Finding me

Does anyone know how they arrive at a destination that prior to one’s arrival seemed so implausible? Days used to plod along and life was ok and I thought we’d just keep going. Ok so it was a bit awful sometimes but generally things could always have been worse and yeah I thought life was liveable.

Only it wasn’t ok.

I thought I was happily married. No actually I really did believe. I wasn’t pretending to friends and family. I didn’t feel I was living a lie because when big things that were fucking awful happened I told a few people but in a ‘haha can you believe this guy?’ kind of way which in hindsight undermined the severity of the situation. Somethings I just absorbed the misery through my skin and felt it poison then become part of my blood stream. I survived by holding onto tomorrow. And to the memories of a distant past. And that made the today of it all, the constant tension, a little less piercing. But you know the funny thing is that despite seeing myself as ‘happily married’ I sort of suspected that I was not happy. The me in it all had disappeared and didn’t matter because the married part of who I was had consumed my individual sense of self. I battled to make family and marriage and home work even as my husband sought to destroy it all. I gave me away. My happy was irrelevant. My despair and sadness just sat in the pit of me and I forgot I existed. I didn’t know that I mattered and had a right to happiness. It was all about him.

Now I look in the mirror and see myself for the fist time in years and I see lines and 15 years of trauma written across my face. I see ageing and time lost. And I fret and see no hope of love because I’ve lost the commodity of youth. And I fight with myself not to look back or forward but to see ME in the mirror now. Limb by cell by thought I pull myself out of the grave I have been buried alive in. Each day I hope to see a little more daylight. Each day I hope that I will find who I am again. I hope too that it happens before I die a real death so that I’ll at least have known and loved myself a little in this lifetime of mine.

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Dance me to the end of love

I have never been a fan of fairground fun or rollercoaster rides with their plummeting see saw motions. And yet this brief affair has pulled me down and left me weightless with butterflies and mosquitos flitting and fighting for space in the pit of my stomach.

It’s over but what a thrill it has been. I think I got carried away and stayed too long. I looked up and then was surprised to find everyone gone and myself alone. The walk home will be a little hard but at least I don’t think I’ll get lost. And there’s always music. It was a love affair of sorts but this time instead of being paralysed by heart break I’m dancing to the end of love. Swaying and spinning my way home until the fair is back in town with a new attraction.

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The era of non trust

How do relationships work these days? I mean what are the actual mechanics that make it tick along?

Let’s look at the order of things.
A. You meet someone online that isn’t repulsive that is actually interesting that you fancy to whatever degree.
B. You exchange telephone numbers.
C. You arrange to meet in real life.
D. You get on
E. You have sex
F. You arrange to meet again
G. You get on
H. You have sex.
Repeat C-H for a couple of weeks
And then you discover that actually no one minds fucking other people right in front of or behind the back of the person they are meant to be primarily fucking and that instead of relationships we are all involved in one huge fucking orgy. You sort of suss out that the guy you are seeing is disposable and that you too can partake in the delights of this mass fucking bonanza. And that is exciting because it brings that variety and summons the spice that is so crucial to human life.
But who on this planet has the time? I have a demanding job. I have a social life that due to a Lazarus style resurrection is pretty healthy. I have two children. I have things to do damn it! So where I wonder am I supposed to fit in the juggling of sex partners? How the hell do I message the guys that I’m interested in without getting sacked, without my kids turning into Oliver Twist extras, without losing my mind?
I have considered getting a PA. But can’t afford one.
I have considered checking messages once a day. But it’s too addictive.
I am wired. Hooked on and into the system. And I quake.
Maybe having kids screws up my chances of success in this cut throat business. But I refuse to let motherhood define me or my sexuality. I wanted to have lots of amazing sex forever. That’s why I got married. And now? I must whither and die consigning my vagina to a lifetime of mechanical toys? Forget it. Nope. No way. I need a man between my legs with his heart beating fast not Duracell batteries operating an imitation. So what to do? What. To. Do?
Well no point in letting a good ride go once you’ve found one is there? I’m going to use this one until the sex ceases to feel fresh and exhilarating. And until I can no longer fathom the idea that it is a relationship only of sorts. When those moments present themselves, I will ask again for exclusive rights. If it’s a no no from Mr F then, like Ciara, I’m Out. We are all disposable in this era. And to a certain extent that’s no bad thing. We learn to let go of each other and accept that we own and control no one but ourselves. It’s all rather Buddhist actually. As long as we are all honest with each other. Lying, cheating bastards like my ex don’t deserve a place in the house of free love. The trouble is, I think people like him provide the foundations on which the house is built.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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