The monsters inside.

Inside each and every one of us is a smouldering dark pit of unwanted memories, resentments and emotions. This pit within us has the ability within seconds to turn us from a settled happy person, to a raging monster whom we don’t even recognize. Maybe we thought we were always that ‘settled’ and ‘happy’ person, but deep down we all know there is a monster, big or small, inside each of us that sometimes we cannot ignore or control.

As children, we are told of the scary monsters beneath our beds or the ones inside our closets at night. The only scary thing about these ‘monsters’ was that in reality they were not the big hairy ogres that lived in our imaginations, but instead were the memories and emotions that lived and grew inside us.

I remember the day that I started to realize the difference between the monsters of fantasy and those of reality. It was a sunny Saturday morning, and as usual I was sat at the kitchen table doing exam revision whilst my mother made coffee for my father, who had just come in from rowing. There had been a quiz inside one of the Saturday papers titled “how well do you know your daughter?” and my mother thought it would be fun to test my dad on the questions. My mother began with the ‘easy’ ones first: “Name three of her best friends”, my father ‘ummed’ and laughed whilst guessing random names, however none of his guesses were right. “What is her favourite subject at school?”, he didn’t know. “Name a music band she likes”, no answer. “What is her favourite sport?”, another wrong answer. “What is her favourite TV show?”, another wrong guess. By the end of the quiz I was feeling so disappointed and embarrassed that my own father clearly knew nothing about me, but laughed it off and made jokes to try and mask this horrible truth.

This ‘horrible truth’ then manifested itself quickly inside me, growing over the months and years. Every time my father let me down, from not being at a school music recital I was playing in, to only wanting to watch TV and be alone on weekends, the anger, sadness and resentment I felt slowly created a bigger monster inside of me. This was not a monster I could get rid of by simply turning on the lights and looking underneath my bed, but if I could have seen it back then, I would have been too scared to face it and let it out.

Many of us do not face up to the monsters inside of us. Sometimes we would rather pretend that these monstrous feelings inside of us do not exist as we know that facing up to it would mean us having to acknowledge painful memories which then makes that pain or memory much more real. Although facing up to our own demons and monsters puts us in a vulnerable position, the choice to try to tackle each horrible or scary monster shows great strength. The more we acknowledge our feelings, resentments and memories, the stronger we become, as we now feel that we can tackle these monsters, rather than ignoring them.

When my father announced that he and my mother were going to get a divorce, its safe to say that my monster obviously felt it could be contained no longer. By that point it was so big that it was uncontrollable, and all the anger and tears poured out in a rage that wouldn’t be out of place on the Jeremy Kyle/Jerry Springer show. My monster took hold of me and unleashed its burning anger, almost leading me to smash one of the standing lamps on him (I think the only reason I didn’t do this is because my mother told me it was an expensive lamp). I was scared of myself, but this monster wanted to hurt him so badly, for all the years in which nothing had been said. Tears streaming down my face, I told my father: “even if I did smash this lamp on you, it wouldn’t even come close to the pain that you’ve made me feel“.

I had ignored and tried to run away from the ever growing monster that held all the painful emotions and memories of my father for so long, allowing it to fester inside me over the years. As a result, I painfully learned an important lesson: running away from your monster will only turn you into one.

 

 

The morning after.

After a night out, it is always a girls’ ritual to catch up and fill each other in on who got with who, how much was exactly spent on jagerbombs or tequila shots, and the occasional woe when one of us has lost our purse containing our favourite M.A.C or Barry M lipstick. However, each post-night out ritual is even more delicious when we get to discuss or find out who went home with whom, and not just went home for a ‘cuddle’ in bed.

One morning, post-night out, head still pounding and last night’s eye make up crusty and still clinging on, my housemate begins to fill me in on a girl who has “been taking random guys home every week”, and then goes on to term this girl as a “slut”. However, she then mentions that said girl has recently been dumped by a long-term boyfriend. Once I heard the word ‘dumped’, everything changed. At that moment I realized just how easy it is for us on the outside to judge and label certain girls as ‘sluts’ or ‘whores’, yet at the same time, it is so important to remember we do not always understand or know why they may have acted as promiscuously as they have.

Once I heard this poor girl had recently been dumped, I felt such compassion and anger. Unfortunately, I too have been labelled as a ‘slut’ during my post-break up days. Yet the bare truth is when you have been rejected by someone who you thought would never let you down, someone you loved and shared memories and experiences with, all you want is to feel wanted and loved in order to dull the heartache, dry the tears and reduce the intake of pint tubs of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Regrettably, when waking the morning after a one-night fling, often the end result only fills you with guilt and regret.

However, when someone is hurting they need to deal with their pain and heartache in their own way, even if it isn’t the ‘right’ way to get over break-up. Nevertheless, this does not make them a ‘slut’, just simply a girl who is mourning the loss of a love. Ironically, a one night fling that I had last year lead to a casual relationship of over three months, and although most flings lead to nothing, there is hope for some.

I have many regrets from my heartache days but ultimately life and love is all about making mistakes and learning from them, for what (or who) lies ahead in our future.

It’s well known that girls complain if a guy sleeps around, he is deemed a ‘lad’ by his fellow gender, yet if we do the same we label each other as ‘sluts’. We girls need to stick together and quit the labeling. If our friends have one night stands, or tend to ‘get around’, then we shouldn’t be putting them down. University is one of the prime times in our lives where we can have some fun, let loose, (work – really?!), and enjoy ourselves – one night stands and flings included.

So ladies and gentlemen, enjoy your life, drop the ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ labels and all of our lives will be much happier and hopefully we will become less self-conscious of our ‘number’. A little spontaneity here and there will either add to our university memories or university regrets – either way, both are good for the body, mind and soul.

Alone.

We can spend months, years, or even our entire lives without knowing who the people we truly love are. Love blindsides us into a sense of false security where within a second the person we thought would be there forever just simply gets up and walks away. Whether they walk away from a family, wife, or partner, they leave a trail of destruction behind them which the broken-hearted then have to slowly pick up the pieces and clean up the debris of emotions and anger.

My father shunned his wife of over thirty years, my brother and myself for the one woman he could never get when he was my age. It was like a switch had flicked on in his head, yet my family, friends and relatives were all left in the dark. My Grandma went as far to convince herself that he was having ‘some kind of mental breakdown’, whilst everyone else pointed out the ‘midlife crisis’ signs.

Soon enough, the only thing that mattered in his life was his idealized life with this skeletal woman who only ‘declared her feelings for him’ when her own marriage was on the brink of divorce, unhappy with her controlling, whiskey-swigging husband who seemed to be more dull than driftwood and unable to even crack the slightest hint of a smile.

When love hits you, it’s not a nice pair of Ray-Ban’s you’re putting on, but instead a pair of dated rose-tinted sunglasses from the 70’s. All you see through these rose-tinted lenses is your one and only, yet everyone else around you thinks you look like an idiotic love-struck teenager. At the age of twenty-one, seeing your father in boot-cut jeans and ‘slim fit’ t-shirts similar to the ones your own twenty year old male friends wear is enough to make you want to scream: “GROW UP”.

Realizing that your own emotional maturity is way beyond your own fifty-three year old father’s is somewhat unsettling. More unsettling is his own inability to take responsibility for the devastation he has caused, yet ironically enough, only a few years ago it was him lecturing me about taking responsibility for my actions. Obviously the cliché line of: ‘practice what you preach’ has totally gone out the window at this point, but from all of this I can only ask: if you don’t practice what you preach, how will others respect you?

Our parents are meant to be the ones guiding us, setting the example and attempting to teach us how to tackle the world on our own. With love comes respect, but when someone breaks your heart, every drop of respect you held for them simply dies then and there on the spot. I do not recognize my father, nor hold any ounce of respect for him like I once used to. This isn’t the same man who taught me how to ride a bike without stabilizers, or swung me round the room whilst dancing to The Beatles before bedtime, because the man back then wouldn’t have had the capacity to break the hearts of the three people that made his life whole. My father is merely a stranger, about to start a new life in America to be with his ‘sweetheart’.

The only real life lesson my father has taught me is that in life, you can never really truly know anyone, no matter how long you’ve known them. Now isn’t that a depressing thought?

Depressing as the fact that my father is acting like a teenage boy ‘in love’ for the first time, ironically it is less depressing to realize that now I really am on my own. I have my mother and brother, but we are all battling our grief and anger alone.

Truthfully, being alone scares me, both the feeling and the reality of it. Feeling alone is like being in a dark tunnel. At first you stumble your way through the darkness, tripping over a few times and getting hurt, only until you get up and start to see a faint light at the end of that tunnel. Even the faintest glimmer of light gives you hope, and that is why I alone will soon reach the end of this tunnel. Cuts and bruises from my falling only make me stronger when I get back up again, and the more light I see, the stronger I feel being alone.Barnes Common

The juxtaposition of life.

I haven’t blogged in a while, but after rifling through past diaries and notebooks, I wanted the post something I wrote in 2011 (Friday 20th of May to be precise..).
I am sitting here in the waiting room, opposite a gorgeous little newborn baby boy. He’s just looking around, gurgling in happiness at his little plush lion toy. Happiness from one toy shaped like an animal. So simple and so unaware of everything around him; the old lady trying to get the right heart medication, or the frail old man needing his blood test and a check-up. The juxtaposition of life, an infant, and the elderly. The beginning and the soon ending of life.
And me? Well, I’m not even half way there. I guess I’m in one of those ‘life is so amazing’ moods (rare for me), and not necessarily my life, just life in general. The toes and fingers I look at now used to be the same size as that little baby’s from the waiting room. I find that amazing, but odd.
I guess I have a lot more to pack into my life before my fingers and toes look like the old woman asking for her heart medication, and hopefully, mine might look a bit nicer…
Written: 03/04/12

From France, with love.

Currently I am meant to be battling away with my Arabic revision, but I’ve had a hankering to keep up my writing, and now, here in Lyon, in my Parain’s (Godfather’s) empty house, I want to let my creative juices flow (whilst no one can tell me that I should be ‘revising’). Writing is my outlet – emotional and topical, but today, I want to write about mon amour: Paris.Arc de Triomphe

Ever since I was thirteen, on that bitterly coldand depressingly grey day as my family and I walked down the Champs-Élysées, I fell in love with the French culture (the Parisians, not so much). I can remember staring in awe at the Louis Vuitton monogrammed scaffolding that concealed the building site of the shop behind. Everything just seemed so elegant and chic – this was clearly something I desperately wanted to be, due to my chubby acneridden face, and not a scrap of make up to cover up the masses of red spots that plagued me for years onwards.
There is no denying my love for Paris – I am a city girl after all (London born and bred). The women who walk the streets of Paris look so effortlessly chic, and so slim! Although, that is purely due to (as my mother once said) the fact that they smoke, and eat very little; if only I had their willpower, I can never refuse a slice of Brie or Camembert!
Aside from the Parisians, I have to express my love for my absolute favourite part of this beautiful city: Montmartre – sitting on-top of the hill, overlooking Paris. On the summit of Montmartre sits the beautiful white domed Basilica of the Sacre Coeur – and although I have never been inside, just the magnificent exterior was enough to stand in awe at the immense size of the imposing architecture.

Sacre Coeur.

Montmartre really has everything I love: artists painting with oils on their canvases, charicatures of couples being speedily sketched by another artist, and coloured andbeautiful chalk drawings on the old cobbled stones. All the little shops, (although a tad touristy) sell old vintage card mounted posters andpostcards (I actually bought myself a lovely vintage style Moulin Rouge poster which is framed in my room to this very day!) Montmartre is the epitome of artistic quirkiness, and I guess that’s why I love it so much.
Artists & Canvases.

    Montmartre.

But here I am, at twenty years of age, and now feel I am ready to take on Paris – the teenage acne and puppy fat is long gone, I can wear and put on my own make up, and my wardrobe has long since been updated (THANK GOD).

I say screw Amsterdam for this summer’s trip, everyone with some common sense knows that the majority of students don’t go there to visit ‘the sights’… So Paris, mon amour, I’ll definitely be seeing you this summer.

Written: 10/04/12

Copy Cat?

Ever since I can really remember, I have always copied and lusted after other people’s personalities or abilities. Despite the old saying that ‘imitation is the highest form of flattery’, perhaps my imitations were all down to my lacking sense of who I was.
My first offence started when I was just about 10 years old. Growing up, I would go to school and spend holidays and weekends with my parents close family friends, the B’s. I guess in a sense, we were all one big family – all eight of us, at least that’s what it felt like. The ‘grown up’s’ aside, we were the gang: Daz, Minx (me), Willis, Patch. I always idolized Daz; she was smart, pretty, and she could draw so well. She loved drawing stars, or wearing star jewellery. I always wanted to be just as good as her, but when it came to painting ourselves onto a wall in our ‘den’, it was quite clear, despite my hardest efforts to copy her painting technique, that I just couldn’t be as good as her.
My second offences started when I was fifteen. At this time in my life, my best friend was E – and she was and still is absolutely stunning. I loved all her clothes, her make up and all her perfumes. We would always go shopping every weekend together – I don’t know how I had the money to do that at the age of fifteen, but still. With E, I started buying and wearing clothes in her style, I even went so far as to buy the exact same pair of Reebok trainers. This carried on until I realised that I was barely 5ft, and E was much taller than me, with long legs to carry off those trainers. When I wore them, my legs just looked like short little stumps.
Even here at university, I still find myself changing what I wear or how I do my make up because of people around me. When I want to go see my friend I, I want to wear cute girly clothes. But when I want to go out with L, I get obsessed with her lipsticks and eyeliner flicks – I don’t even normally wear lipstick on a night out for Christ’s sake!
My latest obsession is Millie from Made in Chelsea – this time I even went so far as to take a picture of her to my hairdressers so I could achieve her gorgeous caramel blonde locks. But, this obsession won’t last too long, considering my student budget can’t afford beautiful heels and feather gilets from Zara or Kurt Geiger.
If I think back over all these times and memories, I can only realise that I don’t quite really know who I am, or what I like to wear. I would love to make my own choices on my clothes and make up, regardless of what my friends around me are wearing. On the bright side, I’ve been told that university is the place where you ‘discover yourself’ – so maybe in two years time I’ll be able to clothe and wear make up just exactly how I want to wear it (and hopefully have a degree as well).