More than a hook up

A month or two ago the reality of motion came to me. Could see clearly that if you so wished it the universe would deliver. Back then I had to step back for I was not ready. Men zapped in and out of my life and I watched wondering. Like those underwater highway currents that carry life around the world’s waterways, the motion was too immediate. I was stuck outside. The world just kept spinning and I had to just keep swimming. Legs were sinking, arms flapped; it was not a graceful technique but I propelled myself nonetheless. Eventually what I so desired in the purest of moments found its way to me.

The law of attraction has brought this man to me. And I relish him. Taste him. Knowing that he is for a reason and perhaps also for a season. He will help heal me in the way only sex can. It is a healing that I could not do on my own. It is the laying of hands. Of touch. Of communion. It’s is the rise and fall of being consumed. It has begun. But there is no going back on desire to shift the gift into something of substance. The use of mirrors and mirage is a false magic. The universe can not be tricked. Only time and the natural contradiction of chaos can manipulate. He will go soon. Best to be greedy. Take all the opium. Snatch it without hesitation. Give myself over to him. To the healing. To the making of a temporary love. I mustn’t worry about throwing doubles and keeping him or claiming him for death might come to claim me and then no one will belong. That’s the reality isn’t it? No one belongs. We are simply gifts. Existing, clashing, nuzzling up against one another. My gift to him is open and bare. It is a surrender. It is new and now. It will no doubt cease with embers smoking down, down. But not to worry. Today the heat is real and there will be another match. The universe and I will command it into being.



We meet in the silent whistling
Heads on pillow
Sleepy and narcotised by the heat
Exhausted by the adrenaline of novelty
You find me and we entwine
Like the cords of the vitis coignetiae in the garden downstairs
So easily friends, so swift. We lie lazy and childish
Drifting between half wakefulness and curiosity
I breath in your steady rhythm
Breathy desire becomes an invisible third stem
Twisting and navigating you to me
The windows are ajar and a storm brews outside
We let each other in and meet in the silent whistling.


We interrupt this broadcast…

So here I am. Exposed. Anonymous. Shielded. Writing reckless. Writing bare and uncompromising. And grateful to the bloggers who somehow have found me in a corner and nodded to me.

And in a moment of haste and of need to get away. When my mind was elsewhere far occupied with my children. I opened the door. And now want desperately to close it silently. Feel it’s weight against the frame. Solid. I wish I could shut out the real world with its judgements.

I wrote chapterphoenix.wordpress down so light and innocent. Those 23 letters betraying a haven that exists and doesn’t exit.
I feel like I have been burgled but but but I clicked the latch and drew the door toward me. Come in I said. And now heart sunk with no trace I am left stupid and bereft. My sanctuary a forgotten mirage.

I have killed myself. And suicide sucks without death.
And yet I don’t want to die so young.
What to do?


Why so serious?

Time for some dating frivolity. So if you’ve been keeping up with me and my one a day for one year blog challenge you will know that the last time I dated prior to Deluded Dick was way back in 1998. Wow that’s actually last century. It was a time when stopping a girl in the street was a legitimate way of meeting someone. It was a time before Tinder.

Now I know there are a lot of mixed feelings about the Tinder app. You know how it goes… It’s just for people looking for sex…it’s a hook up site…guys post pictures of their abs and penises… It’s shallow and based only on appearance blah blah blah. Well ok that camp has it’s opinion and though it’s not a free world, folks can think what the hell they want. But if you are trying to date online those arguments don’t make much sense.

So hmm let’s see. Firstly yes it is for people looking for sex. Yep. Can’t argue with that. I am looking for sex. And…the problem is what exactly? Aren’t we all. I’m pretty sure the guys and gals over on Eharmony want to fuck someone too. Oh. Sorry. My mistake they want to fuck somebody who has a degree or is 5.11 or likes books or (and this is my pet hate criteria) likes to travel. Now to me all of that seems a bit shallow. If a guy is broke and can’t afford to take snaps up a mountain does that mean he is not worthy? If a guy is 5.6 does that mean he is lacking in some area of masculinity? And level of education? There are some smart pieces if shit out there. And what’s more one does not fuck a degree or an MA certificate. And a sheet of paper is no reflection of someone’s character or emotional intelligence. A high paying job won’t stop them from cheating on you. Good character can’t be a tick box quality. I mean who would choose not to tick a box that indicates yes I am a nice human being? So complicated. And then you’ve got to sell yourself! Aaaagghhhh! You actually have to write your own flipping press release. Now one could say that the writing of faux self deprecating nonsense or self grandiose spiel is distasteful and discriminatory. I mean what if you are crap with words but are a kind and talented artist? What if you come across as an awesome catch but the truth is you’ve written nothing but lies?

I think it’s best to just show your best self. Smile at a camera and see who bites? I’d rather have someone who I fancy and who on the basis of a couple of photos fancies me. Not someone who is necessarily an Adonis but someone who whets my appetite. Also truth be told I am lazy and hate with an absolute passion filling in forms online. If too much info is required of me I click the x. Even setting up this blog was touch and go.

Tinder is a nice Luke warm step into the sea of love. There may be sharks out there but at least I don’t have to pay to swim with them or don a full scuba diving outfit to get wet. It’s free and honest. Unless you write up a press release that is make believe. Like my ex, who I happened to see whilst happily swiping one day. And yes before you ask I did indeed swipe left. But not before taking a screen shot and cackling wildly to my friends over the hilarious profile he’d written. Some people are just plain crazy. Don’t believe their hype but do believe in their photo. As long as the person who you end up meeting in real life is the same as the one you’ve been communicating with you’ll be good to go. Then all you’ve got to suss out is whether or not they’re a waste of time or if they’re likely to slit your throat.


Step on me. Part II

In the 90s my eclectic taste in music continued but soul, hip hop and R&B became my staple. Mary J Blige’s What’s the 411? Snoop Dog’s Doggystyle. Joe’s Everything. I remember walking around the school playground with the crew, in-ear headphones shared between two. Tevin Campbell singing teenage love songs and long sighs over unrequited affections.

In college, after the braces came off, I embraced the club scene and partied as hard as I studied to The Fugees, BlackStreet, Faith Evans, Mariah ‘bad girl’ Carey, Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, The Notorious B.I.G. and others.

And then there was Jungle. Drum and base spoke through vibrations. Moved the body in a trance. The noise was an exorcism and I danced all night long.

Then neo soul arrived. Love Jones played fresh. I fell in love with Cassandra Williams and her Tupelo Honey became my lullaby.

Then, A levels over with I got on a plane across the Atlantic where an unexpected love, the one who I choose to get the deed over with, taught me about Jazz over a long fiery summer in New York. At last I was to have my Paula Danziger Remember Me to Harold Square romance years after first reading that novel.

I was schooled in the works of his favourite pianist South African Abdullah Ibrahim and, amongst others, Monk, Coltrane and Davis. And also a lesser know singer Sathima Bea Benjamin whose rendition of standards like A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square made the world disappear as we kissed and found each other in the darkness.

The following summer I made the same journey across the ocean and found other distractions. I see myself kissing a boy in the rain after a movie. Taking the subway to meet a guy in Colney Island. Waiting to meet Maxwell so he could sign my CD and I could take his picture at a record store in Times Square. The queue to him snaked and looped up down and around the building. New friends were made in the line. Afterwards over a late night pizza we came together and departed never to meet again. Life was full of possibility. I was fearless. And youth was delicious: I can still taste its sweet tangy zest on my tongue now.

Then I returned to London town where the intense sex and intoxicating bond between Deluded Dick and I began to hypnotise me. In the weeks before we parted to start our degrees love secretly seeped into my veins and tainted the blood that coursed throughout my body.

For the next 15 years music receded as life with a porn addicted drug taking drunk came into the fore. By the time we spilt my Spotify playlist seemed to be looking back at tracks rather than listening to the tunes of the present.

When I found myself stuck to the pavement struck down with grief, I summoned the same resolve that had helped me endure the marriage. Between tears that rocked and shook me. Made me as empty and as hollow and as light as the shell of a ground nut. Between the waves of sadness I danced. And danced. And sang and screamed lyrics to myself and to my children so that life became a karaoke disco. My playlist included: Janelle Monae (basically everything but mostly stuff from her current album), Katy Perry (Roar), K. Michelle (Can’t Raise a Man), Ciara (I’m Out), Rita Ora (album ORA Delux), Lorde (album Pure Heroine), AlunaGeorge (Attracting Flies and album Body Music). Lots of afrobeats. Lots of house and especially stuff released by Rinse FM. Some of my favourite tracks: Music Box (Royal T), Zinc (Goin In), P Money (Shutting Down), Brackles (Chasing Crazy, Go Ahead, Too Much, DPMO), Mapei (Don’t Wait).

Out of all of these it was Roar by Katy Perry that I would sing at bath time to my sons, though more so to myself. It spoke of me and was a call to overcome bullshit. To continue to be the woman I had always been and to not let some fool fool guy crush me. I sang about a lioness to my cubs and we roared together laughing and powerful. I was renewed.

Music has been a solace and an inspiration. It has and continues to heal me. I will not be stepped on any more. The creators will never know me but daily I thank them for their lessons and their gifts.


Step on me. I’m like gum stuck to the pavement

Immediately following the split I was in shock. The indignity of being dumped after sticking with Deluded Dick compounded the heartbreak. And boy was I broken. I mean who does that? I had to be scrapped off the floor. With a chisel.

Anyway, there were a few things that kept me breathing during those early months. Some of which I now realise had been keeping me afloat during the marriage and some I now realise had been missing from my life for a long time. Today I’ll tell you about the power of music.

Music has always been a huge part of me. It punctuates key moments in my life. Lots of us have our own soundtrack that we turn to when we want to reconnect with the past. I can recall Madonna’s Holiday, songs from films such as Flash Dance’s I’m a Maniac and Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5. I was a Material Girl running and leaping into the air, dancing in my living room wild with joy even though I knew nothing of working a 9-5 or welding on building sites.
And I can still hear in my head Thomas Mfumo, the Bhundu Boys and Yvonne Chaka Chaka making her African beer. Mvenge Mvenge was Zimbabwean tv’s top music show. It was a kind of love child conceived by Top of the Pops and MTV. Low definition videos were played and everyone watched it at the same time. Thinking about Zimbabwe’s music and tv makes me in turn recall the heady days of post independence. When summer holidays away from East London would stretch long and hazily into the distance. Mountains, heavy and green, and rocks illogically balanced filled a horizon that seemed to surround us no matter how fast my uncle’s white Nissan moved over the tarmac. We would cross from city to city. Perhaps going from Harare to Gweru. Consuming miles with a hunger. As a child distance meant nothing. Even time was pushed aside in favour of day and night: bright light and starry darkness. As long as the supply of cool, sweet bottles of Fanta did not run out those long journeys felt like a marvel. It seems sometimes that my own life has run parallel to the rocky youth and adolescence of that nation. I was always looking back to those easy days. Could transport myself back in an instant even when the reality of the present was far from that nostalgic past. But even in adversity there is always hope and tomorrow and so my soundtrack played and I was alive with memory. Alive enough to face another day, another night, another trauma with Deluded Dick.

What did this girl of the 80s do in the 90s as a teenager? What did she play on Spotify when DD was threatening to evict her and her children from the family home while he fucked off with his fat pay check? I’ll tell you all tomorrow.


Real life rom com

Romance sometime makes suckers and chumps out of us women. However, since splitting from Deluded Dick, aka the ex, I have begun to reconnect with the rom com/ chick flick. To be honest I was never one for romance and what I termed ‘girly shit’ which is probably why Deluded Dick got away with so much. Yes he’d make the occasional grand gesture but it was always undermined by his behaviour and his cheapness. While splashing the cash on booze, prostitutes, strippers, drugs and gadgetry he neglected to treat me to anything other than underwear: a gift from him to me that was really a gift for his dick. What a charmer. After years I pointed out his same old same old gift buying tactic and then began receiving… nothing. The most I got was the honour of selecting a Lovefilm DVD to watch with DD while he spent the length of the movie texting members of his dick appreciation society. I would sit, thoughts oscillating, shifting between ‘isn’t this cosy’ and ‘I can’t believe he is texting in front of me like I don’t know the score’. (Geez gotta work on my ishooos…)

But now good people, my eyes are wide open and yes I see that giving is an act of love and appreciation. Of thought and honour of the woman. Yes the woman. For surely buying a gift for your number one lady should not be the same as buying for your mum, or a mate, or a whore. No it should be about them specifically. A, dare I say it, romantic declaration of continued commitment. And so I think I have worked out what my expectation number ‘middle of the list’ will be: soon after things start to get serious expect a romantic token/ gesture that says ‘I think you’re awesome’ and expect it for the duration of the courtship/ relationship because lady…you are worth it.

Life doesn’t have to mirror a movie but I’d love to tingle inside and know that someone is giddy over me. I don’t want to be out there handing out the keys to my heart until I meet someone who is willing to do the same. Love is a two way street. Love loves reciprocation. I know that now and value the love I have to offer. It doesn’t come cheap and neither do I.


Dating after analogue

Dealing with dating after a long term relationship is no straightforward affair. As well as mourning the death of what you hoped was forever you also have the added bonus (yay, what joy…) of continued contact with the ex because you were in love (or in lust) and made a baby… or two… or three. If your ex was the reason it ended, (perhaps like mine he was a whole heap of messed up crazy) their poo poo stink can become an inconvenience that just keeps wafting over uninvited to mess up your parade. I say can because it is up to you to arm yourself with Febreeze, candles and if necessary a gas mask to protect yourself from their bad bad odours.

But that’s enough metaphor use for now.

So, valiantly, you begin to take steps to getting your groove on and showing the world that yes, damn it… I’ve got game but you are scared and all around you can see nothing but an intimidating set of obstacles.

Some of which may be:

The ex, on purpose, or just by virtue of their uselessness, is fucking up your me time
You’re feeling really insecure, perhaps after years of put downs and emotional abuse
You are scared of the place that exists out there called… single life
You feel like an OAP compared to that young thing you once were.

And then there’s the minefield that is the dating scene where…Things. Have. Changed.

Your love life now depends less on Cupid’s bow and more on the speed of your broadband, Wifi, 3G, 4G or ET phone home connection.
You may be filled with angst over whether or not to send the first message thus perhaps announcing an absolute desperation that attracts no response back or interest only from the type of psychotic manipulator you’ve only just managed to get rid of.

Well it’s all an adventure. We’ve just got to make sure the seatbelt is fastened, the brakes are working and should there be a hick up or two on the way, the airbags can be relied upon. Do your checks people. It’s gonna be one hell of a journey…


How to: get on with life when your ex is a dick

You’ve managed to emerge out of the watery abyss, dab some concealer under each shadowy carrier bag and wave the magical mascara wand somewhere near each eye. You’ve set up an emergency ‘I ain’t going out like that’ social life to fill every other weekend and now it’s time to step it up. From the moment the kids are picked up to the second before they are due to return you make sure you are out, busy, occupied. It’s tight but… necessary. And it’s all going well except for the whiney texts, the ‘I’ve got to bring them back early’, the late pick ups and cancellations. But you don’t get involved. There will be no shouting or name calling. No loss of dignity after navigating your bad ass around the break up from hell.

You see, they just want to control you. Your body. Your mind. Where you go. They want to control your ability to go on living. Well fuck them. Stick to the routine. They want to bring your babies home early? You are not at home. They arrive late to collect them? Just open the door and kiss the kids goodbye. The children are complaining because they don’t like going to their papa? Hear them out and send them on their way. Daddio gives them a bag each of chuppa chupes just before bedtme? You confiscate with a smile. They come home looking like extras out of Oliver Twist? Strip the child, bin the clothes and bathe them good and proper.

Surrender to being a solid granite parent. A parent of love and consistency. But do not sacrifice your sanity and precious time because the other parent is still trying to use you to pick up their pieces. Your child’s safety and welfare are the only things that should spur you into becoming the human embodiment of Krakatoa because of course nothing can stop you protecting the life that you carried and created. But don’t sweat the small stuff. Sure it’s going to be hard on your little ones but they’ll grow stronger. We’re all going to get a few scrapes and bruises along the way but most superficial scars WILL fade. A new life has to be forged in the flames so don’t let your ex extinguish your fire. Be organised. Be firm. Be brave. You are hot right now.


Braces, gaslighting and a brand new smile

Ah braces. Yes I slid that one in yesterday. I’m subtle like that. It’s not something I usually shout about to be honest. But what can I say, it’s a thing. I’m going to do this one post on the teeth situation and then that’ll be it. They’ll be referred to only in passing.

So hmm. It’s been two years and four months since operation brace began. I had eight, yep eight, teeth taken out. All of my wisdoms and pre molars were removed at the same time. I was old cold but afterwards my whole head hurt like words cannot describe. Two weeks later the braces went on.

I had braces in college when I was 16 but only for 9 months because I refused to have teeth pulled. Some grand stupid idea about wanting to die with all my teeth in my mouth. Blah blah blah. Bullshit. The other and more crucial reason? Boys. There was no way I was going to give up both of my college years to braces. I left school feeling not very desired and not very pretty. College was to be my teen movie. My Paula Danziger/ Judy Blume story. I was to be the star of my own show. I wanted nice teeth but I wanted a boyfriend a hell of a lot more. So I took the hit on perfection and settled for straight teeth and cute smile.

Years later my wisdoms came in facing in all sorts of directions and so began the slow forward migration of my teeth. Cute rabbit was becoming cute donkey.

Aged 26 my lovely dentist said my teeth were perfect and that I’d look even prettier if I had some orthodontic work. Well you’ll soon notice that I’m a sucker for being called pretty; insecurity is such a pain in the arse (I’m working my ishooos. Anyway…) and so began the consultation years.

I first went to a lovely local orthodontist. Just before I got married. Bad timing. No could do. I went to her again five years later. That was no could do Part II. Pregnancy was enough of a headache. A year later I went to another orthodontist for another free consult. No could do again. (Part III) But why I hear you wail? All the orthodontists I had ever seen wanted four teeth out and two years of my life. I just could not face it. And Ugly Betty was on tv. I was NOT going be know as Ugly Betty no matter how cool that show was.

Then the pesky wisdom teeth had to come out and I thought well I might as well get all eight taken out for free and pay to get braces before the cute donkey became a not so cute horse. And so I went on the NHS waiting list. I remember asking my then husband what he thought. I got the ‘oh you don’t need them’ blah blah. But by then I knew that we were on borrowed time. We were not going to last. It was just a case of seeing when and not if we would split up. I thought at least I could do something for myself for once. It didn’t matter what he thought. I was going to get my teeth in order once and for all.

So I went for another consult and fell again for those same words: you are pretty. Unfortunately he followed it up with: you would be more so if you corrected the buck teeth. Whoa. Now hold on I thought to myself. Easy fella. Why the fuck did you have to ruin it by calling them buck teeth. I mean he was meant to be professional. Use dental jargon not insult me and make me pay for the pleasure. But alas I was weak. And insecure. And he had uttered the magic words. And he was male. And he gave a treatment time of 15-18 months which I could oh so live with! The deal was done. I didn’t even leave to think it over. I said sign me up cowboy and he began the prep work right then.

So during this period the husband is being a shit. Drinking. Fucking around. Not being there. Being mean. And gaslighting. Now I’ve only discovered this term in the last 6 months. And it has been a revelation. You know shit’s going down. But which ever you say that the shit stinks there’s an explanation. So he’d be like: I don’t remember pissing on you last night in bed because I was so drunk. Or. All that money on my credit card that WE have to pay off? oh those are work expenses. Or. You make me like this you are so unreasonable wanting me to help out. Or not coming home. Or whatever flavour of shit it happened to be. It was either my fault, no big deal or never happened. Aaaaaagghhhh!!!!

Well my orthodontist started with the same shit. I tell him my concerns and he’s like yeah I’ll fix that. Over and over and over and then 18 months passed and he was like ok all done. Well I started freaking out. My teeth were certainly not done and while they were not as jacked up as before, they were in a mess.

So the universe sent me a messenger who did to me what the ex did. Well I wasn’t in love with him so eventually thought fuck this and switched to another orthodontist in the same practice and now I’m much happier. It will have taken a year longer to complete my treatment but that bastard gaslighting orthodontist number one showed me that if someone is stringing you along, making you feel crazy you better run like Usain for the hills.

I stopped running from the ex about 6 months after he left because I was out of breath and was out of danger. Now I’ve built a kind of wall between us. It’s invisible but it’s about infinity tall to the knowing eye. It’s called the NO CONTACT wall of wonder and it’s awesome.

I run for pleasure now and my braces? Well I hope they come off before my birthday in the autumn. I try not to worry about them. Mainly because the new orthodontist is awesome and because they are symbolic of a new me forming. Rising like a Phoenix from the ashes.