The First Time I Started Writing

The first time I wrote something it felt like finding home, finding my place in the world. I don’t meant the stories I wrote when I was six, or the newspaper I made up when I was ten and wanted to be Lois Lane – I mean the time I wrote that first poem and when I first started writing that first story when I was 17. That made all the difference to me, that’s when I became a writer within my core and found a place that I could be safe, hide, have hope, be myself.

Be someone else.

When I was 17, life was pretty crap, so being someone else, being somewhere else, was a wonderful thing for me. It meant every horrible thing in the world, in my immediate world was forgotten as I put pen to paper. Every scrap of ink made me feel better. Even if it was a bad poem (so many bad poems) or a story that was effectively just about me enjoying a better life, or being a better person, writing it down made all the difference. I could’ve just stuck to daydreaming like every other teenager, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I had to write down every word, every scenario, every rhyme.

I had my first idea for a novel back then, one that had changed somewhat over the years, but is still something I would like to finished, even though I’m not 32 and I started it a long time ago now. The characters, the plot, the story, they all remain, they’re mostly the same in fact. All that is different is me. The writer and the way I am writing those characters and their story.

The first time I wrote a blog, it just added to that feeling of safety. Of home. People read my words. I made friends, people I could actually talk to and help me deal with all the crap I was going through having left home and with declining mental health.

Writing is home. Whether is being in the clouds or in the form or in the rant about the world. Writing is where my soul lives and is complete and has been now since I was 17. Whether or not I am what someone would consider successful is not important. Success is not important. The words, the worlds, they’re what’s important to me.

To my soul.

Day 169 – “Blog City ~ Every Blogger’s Paradise

The Last Time I…Saw My Uncle

My mum and Andrew, not long before he died.

My mum and Andrew, not long before he died.

The last time I saw my Uncle Andrew was when I was 14. A long time ago now, 16 years, but I remember it well enough. Well enough to have made an impact. My uncle Andrew, or Jacko (his surname was Jackson), was the baby of the family, the youngest of seven brothers and sisters (half and step) and grew up with an alcoholic gambler for a dad and a violent gambler for a mother. But he had my mum looking out for him from the moment he was born to the moment he died of a heroin overdose.

When he was a baby, my mum was 17 and thinking about joining the navy. She wanted to fly helicopters and jets and get the hell out of a very bad situation. She had left school at 15 to work and support her younger brothers and sisters (she was the eldest) and joining the Navy was the way out.

Except it meant leaving behind all those kids.

So instead she got married to my dad, moved out, took two of them with her when they were a little older – two of my aunts.

He wasn’t always an addict. For a long time he was just a guy. He had a girlfriend and a dog for a while They had two kids – Christopher and Andrew. He and his boyfriend John were our main babysitters when mum was working nights for a long time. Then, then I don’t know what happened really, a lot of those old memories are missing. In my mind it goes from Uncle Andrew the babysitter to Uncle Andrew the heroin addict. There’s no transitional memories.

The last time I saw him, I was 14, my sister 11, and he’d already been in and out of prison for mostly theft related offences. Stealing from the shops in Coventry City Centre. Later he would steal to order or steal to get caught and take a break from the heroin while in jail for a little while. At this point, he was drinking too. We went to his council flat in the city, a few rows down from where my great grandma lived, we’d been to see her too. A little old Geordie woman who had lived in Coventry for over sixty years but had never lost her accent and had the best stories. Except he wasn’t allowed to go and see her any more. Not since he’d threatened her neighbours after she said they’d upset her over something trivial. So he was a few houses away from his grandmother but unable to see her, and really, probably didn’t even realise any more.

We pulled up and walked in and there was smoke coming from the kitchen. Black smoke. But there was no smoke alarm and my uncle was asleep on the sofa in front of the day time tv shows. My mum ran in found he’d forgotten some toast in the grill. She woke him up and asked him where his gas fire was gone.

In the living room, where the little rectangle fire would’ve been was just a bright patch of white paint and some pipes. Next to that a half empty bottle of vodka, an old sofa.

Nothing else.

He’d sold most of his things, including the gas fire which had been attached the wall and actually belonged to the council because they owned the house. Except Jacko had needed the money. My mum didn’t asked what for. We all knew. He looked awful, thin and pale, his tiger tattoo stretched too far over his neck. I hadn’t really even thought about it back then but this was what addiction looked like, manifested in my uncle, a lovely man I adored, despite that addiction.

He gave us some presents, over due from Christmas he said, but I didn’t remember him ever getting us presents before, and it didn’t really matter. He gave my sister some trainers, and I got a necklace – a bronze cameo style pendent with a fine cross stitch of some flowers in it, on a long chain.

We didn’t ask where it came from.

When we left, after hugs and my mum talking to him about some things, serious things, we sat in the car for a bit before pulling away. We were driving back to Wales, 140 miles away, a long drive with this hanging over us. I wanted to cry. I imagine my mother wanted to cry too. We didn’t. Then we left, and that was the last time I saw him until he died when I was around 23. Of a heroin overdose. While he was in rehab.

The thing is, despite the stealing to order, the prison, the time he stole my mums care and crashed into three of the neighbours cars writing them all off, the heroin and alcohol and all those years my dad refused to talk about him, let alone to him (over some stolen socks of all things), he was a wonderful man. He hopes, towards the end, of reconciling his relationship with his kids, but never got the chance. He never met his granddaughter. He was and is my first thought when I think about how homosexuality was always accepted in my family, in my household. He was the norm and made me feel normal, years later, when I was trying to reconcile my own feelings. He was funny and creative. I have a quilt my mother made with fabric he designed and printed while in prison. I still have the necklace he gave me on that last visit.

It hurt my mum the most I think. And her two sisters. His parents were long dead when he passed. His children barely knew him. But he and his sisters were almost like triplets. And my mum stuck by him, always, regardless of what happened, even when everyone else gave up on him, or had to walk away for their own mental well being (for which Jacko never blamed them and neither do I).

I miss him. I never got the chance to enjoy his company as an adult. Or enjoy the sober Uncle Andrew again. The last time I saw him, that wasn’t him. That was the addiction. And that’s one of the few things in this life I will regret.

 

Prompt from – “Blog City ~ Every Blogger’s Paradise”  Day 168 – The Last Time I…

Here Is The Night

Here is the night
drafted and cut
the black before dawn
into a piece for you to wear.
Here is the night
adorned with silver stars
slipped around your neck
for all to see
shining through the thickest
of clouds and lights on the ground.
Here is the night,
precious and silent
hold on tightly
case it should
slip away into space.

r.l.w

Job Hunting

Fun fact - Mice prefer chocolate.

Fun fact: Mice prefer chocolate.

I’m trying to find a job.

There’s more people than jobs – there’s always more people than jobs – but when you live in the middle of no where there are even less jobs but no less people. We’re just more spread out and it’s harder to get around. It’s really frustrating.

More so because I want to work so badly. Not because I’m skint – well, not just because I’m skint – and not because I’m bored. I want to work because I can work. Sounds simple, but I haven’t been able to work for so long being able to do so is such progress for me that I want to be working again, want to be contributing to society and helping people in whatever way I can.

Even if it’s just through a lot of typing and some photocopying.

Preferably through a lot of typing and some photocopying. I really am more suited for administrative work.

Fun fact: This joke is funny.

Fun fact: This joke is funny.

I find the whole process incredibly anxiety inducing, I won’t lie, but now I can handle that anxiety. Deal with that anxiety. Quash it. Ignore it. Use it.

A year, two years, five years ago an interview would’ve caused a panic attack. Longer ago said panic attack would have had me self harming. I’ve come a really long way and would like to be back in an office somewhere, working because that’s the next step to improving my life. Our life.

Someone out there is going to give me the opportunity to get back into full time work. I know that. It’ll take a while though.

This is more of a ramble than anything else as I scour endless jobs listings. There was supposed to be a whole point about filling in forms and noting down that you’re disabled and have mental health problems but I don’t quite have it in me to to write about it this weekend. Can’t find the words. Anyway I’m filling in an average of two forms a day. Something like that. I’ve had one interview. Got turned down for that and another job but I don’t feel overly despondent about it or anything. Which is nice. I know I can only do so much to convince people I am the best choice for any given job. I’m not very good at just coming out and saying it, and I think it probably sounds arrogant to do so and the people looking to hire someone have no reason to believe me beyond my word and my CV.

Anyway. Here is a cartoon drawn by JoePhatty about job hunting.

Rock Hyrax

Went to Chester Zoo last week, so many pictures are inbound.

DSCF8641

A young and adorable Rock Hyrax.

Oblivion

Picture from - here

Picture by xetobyte found – here

Contains some graphic images.

It was their last moment of joy.

The dead and dying were brought here, during those last moments before the end, or those first moments after, brought to a sky beneath the surface of the earth. Once it had been grass, then dirt and now old cobblestones held the swings aloft as they moved through the grey clouds. This was all there was in the afterlife, thin metal swings and a last moment of joy.

They were welded in place, skin was seared and screams of pain echoed across the vast sky but all so they wouldn’t fall too soon. Left in place, and pushed just once, they started to move – slowly – slowly – until the pain subsided enough for the euphoria of the drugs and oxygen to take over. The faces were blank at first, sweat falling and slipping into their mouths as their lips curled up into slight smiles.

At first.

The oxygen was high – high – higher until they were breathing only oxygen, every molecule that they inhaled was taking them higher and the smiles became bigger.

Someone laughed.

It reverberated back and was felt though the chests of every life, a wave of glee followed, from that first giggle out until everyone was laughing, swinging higher, feeling happy.

This was the part of the job Reb enjoyed, as brief as it was.

They were happy, these dying and dead, they were enjoying themselves and Reb could relax for a few minutes as they swung higher and higher through the thick oxygen. It wouldn’t last long, it never did, but it was wonderful to watch, it was all that kept him going through the day – their last moments of joy in life before the end.

It had never been his intention to end up in a job like this, he’d not had grand plans, but he’d always hoped to be higher up in the grand scheme of life and death. Maybe inserting the souls into newborns, or even extracting souls from the dying. His lot in life had found him here though, controlling the swings and it was tiring, draining.

Soul destroying.

He could feel it; a sliver of his very core being chipped away with every to and fro of the dying, with every scream and sharp intake of breath.

With every death.

He hadn’t done anything to deserve this post, this position in life, it was neither reward nor punishment. Things didn’t work like that, not for him, not for his kind. So there was no complaining, no one to complain to. Not that he would; he did his job, over and over, losing more of his soul even though eventually he would be empty and not even their joy would get him by.

When he was empty he would be cast aside like those on the swings and another would take his place.

It was inevitable.

The joy was reaching it’s crescendo.

Reb would not get a last moment like them.

The oxygen was becoming a toxin now, a few coughs could be heard, some were already twitching. The best was over, the end was here. The oxygen was had built up in their systems and were over-whelming their very cells. There was a ripple of panic, dulled by confusion and nausea. Some were sick, some convulsing. Violent and dirty, hands were ripped free of their positions on the chains, blood flowing from their veins and through the air, down – down – down.

They began to fall. Just a few at a time. Bit by bit and the fall was swift as they disappeared into the ether with a howl.

Most fell to sleep; it was strange to see – twitching lips, convulsing arms and legs, the odd snore making it’s way through the shouts and shrieks towards Reb’s booth.

This was it. The end.

A quick flick of his hand and remaining lives were let go, hands torn from the cold metal and their bodies sailing down through the clouds into oblivion. They were done then.

So was Reb.

As they next lot were brought down and placed onto the swings, he sat back in his own chair and closed his eyes, waiting for the ache in his chest to dissipate for another few minutes. He was coming to his own oblivion.

He welcomed it.

“I’d Never Hit A Woman.”

I don’t get Men’s Rights Groups.

Okay, so obviously as a bisexual woman suffering with mental health problems , married to another woman, who is an American and not a full citizen of this country just yet, my rights are somewhat lacking in places, though improving as time goes by. And as crazy bi woman I’m naturally unlikely to understand the needs and the rights these men are lacking by default.

The problem is, that most of these men’s rights groups are formed and populated by men who   are the same guys who will tell you their nice guys because “they’ve never hit a woman” and “never would hit a woman.”

There are so many problems with that way of thinking and I’m not even sure I can get them all across to you without sounding like I’m ranting, but I’ll give it a crack.

Let’s start with the woman part.

Ignoring the sexism in that sentence as a human being, surely, you shouldn’t want to to hit another human being, or shouldn’t have hit another human being. Violence isn’t the answer. As a woman, I would rather you didn’t hit anyone overall, but if you were going to hit someone, I would rather you put me on equal footing with other people who has pissed you off enough to resort to violence. I am weaker than some men, but stronger than others. Same for women. I would just rather have that same consideration – you know – if you have to hit me because you’re that angry with me. That fact that I’m a woman shouldn’t make the difference.

The fact that violence doesn’t help should make the difference.

Okay, so, you would never hit a woman, you never have hit a woman. Good for you, but, they don’t give people awards for not doing something. Say I’ve never committed a crime, my prize is not going to prison. No, it doesn’t work like that. I’ve never broken a window or spray painted a wall. That means I’m not a vandal, but that doesn’t automatically make me a good person.  A nice person. I’ve sworn at people, hit people, lied to people – these things don’t make me a jerk either. Not overall. There are no prizes for not doing something. If there were, I’d have an Oscar for my non appearance in film, a grammy for not singing on an album, and Nobel Peace Prize for never going to Syria and doing nothing about the problems there. I wouldn’t have room in my living for all the awards I’d get for not doing anything.

Not hitting a woman, never going to hit a woman? That doesn’t make you a nice guy.

What makes you a nice guy? Doing good things. Being a good person through your actions, not your inactions.

The other problem I have with Men’s Rights Groups, is well – other than the obvious fact that men have more of the rights that women are looking for – the rights they are fighting for are the wrong rights. There actually areas in life in which men are overlooked. Domestic Violence for example, suicide rates is another. Suicide is one of the biggest killers of men aged 18-35. More women attempted suicide, but more men succeed in killing themselves. These are well known facts. Men find it harder to talk about their depression. Men find it harder to seek help for the mental health problems, they find it harder to seek help with domestic violence problems. Men suffer from post-partum depression, like women do. Unemployed undereducated young men are being forgotten as the people label them work-shy and lazy, when the reality is very different and there few jobs out there for them. They get lost in statistics and ostracised by society the moment they don’t have a job. Even when it’s not their fault. Even when they are trying to get a job. Male rape. Are we doing enough for the male victims are rape as we fight the rape culture for women? Gay men? What about their rights and their place in the world….there are so many things you could be fighting for and what have you chosen? You’ve chosen to fight for your own superiority. For your own selfish power. You’ve chosen to fight for the right to put people down – women and men. Anyone who is different from yourself.

I am a feminist. I am against men’s rights groups, these men are doing nothing for men and for society at all. If these men want to change the world, for the better, for themselves, for men then they are seriously missing the point. You want to be nice? Go help your elderly neighbour do his shopping. Go volunteer for a domestic violence group. Raise some money for a rape crisis centre. Treat women like equals. Like people. Treat people equally. That makes you nice.

Remember it’s your actions and not your inactions that will make a mark on this world and you should chose those actions carefully.

Links to Consider

Worst

I wrote about a time
external to myself
with little in common
we dance upon the death of
the worst of our words.

I can’t dance.
You can’t write.

We never get very far
with nine a piece
I noted, and ready
washed away what was left of
the worst of our words.

I can’t dance.
You can’t write.

Settle in for later
every time I see that book
I shudder than through
the internal we wander over
the worst of our words.

I can’t dance.
You can’t write.

That’s all there was ever time for.

r.l.w