Guilt: How Your Noose Strangled My Neck

It is not my fault that you are gone. It IS my fault for not realising that you were not going to stay.

It Is My Fault for overlooking your emotional decline, as if my helplessness regarding your hopelessness was a validation for the way in which I handled your statement of depression. I, always so abundant in advice for those I care about, found when your tongue stalled mine stilled. In your silence there was a hunger for the words that I did not have.

It Is My Fault for the immoralities in which I have excessively indulged, for the vices that we would unite over and the manner in which they obliterated the memories of your every profession. In your absence my thoughts have sobered, and I have been left to reflect upon what I have now come to know was truly your confession.

It Is My Fault for allowing the anxiety that ticks in my head like the hands of a clock to convince me there was no time for a farewell, because there would always be time for another hello. The uncharacteristic keenness you displayed should have served as an alarm, yet my apprehension was the only thing I allowed myself to pay heed to… The loss of you has detonated with more force than any fear ever could have.

It Is My Fault for blithely accepting your response to my query; you were a puzzle I was too ashamed to admit I could not solve. What you presented was a perfectly coloured side of a Rubik’s Cube, and although I could sense the angles you did not display were a mangled mess aching to be resolved I did not know how to align the rest of you without disrupting the best of you.

It Is Not My Fault that you are gone, but It Is My Fault for not recognising that you weren’t going to stay. As you journeyed to your final destination, you left a trail of breadcrumbs in your wake –and now, I’m choking on them.

Skittles Taste Like Suicide

“My death will be the result of suicide.” Neither the weather nor my emotional state were particularly gloomy when this thought calmly made itself known to me last summer. It should have shocked me to my core, and yet it felt more like acknowledging the unavoidable than encountering the absurd. I was not enduring a bout of depression and my life circumstances weren’t troublesome, so this thought should not have had any grounds… And yet it did, and it does.

It’s an odd feeling, knowing that you have an inconsistent and untrustworthy emotional state. During some stages you find yourself a blissful, euphoric individual that is grateful for every scent, every sight, every situation, and at others you’re nothing but an empty void of an entity, wondering how the changing of seasons can be so colourful yet you yourself are nothing more than ebony stains and inky errors?

To those who haven’t dealt with emotional dysregulation, the very idea of suicide is seen as a selfish act; as if thinking a person should exist simply so that you do not suffer their loss isn’t selfish in itself. They cannot comprehend the severity of sadness, and think that “time will heal” and “you will get over this” are adequate pieces of advice. And perhaps yes, time will heal that particular wound and yes, that obstacle will be overcome but in the case of truly emotional time bombs it runs deeper than a surface problem –it’s a lifelong affliction that comfortably settles in the recesses of your mind with one definite promise: I WILL EMERGE AGAIN!

A scenario may be surmounted, but as life advances so too do emotions. At what point does a person ailed by recurring bouts of depression decide that the happiness they will acquaint themselves with once more is no longer sufficient to excuse the misery they are stifled by periodically? If you absolutely know that, even with medication to attempt adjusting your dysfunctional chemical imbalance, there will be another time when melancholy is the attire that you are donned in then how can you be blamed for deciding you no longer wish for the burden of providing the mannequin for the garb?

And so the thought of my demise did not frighten me that day, but rather felt like a truth I calmly accepted. Although I am certain at this very moment that I am enjoying the roller coaster of a life that I lead and have absolutely no intention of surrendering my existence at my own hands, I cannot guarantee the self that will succumb to a chemical decline will see fit to continue this charade in the future. If you do not experience the extremities of the highs and the lows of life, the inability to truly empathise will cause this concept to be viewed as an inexcusable act to you –and yet those who know, who truly KNOW, that sometimes time and tide are not enough to compensate for the ever-swinging emotional pendulum will not be plagued by the misguided fantasy of “if only”, for they will know that even if only the deceased had persisted, so too would the depression. Eventually, and inevitably, it always comes back.

May your atoms disperse and vibrate on a more positive frequency, my darling Skittles.

Ask Me Why I’m An Alcoholic

I have cleansed the taste if you from my tongue. Not with the saliva of another, no -I have washed it with the staunch taste of liquor; as strong as our passion, as bitter as our parting.

It isn’t long before I am seeing double, the way I did after each occasion that your fists acquainted themselves with my skull. Even more swiftly and I black out, not unlike the times your fingers became tendrils seeking my throat as the basis of their support, or the way my eyelid took on an inky hue every time someone that wasn’t you called me “pretty”, and you called me “whore”.

Nowadays, I am more familiar with the names of Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker and Jose freakin’ Cuervo than I will ever be with the multitude of men who attempt to press themselves against me at night, seeing my vacant eyes as an invitation between my thighs.

I am no whore, for were I to have invited multiple men inside of me simultaneously as you so desperately desired, or allowed you to witness numerous men abusing my body until I was as empty as the bottles I now frequently guzzle you may never have let me go when my head prevailed over the idiocy of my heart. The revolt ripples through me and I try sterilise the sin with a tot of tequila – or, you know, a bottle of gin.

But when I awake on a park bench in the early hours with bare recollections of the evening before, yet the anguish you inflicted still screams prominently in the front of my mind akin to the headaches that have made themselves a home in my cranium -with my tongue as their welcome mat- it’s as clear as the liquid I love that I can never escape the horror that your existence embodies. I can never flee the pain you inflicted, and the harsh reality grounds me with as much force as your fists ever did.

And in that moment of clarity I know I can acknowledge the hurt and be hindered, or accept the pain and proceed.

I feel this deserves a toast.

But instead, I put the bottle down… and pick myself up.

To Be United in the States Of America, or Kingdom?

Growing up as a South African born female with dual citizenship, my Swiss passport has always stirred the DRD4-7R gene -also known as the “wanderlust gene”- within me. Restless anticipation ensured my head was always dreamily adrift in the clouds, and my feet never planted firmly on the ground. By age 15, I had already moved to 10 different locations, had been a pupil of 8 schools and had 0 sense of stability.

This was not a life; this was a lifestyle, a choice I had consciously made and with every passing year, with every bad decision and worse outcome my Swiss citizenship seemed more like the traveling lottery ticket I had won at birth, assuring salvation from a land that was little more than broken promises and shattered dreams. By 22, I finally cashed out and although it had never been my intention to live in the United Kingdom I somehow found myself, hopes barely intact and a future as unpredictable as the demons from my past, on English soil… And here I am.

Now, a year and a half later, my DRD4-7R gene remains the only constant in my life. I have not outgrown it, but I have grown attached to the country I am in. In stark contrast to the third-world hellhole (of astounding natural beauty, and ever-missed idyllic climate), I am in first-world heaven. The inhabitants are, for the most part, both well-educated and well-spoken, their cultural norm of social pubbing not only coincides with, but encourages, my binge drinking, their economy goes from strength to strength and their currency holds the security that has always eluded me. And yet I find myself battling the urge of upheaval. Having initiated my Hospitality Management Diploma course, an opportunity to spend time in the United States of America has never been more imminent: it is possible for me to be employed as a waitress on golf courses in America, gaining valuable work experience and satiating my hunger for adventure, if this is the path I decided to pursue. In one of the 8 schools I attended, I was taught the method of creating lists to detail the benefits of differing options. This post is my personal list for each, so that I may reflect upon, ponder over and inevitably conclude an appropriate course of action.

The USA:

  • The prospect of gratifying my wanderlust-urge, of exploring another continent and indulging in their culture and customs, integrating myself into a contrasting system to that which I am accustomed to.
  • Improving my CV by working internationally, and having it be in the field I am actually studying towards.
  • The agency will assist in handling ALL aspects of my employment, guaranteeing a smooth transition, definite employment and secured accommodation.
  • I will be staying with colleagues in my age range, sharing a home, a life. For so long I have been dependent on the hospitality and housing of those who employ me, those who befriend me or those who are concerned about me. To have a place I can call my own, albeit temporarily, will be a relief. The happiest I have ever been was when living independently, forging a life for myself unaided my the roof of my elders. It would be a shame not to relive that feeling in the near future.
  • Being able to make new acquaintances, and potentially friends. Well is it known (by those I let in) that I am often alone, though seldom lonely. I seek deep, meaningful connections and crave emotional intimacy, but struggle to form and maintain bonds as I rarely seek what I yearn for, and am finicky with whom I am willing to tie myself to. If forced into not only a working but living situation with people in my age group (and with similar interests), it is safe to assume that it is probable solid connections will be made. Due to my nature, the majority of them will be superficial but it stands to reason that I should make at least one friend I will hold dear throughout my life, even in spite of the distance that will follow once our contracts end.

The UK:

  • The currency. At present, this is my primary motivating force as the British Pound is so strong, I would basically earn double the amount of money here than I would for the same amount of hours clocked in anywhere else.
  • Being a resident, in my own abstract way, means that this is now “my place”, if ever there was one for me.
  • The familiarity. This is both a pro and a con. I am comfortable here, and have become accustomed to the country and the way in which it functions. I feel a sense of acceptance, of belonging -and yet, as always, wherever I go and whoever I am with, an outsider. However, nothing ever grows when stagnant. Except moss. And I’d rather be a rolling stone…

I don’t think I even need to go on; if money is my main motivating factor, then my decision should be made already. I have always advocated experience over monetary gain, and replacing the enriching experience of a brief international stint for financial security would be hypocritical. Besides, the UK has felt homely, and like a bird in migration I will always instinctively know when -and where- to return…

I Am A Mason For I Build Walls Around Myself

Loneliness. Each individual has a unique interpretation of loneliness as they experience it. Is it the lack of companions that imparts a sense of aloneness in you? Is it the act of being ostracised by your community, rejected by your peers? A feeling of being misunderstood? Or is it solitude itself?

To me, my loneliness stems from the belief that I am irreparably damaged, that I have been so broken by life that I can never bind the cracks of my shattered self together –let alone deeply bond with another! – that I am so misshapen my psychological model is considered defective, and discarded. My imperfections are not the quirky foibles one can consider endearing, but rather abominable deficiencies so dark the light of day would not hazard an attempt at illuminating them. A sense that although all my broken pieces play hide-and-seek in the mansion of madnesses and I am able to use them to witness, understand and relate to the inhabitants of each room, they are all entire yet fractured whilst I am partial and wrecked. I wander the halls of life, laden with lockers all protecting the treasures of complete existences, holding the promise of potential connections, taunting me with the knowledge that at any moment I could reach in and discover the depths of another. There is no place for me, I am but a tourist, a foreigner –wherever I go, all I am is temporary. Few can get close, and those that do are almost guaranteed to injure themselves on the razor edges of my fragmented remains. In their haste to draw back from the sudden pain, the probability of their mishandling me is likely to multiply my pieces into smaller, less manageable shards whilst inflicting unintentional further harm upon themselves. Broken people break people.

The solitary life has been my default mode for as long as I can remember –I bond, and in intensity, but generally it is exclusive to one person during a given period, and at the exclusion of any other notable attachments. This is sufficient for my needs, but it isn’t uncommon for me to oscillate between being involved and being isolated. Withdrawing into myself and warding off interaction becomes my modus operandi with alarming frequency, and those I love become the ones I lose. The more the pain accumulates, the further I retreat into my own shell. And although externally I inhibit my expression of taste, my inner world is a rich and colourful haven –even when those colours are varying shades of black, with a burst of vehement crimson and an irate blush of scarlet to break the monotony. It is here that I find my solace, and it is here I feel a sense of acceptance; for in my complete unacceptance I am sure, in my faults I am certain, in my failings I am aware.

Loneliness? It isn’t a lack of people with whom you spend your time, but rather the absence of understanding even among those with whom your time is shared. It is a self-imposed sequestration, a selected introspective isolation. And yet in it I have found there is serenity, there is splendour but most importantly? There is safety…

When Weight Equals Worth

We are inundated with quotes encouraging change. “Be the change you want to see”, they tell us. “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten”, they encourage. And although married to the written word, it becomes glaringly apparent that words are powerless without the more tangible side of things –action. Positive affirmations and inspiring mementos will do wonders for the sense of spirit, but if left in the realm of thought alone and never manifested into the physical plane all we will be is Good Intention, Bad Follow-Through.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. I possess neither the stature nor the metabolism of a runway model. In typical Amy fashion I miss the mark by a few centimetres, and as my frame is naturally inclined toward the hourglass figure all I can do is (primarily express gratitude, as this allows easy shading to transform what is on the canvas into a presentable portrait) work with what I have in the time that I have it. You’ve got to use what Mother Nature gave you before Father Time takes it away, after all. I am destined to live a commercially flawed existence, and although I am not designed to have the structure nor the beauty of Cara Delevingne I am here. I exist. And I am Now.

The courage to change the things I can. Age has found me putting the grams down, but picking kilograms up in their absence. Over the course of a year, I have substituted heavy nights with heavy meals, a lack of sleep with a surplus of sweets, days of caloric deficits with months of kilojoule excesses. An astounding 9 kilograms of pure fat have sought asylum on my figure, and I’ve fed in to their plight. As my stomach has distended and the denial of my enlarging hips no longer plausible after another pair of jeans has fallen prey to the damned Tumble Dryer Syndrome, so too has my self-worth diminished in a feeding frenzy.  As a woman, I have somehow bought in to the belief that my body is an ornament, that my self-worth is inversely proportional to my weight – that the less I weigh, the more I am worth. And so as the months have ticked by and the kilograms piled up my depression has been exacerbated by my unwillingness to control the gluttonous consumption of food, and the stance that an expanding waist meant a diminished worth began to bear more weight than ever. Food and I have always had a love/hate relationship; I love what it tastes like, but hate what it does to my physique. Lately I have taken to devouring intemperate amounts of food, as if filling my stomach would simultaneously rid me of my inner emptiness. Cake, cookies and crisps have slowly bound themselves to what was once akin to a dolphin; sleek and elegant, so certain of movements and now encumbered by blubber, transitioned into an ungainly whale whose entire existence has become an uncomfortable qualm. There are those that cannot comprehend this rapid alteration in appearance, who do not know the lull of avaricious immoderation. To them, I say this: some of us are able to insert so much food into our systems that it becomes acquainted with the artwork of our esophagus walls, that our uvulas are no longer employed as bouncers for the unwanted will exit on their own accord, that we ingest hoisin sauce directly off of spoons because we want to eat -not for nourishment, not to curb hunger nor satiate ourselves, but simply to be funneling food into our faces. Our stomachs may inflate and press painfully against our rib cages in demand that we free ourselves, but with every morsel we are only trapping ourselves in ourselves…

The wisdom to know the difference. I can conquer. I have accumulated addictions in barely three decades that I have capitulated to, and when the Rabbit Hole felt endless with no sign of the promised (Wonder)land in sight I have somehow found the remaining shard of strength within me to sever the ties of my vices and emerge victorious. I have read that surrendering an addiction is like putting a tiger in a cage and locking it away –but with a food addiction, you take the tiger out of that cage for a walk three times a day. I have come to accept that eating is not “black and white”, that following an Orthorexic diet isn’t sustainable and that one block of chocolate is not the equivalent of a tiger’s gaping maw, and does not warrant the overindulgence of every taste my tongue could possibly savour in one sitting. Gradually, I am learning that food does not equate to failure. And as the days go by, I am finding the courage to dismiss the surge of serotonin Lindor tempts me with, to overcome the need for the pressing pain of a ballooning belly and I am replacing it with a healthy attitude –both in lifestyle, and in outlook. Whilst I can change the size of my waist, and I can control the contents of my plate, more importantly than that I can rewire the processing of my thoughts. I have the capacity to transform an entirely negative perception into that of unconditional love and acceptance. Because whether or not I fit into my teenage jeans does not determine whether or not I am worthy of love –especially my own love.

The Joker vs. Ryan Gosling And A Spontaneous Elopement

“I want to elope!” I breathlessly unfurled this naïveté upon my friend; I hadn’t a prospective partner, nor any valid reason for wanting such hasty nuptials to take place and yet nothing seemed more imminent than the realisation of this newfound objective. As is his nature, he regarded me with a bemused expression as he pondered the way in which my mind worked (or rather, didn’t) before questioning why I wanted to do something so erratic. “Think about it –nowadays most marriages end in divorce. I figure I may as well get a head start!” and in my own bizarre way, this bears some truth. The percentage of marriages in the UK that end in divorce is a staggering 42%, with the average length lasting a mere 15 years. Of this, it would appear that children who saw their parents’ dissolution are more likely to get a divorce than children who did not come from broken homes –this is known as The Divorce Cycle. As I fall into the former category, it is statistically safe to presume I will inevitably divorce the man to whom I am joined in matrimony. With this knowledge in the background of my mind, despite the best expectations and intentions I will always wonder if and when we are to separate –potentially becoming the cause of the very demise I fear. And if this is so, would it not be wiser to enter into my marriage knowing I have already endured my first divorce and had become the statistic I was destined to be? Of course, sometimes I can be analytical in ways that make no sense to the intellectual, logical counterpart I have chosen as my companion. And so it is better to mindlessly babble stupidities, and leave the intensities unmentioned below the surface.

To the majority of the stable female population, the romanticised fantasy of the ideal partner involves fervently kissing Ryan Gosling in the rain à la The Notebook. Then there are those like myself, who seek the thrill of a relationship that would make The Joker and Harley Quinn’s pairing seem a dull union. This, of course, may be why I am perpetually single. Where other females have high standards, I seem to have the maxim “if you aren’t high you don’t meet the standard”. What drives the likes of myself to have an inherent distrust of a man in a suit, as if the sophisticated style automatically screams Future Infidelity!!? What makes an unkempt individual whose idea of 9 – 5 is the graveyard shift seem safer than the well-groomed man whose affection is like a mortcloth; soft and delicate yet I cannot shake the feeling something horrendous lays hidden beneath? Where most women would counter the suit with a white dress and JUST MARRIED neatly inscribed on the back of their new family-friendly Prius, I’m looking for a getaway driver to toss me a helmet as we hurtle out of a court hall.

Yes, I am asking my friend to run off and become my future ex-husband. And, to be fair to him, he has participated in much of the irrationality that is my life; from guarding my comatose frame on a park bench due to inebriation forbidding me from travelling any further, to camping out in the backseat of my car when home wasn’t where I felt I was headed, to patiently listening to every fickle life plan I devised when in a state of elation (and witnessing me never following through with them anyway), right down to watching me buy that lamb burger at 3 am when we all knew it wasn’t a good idea… Yet this time, this isn’t a crime he is willing to be my partner in. He grew up with parents who were more likely to lift glasses in celebration of one another than they were to throw them at each other, so his view on the sanctity of marriage is slightly saner than mine. All the same, I am crushingly disappointed. Surely there is somebody capable of being the Clyde to my Bonnie…?

It is only a few weeks later when I am attempting to apply for my British passport by maternal descent that I realise my friend’s point regarding the stupidity of such impulsiveness was undeniably valid. In the quest for possession of a citizenship I am entitled to, not only do I have to access my parents’ marriage certificate, I need their divorce certificate too! If these documents bear significance in all my future endeavours, how am I meant to keep them in one place?! Heck, I can barely keep myself in one place! This simply will not do. That, and the fact I can hear a wise voice repeating “divorce is a symbol of failure, of poor decision making”. This isn’t always the case, and yet in this particular instance it would be entirely factual. And such a pity, too. I was quite looking forward to the adventure of an elopement, the splendour of a secret ceremony. How wonderful it would have been to whizz of to Thailand and legally bind myself to a man as recklessly impetuous as myself, for however brief –or long– our foolishness was satiated!

Oh, yes! Did I mention I want to go to Thailand?…

In an inconsistent mind, confusion reigns…

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