This was written the weekend after my trip to Mersea Island.
The day before I went back to London.
I had a slight unintentional relapse.
I think relapses happen when you have one foot in the future and one foot stuck in a bit of the past that you need to heal.
The tricky thing about recovery is a lot of the time, you don’t know what you’re recovering from.
It takes movement to figure it out.
Today is an empty day.
It wasn’t supposed to be.
This week, I’ve realised that there’s a lot of trauma surrounding ‘home’ that I need to heal.
That is the main thing that has caused me to be the way that I am.
Every time I ran away, or did something self destructive, or got involved with somebody I shouldn’t have- it was because I was triggered by something which made me think about ‘home’.
I’m doing well during the week, because where I live is just the place I come back to after being at work all day. My room is cosy, I can paint, I can fill an evening by hula hooping or exercising or going out with a friend. I don’t have to think about it, it’s just where I sleep.
The weekends are a different story.
I find it hard to be here. It’s very lonely. Very empty. Filled with memories that I’m tired of having play on a loop.
I went to my mum’s after work yesterday. It was a Friday, I wanted to be out of the house.
If I’m being honest I’ve been avoiding going to Mums for a while, but today I had nowhere else to go.
It was my sister’s sixth form prom and it was my stepdads birthday, I began drinking with my sister as she prepared for her night. I thought ‘what’s the harm? I really enjoyed it last week, and there’s nothing else to do’.
Once I started drinking I wasn’t about to stop.
There’s nothing else to do you see.
So my lord I drank. Of course I did, it’s what we do.
At around 11 I decided I’d better be getting home. The streetlights will go out soon, I’ve drank the bottle of wine, the remnants of the gin, and the leftover vodka; and there’s old cigarettes back at the house from the last time I did this.
I staggered home listening to Elastic Heart by Sia (which I have been listening to and watching all week) and watching the cars go past, drunkenly smiling at each one.
I walked through the door, I took my washing off the line, I put it all away in my wardrobe. I poured myself a pint of water with the knowledge that I’ll wake up at 5am with a dry mouth and a cramping stomach from lack of eating, and I sat on my windowsill listening to music until 10 minutes went by, I couldn’t see anymore, and it was time to pass out.
All very regimented and I felt all very weak.
I vaguely recall having dreams of a family member dying. I also dreamt that I received a text from someone I’ve grown frightened to hear from.
For some reason, I can’t run from things that people find so easy to repress. Even when drunk.
When I woke for the final time that day, at around 10am, my head was filled with all the hurtful words that had been spoken to me by a particular person over the years. I often wake up with a song in my head, which is strange but cool. This morning, I could physically hear the insults they threw at me ringing in through head, the way I would hear a song that got stuck. I could hear all the things they said was wrong with me. All the good things I’m not.
Usually if I’m woken by a memory like that, I would get angry.
If this were an occasion like any other where I followed this routine, I would have been filled with a rage that set me out wanting to hurt them.
Wanting to work, show the world that I’m doing better, show the world that I always win. Show the world that you can’t cross me and walk away unwounded.
But I couldn’t do that today. That’s not really who I am anymore. I’m not really the type of ‘troubled’ character that does this anymore.
I’m the transitioning grown up who admires gentleness, grace, strength, and integrity. That’s what feels natural to me now. This whole wounded warrior thing, not my style anymore. I’m becoming the woman that I needed when I was younger.
I’m not that angry, clunky person anymore, and for the first time, I mean that. I feel softer today. Like I have the capacity to be hurt and not do anything about it. What am I doing?
I relapsed. I did what I always used to do.
I hate not having the power to be in a new reality.
I just felt lonely, helpless, fragile, and not at all myself. So I did what all artists and actors in music videos do. I had a shower, and concluded my morning by crying on the bathroom floor.
I picked myself up and I began to write this completely depressing monologue to pull myself together.
This is just a relapse. This is just a story. This is the end of a pattern.
I have a lot to do, and I have places that I need to go. Nobody is doing it for me.
When I have that feeling of ache, I have to move.
Thankfully my friend Dez was about, and the day fell into place.
I’m writing about this because I want to explain why publishing a ‘diary’ is something I feel called to do. I’m writing about Dez because she silently encouraged me to open up.
The ‘theme’ of this day is relapse I guess, which is funny because Dez became my friend when this kind of thing was my normal. Waking up real sad, running away somewhere, drinking a lot because there was nothing else to do, and repeating. Living like I was in the fucking music video to ‘stay high’ by tove lo. (cracking song tho).
It’s funny how certain people from the past pop back into your life when you’re needing to revisit it.
I never really thought much about our friendship until today.
It was strange to see things from outside of my body.
Whenever I’m with Dez, I’ve been quiet, which she has always found odd. Like a juxtaposition seeing as I become so loud in the company of other people.
She noticed that I wasn’t okay. Which is rare. It’s rare that people you don’t even know can tell that something is up.
She always knew that I was hiding something, she always knew that there was something eating at me. I just thought ‘this is who I am’.
I never told people that I was hurting.
In the summer we went to Latitude together. I was dealing with a lot back then, things that I’m only now recovering from.
I was hard as nails because I was hurting from things I couldn’t communicate. It made me difficult to be around. I’d just been threatened to be kicked out, I’d boxed my room up ready to move out, but I had nowhere to go. Meanwhile I was helping my mum move into her new home. I don’t have a room there. I’d just left behind all the ‘friends’ that I lived with for 4 months. I was speaking to someone who treated me like shit, wouldn’t see me unless it was for sex and they were on coke, demanded nudes every time we spoke, and fucked someone else while on holiday.
I just kept going.
I’m sorry. I’m so sorry that I did that. I didn’t know how to fix it.
I was dealing with humiliation, rejection, disassociation, delusion, insecurity, trauma.
A weight on my back.
But the show must go on.
Latitude was odd for me, I played the clown in a group but there were times that I was back at the tent by myself playing it off like I was tired, because I needed a minute to cry. I didn’t know why. I was pretty out of it all weekend, I got by with a lot of weed and alcohol, and company. My Meryl Streep like performance worked on everyone else but Dez.
Looking back it must have been so obvious to her that I was being strange.
She reminded me today that during one act on the second to last day of Latitude, we were watching The Killers play Human. She looked over at me and I was crying, so she asked if I was okay and I got defensive. ‘Fine thanks :)’. She tried to give me a hug and I smiled and kind of patted her away.
I never meant to be so cold. I was just trying to not let on that something was wrong. If people knew I wasn’t okay then it meant I had to admit defeat.
On the last day I passed out during Alt-J because I hadn’t eaten all weekend, and it was hot and my little 5ft 2 structure gave out.
We laughed it off in a group but at one point I looked over at Dez and her smile cracked a little. She always knew.
I didn’t see her for months. I avoided it. She knew something was up.
I gave her my job at the cafe when I left and that was the first time I saw her since. I was still cold back then and conversation was empty. Full of ‘how’s the band?’, talking about memories we had of the people we used to hang out with, talking about work.
There was something unspoken that I wasn’t willing to address.
Lots of nodding and trailing off sentences by going ‘aah isn’t it funny’.
Dez has never really been able to get to know me. I wasn’t ready.
Today I was ready.
We walked about and I could see myself from outside of my body just being… awful.
She had come to keep me company and be outside with me and I was so quiet, so emotionless, so fucking shit. Such a downer.
She has been so loyal and patient and willing to give me the time of day. So willing to see that there is more here than just a massive bitch.
I didn’t want to do that ‘cold’ thing anymore.
We were having a coffee, and I said to her ‘I’m sorry. I feel sad. Maybe it’s the hangover’.
She looked at me and just said ‘Maybe. Are you sure?’
I just told her everything.
I told her about how I’d been hurting this whole time, I told her about why. I told her about all the changes, my mental health, the secrets I’d been keeping about why i am the way I am, the secrets I’d been keeping about why I don’t go near certain subjects or talk about certain people.
I told her everything.
She just fucking listened. And she didn’t judge me, or look at me funny, or appear uncomfortable. She didn’t talk over me or tell me to shut up. She just looked at me with soft eyes, her hands hugging her mug of coffee looking like a really comforting motherly type of figure.
Once I’d finished, she responded to some things I said she gave me some words of comfort.
‘Those who have everything handed to them are the unhappiest people, because they are the most unfulfilled.’
‘Just because other people are accompanied, does not mean they are any happier than you’.
Things I’d been saying to people in my ‘life coaching’ all these years but had never had resonate with myself.
She told me that she always knew. She always thought something was wrong because of how much I invested myself in helping other people heal. It was like I was running from myself, just being a martyr so that I didn’t have to look at my own sadness. Putting so much pressure on myself to make other people happy.
At that moment, the busker behind us started playing Bob Marley ‘every little thing is going to be alright’, and I cried.
I cried in front of a person. I haven’t done that in years.
We went to a park and I talked more about everything, and I thanked her for being so patient and understanding and for never pressuring me.
I felt relief, with a tinge of guilt, but mostly just complete gratitude.
I’d been running from a person and pushing somebody away who just wanted friendship.
I’d been rejecting her bubbliness and her energy and her lack of shame because I was dim in comparison. If I just were to let her in, I could have seen the light.
I’m ready to be new. I’m ready to dance again. I’m ready to have everything out on the table with nothing that anybody can hold against me. So nobody will be able to tell me that I’m embarrassing myself for being genuine and being filled with good intent, so that nobody can hurt me, or stifle me, or cage me within myself.
The truth sets you free.
And that’s why I’m doing this diary thing.
For one, this is the most liberating thing I have ever done. No secrets. It affirms to me that I’m a new person. I get to document my journey.
In my future, however it may look, I want it to be built on the basis that I don’t need to hide anything.
Secondly, it gives people a part of me that they can relate to. They can do whatever they want with it. It’s like art, isn’t it? Recovery. The most generous thing you can give people is truth; who you truly are.
I’ve drafted several paragraphs to try and sum up what today highlighted to me, but Dr Seuss said it better. Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.
I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be little miss cool girl.
If I had a life where there was stability, and comfort, and a loving home that became a sanctuary; I’d be calm too. I’d be easier to be around. But I wouldn’t be strong, or determined, or bulletproof and I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be quite so proud.
So it’s okay.
I just have to keep going.