Tag Archives: People

A letter to my 19 year old self

hands

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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Romanticising other things.

snow

Source: weheartit.com

I haven’t written anything on here in over 2 months.

I totally get that these moments of total writer’s block happen from time to time. I’m only human, my brain can only spew out so many melodramatic metaphors before it gets tired of itself. There’s only so many cliches I can avoid before I become a walking one.

I’m not sure why it’s been so long. I’ve been writing things down, obviously. Disappointed little scribbles in my journal. At one point I experimented and wrote out an entire paragraph whilst under the influence – there was a lot of wiggles and a lot of pent up angst, wow.

I lost my muse…well, my muse lost me. So I’ve had to kind of learn to romanticise other things – like the suffocating smell of festival toilets and the feeling of new socks on cold feet. But over my brief hiatus from publishing anything on my favourite corner of the internet, I’ve managed to write down a few short little blurbs.

So here it is; Harriet’s random 2am/ every day thoughts: an anthology.

On places I’d rather avoid:

“I equate places with feelings. And if it were up to me, the train station where I last saw you would be simultaneously the favourite and most despised place in my entire world.”

In an email from my grandmother:

“I went to New York when I was 20 to see if it was any different from Nottinghamshire. If it was the same, I could always come back and settle down. Instead I found your grandfather and no, New York was not the same as Notts.”

I went to the edge and found you.

On weekends that turn into melodramatic moments:

“It’s almost tomorrow and I don’t want to go home.

Ever have one of those weekends? The spell-binding, soul-searching, over-the-moon kind of weekend? I am at the end of one and I’ve got this sinking feeling that I’ll never feel something so definite, so completely euphoric. I feel my youth creeping up on me, I can feel the fire start in my heart and I can feel my toes curl as I yearn for moments that last.

I don’t want to stop being 21. I want nights that beat the sun and glowing embers that don’t know how to die.

I want to carry on living this spontaneously forever.

It’s almost tomorrow and I don’t want to go home.”

“I’ve had a weekend.

A destructive, ridiculous, incredible weekend; filled with sobbing and catchphrases and loving people despite it all.”

shhh

Source: weheartit.com

On people who don’t know how to stay:

“I can’t blame you for walking away. How can I possibly? We both know I burn too brightly to be extinguished. There’s a ‘no vacancy’ sign just for you hanging over my vibrant, unbelievable, explosive life.”

“Because our entire existence was me trying to hold on to what you used to be, and you trying to show me how much you’ve changed.”

“I hope when you retell our story, you describe me as ‘the girl who screamed poetry at you when you told her to run, even though she was never yours to walk away from.'”

“I’m glad you’ve found ways to smother your grief for humanity, but don’t you dare do it at my expense.”

On what they never taught me in school:

“In 5th grade English class they told us to write down everything with as much detail as possible. They told us that parts of speech were imperative, adjectives meant something.

They never told us that, in reality, adjectives are just as superficial as their intentions. And some people will say anything just to gain a piece of your soul.”

On how much can change over several months:

“I am not the person I was last November. I am nowhere near the girl who blushed electric at your empty cosmic promises.

I am not who I was last November. I got ripped from that body by circumstance and change. I got pummeled into this shape by disappointment. I am not who I was last November.

I am not last November. I haven’t written poetry in months. I don’t believe in shutting out the world any more, I let the cold seep in to wake me up and chill my bones.

I am not who I was last November. I am not a Mississippi sunset, I am not burning up as I race down a wooden dock towards you. I am not superlunary, I am not yours.

I am not who I was last November. I have run out of time; you wasted it. You, and all those after you. I have run out of time and sand and clock hands.

I am not who I was last November. I have an iron soul that can’t be thawed and eyes that flash sunlight. I will burn you up. I will make you miss me. I will drive you insane, kiss you catatonic and then leave you to combust.

Because I am not who I was last November. I am not who you pretended to love. I am not even myself.”

On how much better everything has turned out to be:

“If I end up living a life that is anything short of vibrant, I won’t survive. Tonight I braided a man’s hair whilst sitting on the floor of a bar. I drove around my neighbourhood yelling promises at strangers, I kissed my friends goodnight and flopped onto my bed. I am blissfully surprised at how wonderful everything has turned out to be.”

The bit about festival toilets:

“There’s nothing more carnal or cathartic than finally having a poo in a festival porter-loo.”

And despite all these ridiculous metaphors, here is my final WTF moment:

“Squeaky swings sound like children screaming.”

(What the fuck, Harriet?)

Think of this as a farewell to all the moody posts about something that is now a nothing.

There you have it. The sneakiest peak into my drafts folder.

Not much else to say, except goodbye.

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Kid, you gotta love yourself.

face

source: weheartit.com

I got to spend time with one of my favourite people this January which is significant as we’re currently averaging on seeing eachother every 700 days. The distance between Canada and South Africa is a bit awkward for visits to be more frequent, so we make do with the time we have.

We met on his 15th birthday, I was 14 and obsessed with side-fringes, converse sneakers and bright skinny jeans. I thought jumping off a golf cart would look super cool and ended up with a spectacular face plant to leave a lasting impression. He has therefore essentially seen me at my worst and most embarrassing- it’s been 6 years of tripping over my own feet, running head-first into fire places, acquiring various black eyes and dropping a number of objects he has chucked at me to realise that not a lot of people have seen the parts of me that he has.

When I was 17, I got to spend almost 2 weeks with him in Kenya. It was 10 days of constant exposure to the pros and cons of a particular human being. We both learned the colours of each other’s anger, we spent a full day in the hot sun after getting half an hour of sleep and by the end of it were bickering more than usual, we spoke about our respective futures like they weren’t right around the corner and some days when we ran out of topics of conversation, we’d sit in silence until the things we desperately wanted to say came bursting out of us.

We had such a moment this week. It was hot and we had stopped talking for a bit. He was lounging on the couch that I had my back pressed against and I was feeling rather conflicted about the emotions that were running rampant in my chest. He looked at me like he knew what I was thinking, I stared back, trying to figure out how to phrase my crazy.

“Do you think that someone can wake up one day and just stop missing you?”

He gave me a skeptical look, a constant calculation shooting off in his head, I’d told him about everything that’s happened and how I’m still trying to figure out where I fit, he knows me well enough to say the right things. So he leaned over and flicked the bottom of my chin before stretching back and uttering this resonating statement:

“You don’t need to be missed Harriet. You have to learn to be autonomously happy, regardless of whether you are missed. You can’t tear yourself apart being emotionally dependent on anyone.”

He knows me. God, he knows me. He knows how easily I leap into my emotions like they haven’t let me down before, he knows how I feel about effort, how desperately I cling to any hint of romanticism. It’s been 6 years and countless mistakes and so many letters home trying to figure out why I like my life to be filled with intensity- and the man summed up what I needed to hear in 3 succinct sentences.

I do not need to be missed.

I need to have autonomous happiness.

I can’t afford to tear myself apart.

I can’t afford to tear myself apart.

 

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A letter to you about the universe I almost suffocated in.

universeHi,

It’s been a while. Not since we talked but since we’ve had a non-superficial conversation about how we feel, or used to feel. The last time was standing in a drunken courtyard and I was looking up at you trying to remember what your lips felt like. You said “sorry” for forgetting me the way you did, for not replying, for treating my heart like a rugby ball and I swear I almost forgave you. Almost.

There’s a lot in that almost, a lot of what you did and said, how you suddenly stopped and left me with screaming feelings and unspoken words. I spent months trying to wrap my head around the enigma of you, how intangible you turned out to be, how broken you could make me feel. I’ve never been enough, I’ll never be enough. You were more than enough- you were sunlight and darkness and happiness and despair, you still make me feel like the best and worst person on the planet. Brush my skin, stroke my hair, look at me. Look at me, I dare you, there it is-the universe, the sick, dark universe that you can conjure up with one nod in my direction. It’s frightening. I hate it. It’s like my feet still point towards you, I still wish I could bump into you and feel that confusion all over again, but it’s not healthy, it’s not even exnice.

I heard about her; actually you told me. You felt about her the same way I wish you’d felt about me. She got beautiful pictures and sincere promises of forever. You did everything you could to hold her tears in your hands and then kiss them away. She was enough, more than enough and you were happy. She probably made you feel like a king and a wreck at the same time until one day she got tired and she stopped replying, started forgetting and then she threw your heart across a field so it could shatter in pieces.

I’m so happy for you. I’m so happy for every tragic word you howled, every suppressed moment of heartbreak you’ve had to control. I’m sure your heart feels like it’s about to claw it’s way out of your chest and start sobbing with every beat. I am so happy you’ve been destroyed, because the next time you torment a girl with the universe you won’t be so quick to watch her drown in it.

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Filed under Brain Poetry, Romance or something like it

I am cursed and blessed with feeling everything so intensely.

large“Can you see me? All of me? Probably not. No one ever really has.” -Jeffery Eugenides

I’m currently on a strange journey of self-reflection. I think it’s healthy to indulge in such things every once in a while.

I like turning off all the lights in my bedroom, lying on the floor and thinking about my place in the universe; how I’m supposed to impact the world and the people around me, how I expect myself to behave in certain situations and wishing I could behave differently in others. Lying on the floor probably has some deep poetic meaning behind it that I’ll come up with at a later stage when I want to make my life seem more like a novel, but really I just like the feeling of a different perspective and how worn the carpet feels under my fingers.It’s as if people other than me have lain down on that exact spot and felt as misunderstood as I do.

p

That’s the teenage angst talking. I think I’m more ordinary than I think I am. There are probably millions of 19 year old feelings out there who lie on their backs and cry over songs and carpets. It’s an unspoken rite of passage.

Tonight I’m lying on the floor and thinking about a conversation.

“You thought quite deeply about that” he remarked

I pause, “I think about everything deeply.”

I haven’t decided yet if I like this about myself. Often it feels like I live in a world where showing emotions is a weakness and yet the very core of my being demands to feel. This makes me too emotional, too insane, too passionate. Nothing I do or say is meaningless, in this fast-paced, cold Earth I don’t believe in brevity or being numb. I agonise and overthink every misplaced semi-colon, every pause in a sentence, someone’s tone of voice and the underlying intention of their actions. I am cursed and blessed with feeling everything so intensely.

That, in a nutshell, is what I am lying on my bedroom floor thinking about.

Can you see me yet?

No?

You probably glanced over me, heard how I talk about things like they’re incredibly important, noticed how I like to burst into people’s lives with poetry and how I force them to have feelings or how I pry something beautiful from their mouths. I like soul searching, I like learning how dark the deepest parts of people’s souls are and then adding some light to it. You probably skimmed over all this and decided I’m crazy. I’m not crazy, I just think too deeply.

I look for people who see at least some parts of me, who look past the superficial, who want to sweep away my inner cobwebs and let in a little sunshine. I look for people who don’t ask me my favourite colour or my favourite food; they ask me if I had an imaginary friend, ask me what my biggest regret is, figure out what makes me sad and the things I’d change in the world if only I could.

These are questions I ask myself when I’m listening to Youngblood Hawke and trying to figure out who the fuck I want to be when I grow up.

When I grow up I want to be understood.

k

 

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Blue collar white noise.

perfectIt’s called “effort”; and I think I believe in it’s existence too much.

It’s not driving 3 blocks to trace the outline of my roommates or going Dutch on an overpriced cupcake.Effort is not 2-syllable answers.It’s not receiving intercepted kisses or partaking in empty apologies.

Slut-calling, drunk-texting, teeth-clashing, blatant flirting. None of it is real, none of it has feeling.

It’s just noise. Blue collar, white noise.

sweet

Effort is 11 pm rapping and Frank Ocean warbling. Effort is flying 5 hours to see your favourite person and then sobbing into stripes on the way home. It isn’t space, it doesn’t give up after 6 months. Effort is face-to-face conflict, it’s fighting about honesty, it’s hugging on the floor of a club, it’s phoning someone you used to hate, it’s music-swapping, beautiful, incredible, impossible effort.

And I want someone to look at me. Look at me and take in all my flaws, all my quirks, every single freckle on my face and every time I wrinkle my nose or smirk. Every time I stumble over a nervous word, every time I spill food, every time I hunch my shoulders.

I want them to study me in my entirety and make an effort.

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The Pretoria Chronicles: The Closet Racist/Compulsive Smiler Who Lives Next Door.

racism2

I’m back home in Johannesburg for a week with a borderline head cold and an almost empty house at my disposal. It’s a nice change from my shrieking commune of girls as my only visitor so far has been my maid knocking on my door asking where the other halves of my mismatched socks are. Silly Peggy, I haven’t owned a pair of matching socks for years, they’re far too hard to keep track of.

The eerie thing about home is its normality. My family is incredibly bizarre, I won’t lie about that. Between a brother who dresses like he’s in the steam punk/Victorian era and a grandmother who blames everything on race, tattoos, delinquents and the government my life pre-varsity has hardly been uneventful.

It just hasn’t been as eventful as this past quarter of school has been.

I never got around to explaining about our closet racist neighbour, I’ll call him Pik Botha for the sake of protecting his identity and avoiding a lawsuit.

Pik Botha is the cousin of one of my roommates and is studying Theology at our University. He can be seen, without fail in khaki shorts, brown strap on sports- sandals and a two-toned button up brown shirt. Pik Botha also has a habit of smiling at me like I’m a koeksister he’s dying to eat, even whilst I shoot him uncomfortable dirty looks. It can be said that Pik Botha scares the crap out of me.

When I met Pik Botha, the first thing he offered me was help around campus (because according to him, our high-quality, state-of-the-nation top varsity is filled with thugs) and the other thing was movies from his hard drive. However, because I’m a girl who likes free things, especially if the free things include movies for my hard drive I tend to make dumb decisions. Dumb decisions like grabbing my roommate Raechel and making her come with me to Pik Botha’s room for free movies.

To this day, I’m pretty sure I could have sex with a pimple and it would still be a better idea than going with Pik Botha to his lair of religion and racism.

Pik Botha’s cave was very brown, and filled with crusty socks, dirty mugs and mountains of religious reference books (I counted atleast 6 tattered Bibles). He had animal skin carpets strewn across the floors and Raechel was almost swallowed by his double-mattressed bed as she sat down. The room was hot and sticky with Pik Botha filling up the majority of the space. However, the most disturbing thing in there, and the only splash of colour amongst the many shades of brown and gunk was the old South African flag of his that remained tacked to the wall.

This is when our suspicions were born. The old South African flag represents the old Apartheid regime, it’s never been officially banned in South Africa but the stigma attached to it is that of racial intolerance and segregation.

“Why do you have that flag on the wall?”

“Uh. It was there when I got here”

“So why don’t you take it down?”

“Because…uh…it would be vandalism”.

We were far too tired to argue and far too alarmed to care as we scurried out of his room, thankfully he didn’t do something creepier like cut off our big toes. However, this was the beginning of our theory that Pik Botha is not a rainbow nation kind of guy. large

The second event occured when Pik came over unexpectedly for tea. He sat across from us, smiling his hungry smile and told us that if we invite any “black people” onto the property we will be evicted, his back up argument was that the rules are in our lease contract. They aren’t. Raechel and I ran away and pretended to sleep in my room to avoid any further conversation.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Pik Botha. The last time was when he told us about his “girlfriend” that he has no pictures of who is actually a lesbian (?). I’m not too sure how Pik Botha defines the term “dating” but I really hope it’s not just staring at someone like their a syrupy pastry, because then I may have a boyfriend.

He invited us to a two-man braai, we declined, and occasionally I see him walking towards me on the way to campus so I cross the road. The plan is to invent a boyfriend for me with a blatantly African name just to freak the little racist out. This means engaging in conversation with him however, a feat far too draining and offensive for me to handle.

It’s times like those when I view my grandmother’s rants about dreadlocks and “the Chinese” (what the hell Gran, I don’t understand you) as just another Thursday night.

Embrace diversity readers, or one day you’ll get a secret alias and a blog post written about you.

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