Sometimes, I panic.

Sometimes, I pretend I need to go to the bathroom so I can be alone and breathe properly. Nobody likes to question anyone else’s need to go to the bathroom, and I rely heavily on this unspoken social guideline. I slam the door behind me and lock it as the waves of nausea break on the sands of ‘what if’ and I breathe like I’m trying to give birth. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Sometimes I have to brace myself against the walls of a cubicle to keep from feeling like I have no skin. Sometimes, this takes some time and a polite voice breaks through and says something like, “Ma’am, are you OK? You’ve been in there a while.”

Sometimes, I try not to wince as I enter a room with loosely designated seating. Sometimes, it feels like every seat is the wrong one for me, and that anyone around me could be watching my moves –
Is she going for that one? Fucking poser; way too cool for everybody, huh? – Oh great, who’s this? Smells like cigarettes. I can hear her breathing. – Why is she here? Seriously, is she lost? Sometimes I have to keep myself from replying out loud. My palms are slick with the grossest type of dew imaginable and I shove them in my pockets like they’re stolen. Sometimes, my hands feel like they’re not mine and I feel such shame and guilt for being attached to them. “Only the guilty can shake like this,” I tell myself.

Sometimes, I drink alone, on very bad days. These are the days when everything feels like a slap, or interestingly enough, the near-slap a school bully would do to show off to their sneering friends how scared you were. You flinched! Have a cry, loser! Sometimes, I wish for a slap to the face and end up slapping myself. Something, anything to warrant feeling so hurt. It feels like reaching into a sink of dirty dishes and smashing them over my head, one by one.
The man in the elevator couldn’t stand you, can’t you tell? Smash. You’re going to become your mother one day. It’s so gradual, you had no idea it had begun already. Smash. You were too slow when you crossed the road and someone honked at you because you’re a fucking child. Smash. You’ve gained weight, you fucking fucker. Smash. You’re drinking alone and slapping yourself. What a mess you are. Have a cry, loser. Smash.

Sometimes, I freeze up. If I am in a room full of others, all I usually want is for someone else to be talking, and for everyone else to focus their attention on this person. Sometimes, this person speaks to me and I feel like even my blood is screaming at them to stop. Sometimes, I drop the ball and say something weird like, “Is bread usually this dense? This bread is very dense,” and sometimes I say nothing at all. Sometimes, I say something that makes sense and appears interesting, witty even, and I feel like an absolute fraud.

Sometimes, I pretend that my fingernails are just so interesting, and that they require my full attention, and that the frenzied importance of said fingernails should be obvious to anyone who sees me. I pretend that they must be thinking to themselves things like, “Shit, better let her tend to those instead of trying to initiate conversation; I know better than to get in the midst of something with such desperately high stakes. I hope her nails will be OK, I really do. God bless.” This pretending doesn’t last long, and I pick my nails and scratch at the skin beside them as I remind myself that nobody really cares. Sometimes someone will notice and decide to draw attention to what I’m doing. Sometimes I will joke with them about how the last person to talk to me this way ended up with their blood under my nails, and it’s been hard to shift. I’ve noticed that the best and worst types of people find this shit charming.

Sometimes, very rarely, I have very little respect for whoever is around me while I’m feeling monstrously awkward. I’m able to blame them for the heaviness of the air, and I can tell myself that every agitating stretch of silence only further asserts how this person or people are somehow at fault. Like, yes, this is weird, but this is your weirdness, fucko. I’m not a freak for not answering your question or replying to your remark or whatever; you are a freak for saying that shit. You need to learn. Have some silence. And some more. Eeeeeeeeeeat it. You like it? You better, because it’s all you’re getting. How dare you?! Sometimes, I later think of those odd moments of childish impunity and feel grateful that none of that nonsense happens too often.

Sometimes, I am in hell. Sometimes it’s other people, sometimes it’s me. It burns, and I panic.


Spontaneous Cringe Attack #1:

Sure, I was right about the Shadow Children being fake about their “charity efforts” or whatever, but did I really need to start shit about Kony 2012 on their page?

Sure, the pre-packaged ‘Activist Kits’ were ill-conceived, but the people I butted heads with seemed to be gentle, simple types who thought they were enacting positive change through ‘awareness broadcasting’ or something? Surely I didn’t need to tell them they’re useless in such a brutal way. Their form of ignorance wasn’t so harmful, so best leave it be.

I hope they found another cause (suuuuuurely they did) worthy of their enthusiasm. If they did, I hope not to shit on it.

Ugh, cringe. I suck.

Longing, missing.

Always longing for something, always missing something.

It’s hard to describe how it feels to be empty, because it’s an absence of something. I can’t be full of emptiness, can I? It’s hard to describe nothing, but I can always try.

It’s kind of like walking around the suburban streets with a dead bird in a carry-cage.  Sure, it’s confusing and potentially upsetting to anyone who sees me and my decaying erstwhile pet, but I have no other plans.
Like headbutting the keys of a piano badly in need of tuning. People may well come into the room and ask what I’m doing because it’s loud and annoying, and all I can do in response is stare blankly at them until they leave. My arms are dangling heavily at my sides and my fingers are twitching, but today I am using my forehead. Today will never end. Thump thump thump thump.
It’s like taking trash bins out because it’s trash collection day, but there’s nothing inside to take away. There’s no need to do it, but it’s just what’s being done so I’ll do it. The trash removal people may notice how light the bins seemed as the mechanical arms upended the empty vessels, but only after the fact. They carry on their way, as they have done what was required of them. Fair enough.
It’s like vomiting down a disused mine shaft. Disgusting, but who’s going to stop me? Nobody’s down there, and nobody’s up here. I might follow the contents of my stomach one day, when the mucus has dried and if nobody sees me go down.

It’s like I wish I was dead and I want others to agree before I finally die. Longing for a reason to go missing, maybe. I’m not sure, and I don’t feel the need to decide.

I have been told that there’s plenty going for me, internally and externally. That I’m intelligent and young and attractive. None of this helps, because the pull of oblivion is greater than any compliment could reach. If anything, this makes me feel worse. No matter what anyone else thinks or says, the other voices are louder. I have given up and I merely exist because I am too despondent to take action upon myself right now.

Abandon hope, all who enter. Leave before anything happens.

Father’s Day

In NZ, Father’s Day will be held on the 3rd of September this year.

Right now, I’ve been thinking of how much of a selfish douche I must be to have been complaining about my parents to people who have lost both or either of theirs, but I suppose that’s beside the point, at the moment at least.

Here are some assorted thoughts I have about my own father.

Thanks for passing along to me the ability to hold a powerful grudge, despite how irrational. I hold this against you and yes, I am aware of the irony.

Thanks for supporting us financially as my brother and I grew from sad and scared children into depressed and anxious teenagers. You never saved us from our mother, but you saved us from being destitute. I was only ever hungry when I wanted to be, never because there was no food in the house. As bitter as my tone may seem, I am genuinely thankful that you supported us in this particular way, as it must not have been easy. David and I only started supporting ourselves financially at a relatively early age because of our mother’s control issues, never because you failed in this role.

Don’t think that I can’t see you sneaking glances at my body while I am speaking to you. You look away quickly, but never quickly enough. Your brother does it too. I find it hard not to lash out violently whenever I see you doing it, but somehow I manage it. Something inside me doesn’t want to hold it against you as you seem ashamed. If you did it shamelessly, things would be very different. You look, but do not touch. Still, it is not lost on me that this is part of what has set the tone for how I relate to others, especially males.

I feel sad for you that you met my mother and married her. I feel sad that you are still married. I am sad that you had children before you addressed your own childhood problems. That said, I do not plan on having any children of my own. The difference between us is that although we both do not currently have the presence of mind to get over past trauma, I am well aware of how badly this would impact a child who’s just starting out in life, and that they may well be affected by it for the rest of their life. I cannot bring myself to do this to an unsuspecting child, whereas you did.

You may be right about the fact that David left you and our mother behind after you paid for his education, but it is not right that you think he exploited you both. Parents should want their children to do well, and this includes pooling together all available resources for their advantage. If you are not prepared to do this, then you are not prepared for parenthood. And if you hold it against your children that their upbringing costs money, then that is another hang-up that you are passing on to them, and it will manifest in various negative ways that you will probably be ignorant of.

I still remember seeing you and our mother initiating sex in the lounge room. I was quite young; I do not remember how old I was or what time of day it was, but I still remember that I thought you were trying to kill her. I left you both to it. I will never forget this, or my disappointment when I found that afterwards, she was still alive. We have never talked about any of this, and I prefer it that way. I can’t make sense of any of it, and I hate that I can’t seem to forget it happened.

I will always hate you for never sticking up for us kids. You knew something was very wrong with our family, yet you let our mother control every single thing. I think you would have done anything so she wouldn’t leave you, and this included letting her abuse you and us kids. She still abuses you. It’s like she became your mother after yours died.

I keep myself from lashing out at you by imagining you as a child. I have seen a few pictures of you when you were still a small boy, so I know what to visualise. No matter how illogically you act or how drained I feel after spending any length of time talking to you, I could never be angry at the childhood version of you. Any anger I feel in that moment transforms into deep grief for the child you were and in some ways still are.

I remember how I used to see your headlights receding as you would pull out of the driveway to go to work early in the morning. Most of the time, it was still dark. I didn’t have to get up for school yet, but I would always jump to my window and wave at you until you managed to merge into traffic and start on your way. Looking back, I now realise that you would sometimes linger in the driveway when you didn’t need to. And you always smiled and waved back, every single time.

I wish I loved you. Sadly, I don’t think I know what love is. You never taught me, as you were never taught. Or rather, shown. I have guilt, compassion, anger, grief, regret, and longing. I am not prepared to call any of this love, although I may have in the past. I am not prepared to believe that you love anyone either, despite the fact that you may think you do. Attachment is one thing, love is another. Anyway, you are free to continue to believe what you believe, as I feel it may comfort you sometimes and I know you are in need of comfort, among other things.

I feel that you may die in the next ten years or so. I am not sure if anything between us will be fully resolved by then, so I am concentrating on not blaming myself for that. This probably means that I care less about forgiving you, and that I care more about forgiving myself for having the faults I have that stemmed from my upbringing. I can’t make you take blame or responsibility for anything, and this is something I am dealing with. I wish you had done the same for yourself before becoming a father.

Happy Father’s Day.

I was about to…

…go on about how much I hate myself because of the past nine days.

But, for some reason, I remembered something good I did this morning.

Something that nobody else did, or was likely to do in that moment, so of course I felt the need to do it. I don’t know; maybe I’m bigging myself up for doing something tiny just because I need some encouragement and reassurance that I’m not actually a garbage-bitch from the lowest circle of Hell… from myself for once. Maybe I’m full of shit. Anyway, I just want to tell you about it.

I met someone whose father recently died.

He had let me spend the night under his roof, because I was locked out of my house. I was by no means the only person crashing there, and this dude was by no means the reason why I was in this particular house, so whilst feeling somewhat peripherally confused and annoyed because I hadn’t slept in roughly two days, I was grateful all the same.
I woke to find that he and some others had briefly gone to get breakfast, and it was just me in the house with one of his good friends, who was quite sleep-deprived as well, but for more… uh… chemical reasons. I digress.

I wandered around the lounge room a little bit, because I’m a nosy bitch (read: budding journalist/plain curious, really) and I couldn’t help but cry. I couldn’t yet tell why, but this place was heavy with grief. You know how you can just walk into somewhere and feel that something isn’t okay? Not necessarily in a sinister or dangerous way though, just like something’s missing, despite massive and probably very heartbreaking efforts to carry on living in spite of it.

I saw a couple of pictures of a man, maybe in his fifties or sixties. He was wearing a band t-shirt maybe, but I couldn’t make out which artist(s)/design. The snapshot looked like it was a nice moment in a crowded room, maybe even outside after dark, but between only two people, one of whom had the camera. The man looked happy, but he also looked pained. He was smiling, but his eyes seemed so sad. From my various experiences in hospitals and hospices, I felt a familiar pang of sympathy for someone whose spirit is so alive that it will never completely die, but whose body was desperately and urgently failing him. He was happy for the moment, but had no illusions about the future. Big, beautiful, brown doe eyes, on a face that had seen and dealt with way too much pain.

I felt almost like I was desecrating a shrine, but I picked up this photograph, without even thinking. I held it with both shaking hands, and started weeping. Who is this person? Why do I get the feeling that this is his house? Sure, there’s signs of partying and stuff, but I almost felt like the man in the picture would only laugh knowingly and say something like, “Hey, all good, just clean up after yourselves, ya cheeky wee shits! Remember to separate the plastic and glass or they won’t take it away on Monday!”
I put the photo back and only just then noticed that it was leaning against a small medicine caddy. There were something like 12 -16 compartments? Anyway, the labels were numerous and diverse, and I wept more. I was right about the pain in this man’s eyes.

My phone was almost dead, so I’d turned it off to conserve power. My charger was AWOL with my house keys, because I’m retarded. Whatever. Anyway, looking for the time, noticed the wall clock. I wasn’t running late for anything in particular, but I’m always feeling like I am. Sighing a breath of relief at the time of day, I saw Hallmark cards on the table below the clock. “All right, wait,” I thought to myself, “something tells me this isn’t birthday stuff.”

With Sympathy
Deepest Condolences 

Shit, dude. Oh, Mama God.


I’m in a strange place, metres away from someone knocking on the door, and I’m crying like a wounded bitch. Fuck. Right. Okay. Fix up your face, woman, and go see what’s going on here.

A District Nurse, assigned for weekly home-help duties, asking for Brownie. I tell her I don’t know Brownie, because it’s the truth. I go inside and ask the homeowner’s friend, “I hate to wake you, but… who’s Brownie and where is he? You should fucking know! Tell me! There’s a health worker looking for him!”
“Nuh, he’s all good! Brownie’s all good, tell her to go get fucked!”
Ugh… right then… what a cunt… anyway…

The DN at the door heard all of this, I’m certain. I’m not sure exactly what I said, but I know I apologised a lot, without being specific. Just saying sorry, profusely, all in vain. She said, “Oh god, you don’t even know who he is, do you? Poor thing, don’t worry. I’ll make some calls, you just tell someone to let him know I came. It’s been about three weeks now, this is not good. I’ll be back next week at the same time, so don’t cry. We’ll figure it out. Thank you for trying. You’re a good kid.”

I shut the door and my heart hit the floor.

What the actual fuck? I slumped back down on the lounge room settee and looked at the clock, the sympathy cards, and then the photo. Shit. Of course. I’m in Brownie’s house, and he’s gone. Not just gone, but gone. The only reason a patient wouldn’t be at the address that a DN was sent to to help them at… well, it starts with ‘D’ and rhymes with “breath”. Fuck, I just cried like it was the only thing I was born to do. Open-mouthed toddler-tantrum stuff.
Fuck that sleepy asshole in the other room, no fucking help at all. That fucking useless cunt. All fucking good? My fucking ass. Fucking piece of shit. If I was fucking dead, I wouldn’t want some fucking messy bitch desecrating my memory by being at my fucking house and answering the fucking door and not fucking knowing who I am, misinformed by some fucking hungover dickweed who should have known more and cared more. Fuck. Fucking Hell. Seriously, fuck.

I’m not sure how long I sat, but I was startled halfway out my mind when the breakfast-havers burst back into the place. As abrupt as their re-entry was, it was welcome, because I hate crying in front of people and it was far beyond time for me to stop wailing like a child just because I’m all confused & shit.

There was a bit of useless banter and other stuff that I ignored or otherwise forgot about, because my brain does that shit sometimes when I’m not too interested in what’s happening around me, but after a while, I remembered we were all around the table in the dining area attached to the lounge, and I mentioned the DN visit. I had to ask after Brownie.

The homeowner spoke up and said yes, that’s my dad. Well, was my dad. He’s been dead for over three weeks now and they still send people over like that? Fuck’s sake, fuck off. They work in the hospital and don’t know he’s dead. What the fuck are them cunts up to?
Then, some more stuff I blocked out. When others feel awkward silences, I’m in my own head, I’m elsewhere. Blah, blah. Stuff & things. Until I feel like snapping out of it, whenever that is.

“Fuck it, I’m just gonna say it. I’m so sorry about your dad. I’ve not lost a parent yet so I don’t know the full extent of what you’re going through, but I know that I’ll probably be a total two-year-old when it happens to me. I’m so sorry I didn’t know what to say to the lady. I’m sorry if I made you and your family look bad. That’s just.. it’s just… so shit. Shit. I’m so sorry. It was just weeks ago… fuck, it’s just…”

“Hey, all good, man. Thanks, though. You know, it was weird though. He was ready for a good night, he was only one drink in. We wheeled him out to his spot and he fixed up to chill and he just… sneezed. We were sitting round all together out back and he sneezed and that was it. He nearly hung out alone that night but we got him to come out and we were so glad to see him. Fuck it was awesome because nobody had seen him in ages because he was so sick but he made it out, aye. Fuck, I would’ve just fucking lost it if I found him after he passed away alone or some shit like that. But he was here with us and all the bros, and he just tensed up, then he let go, and he was away. It was quick, thank fuck it was quick. If he was alone and suffering for hours, fuck… but he was with us. He had such a shit time near the end so now he’s not feeling like shit all the time anymore and we saw him out.”

It was clear that it was the first time a couple of his best friends were hearing this, and I fought with all my sleepy might not to start crying again. I can’t believe I succeeded.

Mama God, take care of Brownie. I don’t know fuck all about him apart from the fact that he raised someone who was good enough to not let me sleep outside out of my own forgetfulness and fake pride and stupidity. His son gave me the first genuine human interaction that hit home like that for me since I don’t know when, regardless of how casual it may have seemed. I was prepared to die by my own hand days ago. Now I know better.
Mama, stay with Brownie now that his pain is gone. Help him wait for his boy, who is really a man, who I know misses him so much already. Tell him that we talked about his last moments, we listened to each other and that this young man and his mates are just that little closer now, I hope, for all the time they’ve known each other, because, sadly, time runs out sometimes.

a vague prayer

I did something very sad today.

I broke my own heart.

I had to do it.

Nobody knows who you really are, Mama God, but I know you have had this heartbreak too. You’ve had to do unspeakable things to keep a roof over your head and the wolves from the door. You have given up your soul, with your broken head held high.

Never tarnished, only sharpened. Mama God, you’re so beautiful, no matter what.

I made a tough decision and it broke my heart like yours already broke, Mama God.

I left the ward and nobody stopped me, because I had work to do. This is not work that I am mentally prepared for, but I am even less mentally prepared for homelessness, so I did what you would do. I pounded the pavement with a rumbling stomach and a racing head until I got to the home I am trying so hard to keep.

Mama God, please. I’ve lost my mind, but I can not lose my home. I’ve lost so much already.
Please, Mama God, help me swallow my pride and nothing else.

Slender fingers guided by unknown forces, flitting and skipping between search engines and keypads. The deftness of a silent virtuoso, trying to make a song of static. Mama God, it hurts. The sugar in my voice and the vinegar in my heart, it hurts.

Mama God, help me forgive myself for putting money first. I had to do it. My head and my heart will heal later, if I can just keep this roof over me.

Over to you, Mama. Help me, please.