children whisked in to our game.

I lay down on my combination of air bed and the French countryside that counted for mine and felt really, really not shit. I was sun burnt and tired; full of paella and a weird basil cheese we'd paid too much money for at a market. I'd played in a park with my brother and sister and some random French children we couldn't speak to but had played a game with; it was just like the past. The relief at still being someone other people want to play with... my god it was like a shower after sunshine or a kiss on the top of the head. The relief that, as a team; we still got it. I cried for the best reasons that night.

The next day I nod to lots of people on the campsite as I walk a furiously hopping 5 pee filled five year old to the toilets, "Yeah, that's right; I still got it. Probably still can't drive a boat but me and my sister are the ones your kids want to play with".

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cheers Iokasti

I'm having a glass of wine to celebrate... a glass of wine from a bottle I was given on holiday in Crete nearly two years ago from the loveliest restaurant owner I have ever met. We do that thing that people with no money do with wine; we put it in the cupboard and save it for a special occasion and then spend years assuming that nothing that happens to us is special enough to deserve that wine. So the bottles accrue and suddenly we have all these bottles sitting there; waiting for our lives to get good enough to drink them.

I certainly didn't think I'd be drinking this bottle on a Wednesday in January whilst building my dream house with my husband on Sims. A project that's now in its 12th hour and really does answer the question of what childless couples do when they've run out of sex to have. I have to say though, this house is smashing. It's really cool. I'll DM you some photos if you're interested.

We didn't open this wine to celebrate the house... we'll get a Sim bottle for that. Feels appropriate. We're celebrating that today, I finally finished my course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and am released from Wednesday sessions until further notice. This bottle of wine feels appropriate because without a glimmer of exaggeration that holiday in Crete is the last time I remember feeling like little old rock solid me before everything broke.

When I last wrote about being put on medication and starting therapy a lot of people got in touch to say it was helpful and I liked that; I don't really like publicly grieving as it's not useful to me but publicly sharing information I do enjoy. This, by the way, is in no one to put down the experience of publicly sharing pain for other people; fuck no. Do what you have to do by all means and if anyone has an issue with you, wonder why it's easier for them to vocalise their complaint than scroll past and get on with their lives.

I debriefed with my CBT therapist today and we looked at the difference between the crash and now. It was really quite astounding. I had always previously downplayed my problems and my struggles for the big reason; I am not destructive. Other people with issues like mine turned to alcohol or other things and addictions to get themselves through and their lives suffered as a result. I am not like that; I'm not a particularly addictive personality. Obsessive; yes. But not addictive. So, in the maelstrom of everything going on in my head my life was continuing as normal and I really did just get on with everything. I was able to tell myself things couldn't be that bad because I wasn't losing work due to my drunkenness, I wasn't cheating on my husband to get a buzz, I wasn't anything; I was just broken.

On this side of the therapy I am able to see that those destructive behaviours are not depression or anxiety; they are symptoms that one may or may not have and the fact that I didn't have them did not make me faking in any way. If you feel similar; it's ok to be broken but not breaking anything.

The other thing masking a problem was stand-up comedy... somewhere along the line my life had boiled down to pretty much nothing except the pursuit of becoming a comedian. I had no hobbies, no interests, no pets, no children, and a fear of putting anything in my diary that wasn't comedy in case comedy came up. I would cancel any social plans for work and only travel to see friends around the country if I already had something in the area.

This level of dedication is possibly necessary to make it in comedy, but it doesn't make for a healthy human being. The difficulty is, a career in comedy is so varied and lively looking from the outside that it masks the unhealthy nature of being obsessed with your job. If I had been in an office and disappearing in to the office at 8am, coming out at 10pm, answering phone calls during dinner, leaving social events to deal with clients, not booking holidays in case work came in then it would have been easier to see the problem. Comedy masks that by looking fun. It's not even a case of working myself too hard, because let's face it; I'm hardly on Junior Doctor levels of exhaustion. It was about not being able to see that I had systematically removed everything except comedy from my life.

Even if you like your job, like I do (I love it) for me, having one thing be everything can't be right for a healthy mind, can it? I have had to comb through my time and try out some hobbies to see if I like them; nothing with targets or challenges or anything like that. Just out and out hobbies.

When I have finished this bottle of wine, I'm going to book a holiday with my husband to go somewhere and get given another one. I'm going to get a dog this year and look at houses and go horse riding and book tickets to things on a Saturday night and so fucking what if I'm offered a gig; I have plans. Plans to build the best goddamn house the Sims has ever been seen. They'll name Sims 5 after me. Sims 5: Lexxpansion Pack. Nailed it. Plans to play with the Magic: The Gathering cards I got for Christmas... sure, it sounds like most of my hobbies were plucked from the mind of a 15 year old, but THAT WAS THE LAST TIME I HAD HOBBIES so it's all I know ok? No judgement thanks.

I have a lot more to say on the subject of anxiety and depression and I'm going to keep writing it down here. Hopefully in a way that is fun in places. If it is useful or just interesting then I'm very glad of it and please feel free to point it or me in the direction of anyone else it might be useful to. Here is a link to my experience with anti-depressants in case you know someone who might find this anecdotal information helpful, or it's good for you:

I am also currently putting together a new solo stand-up show that touches on these experiences in a definitely funny way and if you're interested in seeing it, head to my website for details:


Saturday, January 6, 2018


Do you know what the trouble with having a load of New Year Resolutions is? You realise exactly why you haven't been doing all of them forever - they're difficult and take some effort. Who wants to put effort in during January?

January diets are a myth; I'm totally convinced of that. No one has a clean cut off with the leftover chocolate from Christmas, do they? January is for finishing that guilt free because you have to or it's wasteful and mumbles something about rainforest or something, right?

I have got round the misery of a January health kick by actually starting it in December so that I don't feel like such a New Year twat. I saw a personal trainer once on the 20th December and then ate my body weight in potatoes every day for a week because it didn't matter; I'd seen a personal trainer. This was perfectly because I could confidently rock up to see the personal trainer on the 2nd January without feeling self-conscious that this new fad wouldn't last because I'd cleverly begun it last year. Take that, all you judgey looking dog walkers in the Brighton area who looked sceptical at my leggings. The only slight snag in this plan was arriving at the park only to have the personal trainer look at me with her head on one side wondering why the woman she had trained in December had managed to triple in size since learning what a squat was.

Hopefully, what I've managed to do there, though, is increase her passion for the job by showing her what a difficult task some people can be. I'm not sure she's ever trained anyone with burpee tourettes before but I think constantly being told where she can fuck to every time she politely asks for "3 more" of anything is going to really mould her into a better, more patient person.

As I'm still wading through Hotel Chocolat's back catalogue in order to get to my sofa, I thought when I visited the cinema this week I would try and avoid wasting a literal £20 on a box of popcorn. "I'll take my own snacks!" said 2018 me and popped a bag of hula hoops and an apple into my handbag.

The reason, I now know, that cinemas don't sell you apples in the foyer is twofold:

1. Apples do not provide the obligatory floor stick necessary to make a cinema feel like a cinema.
If someone spills popcorn on the floor it is oddly nostalgic; it's light and fluffy and doesn't get in anyone's way. Unloading a bushel of apples into the row in front causes an issue; apples are much harder than popcorn, they're bigger and they ferment. All in all, it's a ticking time bomb waiting to get the kids club drunk at 10am on a Saturday morning. There's also nowhere handy to put the core once you are finished... for some reason every single seat is furnished with a cup holder, but not even one of them has a core holder for the health conscious film lover. The floor seemed inappropriate for slippage reasons, but I'd not eaten the hula hoops yet so I didn't have a bag to put it in.

2. It is VERY hard to chew an apple in time to songs and dialogue you have not previously seen or heard before in order to not disturb other cinema-goers with the boulder you have decided to eat next to them.

I would have needed precisely two more weeks in a rehearsal room with Zac, Hugh and Zendaya in order to be able to not annoy each and every person sitting within 10 seats of me.

Some combination of apple and tooth provides the amplification of a top of the range Bose. Previously undiscovered levels of volume are exposed to the world when an apple meets a set of gnashers.

All in all, I'm not feeling apples as a cinema snack for the future. Some places I think apples are very appropriate as a snack:

1. A concert largely consisting of white noise.
2. The iPad shop.
3. When being attacked by a horde of doctors you need to keep at bay for a day.

In a week of trying to stick to a few new ideas to mould my life a little, I feel like apart from the apple hiccup* I have not done too badly... exercise has been done, hobbies have been sought, disposable bottles and cups have not been purchased. It is a little disheartening to have got the 6th of January and not been sent any form of medal or light financial incentive but, I suppose it's best not to rub it in the faces of people who haven't seen a miraculous turnaround like me. Who amongst you can honestly say that you've gone so far as to sweat in a park for 40 minutes AND choke on an apple this week?

Quite honestly by the end of next week I fully anticipate looking exactly like Jameela Jamila and rolling my eyes every time poor Meghan Markle is asked how she intends to be more like Laura Lexx in future. All the best women alliterate, don't you know.

*and again, I apologise profusely to the man who got home from The Greatest Showman in Brighton Odeon on Tuesday to find apple on the back of his neck. I hiccupped and the rest is obvious. I'm sorry.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The 365 After You

Well, 2017… I’m going to have to break up with you. I tell you what - I’ll give you about two weeks of gardening leave to sit about, pretending you’re still a year while we assume you’re done and get cosy with our families.

I’m sorry it’s ended this way, and it’s not that I won’t look back at you with a few fond memories… we went to Rome together, we went to France, we got into Dungeons and Dragons. There’s some cool stuff that I won’t need to burn after we say goodbye.

That we’re ending on such bad terms is, I suppose, in large part my fault. When we got together I was just coming off the back of a long term thing with 2016 and I didn’t give myself time to recover before I launched myself into you.

2016 was hard on me: I can’t even begin to describe how deeply depressed I got being with 2016.  We were not a good mix… 2016 brought out the worst in my depression but at least it was also the bottom and I bounced off it into help.

But hey, it’s not cool to talk about your exes, is it? Not in a break up letter. Sorry babe.

I thought, when I met you, my shiny little new year, that perhaps things would be on the up. You know, that’s how stories go isn’t it? The baddy (2016) kidnaps the princess and then the dashing Prince (2017) arrives just in the nick of time, as the clock strikes midnight and here we are… in a new once upon a time.

Annoyingly though, I don’t think we’re in a Grimm love story, my darling. I think we might we the product of one of these dirgey new writers that has to spin everything into nine different instalments instead of wrapping it up between two, not to be judged, covers.

Our death sentence, if you think about it, is so simple… we wanted different things, didn’t we?

I suppose, what it boils down to, 2017, is that I wanted you to have my babies and you have staunchly refused every step of the way. You wanted to focus on your career and I am SO proud of you for doing that - the progress you made for feminism with the Silence Breakers - my god I am in awe of you for being the year that did. For that, you will always have my heart.

I thought we were ready us two… you are two thousand and seventeen, I am thirty one… what better time in our lives to get on with it? I thought it was the right time for a child.

For a while, I thought maybe it was the commitment you weren’t into… perhaps you’re just not the children type. But then I saw you having kids with so many other people, I mean… as far as my raging hormones are telling me it’s absolutely every person in every advert ever made and every woman on the street and internet. You gave them all a baby! But not me.

So, I’m going.

I’ve heard about this new idea… it’s called 2018 and I’ve dug out its number and given it a call. It’s up for some team work, this new new year… it wants to work with me on lifting the silence around infertility and trying for a baby.

2018 is promising me something; it’s not going to be quiet and sad. I’m not going to feel ashamed. We’ve got a podcast coming out, and a show and everything else we can type and write that will help people, like me, who’ve had a bastard of a time making a family.

Our mission, me and old 2018, is to track down every incarnation of the urban legend that tells you “it’s the trying for a baby that stops you falling” and crushing it with our iron fists of fury. We’re going to find them all and say, “No one should be made to feel ashamed of wanting children so shove your cousin’s sister’s yoga teacher who tried for 3 years and then fell pregnant the second she stopped trying, shove her up your ClearBlue advert because we’re not interested.”

So, thank you for everything 2017… you’ve got a lovely side… but you’re not for me any more. I’m moving on.

Monday, September 25, 2017

I Will Never Be Clean

I wanted to buy a bar of soap this week. I’ve had this soap before and I hadn’t really thought much about buying it.

I went into Debenhams and I went over to the really bright bit where they keep all the woman dressed like dentists. The ones wearing ALL OF THE make up.

I think what’s happened there, is that the companies have designed that area to look like a surgical theatre on a space ship, and then panicked that people won’t know they’re selling make up so have asked the representatives to use a bit of absolutely everything they have.

All the make up you can fit between your hair and your neck is on those women.

And it’s terrifying, because no matter how alright you thought you looked that day you walk in to Debenhams and immediately wish you had a thousand per cent more make up on to try and keep up.

I just shuffle through, wishing there was a sharpie or a yoghurt in my bag I could use to just cover up a few more bits.

So, I get to the woman and say, “Hello, can I have some soap please?” And then, she should be like, *reaching in a drawer, getting some soap, here you go madam you can have some soap*.

But then she asked me:

“What skin type do you have?”

I had NO IDEA what the answer to that question was, so I stood there staring at her, just trying to dredge up any words for the next bit of the conversation. I was trying to think of an answer that would sound right, but really what I was thinking was, “Huh, all these years I’ve been getting cross in yoga because I can’t do the mind clearing bit, and it would have been really easy if they’d paid a cosmetics lady to stand there and ask me questions about my own face.”

She asks the questions again, thinking I’ve answered and she’s missed it somehow.

And I’m still standing there, and then, just with a sort of totally blank mind I said…

“I’ve always been white.”

Not even “I’m white.” Which would be weird enough. But I’ve said, “I’ve always BEEN white.”

As though she’s accused me of having a very rare Michael Jackson type syndrome and I’ve gone - no, no - contrary to popular beliefs I’ve always ticked White-British at job interviews.

She is smile staring at me.

You know that thing where someone is quite clearly nervous of you but they’re still smiling?

Her head’s kind of on one side… it reminded me of… when I was at at primary school there was this kid who had a bit of a problem with pooping and he’d do it weird places.

And one time my teacher found he’d taken a poop in the Sticklebricks - which is the hardest toy to clean. It’s like waterboarding a hedgehog. And she did the smile like the dentist lady.

I was so mortified. The problem is, that fear that they’re going to make you feel insecure takes over because you don’t want to lie but you also don’t want to give them any space to try and sell you something else for your obviously awful face.

Normal skin, is what I want to shout at her. It’s just skin. It’s skin skin skin skin.

She tries a better line of questioning:

“How does your skin feel at the end of the day?”

Woman - I have no idea what to say to you at this point.

That’s like asking me what oxygen tasted like yesterday; it didn’t occur to me to consider.

What does my skin feel like at the end of the day… It feels like frigging skin!

Mostly it depends what I’ve done that day… if I’ve had a shower; it’s wet. If I’m in bed; it’s comfy. If I think about anything that’s been voted on or elected in the last two years; it’s crawling.

It’s skin… I’ve never really thought about what it feels like.

My thought process has now gone so far down a rabbit hole that I’m just STANDING THERE with this poor woman.

I look like a robot shutting down. Like it’s the scene in the film where the robot realises it’s not a human after all because it can’t answer any of these questions about human feelings.

And this woman is a professional, she is trying her best… She’s throwing out all her best lines “What’s your skin regime like currently?”

And this time, I at least know what not to say, I know you’re not meant to lean in with a really honest look and say “Well, depends if I’m visibly sticky…”

Do people really have skin regimes that last longer than it takes to read the magazine article that guilted you into getting one?

Regime is not a positive word… You never hear that a country has had “regime change” and think, “Oh good for you Korea - that bodes well.”

I don’t have a skin regime. But I can’t tell her I only even started taking my make up off before bed when I bought white pillow cases and I could get out of bed and leave my face in it.

There are no right answers because whatever you say, there’ll be a reason you need to buy something else…

I tried sort of mumbling something to her about moisturising whenever I can, missing the words “be arsed” off the end of that sentence and she perks up.

But then, you can see the sales pitch coming, she says…
“And, if you don’t moisturise… how does your skin feel? Does it feel tight?”

Instinctively, I want to say “No, it’s not tight at all.” It is the one thing I wear every day that I don’t look at my reflection and wish I wasn’t filling out quite so snugly.

My skin has always had my back, quite literally, in terms of making a note of where I’m expanding and modifying production to fit the order.

But then I don’t want to get the answer wrong and give her the impression that it’s baggy…
I’ve never looked at my skin and thought, “Ooh I wish that was a bit nearer.”

My skin has always felt as far away from me as I need it to be. It’s not overly clingy, but it’s not going away for long weekends without texting.

So, I don’t want to say “Yes” and have her tell me I that I need aqua-plumpus skinus youngus pro-b formula that Davina Macall swears by.
But, I don’t want to say, “no” and then have her eyebrows… I say eyebrows, have her drawings of eyebrows, shoot up because I’ve inadvertently wandered into a shop and declared myself a Caucasian leper who desperately needs the new Jennifer Aniston range of Pro-vitamin wastus moneyus that 84% of 12 teenagers described as “inedible”.

I don’t want any of it. I just want the bar of soap I have been using. 

And I don’t want to be judged for not wanting it… I don’t want to have to pretend there’s a reason I’m not buying it today, or that I’ll think about it for another time, I want to be honest and say, “I thought I was doing bloody well buying the god damn soap in the first place and now you’re making me wish I’d just bought brown pillow cases and been done with it.”

In the end she showed me 3 bars of soap, I chose the colour I thought I recognised from the last one and she asked me to find someone else to pay.

I shat in the lipsticks on the way out.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

In White Satin

Nights are not my friend at the moment... days I can handle; days are full of friends and sunshine and ticking things off my to-do list. Nights... nights are full of rampant, animal sex followed by criminal loneliness.

Unfortunately, only the criminal loneliness is happening to me.

One of the joys of living in a building full of flats is hearing every bodily function that happens to the people in the shoebox above. In my life, I am lucky enough to live beneath not just one, not just two, but THREE student males in their early twenties. I know right?!

Just when you reach that age when you're drifting happily towards thirty-something and OK with the changes - here come three virile reminders that you used to be cool.

The music, the smoking, the shouting and the stamping I have dealt with. The flood I have dealt with. This new thing they're doing where they fuck exclusively between the hours of four and five in the morning to such an astonishingly painful sounding beat and exuberance I am not dealing with.

I don't think waking up to sex happening can ever be good - I like to be warned if it's going to happen to me, and I like to be warned if it's not happening to me so I can not be there.

I want to sit them both down and patronisingly explain why what they're doing is:
a) too fast to be as enjoyable as sex can be
b) too forceful to not be doing kidney damage
c) happening between four and five o clock in the fucking morning so pack it the fuck in until you own a house in the middle of a field you sociopaths

I lie there at night listening to them love each other and wonder why they can't be head aficionados... head is so quiet. Head is what you do between 4 and 5, isn't it? Who has the energy for a fully blown fuck after 4am?

Oh my god I am 30 years old. I am a married 30 year old moaning about the happy go lucky people upstairs enjoying their lives.

Yes, yes I am. Because you know why? It's so god damn loud and it's happening above my face.

The only saving grace of their night time adventures is that a side effect of interrupting my sleep is that they interrupt my dreams.

At least once a week I dream that my husband has left me and I can't have him back. Sometimes I am dimly aware I used to be happier and that something is missing but I don't know what it is, sometimes I think I am with him but then I realise it isn't as good as I thought it was and then I realise it's not him, sometimes it's just a regular break up story and I can't stop sending him texts I shouldn't send in case it works and I can have him back.

Last night he agreed to let me have one more date for old time's sake and dream me lived through the most bittersweet night. Real me woke up heartbroken with no reason to be; because we're still together and his fond texts telling me I'm dippy for dreaming it are blaring from the screen.

I don't know how to get rid of these dreams. No amount of reassurance or happiness in our lives gets rid of them and I hate always knowing exactly how it will feel for it to be over because I have already done the emotions. I hope I never have to know if I've got it right.

He tells me it will never happen. He tells me again and again and so often that I start to worry this is how it will happen; he will grow tired of the endless reassurances. My bullshit will engender more bullshit and I will drown in my own bullshit.

Then, on that day, when it finally happens for real, I will wander round desolately hoping the sky is about to start thundering into sky-sex to wake me and tell me this isn't real bullshit. It's just more of my bullshit.

I wonder if the fuckers upstairs feel like this about each other - so painfully wrapped up in each other that separating their personality back out even in a dream is so forcefully painful I think I might have made my husband a horcrux.

Everything hurt more in your twenties didn't it? Except hangovers. Hangovers were 45 minute affairs easily solved on the drive to MacDonalds while you laughed and talked about what you were really crying about on the front porch smoking the fattest roll up you could afford. Which was extremely thin. America by Razorlight is playing.

It doesn't sound like they kiss during their sex. I cannot fathom a human body that could co-ordinate that level of happening at someone as well as some sensitive lip action. Short sharp blasts of action followed by some silence in which she and I are both praying he's done and we can go back to being un-invaded.

Maybe it's the heat - they'll go back to a normal timetable when autumn blooms and I will sleep through the night again. That would be nice. If I have to be an emo in the dark hours I would like the dignity of doing it alone.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Dolphin Chamber

The left get accused a lot of living in an echo chamber; surrounding themselves on social media with people who agree with them. This is thrown at them as though it means they're out of touch and idiotic; preferring to feel sanctimonious instead of listening to the very real complaints and opinions of the right wing.

I consider myself pretty left wing; sort of leaning so hard on my left wing that, had I actual wings, I'd be going round in tight little circles.

The problem with the echo chamber complaint is that it ignores the very real issue for left wingers that, every time they step outside of their homes, switch off their computers or use the real world in some capacity via TV or radio - they are ejected from that echo chamber at an alarming velocity. We've had years and years of right wing government now, we have triggered article 50, one of our closest political allies has elected an incredibly right wing leader and the French seem to be on course to do the same. So, excuse me if I choose for my Twitter feed to be one of the few places I can go that doesn't cause a spontaneous nose bleed.

I have a small theory that a lot of entertainers and artists are left wing because it's easier to feel liberal about your money and about society supporting each other when you like the way you earned your money. If I spent 70 hours a week in an office, away from my loved ones slogging away for a pay cheque I'd be less inclined to want to give a proportion of that money away to people who haven't done the same. I like how I earn my money; it doesn't feel like I'm having big portions of my freedom taken away from me to get it, so I feel like it's right that some of it goes off to people without my privilege.

I like to boil society down to make it more logical in my head... if I lived in a tribe of 10 people, would I prefer to give a bit of my meat every day to someone so that, instead of hunting, they could learn what herbs and stuff would heal me if I got sick, or, would I want to wait until I was sick and then hope I had enough meat that day to persuade the person with the herb knowledge to help me out; praying that they'd had enough meat recently from other people to have been able to study. I reckon, I'd go with the first option which makes me kind of sure I'm happy with a taxation system in my tribe of more than 10. Same goes with teaching my children, putting out my fires and building my roads. Especially, as the amount of meat I get when I hunt already has the bits to give away factored in.

I firmly believe that 99% of people make their political decisions based on what they truly believe will keep them and their loved ones in houses with food and a TV. All that divides the population is the route that they believe will take them to those things. Some people believe if there is too much immigration they will lose their jobs and their homes will be in danger; so they're labelled right wing. Some people believe that without government support and intervention their houses will be controlled by shady businessmen and their wages will go down; so they're labelled left wing. At the heart of the decision, though, I don't think many people vote to hurt. They vote to keep their own safe.

My own philosophy on politics is to boil it down to something that's probably way too simplistic to be right, but it makes sense in my head... It has never been easier to be alive. It has literally never been easier to be alive; vaccinations, food production, warmth production, water transport, energy creation... it has never been easier to be alive. Therefore, whenever money is scarce and therefore services or provisions "have" to be cut for people that need them; it is a man-made scarcity.

When the economy "crashes", I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean no corn got milled and no energy got produced therefore everything had to cost more. The same vast quantities of easier life are still floating around; they're just not all still flowing in the same ways. The easy living must be with the people who are living easiest.

Meals, medicines, beds, machines and computers have all become easier and cheaper to make since the beginning of the NHS... so I fail to compute how it can be harder to run the NHS now than then. What must be happening (according to my limited head logic) is that when things get easier to make, instead of that ease being spread, that ease makes a few people richer.

I feel like I constantly see someone with a lot, telling people with a little that the reason they have a little, is people who have less.

In a way, this lie makes sense: "Hey Laura, you have a house and a TV... this guy has no house and TV. Vote for me and I'll stop this man stealing your house and TV." I don't want to lose my house and TV, maybe you'll get my vote.

But, let me just check... how many houses and TVs do you have? You have two TVs and two houses while this guy has none... and you're telling me that because it's so hard to have stuff nowadays the people with none are getting desperate? But it's literally never been easier to be alive, so... who made them desperate? Possibly the people with two of things? Now, instead of worrying the guy with none will take my house and TV to fill his void, I'm worried you'll take my house and TV so you have three and I'm the same as this guy. Maybe you won't get my vote.

In the GE in June I will vote Green; I like Lucas. She speaks sense to me and, fundamentally, I believe if environmental issues aren't moved closer to the centre of policies then all the other ones are meaningless and I want her voice loud and clear and getting bigger in politics.

I also know that, when I'm not sure and I feel under-educated in a subject, I look to experts for indication. With the EU ref I didn't know the ins and outs of the economic, geo-political or travel implications so I looked at who said what and decided that the majority of people with informed insight thought "In" and the people leading the "Out" charge were basing their big arguments on things I couldn't support, so, whatever else their motivation; I couldn't be on their holiday.

With the GE upcoming, I'm looking to doctors, the emergency services, teachers and other people who work in industries directly impacted by governmental decisions. My teacher friends are fraught, being made redundant and quitting in droves. Doctors are screaming for help with funding and other nightmares I can't begin to comprehend. Trains are a nightmare and becoming more expensive. All the people who seem to know more than me are not happy... so I will vote for change.

I don't subscribe to the view that all right-wingers are gross old selfish tweed wearers who would skin a baby rather than give money to the homeless. See my house and TV theory about all voters above. I am confused about support for the Tory party at the moment though... I don't understand how they are not being slammed for being in turmoil and chaos.

They held a referendum they didn't want, got an outcome they didn't want, a leader they didn't want who voluntarily triggered an enormous change they didn't want and has now called an election they said they didn't want. Yet, they are viewed as the stable party. It is confusing.

If you're a Conservative who didn't want a referendum and then didn't want to Leave, why would a party that served you both those things retain your loyalty? If you're a Conservative who did want to Leave, are you not angry with Cameron's refusal to see it through or May's baffling choice to not focus fully on getting us the best deal but instead spend two months fighting an unnecessary election?

I've never voted Conservative but I was shaken when Cameron stepped down; a smooth and seemingly very talented world leader leaving just after my country was put in jeopardy? It felt like a betrayal. Then, to have May sign a letter signalling a departure that was not supported by almost half the population, only to wobble the leadership again weeks later...? Even if I were a lifelong Conservative voter this feels like madness? Completely unexplained madness. Maybe that's what bites me? The way because the Conservatives are the "grown-ups" they seem to get away with the "because I said so" logic more than Labour.

It's being painted that the sensitive, conservative with a small c, choice in this election is the party who ignored all the expert advice and their own opinions to put into action a referendum they needn't have instigated, triggered leaving when they weren't ready to and didn't really have to, and then instead of leaving with full steam and energy, are throwing an election they said they wouldn't whilst facing serious legal charges from the last one... am I missing something?

I hate that we're leaving Europe; not because I hate democracy or I like a whinge or I don't believe in the strengths of my country as an individual. I hate that we're leaving Europe because I don't believe the world can get smaller. Choosing not to live within a set of rules that is best for the majority, be that county, country or continent wide, goes against every way I've been taught since rules at school were what was best for the whole school rather than just my classroom.

Each country having its own unique sense of identity and law within a framework that supported the majority seemed like sense. However, if we are leaving, and we are, I wish we could have done it with dignity and for the right reasons. I feel like that opportunity has been taken away from me.

In June I will be voting for the way I believe is the best way to get myself a house and a TV; through sustainable energy and a focus on rebalancing wealth in the country. It has literally never been easier to keep people alive, so I'll be voting for the people who aren't pretending otherwise in order to keep two of things while other people have none.