/// fiction with a dark edge ///
\\\non-fiction on the wellbeing tip\\\
CW/TW for my fiction work: often contains violence and may contain references to trauma/dv/assault
Brave Faces, Made of Lies
By the time August 2021 became September, I had completed a number of tasks, and moved through a series of events, that changed my life completely. Each one, alone, was a gamechanger; cumulatively, they amounted to a significant shift in the landscaping of my existence.
Your Weight Is Not Your Wellness
Weight loss is big business. I did not join the fitness industry to exploit weakness, though, I became a personal trainer to try to save myself, after a lifetime of being overweight. In doing so, I came to realise I owed my clients much more than just meal plans and workouts.
It never bore fruit. She said it had been struck by lightning, but we all knew that was a lie. My great-aunt’s garden was full of lies, as was her house, from attic to cellar; as were her body, her mind, and her soul. Lies, manipulations, orchestrations, and power-plays: these were the only things she knew. Her garden was completely empty, except for that one wild pear tree, standing alone, only touched by lightning from the storms of great-aunt Evelyn’s imagination. There were no other plants or flowers, no shrubs, no other trees. Barely even any grass, really. Three fences, one house wall, and that solitary pear tree, made up the area we called the garden, in which I spent many hours of my childhood with my cousins. Beyond that house, there were jokes that nothing could grow in her garden because she had made the ground itself so bitter, only the barren tree was hardy enough to cling to its minimalist survival in a Machiavellian microclimate.
You had taken me ice skating on that frozen pond one day in January, and there had been so much laughter. I was terrified of the ice, of the skates, of the speed that you were afforded by your skill. My skin burned with fierce shame, and even with the cold so biting, it still brought the hot prickling of tears to my eyes. I had never found grace in my physical endeavours; I had never felt free when my body was challenged. You tried to teach me something, that day, but the most significant truth was, simply, you spent the day, with a frozen heart, wishing I was her.
the last light
The lights at the top of the hill have been stuck on green for five days, and we know nobody is coming to fix them. They have better things to do, or at least we hope that is the case. A pipe burst at the bottom of the hill, and has started overflowing now, but nothing will change there, either. The broken windows in nearly every house on the street seem to multiply every time the sun rises. You would think that would let in more light; in reality, every day feels so much darker than the last.
I am standing in this rain, again, waiting for a break in the clouds; it seems it has rained forever, that this torrential moment will never end. I imagine a dance between nearly-forgotten memories of sunlight, wishing for these withered seeds in my heart to become flowers. They have been buried so long, though, and I don’t know if they will ever have the chance to bloom. I feel forgotten, and I feel lost.
It was revolting, waking up to that smell. It was musky, familiar, overpowering. Can a smell be damp? Like that, but with a weird orangey glow. The bed was clammy and dusty at the same time and that smell made the urge to vomit feel imminent. I could feel crawling in my hair, and the taste of a thousand cigarettes lingering in my mouth. It sounded like distant screams becoming closer, a clamour of sirens approaching as I came to consciousness.
how to make memories
day one I was invited to the beach today, but they will eventually stop asking me, after a while, when they realise, I never go. Summer is just not my season for fun. I make a different excuse every time, but eventually the walls will close in around me. Someone will ask a direct question and I will either answer them, or I will be able to wriggle out of it somehow. I am used to avoiding the question now.
My therapist made me do it. I had fought, bitterly, against it. Every fibre of my being screamed at me that she was wrong. How dare she treat me like a child? I did not start painting because it was a hobby, or a joy, or even a distraction. I began drawing because I had to, because she forced me to, and, literally, it saved my life.
It was cold in the forest that winter, colder than anyone would have predicted. The pond had already frozen, and the air threatened to do the same to your lungs, if given half a chance. The winter’s silence here made it feel like there had never been a summer. There was freedom in this isolation.
Bake it with love? I don’t think so. Don’t waste time baking it with love. Bake it for the world to remember. Bake it to ignite the zeitgeist. Bake it to incite a riot. Bake it just to really piss off someone else. Bake it to win, bake it to fight, bake it to overthrow a government. Bake in the taste of your vitriol, your loathing, your deep-seated, stagnant hatred.