Hey. I’m going to take a break for a bit. I know that I haven’t written much here lately anyway but I’m just finding out some things that mean I have done some bad stuff I didn’t know about and now don’t want to write here anymore. Sorry if that upsets you or if it’s a relief then good. Maybe I’ll come back one day but otherwise thanks for reading.

Tongue Tied

I can still feel the grittiness of the hallway carpet as I rubbed it’s worn shag pile fibres ritualistically through the trembling fingers of my left hand. I was trying to build up the courage to fix my problem; the route of all my problems.

The forbidden scissors were clenched so tightly in my right fist the cold blades dug into my skin. I stared at the girl in the mirror before me and tried to imagine what her reflection would look like, without her tongue.

Would my parents be angry if the blood permanently stained the off white carpet? Would it hurt? Would I be able to stop myself from screaming with the pain if it did? Can you even scream when you don’t have a tongue anymore?

I wanted to cut it off so badly that I couldn’t imagine it hurting worse than the humiliation of having it in the first place. After all, you can’t say anything stupid without a tongue, can you?

I was at my wits end, I didn’t know how else to possibly get us to shut up, to stop humiliating ourself by speaking, always incessantly speaking. We could talk underwater, they’d say. And we could, I’d tried it. I really didn’t mean to be like that, I didn’t want to be a chatterbox, I didn’t want to disrupt my classmates or to talk over people. It just happened. Again and again and I hated it, I hated myself.

We were probably about 7 at the time, back when our understanding of consequences was a tad limited. I had heard about people having their tongues cut out to shut them up on some old satirical comedy show my Dad watched, probably Black Adder or the like. It was gross but also seemed like the perfect solution.

This it would also force us to be quiet. Forever. And it also meant we’d have to stop eating so maybe we wouldn’t be so fat anymore. Two birds with one cut, the kids at school might not hate me so much if I was skinny and quiet.

I had stolen the sacred “good scissors” from my mothers sewing kit the day before hand hidden them in my room. Fuelled by the determination of a thousand warriors I sat in front of that mirror for what seemed like hours, but every time I slipped my tongue between the blades, squeezed my eyes shut and got ready to do it, I chickened out at the last second. Tongues are slippery beasts and they’re surprisingly strong and hard to handle, even when it’s your own, even when you think you know what you want.

Not being able to permanently disfigure myself was far more devastating than it should have been, we eventually gave up on tongue removal and focused more on physical punishments and detailed plans to end our life as coping strategies.

If only I’d been braver, perhaps I wouldn’t be in the mess I find myself in right now. If I’d just made that cut, things would have been different. Better? I know the real answer to that and yet I can’t help but entertain the ‘what if’s’ that whirl so incessantly around my exhausted mind.

An email had appeared in my inbox today and as I read the words in front of me my soul had dropped through my feet, taking with it my heartbeat and my breath; sadness welled from somewhere deep inside and all I could think was “again? Really?”

Shame is the worst of all the feelings.

The email was a referral letter, one that had missed the mark somewhat. Perhaps we were misquoted, or had we just poorly explained the situation? Or maybe the truth is exactly what we feared. In any case, we should never have spoken up, for it’s what’s written between the lines that says the most.

Being accused, judged, seen as weak, incompetent, dumb, a time waster… I’m not doing it again. This letter just highlighted how utterly pitiful our existence is and always has been.

Hypochondriac. Time waster. Attention seeker. Annoying. Humour her to shut her up…

They weren’t the words used but believe me, I understand the shorthand. Why did I ever bring it up? My face caught fire and I felt the decades melt away until I was seven years old again, staring at my reflection, too weak to amputate my evil serpent tongue, too weak to save myself from myself.

I think a part of me is still locked inside that mirror from my childhood, the one that had seen so many things over the years, now forever haunted by our darkest ghosts.

The letter in front of me burned through the screen as though it’s just been plucked from the deepest pits of Hell by Satan himself. “You’re still a broken piece of shit” it sneers. Shame cuts me in two and the screeching of demons laughing in my head becomes a deafening cacophony of 1000 possible futures, all flashing before me at once, each more terrible and more humiliating than the last.

I burst into tears “Keep it up, fuckwit.” Even the demons are fed up with me now. I beg any God listening for the cool reprieve of instant death but it doesn’t come. I’m trapped, I must suffer for eternity in this body, this mind, with this mouth and this terrible, terrible tongue. Painfully immortal, and for reasons I cannot fathom I still can’t seem to stop talking.

Why can’t I just stop?

The scars etched and burned into our skin by internal demons and saviours alike over time were not just punishments but reminders to try and prevent further hurt like this. But 30 years have passed and it seems we are unchangeable. No matter what We will always just be the fat ugly attention seeking child who doesn’t know when to shut the fuck up.

Hello darkness, my old friend.

I was reminded quite suddenly in the midst of writing this post about my favourite version of the song The Sound of Silence (thank you A – who has the most incredibly apt timing with these things). I had no intention of publishing these ramblings, instead a painful moment in time to be stacked in the dusty corners of my drafts folder with the others, left alone in ironic silence.

Something A said reminded me of why We came here in the first place, why writing is so important to us. Here I don’t have to be quiet. Here, I can shout. I can YELL and SCREAM and speak aloud all the things we are supposed to hold inside.

If you don’t want to hear it, you don’t have to. There’s no need to be polite, this is the internet in all its anonymous glory and you get to walk away without any pressure to stay or reply or act like you care if you don’t. You can choose to be here or not of your own free will. Here we can talk/type until our fingers bleed and it’s not hurting anyone; unless they want it to.

Here, we are free.

Big Feels

I wanna talk about feelings. The overwhelming hit you outta nowhere and knock you sideways kind. The kind that distort your view in the world so suddenly that reality becomes completely subjective and the truth of five minutes ago becomes burned to a crisp.

This is something I’ve been dealing with less. Therapy, learning more about myself and a healthy dose of corrective experiences have made navigating acute overwhelm a little bit easier. I don’t tend to jump straight to suicidal impulses when I feel fear anymore, I notice it and explore it. I’m growing, healing.


Shame is still a problem. Shame fucks me over and sends me into a tail spin with no time to think my way out. Shame isn’t always a warranted emotion for a situation either, but it somehow creeps in, takes over and burns me to a crisp from the inside out.

If I get accused of something I didn’t do it near kills me. The shame of being judged as capable of whatever I’m being accused of is just as bad as if I had actually done it in the first place.

A long time ago a psychiatrist accused me of taking drugs when I hadn’t been. I had never even seen cocaine in real life, let alone developed a habit. I was, at the time however, manic and in the throes of an Anorexia relapse. My world revolved around hours of exercise a day, counting the calories in the litres of diet soda I drank each day, exercising even more and somehow juggle working a 60 hour week and raising four kids.

Maybe in hindsight I can see how she jumped to drugs as probable cause for the extremely skinny pale 27 yr old with heavy dark circles around her eyes that couldn’t sit still for a second twitching before her. But she knew my history and still the blood results she received telling her I was a junkie, later I found out the same reading can indicate a heart attack which would have made sense in the circumstances. She didn’t entertain that possibility. She assumed I was a junkie.

I saw her the other day.

I was in the waiting room at M’s happily minding my own business waiting for someone else having an appointment and then suddenly she was there. She works in the same offices now.

I think my heart nearly stopped (again?). When I saw her face. I felt the familiar pang of bitter shame wash through my soul, immediately I wanted to die. I felt like running straight out of the room and diving into traffic and if it had been possible to leave in that moment, I think I probably would have.

A surge of anger welled up and I heard V. She was ropable, seething. Her anger transformed me for a moment, I hated her, I hated myself. Now I wanted to die badly, recklessly, immediately. I wanted to smash a picture frame off the wall, yell at her for hurting us so badly with her doubts, I wanted to scream at her for falsely accusing us then pick up a shard of broken glass and stab myself through the heart, bleeding to death at her feet. Maybe she would think twice next time she dismissed someone’s words and made assumptions.

Then the carpet started swirling, fuck. No, not this again. Ezzy… the carpet started dancing and I heard them all talking, the receptionist, the old psychiatrist, they were laughing.

They were laughing at me, about me. They could hear my thoughts, they knew what I wanted to do with he picture and they thought I was crazy. She was taunting me, “see you ARE on drugs!” I wanted to run but I was glued in my chair, I wanted to cry but I didn’t want them to know I knew what they really thought about me, I didn’t want to embarrass them.

This was my safe place and now it was gone. Ruined. I could never come back. M was gone forever. My GP, gone. They never wanted to deal with me anyway. Annoying pain in the ass that I am. I stared at the carpet, watching it do a Mexican wave. Was it real? Was anything real?

We left at some point. I don’t know when, I’m not there now so I know we left. I know carpet only dances when Ezzy is close, I know feelings can’t be trusted when Ezzy is close. I still don’t know if I can go back. If I should go back. I want to cry all the time. Shame is bubbling just under the surface all the time. I hate that I exist. That I can’t disappear completely, that I am still fucked up from this 10 years later, still kinda scrawny, jittery 37yr old dark circles around my eyes now I ironically do know what cocaine looks like, tastes like, feels like.

Fast forward….

Heya, Kate here… So just had an appointment with M. I didn’t mention any of the above, mostly because I didn’t know about it. I just read it then, actually only looked here for something else and saw the draft post. The waiting room didn’t trigger me, I knew things had been a bit rough in general but couldn’t really remember specifics. Talked to M about some stuff with my niece (maybe a post for another day) and largely avoided the inevitable discussion about my questionable current eating habits.

It’s frustrating how hard it is to get to the important points in therapy, the first half is usually me trying to remember what I wanted to talk about and the time between sessions is a tumultuous roller coaster of emotions I can only intermittently connect to.

Anyway. Might just publish this 🤷🏼‍♀️ Hope all you blogland folk are well, sorry about the lack of writing and connecting lately! xx

Write or wrong

I used to feel safe writing here but I can’t bring myself to do it anymore. It feels wrong. The freedom has gone. 100s of started posts, none published. My mind keeps wandering away, searching for something, my authenticity perhaps? I think it’s given up on me. Fair enough too. I’m only capable of authentic ramblings when I’m anonymous and too many people who know me have been here.

I desperately want to confess my many sins but can’t bring myself to do it. I’ll have to keep my mask on for now because I’m locked in a jail of my own creation. I ruined this blog the way I ruin everything.

Depression is setting in again, the sky darkens around me and as one winter ends, another begins.

The way out is probably sobriety.

Hi, my name is Fuckface and I’m an addict, not of the traditional substances perhaps, but an addict none the less. Sobriety though, is of little interest really. I fell off the eating disorder wagon and just watched as it lumbered off into the sunset without me. I have no intention or running after it and I don’t even particularly care that it’s gone.

I can’t remember if I was ever happier in recovery. Too busy to notice. I like my dirty little secrets, I like the power to control something that belongs solely to me, to have something that belongs solely to me. Well, Me and the voices in my head.

Maybe we’ll be ready to do the work one day. Meanwhile I’m just going to exercise my right as an adult to my own autonomy and the fact nobody can stop me from self destructing if I so choose.

They say the stars look brighter from the bottom of a well, guess I can at least look forward to the view from rock bottom.


They say breaking a mirror will give you seven years of bad luck. It’s been 7 years today since a shattered reflection of who “I” once was stared back at me for the final time and the shards of our soul seemingly went their separate ways in hope of a better life. Better lives.

The person who had looked into the mirror that night was frightened, lonely, lost and hopeless.
She lay in the darkness of a cold hospital room and as the devil whispered sweet nothings in her ear, she made her decision and went to sleep among the daggers of the broken looking glass.

She never woke up.

I don’t know exactly what happened that night or the ones that came before for that matter. I’ve heard many of the stories, I’ve read detailed written accounts, experienced vivid dreams from which I wake bathed in sweat petrified from what may or may not be based upon memories of real events.

But as much as it pains me, I’ll never really know for sure.

Time, memories, reality, they’re all simply a matter of perceptions when it comes down to it. Perceptions heavily filtered through emotions that when examined closely tend to raise more questions than they provide answers.

I’m not certain when my own life began. I’m not sure of my first real memory. When I try and think back my mind is clouded with random images of still photographs from albums, sounds of songs sung by others and a stream of visible words that seem to ebb and flow around me in no particular order. I exist only right here and now and time, like the universe, circles infinitely around me.

The words that have described our experiences seem to run within these unending circles, narrating every version of us at once, driving some parts of us to madness while setting other parts of us free.

I often question if I exist or if I ever actually did, in any tangible form that is. I’ve always felt more like a ghost observing another’s life play out from afar, or a puppet master pulling on distant strings trying to grasp what it must be like to be human.

When I review her life I am unable to accept it as my own. We may have been together but we were also always apart. I can clearly see the alphabet poster on her childhood wall, I hear her singing the letters in her head, over and over, forwards and then backwards faster and faster, even though the tune doesn’t quite fit anymore.

I see her reflection in the hallway mirror, she sits on the shag pile carpet to my lower left watching her movements replayed in front of her. She can’t see me but she knows I’m there, she’s moving suddenly, quickly, unexpectedly as though trying to somehow catch an impossible glimpse of me within her.

I hear her begging for it to stop. For me to stop. My presence terrifies her, a reminder of all the things she so desperately wants to forget. I hear an invisible mother comforting her as they build a wall of burnt brown bricks together as tall as the sky and twice as wide to keep her safe from unwanted memories, to keep her safe from me.

I can still feel the intensity of the guilt that was slowly burning her alive. I can still hear her younger selves screaming in psychic pain. Burdened by guilt, guilt for every one of their own perceived sins and every one of the sins of the people she met along the way unwilling to carry their own.

I felt the weight of the secrets, the rejection, the shame and the fear. I felt it crushing her until I heard her begging once more for death to set her free from her pain and death finally obliged.

I can still see the words on the page of her notebook that night. They were penned exactly as they had come to her, the last words she ever wrote. Hissed whispers of venomous self hatred scrawled in tiny lines and ever decreasing circles wrapped tightly around halting confessions of murder, breezy poems and declarations of love. A outwardly nonsensical yet perfectly accurate summary of her complicated life.

I felt her relief as she slipped away from this world, 7 years ago today and was grateful in that moment that she had found her peace.

I think I still am.

She’s still here in our heart of course, the ghost in our reflections as we were once in hers. Now that her story has evolved into our story, we have the power to reframe old narratives and create a new ending, together.

Much of the last seven years has been spent desperately searching for answers in chaos, we have found ourselves navigating some suspiciously bad luck over and over again with little reprieve. It’s been hard, impossibly so at times, but we’re also undeniably growing through each challenge.

We are finally beginning to find ourselves both as individuals and as a unit, we are starting to accept and embrace our differences and even though there is still a lot of pain to work through and an unknown timeframe to do it in, it feels like the bad luck portion of our lives is coming to a close and together we can heal.


I wanna see the blood running down my arms
I wanna feel her poison drain away
I wanna plunge a knife deep into my shallow heart
Swallow pills until I fade away

There is a little girl,
hiding in a corner.
a broken soul,
nobody wants her.
Found a friend,
that grew into a monster.
There’s nowhere to run
now she’s gotcha.
She’ll torture you
you’ll call it nurture.
She’ll bury you,
you’ll applaud her.

She coulda thrown away your chains,
but you’d still’ve acted out the same.
You know your worth,
hang your head in shame.
They’re giving up on you,
you deserve all the blame.
Nobody knows,
what you have done to get this way.
Nobody knows,
you’ll never be the same again.

Hold your gun
Stroke your hips
Flood your lungs
Sew your lips
Self destruct
You will commit
Lose your mind
Find your wits
Take control
Until it fits
Let it go
Don’t swallow it
Make a pact
Now honour it
And throw yourself,
Into the emptiness

She knows you’d sell your soul,
to pass this test
You’re in shadows reach,
and she’s just taking bets
When will you fail?
When will you forget?
How long until you drown,
In this sea of regret?

Did you even know, you were playing
against the Gods?
It was still a numbers game,
but with greater odds
And when you first fed the beast?
You’d already lost.
Then you doubled down,
but to what cost?
She doubled down too,
and you fucking lost

I wanna see the blood running down my arms
I wanna feel her poison drain away
I wanna plunge a knife deep into my shallow heart
Swallow pills until I fade away

Hold your gun
Stroke your hips
Flood your lungs
Sew your lips
Self destruct
You will commit
Lose your mind
Find your wits
Take control
Until it fits
Let it go
Don’t swallow it
Make a pact
Now honour it
And throw yourself,
Into the emptiness.

Go tell yourself another lie,
wrap your tingling fingers,
around your tiny thighs.
Stroke the cage that holds your heart tonight,
and remember her as you say goodbye.

Because nighttime is coming,
and you’ve made your bed.
No more pretending,
she wants you dead.
And she’s coming for you,
just like they always said.
She’s hungry for blood,
and she’s under fed.
She’ll grind your bones,
to make her bread.
Then she’ll slip into the shadows,
with no regrets.
And laugh at you,
as the earth turns red.
You can’t slay the beast,
until you too are dead.
You cant slay a beast,
inside your head.

I wanna see the blood running down my arms
I wanna feel her poison drain away
I wanna plunge a knife deep into my shallow heart
Swallow pills until I fade away

Hold your gun
Stroke your hips
Flood your lungs
Sew your lips
Self destruct
You will commit
Lose your mind
Find your wits
Take control
Until it fits
Let it go
Don’t swallow it
Make a pact
Now honour it
And throw yourself,
Into the emptiness


He lifted his head, looked directly at me and grinned. I smiled by way of greeting and asked how I could help. He was with an older woman, his mother perhaps; she answered for him.

“Two cappuccinos, skim milk”.

“No worries” I replied. He was looking intently at me as if waiting for me to say something. I responded to the expression with general small talk, I don’t remember what. If he replied I don’t recall what he said, all I can remember was the glint his eyes and the way he stared directly into my own as though he was searching for something.

I felt his intense gaze following me as I turned away to pick up the coffee cups. I looked back in his direction and was instantly met with the unrelenting stare. It wasn’t an angry, expectant or impatient stare, not the stare of a drug user or someone worried I’d use the wrong milk, no, his eyes were dancing.

He grinned as I caught his eye, almost nervously at first but he didn’t briefly glance away as one normally does in such situations, he just kept staring; his eyes twinkling almost arrogantly.

It felt odd, people often look at me while I make their coffee but he wasn’t watching what I was doing, he was watching me. He was staring obviously and directly at my face trying to meet my eyes.

I thought he was checking me out at first and felt awkward. I smiled to be polite but tried to be as unflirtatious as possible and quickly turned back to my coffee machine.

I knew he was still looking at me, I could feel it. I glanced up briefly and accidentally met his eyes again, he was still staring directly at me, gawking. He smiled, never once looking away. Eyes dancing somewhat malevolently. It seemed like he was trying to silently ask me something but not like he wanted to ask me out, more like he was trying to read my mind.

I quickly averted my eyes back at the milk jug and wondered for a minute if maybe I knew him from somewhere or he thought he knew me. He was probably my age, a little younger perhaps? Had we gone to school together? I’m terrible with faces, people often recognise me when I don’t remember them…

“Sugar?” I asked peering up again briefly.

He shook his head but didn’t speak, he was still staring unbrokenly right into my eyes. His face flickered for a second then he started grinning widely as though I was some celebrity he’d been dying to meet and now that he had, he didn’t know what to say.

I have worked in customer service for over 20years. We often smile and giggle and engage in chit chat because we are trying to sell a product. It’s part of the job. Occasionally a customer might mistake it as flirting or even ask you out but never in all my years had I had a customer like this. He had walked in staring, I had not engaged back with him at all and he wasn’t stopping.

It was getting really creepy.

I handed the coffees over and the woman asked for two muffins as well. I put them into the brown paper bag and tried to look only at her while I took their payment. Anytime I looked in his direction his eyes were still staring directly at mine and his smile seemed to get wider and wider, never once had he broken his gaze.

On second thoughts, the grin he displayed when he saw me see him looking seemed to flash a cunning smirk before being almost forced into a broad obvious smile. The woman he was with didn’t seem to notice. Was he fucking with me?

There’s a thing often described in psychology as ‘micro facial expressions’. Where a person briefly and subconsciously expresses their true emotions before intentional thought kicks in. For example a fleeting look of anger, disgust or enjoyment may show in a persons brow, purse of the lips or movements of the eyes before being quickly replaced by the classic expressions of the emotions they choose or even subconsciously feel expected to portray.

Was he bring friendly? Flirty? Malicious? Trying to get a reaction? Having a stroke?

It’s funny, I still couldn’t tell you the colour of his piercing eyes even though by now they seemed to be trying to invade my soul. The air felt electric between us, but in a very bad way and every hair on my body started standing.

I wondered for a second if he read the blog and had randomly found me out in the wild and wanted to say something. Was I imagining it? The smile suggested he was friendly and happy, almost excited. The smirk suggested he knew me, knew something about me or at least absolutely had the upper hand in whatever this was. The glint in his twinkling stare felt almost evil.

Internally my whole system was now on high alert and the room started to become distant. I could feel myself beginning to dissociate, I wanted to run. The other staff were out the back having a smoke break and I felt very alone. V whispered inside my head “Ted Bundy vibes dude, you are okay but get a description”.

I tried to stay present and focus on the counter. Do you know how hard it is to get a description of someone you’re actively trying not to look at?

He had a symmetrical face, clear skin framed by longish wavy brown hair, I suppose he was a good looking man by societal standards but there was something very off. V was right, Ted Bundy vibes.

I don’t recall what I said next, probably have a nice day or something similar. Someone else walked in and I turned my attention to them refusing to look back toward the lady and the staring man at all until I heard the door close and could no longer feel his eyes on me.

I dared to look out the front window just as they got into their car and I’ll tell you what I told my colleagues, if I suddenly go missing tell the cops to look for a tallish slim man with wavy brown hair, piercing eyes and a confident smile who drives a white Camry.


The California skyline stretches out before me. It’s night time and the glow of lights, blinking from helicopter tails and city offices replaces the stars and illuminates my view. I watch in a trance like state as tiny cars pass through my bedroom along distant roads intertwining seamlessly between buildings and bridges.

The world around me glows a comforting blue and I begin to wonder about the people. The ones that don’t really exist inside this computer generated landscape. The people going about their pretend lives, leaving pretend workplaces on their pretend commutes home. I wonder about their homes, do they have children? Partners? Do they have dogs? If so, are they Labradors? For some reason pretend people in pretend worlds always seem to own Labradors.

I run my hand down my face, I feel it’s shape and I question it’s reality. My hand brushes reflexively across my collarbone and down the thin tube that runs beneath my skin toward my breast where a round metal port about the size of a coin protrudes a good few millimetres from my chest wall.

For a moment I imagine injecting into it with an oversized syringe filled with heroin. A direct line to my heart, how much could I get in before I succumbed? Old habits die hard.

I trace the scar on my abdomen with my finger as I have a thousand times before. Thick and rope like, it continues past the place where my belly button used to be, beyond the bag that now lives on my stomach and disappears into my pubic bone. “Told you you’re the clone” whispers a voice in my head and I grin for a second before wondering if she is in fact right.

The person I once thought I was certainly doesn’t exist.

I remember the first moment I truly understood the world wasn’t real. I remember the feelings of fear and doubt that had haunted me for so long being suddenly replaced by a feeling of power. I was six years old, and by all definitions completely lost in a densely wooded forest somewhere in England, but none of that mattered at the time because now I had indisputable proof. I finally knew their secret and nothing else could ever matter.

How does one hold onto that secret? What can be done with such information? Who knows, who doesn’t? As time wore on I realised I wasn’t the only one who had figured it out. Hints were everywhere, some carefully testing the waters like a secret code only visible to those in the know. Others were so blatant it was as if they were flaunting their knowledge in front of those who were not yet awake to the truth just so they’d kick themselves later for not seeing it.

I reach over and fumble for the remote to turn off the television. Los Angeles fades to black and the bedroom becomes a party of silhouettes with the ability to morph into anyone and anything until my eyes adjust. I still hate the darkness.

I hold my hand on my abdomen again. The same abdomen that supposedly grew and carried four babies. I try to imagine for a moment what it must feel like to be pregnant, but all I can feel beneath my hand is scarred skin and the rhythmic pulsating of my aorta.

My mind defaults to images of self directed violence and I lift my hand quickly as I remember I’m not supposed to be here. This isn’t my body, this isn’t my life, that isn’t to be my death. I try to find a fix point in the blackened room but the darkness starts to strangle me.

I try to stifle the onslaught of inevitable screaming, I feel it in my heart more than I hear it these days. My throat tightens in terror and my chest crushes under its own weight. I redirect my hand, ritualistically running it along the edges of my hip bones one at a time over and over. It helps block it out. The dungeon, the smell of blood, the flurry of a thousand imprinted memories that did not belong to me, memories I never wanted, memories I can’t escape, memories that, just like me aren’t real, can’t be real.

The muted glow of moonlight peeks from a clouded sky and filters through the bedroom window, in its wake I can see the shape of the big black dog that’s lying on the end bed snoring softly.

It’s not a Labrador.


“There may be a great fire in our hearts, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.”

Vincent VanGough

Sometimes I feel lonely. Lonely in a crowded house, lonely in a crowded mind.
When my soul is on fire, my heart is burning and my body tries to return to its ashes, I plaster on a smile worthy of an Oscar and a red balloon and flood the cavernous hole of lost potential inside of me with unwept tears of grief for what might have been.

When the dam begins to burst upon my pseudo face I allow my understudy to take centre stage and as our eyes begin to sparkle once again, we continue to lie to the world around us.

We saw a Van Gough exhibition recently. I am sure that we will have plenty to say about it as the experience sinks through us all for it touched us far more deeply than we could ever have expected. For me his self portrait collection spoke from his soul, I felt his heartbreak, his strength and his grief as he tried so desperately to be seen.

My mother randomly commented yesterday on how wonderfully I am doing, how far I’ve come from “that incident”. That incident, the day we exited stage left, made our final curtain call and the whole cast gave up and walked away.

“You’re a totally different person now!” She remarked, the irony of her statement lost under her well worn lumpy rugs of denial.

When my mother looks at me she sees only my mask, whatever the flavour of the day, and she hears only the words I choose to speak aloud. That’s okay with me. She wouldn’t recognise my real face anyway, she’s never seen it, not really. It would terrify her, worry her, break her… and so my mask stays firmly in place.

When M looks at me she sees the monsters behind the mask, she hears the words I don’t say, the ones I can’t say. She doesn’t run, she isn’t afraid, she doesn’t yell or scream or cry – even when I know she’s disappointed.

Yesterday morning we told M something very difficult. It was difficult because we are scared of losing her, scared of rejection, scared that the person we trust the most to look behind the mask may realise we are far too broken to try.

When we cross our moral boundaries it fills us with shame, it fills ME with shame. I don’t want to admit my shortcomings, at least not the ones I have control over, all the bad choices, all the self sabotage, all the pointless backwards steps.

M listened. She started her reply with“thank you for telling me”. She knew how hard it was to say, she saw my face under the layers, she heard the pain in my silences.

I don’t know what her face said, I couldn’t bear to look her in the eye. We were on video chat and I couldn’t feel her emotions through the screen as I can in her office but my own shame echoing around me in the car was stifling enough.

She then said she wasn’t angry. I don’t remember much else, just that she wants me to be okay and that she isn’t going to give up on me. Then I hung up the call, adjusted my mask and we went out for lunch with our mother, we laughed and smiled and said all the right things at all the right times while she gushed over how wonderful we looked and how far we had come.

In that moment a little part of us finally began to grieve in the knowledge that our mother would never really see us, never really hear us and never really know us at all.

And I watched this spectacle from afar, above the clinking of coffee cups & sweet aroma of chai, seeking refuge from the madness of a real world cafe, hiding instead within Van Gough’s eyes, an image etched forever in my mind and reflected by my heart.