Tuesday, 10 December 2013


I decided to be kind to myself. Small treats. The night had been thick and dense and full of warped dreams. I was obsessed with cutting fabric. I took E's dress and picked up the pinking shears and revelled in the sound of the metal jaws dissecting the cloth. I could almost taste it.

Outside, last summer's dead plants were rotting. I had not taken the opportunity to cull these fallen soldiers and the result was a procession of festering mulch, making me feel guilty as I sat at my desk. I had promised to give up feeling guilty too, but some habits are tricky to shake. I was trying my best. Really, I was doing everything I could.

I had started using the health of my plants as a moratorium on my worth as a human being, and this was a bad idea. I had started using more guttaral sounds on my verbs, hitching the noises from the back of my throat. I had promised that I would tell the people I adored that they were fabulous and make sure it was written on the insides of their wrists: congratulations! You have arrived in the universe.

All the decisions I had made in other lights of day were stuck in my throat. A procession of used bottles made its way across the kitchen floor and the prospect of changing was more daunting than I had any right to expect. I believed it should be possible to write things softly and whisperly, a sensual tongue in your ear. I believed it should be possible to explain.

None of my exercises allowed my legs to keep up and I knew that if I could only write enough different words all in a row, we could all prance through the double door together and take a bow to the audience who were facing up.

I decided to be kind because my dreams had been like razorblades: full of opportunities for wounds. I took a thick swatch of fabric and wrapped it around the bulkhead. We were all placing our thumbs against a swatch of skin and experimenting with listening for a pulse. There was no pulse. I dreamt you had a giant hot tub pool that you filled each lunchtime with warm water and one bucket of molten butter. I dreamt I was desperate. In the dreams, I couldn't help cutting things up with knives.

Even though, upon waking, I knew you had no idea of the things inside my dream, a dull wallow of guilt remained lodged in my stomach. In my dream, my ex-boyfriend was on holiday and I was sleeping in his empty bed. It did not smell like him; I barely recognised the sheets. I decided I could move in. The party was going to be fabulous, if only I hadn't ruined the dress.

The crypticism was not intentional. It was the result of a forked brain mashed into a pile of beans. That is to say, it hadn't had enough sleep. Or it had had too much sleep. Sleep was a confusing thing that simultaneously cloaked and revealed its subject. Sleep was wonderful and deadly and full of the soft fur of bears. I wasn't ready to stop yet, but I knew that dwelling any longer in this kingdom would make me bound to attraction to all the wrong decisions. Oh, but those decisions. So soft! So scritchy! So sweet!

I decided to be kind to myself, as if being kind was a decision that had to be made again and again. As if whenever we forget to remind ourselves, sometimes we can tend towards the cruel. We are all worriers of soft flesh. In science, in magnets, teeth are attracted to gristle.

Here is how the day would spread out before me: I would write a few sentences that were scattershot and sweet and fell to the floor like broken saucers. I would drink a large quantity of water until my piss turned pale. I would eat something small and savoury, then I would soak my weary bones in a sauna until I couldn't tell the difference anymore. Perhaps I would read. Perhaps I would let myself be taken. Perhaps perhaps there is more to this than you could imagine. I could even do some exercises and see how I would react to the stretch. I could run somewhere. I could walk. I could make the decision again, and again: be kind.

Turn off the internet. Create a small castle out of all the right words. Stop apologising for your dreams. Put the scissors away.

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