i have the biggest hair in the world. i think too much. my attention span and self discipline need a lot of work. this is why the internet is as good a place as any for the likes of me.
Life at the moment is fast paced, a morning dash to drink as much coffee as I can, last minute checks at the door to ensure I have everything, endless hours reading and writing on the 43 bus. I come home from work, usually sleeping on the nightbus, peel off my sticky jeans and pass out. There isn’t enough sleep. There never is.
I like my life this way, I’ve come to accept that fact about myself. I would say it’s work coming first, but actually work doesn’t have any competition. There’s nothing in second place. The things I do outside of work, reading, writing, dreaming, they don’t run on a timetable. Most people would feel sad admitting that work is what motivates them, that doing backbreaking hours makes them feel like they have a function, but I’m past that now. I’ve realised I function better as a human being when my time is not my own, if it was up to me I’d sit around brooding about my feelings and copying out quotes in my diary. I’d get nothing done.
Work is great incidentally. I feel like I’m making friends, I definitely don’t feel lonely anymore. In fact, when I start a shift and people look pleased to see me when I say hi my heart skips a little bit, I feel accepted, welcome. I’m sure a lot of people I work with would be shocked to see me even mentally toying with this issue; when I’m there I’m so noisy and vibrant and friendly that I guess it might seem like I never worry about that kind of thing, that I connect with other people easily.
And maybe I do, but I read this dawn o’porter article in glamour magazine the other day, about how we can never know what battles people are fighting so we ought to try and be kind and it really sat in my chest, I carried it round with me for days. Because it’s true, people aren’t always going to tell you what they’re struggling with, and I know, because I’m a killer for hiding my demons.
People look at me and probably think I have everything sorted, I wear whatever I like, I’ll talk to anyone, I don’t shy away from putting across my opinion. They would never be able to tell that I fight a constant battle with myself, that I’m in a deadlock with internal voices telling me I’m not good enough, that if people knew what I was really like they’d hate me.
This contrast between how others see me and how I see myself was forcefully apparent over drinks with anna and wade the other night. They were talking about school, about how they’d seen people that they used to be nasty, and I chimed in to say I knew that chat all too well from the other side, that people had approached me to apologize. I told them about being fat, and quiet, and sensitive and lonely. I told them about growing up a victim, and I told them how it felt to have those people bring it all back up so they could get closure. It makes you feel a little bit dead inside, when it happens, truth be told. When people access memories you’d rather forget, that you’ve tried to move on and escape from all your life. You tell them it’s in the past, pat them on the back, and grit your teeth harder, letting the memory of being alone and victimized motivate you harder to never have to feel that way again.
Because that’s the thing, while you can move on from victimhood (and I certainly have, anna and wade were both surprised to hear about who I was and subsequently am), a part of it stays with you and influences what you do. I might not be that little girl cutting the chewing gum out of her hair in the toilets and wondering simultaneously how to make it through lunchtime and how to explain what’s happened to her hair at home (I always felt like a letdown to my parents while I was being bullied, I wished desperately to be normal for them), but she’s still in there somewhere. She still flinches before she’s hit, socially, second guesses everyone she meets and keeps the guard up. That’s why I’m so shit at opening up to people, why when I get sad I feel like the loneliest girl in the world, why I constantly have to check in on how others see me, because I can’t see it myself.
I’m used to it though, I live with it. It’s actually quite pleasant to have people see me as confident and secure. I’m, in fact, pretty certain that in my adult life, that faith in me that others have has actually helped me develop what security in myself I do have. I don’t apologize nervously for myself all the time anymore, because saying sorry is a serious act for when you’ve done something wrong or hurt somebody, and my existence is not wrong or hurtful. I use what self belief I have to look after others, to teach them, to help them if they struggle or lack belief in themselves. I do possess strength now, I am a presence now. I have to fight my internal criticism all the time, but I do it by being kind to others, helpful to others, making damn sure I feel like a useful human being by giving.
After work yesterday I went to the pelt for a few beers, a rare treat for me these days because sleep is normally a priority. It’s always nice to check in with the gang there, to find out how they are, talk openly about how I am. To drink pints with my hair down and feel irresponsible and not like I have to answer to anybody. While I was there I bumped into a regular, ken, who I used to massively fancy. Who I used to do my usual chatting about literature while secretly imagining naked manoeuvre on (heads up, if I’m talking to you about literature that’s probably what’s happening). I segued instantly back into flirting, inched myself into his group, felt smugly validated when he started asking me where new work was, how often I visited the pelt, when I would be back.
It’s good to know I’ve still got it, my sexual self possession. I’ve not really been bothered with sex since dan, and I’m not sure why. Tiredness and an insular state of being I guess. But the desire is coming back, and my coworkers have already noticed how potent it is when I turn the full beam on somebody (everywhere I have ever worked this gets commented on). It’s odd that I’ve never lacked sexual confidence, that there’s a rock solid base to my mentality that I can fuck whoever i like that never gets shaken. It seems so at odds with the rest of my mindset. I think it rests on the fact that bodywise I’m actually totally secure most of the time, I don’t mind that I have no arse or tits, I’m happy to be bird boned and big footed. And I think it’s because I don’t see sex as all that ceremonial, it’s just primal bullshit that we all do. It’s a pretty handy arena to feel powerful in, nonetheless.
Speaking of feeling powerful I’m going to go and douse myself in beauty products (in busy times I become a cosmetic hedonist, nothing feels more like self care to me than deep conditioner, thermal masks, and body oils), sing along to my stereo, and get ready for a friday at work. The fragile little animal inside me may quiver uncontrollably occasionally, but no one needs to see it, and I’m going to stride into this weekend with my head thrown back, prepared to give everything I can and take everything I need. I don’t think anyone can ask anymore of me than that.