i am easy to like but hard to love.

I like Dilmah. Extra strength. Teabag left in. I need to be there when the water boils, the click of the kettle when it’s done. Even if it means flicking on the kettle four times. The sound of boiling water being poured is one of my favourite things. For that reason, I never milk first.
I always use the same mug, ‘my’ mug. I used to be real specific when it came to milk amounts, embarrassingly so. Two milk-cap fulls. But I’ve eased up on that … partly as I don’t use milk bottles anymore. But also growth and acceptance. Anyways, it’s just a dash. Stop pouring almost as soon as you start. Then give the bag a couple of jiggles, get it nice and strong.
The first sip needs to be taken pretty much straight away, while it’s piping hot. Wait too long and miss that first sip and you have to make a whole new one. It’s not worth losing that first sip.

I like my tea in an (evidently) specific way. And everyone does. White with one. Black with three. Super-weak, using someone else’s teabag.
This is a long and boring metaphor all to say this: you are never going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

I end my showers on straight cold, and always scream because of it, even though I know it’s coming. I have to have my shoes of equal tightness, even if that means retying my laces 2 or 3 times. I am not fragile with my books, there’s tea stains and chocolate stains and I’m dog-earer. Words only make up about 50% of my communication, I am a huge utiliser of sounds and hand gestures. I have no inside voice and an inability to whisper. For a long time I prefered handshakes to hugs and the tide is only recently changing on that. I send 7 texts when one will do. I run perpetually late but only by a couple of minutes. I’m incredibly vain, and always need to look nice when leaving the house – I’ve faketanned once a week and we’re in isolation and I’m not seeing anyone. I am easy to like but hard to love. I don’t take anything seriously and don’t take criticism well. I am incredibly stubborn and struggle to concede being in the wrong. I would cut off my nose to spite my face, proud to an absolute fault.

I am a tumultous conglomeration of flaws and foibles, strengths and weaknesses. I am oddball, I know that. I was once out to dinner with a group of friends and just one person I’d never met before. He said to me at the end of the night, “you must be weird as you did a myriad of strange things tonight and nobody batted an eyelid.” I laugh with my entire body, head thrown back bending low to the ground. I have no control over my facial expressions, you can always tell what I’m thinking. I say the wrong thing all the time and constantly putting my foot in my very large mouth.

But I’d consider myself kind. Generous. Easygoing. Always good for a laugh – just watch me exist. I don’t embarrass easily. I try and remember people’s names. I’ll always be too friendly as opposed to not friendly enough. There is good with the not-so-good.

I am easy to like but hard to love. And that’s a hard thing to come to terms with: I may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But I now know that. And I am not ashamed or scared of it.

living in isolation.

It’s a strange time we live in. Leaving the house only for essential services or exercise. And while we’ve never been here before, it has felt quite familiar.
I wouldn’t say I have depression. I’ve never been clinically diagnosed, nor do I know whether my periods of sadness warrant the name. But I do go into depressive states, instances of emptiness that I sometimes worry will swallow me whole. I’d spend hours just walking around my apartment, treating it like a therapist. Walking around its rooms, or quietly fidgeting on the lounge, voicing all of my thoughts and problems, my questioning of the universe and why it is the way it is. I’d laugh and I’d cry and I’d crack open my chest and lay everything out, spilling out every part of me saying, “here it all is”. But my voice would just echo back at me saying, “honey there’s no one here. we have to put this back together ourselves.”

2020 was already lost to me. Heartbreak – mine. An affair – not mine. Both connected and separate. Struggling with the realisation that life is fickle. That decisions made on a whim have still been made, you can’t reach out and put the words back in your mouth, swallowing them up again. I’d never really known the weight of it till now. But I had taken that pain, laid it all out, covering the table and dining chairs, the lounges, the coffee table. Stacking it up against the bookcase and covering the hanging artworks. It spilled out over the balcony. But I’d examined it all, one by one, piece by piece. Arranging it, placing complementary works side by side. And I named them all, after every storm that created it. Understanding the why and the how and the who.

But playing gallerist for weeks on end resulted almost in an epiphany, my chef d’oeuvre, magnum opus, piece de resistance. I had patched together all the different parts of me, intertwining it in all its complexities. Appreciating its intricacies, ready for the acclaim.

But then came the arrival of COVID-19. The weeks of tearing at my own skin and getting rid of the necessary parts, prying open my chest with a crowbar and removing those inside. It all felt for nothing. Curtailed, extinguished.

And I am still here. In this same apartment. Walking the same rooms, sitting on the same lounge. Sometimes I feel trapped. I broke down my own home to rebuild myself and now I feel forced to live in the wreckage. There is still comfort here, though. It has given me time to arrange all the leftover parts of me, to examine with neverending cups of tea. Because it is also the place of my greatest achievement, and with it the knowledge that it is I who made myself whole.

The world is no longer what it once was. I fear the change is irreversible, glimmering and unattainable in the past, forever beyond our reach.
And now we must adapt to this new normal. Time feels to move slower, or maybe it is I that is no longer moving through it, standing now at attention, glued to the spot. I feel like a visitor, like I’m not supposed to be here.
But there is still comfort.
The faces I have surrounded myself with bring me joy. I love the people in my life and the days we spend walking up and down the high street are highlighted by that golden haze of summer afternoons.
If two hearts break together will they heal as one bigger heart? And what of four hearts? Or ten?
The world is full of uncertainties but there is a consistency in us. In the ‘I love you’s’ and the ‘let me know if you need anything’ and the ‘I’m thinking of you’. In the mornings drinking tea and the evenings drinking wine. In the shared meals and common laughs.
The world is no longer what it was.
But we are the same.

It is the thread that should not be pulled, the box that cannot be opened.
It has collapsed in on itself, like the star burning in your favourite part of the night sky.
But it will be no supernova, the farewell will not consume other stars.
It’ll leave, small and dignified, excusing itself quietly and slipping out into the dark.

more things I have learnt.

for someone to see your ugliness and still love you will make you realise that the moon and stars aren’t the most wonderful thing in the universe. there is a beauty in those who walk towards the world with open arms

the greatest cruelty is the heart choosing someone who does not choose you back. continue to choose anyway

the people we love become a part of ourselves. my hands and nose and collarbones are no longer my own, I’ve taken them from someone else and they’ve taken mine in return

make friends so that it will take you twenty minutes to walk one block on smith street. your heart will love you forever

everyday the earth rotates one full circle. it always brings me back to you

 

 

Why must I fall in love with everyone who looks me in the eye and says my name slowly, letting it dance over their tongue first?
When they touch my waist and I can still feel the weight of their hand hours later.
They say the heart skips a beat but it’s more like you opened my chest and took it, saying “this is mine now.”

I feel like someone’s pried open my chest with a crowbar. They’ve broken in and taken everything that matters and all I’ve been left with is this hollow shell.
These words are smudging. Am I crying? I don’t know anymore.
Does form follow function? If I look okay will I be okay?
Or should I bleed publicly, standing on a pedestal in the middle of town peeling off layer by layer of skin, with a sign around my neck saying, “this is who I am. please still love me.”

things I have learnt.

someone saying “I was hoping to see you” will make your day. so say it to others as well

life is too short for a bad cup of tea or burnt toast. make it again

you will learn a lot about yourself when travelling alone. it is freeing and necessary but you will also realise how integral companionship is. having to take your suitcase into the bathroom cause there’s noone to watch it will start to break your heart

there’s no such thing as soulmates. love is a choice

but choose to love a lot of people. surround yourself with them. learn to let them love you back
NB. only be in love with one person

seeing someone’s eyes light up when they see you is beautiful. it will break your heart when it stops

but you will be okay

 

A boy I was seeing would run without music and that terrified me. I wonder what it’s like not to be scared of your own thoughts.
I feel safest in galleries, airports, museums and on trains. The anonymous, in-between places.
I broke off a leaf cause it was soft and I liked the way it felt. Being broken made it hard. I’m trying not to read into it.