Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Happy Valentines me!

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. No sooner have I come to terms with the fact that I spent another consecutive New Year’s Eve alone than Valentine’s Day comes along to remind me that I am still single.

Usually on this “special” day I bury my head in the sand and hide out in my bedroom watching romantic comedies or napping away the day.

Sometimes I have even tried to get on with my day like usual and found myself feeling insanely jealous and lonely when I come across any happy couples out and about. Every couple I see is like a slap in the face for me on Valentine’s Day, which makes me feel like I am the only single person left in the world.

But this year is going to be different. I am no longer going to think to myself, ‘Maybe next year it will be different.’ I have been single for four and a bit years.

I decided a while back to stop counting the time that has passed since my last relationship ended. Knowing the number of years, months and weeks wouldn’t help me. The relationship seems a distance blur now. Like it happened to someone else or it was actually a dream or rather a nightmare.

I don’t anticipate my relationship status changing anytime soon and have sort of accepted that I will be a forever singleton. I have decided that I no longer wish my single status to depress me and make me feel bad about myself.

I will accept that not being in a relationship doesn’t invalidate my existence. I always felt that being in a relationship did this as it gave me the title of “girlfriend”.

On February 14th, I am going to embrace the special day and make it all about me. I am going to use the day to acknowledge the progress I have made mentally in terms of my Borderline Personality Disorder and depression over the last five months and counting.

I am going accept the fact I am moving forwards for once instead of feeling like I am stuck or going backwards most of the time.

I’m going to find ways to massage my low self-esteem and self-hatred. I feel like I am finally ready to work on myself and improving my wellbeing. Hopefully this will improve my mental health and help me to start to love myself.

I’m going to pamper myself and get my hair dyed at college. It will help me start to feel happier about my appearance.

I am going to also treat myself to lunch at Wagamamas and order my favourite dishes Katsu chicken curry and Chilli Squid. I will not allow myself to be embarrassed about the fact I am dining alone.

If I feel up to it I will flirt with the cute waiter that works there. A spot of flirting makes anyone’s day.

I’m going to buy myself a lovely colourful bunch of flowers and put them in a vase on a shelf above my TV in my room. They will make me smile days after Valentine’s has come and gone. After all most flowers are now guaranteed for a week nowadays.

I don’t recall ever getting a bunch of flowers on Valentine’s Day from any of my previous suitors. I’ve had to be a spectator of my sisters and friends getting flowers on this romantic day for so many years.

The age of Facebook makes it worse as my news feed gets overloaded by photos of friends and their partner’s grand romantic gestures.

My first proper boyfriend did, however give me a pot of frost bitten roses from a garden centre. He left on my front doorstep in the middle of the night and when I found them they were half dead because of the cold night air.

They died within a few weeks and in hindsight I think it was a sign that the relationship was doomed. The relationship slowly unravelled after Valentine’s Day and we broke up a few months later when I found out he had cheated on me with a work colleague who he later married.

I’ve been bold and brought myself a Valentine’s Day card, which was a task and a half. Most Valentine’s cards are filled with romantic sentiments and declarations of love.

The shop assistant seemed amused when I took my chosen card to the till at Paperchase and told her I was buying it for myself. But when I explained my reasoning she thought it was a lovely idea.

It might take me some time to fill the card with positive things about myself. I am good at listing friends and family’s positive qualities but find it hard to list mine.

I will also list inside the card the positives of being single and not being in a relationship. To remind me how good I have it. Like the fact I can do what I want when I want and don’t have to share my bed with anyone who might hog the duvet.

Hopefully my Valentine’s Day card will return to me after I post it off and won’t get lost. When I open it on the special day I will put it up in my room for a week. Once the week is over I will keep it safe in my journal so I can get it out when I’m experiencing dark times.

When Valentine’s Day arrives if I feel sad about being single I will fill the void with knowledge that I am loved by my friends and family. That knowledge will keep me going every other day of the year. So Valentine’s Day will not different.

A few friends have told me that I need to learn to love myself before will find love again. I am starting to believe that they are right. Over the last few months I have found myself gradually liking myself and believing in myself more. Hopefully I am on right path to reaching my goal of gaining self-love.

When I do I hope I am destined to meet a guy who loves me for who I am inside and out and would never dream of changing me.

But for now, it’s HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY TO ME!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

My niece Sophie and me

For most of the time I feel my life has been meaningless and directionless. It has lacked a sense of purpose. I often feel that I don’t make an impact and wonder why I even exist. I feel like I am constantly treading water. Waiting to see what happens next. But nothing ever does.

For the last few years I haven’t had a label attached to my name. I’ve not had a job title or been someone’s girlfriend for over four years. I’ve just been what I feel I always will be… A daughter, a sister and a friend…

However everything changed on the 23rd November 2011 when I was given a brand new role that I never really imagined I’d be good at. On this special day my sister gave birth to my niece Sophie Lily; making me an auntie for the first time ever.

A role that I’d never imagined taking to or actually being good at. I am not a maternal person. From an early age I’ve never had the desire to have any children myself. I am not the type of person to be worried about my biological clock ticking away. I think my clock biological clock is permanently on mute.

Throughout my sister’s pregnancy I was worried I wouldn’t be able to connect or interact with my niece or nephew when they were finally born because of my Borderline Personality Disorder and depression. I didn’t think I was up for the challenge of becoming an auntie.

I was convinced I would constantly let them down and not be what an auntie should be like. I had no clue about how to be an auntie as I was never really close with either of my aunties growing up.

But as soon as I first set eyes on Sophie at the hospital just hours after she was born, I instantly felt a connection with her and loved her so much. She was a part of my family; a new branch on her family tree. We would forever be connected.

I knew I wanted to be the best auntie possible. For the first time in my life I felt I was up for the challenge and felt ready to step into the unknown. Finally I had a purpose, to be the best auntie possible and not let her down.

It took me a while to feel confident about holding one so tiny as I was afraid of handling her incorrectly or making her cry by accident. She was so tiny and seemed so fragile. But when I did hold her, I loved it; watching her in my arms; making little movements and tiny snuffling sounds.

Each time I saw her I noticed subtle changes in her appearance. I looked forward to seeing how she’d grown in between visits. I loved watching her progress over the days, weeks and months; from being able to roll over, to crawling, to standing, to taking her first step to watching her confidently on her own. Once she was walking there was no stopping her. I felt so proud.

As she grow older our level of interaction increased. She started wanting to be picked up and played with. She would freely give me the best slobbery kisses and best hugs. When she started talking she couldn’t say Helen initially. So I was Auntie Helly, which always made me feel so loved when she said it.

She’s two now and even though she can say Helen, she still calls me Helly sometimes which makes me smile. She’s so independent and certainly her own person. Everything is now on her terms so when she does decide to give me a kiss or a hug it means the world to me.

When I’m struggling mentally and feel I’m surrounded by darkness, knowing I will see her at some point in the week keeps me going. Helping me hold things together and not letting my depression win. Seeing her always makes me temporarily forget whatever is weighing me down.

We even have our own little games we play together. Like ‘Where’s Sophie’ where I pretend not to be able to see her even though she’s right in front of me and start looking around the room for her. It usually ends with her wrapping her arms around my legs and screaming ‘I’m here!” We also enjoy a spot of peek-a-boo which we play in the back of my parents’ house or where we take turns hiding behind the side of her car seat.

Her unconditional love definitely turns my frown upside down. She is my natural anti-depressant. One of her cheeky smiles can send a surge of warmth and happiness through my body. I love coming home when I know my sister and niece are visiting. As soon as I open the front door I am always greeted by Sophie gleefully calling out ‘Helen!’.

In the past when I’ve been on the brink of despair, I’ve felt there’s been nothing holding me back. But since Sophie was born, I’ve felt she has anchored me, stopped me doing anything stupid that I couldn’t come back from. In a way I think she’s why I’ve made progress with my mental health over the last six months. She makes me want to keep fighting; to keep on going.

I want to keep living so I can watch her grow up and enjoy life. I want to always be a part of her life. Share all her milestones and create valuable memories with her that I will cherish forever. She makes me want to be a stronger and better.

I want her to grow up and be proud of her Auntie Helen.

Friday, 27 December 2013

My history with friendships and what I’ve learnt about them in 2013

The Oxford dictionary defines friendship as, “The emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends.”

In some ways I think I would be better off without friends. Leading a hermit life whilst being friendless. I have always found friendships tricky, like a friendship minefield. One false move and you’ve reduced your friendship into tatters. I feel like I am constantly charting a boat in uncharted waters.

In primary school I don’t think I made any proper friends and preferred to clean classrooms during lunchtime instead of leaving myself vulnerable on the school playground. Things got a lot worse in secondary school. I tried to integrate with other children and join friendship groups but I always felt like an outsider.

When other girls singled me out to be their best friend, I always wary of being flavour of the month. It never lasted. I was always cast out after the month is up and replaced by a more popular girl. In sixth form I spent two years being bullied by a group of girls.

The ring leader being the first friend I made when I got to secondary school. In the end I survived school by being a loner, which meant I was less valuable and less paranoid. My issues with friends and friendships didn’t stop when I left secondary school. It continued throughout my adult life.

A handful of friends have stuck by me. But most have disappeared into a puff of smoke or left my life leaving a trail of destruction behind them.

I feel that I have learnt a lot of valuable lessons about friendships this year, which I have changed my perspective about friendships past and present.

I have realised that it not best not to label friends with terms like close friends and best friends. Putting friends on imaginary pedestals, leads to disappointment and me being let down in spectacular fashion. 

I have in turn learnt not to put any friend before my family and more importantly myself. I must remember blood is thicker than water.

I have discovered that friendships constantly evolve as they exist between two people. A friendship is a two way street. A balancing act like two children on a see-saw.

I now acknowledge that sometimes friendships naturally run their course and I need to learn to let go. There’s no point trying to fix a flagging friendship on your own, because you’re clutching onto memories of when it was a healthy friendship. You cannot operate a friendship on your own. 

There’s no point dwelling on lost friendship as you get to keep the fond memories of times you shared together.

I have learnt the hard way that there is no point wasting my time or energy on fair weather friends who take, take, take when they need someone. But in turn disappear when things aren’t going well for me and I need extra support. Not responding to my calls or texts. This has led me to realise that I need to keep friends that have stayed by me through dark and disappearing times close to my heart.

The most important thing I have learnt is that I am actually a good, loyal, caring and trustworthy friend. When I doubt my ability as a friend I just need to reflect on my healthy existing friendships and what I bring to the friendships. After all many people have been friends with a person for 30 years and counting.

Hopefully the lessons about friendships I have learnt this year will stay with me next year. Enabling my existing friendships to stay healthy and allowing me to recognise faux friendships. More importantly I hope what I’ve learnt means I can make new friends more easily without being paranoid of people’s ulterior motives.

When it comes down to friendships, I think my future is bright.

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Untitled Novel: Chapter 1

“So this is it,” Avery whispered to herself as she watched the taxi disappear up the unfamiliar road. Part of her was hoping the taxi would come back and return her to the train station.

She was hit with the sudden urge to go back home; to be with her mum and her twin Mona. Neither of them had wanted her to up sticks and leave home, let alone move counties. Watford was over three hours away from her home town York which suited her; even if it didn’t suit them.

But deep down they knew she longed for a fresh start. To go somewhere where people didn’t know her and wouldn’t judge her. She felt haunted being in York; constantly haunted by bad memories and all her bad decisions. They kept bouncing around her head; screaming inside her at the same time. Each one competing to be the loudest.

She was pleased that even though it was hard for her mum and Mona to accept that she needed to leave, they knew they had to let her go.  They needed to allow her to find somewhere where she could be happy and escape the darkness that surrounded her in York.

They would have to lump it and make do with scheduled phone calls and sporadic texts. The final condition was the most important. She had to take her medication daily without fail.  However, there were a few conditions that she had to adhere to.

She had to call home every other day without fail and be honest with them. Tell them whenever she wasn’t coping.  Instead of keeping an eye on her in the flesh, they would have to rely on technology to keep them in contact.

She realised that she had rushed into moving out. One day she was searching on ‘Gumtree’ for a second hand laptop case for her mum and suddenly found herself looking at the ‘Room to let’ section.

The next day she surprised herself and her family by accepting a room in a shared house in Watford. She’d never been to Watford before. She was adamant that she didn’t want to view the property before she decided if she was going to take the room or not.

She’d seen a few blurry photos of ‘her’ room and to her family's annoyance that was enough for her. From now on she was all about ‘Carpe Diem’.  Seize the day. To her amusement when she mentioned Carpe Diem to Mona, she thought it meant Fish of the Day.

The house was a Victorian Terrace on a road called Swallowfield Avenue. Avery was convinced this was fate. Swallows represent freedom and this was what she wanted; somewhere to spread her wings and be free.

The room was a ground floor bedroom of a shared house. It looked quite spacious but only had a single bed in it, which was pushed against a wall. The size of the bed suited her down to the ground. She wasn’t anticipating sharing her bed with anyone. Sharing beds just led to complications, disappointments and heartache which she couldn’t deal with. Not anymore. She’d experienced enough heartache to last her a life time; twice over.

She was pulled from her thoughts as she felt something land on the left shoulder of her khaki parka jacket. Curiously she looked down to see what was there. Her pale powder blue eyes widened in horror as she realised what it was.

“Really! Really?” she exclaimed not caring who heard her. “Bird poop! Seriously?”

For a moment she just stared at the off white, thick creamy stain, trying to work out if it was a bad sign.  A bird pooping on you was supposed to be lucky. But knowing her luck it was unlucky. She didn’t know what to do with it as she’d packed her box of tissues in one of her cases and didn’t want to go searching. So even though the bird poop stood out like a sore thumb, it would have to stay there for now.  On the plus side it could potentially be an icebreaker topic to share with her new housemates; whoever they turned out to be.

She knew her new housemates were two guys who had moved into the house a few months earlier. Living with two guys didn’t worry her. She seemed to always get on better with guys and only had a couple of female friends.

Taking a deep breath, she decided to keep going. There was no option to turn back. She had to move forward. She turned her attention to her belongings that sat on the pavement beside her.

She’d had to borrow her mum’s luggage which was actually older than her sister Mona and her. Her parents had been given the luggage set as a wedding gift over 25 years ago. The tan leather was now faded and scuffed, which Avery had thought was quite symbolic. Their relationship had fallen apart when she and Mona were just four years old.

Avery wasn’t supposed to know that her parents had only got married because her mum had fallen pregnant with them. It was apparently the right thing to do back then. People didn’t always marry for love. It was supposed to be a closely guarded family secret. Avery only knew because her mum once told her when she was drunk. Celebrating what would have been their tenth wedding anniversary.

She wasn’t too sure if her mum remembered telling her the secret as she never mentioned it again; drunk or sober. Avery kept the secret to herself and decided not to tell Mona. She thought it was best to protect her sister from the truth.

She’d only packed most of her clothes and a few essentials. Her mum was going to Fed Ex some of her other boxes of stuff in the next few days. She couldn’t take everything with her today especially as she was travelling to Watford on the train. She wondered if her new housemates would be willing to help her bring her stuff into the house. Otherwise it would take a few awkward trips back and forth to bring her stuff into her new home.

“Come on Avery,” she told herself firmly. “You can do this. Pull yourself together.”

Before she moved forwards she reached into the left hand pocket of her hoody and pulled out a plastic figure and stared at it. It was wearing a pinstriped suit and his brown hair was styled in a bouffant quiff. The figure was of David Tennant’s reincarnation of the Doctor from Doctor Who. If the Doctor could take on the Daleks, Weeping Angels and Cybermen and win; she could do this.

Most people probably had traditional comfort blankets like a comforter or soft toy that they had when they were a baby. Avery was different. She had an action figure of her favourite Doctor. It came with her everywhere and lived in her bag or jacket pocket. He was her travelling companion.

She kissed the Doctor’s head before returning him to her pocket and took hold of one of her suitcase handles with one hand and brushed her mint green fringe out of her eyes with the other hand. Triumphantly she took a step towards the house.

As she walked up her new home’s front garden path, her paranoid side took over. She half expected to see the words ‘Red Rum’ scrawled across the path in angry red chalk letters. But the words weren’t there so she willed herself forward cautiously, one foot in front of the other.

She noticed that the terraced house’s exterior was much shabbier than it had been in the photos that the Landlord, Mr Harris had attached to the ‘Gumtree’ advert. The photos that he had posted against the advert must have been a few years out of date.

The cream painted pebble dashed exterior was patchy in places where the paint had chipped off, leaving the pebbles exposed to the elements. When looking at the photos, her attention had been drawn to the front door. It was almost the same shade of dark blue as the Doctor’s T.A.R.D.I.S. She liked the fact the house was flawed. She was flawed too. Deep down she knew that they were kindred spirits. Number 28 Swallowfield Avenue was where she belonged.

She plucked up courage to ring the doorbell, which let out a disjointed robot ‘ding dong.’ The doorbell battery was obviously running out but no one had bothered replacing it. Seconds passed which felt like hours. Then around her suddenly seemed to grow colder, making her shiver.

As she waited awkwardly on the doorstep, negative thoughts started to flood her head. She tried to think of something else but they wouldn’t stop and they started to make her feel more disorientated. She shook her head trying to get rid of them like an ‘Etch a Sketch’ when it erased the iron filling doodles.

The overwhelming urge to make a hasty retreat swept over her like a tidal wave, suppressing the rest of the voices inside her head. Suddenly she was distracted by a new voice which was coming from above her.

“Ellis! You have a few more minutes. It’s not the pizza guy. It’s a girl!”

Quickly Avery looked up to see a stranger at the door, staring down at her with a bemused expression look on his face. She’d been too wrapped up in her powerful thoughts. She hadn’t realised someone had opened the front door.

Clumsily she took a step backwards, forgetting she was standing on a doorstep, not the flat garden path. Not prepared for dismounting the doorstep she found herself falling backwards into the night air. She felt like she was falling in slow motion.

She shut her eyes bracing herself for the impact with the path. But she didn’t collide with the concrete. Indeed, she wasn’t falling anymore. Moments later she felt herself being pulled up back into a standing position by someone. Quickly she opened her eyes, curious to see who had rescued her.

The guy was now standing on the doorstep, towering over her with a grin like the Cheshire cat from ‘Alice In Wonderland’.

Awkwardly she became acutely aware that she was still holding his hand, even though she now was standing firmly on the garden path. He didn’t seem to mind that they were still holding hands, as he was not showing any signs of letting go. He’s hand felt warm wrapped around her ice cold fingers.

Embarrassed she quickly let go and let her arm fall to her side. The guy was obviously amused by her goofy behaviour as he let out a brief chuckle.

He looked like a giant compared to her as Avery was just shy of 5.4ft in height and he seemed to be at least a foot taller. Perhaps even taller! He was stocky in stature with loose fiery auburn curls that hung just above his shoulders.

He reminded her of a taller and beefer version of Mick Hucknall, the lead singer of her mum’s favourite band Simply Red. She noticed his navy hoody could barely contain his muscular biceps. She wondered if he played rugby as a hobby. He certainly had the build for it. She predicted that some people might be intimidated by his appearance. But for some reasons she wasn’t.

 “Hi, I’m Avery,” she said boldly, breaking the silence.

“You’re Avery?” The guy replied revealing his thick Welsh accent. “But you’re a girl. Not a boy.”

“I’m definitely a girl. I’ve always been a girl,” she said confidently, which surprised her. “I’ve been rocking this body since 1986.”

“So Avery can be a girl’s name too.” The guy paused, seeming to take in this new revelation. “That’s good to know. Old Mr Harris must have not known that. He told us that our new housemate was a dude not a chick.” He winked at her, which made Avery relax more.

“Well we only exchanged emails and you can’t really workout the sex of me by my email address.” She couldn’t believe she was giving a complete stranger her email address. She knew Mona wouldn’t approve of this. But Mona wasn’t here to judge.

“That’s a very ‘Emo’ email address.” The guy laughed. “I better not tell you mine. It’s a bit X-rated and we’ve only just met. Anyways, girl Avery, you are a day early. We were told you were arriving tomorrow. But I guess that’s another mix up care of Mr Harris.”

“Definitely another mix up.” Avery agreed nodding.

“Does it matter?” Avery asked, starting to feel a pang of anxiety growing inside of her. She suddenly realised that going back to York wasn’t an option.

“Matter?” The guy repeated looking confused then slowly he understood. “Nope. It’s not a problem at all. I’m sure that Ellis won’t mind. It will be nice to have a woman’s touch around the house. Asha’s always complaining it’s a bachelor pad and that we never tidy up after ourselves.”

Avery frowned at this remark. Mr Harris had told her that there were only three bedrooms in this property. Currently two rooms were being occupied by this guy and another guy called Ellis. Who was Asha and was she living here too? She didn’t want to live with a girl. That wasn’t part of the plan.

“Asha?” Avery tried to ask casually, but not succeeding as the guy let out a laugh. This embarrassed Avery and she could feel her cheeks start to redden with embarrassment.

“Yes Asha. She’s sort of  friend of mine.” He paused seemingly trying to work out the best way to identify a suitable label to give his ‘friend’ Asha. “A close friend. She hangs out here a fair bit and always complains about the mess. She sleeps over a lot but she doesn’t live with us. I keep telling her that the house just looks lived in. I think lived in is a good thing. Don’t you?“ Avery shook her head enthusiastically whilst the guy continued.

“Apparently Ellis and I are super untidy. We do tidy a bit. The washing up gets done almost every other day and we draw straws to see who will take the bins out each week. We don’t hoover often. It has too many parts to it. It’s like putting a puzzle together. You need be a Mensa member to put it together. I realise that lack of housework is not the best thing to admit to a new housemate.” The guy laughed realising he was digging himself a hole to stand in. But this made Avery like him more by the minute. He was quite friendly and refreshing.

“So can I come in?” Avery asked changing the subject as she realised her feet were starting to get cold. She noticed her warm breath had started to make little clouds in the air as she spoke. She wondered why she hadn’t noticed it until now.

“Blimey!” The guy exclaimed slapping his forehead. “Of course you can. Silly me. I will give you a hand with your stuff.”

He energetically jumped down the steps and darted down the garden towards the luggage which was still sitting on the pavement opposite the house. Before Avery could move or say anything he was at her side holding the rest of her luggage. He looked like a giant pack horse.

“I’m Luca by the way! It’s good to meet you!”

“And you too,” she replied.

“Come on then. Let’s get out of the cold,” he shouted as he headed into the house. Obeying him, Avery quickly took her first steps into her new home.

A few minutes later she was sitting alone in the sitting room on a mustard yellow three-seater sofa, that didn’t match the other sofa or armchair in the room. Luca had shown Avery to her room where they had dumped her belongings on the bed.

He then led her back into the sitting room and insisted on making her a cup of tea to welcome her into her new home. Plus they could have their first meal together once the pizza finally arrived.

The sitting room was quite messy and it also seemed to double up as a dining room. There were discarded items of clothing scattered on the floor and pizza boxes and empty cups stacked up high on the wooden coffee table in the middle of the room. Luca apologised for the mess but Avery didn’t mind. It made the place feel more homely. She liked the fact none of the furniture matched. She was amused that the dining set was actually plastic garden furniture.

Avery was pulled from her thoughts by the sound of footsteps coming from the stairs behind her. Startled, she turned to see who it was.

Coming down the stairs was a guy who had obviously just come out of the shower. He was only wearing a bath towel around his waist and another towel draped round his shoulders. Avery was quite shocked at his overall appearance and didn’t know where to look.

But for some reason she couldn’t look away.  She noticed his skin was still wet.  The little water droplets that had caught in his arm hair shimmered in the light. She also noticed his lean sculpted torso which made her tummy somersault for some strange reason.

“Hi!” Avery found herself calling out whilst spontaneously jumping up from the sofa and extending her hand towards him. “I’m Avery. You must be Ellis.”

Amused, Ellis shook her hand. The handshake lasted for a long time but neither seemed to mind. Both of them seemed to be just happy staring into each other’s eyes. Avery noticed that his eyes were slightly almond in shape and the colour of dark chocolate. Trying to ward off any further embarrassment she let her gaze wonder towards his face. Avery noticed he was now frowning.
“Yes, I am a girl not a boy.” Slowly the guy nodded in recognition whilst scratching his wet short jet black hair.

“You have green hair,” he said as his eyes wandered to the top of her head.

Ever since Avery had read the graphic novel ‘Scott Pilgrim versus the Universe’ she’d decided to regularly change her hair colour. In a way she wanted to be Scott Pilgrim’s love interest Ramona Flowers. She had all the character traits Avery wanted to have, particularly her self-assurance and self-confidence.

Avery’s hair always changed colour but the style hardly ever changed. She had a pixie haircut with a large sweeping fringe, which often fell across her face covering her eyes.

“Yes.”  Avery nodded in response. “I have green hair. Sometimes I have pink hair, blue hair and even rainbow hair.”

“It suits you.” Ellis said, his gaze returning to her eyes. “And I am Ellis. Sorry about my attire. I was in the shower. I heard Luca shout up to me. I thought he was telling me the pizza had arrived.”

“It’s not here yet.” Avery smiled, whilst noticing Ellis was looking around the room.

“Luca’s sorting out plates for the pizza and making me a drink.” Ellis nodded in acknowledgement.

“I better go and get dressed. I don’t want to put you off your dinner.”  Avery watched as he took the towel from his shoulders and handed it to her, which made her frown. “For the bird poop. Must have been our feathery neighbour Harold. He’s always targeting us.”

Avery watched as Ellis he disappeared up the stairs. Moments later she sat back down on the sofa and found herself smiling. Deep down she knew she was going to be happy here.

This was definitely a new start.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Times are changing

It’s taken 31 years but something seems to have finally clicked inside my head. Something seems to have changed for the better. It’s a less dark and despairing place. Though I am not too sure why and I am not sure how long it will last.

To a degree I feel like I’m working towards accepting myself for who I am and hating myself less and less each day. I seem to be gradually becoming comfortable in my own skin. I feel less inclined to wish that would become invisible, particularly when I am out and about amongst strangers. Nor I am I constantly willing myself to spontaneously change into a completely different person inside and out that everyone likes, including strangers. I feel less awkward in myself and I don’t feel the need to apologise to everyone for my existence, which I usually find myself doing.

Being out and about is getting easier as I seem to be playing the ‘fun’ game of comparing myself to every other female in terms of physical appearance less and less. Usually my mind automatically does it 24/7, which makes me feel my brain is turning against me constantly. But my mind seems to be less interested with the game and what other females look like. It’s making being out and about a lot less angst ridden and stressful.

I feel more confident when strangers interact with me and on occasions even I feel chuffed with myself when opportunities arise for me to be a good Samaritan. Like when someone drops something without realising or when people need advice about buses whilst I am waiting for a bus. Usually I would feel self-conscious calling out at someone alerting them that they’ve dropped something and ignored people if they asked me when the next bus is due.

I have even started to enjoy talking to OAPs whilst we are sitting together at the bus stop. Listening to stories about their grandchildren or the bargains they got at Poundland whilst they were in town. Previously I have longed for them to stop trying to talk to me and have been on occasions tempted pretend to be a ghost, turning to them and say in a surprise matter, “You can see me?”
Most of the time I am able to look at myself in the mirror without recoiling which is usually unheard of. Instead I can acknowledge my reflection staring back at me. I often pull silly faces at myself which makes me smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside which generally is an alien concept.

I no longer feel the need to stay in my pyjamas all day and loathe the entire contents of my wardrobe. Nor do I want to cut up all my clothes so I have an excuse not to leave the house. When I wake up now look forward to choosing an outfit and working out what accessories to wear. I have been enjoying going out and treating myself to new pretty dresses; though I still will not set foot into the horror which is the shop changing rooms. I feel one step closer to embracing my curves and not hating the skin I am in. I am even accepting compliments from people and not dismissing them automatically.

I am no longer considering myself as an as an asexual being like Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory. I am accepting the notion that at some point in the future I might meet a guy that likes me for who I am and will want to have a proper, healthy relationship with me. I no longer feel like I am destined to be a crazy hamster lady, my version of a crazy cat lady.

Recently I have been talking to a few new guys and have been enjoying getting to know them, without wondering why they are wasting their time talking to me. I even find myself occasionally flirting and being flirted back to.

I feel quite daring as six months ago I would shy away from talking to guys and ignore the emails that my inbox of a dating website from prospective suitors. I like the idea of going out on a date and enjoying a bit of face to face contact instead of chatting through cyperspace and texts.

In terms of my relationships with friends and family I feel that they have greatly improved. I feel that my relationship with my parents has become much stronger. I don’t feel like the black sheep of the family and like I am a valid member of my family. My parents seem to be more intimate with me and allow me give them the occasional hugs and kisses. For most of my life I have longed for my parents to be more tactile with me and hated the fact that I would have to ask for a hug when I need one.

I feel like I have become more choosey with who are my friends and who I socialise with. I am no longer putting my eggs in one basket, so to speak. I am distancing myself from friends who I can get swept up in their issues and their emotions, where friendships feel one sided. I am now focusing my time on friends who I enjoy spending time with and they enjoy spending time with me.

For the first time in my life I am feeling positive about my future and accepting that I do actually have a future. Previously I couldn’t cope with planning what I was doing the next day, so thinking of my future in terms of months and years was inconceivable. I always felt I was living on borrowed time since my first breakdown ten years ago so there was no point planning a future. I couldn’t see past my depression and other mental health problems.

So all in all I am feeling more hopeful about things, although I am wondering how long this pragmatic period will last. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that it’s here to stay.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


I feel empty. I am an empty vessel. I feel like I'm a Vulcan, devoid of any feelings or emotions. Like someone's switched something off inside me. 

I'm the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. I have no heart. Inside I only feel cold or nothingness. I don't feel sad, happy, upset or angry. Nothing seems to bother me. Nobody annoys me anymore. My opinions seem pointless so why should I share them.

I'm a spectator. An observer of life. I don't participate. I feel like I'm invisible. I long to be invisible. I've spent most of my life wishing I didn't. To not exist is my birthday wish each year. I'm still waiting for the wish to come true.

When I'm out as a part of a group, I long to disappear. If I sit still long enough and don't move I will blend into the background. The people I'm sitting with will forget I'm there. Leaving me to listen. Information goes into my head but nothing comes out of my mouth.

Being empty doesn't worry me. It's actually a big relief. I'd rather feel nothing than feel too much which is my other mode. I hate it when I am consumed with depression, despair, self-hatred, self-loathing. When I feel too much I feel haunted by my past which is played over and over in my head. Being plagued with constant obsessive and negative thoughts doesn't leave much room for anything else.

Living with emptiness is fine with me. Even though I feel like I've stopped  living. I don't feel like I have a life anymore. 

When I feel empty, emotions feel alien to me and I'm ok with it.

I wish....

I wish I wasn't me.  I wish I was a few inches shorter and a few stone lighter with smaller feet and a lot less curves. I wish I could be happy about my body. Dressing to show it off and not dressing to hide it because I'm ashamed. 

I wish that all my smiles and laugh weren't always fake. A way of hiding what I'm really feeling. Natural smiles and laugher seems an alien concept nowadays. 

I wish I was genuinely happy about myself and my so called life. If I could remove the big weight of depression hanging around my neck weighing me down so I only look at the ground. But I can't. It's here to stay.

I wish I stopped relying on my many masks and be the real me. But I think I've forgotten who the real me is. 

I wish I was the type of girl that guys fall for, even notice. I can't remember when a guy last checked me out or when builders wolf whistled at me when they drove past me.

I wish I could speak my mind and voice my opinions without worrying about the consequences. But I don't think anyone would want to hear anything that I'd want to say. When I speak my dull, droning voice sends people to sleep.

I wish I was a sociable creature. A social butterfly or night owl with a busy social life which meant I was never home. In fact I wish I didn't live at home so I could leave long enough between visits that my parents missed me. I wish I wasn't me.