A Letter To My Fifteen Year Old Self

Hey,

It’s me, or rather, you, from the future. Put down the star trek fan fiction, we need to talk. I have good news and bad news.

The good news is, you having fuller lips won’t be as bad as you think. Sure, you get made fun of it for now, but in about ten years, it will be fashionable, and both men and women will pay tons of money for surgery and lip glosses that promise the plump pout you are currently embarrassed of. I mean, it will be favoured on white women over you, but it’s something.

Don’t bother fucking about with your eyebrows either, because it isn’t worth the effort. Thicker brows will be fashionable too, and let’s be real, you can’t handle pain, so waxing, plucking or threading really will never be an option for us. Now I’ve typed all that, I’m concerned that they may be out again. Luckily for you, you learn, over time, not to care anyway. They’re just eyebrows.

Onto some bad news, but with a hint of good news. You will never “grow into your nose”, and you won’t learn how to contour it away either. However, you will one day learn to accept that your face would completely change if it was different, and that is a reminder of your heritage, and you will realise the importance of keeping your past close to you, because it’s a lonely, fucked up world, and sometimes, all you will have is yourself, so it will be comforting to be able to remember where you came from. You are a concoction of so many different places and people, and that is something to be proud of, so don’t be ashamed that you look different, because that’s fine.

You’ve spent your whole life feeling like you didn’t fit in, and a lot of people around you contributed to that. A lot of kids picked on you, and called you weird or ugly. Some were even racist, which is fucked up and you’ll probably still think about it for a long time, but don’t hold onto your anger for them. It doesn’t help you, and it won’t change them. You are responsible for you. You can’t make everyone good. You survived, and that’s all that matters. Maybe they grew up to be better people by themselves, maybe they didn’t, I don’t know, because I’m busy doing my own thing, but I wish I (or you), had learned to do that sooner.

2017, which is where I am now, is going to be weird as fuck, and you should prepare for that as best you can. You’ve seen some pretty weird and fucked up things already, so I wish I didn’t have to tell you it gets worse, but I do, and I’m sorry about that. It turns out you were right about Tony Blair, but you were wrong about Kevin Spacey. You were very, very wrong about Kevin Spacey. You will discover that sometimes, evil can be hidden by nice things, and nice gestures, and a nice face, and you will never stop being astounded and disgusted by it. You will never really learn to be aloof or unsurprised by supposedly good people turning out to be awful, but maybe that’s a good thing. You were also wrong about Seamus Heaney, but he isn’t a sex offender like Kevin Spacey (probably should have mentioned that in more detail earlier, sorry), he’s just a better writer than your jealous teenage self was willing to acknowledge, and at some point, you will find it within yourself to admit that you only dislike him because he has a nobel prize, and you don’t (yet). There is still time for you, and you don’t have to dislike people because they have achieved things you haven’t, especially when you are literally still in school, and haven’t even finished your exams. He’s 53 years older than you, so it is to be expected that he will achieve things you want, before you do. Give yourself a chance to grow, and you’ll do all those things too. With this in mind, you can also stop hating about 45% of celebrities and public figures that you don’t like, because the same thing applies. You have plenty of time to collect trophies, sign books and perform.

On the bright side, there will be a new Star Trek series, with a black female lead, and a better chance of not being cancelled like enterprise, but to enjoy that, you first have to endure a Tory government, leaving the European Union, and an absolute bastard being the president of the US.

I probably should have done those one at a time, but it’s important that you understand something. Many of those things happened because of voter apathy, and I know that right now, you’re super hype for politics and desperate to vote, but in about three years, that enthusiasm will die, and one man is responsible. When you were (or are) eighteen, you will vote for the liberal democrats, because Nick Clegg makes a lot of promises. Nick Clegg will then form a coalition with the conservatives and the effects will be devastating to the country, and to you too. It will break your heart. You will lose complete faith in politicians, and it will take a long time to get it back. You get your groove back after seeing Nicola Sturgeon in a debate during the 2015 election, and will reluctantly return to the Labour roots you were raised on, because it’s the closest thing to the SNP in England (I mean, it isn’t really, but it’s the best you can do), so if we ever get a chance to do 2010 again, save yourself some heartache and just vote labour or green. It doesn’t actually matter how you vote really, in the bigger picture, because you’re registered to vote in a safe Tory seat, but it might make you personally feel better. The moral of that story is, people might let you down, specifically politicians, but not all of them are the same and many of them do want to help. Don’t give up and definitely use your vote, and encourage others to do the same, no matter how annoying it makes you feel, because people not voting led to most of 2017.

Speaking of men in 2010 who will break your heart, there will be a man that you meet on a tube train, on New Year’s Eve, he will make lots of promises and tell you so many nice things, but he will ruin your life for about two years, and to be completely honest, you’ll still be slightly broken in 2017, and maybe further on, I don’t know yet, so again, if we get the chance to do 2010 again, don’t talk to anyone on the tube. It’s frowned on anyway, regardless of how Northern your upbringing was. Keep your mouth shut and read a book in uncomfortable silence, like everyone else.

Back to how fucked up 2017 is. You will be devastated by the result of the EU referendum, and will briefly consider desperately attempting to get Spanish citizenship and leaving the UK forever. I don’t know if the UK will actually leave now, because it’s currently a bit of a clusterfuck, but whatever happens, you will be okay, and the UK isn’t so bad (at least, some parts of it, anyway). Please remember to speak English in public at all times, for your own safety, because some people will go nuts and be unrelentingly xenophobic after the referendum, but keep to yourself, and don’t talk to strangers, especially in Spanish, and you’ll probably be fine. You will have to stop pretending not to speak English to avoid gross men, as this could get you into way more trouble than before, and you may feel like this place isn’t your home anymore, but there are places where you will still feel like you belong, so hold onto that.

Donald Trump becomes president. This doesn’t directly effect you all that much, but you will hate it all the same. For a while, you will feel there is no good left in the world, but there is, I promise. You just have to look harder to find it, these days. Oh, and you will later discover that he, like many people in 2017, is the absolute fucking worst, and you will no longer feel guilty about your angry blog posts about him taking up space at Wrestlemania.

You won’t be a Broadway star, like you wanted, not in 2017 anyway, but weirdly enough, Broadway World, a website where you spent most of your childhood, writes an article about one of your books this year, so that’s a nice consolation prize. You will go to university, though, like you wanted, and you’ll be a writer, which you’re just getting interested in now as I remember. You also dip back into music, and a song you compose gets thousands of streams on Spotify. I’m aware you don’t know what that means yet, or what Spotify is, but basically, thousands of people hear your music, and that’s pretty fucking cool. It’s like music downloads, except you will get way less money in royalties, so we aren’t exactly living fancy yet, but I’m working on it.

You are currently sad. I remember it so well, and I wish I could tell you that everything magically gets better, but it doesn’t. You’ll later be diagnosed with depression, and you’ll be resistant as fuck to it, because you’re used to helping the people around you with their own stuff, and it will be hard to accept that you need help to, but take it, because it doesn’t make you weak.

Depression isn’t your only problem. I know this is all pretty bleak, and I’ll stick more goodness in this soon, but I’m just writing it as it comes. You will go through many things that will make you question who you are, and will make you feel like life isn’t worth it, this will of course not be helped by the depression you are not yet currently aware that you have, but even without depression, it’s a lot to go through. You survive. That’s all I can promise. I can’t tell you it won’t hurt, but I can tell you that you survive.

Your handwriting never gets any better, by the way, but you have a very impressive typing speed, so stop worrying about that. You will barely write by hand once you leave sixth form anyway, and you will have the convenient excuse of never writing by hand, because you want to save the planet from deforestation. To be real, though, I think people are aware that you’re just really bad at writing by hand, but many people you meet are too polite to say so.

Right now, you think you’re very smart and mature, because you listen to radio 4, and read the Guardian, but you still have lots to learn, and realistically, you’re a very young fifteen, at least emotionally. I really wish we got a second shot at 2010, or any of the years actually, because there is so much we could do differently. There is so much you didn’t know, and so much that I can’t protect you from, that still haunts me to this day, but realistically, I can’t. We can’t. All that we can do is be thankful that we made it this far, and keep going.

Your survival is all that matters. Things will be tough. Things will be devastating. You will get your heart broken (no bones though, so we still hold that record), you will be disappointed, you will feel like a failure, but you will live on and you will feel joy, and passion, and pride, and you will survive.

Whatever happens, keep fucking going. You may not get exactly what you want, and things might feel hopeless some days, but you survive, and that’s all you can do sometimes.

As I write this right now, you are happyish. Things are okay. You’re currently waiting for your new music video to process through editing software, and trying to pass the time, by saying hello to the girl you once were. You had a decent night of sleep last night, despite being caught in traffic for ages. You look a bit of a mess because you didn’t put on make up this morning, but you’re still cute, and most importantly, you are still fucking here.

Besos,

J x

PS. You don’t learn to swear less, and around 2012, you stop putting it on your new year’s resolution list, because it just isn’t fucking realistic. Sorry.


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Council Estate Girl

I was born,
and sped to work,
in a British society,
not quite high society,
council estate girl,
lost in the trees,
staring up at stars,
and making plans,
in crayon.

I worked on my grammar,
to get into grammar,
but my grandma always told me,
it was better to shine in the safety of the state,
than to struggle at the top.
My school died as an academy,
starved by those I used to want to be.
I tried to believe that they meant it,
when they said,
with rehearsed and reductive smiles,
that it didn’t matter where I came from.

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My life is a really long commute,
from my mother to my god.
Traffic jams,
and dandy distractions in between,
choking on air pollution,
born of my own ambition,
and some days,
I still believe,
that I’m rushing towards something,
other than the realisation that I’m not.

 

Work myself to death,
living somewhere in between,
but no matter where I run,
how many of the classics I read,
or how many times I drown my rough accent,
in elocution lessons,
and later in cheap cider,
I am a council estate girl,
lost in the trees.
Scared to climb down,
to the grass of my past,
that glares up, in disappointment at my betrayal,
and the fact I never call.
I am a council estate girl,
terrified,
and ever so dramatic,
disgusted,
by what waits above me,
and the plans I had for them,
created in crayon.


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The Game

Fifteen.
Nervous,
naive,
knee length skirt.
At a desk,
next to a boy I’d spoken to,
maybe once or twice.

Then he is joined,
by a friend I’ve never met,
and they engage,
in a game,
he normally saves,
for just before bed.
I try to look away,
but he tells me to look.

They tell me I am playing,
and reach for the woman
who lives where I do not dare to share.
She is sleeping,
and doesn’t know the rules.
They grab her from her cotton castle,
and I am in the game,
bound to lose.

We are both frozen,
unable to run,
afraid of what we’ve done,
or haven’t,
to be more accurate,
and when the boys are done,
we are numb,
and full of questions,
that we will never ask.

We will never play again,
we are not sure if we even did,
or if we were just sat,
a lone, broken battleship,
at the mercy of invasion,
from a boy “just being a boy”.


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How I wrote “Depression Is Not Real?” from Home Wrecker

Today is World Mental Health Day, and so I decided to give you a little insight into how I created one of the most personal poems in my latest book, “Depression Is Not Real?” from Home Wrecker.

Firstly, I had to acknowledge that depression is in fact real. It isn’t that I had doubted that, I was well aware of it being a real thing, I just didn’t think it was a real thing for me. When I was twenty two, I was at one of the lowest points in my life (so far). I had lost people close to me, I had just broken up with my fiance, my wrestling career had gone to shit before it had even really got going, I couldn’t find a job, and I felt worthless. My very first published book, Tiffany, Pls (sorry Stormy Weather) had been a commercial failure, because I’d yet to learn about marketing, and wasn’t ready at all to be releasing things. Also, it wasn’t exactly my best work, and arguably made little to no sense, but in my defence, I wrote most of it at a point in my life when I was drunk a lot and watching my entire world fall apart, so, you know.

On the bright side, during this time, I got to feel the lovely arms of my muffin, William Regal, around me, and I wrote “Glasgow Caledonian” from “Last Of The Greenwich Glamour Girls”, during a very quick but eventful trip to Glasgow, so it wasn’t ALL bad.

I felt like nothing was going right for me, but I still tried to keep it upbeat, insisting that this was just the really shit part at the beginning of my story before I went on to bigger and better things (it turns out that I was right, but this isn’t the point…).

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Smiling in a picture is also very off brand for me anyway, so that’s a real indicator that the happiness in this picture is fake. I was desperately trying to pretend everything was good, because I didn’t know what else to do.

I later found a job, and things in my life did start to improve, but I still felt just as low, if not worse than before, and it wouldn’t go away. I would have long periods of time when I wouldn’t want to eat, or get out of bed. I would have moments where I genuinely thought I’d be better off dead. I’d have days where I would replay my life over and over, crying and wishing things could be different, staring at my reflection for hours on end, hating what I saw, and thinking everyone else hated me too.

I stayed in denial for quite some time, as if it was some kind of comfy blanket, because even though deep down, I knew I needed help, admitting that felt like I was just finding another thing that was wrong with me.

After many arguments, conflicts and so on with my family, they basically staged an intervention of sorts and insisted that I had to get help. I was mad as hell at the time, but it was the right thing to do.

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If they hadn’t intervened, this photo wouldn’t exist, and I never would have got to stand at the top of Blackpool Tower, feeling my model fantasy, because I probably would have died. Like not to be dramatic, but I honestly probably would have.

I made an appointment with the doctor, and it was an awkward affair. I didn’t know what I was supposed to say, and I felt like I was coming across as one of those “whiney snowflake millennials” you read about in angry right wing newspapers, even though I’d always thought those articles were stupid. It’s funny, because I’m no stranger to mental health. Many people in my life have struggled with it, and I had no problem helping and supporting them, but the idea of it being something I now needed help with was very difficult to comprehend. I have always been someone who likes to do things themselves, and am quite independent and private, so suddenly having to let other people in and let them help me freaked me the fuck out.

I started a course of anti depressants, which didn’t do much for me, but I also started a CBT course that was very helpful (once I got past my hang ups about talking to strangers), and I was able to rationalise a lot of my fears, anxieties, and a lot of the things I’d been unable to process before, while also finding new ways to deal with my thoughts and feelings.

This was all, of course, quite a while ago, and while I do have moments of struggle every now and again, I am doing a lot better. I was inspired to write “Depression Is Not Real?”, not just by my own experiences, but by the constant shouting of “Depression isn’t real!” by people who tend to have very little experience of it. I know it’s a cliche, but to be honest, if you haven’t experienced it, it is hard to understand. Even I, as someone who had been around people who had dealt with depression for almost my whole life, found it very hard to truly understand it until I was in the situation, and even during that, I was confused as hell. I wanted to try and create something that explained my personal journey with depression, and how it felt for me, to try and explain the harsh realities of it, for those who simply refuse to believe it’s a real thing.

I began, as I often do, with a stream of consciousness. This is one of my favourite things to do when writing, as it allows me to draw out all the things I associate with a subject, and gives me a great starting point. It was quite a personal thing, so it was difficult to get everything together, but quite cathartic as well. I decided to personify depression, as personification is one of my favourite literary devices, but it also helped demonstrate how I felt. Sometimes, when I looked at myself, I saw another person, it was kind of like me, but like, a mirror universe version. Sometimes, the entire thing felt like self sabotage. My mind wanted me to be fulfilled, and happy, but it prevented that. That may not be the facts, I’m not a scientist, but that’s how it felt at the time.

Once I had a basic outline of the kind of themes and language I was looking to use, I started trying to edit down what I had, so that it was vaguely usable, and several edits later, I had the final product.

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The final product.

Me as a final product? I’m doing okay. I have good days, I have bad days. I’m more open about my feelings, and it helps me to handle them better. When I say that I’m grateful for the support of my followers on social media, here on my blog, or anywhere else y’all like to hang out, I really mean it. Not just because your support enables me to do what I love, but also because when I was sitting in my room, staring at the walls and wishing I was dead, I never imagined that one day, I would have a community of friends to share my life with. Thank you, and please, today, and every day, look after yourself.

Besos,

J x


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My 2017 Goals

Hola Amigos!

2017 is here! 2016 was a trek of a year, and quote difficult to get through in parts, but it is now time to look towards 2017, with careful optimism.

My goals for 2017 are:

Sleep More

I adore sleeping. If I could list it in the hobbies section of my CV, I would. Despite it being a favourite past time of mine, I do very little of it. I tend to get caught up with writing late in the evening, and before I know it, it is suddenly 1am, and my alarm is only four and a half hours away from forcing me out of bed. Therefore, I’ve decided in 2017, I’ll be attempting to get to sleep before midnight as often as possible, possibly earlier.

Learn A Third Language

I mentioned last year about learning another language, and began courses in Esperanto, and later Welsh, but I’ve yet to master either.

In 2017, I’m hoping to continue with at least one of them, and be able to handle basic conversations without having to constantly check.

Stop Blaming Myself For Bad Things That Happened To Me

In 2016, I accepted a lot of things in my life that had happened in the past, that I had been ignoring and pretending weren’t bothering me. However, accepting them did bring on a lot of guilt for not having said anything at the time, and therefore suffering through it far longer than I could have done.

While I’m not quite there yet (it is only January…), I’d like to reach a point where I don’t blame myself for what I went through or how long I went through it.

I can talk forever on other people not being to blame for bad things happening to them, but when it is me, I can’t help but review everything I did, and think about whether it really was my fault. I have to stop doing this, because there is no way I deserved a lot of the things in my past. There is no way a person can allow themselves to be hurt or abused, because the person who is hurting them is making a conscious choice to do so, and that is their actions, not the actions of the victim. Some people will argue that staying in the situation is allowing yourself to be victimised, but leaving a bad situation isn’t that simple. A lot of the time, you can’t find the confidence to be able to leave, you may feel like you deserve what is happening to you, you may physically be unable to leave. Just leaving isn’t an option for the vast majority of people.

What I’m getting at, is that a person shouldn’t be blamed for something they didn’t want to endure in the first place.

This all seems good on paper (or on screen) but whether I make it through the year without sinking back into blaming myself remains to be seen.

Be Less Afraid Of Conversation

If you’ve ever texted me, or called me, or tweeted me, or anything, you may find that I either don’t reply, or I reply sporadically. If you’ve ever tried to have a real life conversation with me, it has probably been an even worse experience. I haven’t yet figured out why, but I am quite intimidated by one on one conversations with people. Maybe it is a fear of not being liked, or saying the wrong thing? Either way, whatever it is, I’m going to try and move forward with this, because frankly, 2016 was horrible, so I’m sure most people I meet have endured far worse than a conversation with me.

Finish My Novel

This is perhaps my most optimistic one. I’ve been writing my novel since about 2013, and it has had so many changes, rewrites and so on, that I really should be finished, but I’m not. I would like to finish it by 2018, if possible, even if it never sees the light of day, I just want to be able to sleep at night knowing that I finally finished something I started when I was still young and optimistic about my abilities, or whatever.

Stop Referring To Myself As Old

You may notice I’ve already stumbled on this one, literally one paragraph up.

I’m only twenty four, but I feel about sixty (please no jokes about my taste in men) most days. I’m not that old, really, and I honestly have plenty of time to do all the things I want, have some adventures and adopt a turtle, so I would like to stop worrying and edging closer to a mid life crisis before my time.

When I was at university, someone I knew at school suddenly died in a tragic accident, and I think since then, as self absorbed as it may be, I’ve struggled with the idea of mortality. I knew before then that I’d eventually die, because I hadn’t applied myself in science class, and would therefore be unable to invent some kind of immortality serum, but I’d never really thought too deeply about it until then. Having someone I knew dying so young made me suddenly panic about how much time I had left, and how much of my elaborate and ridiculously big life plan I could fit into that time.

I began rushing to try and do multiple things at once. I started training to be a wrestler, I got engaged, I released a book that was nowhere near ready to be published, I started planning to move to London full time. I tried to do all the things I wanted because I figured I might not have the option of waiting until I was actually ready to do them. As it all turns out, that was a terrible way of doing things, and while I’m still busy and a bit ahead of myself, I’m hoping this year to slow down, put less pressure on myself and let things happen when they are supposed to.

I’m not overjoyed at the idea of death, and I don’t think I ever will be, but I’m hoping to let my life go where it goes, without worrying constantly and trying to do a million things at once, so I can enjoy the few things I have.

I’m twenty four, twenty five next month, and that is fine. It isn’t too late for me, and it never really was. I don’t have to hate ageing, because it isn’t an automatic end of my ambitions, it just means I’m better equipped to do what I want.

What are you hoping to do this year?

Besos,

J x


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Enemy Of The State

You’re right, it isn’t my country,
despite swapping states,
like I used to swap Pokémon cards,
and completing the assimilation game,
without cheat codes.

“Uncertainty is excellent,
all is well.”
Says ageing, expat, pop star scum.

I’ve never stolen anything,
but the hearts of a few,
and even then,
I returned them, with interest.
I still can’t shop without being watched,
I’m hoping my private reality show is cancelled, soon.

He’s right, this isn’t my country ,
despite all I’ve given.
I wanted to be just like you, once,
or at least the you on sale in gift shops.

Tea, Oxbridge pleasantries,
it isn’t real,
and now, neither am I,
despite the very real passport in my possession,
that is happy to claim me as one of your own.

I only want to own myself,
and walk the streets,
hopeful, as you do.

I do not go where I am not allowed,
I’ve never taken life,
but I hope to give it.
All I take is what I earn,
and I’m open to sharing.

“Imaginary independence is excellent,
all is well.”
Says banker of the people, yet peoplesceptic scum.

They’re right, this was never my country.
I am too changed for my old home,
and never enough for my new home.

This is not what I hoped to leave,
for the next me,
who is refusing to enter,
for fear she will be forced to leave,
or worse, forced to stay, unwanted.

Go home?
I will, if you’ll just let me pass.
It’s just up the street,
I’ve got a garden, with poppies,
not even just to assimilate,
and my Abuela will wonder where I’ve got to,
whether I address her in English or not.

I know, this isn’t my country.
Although, I have to ask,
why is my word only as good as the language it comes in?

“I don’t know what I ever did wrong,
nothing is well.”
Says the one the rags and rabble call scum,
but she is something to somebody,
I am something to somebody,
my only crime was being brown.


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Your body, and the hopefully happy adventures you can have.

When I was growing up, I focused on having a nice house, a career I enjoyed and maybe a pet turtle. Any kind of romantic relationship just wasn’t on my radar, and I’m not saying that as if ignoring relationships deserves a prize, I’m just being honest about my mindset, and the reality of who I am as a person. .

I never dated during school, and I only dabbled a few times during sixth form and university.

My inexperience wasn’t exactly that much of a problem, until I met someone who was interested in it, I was woefully unprepared for the entire thing. I didn’t really know how to act in a relationship, due to not having many to my name, leading to multiple awkward moments in which I expected far more than is usual, and sad moments in which I accepted far less than is usual.

I didn’t know what I wanted, and to be brutally honest, I only went out on the initial date because I was shocked someone asked me. Looking back, I can’t think of anything I even liked about him. I have a notebook full of random streams of consciousness in which I declared my undying love for him, but none of it makes it clear what I actually loved, and why I actually loved, so I’ve come to the conclusion that I was grateful that someone liked me, rather than in love. That’s fine, I suppose, but there were things that weren’t, which is the point of all this.

I don’t think he actually liked me. Now, when I say this, I don’t mean he disliked me. I just mean that he, as I did, didn’t have any specific things that turned basic attraction into love. I was young, naive, and very inexperienced, which I’ve now discovered is very attractive to a certain type of person, and I’m pretty sure he was that certain type of person. This isn’t a baseless accusation, because he told me so, in fact, that was one of the only things he could pinpoint when asked why he liked me, and naivety isn’t exactly unique to me.

I don’t think he liked me specifically, and the entire thing would have played out just the same with any young, naive and very inexperienced woman he successfully asked on a date. I think his attraction to me was based more on the idea of taking a blank canvas, and painting his desires onto it, than on anything about me in particular. That’s disappointing to my ego, and disgusting to the rest of me.

He knew that I was pretty clueless, he even asked me, quizzing me on how much I knew (fuck all, for those wondering) and giving me a long speech about his needs and wants, as well as reading material. No, seriously, there was a reading list of very specific erotica, that I didn’t particularly enjoy. Slightly off topic, but as a writer, I don’t understand the insistence on describing a woman’s bra size instead of her actual breasts. There are so many different kinds of boobs that can all fit in one bra, so bra size isn’t actually an indication of what kind of boob you are dealing with, and is honestly just poor writing. Maybe he just gave me poorly written erotica, which is even more insulting, really.

I didn’t know much about sexual relationships, consent, equality in relationships, or any of that essential stuff because it wasn’t covered in sex education, with only the logistics of actual sexual intercourse (for straight people only), and a short presentation on menstruation (with no freebies, I might add) making up my sex ed class. Just one class by the way. I was left to fend for myself in that regard, and a little paranoid about what was safe to google.

By the time I was brave enough to do proper research (it took half a bottle of wine and a telling off from one of my close friends), it was already too late. I didn’t realise until after the fact that it isn’t normal to be coerced into things you don’t want to do. Nobody told me that it isn’t normal to be pressured and rushed into things you don’t even understand, or might be afraid of. It was only after getting worried looks from my friends when discussing the subjects and having serious talks on what their own experiences were like that I noticed that I didn’t have to do half the things that kept me awake at night, hating myself. I thought it was expected, because nobody had told me that I could say no.

I still hate myself, sometimes. I look back on myself at that time and I hate, I hate so much that I feel like I’m burning, because I just want things to be different. I want for the girl I was to be different, and for her situation to be different.

I don’t know if it’s as serious as some things other people go through, but he still keeps me awake at night, for all the wrong reasons, and I just want to sleep. I’m not by any means on some kind of “all men are evil and their sexual desires are evil, and stop men” tirade, and I’m very aware that women are capable of this too, but this is not, in my opinion a “Men vs Women” issue, this is a “Everyone should have equal preparation and be able to protect themselves” issue.

This is something I’ve experienced, and something that I’m sure a lot of young people, both male and female may unfortunately experience, and it begins, because there are still places where the actual important details of sexual relationships aren’t taught. You might think it’s just the bible belt, and well to do boarding schools, but schools all over the world are neglecting to actually allow young people the full facts, and they grow up thinking that they shouldn’t question things at all, no matter how much their situation disturbs them. .

I’m not even sure why I’m writing this, maybe just to remove it from my body, so I can think and breathe and find some kind of legitimate freedom from the mixture of guilt, anger and confusion that still follows me, despite people in my life having tried to “fix” me and erase what I went through.

All I will say, because I heard it too late, is please don’t let yourself feel pressured. Please don’t let someone make choices for you and push you to do things you don’t want to. I know that’s easier said than done, and I’m not sure why you should listen to me (I don’t even listen to me half the time), but if just one person does, that is one less person with the negative and fearful attitude I have to their own body and it’s many (hopefully happy) adventures.


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