Insomnia

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It’s not often I have anything good to say about Twitter, it can be such a vicious place, especially right now as they’re cracking down on free speech. But… this isn’t going to be one of those posts!

Last night I couldn’t sleep, not one bit, not at all. Now I’m used to insomnia, I’ve always had problems sleeping but I usually manage a few hours. But last night there was nothing doing, I knew it was no use and I gave up even trying –  I was pacing up and down until morning because I couldn’t read, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t do anything. 

Predictably, by 8 o’clock this morning I was feeling like s**t.

So I turned to Twitter and asked if anybody knew of a quick pick-me-up, because I don’t drink coffee like other mortals. And Twitter delivered, a bunch of people replied with tips and another bunch messaged me to ask if I was ok, etc…now, that – alone – was a pick-me-up. 

I had the cold shower quite a few people recommended, and you know what? It bloody works – you have to be brave though. I also made juice with everything I was told would help – all kinds of fruits – and including a big chunk of stem ginger…now I won’t say the juice tasted nice because it didn’t…but I definitely felt better afterwards. 

I then posted a selfie to Twitter: post cold shower, post juice because it was after all a Twitter result – and now it has made it on my blog too. 

It’s now afternoon and I’m having green tea and feeling sooo tired…and hoping tonight won’t be a repeat performance of last night. 

People who have no problems sleeping…you have no idea how much I envy you. 

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A whole year & another birthday

For as long as I’ve had this blog, I have never failed to post a little something on my birthday. So, it’s a bit late this year – my birthday was on Saturday – but I’ve put this together: it’s basically a few pics going back over the last 12 months. To be quite honest, I’ve enjoyed this short walk down memory lane, though I appreciate none of you will know the moments and stories behind the pics so this is really for me rather than anyone else. I’ve gone from blonde back to Brunette this year and it feels right as I’m in a really good place right now, I’m back to being me – fully and unapologetic-ally.

Here are all my blurry and not at all professional snapshots.

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I can totally do sweet and innocent…

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I was on my way to a ‘free speech’ rally in London (yes, again!)

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Last year, we – France – won…
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The World Cup!! This is the day of the final and I’d been ill for 3 days but who cared? Not me

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Mermaid-like

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Mermaid-like again

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Don’t ask me…
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I’d just been to a funeral – feeling despondent…

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Somebody had just called me a ‘free speech warrior’ in a NEGATIVE way…

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Red poppy day –
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The New Jeeves book was out!
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This was meant for a special someone…
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Not sure why I was looking so angry – I was tired is probably why

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Ending it all on yesterday – I was about to brave the wind

Passionate vs intense – yeah, there’s a difference

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A long time ago – when I was still a teenager – I went out on a few dates with a pretty boy. He wasn’t my type at all: blond hair, blue eyes, very preppy – he was doing a baccalauréat in maths and sciences while mine was literature and languages.

The Literature and Maths groups didn’t really mix – it was all very cliquey – but we used to meet in the corridors on the way to class and this particular boy and I exchanged the kind of looks understood by teenagers the world over.

Even back then I was into personality rather than into looks, but this boy proved to be one of the few exceptions I made in my life, because there really was nothing to recommend him to my attention apart from the fact he was extremely good looking in that unique way that people couldn’t help but stare.

But I don’t think I would ever have gone on a date with him if it wasn’t for the fact that on the day he asked me out I saw him cross the grand courtyard on his way to me, pass the fountain and promptly stumble on… nothing whatsoever. He stumbled, faltered but quickly regained his composure and I thought the whole thing was just so cute. Okay, I admit you had to be there – but it really was cute.

My best friend Valérie was crushing badly on some other pretty boy called Fabrice who belonged to the local football team. He didn’t go to our grammar school, was doing some apprenticeship at a college. I knew him a little as I knew most of the football team since my dad was the coach.

One day, I met Fabrice in the street when I was on my way to join Valérie in the town’s library. After some small talk he mentioned her and I immediately seized my chance to play matchmaker.

“Why don’t you come with me, I’m meeting her now.”

He agreed readily but as we approached the library he said: “wait…is she in there?”

“Well, yes. Why?”

“I’m not going in there. It’s…the…library.”

“And? You’re allergic to them? You’ve got a moral objection to them? What exactly is the problem?!”

“It’s just not my scene.”

……………………..

“Right. It’s not your scene, fair enough. But can’t you just, you know, pass through the door? Just once?”

“I’ll wait outside – if you get her, we can go and grab some coffee.”

“Fine.”

So I went in and found her buried in some research for an essay she was writing. I quickly explained that Fabrice was outside, waiting to take her for coffee.

She got all excited and then nervous and started to gather her things.

“There’s something you should know though, he had the strangest reaction when I said you were in here.”

“And?”

“…and it strikes me that not only is he the kind of guy who’s never read a book in his life, but he might also regard those who read as…weird.”

“What?! I DON’T CARE!”

“Oh. Ok then. I was just saying, because I personally find that really off-putting.” 

“I like him! I don’t care if he burns books in his spare time!”

Well, I had to laugh – teenagers were always ruled by their hormones.

Off she went to meet him and by the end of the day they were an item.

The next day, I went on my third date with my pretty boy. I had a feeling it would be the last because we were – predictably enough – very different people and we hadn’t gelled at all on our previous meetings. I wasn’t sure why he kept asking me out to be honest.

This third date was as boring as the other two…until he asked me what book I’d last read and I revived like a parched flower that’s finally been watered. My latest book was “Tristessa” by Jack Kerouac and I proceeded to explain at length why I had loved it. At some point I realised there was a really long monologue going on…and he was looking at me kind of funny.

“What?”

“Nothing. It’s just…you’re very…intense.”

I was silent for a few seconds as I processed this.

“Intense?! What do you mean by that? Intense…Because I loved a book?! Are you serious?

Well, I’m sorry I like to read and I like to feel things…except I’m not, am I!!”

I got more and more pissed off as the reality of what he’d said hit home. Even with my limited experience, I was well aware that being called intense was not a good thing. In fact, it was a bloody awful thing…and there I was proving him right by freaking out.

I looked at him and all I saw was that amazingly pretty face that suddenly didn’t look so pretty anymore. He was bland, we had nothing in common and what the fuck was I doing here? I’d gone out with him because of his arresting looks. He’d gone out with me because even back then I was into style and fashion and it had blinded him to my bookworm nature. It was all a huge mistake.

That was the end of pretty boy and I. But it was an important lesson because that’s when I first realised this is how it goes:

if a guy likes you: you’re ‘passionate.’
If a guy is not that into you: you’re ‘intense.’

I’ve been called passionate far more often than intense over the years, thank fuck.

I never again made the mistake of dating someone who was just pretty. It was never who I am but I guess you have to try everything (most things anyway) at least once.

As for Valérie and her own pretty boy, they lasted exactly 2 and a half weeks – at least he never did tell her she was intense.

*Pics from last Tuesday when I was in a Charlie’s angels kind of mood*

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One Saturday

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“It’s been a while since I was back on my old hunting grounds” says A, the reformed man-whore. “We’re staying up all night, right? Plus, Brexit isn’t happening so I’m fucking mad.”

“You’re not starting THAT” – this from S, Labour and Remainer through and through.

A wants to retort – I can tell – but he thinks better of it, thank fuck.
“Fine, I’m taking Nat to the bar.”

It’s Saturday crowded, ugh. Looks like we’re gonna be here a while.

“Let’s get shots, we’re gonna get him so wrecked he’ll admit Corbyn is a terrorist by the end of the night.”

We laugh and turn to look at S, he knows us too well, obviously caught the gist of it and he surreptitiously shows us the finger.

Back at the table with our drinks, in a dark corner of the pub, we resolutely avoid politics because we intend to stay friends, and alternate between other serious talk and general gossip. There are some very politically incorrect and tasteless jokes. Some reminiscing as well – it’s a typical boozy night between people who have known each other for years.

By 11 everybody is close to wasted.
“Right, clubbing!” says A like we’re on a mission, which I guess we are. He’s come down from London and will stay on a mate’s sofa – no way is he doing that just for a quiet evening.

It’s a short walk to the club, the streets are heaving though, the English are tough and walk around half naked even in the middle of winter. Some girls look like they couldn’t be bothered to get dressed and came out in their underwear – flesh on display always wins pitted against possible hypothermia. You can easily tell the foreigners apart as they all wear coats, hats, scarves, the lot.

Timing is everything – the DJ is starting the 80’s part of the evening when we walk in the club. None of the other 2 are as obsessed as I am but they get it – it won’t be a one-woman show on that dance floor.

An hour or 10 minutes later – who can tell, not me – we move on to the 90’s and I’m reminded once again no DJ is perfect because Alanis Morrisette (ugh!) is my cue to sneak outside to get some fresh air.

I walk straight up to a baby face who’s smoking. “Give us one?” My English is appalling when I’m drunk. He obliges happily. He lights it up for me and I take my first drag in fuck knows how long. Christ, it tastes like shite, how did I ever do this day in, day out? Instead of being clever and stubbing it out I persevere, like I’m punishing myself – it’s acrid, horrid and soon my head is swimming.

A appears as baby face is prattling on about something or other.

Shit. Busted.

“You didn’t!” He glares at me. Actually looks personally offended.

“Chill. I’m revisiting and it ain’t fun. I kind of feel sick actually.”

He doesn’t say another word, I’m dragged back inside – I barely have time to thank baby face again – disgust at catching me with a cigarette is all over A’s face.
Well, come on now. If I wasn’t so drunk, I’d say something, because this is a bit rich coming from someone who used to spend every weekend coked up to his eyeballs, but whatever – I’m letting it go.

Back in the club we’re assaulted by the heat of too many people packed in too small a place – another reminder of why I don’t like clubs – and alcohol fumes.

There’s more shots, more stupid jokes, more laughter and at some point
we reach the moment – that moment we came for – when there’s no more talk, no more drinking, just dancing, the whole planet could be in meltdown and none of it would matter because we’re caught in that euphoria, the moving to the beat and being alive. Only sex compares – nothing else does.

Late, I don’t know when, we leave and the cold hits me, immediately ramping up the feeling of intoxication.

“Where is my denim jacket… I’ve lost it. Guys, guys, wait, I LOVE that jacket – I’m not going home without.”

“I don’t remember you wearing it” says A, trying and failing to put on his own – he’s battling with it and looks ridiculous – the left shark in that Katy Perry video comes to mind.

“You’re so wrecked, what a fucking mess you are…hang on…WAIT. That’s mine, you lunatic!”

I snatch it from him and sure enough it’s my size 8 ladies denim jacket.

“Did you even come out with a jacket?!” I ask him, tempted to slap him into shape.

None of us remember, least of all him. This mystery won’t be elucidated tonight. I’ve had enough, I want my bed and I get into a taxi. A gets in with me.

“What are you doing? You’re going in the opposite direction! Get out ffs.”

I pause. Remember this is my good friend. “Are you gonna be okay?”

“Oh yeah. And yeah.”

He hugs me fiercely and finally gets out only to reappear at the window to tell the driver:
“Look out for her, she’s very special.”

I am quite sure I roll my eyes.

“Sweet. But I’m not 16! Go, go, go!”

I apologise to the taxi driver who no doubt deals with stuff like that all the time. I’m not sure I’d have the patience myself.

“It’s fine.” He says. “Good night?”

“Amazing” I reply.

In the morning I get a text from A:

“I’m dying, I’m so fucking glad I’m not working tomorrow. Top night though.”

I type a response quickly:

“I feel like an ice pick is lodged in my forehead but yeah – great night!”

Best of all, nobody even came close to guessing my heart was breaking.

Allergic to mornings

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I don’t like the taste of coffee, I also think it looks and smells like the bottom of a tar pit. I’m envious of others who have caffeine to help them with the process of emerging from the folds of sleep. Like many, I’m allergic to mornings and it’s the time of day when I’m invariably at my most grumpy.
I can’t stomach the news first thing, or those chirpy early birds eager to get the worm. You know, the sort of people who virtuously tweet meaningless faux deep motivational quotes at 7am followed by #MondayMotivation or #WednesdayWisdom
No, what I need in the mornings is some synth led music, some joyous tune that speaks to my soul on a profound level. That and green tea is my usual routine. I do miss smoking, that first cigarette of the day, that glorious nicotine hit…indeed it’s always in the morning I feel a vague craving for that filthy habit.
And it’s also then I write narcissistic rubbish such as this.
I have a deadline for my Master’s this week, and I’ve chosen to go with Gonzo journalism, a form I love and which really suits me. The only problem is, there is only one Hunter S. Thompson and anybody following in his footsteps just reads like a cheap imitation. But, I’m giving it a go all the same. I can’t be timid, if I’m going to fail, it’s got to be spectacularly – there’s got to be a blaze and freaky flames.

Full moon

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you like it when I bite
don’t you?
when I push
and I fight
lacerating your clothes
as fingertips turn into claws
leaving marks
visible in the dark
I’m a treacherous rose bush
pretty
but I get under your skin
when you get too close
drawing tiny pearls of blood
when you lick
my delicious thorns
it’s only for a few nights
mind you
as soon as the full moon
with its mad light
decreases
I’ll be back
to being a cute pussycat
(yeah, right)
until the next time
the werewolf
decides
to come out
of the crepuscular woods

*This silly thingy was inspired by a little chat just now with the lovely Vic (don’t ask)*