Tag Archives: break ups

Hello. It’s been a year. 

I just wanted you to know that it’s been a year since you went from being my whole world to being just another pin in my atlas. And I’m doing fine, the chords running through my life are now laced with gold, not soot. 

It’s been a year and I hope you’re okay, and that you’ve been able to scrape the ash off your hands. 

I hope you rediscovered your softness. 

I hope when you think of me, that your thoughts have no sharp edges. 


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A letter to my 19 year old self


Source: worldfiled.tumblr.com

Hello my darling,

I know you’re tired. Look at you, you’ve had the marrow sucked out of you by a parasitic force, you’ve spent 5 months trying to piece yourself together and you’re exhausted. My God you’re exhausted, but honey, you’re also so beautiful.

You are so much more than those nights you spent clinging on to a relationship that only gave you grief from the beginning. Remember how you’d run after his chaotic emotions, trying to make sense of the dark corner he stuffed you in? Remember the nights you spent in his bed, your knees tucked to your chest, your skinny frame shivering in his t-shirt, waiting for him to start making sense? Remember sneaking out of your house at 2am to race across the road and climb through his window, because you felt guilty for how much you thought you needed his embrace?

Sweetheart. He’s not the one. I know you think he is. I know he’s got you trapped in the toxic little universe he’s structured around your insecurities. I know you think you’re going to stay with him forever, that you’re going to get your degree and he is going to get a job and maybe he’ll stop freaking out if you forget to text him and he’ll let you go out with your friends every once in a while and maybe he’ll stop yelling. Maybe, maybe, maybe, he’ll stop yelling and shooting wine glasses with metal BB bullets and standing over you as the shards slip through your scarred hands. Maybe he’ll stop blaming you for everything that’s out of your control. Maybe you’ll stay with him forever and you’ll be happy because he’s got you convinced that no one else could possibly love someone as strange and as wild as you. Maybe he’ll stop yelling.

He’s not it my love. You know he isn’t. You know that with every icy word, every bite of his temper, every snarl in your direction that you’ll just get smaller and smaller. You know if you carry on you’re going to disappear. Rip out his claws honey, rip them out of your skin and start running, because your flame can only grow brighter from here.

You are going to burn all of the empty letters he ever left on your bed. You are going to start a mini bonfire in a tin can in your garden and you are going to belly laugh wildly and dance around the carcass that was the past 5 months of your life. You are going to kiss your scars and run your feet raw as you tear down boulevards. You are never going to be afraid to raise your voice ever again.

You are going to beat your pillow with a hockey stick until all the rage and regret  that he spoon fed you, explodes in a flurry of feathers and relief. You are going to change all the locks to your heart and then spend the next 2 years simply loving yourself. You are going to snip away at every single toxic relationship that eats into your spirit until the only people who are left are the ones that carry you to bed and bundle you up when you cry. Prepare to have your face stroked and your soul held and your forehead kissed my darling; prepare to feel confused and tentative about all these gentle gestures – I know it feels foreign, but this is what you need and deserve.

Then prepare to have the breath knocked out of you by someone who exudes sunlight and warmth.

I know you think you deserve locked doors and acidic words, it’s going to take a while for you to break that cycle. But when you finally do, when you finally look up and realise your own electric disposition, you are going to free fall into the arms of someone who makes your entire body burn.

He is going to take you to parties and introduce you to fellow wild things. He’s going to take you onto rooftops and sit and listen while you animatedly chat about everything important to you. He’s going to let you bury your face in his chest while he strokes your hair and tells you that he is never going to contain your spirit or lock up your happiness. He is going to look at you like maybe you are magic, and he’s going to pour golden words down your throat.

And you, my love, you are going to realise that the people who try to extinguish your flame are the ones who don’t deserve any of your warmth.

You will detonate into a plethora of water-colours and wild flowers.

I love you with all my heart.


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Break-up Season and The Art of Being Perpetually Single.

Source: weheartit.com

It’s September and with it comes along one of my favourite seasons; no you over – enamoured festival girls with your flower crowns and misappropriated Native American headdresses, it is not Spring. It’s break up season.

Aaah, break up season. The undefined amount of time when couples decide they need to start making alternative arrangements for New Years. It’s either that or the pollen has some kind of effect on assholes revealing their true colours. Either way, in breakup season my status as the perpetually single, professional third wheel is promoted to veteran. I become the newly single girl’s independence guru and it’s my favourite thing.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again- I have been cursed with experience. As my mother once aptly introduced me “this is Harriet, she has the WORST taste in men”. Right you are Lori, and don’t I know it. A miriad of philanderers, future strippers, batshit rockstars and one rather questionable character armed with a pair of roller blades and a spiked collar have come my way; and, because I like a good story, because I appreciate it when my life takes a turn for the bizarre- I give them the time of day.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me pretty good at getting rid of weirdos. In my experience, there’s two ways break up season can happen to you;

1. You cry, you ugly cry. You end up looking like Kim K eating a salad, or just Kim K crying. You binge on something – be it food, cheap box wine or love quotes on pinterest, you fill your void with something other than that person. I voice note my friend Chris at ridiculous hours of the morning after watching Pride and Prejudice for the third time and sobbing because Mr Darcy is the perfect ratio of socially awkward to adorable. Chris is a real trooper. Hi Chris!

2. You get over it quickly. You never liked them that much anyway. I always get a drastic haircut after a breakup, one time all I got was my nails done. It’s all relative, it depends on whether you’ve acknowledged yet that you deserve more than locked doors and explosive words. It’s about whether or not you’ve given away so much of yourself already that no fucks can be given. That’s cool, your favourite kind of no should be no fucks!

Once you’ve reached this Land of NSource: weheartit.comope, it gets easier, it gets interesting. The Land of Nope is my favourite place in the entire world – it’s the land of tequila and nachos, incredulity and cynicism. All hail the Land of Nope!

One of my best friends is going through break up season. She’s acknowledged that a relationship isn’t worth it if the other person doesn’t make an effort to make her feel safe, or special. She’s figured out that although it’s nice to have someone to cover her eyes during a horror film, it feels even better to have the strength and sense of self – preservation to walk away from her own. I love her for it, I think she’s so brave. I acknowledge how terrifying being alone can be- you don’t want to go back to pub crawls and batting off club goblins. Being single sounds like the worst thing right now, but let me tell you kids something from your friendly neighbourhood future cat lady: being single lets you be selfish, and sometimes you need to be selfish to figure out who you are and what you want.

October marks a year since the last break up I was an active participant in. After being single for almost a year you figure out some things:

1. Sweatpants are my best friends. My other best friend regularly jokes about how when I go out I make an effort, yet when I come to campus then everyone is forced to deal with the wild beast that is my naked face and unbrushed hair. I don’t care, because sweatpants are my best friends and you can’t deny the kind of love they wrap you in at 3 o clock on a Saturday afternoon, surrounded by empty pizza boxes and watching Adventure Time. Sweatpants are love, sweatpants are life.

2. You don’t need a significant other to make you feel important. You don’t need someone tracing the outline of your lips every night to feel heard. There are people in your life who will still be able to tell how your feeling from a single flinch. Chris has my hangover routine memorised, he has no need for it, but it’s nice to know that when I order chicken chow mein and spring rolls from Kung fu kitchen and then lie in bed watching Archer for the rest of the day, that there’s someone on the other end of the phone just as concerned about my liver as I am.

3. Freedom is the gift that keeps on giving. Once your tear ducts dry up, once your chest feels a little lighter and you’ve reached the Land Nope and No Fucks, you will start to smell the sweet scent of liberation, my friend. Turn off your phone, go exploring for a few hours, spontaneously kiss a stranger – or don’t, because germs are a thing; whatever you do it can remain unjustified. You never have to explain a single thing to anyone ever- you are a sentient human being who deserves to be wild.

4. You learn to love yourself; and kid, you gotta learn. Every stretch – mark, every split end, every out of place freckle. You can’t lay the burden of self – appreciation on anyone else but you, and once you learn to stand by yourself, once you establish that you are strong enough to be able to walk away from any relationship at any time, you will understand why none of your previous love affairs worked.

Breakup season sucks, for everyone, even experienced wise sages like myself. But the journey to occasional loneliness is worth it, my god it’s worth it.

Bring on the tequila and the nachos. I feel a one – man movie marathon coming on.

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Maybe People Will Actually Start Believing It.

I have this incredible talent for choosing appropriate times to screw up, often right before I go on holiday. I leave Pretoria the day after I make the mistake and come back 3 weeks later hoping that I won’t be reminded of my previous miscalculation. It never works. As I trudge down the boulevards, hands clenched in pockets, dorky backpack slung over my back, I am forced to recall every single dumb thing I’ve done leading up to this moment. I’ll take my keys out, unlock the front gate, step over the line between oblivion and recognition and then stew in my own stupidity for a good several moments. I’ll pause a bit in front of a certain patch of wall, feeling the blank space mock me for thinking I could disappear for a while and come back a completely different person. My room will smell like disappointment and look exactly how I left it: in a slight state of disarray, mirroring my tumultuous mind.

This time there is a collection of lost objects shivering on my doorstep. Tokens of an unfortunately unforgettable party that have found their way back to me. Carried by the ebb and flow of people dropping things at my door; lonely socks and house keys, items I forgot in my haste to run away.

I close my door against the cold and slide down it, back pressed against reality. Maybe if I draw my curtains, lock myself away and pretend I don’t exist for a bit then people will actually start believing it. No, that’s stupid. If life was that easy to ignore we’d all be doing it.

I think I’ll simply have to get off the bedroom floor, my companion through lonely nights and deep conversations. I’ll have to stand up, stretch, promise myself autonomy from my mistakes and then pretend I’m not a substitute person until people actually start believing it.

After all, I’m just a lost kid, in a slouchy beanie, trying to figure out how the fuck I’m supposed to behave.

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I’m not a hand-me-down.

flowersSitting on my bed wiping angry tears away over someone who doesn’t even deserve a single drop of emotion in his direction. I’ve shoved my phone under my mattress so I don’t take my intensity out on anyone, especially not him. That’s the price you have to pay when you make yourself so readily transparent, just one puncture to the heart and everything goes dark.

I’ve been listening to the same Go Radio song for weeks. Staring out train windows, lying on my bedroom floor, sipping tea at 2 o’clock in the morning, I have those lyrics on repeat.

Cause I’ve been trying way too long to try and be the perfect song. When our hearts are heavy burdens we shouldn’t have to bear alone.”

I’m sitting on my bed crying my eyes out over someone who is so oblivious to everything and everyone except his own existential crisis. He hasn’t figured out that I’ve spent months, maybe years, trying to find excuses to talk to him, planning things for him to come to, applying every single beautiful, heart-wrenching song lyric to his face. I’m sitting on my bed crying over somebody who should be nobody.

Then I get a knock on my door. I open it to find the guys I live with, yelling the stupid nickname they’ve given me, begging me to come admire how nicely they’ve cleaned up the house for the party we’re having. If they noticed my puffy eyes, they ignored it, they just grabbed me by the shoulders, steered me towards sunshine and ask for my approval on their handy work.

That’s when it hits me. How easily two goofballs can stop my hysterics, simply because they want me in their lives. They plan things with me, talk to me when they feel like it, play songs with me during late night kitchen sessions. I have so many people in my life who plant flowers in my lungs instead of burning them to the ground, I have a best friend who messages me in the middle of his hospital rounds to tell me it’s going to be okay (shout out to Chris!), I have another one who phones me at 4 o’clock in the morning to include me in tales of her nights out, there are people out there who actually give a damn about whether I get out of bed in the morning or not.

I have people. I don’t need anyone else. I don’t need shadows. I don’t need difficult. I don’t need you.

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We were desperate, and we were triumphant.

Last week I decided to trade my cave of uncapped WiFi and tracksuit pants for a night out at one of my university’s local grimy bars. This one in particular plays rock music and encourages table dancing and general unruly behaviour, it’s also been the location of some pretty radical stories. I went out last week particularly to numb the growing feeling of frustration and boredom that has been creeping up on me since April. It worked to some extent, I came tearing into my room at 2:30 in the morning, grabbed a pen and wrote in my journal until I had nothing left to say. I know more than anyone how fickle inspiration can be when neglected, inspiration struck and what I had to say was this:

I went out tonight. I went out because I needed it, because quiz night seemed like something I could win at. Because I wanted to yell and beat my fists on a table like a barbarian. I wanted to prove I could use the useless information in my head. I wanted a win.

I didn’t win. It was okay because I drowned myself in liquor instead. I stomped my feet on the beaten table; swaying, gyrating, losing my troubles in songs I only vaguely recognised. It was hellish paradise, surrounded by pierced thugs and drifting wallflowers. We were the misfit toys- desperate for love, for life, for balance. We found unity in the dingy corners of a grimy university bar, and we were triumphant.

I saw him dancing. He looked like someone I had to force myself not to message and he was taller as well. We danced and had our first conversation using body language and eye contact, our second was more refined- sitting in the cold discussing philosophy and poetry. Suddenly I felt like I was dabbling with a nightmare long past; except his eyes were kinder and his movements less demanding. He wanted to listen. He drank up every syllable I stumbled over like he couldn’t get enough of the rough draft that was me. It was textbook seduction: he slow danced with me under the early winter open sky and then kissed me precious.

And I felt…nothing.

There was no spark, no puddle, no mind-numbing happiness. I was dead from the heart outwards.

What are you doing with your life Harriet?”

I don’t know”

I was numb. Incapable of human emotion, lost again in the whirr of self-doubt and dispassionate thoughts.

He brushed the hair from my face and asked me what I was thinking.

You can’t really explain an internal pep-talk.

“You are a shell of a human being, trying to fill yourself with someone else’s heavy heart. And I hope some day you find your abandoned passion because you can not keep giving away something we don’t have.”


Filed under Romance or something like it

How It Feels To Be Recklessly Blatant.

I’ve always been a firm believer in the double text.

Anyone who messages me knows I like writing paragraphs and I love sending them one-after-the-other so the person I’m talking to is forced to read an entire essay before they can figure out exactly what I’m going on about. In essence: I text the way I write. I like to think I also live the way I write: no secrets, no shame, just a bunch of words strung together and bleeding on the page.

I’ve never been good at playing mind games. I can remember a certain night in first year when I came running home after a party-burning up with the idea that the guy I’d just danced with would call me or something like that. He didn’t, and I was told that I was too eager, too available and that I needed to learn the art of “Mind-fucking”.

I never mastered the art, nor did I particularly want to. There’s something incredible about being so raw. Maybe I’m a glorified thrill-chaser, or just a girl on a constant search for a good story to tell. All I know is that when I strip myself down, relinquish control and let my pulse beat out my emotions, I feel wholly human.

The best feeling in the world is when you’re dancing to the sound of an unexpected cello, your heart makes an indent in your rib cage and you finally feel complete with humanity. That’s how it feels to be recklessly blatant.

I love being horribly straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages (because how reckless can a form of digitized communication be?) and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, Kiss me harder, and You’re a good person, and, You brighten my day. I live my life as straight-forward as possible.

Because one day, I might get hit by a bus.

Maybe it’s weird. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe it seems downright impossible to just be—to just let people know you want them, need them, feel like, in this very moment, you will die if you do not see them, hold them, touch them in some way whether its your feet on their thighs on the couch or your tongue in their mouth or your heart in their hands.

But there is nothing more beautiful than being desperate.

And there is nothing more risky than pretending not to care.

We are young and we are human and we are beautiful and we are not as in control as we think we are. We never know who needs us back. We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans.

We never know when the bus is coming.”

—Rachel C. Lewis, Tell The People You Love That You Love Them

I know I may be Too Much, I know transparency scares a lot of people, I know sometimes I burn too hot to handle. I know that if I don’t place stones around my heart I run the risk of wearing it out.

But I also know that you can’t truly win people over by mind-fucking them- because humans prefer being nakedly adored than secretly manipulated.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop brazenly caring.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop double-texting.

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