superlatively rude

because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Number Two


I wanted a record, somewhere, that this is what I wrote the afternoon before my second book came out, and that I stood on a chair to read to a room full of people I love. A first book party felt huge. This second one almost more so.


*


(FYI writing this speech felt like writing my Oscar acceptance speech, except that I knew I’d won.)

(Prepare yourselves for some words about my ~feelings~.)

This time last year, I was sad. I felt like the saddest girl in the world, actually.

Now I know just how common depression is, but last March - when I finally got diagnosed with an illness I reckon I’d had probably six months before that - I was the most isolated, and empty, and lifeless I have ever been.

I didn’t want to die. But. I sort of... couldn’t see the point in living.

The lesson of my life is letting myself be loved. And being sad – having depression and anxiety – was the ultimate lesson in what it is to accept love. I wouldn’t survive, I knew, if I didn’t let myself be loved.

When I was in therapy (more affordable and less wanky than you’d think!), I said I felt like I’d been smashed open, somehow. Broken – but broken open.

I know now, on the other side of it, that I was absolutely right. I was smashed open by depression so that I could learn to let love in.

I wasn’t going to have a party to celebrate this book, because - and this is the biggest of humblebrags - ICE CREAM has happened so close to the first book. Having another party when I still go to bed thinking and dreaming about the last one seemed indulgent – like having a gift registry at my second wedding.

But.

This is a room of people who love me. A room of people who taught me how to accept love. You are a room of my teachers, and that makes me the luckiest human alive.

I wanted to have this party so that I could say thank you.

However you reached out, however you held my hand when I needed it – thank you.

In my recovery – in the days and weeks and months I learned how to accept love and channel it into the strength it takes to get up, to stand, to keep on putting one foot in front of the other, I met three little girls in north London as I nannied them.

And because you loved me, I was able to put one foot in front of the other to their front door every morning at 7am, and the nine months I spent working with them was an honour, and a delight, and they were my teachers, too.

I learned forty little life lessons from them that helped me to step into this new version of myself, and that’s why this book – ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST – is dedicated to them. Because they taught me how to have adventures and be silly as a virtue and laugh loudly and dick about.

But I could never have been open those lessons if you hadn’t carried me so far.

So.

This is a book about embracing what it is to be childlike so that we might rediscover our joy. And friends? It exists because of you.




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Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Film Trailer Editor

I saw you, and you looked happy. 

She wanted you in a way I never could. She nuzzled into your neck, lips-to-skin not enough so pressing her cheek to yours, her arm to your body, the length of her leg to the length of you. 

When I had done that, I didn't mean it.  

I tried. 

I wanted to. 

I wanted the mis-matched pieces to fit, because I wanted to be part of a two. I don't now. But back then, I did.

I wish I had been kinder about explaining that it wasn't you. That is was the maths of it. The equation of our parts. I wish I'd been kinder in general. Because, that's just it: you are kind and gentle and sensitive and I treated you as "not enough", somehow, because you weren't what I needed in those moments, what I'd imagined, and I knew that if I came over to say hi you'd continue to be kind and gentle and sensitive and that, truth told, I don't deserve that. 

Not from you.

Not when she looked so happy, too.



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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

L

I hung out with the girls used to nanny, because I love them and miss them and they teach me so very much, and the seven-year old fell off her scooter on the way to the cafe because of a Very Big Stone. She cried, it was the end of the world, and then we decided to take the stone home to (wash, first, and then) keep on a shelf, so that we could show it who the boss is. And you know what? Ain't that just it? You can get tripped up and be afraid, or you can get tripped up, wrangle the motherfucker that dared, own it, and then take it home to draw a moustache on in Sharpie, next to the word "LOSER". 


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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Geek

The message said, "I wonder about what you wrote, in your column, about the guy you dated who wanted to be friends - did it work? How did you do it? I'm in a similar situation, you see..."

I didn't know how to write back that the man who "just wanted to be friends" sat across from me drinking wine and talked about how he thought what we'd like in the bedroom might "match", and who looked at my bum when I went to the bar but wanted me to know about who he'd been sleeping with. The man who "just wanted to be friends" stayed out until 2 a.m. in hotel bars and pressed his body up to mine, and my resolve was weak and I so desperately wanted to be the friend, you see. So desperately wanted the sense of self it takes to say you did not dent my fragile heart because I forgot that the biggest sense of self would be to admit it and walk away.

When will I learn that I have nothing to prove?

I wanted him to change his mind, I suppose. I did a good show of saying, that isn't a good idea when he got serious and pressed his nose to mine. I pulled away. I pulled away twice. But three time's a charm and I let him collide with my hope and we kissed and it was stupid and it was everything and nothing and the next morning he wanted to know if we could just "draw a line under it" and his dismissal of it that way - the way he took zero responsibility and then fell off the face of the earth, save for continued stalking of my Instagram stories, so I knew he was still, actually, alive, in that very particular twenty-first century way - meant that three months after I should've, I deleted his number from my phone.



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Friday, 10 March 2017

Thinking Out Loud

And the music plays and the moon peeks through and the darkness of outside means we see ourselves so very clearly in the giant glass doors. We play the song again and again and again, and we stretch and we spin and we kick and we do everything else we've seen on the television, on the internet, in that music video about loving deeply and wholly and for a very long time.

I don't know much about romantic love. Not really. I'm trying to love myself into the answer and the question, I know that much. But with you three girls, in that house at the top of Islington and that song playing for the fourth time in a row. Well. My heart grew a size in a way no man has ever encouraged, and I overflowed in gratitude that three children who don't belong to me could remind me what it is, indeed, to love.





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Thursday, 9 March 2017

9/03/17

It's not the answers that impress me.
It's the way you ask the questions.



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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Him

They say to stick with the people who pull the magic out of you
and not the madness.
But darling,
You do both.




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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Audacity of Plans

We order the soft shell crab burgers with chilli mayo and fries and laugh because it's kind of hard to say "soft shell" quickly without sounding like Sean Connery. We're against the clock, which means we must focus, and I suppose that's helpful because it forces me to say the thing I'm afraid of. Embarrassed of. Shy about. I've got no business trying to do this thing I am so excited by, but she is kind to me, encouraging, tells me she wants to help. That she believes in me. That I am a storyteller, and I get to decide how each story is told, and if I want to stand on stage for this story, then that is okay. I can. I must.

I don't call myself a journalist, because I don't feel entitled to. I didn't train for years in newsrooms, don't know how magazines really work, or what it is to file copy several times a day. I don't call myself an "author", really, because my books aren't fiction, they're "just" about me. And so, I can't call myself an actress, since I'm not formally trained and there's a long way between me and The Academy.

When we go and stand in front of the theatre, though, the one we have our eye on - because we're a "we" now, another woman added to the team - she says: "That's where they'll sell your tickets," and it's my turn to believe her. I feel the wings of the butterflies brush against my belly. I know to not try will be worse than not daring at all. And so, as we part, I say: "I'm ready."







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