One of the ways I can tell I’m really sad is that I’ll go onto my Facebook photos, press the left arrow and then end up on a three hour long montage of my life as though I’ve died. It’s kind of like watching your life flash before your eyes, but with a lot more comments from people who then went on to unfriend you.
I’m trying to make myself more attractive at the moment, and become more of a ‘woman’. I’m not fussed about the idea, but I must admit it is quite nice when someone correctly identifies my gender first time, a skill that was touch and go in high school.
I go through phases of hating my stupid ugly body and face and hair, and other times where I really just can’t stand it at all. I’m trying to avoid wearing underwear that comes in a five pack from Primark. Okay, I’m wearing some right now, but that’s because it’s fucking comfy and you know what if that’s how I want to live my life then I bloody will, and you can take your lacy thongs and shove them right up inside your arsehole, because that’s where they’ll end up anyway.
Going back through the old pictures on my Facebook makes realise that I’ve never really been destined to be good at being a ‘woman’. I never really invested in it, and in year nine I think the fanciest makeup I had was a purple eyeliner that came free with Shout magazine. I woke up early to put it on before school, but I didn’t know how to put on eyeliner at all so just sort of free-styled it, and then got into class late for maths but feeling fierce, and then one girl peered really closely at me and said “EURGH Katie’s got an eye infection” and then other girls crowded around to look at me and I’d been kind of maybe excited about school that day because I thought I looked really pretty with my new purple eyes, and now they were just holding back tears. Later on, a kind soul in maths class leaned in really close to me and said “it’s okay, its just sleep dust, sometimes I get purple sleep dust in my eyes too”.
That was the same year I left my bag open on my desk and went to the bathroom, but whilst I was gone a couple of girls went through it all, getting out the two balled up pairs of skin coloured tights I had in my bag, an extra pair of Primark underwear and several seemingly industrial sized panty liners. In those days I barely had nipples but when I got my period I bled so much I began to worry that I was doing it wrong and perhaps every month I was accidentally birthing an ovary.
Possibly most embarrassing in high school was in about year ten when I went to the toilet and forgot to lift up my school skirt all the way. Lifting up my skirt to pee was new to me. Before that, I thought you had to pull them down like trousers. I got the mechanics wrong and accidentally peed all over my school skirt. My own body was rebelling against dressing femininely.
Earlier in the term I heard a rumour that a couple of girls in my year had gotten high in the girls toilets. I secretly hoped one day they might invite me. Holding the back of my skirt under the pitiful hand dryers, I suppose I had weed – and at least mine didn’t get me suspended. I guess they were the real losers.
“Are you okay?” The concerned man behind the counter at Pret asks me, as I order a miniature birthday cake and eat it in two bites like a sandwich. What flavour was it? Was it nice? I don’t know, because I was too busy trying to stuff it inside my body like a nice cake-based clog in my sadness.
For me there are two default ways I try to cheer myself up during depression. One of the ways I try to cheer myself up is eating. The other is shopping for clothes. I know. You couldn’t tell looking at me, lumbering around with a baggy baseball sweater more snot than sleeve, spackled with cat hair over a sports bra that I’ve worn since I bought it last November because I can’t bring myself to put on a real bra.
The problem with this is that when I’m depressed, my face looks like this, especially if I’m eating particularly poor imitation-brand cereal:
Therefore I know that when I try clothes on, I feel like I don’t get a very accurate representation of how they might actually look.
For example, this top seemed okay when I plucked it off a shelf as I wandered aimlessly around Forever 21 on Oxford Street.
Holding it up to my body, I don’t need a first from the school of Gok Wan to see that it’s not my colour. Or my shape, probably because I don’t know how it goes on. I’m not going to take it into the changing rooms to try it on either, as then I’ll definitely have to buy it because I’m too embarrassed to hand it back to the attendant.
I’m refusing to go into Topshop anymore because their leotards remind me of one swimming lesson in primary school where I executed the Knicker Trick poorly and ended up with one of my lips poking out from my swimming costume and a teacher had to tell me.
I managed to burn my forehead. I’ve had to walk around this whole week with a big burn on my face like a shit Harry Potter, if Voldemort had tried to attack my mother with a Babyliss Curling Wand Pro 2285CU. If I’ve learnt anything from this, it’s that you can easily scratch the skin flakes off a scar if you’re determined enough. Rendering the whole of the Potter series complete and utter bollocks.
I want to explain to the security men working the doors that I’m not homeless, just sad today, before shakily holding up floaty flowery clothes to my droopy body, thinking that they might look nice on me if charred skin wasn’t peeling off my forehead. The shop assistant in Forever 21 looks at me with pity as I try to pay for some cat socks I genuinely believe might be the one thing I was missing in my life, whilst attempting to subtly lick the weeping pus from a leaking spot on my lip.
This morning I put the same jeans back on that I wore yesterday and realised that an entire egg yolk is smeared across the front. I had an egg for breakfast yesterday, which means that I’d been at work for a full day with an egg yolk attached to my thigh. Not even like a little bit of egg, a big bit of egg speckled with orange and white, and my jeans are black and I watched the entirety of Carshalton Carnival parade down the high street, and now they all know I can’t eat an egg properly.
Also, we’ve hit the season where a lot of people have finished their final year and are celebrating. Many jubilations for you. It’s great. The real world is absolutely great. Honestly.
Standing alone in the train station at midnight, as if from the depths of my paranoia, a scary man in a hood with comes right up to me and says the following words:
“Are you cold?”
He pauses whilst he considers my conundrum for a while, before offering:
“If you’re cold, you should dance.”
I really wish I could dance. I wish I could dance so well that in clubs, boys look at me and think that I’m skilled at sex. Much like the phrase, “behind every lie there’s a kernel of truth”, behind every dance move I attempt to pull off is the fact I didn’t have my first kiss until I was eighteen.
For practice, I dance sometimes at a club in Stoke Newington.
I like eating a really massive portion of chips just before I go out because I like to think that if boys don’t come up to me in the club at least I’ve had some nice dinner. Unfortunately, equipped with the blind optimism of every girl who has ever tried to wrangle themselves into too-small white skinny jeans from the Joni section in Topshop, I look like a drunken kangaroo attempting to strangle a chip-based baby kangaroo inside its pouch.
My dancing. I know for a fact that I look good sometimes in my room when I dance, especially when the right music is on; inexplicably aggressive hip-hop. Sometimes I point at myself in the mirror and whisper assorted encouraging words from the song as well, because it makes me feel sexy and also less alone.
I do this sort of body-pop flowy sensual motion, but my bedroom has a lot of creaky floorboards, so I’ve had to incorporate minimal movement from the waist down so as to keep my dignity in tact. This restricts pop and flow to my arms and eyebrows, mostly.
It’s not hot. But he’s right – I do get pretty sweaty. Well, the top half of me does, anyway.
We don’t really do Easter egg hunts in my family anymore now that I’m old enough to hunt and kill an animal in most states in America. I probably wouldn’t, but it’s nice to know that if society reached a stage where it was necessary for me to hunt and kill an animal, I’d possess the legal level of maturity required to watch it die in front of my own eyes as a result of my actions.
When we were kids, my mum used to hide Easter eggs around the garden. My sister, me, and our cousin Alex would wait eagerly in my bedroom, until we were told we could come out and find them. That’s a nice image, but at 10, 13 and 16, we were mentally preparing ourselves for a low budget version of The Hunger Games.
It felt like we were waiting for ages, but considering she also had to hide the moral implications of an arrogant middle class tradition in actively hiding food to forge a sense of joy once it’s been found again, it was bound to be a pretty lengthy procedure.
The above is an actual dead rabbit from La Regle Du Jeu, Jean Renoir’s 1939 rom-com. If you watch the clip online, you can literally see this rabbit get shot and die. He also makes a similar point about the bourgeoisie, but in French.
My sister and I bumbled around, often mistaking slightly rounded pebbles for eggs, suspiciously digging a bit into the ground in case mum was cunning enough to plant the eggs for next year, blissfully ignorant in a garden that now housed the scene of a national dystopian jibe at the third world.
Meanwhile, mum had to physically tie our cousin Alex’s hands together, so we had some chance before he was unleashed into the wasteland and remorselessly stripped it for goods, shovelling eggs into a children’s wicker basket.
Nowadays, sometimes at like 5pm on a Sunday my mum takes us to M&S to find all the reduced yellow label food. That’s sort of like an Easter egg hunt, if you pretend an Easter egg is the same thing as reduced garlic mashed potato.
“I just don’t want to stop doing things because I will just cry if I do”
When Bronwen told me the news she was going out to Calais, I made a face like this:
because firstly, I wish I was brave enough to go myself, and secondly because I am ever-jealous of Bronwen’s borderline irritating do-gooding. It’s sickeningly incessant. Fucking stop. I hate you, Bronwen. Okay, I don’t. But I do.
Three days in, and I wake up to several messages on my phone, one reading:
“I’m fine, I’ve been moderately teargassed, but I’m fine”
Anyway, since then I’ve been desperate to get an interview with her. Turns out, it’s quite interesting. Read on if you’d like to hear more about her experience.
What’s it like out there?
It’s a bit like a sad Glastonbury, if everyone had been there for three, four, five or more months. Living conditions are appalling and everything is temporary here, but there is community and a real spirit to the place.
It’s difficult to describe what it’s like here, because it’s miserable, and everyone volunteering here is spending their time fighting against this massive, seemingly impenetrable government monolith. It’s hard, repetitive work. You might be making a thousand packs of toothbrushes and toothpastes over a few days, and it’s difficult to see immediately how that helps, but everything we do here has a massive effect. Everything we do here matters.
Why is this happening?
These are people coming from countries that they just cannot survive in. These people just want to escape countries where they’re being arrested for arson for just standing near a fire, or being hounded out of their homes for being found in possession of wine. Kurds are being slaughtered fighting against Isis. A family from Afghanistan lent their truck to British forces fighting out there. For that reason, half of them were slaughtered by the Taliban. This was simply because they had aligned themselves with the British, and now they’re on our doorstep, and we’re acting like we don’t care.
People have been extricated or have had to leave their countries because they’ve had no other choice. They come to countries like Greece or Italy. They should claim asylum in the first safe country they come to, but they want to live with their families, or they’ve seen the British and they like them or admire them, and want to live with us. Some of them have studied in the UK. So they work their way to France- they’ve made it so far- and can’t get over or under the channel.
The refugees in the camp are saying that they hope Britain is like Heaven on Earth. I say it’s what you make of it. I don’t want to say it’s not. I don’t want to crush what hope they have.
What’s the structure of the camp like?
Calais is a big camp loosely split into two- the north and south. The South is months and months old, it was the original camp. It’s got the most communal structures. It’s where the main volunteer group is, a library, a youth centre. It’s sort of got a high street with restaurants. People who live there run them. But the police are moving people northward- driving slowly through the camp and bulldozing everything from the Southernmost parts and upwards.
The French government also say that 3000 people live in The Jungle and that there are 1000 in the South. This is wrong – there are many more – but they’re basing all their plans for housing the refugees on this wildly inaccurate estimate. There are “heated containers” provided as an alternative form of shelter, and those have taken many people in, but there are few spaces left (less than 40), and it’s a prison-like environment.
Authorities are also trying to move people to immigration detention centres, but there’s only something like 1000 places across the whole of France. Refugees aren’t using the containers because they believe The Jungle is the best situation France is offering. I think that says a lot.
The Jungle has cafes and meeting spaces and first aid and even its own radio station (Jungala Radio – worth a listen!). It’s a testament to human resilience in times of crisis, and the innovation that follows necessity.
There’s also another camp at Dunkirk. Over the next few days, 1200-1800 (there’s no accurate census) people will be evicted from that camp and moved to a new camp near Grande-Synthe. These refugees are having to leave their entire livelihoods behind. We have to provide everything for them all over again. I will go there over the next few days to help.
How many people are there?
In the most recent census that I’m aware of, there were 5497 people living in the whole camp. 3455 of them were in the South to be cleared. They’re clearing the south part of the camp because its “unsuitable” for “humanitarian reasons” for the refugees. If that’s the reason, they’ve failed in their aims because the methods they are using are completely dehumanising.
I’ve seen the CRS, the Riot Police, using enough tear gas to choke everyone within several hundred metres. They’ve used bulldozers and rubber bullets and fire to destroy a hard-won place of relative safety. The school had to be moved. They burned the Pink Caravan, which used to give out tents and sleeping bags. It’s just a shell now. Large swathes of land that used to be a sheltered community are now fields of rubble and mud.
How do you get into the camp, and where is it?
It’s just sort of like this weird, sad, industrial wasteland on the outskirts of Calais, about 15 minutes from the town itself. It’s on sand dunes, which I guess is good for drainage, but not suitable for permanent living. If you took a photograph of it out of context it could be anywhere in North Africa or the Middle East.
You walk in under a bridge, a huge overpass going towards the channel tunnel, right next to the road going to the crossing. Mostly lorries go past. The idea behind living there is that you hop in a lorry and sneak across, praying you don’t get caught by the police. But that’s really difficult. They’ve even brought in a heat scanner to check for bodies. There’s a rumour going around that someone got inside a refrigerated lorry that had a polar bear inside it, though “Jungle Rumours” like that are common. Every now and then you hear that a friend has got across and everyone quietly rejoices.
It’s a community. A valued community- and there are many smaller individual communities within it as well. People are upset that their shelters are being demolished, not grateful for the opportunity to move. The refugees themselves named this place The Jungle, and they stand up for their right to peacefully inhabit the land.
How does it feel going there?
Most residents of the camp are really gentle people, quick-humoured and smart as hell. I got really angry at some girls volunteering in the camp who said the refugees are “so threatening, like a pack of wolves”. It’s not dangerous at all. I can walk through there in the dark, on my own, and not fear for my safety any more than in South London.
I have only ever been welcomed in The Jungle. Working there, I spend all day being plied with cups of coffee and chai. The guys in the Kabul Café banter about my inability to eat neatly with a flatbread, and jokingly supply me with kitchen roll for my lentil-covered face. I spend much of my time hand-shaking, cheek-kissing, and being laughed at or with.
Is there any racial tension?
90% of the population are young men, wasting the prime of their lives trapped in a desperate situation. If this was British people, I think we’d be at each other’s throats. There are skirmishes. There’s no sort of gang warfare though. Everyone shuffles along. They don’t want to make it any worse for each other.
What sort of things have you been doing to help?
Warehouse operating for L’Auberge de Migrants- that’s the charity I work for. I get there at about 9. Then we split into people who run the Calais kitchen- prepare the food that’s distributed- a hot meal, and also cold food packages. It’s important to make sure that people feel like that can feed themselves if they want to- and give them some independence.
We receive donations of food and clothes, which we sort and put into boxes. We also get some medical supplies, which I was organising last week.
More recently, though, I’ve been in charge of sorting out the clothes. This might sound menial, but if you don’t thoroughly sort it, it can be the difference between someone getting a thin jumper and a fleece- so someone will be cold because of your mistake. When you’re working in the warehouse and not the camp you can’t see anyone, but it’s important to feel the urgency of the situation even when there isn’t a visible need before you.
After being here for a week, you start to feel desperately responsible. Two nations, Britain and France, don’t want anything to do with these people and have abandoned them. Everyone there has already been mistreated by his or her nation of origin, and are fleeing war. The only ones on their side are us volunteers. We are students, retired people and weird hippies. We’re not lawyers, doctors, or politicians, we’re just people that feel like we can’t do what our governments have done and let human beings down in this way- it feels like a huge responsibility.
How do you feel?
I feel motivated. It’s motivation like you’ve never known it before. I have over 5000 people counting on me and my friends. I don’t know what would happen if the volunteers packed up and left.
I sat on the toilet the other day – this was the first rest I’d had in hours – and I just started crying. It’s very hard to process, and it comes out for me in random bursts. It was just real frustration at the situation. It’s a deep, innate knowledge that everything that’s happening is unfair. It seems like this is the worst place on Earth.
Emotionally, you’re inspired, motivated, proactive, protective, fulfilled and engaged. But it’s also incredibly sad. I feel so angry all the time. I want to buy a lorry and put 5000 people in it and run over the border police and only then will it feel fair. They’re complex people. We just can’t leave them there in a pile of rubbish and sand and human waste.
Some of them have even gone back to their own countries. They would rather go back to a war-torn Syria than stay in France. Not a lot of them, but some of them. Isn’t that disgusting?
What’s the hardest thing about being out there?
Managing to act in a way that is sensitive to the situation. It’s very hard to make sure you’re not being a tourist. A lot of people want to see the camp, take pictures or just stare. People notice that stuff. It’s not right to go and take a picture of a refugee washing. You don’t go into someone’s bathroom and take pictures. It’s hard to know what’s going to be the most sensitive and respectful way of doing things.
Everything we do as volunteers is approved by community leaders inside the Jungle. We don’t do anything unless they want us to. But it’s hard to make sure everyone’s represented and isn’t left feeling worthless. How do you provide everything for someone and not make them feel completely useless? The means they have of providing for themselves are taken away over and over again. It’s not hard to see them as people, but its hard to figure out how they want you to treat them- how do you ask someone how to best make them feel happy and safe?
You get undercover journalists, and a lot of misery tourists- people who show up and take sad pictures of teddy bears in rubble. They see how awful it is, spend the day milling around, and satisfy their curiosity. I’m glad people are curious, but treating it as though it’s a spectacle, a historical event that just happens to be happening now, is not necessarily helpful.
Another hard thing is how much love you find you have for everyone in the camps. The empathy is overwhelming. I would do anything for these people. It’s humbling and amazing.
What’s the most rewarding this about it?
The Afghan rice- it’s delicious! [laughs].
The most rewarding thing hasn’t happened yet. It will be ten years down the line when we look back on this, and view the people who were anti-immigration as backward and unfeeling. When we know that we were on the right side of history. When, hopefully, some of these young men have families, and there’s a whole new wave of second-generation immigrant people who are contributing to society in Britain and our lives there.
Everything that we’ve done here probably won’t be remembered, but I hope someday I’ll be a footnote in a man’s story to his children – the lady who woefully failed at traditional Syrian dancing, or helped clean out some tents.
What do you want people back home to know?
We need men’s pants! New ones, please! And warm men’s clothes in sizes small and medium, and most importantly we need volunteers!
We received two massive boxes full of men’s underwear the other day. We hadn’t had any donations of pants in weeks. We were screaming and laughing and crying and wearing them on our heads – the brand new volunteers thought we’d gone mental. We were so excited to give them out. It was the best thing. It mattered so, so much to us.
I want people to know that it’s not scary here. People in the camp are gentle, but stressed. And the only thing keeping them there is hope that Britain will be amazing – and we should prove it to them. Let’s all be humanitarian and pro-immigration and prove that the UK can be the haven that these people think it will be.
I’ve been working nine days straight and tomorrow will be my tenth. It’s hard to stop once you start. It’s going to be so weird coming back to England. I can’t not come back to the people of The Jungle. There’s a reason people stay here for months on end. It feels like we live at the end of the World, but there’s no place I’d rather be, because it’s the place that needs me the most.
Valentine’s Day. It’s pretty fucking miserable, isn’t it? Name a worse holiday than Valentine’s Day. Okay, New Years Eve is a close contender. Interestingly, both have been made into films by director/ misery monopoliser Garry Marshall, wittily titled Valentine’s Day (2010) and then, controversially, New Year’s Eve (2011).*
My mum doesn’t even make me Valentine’s cards anymore. Not that she was any good at them, they always sort of seemed like a cruel jibe anyway.
Yeah, it’s still going to be miserable, whatever you do. But here’s some stuff you could do instead if, like me, suicide is becoming more and more of a feasible option.
8 Awesome and Healthy Ways to cope on Valentine’s Day
1.Fuck a stranger
If you can do this, definitely do it. If I knew how to successfully talk/meet/court/get naked with a someone, I’d do this too. Strangers don’t know you, and are probably just as lonely, like lonely spiders. Just as lonely as you are of them.
“The aguey tendon, the sin, the sin.
The tinder cries.” -Sylvia Plath, Fever 103, opening a superlike notification on her phone
2. Fuck a mate
This one’s also pretty self-explanatory really. It’s a nice surprise for them, and, more importantly, a healthy bit of closure for you. We’ve all seen Friends With Benefits, or that slightly shitter one with Natalie Portman.
3. Make yourself a mix tape
Who better to make a mix tape for than yourself? You can’t be disappointed with an album chock full of Damien Rice classics. You can even put a few more daring bands in there too, or Skepta.
4. Buy a scented candle
This one is called Lemon Lavender. Its the New Year’s Eve/Valentine’s Day combination of the candle world. It smells like lovely, pungent bleach. You can light it in the bath and enjoy the flames caressing your nasal passage, and savour the feeling of something entering you.
5. Buy some nice Hers and His mugs, keep them both
Score! It’s the morning after you’ve had a peaceful night of starfishing on your now seemingly cavernous double bed. You’re a strong confident woman who needs tea, and what’s better than one mug of tea? Two mugs of tea, that’s bloody what. Drink from both to create a fluid gender fusion. Go you!
6. Go to the men’s fragrance section and smell their wares
A bit got in my eye.
7. Stalk an ex’s girlfriend on Instagram
It’s just nice to see what they’re up to, isn’t it? You’re just checking in. That looks like a nice day out for them.
8. …Whilst wearing all his clothes.
In fact, just wear all his clothes all the time, at every social event where he might be there. Don’t take them off. It’s a strong message. Wear them until the seams blend into your skin. Life’s a catwalk, and everything looks better on you anyway. Combine with option 6 and 3 for a multi-sensory romance casserole.
What a great holiday we’ve got coming up. I hope you’re as wet in anticipation as I am.
*I cant quite put into words how irritating it is that Marshall would make a sequel that, logistically, on a linear chronology of time, I would probably place the other way around. If you’re going to start a film series based on a calendar, does it not make sense to start with New Years Eve, notoriously the day that signifies the beginning of the year? The mind boggles.
I hate this season because everywhere you go you see Ibsen-esque, dishevelled Christmas trees dumped in the streets, bedraggled and sagging. They all look like they’ve given up three Ubers into the journey home from a big Friday night at Cargo, and now lie stranded on the curb, barren of all the nights adornments, and poor because they spent £10.50 on a single vodka and cranberry.
I like to pretend that the one outside my house has been left there by my cat as some sort of massive stick he’s found in the park.
I managed to get an upgrade on my iPhone 4, so my resolution’s gone from a measly 960×640 to a hefty 1136×640, so I’ve made about 113040 resolutions for the new year, if resolutions are the equivalent of pixels, and you’ve got to be a terrific dullard to dispute that.
My New Years was all right because I did a party, and I’ve never done a party at my house, so it was all fresh and exciting. Suddenly my house became unfamiliar territory but inside my own home, like when you pull a plaster off a damp bit of skin after you have a bath.
I scored some super-fly Grade A+ dank weed and also snacks such as Asda’s value onion rings and Asda’s value cheese balls. Everybody brought cool spirits like gin and vodka and we played games like drink it really fast and see who wins. Then I got too high because I was really excitedly talking about trading limit act Jagex instigated on Runescape in 2007 and had to lie down on my bed for a bit and not think about it. I’m also not very good at inhaling so I smoked most of it into my eyes, which as we all know are quite the responsive orifices for stimulants such as drugs and burning.
But also there were some rubbish bits like when my cat got into a decorative hamper my mum got for Christmas, mistaking it for a litter tray and then doing a wee in it, so now our carpet is dyed pink and we have to put her down. Also, I let two friends sleep in my mum’s bed and I went in the next morning and there was a cat wee on it too, so I had to hurry my friends out of the room so they didn’t see it and rightfully think that’s how I live my life.
The party made me think a lot about high school because I never went to many parties, and I didn’t go to my prom or Leaver’s Ball because I’d seen Ten Things I Hate About You and decided that I was going to refuse to go on account of feminism. I went to an all girls’ school so thinking about it now I’m not too sure of the extent to which the feminist agenda was challenged by 300 girls celebrating seven years of school together, and sometimes I go clubbing now and men rub their crotches against me and we call it dancing.
For an all girls school, prom is a mass exodus to Debenhams to buy ‘that’ navy blue dress, and I was no exception, imagining how good it would be if I put one on with all my make up and a long wig and showed up and everyone would tell me how pretty I was underneath all the facial hair and grease. What actually happened was that all my friends had quite a nice time and I sat at home playing a lesser version of Runescape, but it was all right because I was really good at that game so I bought full elegant clothing (worth almost 1mil gp) and wore it all evening.
Just like Silver in 90210.
Also I just packed up my laptop to leave and go and write in the café, but I’ve just realised I’ve got £40 in my purse and that’s all the money I have left in the world, so I’ve just had to unpack all my stuff again and sit in the kitchen and apply for some jobs.
As I write this, I am sitting eating a stale muffin in Café Nero. I’m tired, and the woman working behind the counter has ascertained that I’m never going to take back a stale muffin. So I’m punishing my own shortcomings as a human by eating every bite.
Much like the skeleton that had nobody to go with to the party, I don’t have the guts, and people can smell it on me, like cat pee on my duvet. I can’t even take back a size 20 dress in Primark that was on a size 12 hanger. Do the people who work at Primark actually look at what hangers their clothes are on before them put them on the shelves? I feel like they are too busy getting shoplifted by everybody under 18. Where else can you buy a T-shirt with every emoji on it?* The kids need the T-shirts to express how they feel in a society where language as an inherently human creation barely scratches the surface of human emotive capability
I’m not even sure if I really like muffins, or if I just like the masochistic 300+ calories nestled in the pouch of my high-waisted skinny jeans, fermenting.
Two girls in the queue in front of me ordered hot chocolates. They are blonde, attractive, and must be about eighteen years old. This is the kind of girl that I am literally petrified of, because once in high school a girl went through my industrial-sized backpack because I carried all my books for the week everywhere and she pulled out my manky pair of emergency tights and a panty liner in case of period deployment** and held it up in front of everybody and some girls laughed and then I went to the nurse and said I didn’t feel very well and got sent home
I stood behind them at the till and one of them definitely gave me a corner of the eye look. One of those looks that appraises your whole body all the way down, then back up. The girl maintains a neutral expression, and when they finish the up-down look, they turn away. It’s a look that, I’m certain, all of us have experienced at least once. For that one look, every girl is reduced to a robot-like state, scanning for potential threat. I can say that because I definitely do it too.
Then she looked back at her friend and sighed and went “I’m supposed to go ice skating up in London tonight” OH U POOR DEAR LITTLE NYMPH IS IT TO CHILLY FOR UR LIL BOOTS
FUCK OFF BACK TO NARNIA U MEAN COW I KNOW U DIDNT SAY ANYTHING BUT I FELT UR ICE U ICE QUEEN U HATE SKATING BECAUSE IT REMINDS U OF UR FROZEN HEART
Let me paint an image for you of what I look like right now. I’m scared to brush my hair because it’s falling out because every so often I lose my shit and bleach it. I haven’t changed my pants in a while because I’m a bit sad at the moment. I’ve just had to grope my boob to check if I remembered to wear a bra today. I’ve just leant on my hand to think of another thing, and I can definitely feel some stubble growing there.
I’m out of money too, and I don’t care what anybody says, happiness definitely comes a little bit from money. Okay, a lot. Okay, my happiness hinges on whether I have the money to do anything. So anyway that reached a new low last week, because I tried to sell pictures of my feet online. I can tell you now: nobody wants a picture of my feet. My feet are literally hooves. In fact, I should charge people for not having to see them. It’s just ankles, and then hoof. Mum got me these adorable bunny socks that I love, but when I wear them, my bunion fills out the face of the bunny so it looks like it has a massive tumour growing out of its face. It’s something out of a David Lynch film.
Anyway, so I made a tweet about it and some guy replied saying he would offer ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS for a picture of my feet. I did that thing where I blinked and the traditional dollar signs appeared in place of my eyeballs. So, I messaged him.
1 pic, no problem, I can do that. I’ll get on the phone to my neighbourhood blacksmith for a fitting. 5 pics? That might take some storyboarding. Does he want one singular pic of each toe? Is the baby toe paedophilia? Do I split my toes apart, revealing the inner crotch of each toe?Can I charge extra for the bunion as a sort of meat quid-pro-quo scenario? It was all too much.
Sorry Omar, I’m out. All my toes are seductively crossed for you in all your other romantic endeavours.
If you’re pleased you didn’t have to see a picture of my feet today, then transfer money into my account. I’m going to set up a kick-starter fund with sexy pics of my foot kicking stuff. I may or may not be desperate.
*what’s up with the spectrum of shades of person u get on the emoji sticker packs? I’m so confused this is just like what happened in The Simpsons like they made them yellow so its universal but then made like Apu have a realistic skin tone so then by default it meant everyone else that’s yellow is white its so perplexing
**periods always happen like the thumbs up on Facebook it’s always inappropriate when they happen why is that sort it out Zuck I know u got a kid but this is important***
***also I just had to delete several pics of my dead cat so I could download the elf sticker pack sort it out I need the packs
I have the kind of face where people are always asking me what’s wrong. I have a perpetual sadness that is so ingrained into my face what whenever I have to leave a room, people always make an extra effort to say goodbye to me in case that’s the last chance they’ll ever get to say it.
But then they always seem to be slightly disappointed when I show up again.
I know that look because it’s the same one that I give to my grandma every time she leaves. She wants me to teach her how to use Skype soon, but there’s only so many nice ways of saying that there’s no point, because she’ll probably be dead soon. She asked Lizzie once to help her out with sorting out her clothes, and Lizzie said, “Well, how long were you planning on being around?”
Having depression is kind of like that, because it’s impending. All the lights go out in your brain and you’re left shamelessly groping around in the dark. It feels like everybody is staring at you like you don’t have eyes, they’re just black holes which show that everything through them doesn’t have any light anymore.
It doesn’t get light again until you find the fuse switch, which can take months, depending on how hard you look for it and how much you really want to look for it.
I did a couple of lines the other week and about half an hour later when it started to kick in, my friend goes “so, how do you feel?” I analyse my body internally and conclude, “Yep, I feel okay”.
She looked at me with sudden pity and goes “wow, you must be really sad”.
It’s ugly. It’s very difficult to describe. The closest feeling I can align it to is guilt, it’s that kind of consuming emotional dread. In my final year, dappling with antidepressants, I got myself down to a size 6, and terrified a boy I was sleeping with when he ran his hand up my thigh and felt the cuts.
That’s what depression is. It’s not changing your underwear for days, to the point where they probably don’t need the elastic to stay on your body anymore. It’s not eating, even though that’s literally your favourite thing to do. It’s waking up, then shutting your eyes tight again so nothing becomes real yet. It’s going into public toilets and standing with your face against the bathroom door, trying to make yourself want to breathe, whilst a demon consumes every internal part of your body.
It’s listening to Damien Rice and thinking he ‘gets’ you. (what the actual fuck?)
I did my first five minutes in a London club last night, and I died. I literally spoke for five minutes to silence. There were 20 acts in the night, they get pulled randomly to perform, and I was 18th. By the time I actually went on stage, I didn’t want to hear myself do comedy.
I was so nervous, and my opening line didn’t go well, so then I got thrown off and half-heartedly tried to carry on to an audience of tipsy men with furrowed eyebrows, who definitely didn’t want to hear about my vagina.
Everyone’s got to die once in a while though, and as we all know from Batman Begins- notoriously the climactic triumph of the Batman trilogy- we fall to pick ourselves back up again.
And I will pick myself back up. But first, I need to get into bed, and not get out for a really long time.