Saturday, 25 January 2014

'U ma fave.'

It's just baffling to think... No, he doesn't want a 5 ft.4 petite perky and perfectly formed princess with long hair, sleeve tattoos and a stomach you could grate cheese on - a girl who dances and sings, who eats steak and kicks ass on the Xbox.
He wants... Me. A girl who can never seem to grow her hair past her shoulders, reads far too much young adult fiction, eats soya beans with every meal, constantly changes her mind about who she is or where she wants to be; an avid tweeter, needy drunk, wannabe writer and occasional actress. 
He likes me when I'm sitting on the sofa eating multiple slices of toast slathered in Nutella, when I'm staring at him bleary-eyed and slurring my words; when I'm having a panic attack in front of my computer struggling to finish an assignment; when I'm browsing in Camden Markets for hours; when I'm being a complete bitch and moaning about something that isn't even that important... When I have no makeup on. When I'm blonde, and when I'm brunette. Whatever. He likes me all the time. 
And that... That is a very unfamiliar sensation.



Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Senses.


I've discovered many things about the world in the past three years. Vodka goes beautifully with orange juice - tastes healthy and the malicious alcohol takes longer to sneak up behind you. If you're super chatty with the gents behind the counter in the post office, First Class recorded delivery is free. All-nighters are not the answer. There is always time to read for pleasure. 
Anyway, one of the key things I've learned (outside of the lecture hall) is that emotions have taste. They have scent, and texture, and sound. Memories mix and mingle until they are synonymous with these few emotions. I taste my feelings, and I hear my memories.

Disappointment tastes like Fosters and lime. Smells like Lynx and embodies ugly immaturity. 
Confusion sucks in menthol, and sighs out hot ash. It's smeared on the mirror in the toilets; lipstick in a dark pinkish hue, the feeling of the kettle boiling and the window steaming up. Driving late at night, a dark sea and cold conversational pauses. 
Love had a sad odour for so long, a palpable sticky sweaty air; now, it's that bright freshness at 7:45am, buzzing ink, pumping blood and original source shower gel. 
Contentment is warm berries on the tongue, soy Chai and cinnamon, chilled white wine in the salty wind as we sit on the beach and bask in the sheer loveliness of it all. Excitement is cutting tags off clothing, ingredients laid out on the chopping board, notification noises and keys jingling in your hand.
Sisterhood is marker pen on cotton, clanging pans on the hob, pop culture quotes and frantic typing. Friendship is plastic glasses clinking and new shoes slipping; vanilla bathroom spray, chairs squeaking across the floor, cheese feast pizza while staring at screens. Hard gravel beneath our feet, wool wrapped around our shoulders, burning tears sliding down our faces, then the clear ringing through the night air as we laugh it off; gulping and spluttering, suddenly struggling to contain it. Dad is Armani in the bathroom, rubbed off on the towels, minty breath and stiff linen hugs, pints being poured and excited talk on trains. 
Strength is machines beeping, light and foamy gluten-free cake being shared, bones scraping, steady breathing and smiles stretching, hurting your cheeks. 

Every emotion has a string of senses attached to it, and an accompanying tale, cautionary or cheerful, that caused these things to be forever linked. Everyone has their own sensory story, their own associations. Nobody has the same.
Unless, like me, you just really love red wine and soy lattes. 

Monday, 6 January 2014

The 31st.

'I'm drunk, so I can't make any promises for tomorrow or after. But god damn I love you.'

The words slip out as the bells toll; new year, new year, 2014, magnificent and terrifying, splendid and tipsy. Start as you mean to go on. 
After a notable amount of cider, a bottle of vodka mixed elegantly with fruit juice, and some good old faithful Jack with his buddy Coke, I'm suitably sustainably sloshed and ready to see in the new year. Start fresh. Resolutions: many. Better self-control, put my all into everything I do, stop making excuses, do more yoga and rise above the stupid behaviour. Also, make things right with friends, prioritize better the ones I care most about, throw away ancient grudges and move past old jealousy. Put my heart into my relationship - that one's done. It was done when I heard his words in my ear, and I all too quickly returned them, hushed and fully immersed in the moment. Everything was golden and happy, my very being was ablaze and all I could see were clear calm oceans to sail upon. 
I know it was too soon, and he knows, too. We've held off since, snuggling back into the old routine of just liking, and lazy mornings. But someday we'll say it again. And I'll feel that marvellousness all over me, all over again. I'm waiting for that day. It could be tomorrow, it could be a month away. But I know it'll come. 

#GetGutsy. My Gutsiest Moments in 2013.

Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. I’m participating in Jessica Lawlor’s #GetGutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details.
(At my gutsiest)
I sit on a bench, Zizzi napkins crushed and streaked with mascara on my lap, gripping my phone in one hand and an obnoxiously red University of Greenwich drawstring bag in the other. My poor mother sits beside me, passing me the napkins and mopping away the puddles that have formed on my chin and wobbling lower lip. She's the only person I'd want with me right now, and at the same time, the worst person I could ask for help right now. My future lies before me, possibly in the form of a Masters degree, possibly surrounded by truly magnificent pearly white walls and grand staircases, and possibly costing me £10,000. Or I could go home, take that step backwards, get together some money and make my own way, someday, most likely after a year or so. I'd be sacrificing my independence, the freedom and self-confidence that it took me three long years, several buckets of alcohol, a whole heap of hair dye, a wardrobe stuffed with psychedelic leggings, and several successful one night stands to accumulate. I'd be living rent-free, not having to cook, or wash up, or do laundry. I'd have access to fast and furious WiFi, HD television, and central heating. I'd be living in the room next-door to my parents. I'd have no real base of friends, and I'd spend a significant proportion of my 'saving up year' job-hunting.
Cue more sobs, more cries of frustration and more tear-soaked napkins. Mum is losing her patience now, trying to shake me, to stop my worries spilling out of me at an alarmingly high volume in the middle of a London high street. She asks me what I want to do. What would make me happy. What, ultimately, I can picture myself doing if I throw myself forward a whole year. The mist clears, my eyes sting, and I set my mouth firmly to form the words: 'I want to just... Go for it.'
***
No matter how hard I scrub, it just won't come off. I'll be tinged pink forever. Tinged pink, and stinking of alcohol. Sounds about right. Cotton wool sticks between my fingers, the smell of the cheap liquid makes my vision blur and burn, the little torn bits of skin under my nail beds are squealing in pain and I feel I'm washing a little part of me away as I take away each coat of red. I've removed my rings, all nineteen of them, and concealed them in my baggy costume's discreet pockets, to keep some semblance of myself while I'm out there, under the harsh and blinding stage lights and laid bare for all to see - thank goodness for the mask. The ugly, misshapen papier mache mask that slides down my nose and gives the impression that I just have two massive empty sockets where my eyes should be. Why am I doing this? I hate this play. It used to be one of my favourites, but after the past six weeks, it's everything I hate all at once. I hate my fellow cast members. I hate my director. I hate Antonio, I hate the sea, I hate the twins, and I hate the Duke. I hate love. Right now, all I can think about is what will happen later tonight, the excuses I'll make to get out of going to the pub, the long walk home in the freezing cold, and the damp little box room that awaits me. At least I won't be here, right now, in this moment with so many dirty looks being cast my way and all these lies circulating viciously in this stuffy little dressing room. We're doing one last speedy line run. We're rolling our eyes. We're taking mirror selfies - or rather, they are. I'm trying my hardest to dissolve into the background, to fall through the wall behind me and into another theatre somewhere, another show with a more friendly cast who offer me cups of tea and don't judge me for the way I look, or how I can't sing or dance. 
...And then we're in the wings. He and she are exchanging wide-eyed looks which scream with obvious. I'm pressing my face firmly against the black flat, still invisible, trying not to hear the pompous theatre manager onstage introducing our utter train-wreck of a Twelfth Night. This rehearsal period has been the worst time of my life. I'm terrified that everyone watching me in the audience will see this. They'll see past my mask, and they'll see the ugly truth beneath it. 
Suddenly, I make the conscious decision to change my mindset. I'll never get this night again. I'll never be this character again. I'll never perform this again. I'll never talk, text or wave hello to anyone I don't want to again. I'll never have to do any of this ever again. Now, these thoughts, contrary to the internal explosion of self-loathing and utterly Shakespearean contempt that's been manifesting itself inside my head for the past few weeks... These thoughts make me happy. These thoughts give me hope. I stick my chin out, push my mask up high, and walk onstage.
***

Saturday, 4 January 2014

2013, 'the year I...'


Met some heroes of mine. Moved in with my best friends. Made more bad decisions than good. Performed at the Theatre Royal, in two Shakespeare plays no less. Went on my first holiday without my family, and spent a wonderful week in Majorca with my best friend. Got a little ink. Fell in love with my body. Dyed my hair blonde, lilac, and pink. Read some life-changing books. Spent a lot of money on things I didn't need. Ate too much pizza. Left a lovely job, after debating it for a long time (I still miss it). Got a new job that I love more than I ever thought I could. Realised that I could work behind a bar, and more importantly sell multiple bottles of wine with a few subtle hints and friendly smiles. Lost weight, again. Wrote an essay about being part of a clown troupe, and the complex meaning behind it. Played, competed in, and improved at to some degree, a sport that I truly love. Was betrayed by a friend, and thought a fool. Hosted a 90's/children's TV-themed party, and dressed up as Angelica Pickles. Fell for a boy's best trickery. Went to Australia House (the Australian embassy) and renewed my Australian passport. Saw some truly terrible theatre. Saw some fantastical theatre. Lost a friend to Japan, and got her back. Watched my mother's business take off.
Spent the Easter break in Australia. Met my new baby cousin, and marveled at how my other cousin had grown. Watched my auntie get married on the beach. Got drunk with my older cousins. Shopped in Byron Bay markets. Became addicted to The Voice AU, and also developed an unhealthy obsession with Joel Madden. Sat in the stands and watched a game of Aussie Rules football, a drink in one hand and a flag in the other. Discovered the mouthwatering joys of gourmet pizza. Said goodbyes at the airport, and really felt the distance between us, across the world. 
Wrote an essay on Feminism in literature, specifically Angela Carter, and had Caitlin Moran tweet me happily to spur me on. Asked John Green to wish me luck (and he did). Became Twitter besties with Rainbow Rowell. Saw Adam Hills live, and laughed myself silly. Met Joshua Radin for a second time, in a chapel after his gig, and he recognized me. 
Spent May Day up on the cliffs and down in the old town, drinking warm white wine out of the bottle and in the company of two best friends from uni, face painted and free. Wrote a textual intervention piece - a fairy tale, centred around two lesbian princesses. Saw a load of films for free. Dressed up 1920's style many times, and loved it. Attended the PAW Awards, and won Best Show for our production of 'When It Rains Gasoline'. Won the 'Hottest Player Award' at the annual Fly Hard Ultimate awards evening - a very swanky and emotional affair, upstairs in Slug & Lettuce. Finished my second year of university. Visited my best friend, and got ridiculously smashed in the presence of his entire family at his dad's 60th birthday party - woke up on a sofa the next morning, with no idea how I got there. Was a Toni + Guy hair 'model', and realised how average they are at cutting hair. Had my auntie visit me from Australia. Was amazed by the Winchester Hat Fair. Discovered a taste and a love for nice pricey wine. Celebrated Pirate Day in Hastings, again drinking warm white wine, but this time on the beach - holding a cutlass sword with my arms and ears hanging heavy with gaudy jewellery. Had my little sister come to stay with me on her own. Turned twenty. Got naked and jumped off a bridge into a river with some other fools at 1:30am, then skinny dipped while intoxicated at a party that got out of hand. Spent too much money in the Camden Lock Markets. Went to my childhood bestie's engagement party. Made a new Northern friend. Ate a kumquat. Had an extra housemate for a while. Saw 'About Time', and decided it was my new favourite film. Saw 'Catching Fire', and decided it was my new favourite film. Saw 'Saving Mr Banks' and decided it was my definite favourite film. 
Started my third year at university. Was challenged like never before. Filled up my diary with meetings, rehearsals, coffee dates and nights out. Went on a sort-of date with a girl. Fell for a friend. Introduced my uni to the living legend that is Pugwash. Went on a super-date with someone I had a massive crush on. The crush never went away. Had the best day of my life. Became someone's girlfriend. Saw some of my writing be performed onstage. Panicked too many times about the future. Got kissed at midnight. Went backwards far too often. Hated who I was, and loved who I became. Realised that I have no idea where I'll be or what I'll be doing at the end of this new year. Willed myself to see the open doors, and to have the courage to step through them. 
© Almost Amazing Grace.. Design by Fearne.