[Don’t Settle]

Be with someone who makes you happy. Be with someone who makes you smile, who makes your life better just for being in it. Be with someone you could take a nap with. Someone who you could go on adventures with. Someone who can make even the most monotonous shit seem fun. Long term, you’re going to be doing a lot of laundry, and going on a lot of trips grocery shopping, so be with someone you can do those things with and not want to hit with a chair.

Be with someone who you trust, who’s on your team and wants you to succeed at everything you try. Be with someone you can make laugh, and who can make you laugh. Be with someone who has your undivided attention, who you want to listen to, who you want to help and support, whose hand you never want to stop holding. Be with someone who listens when you talk, who remembers stupid details about you and your life, who makes you feel good about yourself, who wants to kiss you a lot.

Be with someone you can read in the same room as, who you can be comfortably silent with. Be with someone who understands that needing personal space doesn’t mean you don’t love them. Be with someone you can slob out with and watch films in your pyjamas and eat cold take-out from the night before. Be with someone who wants to do everything and nothing, so long as it’s with you.

Be with someone who wants to romance you. Be with someone who wants to get naked with you. Be with someone who you want to touch, who you want to bring off, and who doesn’t treat it like a chore to reciprocate. Be with someone who makes an effort for you, who you want to make an effort for, in all things.

Be with someone who sees your flaws and accepts them, who you know isn’t perfect themselves, but who you cherish all the more for that, because you’re both only human when all is said and done. Be with someone who treats you with respect and care, no matter how much time passes. Someone who is still going to say “please” and “thank you” even when you’ve been together for fifty years.

Be with someone whose company you enjoy, who you’re attracted to, who treats you well. Be with that person, and be good to them.


 

Taken from “The Longest Drop” by L. Davidson

Available on Amazon

All proceeds from the sale of this book go to Leeway: Domestic Abuse & Violence Services

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[Silence Isn’t In My Nature]

In a world that’s told me all my life to shut up

I spend my spare time stringing words together

Filling pages with what I have to say

And sending them out to strangers

Hoping that someone might listen.

[You’re Safe With Me, I Promise]

I’m not careful.
I’ve dropped more things than I can count
I trip over at least once a day
I walk into things much bigger than me
Because I don’t pay attention.

 
But I pay attention when people talk
I notice quirks and mannerisms
I remember small details
And store them like secrets
Like precious treasures.

 
I’m accident-prone
My hands are covered in cuts
My legs are covered in bruises
And I barely notice
Because it’s normal now.

 
But I’m mindful of their personal space
I’m careful of their boundaries
I’ll swallow my words and my heart
To keep others comfortable
And put them at ease.

 
I fall out of chairs
I trip up staircases
I slip on wet floors
And I spill enough coffee each week
To fill an entire new cup.

 
I’m not careful
Not with myself, at least
But with other people?
My hands will always be steady
And my heart will always hold you safe.

[What Do You Want?]

I want to wake up and know that each day is mine for the taking. I want to drink my coffee and leave the cup in the sink without feeling bad about it. I want to sing in the shower. I want to wear the things I like, and have my hair the way I like, and do my makeup the way I like. I want to be able to meet my own eyes in the mirror. I want to own myself again.

I want my own home. I want to sleep in a real bed. I want to fill my home with pretty lights, art, and music. I want to buy lots of houseplants and name them all and grow smaller plants from cuttings and give them to the people I love.

I want to make noise; to sing and laugh and dance without being told I’m making a nuisance of myself. I want to do things that make me happy without being harassed. I want to learn to play the ukulele. I want to knit. I want to learn to crochet. I want to read whenever I feel like it. I want to write, write, write!

I want to achieve my goals. I want to work hard. I want to succeed. I want to have fun while I’m doing it. I want to create things and fill my life with beauty and magic. I want to learn new skills. I want to meet other writers and artists. I want to share ideas and ideals. I want to be a good friend. I want to bring a bit of sunshine to the people around me. I want to make people laugh. I want to help people believe in themselves. I want to be soft and loving and kind.

I want to be in love with someone who’s in love with me. I want to be with someone who doesn’t think I’m disposable, or a stop-gap until something better comes along. I want to be in love with someone who thinks my laugh is the best thing they’ve ever heard. Someone to share the things that matter with. Someone to share the things that don’t matter with.

I want everything to be simple. I want to enjoy life. I want to do things and see things and go places. I want to spend entire weekends in bed, doing absolutely nothing. I want to learn how to make myself a priority. I want to be done with feeling guilty for making myself happy.

I want to be happy.

[Do You Know What Your Problem Is?]

“Do you know what your problem is?” Asks the stranger at the party. He has that smug look on his face I’ve come to associate with questions where no answer can ever be right.

‘Yes,’ I reply, more bluntly than I meant. I laugh quickly to dispel the sudden tension. ‘Would you like a list?’

Would it surprise you to know that he didn’t?

I excused myself soon after. The topic was a sour one, and his unmitigated gall in trying to tell a woman he barely knew just what was wrong with her left a bad taste in my mouth that lingers still.

I know what my problem is. All of them. I see them every single day. I hear them. No one knows what’s wrong with me more than I do.

I’m too hard on myself. If I can’t do something perfectly I will punish myself until I can. I forgive mistakes in others with ease, but never in myself. I never feel worthy of anything good.

I’m in no way moderate. My whole life is all or nothing. I burn myself out until I can’t move, I laugh until I cry. I get annoyed when I have to stop, because going and going and going is all I want to do.

I’m self-destructive. I don’t get nearly enough sleep. I don’t eat well; I live on coffee and toast. I tell people I’m fine when I’m clearly not. I hold everything in until I can’t hold it in any longer, and then I snap like a brittle twig.

I’m a living contradiction. When I’m upset, I can’t look anyone in the eye. We all know I’m hiding, but I do it anyway. Suddenly making eye contact becomes the hardest thing in the world, because I don’t want people to see. But I want people to see, too.

I’m socially inept. I talk before I think and I make people uncomfortable. I say things that aren’t acceptable. I can’t lie. My face always betrays me. My mouth does, too.

I’m too loud. I laugh at inappropriate times and things. I laugh at everything, and where my laugh used to be a comfort to me, now it’s just another insecurity. I sing off-key. When I get excited I talk too quickly and my voice pitches too high.

I’m emotionally volatile. I get hurt easily. I worry too much. I worry about things I can’t change and people who barely give me a second thought. I would do anything for anyone, even when they absolutely don’t deserve it.

I dislike myself. I won’t let myself be angry, even when I need to. Even when it’s justified. I always find a way to make everything all my fault, so my anger becomes internalised and aimed straight back at me.

I apologise too much. I run myself down. I can’t stand the sight of myself or the sound of my own voice.

I am a wreck of a human being.

But you know what else? I’m determined to do better. I’m stronger than I look. I get up every single day and face the world, even when it feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I still believe in love. I believe the best of people. I am full of hope.

So yes, I do know what my problem is, but knowing a problem is the first step to solving it.

[A Small Life]

My Grandma lived what would be considered by most people as “a small life”. She didn’t have a grand career, she wasn’t famous, and very few people will remember her. When I visited her before her passing, she told me she only wanted a small funeral because of that.

It was a small funeral, I suppose. It lasted around fifteen minutes in total. A quarter of an hour doesn’t seem like nearly long enough to say goodbye to one of the most important people in my life. But you know what? There were so many people who came to say goodbye to her, and though the service was short, it was full of love for her, for the life she had lived, and the people whose lives she touched.

Grandma taught me to read. She taught me how to tie my shoelaces. She taught me how to bake. She taught me how to knit. She taught me the importance of taking off my make-up at the end of the day, and the benefits of a good moisturiser. She taught me how to defuse a tense situation. She taught me that laughter is a great healer, and that there’s no shame in being silly and having fun.

I won’t ever forget how she made every Christmas magical, how she stuck tinsel and fairy-lights to any surface she could find, and how she literally sparkled right along with it all. How she used to find the noisiest toys in any department store and switch them all on until all you could hear was the almighty din of twenty chickens singing Happy Easter, and our hysterical laughter. How she always knew when something was wrong, how she could make you tell her anything, and no matter that you knew it wouldn’t stay secret for long, that you just always felt better for talking to her.

How she gave the warmest and best hugs, and how she always smelled like pastry and Nivea hand cream.

She was an amazing woman. She was a family woman. That’s no small thing. Not to me. Not to any of her grandchildren, or her daughters, or her husband, or anyone who knew her and loved her.

I hope she knew.

[Digression To Innocence]

“Wait for me!” I shout, laughter lilting my voice as I stoop to remove my heels so I can keep better pace with the others. They all run ahead, singing and joking as we make our way through the deserted high street towards the main square. After a brief struggle, my feet are finally free, and heedless of the rough, cold pavement, I begin to run too.

The street lights burn bright orange, and the shop windows are a cool white, making the town look surreal, a mixture of shadow and light. Soon I catch up, re-joining the noise and revelry of the others, and linking arms, we briefly attempt to can-can. We stumble and supporting each other we manage to remain upright, all laughing from the very pits of our souls at the sheer fun of it.

“Ah!” someone to my left gasps, grabbing my arm and shaking me in her excitement, “I can see the square!”

We all race the rest of the way down the hill, whooping like gleeful children, and some small part of my mind registers that I’m no longer holding my shoes…

The entrance to the club flashes enticingly, the heavy base from the music within vibrates through our bones even from here, luring us ever closer. The florescent coat of the Bouncer hurts my eyes for a moment, and so I look away, my blurry vision fixing quickly on the large ornamental fountain in the town square.

I hear my friends calling me to hurry up, but something about the fountain looks wrong, and I can’t seem to put my finger on quite what. As my vision sharpens and becomes accustomed to the darkness, I am suddenly jolted by the realisation of what I’m seeing, and a slow, mischievous grin spreads across my face.

I look sideways at my waiting friends, and gesture to the large stone structure before me, my smile growing ever larger, laughter once more bubbling up within me. “Look! Someone’s put bubble bath in the fountain!”

I turn back to face the white, frothy mound, a childlike glee pulling my bare feet slowly towards its sparkling purity. The faint summer breeze rushes across the open square, pulling at the glittering foam until a few small pieces separate and float towards me. I hold out my hands and catch some, looking down at the soft, weightless treasure, before blowing it from my hold as I might have done with a seeding dandelion when I was small.

Before I know it, I am standing on the edge of the fountain, the snowy mountain wobbling like jelly with every faint puff of wind. My friends are soon stood with me, and we all clutch each other’s hands, smiling and giggling like six-year-olds, eyes glowing with joy and simple pleasure as we count, “One! Two! …THREE!”

We jump.

[RECYCLE]

Once upon a time there was a pretty young bunny.

I have already made myself a liar. Do you know that writers make things up? Well, they do. That’s what writers do most of the day, really. So when I tell you that once upon a time there was a pretty young bunny, you should know that isn’t at all the fact of the matter.

Truth be told this bunny was not pretty by the high standards of society, she was not all that young, either, and she was not even a bunny. What she was, actually, was pretty by her own standards, in her eyes and her laugh and her ability to make other people feel good about themselves. She was twenty-nine, so not quite as young as she used to be, but still young enough that she might get away with it if nobody looked too hard. She was a person, a human sort of person, with an odd, long-standing pet name bestowed upon her whilst on a camping trip some years previously.

Now this matter has been cleared up, we can proceed with the story, with you, the reader, in a much better position to see things progress with clarity.

This pretty young bunny quite enjoyed coffee. Ah, now you see why I had to explain the true nature of the character, don’t you? Coffee is not generally associated with bunnies, at least not the rabbit kind, and I would hate to be responsible for someone giving a pet heart failure after feeding them something they really ought not.

She was quite fussy about her coffee, and also not in possession of a great deal of financial backing. I’m sure by now you have guessed that this particular bunny who is not a bunny was a writing sort of bunny, and not, in fact, paid for that skill at all. For this reason, it was rare that she could enjoy a coffee out by herself, made in her favourite way, and from her favourite place that wasn’t a far off, coffee growing country that she may or may not visit at some point in her lifetime.

She savoured the delicious beverage, battling off the autumn blues she was prone to on grey, blustery days, just early enough in the morning that the sun hadn’t quite risen. She walked through the public gardens of her hometown, the salt of the nearby sea mingling with the pungency of bonfires and leaf mould. The wind was brisk, and as she enjoyed her treat she held it in both hands like a treasure, keeping her fingers warm as she went.

Soon, the coffee was gone.

These things happen, for all we wish they wouldn’t, and the pretty young bunny felt sorry that there could not be such a thing as endless cups, whilst simultaneously knowing that the truth of pleasure is that it is made more special by its fleeting nature. This was mostly to do with her being a writing sort of bunny, and waxing a little too poetical about simple things that no one truly cared about.

She took the empty cup to the nearest bin to throw it away in a responsible manner, as most people do not, only to be met by a puzzlement. What sort of puzzlement, you ask? Well, the very worst kind. The kind where you have very little information to go on and must use your own common sense.

Writers do not, generally speaking, have too much common sense. I realise this is an unkind, sweeping statement, but I fear we are all so caught up in our heads that sometimes we forget about the real world and how it works. This particular pretty young bunny had very little common sense to speak of, and often found herself in trouble because of it.

This conundrum, was that the bin had two sides. One side said, in bold, gold lettering, “CANS. BOTTLES. PLASTIC.”

Whilst the other, no less impressively, stated, “PAPER. CARD. LITTER.”

Now the pretty young bunny thought for only a moment, out in public and afraid of being humiliated by a trash receptacle, before deciding her best course of action was to put her cup in the second side. She knew, of course, in the deep recesses of her mind, not otherwise occupied by dragons, dwarves and functional female armour, that she should really have taken the lid from the coffee cup and put it in the first side, but she allowed her embarrassment to overpower her and failed to recycle efficiently.

No sooner had she put her hand into the opening of the bin to drop the coffee cup, did a sharp, cold hand grab her wrist. She did not have time to cry out, to shout for help, or even struggle. She was caught, and immediately yanked down, deep down into the depths of the litter bin. She was subsequently never heard from again, save for the occasional, bizarre bit of writing that would be posted up on the back of napkins or old envelopes, but quite possibly should have been treated as trash in any case.

The end.

[Talking In Circles]

I like tea. All types, all brands, all brews. If I’m out shopping and I see something I haven’t tried yet, I have to buy it. My favourite is Jasmine Green, but I mostly drink English Breakfast. I tell people I have two sugars, but I secretly want three. Whatever is going on, tea makes me feel better. If I’m tired I make tea, if I’m ill I make tea, if I’m sad I make tea, if I’m bored I make tea and if there’s an awkward silence in conversation, I make tea.

I like to talk. I’ll talk about anything with anybody. I’m not afraid to make small talk with strangers, or have a deep debate with anyone with a point to make. I like mindless chatter. I like eloquent discourse. Stupid or intelligent. Funny or serious. Speaking or listening. The flow of conversation and the use of words is like second nature to me. I will listen to another’s problems with interest and compassion, and if I’m able, I will offer up advice. I don’t like to switch situations. I’ll tell people of my silly problems, but not my important ones.

I don’t like silence. Silence makes me uncomfortable. When there is no sound, and I’m sat alone in my empty flat, I find myself thinking just a little too hard, and becoming afraid of the dark corners of my mind. I do like peace and quiet, however. I don’t need to hear incessant bustle to be at peace; the sound of the wind, the ocean, the rain on my window are all types of quietness that I enjoy, but utter and complete silence terrifies me.

I like music. Music is beauty; pure and simple. There is very little music I can’t find enjoyment in, and unlike so many, I don’t have any specific genres that I stick to. You name it, I’ll listen. Of course, there are specific songs I don’t really like, and even certain singers, but I will always listen. I have very little musical talent, as much as I’d like to learn, and so I have massive respect for people who can play.

I like to sing. I sing all the time, and it makes me happy. I expect I sound awful, but it’s the only instrument at my disposal, and even when I mess up notes, it makes me laugh. When I can’t sing, I hum, and when I can’t hum, I find small ways to dance. Even if all I can do is tap my foot or my fingers because I’m on a bus, I will. I can’t whistle.

I don’t like whistling. I don’t know why, really, but somehow the sound irritates me. When I hear someone whistling, I become annoyed, and quite quickly, too. I don’t suppose I’ll ever really know the cause, but somehow I feel like it’s the most artificial noise I’ve ever heard. It’s fake happiness, or at least, that’s how I interpret it on a subconscious level.

I like to be happy. Laughter is good for the soul, and I will go out of my way to find something funny in a normal situation, to the point where I very rarely take anything too seriously anymore. That particular mentality has got me into trouble on more than one occasion, mostly for laughing at what is deemed ‘an inappropriate moment’ and being fully incapable of suppressing it. Many people I know consider this to be my worst habit, but I disagree. Can you think of any feeling better in the world than wanting to laugh so badly that you just can’t contain it? I can’t. I don’t laugh at everything; I do have some morals, I promise, but there is so much blatant stupidity in the world, I feel that if I don’t laugh, I just might cry.

I don’t like to cry. It makes me feel weak and vulnerable, which in turn makes me angry. It was never acceptable to cry when I was a child, and it was never acceptable to talk about all the bad things that happened back then. I’ve carried this with me into adulthood, and I expect it will stay with me until I die. Don’t cry. Crying is for babies. Forget it happened. Move on. Don’t dwell on the past. You can’t do anything about it. Don’t cry. It could be worse. Have some tea, you’ll feel better.

I like tea.