Misery is a fickle cow

I was alone for a whole day today and I didn’t cry. I looked at his Instagram and saw him living his life and only hated that for a moment. I cannot begrudge him a little “normality” when I’ve upped sticks across the Atlantic.

I can feel myself frosting over. Choosing numbing indifference now over crushing disappointment. It’s taken 8 days but I don’t need the torture now. It’s his loss. It was his choice; that’s the bit I couldn’t take. I had no hand in the ending of our friendship- our relationship came second to him being my best friend.

Yes, it’s sad. Yes, it hurts. But it is what it is and I can’t change a thing. Being sad is exhausting. Constantly trying to avoid particular trains of thought is exhausting. Feeling hopeless and empty is exhausting. So let’s allow logic to take the reigns here.

If being sad is exhausting, don’t be sad. If clinging blindly to hope isn’t working, don’t do it. Upsetting myself over and over and over again does nothing to heal my wounds. So why do it? Self indulgent misery is not a long term solution

Numb now

I literally crossed an ocean to get away from the numbing confusion. I can hear the situation screaming from the other side of the Atlantic but it’s quieter now, easier to block out. A five hour time change can do that. I know all too well that running away to sun sea and sand won’t cure me, but the muffling alone is working wonders, even from within the walls of JFK Airport.

I can’t cry publicly. As the wheels of the plane left the ground at Heathrow my heart wrenched itself forward in my chest, fighting to remain behind, struggling to escape its bonds. It stretched and strained and didn’t give in. The sinews of it spinning a fine web in the jet stream and keeping me tethered, however loosely, to what I’m trying to escape. I felt it creak behind my rib cage and forced myself not to cry. Catharsis is not for public consumption. Oh the irony.

Peaks and troughs for two days now. Peaks when I’m with people, smiling easily, the mask firm and thick, quips rolling off my tongue like it’s all water off a duck’s back. It’s not. The troughs are ocean trenches threatening to swallow me whole, struggling for air between sobs and whimpers, drowning in my own crushing anguish.

And it’s not poetic. It’s ugly and stifling. It’s shaking breaths sucked in through a mouth simultaneously trying to howl. It’s snorting and braying, snivelling and whining like the blind young of some cave dwelling creature. It’s paralysing, all consuming, pathetically curling up into a ball, soaking linen in saline misery. It’s having to pull over, rocking back and forth in the driver’s seat to console yourself because some melody cut too close. It’s considering the abyss that kept you isolated as an old friend with open arms who always knew you’d come running back. It’s feeling like it was inevitable.
Delayed flight. No wifi. Plenty of time to sit and stew and wonder if he’s hurting too

I crawled into his bed at 4am and slept, just to be near him. inches of sheet between us seeming like miles. I woke hours later, and realised my mistake, hastily gathering myself together and relocating to a spare room. He didn’t seem to mind that I’d been there; said I was so quiet in sleep that he thought I was dead.

Last night, I dreamed he told me that he loved me. I woke up at 4am and haven’t been back to sleep. Deprivation has caused me to create the scenario I can never hope to experience.

Question (Tell Me What You Think About Me)

Here’s a question: if you are the one who was wronged, is offering the olive branch a fatal sign of weakness or a symbol of your all enduring good as a person? Lets face it, in one way or another, in a variety of circumstances, we have all been hurt. Our pasts, our experience in matters of the heart decide on our course of action; whether its smile and carry on or lose your shit and take a flamethrower to their belongings. Personally, I’m a stone cold Ice Queen. If you wrong me, we are done. I won’t tell you, but I will stop calling, texting, speaking to you, referencing you in conversation among mutual friends. I make it so the source of my pain no longer exists. In private the hurt radiates through every cell, forcing that unconscious shudder when you watch that TV show they introduced you to or when you hear a song that reminds you of them. So for months and months you force them out of your mind, hoping that your actions hurt them, hoping they notice your absence, knowing that they don’t. Avoiding eye contact with them when you meet in the street, acting like you don’t hear their name mentioned among friends, until finally it doesn’t feel like an effort any more. The hole they blasted in your chest filled with distractions. Your stomach no longer unsettled by the sight of their car parked in the street. You are healed.

I thought I was. I spent fourteen months ignoring, icing out, distracting and finally, when it had worked, when I was numb and painless I spent five hours with him and his family and everything thawed out again. Months of work melted away in hours as I settled back into his company with ease. Everything I had forgotten, everything I had learnt, everything I had promised myself evaporated for a few hours in his presence and its looking like a temperate summer on the horizon. The day before, for the first time in over a year I had no choice but to walk by him on my way to the station. I felt good, I was dressed to go bar hopping and two months back at the gym was showing in the smile on my face. My palms weren’t sweaty, my heart wasn’t pounding and I didn’t feel like puking. Quick “Hi, how are you, what’s new”, and I made my excuses and breezed away to catch my train, and didn’t think much more of it. The following afternoon I was invited over, as I often am by my glorious neighbors who make me feel like one of the family, and there he was. Standing in the kitchen where we first met.

I wanted it to be tense. I wanted there to be an atmosphere and for one of us to leave. I wanted to hate every second of being in the same house as him. I didn’t.  My heart didn’t lurch with each second of eye contact, my thighs didn’t froth when we hugged goodbye, but being settled somewhere between ice and fire was comfortable. Normal. Nice. Shit. My friends are wincing as they read this. I can virtually feel their hands on my head shaking it and shouting “NO BABE NO”.  Relax. I have learnt my lesson, nothing that hurt that bad for that long can ever bring me any real joy. But here I sit in the olive tree, keeping the branches to myself, but leaving space for one more.

Kitty’s Adventures at Torture Garden

Fucked It Fans, my apologies for the wait. I’ve been busy doing life things, changing careers really soaks up your time, especially when you’d been just sitting at a desk for a year! BUT the wait is over. I did a fun thing.

Wandering around in a corset, frilly knickers and a pair of heels is something I have always wanted to do. Something which I wholeheartedly imagined would happen within the bonds of a relationship(HA!) , not within the leather bonds of some sort of modern take on a  Berkley Horse (google it) while a crowd of twenty strangers clad in latex offer up words of sexually charged encouragement. But that’s what happens when you buy tickets to a Fetish Night called Torture Garden. In my quest to rid my mind of past conquests and focus on a more egocentric future, I took up a friend’s invitation to be spanked, and it was fucking brilliant.

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Arriving at Electrowerks, I was pleased to watch a group of seven or eight swaying men clutching bags emblazoned with the words “Fancy Dress Shop” being turned away by a plump girl wearing a latex pencil skirt and nipple tassels with the words “This is not a fancy dress party”. Having spent an hour or so frantically squeezing myself into lingerie in the fairly public changing areas of Camden Market, I was armed with a cream corset and was taking no prisoners. This is one thing the patrons of TG don’t fuck with. You follow the dress code. Leather penis pouches, bridles, duct tape and nothing at all are accepted, but you turn up with anything polyester, you’re gone. Inside, the balmy lighting and soft thud of familiar house music created an atmosphere of possibility, a tranquil oasis of sexual opportunity where to be present was to obtain a unique worldliness, unknown to the “Vanillas” drunkenly roaming the streets beyond. The eyes that watched us enter and pass by followed us without scorn, without a hint of haughty derision, but rather a knowing look that told us, “Welcome to the fun house”.

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The first thing I noticed, besides all the latex, leather and PVC was the diversity in the place. Three floors filled with every kind of person you can imagine. Curvy, emaciated, bald, old, young, gay, straight and everything in between I met a woman dressed in full PVC gimp complete with pigtails who claimed to be in her sixties! Damn Mama! And the energy in the place was electric, everyone talking and laughing, “what are you into”, “have you ever…”. And when my corset started slipping, I literally had five people offer to help! There was very much a “We welcome you with open arms for being brave enough to try this” vibe going on. And I’ve got to say, since my trip amongst the whips and chains and restrictive outfits, I have looked upon the world in a different, slightly pervier light. I now look at my neighbors and colleagues and think, whats your thing? What do you like? It was truly a trip out of reality, I was Alice, I’d fallen down the Rabbit Hole and now the Mad Hatter was Fingering the Red Queen in the corner while she spanked the Cheshire Cat. Also, and I’ll be totally candid here for a change (ha), I really thought that the night would be filled with weirdos and perverts, people rubbing their erection against you without so much as a “How do you do”. But there was a polite humanism that ran through the night, a respect that radiated out of every person there, dick in hand or not, and I felt genuinely safe.

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One of the most revealing conversations I had all night was with a man who had come out in drag for the first time. Something which I have always had an enormous respect for is the idea that a man, after months, maybe even years of pleading with himself, finally finds the courage to go out in a dress for the first time. That takes some balls. George (the draglet) was wearing full female garb complete with false eyelashes and heels, but forewent the wig, saying he thought it would have been too much. His girlfriend had wanted to be there that night to support him, but had a thesis on the normalisation of recreational drugs for her MA in criminology due. Amazing.  Some of my most amazing sights of the night included a couple dressed as a pair of Lindt Bunnies (complete with full gold bodypaint) a six-foot bald black dude wearing 7 inch stilettos ON COBBLES and two men wearing feather headdresses and dressed in leather harnesses with special penis holders, for their special penises. Amazing. It’s incredible how quickly you lose your inhibitions when everyone around you is either naked or getting that way.

My one bad memory is speaking to a middle-aged couple, the lady wearing a corset that made it look like she was smuggling two bald guys into the joint, the man wearing leather trousers holding a lead that was attached to his companion via the medium or a leather collar. They joined me at the bar and struck up a conversation regarding my headpiece (a bespoke piece by Twinks Burnett) and bought me a huge rum and coke. We were happily nattering away about how our evening was going, had I caught the self-bondage show (yes, I had, it was ridiculous) had they been to the medical themed room with all the creepy amputee mannequins watching people wank each other off (oh, there was lots of that). The woman laughed and, though I was standing half a foot away, I caught the strong smell of what I can only describe as ‘Cock Breath’. Such a lovely couple too.

At the core of it, TG is a place to be accepted, stripped (literally in some cases) of your outer shell there is nowhere to hide. No one to pretend to be anything else to. You don’t have to suck in your gut or wear enough makeup to make a drag queen blush (except if you actually are a drag queen obvy) It’s a place to be open and completely honest about yourself. It’s hard to lie when you’re standing half-naked in a room full of people who have literally just watched your ass get smacked with a flail. Somewhere in the cacophony of sound, made up of the slap of leather against skin and bamboo against skin and skin against skin, was a low rumble. A vibrating excitement which reverberated off of every body in the room, filling our minds with visions of the last days of Rome. Here there was no judgement, there were no ‘players’ no ‘sluts’, just people openly and honestly engaging in adult playtime, the likes of which I’ve never experienced before or since. As I wondered around the dimly lit rooms of London’s Premiere Playground with my modelesque friend, all 13 stone of me felt sexy, not because everyone was staring at me, but because no one was. There I was thinking how brave I was being, how brash, how incredibly daring. It turns out you don’t have to be confident in your body to go out in a corset, frilly knickers and heels; that’s how you gain confidence in the first place.

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Talk.

Ok, so here’s a thing. Depression is the number one most diagnosed mental disorder in the UK with about a quarter of the population experiencing it in the course of a year. Think of four people you know. Odds are one of them is experiencing a weird kind of pain that you have no idea about, or maybe you do know and you have no idea how to help. Maybe you’re the one in four. I am. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Mark Twain said “write what you know”. So I will.  Since December 2010 my mind has been playing nasty tricks on me, making me feel things harder, think things through badly.

 

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Its not about being sad. Its not about crying. Its about guilt and self loathing.  Its about the cycle of doom which is going round and round in your mind without you realizing it. Its about cutting yourself off and being alone in something because you don’t want to burden other people with your stupid brain issues. Its about assuming the roles of other people in your mind as you put words into their imaginary mouths. Its about going to parties and feeling invisible. Its about how five minutes feels like an eternity in a room full of people where you’ve somehow never felt more alone.  Its about doing nothing. Not bothering to get out of bed. Not looking after yourself. Punishing yourself for not being better than you are. Not being as good as other people. But who told you that? You did.

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Depression is a master of disguise. I’m often the loudest in the room. The most boisterous. I command. I attention seek. I laugh and I make jokes and I have a good time. But there’s always a part of me, even when I’m with my closest friends, that feels out of place. Like somehow I shouldn’t be there and it wouldn’t matter if I wasn’t. That its probably what everyone wants anyway. Someone who suffers or has suffered depression on any level can instantly recognize it in others  because its like looking in a damn mirror. Your own pain reflected back at you. We know man. We get it. But what about the people that don’t? The partners, the parents, the friends? The people that worry on the outside of the glass house but can’t find the door to get inside. The people who have an entire toolbox but not a single thing that they can use to help. Help. Get help? How can I help?  Cheer up. Fuck, look at that I’m cured. They feel useless. You feel useless. We all scream for ice cream.

 

Let’s take a moment to think about the suffering of non-sufferers. Watching someone you know dig themselves a pit to curl up and hide in and standing on the lip looking down is terrifying. Its as though you’re both stumbling about in heavy fog, both trying to find a way to each other and a way out.  Missing the tip of their fingers by a hair as you reach out to help in any way you can. Its watching them sink in quicksand and beginning to sink yourself. Its the empty void swallowing you both. Its arguing and fighting. For us its rage that we feel for ourselves  projected on the ones closest to us because we don’t know what else to do. We push you further and further away bringing you closer to the edge of the pit. You are our punchbag. Our pillow fort. You are the only good thing we have and we don’t deserve you. We’re so sorry. We don’t know how to change our behavior yet. We know you don’t have the answers. We know its hard for you too. Separate us from the illness. We aren’t one in the same. Depression is selfish and nasty. Depression shuts you out and keeps us isolated. We need you more than we can ever articulate. Please don’t give up on us.

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So, what do we do? What is the answer? Medication? It helps. For real, it helps. The feeling of anti-depressants creates is best described as “Everything still sucks but it doesn’t matter as much”. You don’t go numb. You don’t suddenly walk out the door with your own theme tune playing in your head to be greeted by the mental equivalent of a sunny day. There are down sides though. I find I can’t really get drunk on them. Ever. Bad idea. My body tends to eventually just reject all the booze in my system at once. Which is horrendous. There’s the fact that if you accidentally stop taking them, you will crash and have a meltdown. Frighten your mum, worry your friends and set yourself back a few months. There’s the fact that they become kind of a crutch. I know I need them. I know that if I don’t take them I won’t work properly. But I do have the answer.

 

Talk. Own your madness. Know that its ok to not be ok. That your friends want to know if you’re feeling low. That it won’t be easy, but that there’s a major difference between actually having no one and choosing not to see the people closest to you as your shield in the fight. Show your weakness and let that in itself show you your own strength. Know that depression is not emotional weakness. Know that your loved ones want to understand, and the only way they can is if you explain. Own how you feel. Focus on you now and make the decision to care enough about yourself to get better. Reach out in the dark and finally find the hand that’s always reaching back.

 

V Day Approacheth

Hey January! Fuck you in your stupid fucking face. Yes that’s right, off you fuck for another year. February, come at me, I’m ready. Oh except, whats that? Oh Valentine’s day. The day in the year that no one asked for. Ooo look: hearts and flowers, expensive dinners in restaurants set up with only tables for two. Oh an intimate dinner in a quiet bistro, dream on!  Couples are packed in like sardines in a can, all competing with each other to look the most in love. Yes! Let’s all eat oysters and drink champagne and use our noses to push that last meatball towards our other halves. Let’s buy roses and watch them wither and die the following week. You know what I need? I need a fuzzy white teddy bear holding a heart with the words “I love you” or “Be mine” on it. I want edible body paint and a pair of handcuffs inspired by Kim Kardashian’s ass cheeks! I want a butt plug shaped like Ryan Gosling! Let’s make the singles feel like unloved lepers for a(nother) day! I can’t even enjoy my usual activities like online window shopping with out being confronted with “Ideas He’ll love” and “Meanwhile in the Bedroom” sections (cheers ASOS). Netflix starts chiming in with either “10 Romantic Movies to Watch this Valentine’s Day” or the even more sick making “6  Movies to Watch Alone this Valentine’s Day” (suggestions included Mission Impossible (1 and 2) and Star Trek Into Darkness)) because apparently being single is the same as being a teen-aged boy. I lie, I loved Star Trek. Even Ann Summers is getting involved with daily promotional emails “Kitty, your Valentine’s Day specialists are here to make sure the big day is as perfect as possible”. God damn, Ann, can a bitch not enjoy a one time purchase without being bombarded with your assumption filled bullshit for months afterwards. It was a  lonely winter…

 

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Ahhh romance

Yes, okay that was fairly bitter. But to be fair, when you’ve just had to deal with log-fire-and-red-wine couples at Christmas and their smug Instagram posts, the last thing you want (after the utter ball ache that is January) is to be faced with the bleak weekend of February 14th. You can’t fucking go anywhere without being bombarded with love hearts and cherubs and Valentine’s Three Course Lunch Menus. When I was a kid, my dad would get me a red rose, a box of nice heart shaped chocolates and a card every year signed from “Guess Who?”, I was part of the fun of the day. It was nice. But now that I’m expected to actually be having a sex life (scoff!) I’ll be lucky if I get a smile from the crazy man who wanders outside my office with a can of Special Brew at 11am. Maybe I’ll sit and listen to Eminem’s Kim on repeat and think about all the boys who have wronged me. Maybe I’ll look up said boys on Facebook and go through all seven stages of grief as I scroll through their profile pictures. Maybe I’ll build a bonfire and burn effigies and chant to The Goddess in the hopes of retribution. Just a quiet night in, you know?

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The one thing I actually really enjoy about this horrid day is that for a week afterwards, you can buy a big fucking box of chocolates for like £2. Sure you have to go in and look like you’re a shit girlfriend who forgot to get her other half anything, but no one has to know that you’re single. Or that the only other person who might get a look in on your chocolatey goodness is your cat. And he can get fucked if he thinks you’re sharing. It seems like most of my (coupled up) mates have plans, and they’re all so blasé about it, saying (direct quote) “Valentine’s is a load of shit anyway. I’m more excited about the prospect of getting laid without parents being within hearing distance”. Also, I’ve just seen that 1979 Horror Classic, Dawn of the Dead is on Iplayer so I’ll be watching that in my pants whilst I snigger into a tub of Ben and Jerries at how little I spent this most consumeristic of days. So my fellow singles, don’t get down. If you got through the week long utter Shitfest that was Christmas on your one, you can get through this. Now excuse me while I go make out with a hot dog.

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New Year Same Outlook

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! Champagne all round! More canapes! Bring on the rest of that honey glazed Christmas ham! Right that’s enough of that. Resolutions to spend less on frivolous lattes and spend more time at the gym! Dryathalons! Sales! Taking down decorations and tangling the Christmas tree lights up in a bundle resembling a bowl of squid ink spaghetti! The inevitable boredom that comes with the seasonal comedown that is January. The pointless harbinger of two more month of freezing winds and icy rain. No worldwide holidays allowing a week or so of hiding in the warmth of your house eating an entire pannetone followed by a box of celebrations. No chocolate for breakfast. Just a miserable cold month during which time we make ourselves even more miserable by adopting this strange worldwide competitive healthy living. Don’t get me wrong, I get it, especially after a month of gorging ourselves to the point of bursting through the seams of those Topshop Joni’s we shouldn’t have worn in the first place. A detox of a few days, remembering that not all vegetables have to be slathered in goose fat and gravy to taste good. Remembering that water is a beverage as well as a substance with which to wash the glitter from our hair and clothes. Treating prosecco as a treat at weekends rather than a casual 11am pick me up. It is a difficult transition to make for us all. The children are still asking for presents, the parents are still weeping over their sobriety and people like me are looking into the misty future year ahead of us with our usual face of expectancy and cynicism. So here is my advice for getting through this bitter month.

 

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CALM DOWN-  Everyone gets so over excited in January trying to push themselves over the edge by limiting calorie intake and time spent indoors in favor of spending this disgusting month running about outside in the cold and getting themselves ill. You have a whole freaking year to sort yourself out before the world somehow forces you to re-evaluate in the annual reset that is New Years Eve, so even if you do make some bad decisions in terms of career, personal life or whatever, you will have time to right them. Don’t rush into getting everything on that bucket list done. Don’t spend the month performing these weird self-punishments like the Fast Diet (which is total garbage) and daily spin classes with Rodriguez the Destroyer. Instead do nice things for yourself. Go for a walk wrapped all up warm and cosy in your Christmas knits (keep them hidden though, people will judge). Stick on some wellies and run about in a soggy field. Laugh at people’s “New Year, New Me” Pinterest boards. There is so much time to make yourself feel bad for not exercising as much as you think you should, or for eating too much fast food. Why consolidate it all into the one month which already sucks. Enjoy the Christmas belly, you earned it, you put a lot of hours into dedicating your time the glorious mistress that is food! Also, why is everyone starting to pop their little sequinned numbers to the back of the wardrobe? Why is glitter banished until Festival Season is in full swing?

 

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I have this very linear view of the year, kind of like a ladder with January at the top in the mist of frosty clouds and December at the bottom bathed in the balmy light of log fires and daytime drinking. With this ladder you start at the top; you start in Blanduary having been kicked out of the glorious log cabin of joy that is Christmas and onto the cold hard curb of the bleak new year and you spend the rest of the year gingerly climbing back down the ladder to get back to December again. For me things tend to pick up in April with my birthday and Easter (another chocolate for breakfast situation) and I tend to ride the wave of smugness right to the end of August when everything becomes dull until Halloween and then again until Christmas. So what is the answer to the annual ennui? What do we do to drag ourselves through the moods of early March and the graying September skies? We plan. There are 53 Saturdays in a year. 53 opportunities to do something new and different and challenging and exciting. 53 opportunities to binge watch those series on Netflix that everyone has been banging on about since 2013. 53 opportunities to deal with another hangover with a fry up with friends. 53 opportunities for city breaks, country breaks, tea breaks and wine breaks. So start planning, use these Saturdays to your advantage, you may only get 18 days holiday a year, but there are 53 more that work can’t take away from you damnit!

Should I be freaking out?

Thanksgiving is not something I have ever celebrated, being from the UK it isn’t a tradition I was brought up on. However, this year I was invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with some family. Sitting at the table was an ex Investment Banker, the Director of a successful Advertising Company, a Children’s Theatre Manager, an Events Manager, a medical student about to receive his Doctorate and me… a receptionist and the youngest in the room by only a matter of months. Throughout the meal a thick helping of loaded questions was sprinkled upon me, the sum of which  was: “what are you doing with your life?”  I feel as though its a horrible question that people are asked only at the times of their lives when it is obvious that they don’t know what they’re doing. From my online ramblings alone, I think it is pretty clear that this has been a tumultuous year for this somewhat sporadic writer. And I ask myself this same question pretty much every day…”What are you doing with your life?” Honestly, I don’t know. I sit in an office in central London, working with perfectly nice people, in a perfectly nice job feeling perfectly unsatisfied. A bit like being in the gilded cage, its all very nice but its not enough. This weekend, I met up with the girls I used to live with at University. Of the 6 of us, 5 were living at home, and working in the gilded cage, trainee lawyers who worked their arses off for three years back in offices and retail outlets because that’s how you have to do it to get a trainee-ship. I’m told that we are supposed to get ourselves on the job ladder, to seek work from work. But how is that possible when you don’t know what you’re doing now, let alone what you want to do for the rest of your life.

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It’s a shock spending 4 years away from home living what you thought was ‘independently’, using your student loan to buy food and pay rent, using money from a part time job to get yourself drunk on the days where you should have been working, then moving back home. I am one of the lucky ones; I live at home and I have an amazing relationship with my ma and her man, we eat dinner together every night, we have breakfast together on weekends. So for me, the pull of ‘independence’ is not so strong what with the lack of rent to pay and the constant feeling of support. In truth, I know that the only way for me to find me impetus to move would be to find my dream job somewhere I couldn’t get to from home in less than an hour by train. Very few of my friends have moved out of home, and those who have are paying though the nose for rent and bills. At the end of my working month, less than a grand goes  into my bank account. I am staying put until its at least a grand and a half. A lot of the time it is easy to get my head down at work, binge watch a series on an internet TV site and not think about the future. Other times, like Thanksgiving, I begin to freak out asking myself endless unanswerable questions; have I wasted my degree and gotten myself into over 10k’s worth of debt to sit in reception all day doing nothing? Was doing a drama degree a terrible mistake? Was my father right to unsuccessfully try to dissuade me for all those years? I felt, after this meal last week, about an inch tall. I was useless, going nowhere, I had no wish to act anymore because I dislike the attitude of young actors, I had no qualifications to get myself a job which I could potentially do well in. What I do have is my ma. I have my mates. I have a support network that will never fail me. Even if I feel I am failing myself.

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I have a friend who is an actor. He has gotten pretty constant work from when he left uni to the present (he’s currently touring with a show!) We had the most brutally honest conversation the other day over a glass of red wine in a virtually empty pub in North London. We came to this conclusion: everyone is struggling in some way or another. Whether its the problem of making ends meet and paying rent, whether its finding a job that makes you happy so that scraping by doesn’t matter so much, whether its freaking out because the idea of getting yourself a mortgage and paying real bills every month. Everyone of my generation, bar those who managed to sort themselves out (hats off), is freaking out a little. It seems as though we have to settle in one part of our lives, if we want a good job which pays well, we have to let go of our passion. If we follow our passion we wave a tearful farewell to financial security and what my friend described as comfort. Comfort comes in many forms, whether its treating yourself to a solo Wagamama’s at the end of a brutal day of envelope stuffing or receiving a drawn out hug from a parent. Comfort is one of those little things that can make everything ok, and put you in the frame of mind that says “Life is not so bad”.  So when comforts are few and far between, when pressure from sources out of your control gets too much, when you are unhappy at work, what do you do? Make time.

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It might be the spirit of the holiday season which is forced upon us like acid rain, but I honestly feel as though making time to see friends and family around this time of year is worth its weight in wine. And gold. And gin. And cheese. In all seriousness though, when you feel as though you are drowning in your worries, that you’ll be alone forever and die alone only to be eaten by Alsatians, that you’ll never pay this month’s rent on time, that you’ll be eating tinned beans until March, that you getting a promotion is about as likely as unicorn orgies; just find some time to spend with your loved ones. Talk things out, be honest. The less you talk about what’s worrying you, the more gravity you give it. Everyone is freaking out. Its only natural that you are too.

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Should I Hibernate?

As the nights draw in and the weather begins to work against every new hairstyle you attempt, my (still very single) mind turns to how I will spend the darkest months. It  seems as though everyone is coupling up, as though the north with doth blow and we shall have  snow and I will die alone when the heating fails because everyone I know is under a blanket by a log fire with someone they love. The beginning of winter signals the arrival of four months of cold nights and short days. We bid tearful farewell to the days of beer gardens and sun soaked lunches with friends are long gone, because why brave wind and rain for a pint when you can stay in with red wine and Netflix?

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In truth, I adore winter there’s something about wrapping up against the cold in layers and topping everything off with a time of year themed coffee beverage that shits all over sweating and shaving all summer. My skimpy summer dresses have been exiled to the loft as I welcome back my cold month cosies back to my wardrobe with open arms. Oh oversized cashmere jumper and  leggings, how I have missed you. I have to say I really love winter fashion but don’t get me wrong I’m devastated to have said goodbye to my bright prints, outrageous clashing and the ability to wear a bikini top in lieu of a bra. With winter comes velvet, the most glorious of winter fabrics, the simple fabric that turns a navy dress into the perfect post work drinks outfit. Blacks are back.  It is now completely acceptable to wear an outfit without a splash of color and I love it and its so chic!

A friend recently wrote a blog on the power of an all black outfit (http://www.thefbombblog.com/#!Back-to-Black/c1w7u/8EE83955-1B15-4355-B43D-0CD19BAAE658)

There is also a lot to be said about the party season, sequins are still here and they will not be banished. I love the glamour of winter, the (faux) fur coats, the sparkly chandelier earrings, the fact that dark lipsticks during the day are not only acceptable but celebrated.

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It’s the time of year for hot soups and hearty stews and endless roast potatoes and I love it. But winter is a cruel mistress; for every charity shop jumper, there is having to watch couples Christmas shopping in town. For every pumpkin spiced latte there is forgetting how to use the damn heating. We must take care of ourselves this time of year, make time for a hot bath with a glass of red (Oh Merlot, how I’ve missed your caress). My first post back in March, I was writing to get over some moron who crossed me; I referenced Bridget Jones then, and I’ll do it again now. That gorgeous moment when she runs out in her pants and gets wrapped up in Mr D’Arcy’s coat and you die inside. Yeh that. I feel like that’s what every couple does instead of a peck on the cheek in wintertime. The smug winter advertising about what you and your loved one will gorge yourselves on as you wear matching jumpers while sequinned confetti rains down on your perfectly laid dinner table. The emotional blackmail from supermarkets. Its a confusing time of year for singletons, while wrapped happily in the warm embrace of winter’s blend of warm smells enjoying the spices that the approach to Christmas reintroduce onto our pallets to; we remember the couples’ playground that is winter wonderland. The couples on ice rinks holding hands and laughing as you trip them up with a stray limb and curse as you avoid slicing apart their smug fingers.

 

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I feel constantly between moments of solitary bliss,  wrapped up cosy on the sofa, Sex and the city filling in the silence in the background, watching Carrie struggle with having landed an amazing book deal but suffers from a total lack of love life and feeling like I know what its like! Standing on a dark platform as the mist makes way for the rain but getting to work and having gourmet chocolate waiting on my desk. How do I feel? I honestly can’t decide! Winter is the pull of a cracker; a loud bang, secreted in one half festive novelty fun, the other a lonely cardboard cylinder of nothingness. So dark. So bleak. But all is by no means lost, the festive season brings delicious treats with which to quell the fires of anger. I’m talking hot chocolate, cinnamon pretzels, freshly made chilli chicken wraps warming your fingers as you peruse tiffin at Borough Market. Warm your belly on that crowded, damp train home with a warm coffee beverage laced with spices and sugar. Winter is for dinner parties and wine and catching up with old friends and eating too much cheese. Sure many of us may be facing the bleak wilderness of singledom, some are seasoned pros, others left out in the cold, others throwing their arms out to the open sky with the glee that comes with new found freedom. Many things are uncertain, will we ever go a whole day without having to hoist the crotch of our tights away from your knees? Will I ever bring my useless tiny umbrella on days when I actually need it? Will I ever see the sun again?

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