Tag Archives: Stories

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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You are so much more than this.

flower

Source: weheartit.com

Friendships are complicated webs. Two people decide they like each other slightly more than they like other people and therefore they entangle their lives in joint memories, shared secrets and a blur of complimentary character traits. As soon as the web is spun, glistening and dewy in the morning light, it’s difficult for it to unravel without someone getting trapped in the chaos of cut strings and unpleasant emotions.

Relationships are slightly trickier. They are more fragile, require more maintenance. Relationships, at least the ones I’ve been in, are made of a more brittle kind of silk than friendship, they’re tenuous and devastating.

Both kinds of interaction are as disastrously beautiful as they are lovingly crushing. They represent the pleasure and pain of what it means to be truly human, I’ve been hurt by both.

The worst thing to deal with, besides for the fall out, is when friendship and relationship blend in a delicate and confusing emotional masterpiece. Especially when circumstances allow for only friendship to grow, where does the lust stop and the platonic begin?

Yesterday I had a leisurely post-lecture, pre-devastation chat with my friend Su. We discussed the positive traits we see in each other and how important they are to our lives, a bit of an uplifting tête-à-tête before exams crush our souls. She told me the one thing I willingly and selflessly give to people, is my time.

I’ve always understood that time for another person is the best thing to give them. I’ve never been the type of person to buy affection – I don’t demand attention with sad stories or gifts. I’m not exactly rolling in cash money. I could be eating 2-minute-noods out of a rusty tin can, or trying to diabolically take over the world with lab rats and soggy cheese rolls and I’d still take 10 minutes out of my day to remind the people I truly love that I am still a happy presence in their lives.

That’s the thing. That’s the snare in the web of friendship/ relationship/ weird hybrid of emotions, I give and I give and I give my time sometimes to people who don’t have a minute to reciprocate it.

That’s the hamartia of this whole thing. The fatal flaw in an otherwise devastating fuck up of fate. My love language is time and the people I waste it on don’t understand that they’re taking the most precious thing I can give them, for granted.

 

I tried to type out the story of why I’m writing this blog post, why I was angry crying at 7 o clock this morning, why it feels like a scalding ball of rage and disappointment has settled in my chest – but I still deeply care for the person this is about, regardless of the imbalance of energy we invest in each other, so I won’t.

I’ll leave it at this. I’ve waited months for a phone call, and the one I got wasn’t nearly as wonderful as I thought it would be. I did a happy dance in the middle of a crowded bar when I found out it was going to happen. I clutched my phone to my chest and beamed around the room whilst assuring the people I was with that I wasn’t getting in too deep, that we’re just friends, that my emotions were not dangling on the promise of a ringtone.

Then everyone around me got to see the heartbreaking plummet of my emotions from ecstatic to disappointed. There was no more happy jigs, my heart stopped clawing its way out of my chest, I stopped beaming and got angry. I’ve never been so angry at someone I care about so much. I never expected to be hurt by someone I put so much faith in.

Su sent me a message about it. She has a wonderful way with words and what she wrote to get me to stop crying made me weep like a small child. I’m talking big fat ugly tears, foetal position, howling.

Forgive her if it does the same to you.

You are so much.

Not too much, but so much.

You are light and rambunctiousness and serendipity with dashes of serenity. You are more than a horny slur at night when someone is too lazy to be decent any other time.

You are a muse. Worth more than dirty words in dark hours and worth more than just a thought.

You deserve the love of legions. And one man who has behaved so cruelly (it is cruel) does not deserve that honour. He doesn’t get to make you feel this way and then let you down so hard.

Darling, you’re more than this and even if he forgets, everyone else remembers. You need to remember that also.

I am so much. I give my time to the people I love. I would spare 10 minutes in the busiest of days if it meant I could add value to my favourite humans on this planet.

I have recieved an apology, it’s going to take time for me to sift through the carnage of the web I got caught in. I’m going to have to figure out how I expect people to treat me and the minutes I give them.

I am complex and caring and a light-stained street of emotions. I can’t afford to settle for less than I deserve.

Neither do any of you.

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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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Another year, another 366 days worth of poor decisions.

mugI wrote a post like this last year, when 2015 was still but an infant. I was sitting at my aunt and uncle’s toasty kitchen table, trying to be all dramatic about the hardships of 2014. It was great, I enjoyed it far better than a sloppy kiss in a crowd of strangers, and who wouldn’t? I’d rather reflect on all the first world problems the universe has thrust upon me for the past 365 days than actually BE a first world problem by jumping on the generic bandwagon. The public will see none of Tequila Harriet tonight and that is my New Years gift to all of you.

Last year, like the boring human being I am, I wrote myself resolutions that were destined to be broken by January 2nd. You can read them here , or you can peruse this very condensed recap:

2014 Harriet’s New Years Resolutions for 2015, a recap:

  1. To have fewer hangovers and less junk food. This one was broken at by week one of University. I even closed down a bar on a Monday AFTER walking 2 blocks just for a large Double Whopper meal. I’m clearly a disgrace.
  2. Blog more. We did okay in 2015. I wrote 21 new posts, which is just under 2 a month. I also rediscovered my obsession with Twitter, which is a badly punctuated, less pretentious form of blogging, I guess.
  3. Learn the guitar. LO-Fucking-L. I learnt the D chord (insert stupid “she wants the D” joke here) and then I gave up and subsequently forgot the D chord. I was not the douchey guitar guy at parties, I was clearly, according to resolution 1, the girl slurping Stroh Rum off counters on a Monday and washing it down with double cheeseburgers and extra large fries, classy.
  4. Stay single until July. I had a pact with my dear friend Richard that we would remain solitary and soul-searching until July. I am still relatively solitary and soul-searching. Around April I discovered the joys of sweatpants, Chinese food and series and decided to dedicate all my pent-up love energy towards pigging out in my underpants. I am clearly very good at being single. This is a skill I’ve decided to list on my CV.
  5. Learn how to say ‘no’. I’m so proud of this. I actually discovered the joys of telling people when I don’t want to do something, and surprisingly, no one disappeared from my life just because I told them so. “No” is my new favourite word next to “Tom-foolery’.
  6. Learn how to be angry. Meek 2014 Harriet was WAY too chilled. She didn’t get why anger was sometimes required and she was often too scared to actually tell people when she was. This year I told several sexists off, chastised a few line-cutters and kicked my house mate out of my room when he said something offensive. Anger is good and necessary sometimes. I like the notion that I am capable of such an emotion.
  7. Be happy. Despite what my relatively piney and depressing blog posts may convey, I am so happy. In the midst of all the human waste and misery, all the spilled tequila shots and the tears and the lying on my bedroom floor listening to The Cranberries- I came out content.

5/7 is a pretty decent score.

I don’t think I’ll be able to beat a 71% pass rate. That’s a solid B, I’m proud of my B.

I haven’t reflected much on what I want for this year, maybe to stop talking about myself so much and to cut down on the selfie taking (note to self: staring constantly at your own selfies is concerning and probably an indication that you’re a shameless narcissist, Harriet.)

Right so my resolutions/goals/meaningless attempts to self-improve (please improve!) are:

  1. Stop getting drunk on my own emotions and sending psycho messages to unsuspecting victims. As my mom likes to remind me “you’re not crazy- stop acting crazy.” Turns out not everyone wants to hear about how my heart feels like it’s going to fall out of my chest, it gets tedious and receiving multiple texts about my feelings probably makes people scared of me.
  2. Actually read all my English setworks. I must not rely solely on Sparknotes, I must not rely solely on Sparknotes, I must not rely solely on Sparknotes.
  3. Write more. Ugh. Every year.
  4. Actually save my money. You do not NEED that back-scratcher Harriet, nor do you NEED 15 different black eyeliners. You NEED a car.
  5. Get my license so I can drive the car I’m sacrificing so much disposable income for. 21 years old and unable to make it to 3rd gear is not a good look.
  6. Focus on nothing but myself. I get a little distracted, I forget what matters, I perceive other people in my life as being more important than myself. I am the hero of my own story, I can’t keep on tearing myself apart for people who are only looking out for themselves. Sometimes you gotta be your own little hero and save your own little soul.

That being said I hope everyone has a good year and you learn to kiss the people you love more often on the forehead.

Forehead kisses are the way of the future.

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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.”

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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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