Let’s have tea on the beach… In the winter. Make smiling faces out of shells and be too happy to feel the cold. Let’s wear gloves with no fingers and sing songs into the wind. Let’s feel the wind in our faces, let our make up run, let’s run all the way out to where the sea kisses the shore. Let’s build a fort out of pebbles and eat cream cakes like strawberries. Let’s find strawberries and eat those too, with ice cream. Let’s read books and forget to talk for a while, hold hands between chapters and make bookmarks out of forgotten leaves. Let’s leave only when the sun goes down and watch the waves put out the flame.
Let’s keep things simple, because I am so simply happy.
At sixteen I learnt love the hard way, I learnt to fall and crash, I learnt the terrifying power another person can have over who you thought you were. I listened to Nine Inch Nails and believed all things required hidden messages and morse codes. Life was an endless rubix cube of disatisfying combinations.
At seventeen I learnt to drive. I learnt that wings were not only reserved for birds of flight. I felt freedom from my toes to the ends of my raspberry rippled coloured hair. With one hand outstretched from my manually rolled down window, sunglasses on (In September) I listened to the Arctic Monkey’s album like music could run.
At eighteen I learnt to be alone. Lunchtimes and corridors vanished, fourteen years of routine, uniform and cages disappeared in the tick of a sports hall mounted clock. I wrote notes to pass in classrooms that no longer existed. I searched for the girl I was behind the many masks I’d made to fit in.
At nineteen I ran away. The realisation that life can be lonely sent me off to explore. Embracing independence that I was finally old enough to be trusted with, I got on a plane and travelled four thousand miles to learn that the world is tiny. I learnt that everybody is faking it until they make it and then never really making it. I saw Niagra falls and beautiful finally meant something.
At twenty I learnt how to navigate the tube. I also learnt that elbows were your best defence in a London crowd. I learnt that people can be rude and that smiles can be weapons. I learnt that gay bars were fun, that vodka was stronger than I’d ever imagined. That jumping in fountains can get you arrested. I learnt that a student loan doesn’t last very long.
At twenty one I learnt that death wasn’t always scary. As I held his hand in the hospital and looked into his tired face words like “enough” and “peace” weren’t empty words to bring the living comfort. They were true words for people who do it right, at eighty four, surrounded by family.
At twenty two I learnt that being fat didn’t suit me and as a result I learnt the calorie content of just about every food on the planet. Living in New York can take it’s toll and my grandmother’s favourite saying “you are what you eat”, yep, It’s true. Suddenly it wasn’t an Oreo milkshake, it was 425 calories and a cocktail of too tight jeans, too many layers and zips that must be “broken”.
At twenty three I learnt that home is where the free rent is. That the apartment Rachel and Monica live in in Friends unfortunately only exists in the fictional realm of American television. I crashed into the reality of post government funded university living with a bang. I hid under my duvet, I googled, I called, I interviewed, I worked… I looked for new places to run to.
At twenty four I learnt to decorate. Full time employment is consuming, before I knew it I was a starbucks drinking, eight to sixing, occasional gyming, take work homing, pay taxing, moaning citizen of the united kingdom. After the dip of twenty three by twenty four I learnt to claw some me back. I was writing, socialising, travelling… Blancing.
At twenty five I moved on. I let go of the kites painted with the demons of my childhood. I hugged my step-mother, I spoke up, I moved out, I deleted the ex’s, I wore a bikini, I went on a date, I became an aunty, I accepted that this was not the end.
Your bad days belong to you, they are nobody else’s problem.
Don’t fuck love up by wanting it too badly.
Breathe, count to ten, breathe again.
Food will make you fat… Focusing on this fact too obsessively will make you miserable, both are equally as unattractive.
Talk to the people who are really there.
You are lucky to have the people in your life, do not take them for granted. Ever.
New clothes are only new for the first day you wear them.
If people walk all over you, it’s time to stand up.
Let it go.
Do not be lazy.
Don’t give it all away to quickly.
Write poetry, read a book, drink a coffee, send the text you’ve been meaning to send for days.
I’m happy. Leave me alone, you ruined my day by creeping into my ears and doodling your daydreams into my brain. Your movie reel has no home here, I want no piece of you to be connected to me. I have cut the cord, unsewn the shadow. You are nothing, so please, please, go and hide, for a very long time. So long that you forget your way home, that the cave freezes your fingers and you can grasp nothing but icy air.
We don’t call Fall fall in England, we call in autumn, a weird word with too many letters and too round of a shape. I like Fall better and it’s a season for falling… Falling leaves, falling out of bed, falling in the newly darkened mornings, falling in love (maybe, possibly, probably). I’ve been feeling the pulls of falling this fall, falling like Alice fell down that Rabbit hole and all her earthly things spun round around her. Solid things that she felt were constants just tumbling down like sand in a boggle hourglass.
In just five weeks of being home so many perceived constants have fallen down around me, in just five weeks I’m now an Aunty, a form teacher and a girlfriend. Yep, somebody’s real life, see you almost every day girlfriend. Somebody’s pack a bag and sleepover, text you at lunchtime and bed time girlfriend. Somebody’s meet the family, hold my hand, go to a gig, girlfriend. It’s all very new and strange and lovely.
I have a group of children who’s faces I see every single morning and afternoon. It’s me who’s the voice calling home to chase up lost homework or school concerns, it’s me that’s waiting outside the headteachers office for follow up meetings. I’m growing up, it’s scary, I’m a REAL teacher, it’s scary.
I have Dexter, this little, already smiling bundle of my sister and Dean. He has already changed so much. Who knew love could happen that quickly, so instant. It was barely a fall, we were all teleported to a new place. A place where there’s a baby at our family meals, where my sisters house looks like a Mama’s and Papa’s showroom and her voice on home videos reminds me of my mother.
So as the leaves keep falling and turn golden browns around the edges. As the dusk creeps in earlier and the dawn is coffee and a breakfast away, I let my heart fall. Fall into all the newness as I take my boyfriends hand and kiss my baby nephew. As I mark morning assignments and call little Sally’s Mum about her maths homework. As I creep ever closer to twenty six years old, I let it all fall around me and I watch it tumble, reassuringly out of my control.