Tag Archives: Travel

Romanticising other things.

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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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I’m a little less superlunary.

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Source: weheartit.com

I saw this coming. Didn’t you? From the minute you kissed me- hands on my waist, eyes slightly open; trying to count my freckles- I knew. I knew it was going to end with me sobbing into your t shirt at a train station, trying to conjure up the last bit of strength I had to stop smelling you, stop kissing you and to get out of your car.

Fuck.

Every step I took away from your stupid bittersweet little smile felt like ice. I never want to feel like that again. Saying an almost permanent, definite good bye to you was scarier than being locked inside a room and screamed at, scarier than traveling alone, scarier than walking home in the dark. At least in those situations I had an end goal – break down the door, find terminal A, sprint to safety. The outcome of being left behind by you is “try to be happy”- try desperately not to spill tears all over my keyboard, find the few upbeat songs I own, don’t cry on the train, don’t cry on the train, don’t cry on the train.Walking away from you was like hacking off parts of myself to leave behind, I swear I left a piece of my being on your front seat.

The thought of kissing anybody else goodbye makes me sick. I couldn’t possibly share dinosaur daydreams or Halloween kisses or tubs of ice cream with anybody else. But when I stepped out of that car, I accepted the possibility that I’d have to.

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Maybe we fit right?

Maybe we don’t. Maybe our little love affair- our dalliance with miscommunication and morning giggles- is doomed to remain strictly digital. Maybe you’ll get busy and write your masters and forget to come home and I’ll go back to kissing strangers in bars, trying to find some parts of you in the wreckage.

Maybe we’re both not as great as we thought we were.

Maybe I’m doing that thing I do where I’m over-dramatic and you laugh and kiss my cheek and tell me it’s one of your favourite things about me- how much I feel, how desperate I am for genuine human connection.

There’s a lot of maybe when it comes to us-yet I’ve never felt so definite, so attached, so willing to use superlatives.

This is a mess. I’m a mess. A rubbed raw, icy footed, miscommunicated mess. But if the mess was caused by us, and that last kiss goodbye caused this type of carnage in my life, then I can live with it.

I can get up in the morning. I can write paragraphs that don’t mean anything in an attempt to stay numb. I can lie when people ask me where I’d rather be, because the answer of “next to you, holding your hand” isn’t a plausible answer.

I knew this was coming. I’m still in denial that it has, I still expect that you’ll come back and pick me up in a spirit shirt and brown corduroys. I’m desperately clinging on to the notion of July and December visits, like a child in the middle of a custody agreement. I’m prepared to feed myself fantasies until it doesn’t hurt to walk, until my eyes dry up, until I’m okay.

Fuck.

Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.

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Lost in Transit…and then found.

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Johannesburg: Sitting in OR Tambo International Airport by myself and I’m terrified. I have a 10 hour flight to Frankfurt ahead of me plus a connection to Valencia. I’m on my way to see my dad and the last time I did this I was 12 years old with a broken arm, a sibling on either side of me and an air hostess escort leading the way. Now I’m 20, with only my rainbow shoelaces, wooden tiki pendant and this push further into adulthood to keep me going. I’m scared of losing my passport, I’m scared of getting lost in-transit and when I hugged my mom goodbye, I swear I almost didn’t let go. 20 years old, cooking my own meals, buying my own toothpaste and doing my own laundry, and I don’t want to let go of my mommy?

That’s the strange thing about growing up; you’re so keen for it to happen, yet the minute you’re on the cusp of adultish oblivion you suddenly feel so desperately homesick.

The nicest thing about this is there was this cute little french man whom I kept passing in the queue. He had the kind of soft blue eyes that constantly look wet and a moustache that made his face look permanently whimsical. If this were a fairy tale, I am certain he would have appeared before me with a baguette and announced himself as my fairy french-man. He was just that sweet-looking.

So, here I am, boarding gate A09 to independence, about to prove my ability to navigate international airports sans a fairy french-man.

The words of Walt Whitman are on repeat in my head:

“I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.”

I am traveller, hear me yawp.

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Frankfurt: I survived. 10 hours later and I’ve come to realise that things come in threes. I watched 3 movies, read 3 chapters of “A Passage To India”, got 3 hours sleep and am currently sitting in a German restaurant on Cappuccino number 3. My mother would be proud of my growing caffeine addiction.

If anyone reading this is ever worried about grabbing connection flights, trust me on this: if you know how to read and how to move in a forward motion, it is easy. I didn’t know this when I stepped off the plane, I found out my gate number to Valencia and could hear my feet tapping along to the rhythm of the phrase I was trying so desperately to commit to memory: “Ay-twenty-two, Ay-twenty-two, Ay-twenty-two.” A22 has been added to my list of lifelines next to my passports and boarding pass.

I’m also desperate to commit to memory the way Germany looked peeking over the wing from my plane window. I’ve never seen so much green and so many trees. It’s almost like the forests sucked in the little pockets of civilisation and then the universe declared it to be art.

One day I am going to live in a log cabin in the middle of a forest in Germany. I will become a tree connoisseur and then probably go crazy from the lack of human contact.

For now I’ll have to stick with collecting German Airport cappuccinos. I am about to vibrate into two people.

Despite this, I managed to dunk my earphones into cappuccino number 3. This is either from confusing exhaustion, or because I’m a born spaz who regularly pulls stunts like this because I just can’t function like a human-being.

I may be an over-tired spaz, but I’m still yawping!

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Too Much or Not Enough? An Existential Tragedy.

kissI’ve been going through the motions of having an existential crisis for several months now. I think it started when I was ejected from my mother’s house at the end of my incredibly sheltered high school career and dumped in the middle of what can only be referred to as “The Ghetto” for the start of my new life as a fresh-faced, relatively experimental student.

After at least 18 years of having morals stronger than Dwayne Johnson’s pecks and crying whenever I came in contact with a drunk person (okay, once, it was one time), I found myself wanting to style my hair into dreadlocks, date guys who wear spiked collars (it was a 2 week phase, I don’t want to talk about it) and became immediately “one with the universe”. My dabble with accepting everyone and anyone into my “Island of Misfit Toys” ended with me dating a complete lunatic (minus the spiked collar) who liked trying to communicate with ghosts in graveyards, tears and a lot of angsty poetry.

Now, a year later: my hair is a normal colour, I’ve stopped believing that crack-heads should be “accepted into society”, and I’m actually using my brain. I’m still in the middle of a crisis regarding my place in the universe but at a much more toned down level (thank fuck). I’ve become myself again with the added bonus of keeping myself awake at night trying to fit pieces of my existence together. This constant state of acatalepsy has led to some sound conclusions on how shit works around here.

It all started with him, the way he makes me feel and how desperately I clutch to any thought that doesn’t involve at least a sliver of his presence in my life. My brain embodies a quote favoured by white girls “my thoughts can not move an inch without bumping into some piece of you”  and it’s excruciating. I miss having my conscience all to myself, but that’s the risk that comes with suppressing years of unspoken feelings; they eventually burst out of their constraints and run havoc in your mind. Unrequited inadequacy can make you crazy.

It’s also made me consider the fact that the world is very much divided into two kinds of people: Too Much and Not Enough.

I am Too Much. We’re the people who engulf our souls in an excess of light and life. We’re too wild, too loud, too emotional, too impulsive. If we’re doing a Meyers-Briggs assessment we’d be more “F” than “T”. Society percieves us as over-the-top and eccentric, we just consider ourselves ablaze with whatever passion sets our spirits on fire. In terms of relationships we often try to make ourselves smaller to fit the other person’s idea as to how we’re supposed to be. Alternatively, we end up with a Not Enough: someone who doesn’t fill the burning void we have inside of us. They don’t talk enough, or feel enough, or read enough books. For the same reasons that we’re Too Much, they’re simply not enough.

I’ve started involuntarily placing the people in my life into these kinds of categories. In their relationships with other people are they more likely to be too much or not enough? My November fling is Not Enough, I was Too Much for my old friend from High School, the guy in French class who tried to attack kiss me is Not Enough, the bat-shit crazy ex-boyfriend is Too Much for everyone. It’s depressing to think that we, as members of the human race, who are sold dreams of being heterogeneous entities, unique just like everybody else, can be classified into 2 personality categories.

I’ve found a paradox in the theory. As it turns out you could be the most Too Much person on the entire planet, you could smother yourself to sleep from all the emotions in your over-exerted heart, you could burst into people’s lives with passion and drive and start singing randomly like you’re mother-flipping Ferris Bueller, you could feel insane and half-drunk on how much you are as a person. You could be Too Much, and yet, when someone worms their way under your skin, kisses you and then leaves you outside to deal with the starlight and the cosmos by yourself, they can make you feel like you’re Not Enough.

cityThat’s my existential tragedy. I can read all the right books, watch all the good shows and show interest in all the right things; I can start gyming and doing my hair nicely in the mornings and stop wearing sweat pants to lectures. I can try to be more than Too Much as much as I want, and I’ll still never be enough.

So I’ll have a shower, put my sweat pants back on, get under the covers and pretend like I don’t notice how incredibly inadequate he makes me feel. I’ll wake up and I’ll be gentle with myself and hold onto the notion that I am white hot and consumed with being Too Much for everything and everyone.

And hopefully one day he’ll wake up and realise that he was simply Not Enough.

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Saying Goodbye To A Truly Crappy Year

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I have half an hour left to say goodbye to the worst year of my life.

What a statement. The fact that I’ve taken into consideration the year my parents got divorced, the year I was bullied and ostracised to the point where I didn’t want to go to school and last year when I was so broken by the end it felt like my heart was about to fall out of my chest, the fact that I can still say this has been the worst year is significant. I hated 2014.

I don’t want to make this post a reflection on everything that has been thrown at me these past 12 months. Damages have been done and friendships have been destroyed, I’ve been stupid and humanity has lost my faith a little, but at least I have come out of this year kicking like crazy trying to break the surface.

It’s stupid to think that at midnight I’ll magically punch through the crappy year barrier into the slightly-less crappy one, but at least for now I can write about how much better I hope 2015 might be.

We’re already off to a nice start in terms of how I’m spending New Years: sitting in my aunt and uncle’s warm kitchen in Cambridgeshire, writing this post. Last year I spent my night third wheeling for my best friend at my ex boyfriend’s best friend’s house.

“Happy 2014 Harriet, here, have a dose of loneliness and inadequacy, the universe loves you!”

In comparison, I welcome 2015’s sober kitchen table.

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I’m spending New Years Morning on a plane to Spain, seeing my Dad is another positive change 2015 has to offer. It’s also a lot more comfortable than a raging hangover.

That should probably be one of my resolutions: a lot less hangovers and a lot less junk food to go with the hangovers, especially hot wings- that’s a good example of a bad decision to be left behind with last year.

Resolution number 2 is to post more onto this here website. Even if I think it’s crap, someone might love what I’ve written-probably my mom. I have too many drafts clogging up my dashboard because I’ve written the post halfway and hated where it was going. I also want to write more about what makes me feel uncomfortable, or more about scenarios where I’m not the hero of my own story, where I make mistakes and judgements and act foolishly- I have a problem with portraying my side of the story as unfavourable.

I also have to stay single until July this year. I made a pact.

I want to learn to play the guitar and sing, I want to be the guitar douchebag at parties, plus if I write about it I’ll complete my “not being the hero” resolution because no one likes a guitar douche.

This year I also want to learn to say “no” and how to yell and be angry. I think most of 2014’s mistakes were made because I wasn’t angry enough.

Lastly I want to keep all of my friends, only the worthwhile ones who won’t judge me once I’ve tried out my whole “being angry” thing.

In a nutshell I hope 2015 has a lot less headaches, more music, less drama, solid friendships and happiness.

My New Years resolution is to be happy.

Happy 2015 to you, readers of this little blog in the corner of the Internet, I hope this next year is psycho-free and filled with endorphins.

I hate this post, so I’m putting it out to the world.

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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.

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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.

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Running away…or at least fantasising about it.

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“I’m running away” I announce to my mother who’s kneeling down on the bathroom floor washing my little brother’s hair. I had been given a time out and was marinating in the injustice of it all when I marched up to her, drew myself to my full 6 year-old height and told her of my intention to leave and never come back.

“Perfect,” she says, “which suitcase would like me to pack for you?”

Sheer terror and I haven’t felt the urge to leave since then.

Yet recently, I’ve been feeling this incredibly strong pull to be anywhere but here and, perhaps, anyone but me.

This year hasn’t exactly gone the way I planned. In fact, if I could go back in time and talk to the me who existed in the beginning of this year, the one standing on the doorstep of independence,  I’d say “don’t get your hopes up kid, in fact, it’s better if you don’t even ring the doorbell.”

But how do you tell the hopeful, fresh out of high school little girl that she’s about the walk into a house of abuse and intense loneliness? That she’s going to lose so many friends and that just when she thinks she’s found where she’s meant to be and the people she’s meant to spend time with she’s going to have to leave them too? This girl has just had her heart broken, she’s just gone through hell to get to a point where she truly believes that everything will be better only to be told that nothing gets better, nothing gets fixed, nothing feels okay.

Nothing feels okay.

18 years old, standing in a crowd of people who feel and think less than me, with my heart and pride smashed like a beer bottle on the floor, only to have it taped back up and thrown against a wall, just so it can be stood on almost a year later. Lying under a tree, surrounded by people who think and feel less, cradling my shredded soul with what I have left. I wish someone had told beer bottle girl to watch out for the liars and the name-callers, the crazies and the manipulators, the friends who make her feel worthless and the boys who refuse to make eye contact even when she’s a kiss away. She could have been told that if she carries on believing too much in people she would eventually find herself alone with only a tree to cling to in the world, trees don’t hurt like people do.

Tree girl got on a bus yesterday. Unfortunately the furthest it would take her was Monte Casino and back but the thought of catching the next flight out of her circumstances and away from her problems was the most hopeful she felt in a while. But how do you tell the girl who’s about to step onto a plane away from all her problems that she’s about to go somewhere that’s exactly the same as the house she got away from? How do you tell the girl with the crooked soul, the crippled heart and the constantly blind optimism that wherever she goes she’s going to get hurt?

You can’t. She has to figure it out for herself.

“Which suitcase would you like me to pack for you?”

I don’t care. Just stop this feeling.

I wrote this a few hours ago. I was mad at my cousin for cancelling our plans for the umpteenth time and feeling deeply melodramatic about the entire 1AM tree debacle. My mom came in to ask about dinner, read my post over my shoulder, saw my puffy eyes and just held me. She stroked my hair, called me sweetheart and held me like I was, in fact, 6 years old and had just been called “ugly” on the playground.

Apparently when I actually got into the adult world I was under the impression that it was something I’d have to face by myself. I’m too independent and hard-headed for my own good. Sometimes I don’t realise how hard I’ve been fighting to keep my head above water until someone finally comes along and tosses a life jacket and I’m able to crumple and cry tears of relief.

She took me to Bubble tea, spoke to me about everything else but the fantasy of me disappearing into great oblivion and I suddenly felt okay.

Being okay- being happy-  isn’t being kissed when you want to be kissed or having a perfect year with no disappointing people in it. Being happy is tea while it’s raining, having one’s hair stroked and, despite everything that’s happened in the past year, being able to make jokes and find things to laugh about.

Happiness is what you make of it, the girl under the tree has no clue how she’s going to feel about that moment next year, but hopefully she won’t still be damaged.

Plus she’s still got people to keep her at home.

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