It’s very unfair of my brain to have been so anxious about lockdown to now also be so anxious about it ending. Pick a lane. It took staying indoors for seven weeks to remind me that I don’t even like going outside. Here’s me outside, not having a good time:
I’ve started listening to podcasts, which I never saw for me. Friends will tell you that I willfully avoid podcasts at all costs. I think they’re stupid – it’s like an inner monologue that you opt into. When I put one on it’s like I’m listening to two podcasts, the one that I’ve chosen to listen to, and the other one, my own one, which is like a director’s commentary of my own self loathing over the top.
But I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping at the moment.
When Harry Potter thinks he’s about to die in the final film and he says “does it hurt to die?” and Sirius Black says “quicker than falling asleep”. Well it’s 4am, my eyes are bloodshot and Sirius is a fucking liar.
Shout out to the real MVPs of lockdown, Nytol sleeping tablets. My best friend is going through the worst mental health time of her life so we often take our tablets together and talk shit on the phone until one of us falls asleep. It’s been really helpful and I don’t know what I’d do without it. Sometimes I think about recording the conversations to listen back to at some point, but I don’t think anyone would want to hear us saying “my brain’s being a bitch” “a big bitch” “a big, disgusting, ugly bitch” increasingly drowsily until we’re unconscious.
I like to pretend it’s like the scene in the last Avengers film when Iron Man dies, and Pepper says, “we’re gonna be okay, you can rest now” but it’s not the world we’re trying to save, it’s just our piece of shit fucking brains.
However, sometimes when she’s not around, I’ve actually started putting on a podcast. If I convince myself it’s a bit like listening to a chatty bedtime cassette like when you’re a kid, it can be quite nice. I used to listen to a book tape as a child called The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark. A gorgeous book but absolutely fucking pointless, because I still sleep my bedside lamp and hallway light on too if I can get away with it.
When I was living in London I was up to three – bedside, main and bathroom. A full house. By which I mean, full of ghosts, which I repel by keeping all my lights on.
I do think that book tape might have caused more damage than good because once when I got the the end of the cassette as a child, the story finished, I was gently drifting into sleep and then a very loud voice said “PLEASE TURN OVER THE TAPE” and I was given the shock of my absolute fucking overbite-riddled, prepubescent life.
I can’t express this enough. Blind. Fucking. Terror. The world went black. Satan climbed out from under my bed, wrapped his hands around my neck and said “feel fear, you little shit” and so I did.
Luckily, I already slept with 5 cushions and upright at the time, so it took one fluid motion to run straight into my mum’s bedroom to tell her there’s someone inside the radio. She told me it’s just what they put on the tape to make you turn it over. Well, who would do that, mum?? Who knows I’m listening?? What do they want??? Why would they break the fourth wall like that??
Okay, no, I didn’t ask that last one, I was too busy being force fed Calpol and told to go back to bed. But I’ve never forgiven book tapes since, so podcasts are a real leap of faith into unchartered terrain for me. They have been okay so far. I do not trust them.
Not like my best friend, TV, which I would die for. I only really become aware of time passing when I reach the next christmas episode of the TV show I am watching. I was watching 30 Rock yesterday and they had a Christmas episode and I thought, didn’t they just do that episode? And then I looked back and realised I’d gotten through 25+ episodes of a TV show in one day.
It’s been sunny outside which has been lovely, but also I am a bit afraid to go into the garden because I am worried about what my family will say about my body and body hair.
Yeah, I said it. I have body hair, but it makes me embarrassed because other people don’t feel the same way and sometimes it offends people. I ruined my shoes after I fell into a waterfall in Newcastle, and I ended up going to try on shoes with my two best friends.
One of them didn’t like standing next to me in the shop because she didn’t like the fact you could see my leg hair as I tried on the shoe. Similarly I went to a wedding last year and my mum and sister made me shave my legs and armpits before it. I felt naked after I did it. I was quite upset after that second one, watching all the hair that I had lovingly grown go down the drain.
I like the hair because it makes me feel like a powerful ox sometimes, so it’s sad that it also makes me want to hide.
Money is tight and I said to my friend Andy that I should probably just give up this whole thing and marry a banker. He said, “I don’t think you’re what they’re looking for” and he’s right. Then we both paused and asked, at the same time, who is actually looking for me. I’m the worst of both worlds – not the stereotypical fun kind of gay and I’m not smart or politically engaged enough to be a misanthropic lesbian, so here we are. I’m kind of like a manic pixie dream girl, but instead of helping someone learn to love life again, I actually just push them over the edge.
If I did settle down and marry a banker, I think a lot about how I won’t be a good wife, but I think I’d be a really good ex-wife. Being married to me would be hell but I’d be excellent about passive aggressively picking the kids up on a Sunday night and bitching about you to my sister. The same way I don’t think I want kids, but if I do have them, I think I’d be really good at taking ages to put my glasses and say “what am I looking at here” whenever my kid tries to show me a meme.
I don’t want to do stuff to be accepted by people. I was thinking about the time in my first year of uni where I drank a shot of washing up liquid because I thought it would make them be friends with me. In the end I don’t think anyone actually watched me do it and my throat burned for a whole day. It was very stupid. I also forced myself into a washing machine for the exact same reason.
I don’t think that’s hugely about fighting the patriarchy and conforming to society’s standards, it’s more about me being an idiot, but the point still stands.
Anyway, back in this house I’m still that little girl, terrified about a premature fourth wall break, four cushions propping me up, main light on. But it’s not ghosts this time. It’s my own brain, inside me. Like when Professor Quirrell takes off his headscarf in the first Harry Potter and he’s got Voldemort on the back. I know that’s the second time I’ve referenced Harry Potter, it’s because we did a Harry Potter-themed quiz last night and it’s on the brain. A lot like when Professor Quirrell takes off his headscarf and- well, you get the idea.
My bedroom’s been redecorated because my mum wants to rent the house out. Some parts are still the same. Including the stain on my windowsill from when I gave a blowjob to my first boyfriend, he came, I gagged and didn’t know what to do with it, so opened my window and spat it out onto my windowsill and we spent the rest of the summer watching it slowly crust over. A modern day Romeo and Juliet, I prop myself up against my balcony, look out over the world in lockdown and think, please turn over the tape.