When I was a kid I loved Weebles.
These, along with Lego bricks and Play-People were my absolute best things. I loved them. I didn't have a favourite, but if I absolutely had to choose between them all then Weebles would win hands down.
Don't get me wrong, Play-People were cool... They were better-looking for a start. They could do more stuff - plus they could live in the houses I built for them out of my Lego bricks, so in the versatility stakes they pretty much nailed it... but Weebles? Well they were something else.
In a league of their own.
Because Weebles were hardcore.
It didn't matter how hard you flicked them or how rough you played, those badboys were indestructible. You just couldn't keep them down, and believe me I tried - usually by flicking them as hard as I could - a manouvre which would floor a lego-man completely, but which didn't phase my Weebles... A bit of a wobble for a few seconds - a minute at most, and then they were up...while my lego men and Play People lay in crumpled heaps on the floor. Totally K.O'd.
So Weebles are resillient little fuckers.
My friend Nathan knows me pretty well - We spend a lot of time together. A lot more time than we used to actually, now that I'm sober and capable of stringing more than just the odd sentence together.
Tonight we are talking about my drinking days. I don't really want to have this conversation but it's Nath and he was worried for a while and so I know that I should.
I take a sip of my drink, grit my teeth and prepare myself for a bumpy ride...
You don't need a degree in fashion to fit in in rehab....Because everyone looks the same in there. Tracksuits and hoodies by day, Pj's and hoodies by night.
We were one huge "blind date from hell" fest. Styled by W*therspoons and the stuff that J*remy Kyles wet dreams are made of.
We all looked rough as rats.
Because you're not out to impress anyone in rehab. Or meet the love of your life.... You're too busy trying to get well. And so for a girl like me who normally won't leave the house unless I'm mascared up to the max, not having to make the effort for a while was liberating.
The first few days I was in there, I did do the works.....habit more than anything. But then I realised that it would be much more productive to grab an extra half an hour in bed every morning, and rock up to morning check-in looking like a garbage pail kid like everyone else, than faff about trying to get my eyeliner straight for a bunch of people who actually didn't give a rats ass what i looked like.
I'm in bed with my boyfriend... and not in the way that you think.
Because I'm writing this blog as a way to keep calm while I'm keeping an eye on him. While I'm upset and I'm worried and I can put into words just how heartbreaking this whole fucked up situation is.
My boyfriend is ill.
And he's struggling right now. He had a relapse three days ago. Quite a big one. It's knocked him for six. And now he's struggling to function again... and I'm trying to be supportive and I'm putting a brave face on things but I'm struggling too. Seeing him so confused and upset and in pain is breaking my heart.
The bucket next to the bed is a flashback for me. I used to have one too. For the inevitable morning sickness that came after the days and the nights before. For the times when I was too sick or weak to do anything except lift my head and attempt to rid myself of the contents of my stomach....basically to make room for more of the shit I was going to throw down my neck for the rest of the day...not because I wanted to but because at that point I needed to...
This is addiction. And I want to talk about it....
I've always been a 'fixer'. I'm brilliant at it. Which is a shame....because up until now, this amazing ability that I have to pick people up, straighten people out and get them back on track again has seemingly never applied when it's my own problems that need to be dealt with.
The last few years have been ridiculously hard for me. An incredible amount of shit landed in my general direction and it's taken me a long, long time to claw my way out of the absolute madness and mess that that caused me and begin to regain enough confidence to attempt to rebuild.
Today has been hard.
I've been on a training course. A few hundred yards from my ex boyfriends house. We broke up recently...needless to say I struggled to concentrate. All I could think of was him.
The course was centred around addiction. My ex-boyfriend is an alcoholic. I was one too back in the day. Until I went into detox and re-wired my brain... I'm tee-total now.
He was too, when we met - at least that's what I thought. It's what he told me when we got together anyway, otherwise I would never have gone there. Looking back though, now I'm not so sure. Maybe he just hid it better than he's able to these days...because right now he's currently drinking his own body-weight in vodka. He's disappearing in front of me and he's breaking my heart. Because this guy is going to die if he carries on like this.
I'll give him six months - A year at the most which is absolutely tragic...
He's only thirty-three.
I stayed in a B&B last night. On my own. Instead of staying with him. Because I made that mistake last time and it didn't work out too well. He massively overstepped the mark and did something terrible. Because he was drunk.
Anyway it was a huge mistake. I knew straight away. I should never have gone there in the first place... And these days I learn from my mistakes. Not always immediately granted... but at some point the penny always drops and I start to see sense...hence the B&B.
Which was fab by the way. I loved it - It felt like I was home.
Which it will be one day.
Because this is where I'm headed when I'm well.
Just not with him this time.
If things were different I'd be with him now. In his flat that I fell in love with, with this guy I fell in love with...
But things aren't different. Because he's a raging alcoholic. And my heart has been broken far too many times by this man. So this time, tonight when I walked past his house, I resisted the urge to phone him. Ring his doorbell. Try and 'make him better'. This time I did what's actually right for me for once. And kept on walking....
I took myself out to a restaurant. Then I went to a bar. The same one I've started to go to when I run to this town. Because I love it here. I feel safe and confident and alive in this town. I've already started to make friends.
Like the guy who works in the photo shop. The one I take my features to, to get them printed so that they can hang on my walls.
And the guy behind the bar in The Dolphin...and the people I've met in there.
I'm in a town that I adore. That calls to me. Every single time I come here I know I'm coming home. I'm absolutely head over heels for this place. It fits me perfectly.
So having to leave it behind, get back on a train and go live in a field again unsettles me. I feel scattered and torn. Upset and anxious.
I can't keep on doing this...being pulled in two directions. It's bad for my head...
It was his birthday.
I'd planned a holiday as a present - nothing incredible, just a few days in the sun last minute.com. It made sense. It was cheap, it was hot and it was a chance to get away while I had the time booked off from work.
I was so excited.
I needn't have been.
Because it didn't happen......
I've bought a house.
Well a caravan.....And now it's mine. I own it.
It's just for me.
Well me and Magic.
Magic is my cat.....the one I promised myself I would get just as soon as I got a place of my own. And now I have one. A place that is. Not Magic.....Magic comes later.
I have to move in first....
I'm finally starting to value myself.
It's hard work.
It goes against everything I've ever know or been told. It feels weird.
Like I'm pretending... which I am. Obviously. But I'm secretly hoping that the 'fake it till you make it' approach rubs off...and then one day I won't have to pretend anymore.
Thats the cunning plan anyway. It's pretty much the only one I have to be honest. So I'm giving it a go.
I try to see the best in people.
Even when I know that it's futile.
I keep looking for the good in someone even when I'm being treated appallingly - I'm the kind of woman who would find something loveable about a rabid dog. In fact if I thought that I could get near it I'd probably take it home.....
But the last fourty-eight hours means that I'm starting to learn from my mistakes. So thats progress.
It's raining outside.
I have a day off today. Which means that I've made an executive decision to stay indoors.....mostly under my duvet.
I like rain.....so raining is good. Raining is progress. Two days ago we had snow....I'm not so keen on snow.
Because I live in a caravan.
When you live in a caravan, snow is not your friend. The drop in temperature freezes the pipes which means that there is no water. Having a hot drink or taking a shower is not an option.
Not so long ago I used to go for days on end without showering. But that was back in my breakdown days when my head had gone awol for a while. These days me and my Soap and Glory are besties.......and so the thought of not being clean now makes me shudder....
It's alright for Beyonce.....wriggling around blasting out "All the single ladies" and then scampering off home to Jay-Z.....but what about the rest of us? Us 'actual' single ladies, who don't have a Jay-Z or any other kind of guy for that matter, to get our groove on with or snuggle up to once the lights go down......what about us?
What if you don't even own a leotard? Or sexy shiny shoes like Bey? Well, maybe you did.... once. A long time ago......when you were still young and foxy, with the whole world at your feet and when you didn't give a shit about imaginary lumps and bumps or cellulite.......What if anything even remotely resembling foxy hasn't made an appearance from your wardrobe in a very long time.....because everything that does has been tucked away on a shelf somewhere gathering dust - along with your self-esteem and your confidence after the last disastrous relationship you had eventually bit the dust.....
Because I'm a single lady at the minute and trust me..... it's really not as glamourous or as exciting as Bey makes it look in that video.....
I'm a mess.
I'm stood in his kitchen surrounded by bags, frantically trying to repair my ravaged face. I know that it will be dark soon anyway but there is absolutely no way that I'm leaving the house like this. I'm upset granted, but I still have standards...
Ten minutes and some frantic sleeve wiping later and I'm heading out the door and down the stairs. I didn't stop to say goodbye. My head was obviously pre-occupied with the black smears around my eyes and I'm mentally giving both barrels to R*****l..... because this latest mascara of theirs is seriously shit...
So I'm staying over. At his....... On Tuesday night.
It makes sense....It saves interrupting our evening, dicking around with trains and a walk home alone for me through pitch black fields, late at night, attempting to dodge cow pats and copious amounts of sheeps piss.
And I know this guy, which means that I trust him enough to assume that he's not going to jump on me or set upon me with an axe once I'm in his flat, behind closed doors.
So it'll be cool. It'll be fine. We're just having some food and catching up with ourselves. No biggie. Absolutely nothing to worry about - It's not like we're going to have sex or anything.....
Because then I would be bricking it....
Imagine that you can see your mental health... and that it looks like the most precious piece of cut glass you have ever seen. The attention to detail is incredible...and you just want to reach up and lift it down so that you can really see how intricate it is up close, and don't worry - you know that it's precious and so you'll be ever so careful when you lift it off that shelf...
This was the noise that you heard as it slipped through your fingers and shattered on the floor....
This is how it feels when mental health goes wrong...
I used to spend my life looking for elephants - Those hulking great things that weigh a ton and could squash you or I just as easily as either of us could swat a fly.
You know where you are with elephants. They do what they say on the tin. Plus, you can generally spot them coming a mile off...unlike the mice...
I used to think that mice were cute. Insignificant. Those teeny, tiny furry things, all quivering whiskers and curious faces. A bit of cheese here, some stray crumbs there and mice will happily hoover your carpet and be your new best friends forever...
Fuck that shit...because mice are motherfuckers. They are the ones causing carnage while you are busy hunting for elephants...
I have an appalling track record with men. It is truly, ridiculously, horribly bad.
Misogynists, psychopaths, sociopaths. You name them, I met them. Then I dated them.
I used to joke to my friends that I could pick out the badman out of a crowd of a thousand identically dressed, identical looking men....whilst wearing a blindfold. Only I wasn't actually joking. Because I really, honestly could. I can. I do.
Which isn't something that fills me with glee.
Because my bad men aren't exciting, or alluring like the ones in the films.
My bad men are trouble... spelt in bright red capital letters.
So this is a story about a man.
A funny, intelligent and articulate man who has recently snowballed into my day to day life. Out of the blue. From Nowhere. Completely unexpectedly, and completely unannounced. I'm still attempting to process it all. It's kind of a complicated story. Involving an extremely complicated man.
We crossed paths via social media. He'd followed me on twitter. I checked his profile and clicked onto one of his blogs. And time kind of stopped for me. Literally. As I re-read his words and struggled to take in exactly what this guy was telling me.
Because as I read this blog it was clear that this guy had had a plan. Which didn't involve following me (or anyone else for that matter) on twitter if it had worked. He wouldn't have had time to sit about surfing the internet and making new aquaintences. He would have been way too busy being dead. Which is kind of a full time job once you've comitted to it. And from what I could see he was pretty comitted. Up to his neck in it actually.
Anyway. Long story short.
Despite his well thought out and carefully articulated plan, involving ingesting enough prescription medicine to knock out a small country, washed down with copious amounts of tepid white wine, coupled with the fact that nobody actually knew quite where to find him whilst all of this topping himself on social media business was going on, (which didn't help the emergency services who were at this point frantically attempting to locate him), for some unknown reason, somewhere along the lines that night it didn't quite work out.
Mainly because he found himself very much "Not Dead" . When he woke up very much alive on an acute psychiatric ward. From an induced coma. With tubes going into places that really should only allow for stuff coming out. Along with various other pleasantries that had been carried out in a desperate attempt to save his life.
And that's how the weirdest friendship in the world began. I sent him a message. He messaged me back. The rest is history.
He's bringing out stuff in me that I can't describe.
I feel an incredible protectiveness towards him. We are similar in lots of ways and share the same history. I'm hearing my story but told by a man and from a mans perspective. We are both alive when we didn't actually want or plan to be. And dealing with the implications of that. Our similarities are beyond weird.
We talk every day.
I try and walk the line between keeping him cheerful and making conversation that isn't going to be too overwhelming. There's a lot going on in that head of his right now what with him still being alive and all....
I take the piss a lot. There is no elephant in the room during our conversations. It's how it should be. And I send him stuff. Snapchats. A song from the movie "Suicide Squad". I call it "My cheer up song." It's a private joke. Thankfully, he thought it was funny too when I explained. We share the same dark humour at times.
He has an adopted sunflower.
He didn't get a say in it really. I just gave it to him. It lives in my bathroom where it gets plenty of sun. He gets regular updates and photo's - as though he's signed up for some random charity or other off the TV. "Look Nick - here's "Sunflower" chilling out on my windowsill." ( He doesn't have a name. He's just "Sunflower"), or "Nick, check out Sunflower and his brother in this pic. Your's is kicking ass. He's grown loads"....
Although obviously Sunflower is a metaphor, Sunflower is real. He is growing. Every day I see tiny changes in him. My friend is growing too. He might not always think so but he is.
I've known him no time at all, but I have the greatest respect for this guy and I wish that I could do more to help. I want him to be well. And far away from a psych ward. Being comfortable in his skin. Being happy. But that's not my job to do and not my thing to wish for. It's his. It has to be his.
I don't have a magic wand. I can't just wave something and make him better. It's not that simple. Only he can decide where he goes from here. To a Penthouse or a Park bench. It's a 50/50. It's going to be a long haul. But if this guy is half the guy I think he is, he'll do it. With bells on. He just needs to cut himself some slack.
In the meantime, I'm honoured to know him. It's like I see into his soul. And hopefully my chit chat helps. So for now the songs, the snapchats and the crazy Sunflower photos are staying on the menu. To try to compensate for the terrible hospital food. While he puts himself back together however he sees fit. Until he doesn't need them anymore. Maybe because he'll have his own garden again and can grow his own Sunflowers. No internet intervention necessary.... Or no garden at all. It's up to him. It's his life. And gardens are over-rated anyway.
Basically, what I'm trying to say to this man is this. That the past is the past. It's happened. It's gone. Nothing and no-one can change that. And despite his best laid plans for his life at that point, fate appeared to have a different agenda when the shit hit the fan for him that night. And maybe there's a reason for that.
So he's alive. With a fresh clean slate. If nothing else resonates right now, it's a start.
Also known as a beginning.
But if I did have a wish for this friend of mine, it would be this.....That you would choose to begin Nick.
Published in Fearless Femme magazine.....
"I'm gonna pick up the pieces, and build a Lego House.....if things go wrong I can knock it down...." "Lego House" - Ed Sheeran.
He's a clever guy Ed - Writes all his own material, sings, plays several musical instruments and has a house made out of Lego. Funnily enough, so do I. Because Lego is cool. Lego is the future - and my Lego house rocks....
So he's coming to see me. This amazing "blast from the past" super-cool person of mine.
Because it's going to be amazing.
Me and him. A hotel room somewhere. And an absolute whale of a time guaranteed. All arranged lastminute.com which is always how we roll...
A "Hey _____ I've been thinking. I've missed your face. And I'd really love to come see you again ...are you gonna be free between ____ and _____? (Him)
(Me) "What's there to even think about? Do it. Come see me. Get in the car and get down here...will be amazing. So yes. I'll make sure that I'm free...'cos I've missed your face too..." kind of conversation.
And so he's coming. To see me. In two weeks. I'm turning cartwheels.
Fuck...I'm turning cartwheels.
I need to do a risk assesment...