Wednesday, 12 October 2016


I've always wanted to fill my house with pretty things. The gentle, teasing dance of candlelight. Antique books with cracked spines and yellowing pages, modestly wearing the scars of time. Vibrant, beautiful flowers: ones that fill the whole kitchen with a wild, powdery scent. An ornate, full length mirror in the hallway by the door, because how do you tell if the shoes really go with the outfit otherwise? It was all I considered: when I thought about my 'dream' home. 


Except. I know now, for certain, that it is not about things. I've been taught that is never about things. Not the green succulent aesthetic, or whether the plates are clean of last night's velvety chocolate cake (they're not), or if the leather of the sofa is perfectly intact. It isn't about how the morning sun glistens in through that window, or whether there's a doormat featuring a cute, neatly embroidered positive affirmation that has been slowly covered and caressed by autumn leaves and mud. Those things are lovely, yes, 

but they do not make a home.

Monday, 3 October 2016

About my Grandad

His chicken was always 'too dry', and nobody was allowed to speak during the Countdown ad break so he could crack the teatime teaser. We'd play 'snap' on the regular, and the cards would always end up in the air, caught in the laughter between us, and every six months or so I'd count up his loose change pot and he'd let me keep whatever was in it. He was mischievous, impatient, brash - sometimes insufferable, but he was mine. And I loved him.

He would have been 88 today, and he would have pretended he was 21 again, like he did every year because his jokes never changed, and he probably wouldn't have liked his cake or the soppy card I chose, but wouldn't have minded that we'd filled his fridge with a hearty steak and some chocolate eclairs, because well, what else do you buy the man who has it all? And he would have caught my eye across the room and pulled a silly face and we'd have been happy, I think, just to be with each other.

We always were. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

How to be there for someone with anxiety

(*photo credit to Blondinrikard Froberg*)

Research, research, research:
before you open your mouth. Before you offer advice. Before you say the thing, the wrong thing, because unfortunately, that would be the easiest thing in the world for you to do. Listen to them. Ask them questions, if they're comfortable talking about it.

If you're not willing to try, to educate yourself, to accept: to understand, somehow, then walk away. Let them be. They will wear your ignorance as a scar on the heart.

Please, please, please do not ever tell them to 'calm down', or 'chill out'; do not ever tell them that they're being silly or have nothing to be anxious about. Let's acknowledge the obvious: if they could simply switch it off, they would. They would choose, in a heartbeat, to live without the bastard if they could.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

The breaking

I threw up in the minutes after he left. And then I sat, clutching my hair in my hands on the bathroom floor, crying. Deep, primal sobs that shook my ribcage: the kind I'd never cried before. The kind that only ever come when you love with your entire being, only to discover that it is not enough. Sometimes, in spite of it all, we are just human. Vulnerable, and flawed, and hurt. We cannot always fix the broken parts. We cannot always put them back together.

We build homes in humans, I think. And so, when they leave: when the foundations aren't strong enough to weather the fourth storm of the year, we find ourselves homeless. Lost. Wondering who we were before we were theirs. Wondering if there will ever come a day when we don't feel them, somehow. When we don't fall asleep remembering how it felt to do so against the warmth of their skin.

Monday, 15 August 2016


(*Photo credit to the girl who makes my every day brighter, my wonderful Ash*)

There was a doctor, at the hospice I worked at, who retired in the days after I left. She had thick, wiry hair that seemed to move after the rest of her, and she wore decorated skirts that looked like seventies curtains. I always felt that how she looked on the outside was exactly how she was on the inside. A little chaotic. Effervescent. Beautiful, and full of colour.

She'd worked at the hospice for years and years: an embodiment of knowledge and wisdom and hope and this wild, kooky sense of humour that always forced a crack of dazzling light through the black. She became everything to so many of her patients because of it. I watched her heart break a little as she stood, amidst a sea of adoring faces, to say goodbye.  

'So many of you have come up to me to share kind words,' she began, 'to tell me that I am all of these wonderful things. But I want to remind you of a South African philosophy by which I live my life. Ubuntu. It means, essentially, that I am me because you are you. I am what I am because you are what you are.' 


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