some things last a long time

I want an outdoor shower. Driving back from a long, lazy day at the beach, hang the wet towels and the bathing suit on the washing line, jump under the cool stream of clean water, rinse off the sand, the dust, the salt from your skin. The warm wind and a clean, white cotton towel will dry the little drops of water, your hair won’t even have time to drip down the back of your neck, your feet stuck in a pair of old leather sandals. Scorched earth. Early evening burning sun. The suggestion of a breeze. Glass of white wine. A thin, loose dress. And the smell of lavender. And rosemary.

I have another writing gig in two weeks time. And I’m working hard, both inside and out, to get ready to take the big plunge of jumping from the cliff, out, out, down and into the unknown. Ride the wave of passion and adventure. Leave behind the uncomfortable comfort zone. And I have no regrets. Not about the yesterdays, not about tomorrow that I am slowly heading towards. It would make me so insanely happy if I could spend my life typing stories and interviews and portraits and whatever words I’m required to write. I have an idea for a Guardian article but I need to wait until next year to pitch it. I’m going to write it anyway, someone else can buy it if they don’t want it. I have some goals. They are humble, all things considering. They’re also private. But they’re there.

Today, I attended a proper yoga class, the Friday class I used to love so much, for the first time in 1 1/2 years. I feel restored. And fucking sore. And I’m cooking. And cleaning. And compartmentalising. And sleeping. And it’s such a fragile eco system, it does not take much to make my heart beat like a demented drum but if I can just… just keep it all afloat; dodge the worst of the stress – people, situations, whatever – embrace the ease with which it is possibl to live your life, then I WILL learn to live with it. I’m already living with it. I live. I am alive. I’m halfway up the mountain, I’ve reached a plateau but I’m only stopping to reapply my lipstick and spray on some more perfume. A shower, a shit and a shave, as Tyres from Spaced would say. And tomorrow we’re off again. I’m reclaiming my body, yoga put me back in touch, and I promise myself I will not let that feeling go again. I’m reclaiming my energy, spending it on actions that make my life easier, better, more fun, more connected. I’m reclaiming my mind. The beast is lying dormant, I’m learning to step away from bad character traits – in others, in me – and embrace the strange. Turn and face the strange, ch-ch-changes. When your protective layer is stripped away and even the gentle flap of a butterfly wing causes you intense, corrosive pain, acid on your flesh, thunder in your cerebral cortex, then you suddenly see people for what they truly are. You cannot see or feel yourself but as you regain that ability, you also regain the ability to see those around you. And it is so sad to see that so many grown men and women are angry. And that their anger turns them into bullies. I can’t hug them all. But I can dodge and twist and turn and slither and avoid, avoid, avoid. Because I cannot absorb their anger. I cannot take the brunt of their pain. I used to think that I was supposed to but I’m not, that’s wrong. Because I have never had the guts to let anybody truly absorb mine. Which I guess is one of the reasons why what happened did happen. But I guess also one of the reasons I must, for the life of me, and until my death, never, ever do that to myself again.

Tomorrow I’m back in the saddle and up the mountain again we go. I can feel a tattoo manifesting itself at the end of the tunnel. When I reach the top of the hill. I’m not religious but I believe in the symbols, the marks in time, the notches in your timeline that you create yourself. I remember every time I did something symbolic. Right now, I remember the time at the airport where I ripped up the set list from one of the many gigs my then boyfriend has worked at after he cheated on me. That was the beginning of the end of a doomed relation that took so long to finish, to strangle, to kill. There are more but I can’t revisit, not tonight. But tattoos are a good, physical way of turning a corner, making a mark on yourself -this mattered, this should be a mark in time that should not be forgotten. You cannot censor the past and I wish to celebrate them. I keep the important tattoos hidden; the pretty ones on display.

I have no illusions. The beast was a beautiful cub for so long but now it is a full grown animal and it will never die. As long as it’s asleep, we can be friends. The tranquilliser darts took a while to kick in but there’s only a low grow now, an ever-so-often yelping roar, and once he is completely asleep – comatose, if I am lucky – I’ll climb the dusty stairs to my once so beautifully decorated room. Quietly push the heavy wooden door open and pray the hinges do not squeak. I will inspect him, as best I can, as much as I can without waking him. Pushing at his paw, the pads, the claws; checking his ear for infection. Maybe he likes a tummy rub, even if he might dream it’s something else. I imagine Coming To Terms will be snuggling up next to him, my head under his big, sleeping head, his furry front leg as a blanket. I’m not quite there yet. Fuck, I’m not even sure he isn’t still keeping one eye open.

We’ll get there, beast, I promise. And once we do, I’ll give you a name.


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