I’ve learned that home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.Cecelia Ahern – Love, Rosie
I guess something that has stuck with me ever since James said it all those years ago, was the feeling that there was something different about me. I think it had been there before him, but I think he brought it more into my focus. A “typical Tinder girl”, that’s what he called me. But who is she? What does she do? What makes her “typical”? And how am I her?
Men have categorised me my entire dating life, making me a statistic, making me a “whore”, a “slut”, an “easy” girl, because I live the life that I choose to and because sadly I have found certain ways of managing at times, one of which is sex. But was it really ever managing? I understand this drive in me has at times felt like a need to feel seen and recognised, and I guess find myself. But was sleeping with men and loving some of them along the way (even if they were never the right ones to love) a mistake? I’m not sure I can say it was.
After everything that has happened over the past few months and amongst all the stress that has found its way into my life, I feel a strange calm. Unfortunately, I know that it’s fleeting and soon it will leave again, but in terms of who I am, currently, amongst the chaos and pain around me, I feel calm in who I am. This is me. And maybe I am that “typical Tinder girl” that James saw when he looked at me, but maybe, just maybe I’m more than he ever saw? Than I ever saw?
I have fought my entire life, against my family, my partners, society’s view of who I should be, but mostly against myself. And that has been and will always be my hardest battle. But I’ve held my tongue too long with everything, especially with myself, and that’s why this happened because I needed to get it onto paper. Because I can’t hold this pain on my own anymore. I’m currently sat in bed, it’s 6.30am, and I’m trying to write as much as I can before I get ready for work. I’m listening to “Silence” by Marshmello & Khalid on repeat, and I’m on the verge of tears, with the only thing holding them back being that I know that if I start I’ll look a state for work.
I have always found that music speaks to me, but this song amongst a few others has always hit me more than I care to acknowledge. Amongst all the pain and hurt that I have accumulated in my life in attempts to find love, either with others or with myself, I have come back battered and bruised every fucking time. Whilst those bruises and scars haven’t always been to the same depth after each, I feel I’m now covered.
But you know what? I’m covered in scar tissue, and I’ve never felt stronger. It hurts to know that this mindset will probably dissipate and dissolve as I get broken over again at work later today, but I need to hold onto it. I am stronger and greater than anyone has ever given me credit for, most of all myself. I have been the silent, willing, ever-smiling, broken girl for so many years that it became my identity. And from the ashes of her evolved this “typical Tinder girl” that James felt he knew. This apparent whore who wanted to learn who she was and was judged for doing so. But I was never her and she was never me. I am me, and I want that to be unapologetically so.
None of us are “typical Tinder girls”, we are all women with our own stories to tell, our own heartbreaks that scar our minds and bodies that we must carry and apparently paint a pretty, smiling face over. And I refuse to continue to be seen as her, because she doesn’t exist, not for me, not for you and not for any of us. We are all far too complex to ever be “typical” and I’m sorry but fuck the patriarchy for ever making us feel like the only way we can explore or express ourselves is through ways that make men feel in control, with a perfectly made-up face, giggling and fluttering at the charm and charisma that they so visibly lack. I don’t for a second think these men are everywhere, and I hate the phrase “but not all men”, but it’s true, not all men are, I just have the delight of always finding the shit ones!
I honestly can’t help but laugh. Parts of my life have been a joke of recent, not always of my own setup, but I always seem to provide the punch line. Why? Because it’s easier to laugh than to cry, and to try and change, but that changes now. I need to empower myself more than I ever have because fuck all of this! Fuck my boss, who belittles me and makes me feel like a pathetic child again. Fuck TC, and his wicked mind and his fucking god-awful fat emo-ness. Fuck Jon, for breaking my trust too many times for me to count. Fuck Benas, for colluding with the idea that I needed to be what he wanted me to be. Fuck my Dad, for never feeling the need to show me what I was worth from the offset.
Actually, fuck all of them for that matter, because no one ever made me feel worthy. But you know what? Fuck me, for ever believing that shit! I am too intelligent to ever believe any of that! I am too powerful to continue to allow that! I am too beautifully broken to ever believe that these parts of me were disgusting and needed hiding! I am perfection, just as I am! We all are. Why can we not be masterpieces, whilst being a work in progress?
I know that I will falter from this mindset, and sadly it often goes quicker than it comes, as I think my mind’s natural state is one of pessimistic-realism, but I know that the thought has been there, and it’s on paper now out in the open. It exists. It is not just an abstract thing that I have no reference to, and even if I need to sit and read this day in, day out, I’ll try my hardest to keep it alive. It’s OK that it’ll go at some point and that I’ll slide, but I’ll find my way back. I always do!
In the words of Khalid:
Loving never gave me a home, so I’ll sit here in the silenceMarshmello ft Khalid – Silence
I don’t think loving ever did give me a home, it has been more a temporary hostel, or halfway house for me, but never a home, because it’s always left me more broken than before.
The problem is I’ve sat in silence too. Most of my life. I learned as a child that pain is something that I feel and suffer with alone, and despite my family now telling me they’re there and its different now, it only feels surface deep. And if any of you are reading this, I’m sorry but that’s how it seems.
I’ve been the jailer to my own prison, where I’m stripped of my voice and power, holding myself there and wondering why I can never find the strength to speak. So, here I am finally speaking and finding that strength; I’m breaking out. And maybe I’ll get recalled, but I know the way out now, even if I forget, I’ll find it again. I need to stay out and in doing so I need to learn to love myself and become my own home. Because this body is my home, it’s where I need to house the love that others feel for me, like Les and all my friends and family, but also my love for myself. I need to be the house that all this is contained in, becoming my own home.
I’ve got to finish there, which feels exceptionally abrupt and perhaps premature, but alas, I need to get ready for work as I’m already behind schedule as I got distracted with this.
So, I guess peace out guys! We’ve got this! Fuck them all (metaphorically this time!)!!