Jan 2019.

The Italians only open their shutters when the sun shines. A gentle squeak and a slow roll towards a source of life that really is no more sophisticated an action than a footstep. This autonomic engagement with daylight equals life. For in that moment, the decision to open oneself up the world, to bear witness to that which turns time is instinctive. Shadows mark the passage of the day as lines are drawn on the surface of darkened inner sanctuaries.

In the moments after you left I clung to the floor, unable to use my legs anymore or if I could it was in that very slow way, the way that old people or toddlers use their bodies. A judder, an uneven muscular spasm, attempting to establish a connection with hardened reality. Weeks passed in this way and then when weeks turned into a month, the one that followed looming in on the horizon, I knew I had to leave.

Lines are drawn in the sand and footsteps meld into a bundle of one. The sea permeates dreamscapes and into the forever distance is a continuity, a solid rock pushed firmly towards absurdity. Sisyphean the fate that awaits, the lolloping motion of return only to confirm that which abates: a new day. And so to put the coffee on, phlegmatic fold of paper filled with nicotine dreams and a relaxation that cannot be achieved by oneself.

There is no one else on this beach today, the rain keeps them away as I run brazenly, half naked towards the sea. Triumphant tracks that are singular, lungs pumping, breath chugging, flesh red raw, capillaries burst towards oxygenation and eyes strain against the wetness. Pounding on repeat to declare return, to announce to no one achievements of steady, passionate flow. The emptiness of every leap forcing a full stop on joy, unable to replicate old emotions.

To lunch, a meal that for some reason has evaded my attention recently. Midway through its preparation I realise that I’m making your favourite. But maybe it isn’t anymore. Mind wanders carelessly and inadvertently I do what you always hated: burn the courgettes. My attention on other worlds, packing away belongings to return to our house, now empty of you, burying myself in yet another book, resolutions I will try to keep for as long as possible. A rogue style of cooking you once proclaimed, while I laughed and replied; the truth is I just don’t care that much about the food. And it shows, or it showed, because you did.

Time yet again soft, amorphous, buttery, no longer regimented. There is time now. Time to fill, time to wait, time to hurt, time to shake. Isolated here, because everyone said it would be a good idea, ten days lament in solitude. They pass gently, without too much ado. Hours marked by ever so slightly striated routines. The mesmeric familiarity of an outline. One cigarette; was a good idea, until it wasn’t and will use approximately twenty minutes up and then to read or walk, all totalling roughly three, to bring that time of the day that is covered in cloud. Clock strikes and even though I now know the timings of the bells, they ring louder in this moment. Wobbling, bobbing, looming this part always so full of dread. The howl of a faraway dog, distantly melts into chimes and crescendos towards a fear that sends shivers deep into the other part of me, the part that isn’t coping.

Unabashedly morphing, stacking; what feels like twenty four into one long impenetrable blank canvas of minutes. Soup, something to fill the emptiness. A task to focus on at last, it feels as though others are doing this too so that even though I’m here on my own I am dancing the rhythm of my loved ones at home. That within this simple act of preparing a meal, here I am with you. I wonder at the content of those meals, the ones that are filled with laughter and perhaps a slight chaos, so extremely opposite to my own, precise moments that are so often distracted, remain rehearsed and known.

And then, there is nothing. No wish to fulfil, no pattern to complete, no desire, no defeat, tiredness a faraway vision of deceit. Body gyrates in energetic frenzy, to fill this now with something, anything that means the mind is distracted. To consider all that has been achieved in this short while. All the resolutions made and kept, all the tidiness and order that lead to understanding this character, this part of the self that is required. To maintain this part means that starting again is less hard. The foundation not so sloppy. Pressing firmly on what was, so that this accrual of pain can be seen as a lesson not a loss. There is pride in a lesson, especially one for the emotions. A story that can be told when the darkness no longer veils all that is real.

Sun now firmly tips towards mountainous ranges and a pink glare highlights the edges of all this despair, neon the line that draws daylight from sight. To bed for that is all this body can fathom, broken and bruised another day of convalescence that needs no reminder. Another way to count out all that time, evaporating in one straight line. The new year, the new dawn, the new me. Strength a distant reminder not foe or friend, yet buried for now. Here I am a stranger disguised and hidden. Never making eye contact, never touching, never greeting, never seen, never believed. Here I start again.

After you, what will be, will be. Post T. A freedom or one that feels conflicting, from all the happiness invested in us. Unhinging the power, the ability for you to make me happy. Knowing, understanding how foolish that was. In this hour of self-reflection, rejection no longer prevails, rather a silent bidding, a farewell to all that was. Chanting towards an oblivion repeated goodbyes to all that is no longer needed, the emotions that dominated, the emotions that lay so heavily on essence. Looking out towards the sea for the last time; how small a dent this one life is. Excitement or lunacy rumbling quietly, at finding an answer to solve this dilemma. There is more to this than suffering. Tantalising moments of unapologetic delight, for there is sadness, yes, but there is something else as well. Something other.

Updated: Jun 17

You can't have one without the other.

They say.

You can't have one without the other.

As if the rules were sent to define.


I'm a good person, or at least, I think I am. Sometimes, maybe I'm not. But then, this statement could twist and turn for quite some time because really what is good and what if my intentions are good and when we define good it becomes a little bit blurry doesn't it. Because it's entirely subjective and established on a lot of varying factors, so my good might be your bad and then we can flip turn bad to be good and ugh...it just gets messy. But at the end of the day on a scale of 1-10 maybe 1 is good and 10 is bad, I think I'm about a 7 or maybe closer to a 6 on some days. When I wake up really early and I meditate (which really is just me staring into space while I pretend to be listening to some app or another) and then I burst from my bed, up and out for a run with the dog...I'm good. I'm winning at life, and then I get home. And the temptation to indulge in bad begins.

I remember quite distinctly the first time it happened. I was very young considering. At an honest push I will say seven or maybe eight, anyway it was young. I remember thinking about her a lot, yearning for her attention, aching to be her favourite. And perhaps that could be interpreted as malicious, maybe even brattish, maybe even demanding. Yet, it was all consuming. To be seen by her, to be listened to and adored, to be recognised. Mrs. Wales. Yes, she was my first, and she didn't even know it.

Adoration has often taken the form of infatuation/obsession. So that, from the moment my eyes open, I am consumed. There has never been a time in my life when the thought of someone other has not drenched. And so it goes, it seems, unable to break the ritual of this cycle. For without the all-consuming colouring in this pattern seems to encourage, my world is completely blackened. As though someone had drawn the curtains and turned me off. Just beneath the glittery surface of another's face, there is nothing but disgrace.

When I was very young, maybe even younger than seven or eight. I would hide. Beneath the stairs on the way to the dungeon — or so we would call it — the downstairs garage in our block of flats. It was entirely pitch black down there, sporadically ignited by a moving body, the sensor would click every now and again. Time slipped through my hands in that darkened space. At times deliciously, mostly with a shocking consistency. Knowing full well that I would soon be found, that I wanted to be found, that the finding wasn't happening fast enough, or possibly the worst outcome of the scenario...that I would have to return upstairs without anyone having noticed I had disappeared.

Practice without nonattachment can lead to a superinflated ego that relishes using power to satisfy self-interest regardless of the consequences. (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.)

It is as I assumed therefore, that to attach is to inflate. To ride high on another's adoration of this self, the self who represents here in this space in front of you. To talk of selves is to talk of multiple characters. To talk of performing and to talk of othering, to slice and dice the staggered layers of this very being, is to do what exactly? To determine this part good and that part bad and to eliminate. To renew, to rejuvenate. Old, unused skin stranded by the wayside, left hollow and destroyed. But what if, in the dead of night when all are asleep (supposedly) someone were to grab that skin. The one you surreptitiously shed, and place it over their own. What if, one day your discarded garments were in fact desired? Could, in that moment, a new version of yourself be born?

And therefore, this version, let's call it version 35.11 —because that's how old I am right now. Maybe this version is the version that is the least admirable, the least attractive, the least desired. But the versions that will come after or perhaps before have all had similar dollops of the same equation so that, it really is a case of stripping back something. Making it feel more authentic.

We are what is refracted back at us. So that all the funny, the sad, the cute or the annoying things that we do are a constant reminder of how to be. Or who to be. And yet, when those others are taken away, who are we? I know that, for example, I overthink everything. I know that I feel anxious a lot of the time, I know that I use exercise to blacken out some of those thick emotions, so that I don't have to be in it all the time. I know I'm lonely, so fucking lonely I want to cry all the time. And that today, when someone asked me (on zoom) how I was, I responded with 'chill' because I was too scared to even utter that word. I long to immerse myself in someone other than me, to satiate another's desires, to cook dinner for another, to lean on another, to smile at another. To loosen my throat just slightly and explain to another how much I love them. How much I misunderstand that emotion and yet in this moment — it is all I feel.

What happens to the mind that eternally craves? The wanting mind? Never truly satisfied? For in that moment of being held, in that very precious and oh so delicious moment of being held, nothing changes? Or does it? What happens to the body so desperate to be in the grip of another that when it finally is, does it miss it? Are these moments, the ones so desired, the ones so desperately searched for, simply golden tips at the end of an imaginary branch? Picking up morsels from another, so that in that bleak and not so 'romantic' —as we had imagined it moment— the other is in fact just very normal. Whatever that word means. Perhaps let's call it boring reader. What if the person you have desired for months, years even is in fact just really not interested in you. What then?

And we've all been there, right? In that place where unreciprocated desire turns to emptiness, and there is a point of course when one really should turn those emotions off. Step back and delete the others number. Or maybe even explain with a simple nod and shake of the head. Again, stepping away to protect themselves. And yet, there is something about intrigue isn't there? There is something about connection, because, as they say; when you know, you know. But perhaps the other does not feel that knowing. And this is where a boundary is crossed and the connection grows weak. So let's move to attachment and fear. For what is one without the other?

There are days when I will breeze about, content on my own for the longest of times, sitting in my mind are the familiar narratives; sexual overdrive and of course desire. On those days I will mostly run, or maybe even cycle to relieve myself of passion. And then a panic will settle in about the unknown. I'll download some app or another just to be seen and quickly delete it to be released back into me again. And this turmoil will continue for hours, so that by the end of a full day, I will have repeated the thing I wanted least of all to repeat. I will have repeated the negative beat of this inconsequential drum. Wound myself up to a panic stricken hum. For to be alone, to be without, is a training, endurance training for the heart. So that, in the future this blistered and broken version will be forgotten. Bettered by the dystopic beat of an incorrect other.

In a matter of days reader, I will become a year older and I wonder for that future self, if they will leave their mistakes behind once and for all, or, which is, to be honest, more likely an outcome— they will continue to be too much to endure. Perhaps I will use a kinder reflection, a gentler hand to lead and understand. If to attach is bad, then why does everyone do it? Why the dominant narrative of happy ever after? Rather than rejoicing at weddings, should we remorse? Scream a resolute No! as the bride walks down the aisle? Asking her in that moment, if she's considered the consequences of forever?

The second of my all-consuming affections was, of course, another teacher, and the story continued throughout my adolescence. Darting through corridors during class to catch a glimpse of my crush at work, reddened cheeks and knotted stomach as my gaze was met. These moments defined with giddy pride, until in rambunctious defiance my affections were accepted. Of course it took quite some time. That first love will come to define how all the others went down. How, flying high on that bosom of intimacy I trusted nothing and everything. Maybe I knew eventually, it would all be taken away. I believed deep down that it was only temporary.

And so to the wandering eye of the crush. Maybe there will always be a fantasy to fly high upon, another pair of mysterious eyes, another cheeky grin, another deviant something to indulge in. So what really is the matter with needing? What really is the problem with living for someone else? Like the tobacco that sits in my wallet, the sirens call will release something. When I fly high on that dopamine drenched dream, I will be seen.

During this time of complete and utter abandonment of identity, when quite simply nothing defines me, I feel free. Lost. High. I feel so completely and utterly broken and then when all the awakening stops, when the beating of that formidable drum of self-inflicted shame falters, when I forget for one or maybe two minutes to not feel guilty towards a life I once lead. Well I'll probably text someone again. Someone I know I want to ask if really there is more to this life than monogamy. If really there is more to life than just one person for eternity? But of course, that concept will be denied. Because of the consequences. With Dionysian intrigue I cannot help but stir, shiver and lure. Attempting in vain to be something more than a distraction for her.

Updated: Apr 30

A COVID project. To write a word every day of lockdown in response or in union with performance by Mariana Reyna Lorenzano.


A fondle, a flame, a titillation, a rub, a moment, a cherished embrace, a roll, a bite, a push, a shove, a conflict, a time, a wink, a lick, a hoping that this is ok with you blink, a rumble, a burst, a yell, a tumble, a trial. Here I wonder what will be and whether I'm just on my own, or rather in this with you, for this second. Something about wonder and whether we are feeling the benefits of together, oxytocin release, endorphin overdrive: of sweat upon sweat, or perhaps flesh upon flesh, maybe even the bubble of noise naked bodies make when they roll about on top of one another: I remember the first time I heard that during foreplay. I laughed too much and apologised it away. Now I ignore it and hope it will happen again, because maybe it means we're doing it right, right? Flatulent explosion catastrophized into something other, something not wrong, something we are doing to get strong, something that upon these sheets we have nothing to be ashamed of.


A web, a thread, a sticky lingering mesh, a frozen in time, a stopping of breath, a subtle indecision, a slow death, a hot, hot breath, a closeness, a stubbornness, a what the fuck is this mess? Escape impossible, any sudden movement will leave me even more stuck inside this stickiness, trapped; lingering. Shortness of fresh air through cavities so desperate to move in these times, in this moment. And so I wait. And then I, head first, held high, bury myself in what only I find. Trying hard, so fucking hard to shake this off, to stick one arm out of this device, to sleep naked at night would be nice. To feel the air on my chest, the one I desire, not the one which ignites incremental heaps of shame, repeatedly irritating every single thought of you.


A malaise brews, a stark difference in taste, a disrupt, a distance, a terrifying instant, a newly adjusted bubble, a tightly wound stumble in the dark, a jump, a bump, a lump, a holding, a telling, a crying, a distancing in the park. I love, I hate, I wonder, I stutter, I live. A pin prick of a lick can change everything and then within a flick of this switch, gone. See how fragile this everything is, this take it for granted solid thing is. And it feels all giddy, light and spinny, nimble, dextrous, all-encompassing textures and then not, nothing. It feels as though it will never be caught, never taught, never change or behave, it feels as though it gives zero fucks, lying in wait while the others disrupt and then once awake, there it is again. That knowing feeling in between sticky legs, every dream will contain. That lust so full to the brim with pain, so hardened by rejection, dogmatic acceptance a thing to keep at a distance. So that now we bury ourselves; two meters, two miles feels too far away.


A growing, a niggling, a disperse, a dysphoria, a realisation, a disbelief, a hundred million negative things, a sweet release, a dystopic clinging, a hardened being, a liberated feeling of skin connecting. I don't think I'll ever manage to understand how quickly this body can crash land, knowing full well that in time, it will rearrange, it will readjust, it will prise itself from out of the dust. I don't think I want to understand that is, just why or even how it needs to be held, to be fought for or even taught that it has more value than it ever thought. So I cower in the darkness, here for an eternity. Hoping that one day the cogs will turn on how you perceive the binary. How you understand the desperate impingement on fluidity and how I see it so completely differently. Lay yourself down, listen to your words, listen to the way with every single micro-aggression you take something away from me.


A siege, a relief, a delight, a disbelief, a complex set of emotions set into a spiral of release, a questioning, an understanding, a night time walk on emptied out streets, an infrared alert, an early morning stalk on the marshes, a ripping from normality, a weighted glare at this stark new reality, a missing, a grief. Under the watchful stare, under the chinook imbuing despair, under the stairs. To those minutes that would turn into hours, frozen in the shadows. Two toy metal cars grabbed in haste or maybe just the grouting in the tiles for distraction, the sheen of each one traced with salty tears of escape. What exactly I was running from I don't remember now. Maybe the echo, the sound of voices raised to scream out loud. But I'll never forget wanting to be found, never forget counting down from one hundred, never forget who would inevitably find me on the ground, the arms that would wrap and the nose that would nuzzle my body into a bundle. Asking me to stop this silliness or to cry a little bit less. Hiding has always been second nature it seems, it's the coming out that rips.


A bitter taste, a crumpled face, a beat that sets this body to a different pace, a smoothness, a softness, a curving, a swerving, a; 'Fuck it! Let's have another drink then!', a this is how it's going to feel for the rest of time babe, a useless meme, a distant dream, a fearmongering scream into a future that feels unknown. We two bodies live here now; unapologetic morning drags on our fags in this 4 by 4 meter patch of concrete, broken hearted: sorting chores, cleaning floors, swapping grindr and hinge advice. And I never knew, I never knew this version of him. I never knew how we could quietly go about our routine a year in. Carrying fragments of our day in beautifully choreographed ways: I take the rubbish out while he plants seeds and in between the weeds, in between the day to day, we make our way. Gently lifting one another when we fall, carefully embracing one another in the aftermath of sickening phone calls. We survive this day, happy, content to be alive in this way, for now.


A roughened surface, a smooth paving stone, a slight gradient, a mild undertone of self-loathing, a distant memory that felt quite scathing, a reminder set, an alarm built into circadian rhythm distracts from latent depression. Pillows, breath, sheets, duvet clinging to swollen sleep. One sock removed in heat. And yet no memory will compete with last night's defeat. If you were here in between the sheets, I would roll my body closer. Four legs, four arms, two faces. The darkened crease of skin upon skin defining nothing, holding so tight to defy Zeus's power. Here; bodies melt, sweat merges and every fluid shared throws caution to the wind of desire. For, spirits will find; they have their way; a destiny some will say; of butting heads so that on repeat it may feel less not more and yet every new day brings them closer to infinite bliss. And so to the cold side of the bed I will turn again, waiting in vain, for a lover who cuts her nose to spite nothing other than lost intimacy.


A jolt, a jut, a push, a spin, a digging in, a tailspin, a nudge, a wedge, a fuck off, a seriously will you just fuck off for a minute, a just leave me alone, a I can hear that really neggy undertone you seem to be taking all the time, a did you even ask if I wanted some wine? When all is said and done we have far less time for the complex array of refractions heard in the well intentioned voice. The up, the down, the sometimes sideways round. And what it means is, what it means is...we are human. So that in this moment or the next we will be just who we are and sometimes, just sometimes; we can't help that, slow it down, stop it or rearrange it. Stark, the crisp horizon of change, the one that melts from pink to blue and back to orange and red again. So that midmorning is that time that fills me with dread. The greyness of the in between, drenched in caffeine. That point in time when there is neither ease nor freedom, just a whole load of chores and no one else to do them. Faced with desperation, this is the moment of arrival. Here is where we choose our method of survival: to be good, gentle and kind or to chastise and demonise. How I talk to myself plateaus until there is no more mess in the undergrowth.


A river runs through, a river full of green, a river with multiple ripples in between, a river wallows, a river separates, a river confluences, a river roams, a river leaves me over here and you over there, a river seems fairly easy to cross except it would involve potentially getting naked and that's not going to happen any time soon, a river leaves me stranded. It would be pathetically easy to jump high, or even to run at it really fucking fast, blast through with my arms and my legs pumped, face contorted and maybe even holding my breath. For now, I'll just look at it. Teasing, tempting, manipulating and then stopping just before the boundary. The edge cajoles the spirit, the mind, the body longs for and yet this is as far as it will go. And there's something about the salivating presence of that freedom, that call, that knowing sensation to take all this hatred away. Other people have done it, you'll say, and yet this day is not the day. This gentle moment shall be slathered in something other, something far less rousing.


A deja-vu, a tete a tete, a this will silently help me fret away a couple of hours, a shower, a wank, a movement that will drain the tank, a listening in, a broken wing, a fucking let me get out of this internal mayhem, a rhythm, a pause, a moment of course. Of course, I wanted to disappear so I sat there for hours. Contemplating ramming into flowers, into rivers and streams, driving to the end of a dream, listening to voices float over me. All of this will one day be a memory, picking up glass like a shattered pillow, screaming into the wild and I know, I know that maybe I seem a little untethered to you. I fucking feel it, but in all honesty, there are some days I would do anything to be the sky. To be able to fall and fly, to be able to carve out every emotion with a single glance of the eye. There are days when all I want is alone. To be alone without.


A night terror.


Anxiety dream. You don't mean?

Wait. Not again.

I am suspended here. Did I just spend a whole day on the internet?

What. Me? High?

My trans body: feels. Ugly. It woke me up. Shorts rucked around hips that two weeks ago. Weren't an issue. My trans body feels. Different.

Fat deposits create a panic attack so well known.

In the dead of night when distractions have flown. And all that worry.