A new world

I wrote a few months ago about how I started writing a story sixteen years ago, and how, despite thinking I was incapable of finishing it, I realised recently I had in fact written much more of it than I remembered. After that point, I decided to get serious about the story. To commit to it. And then I realised how much more work there was to do on it to get to where it needed to be. With an uneasy mixture of disappointment and determination, I resolved to complete my first book in 2022.

And then, yesterday, on the second day of 2022, I realised that, actually, I already have.

So that was a weird paradigm shift.

I have in no way completed the story. But I have passed the natural conclusion of the first book, and sunk my toes deep into the fertile soil of the second. And, contrary to what my very serious self had been telling me, I don’t need to fundamentally change that first book. I had convinced myself I needed to fit the vision of the entire story into the first book, rather than just allowing it to be what it is. But, of course, the first book has its own vision, and it declared it to me quite cheerfully over Christmas. Once I accepted that, I was able to see that it already has all the pieces it needs. It is, at its heart, complete.

So I’ve written a book. First draft anyway. Well, more of a first-and-a-half draft. Well, okay, some bits are already a fourth or a fifth draft. I started it a long time ago, okay?

I don’t know exactly how long it will take me to finish typing the fucker up, let alone buffing all the dents out. But it is clear that my timescale has drastically reduced from initial projections.

Happy New Year.

Wordgame: Armageddon

I like to believe that a truth isn’t a truth if it can’t be understood multiple ways and still be true. If you can’t do that with it; if you can’t twist it and shrink it and stretch it and look through it the other way, then you haven’t yet reached the truth; you still have some artifice to clear out.

So. Armageddon. Could it be true? Well, the end of days, one way or another, almost certainly. A holy war on a hill? …Dunno…maybe?

But I prefer to read religious texts as sort of codified metaphors, because, I mean, why wouldn’t you? So, I wouldn’t personally be inclined to take it at face value.

I am not, however, a religious scholar, so I’m going to veer off now, to avoid flamboyantly displaying my ignorance.

I am a fan of the apocalypse.

I’m a fan of the tower moment, when it all comes crashing down.

Let it all burn, I say.

But I’m only a fan because I have hope that they are not the end of the story. In fact, I have faith that they are not the end of the story. I know they are not. I know that they are, in fact, the beginning. That they are necessary stages of our true becoming. And you can’t fucking convince me otherwise.

Does there come a time when the righteous parts of us need to slay our sin? I’m not sure I’d say it that way. But does there come a time when we need to let our sin die? Undoubtedly. Whether that’s personal or collective; we can’t keep limping on with the mistakes of the past clamped fast to our ailing shoulders for eternity. Something’s got to give – if not our sin, then it will be us. Just natural consequence.

Either way, when it all falls, our world must be reshaped in a new image. Unrecognisable. Irrevocably transformed. If we look at it from this side, it might look like death. Or, worse; annihilation. But, maybe, if we squint just right, it could look like transcendence.

Wordgame: Serum

Fucking trust me to add something like ‘serum’ to my word game. Fuck knows what else I have lying in wait to shoehorn into relevance.

When it comes to skincare, I like serums. High concentration, minimal residue.

For many years I had no skincare routine at all – I didn’t even wash my face – and I greatly preferred it that way. Partly, yes, because I couldn’t be arsed. But also because any time I did try out something in the way of skincare, it messed shit up. It disrupted the balance. I could feel it, and it felt worse.

Serums though, are my kind of skincare. In, out, no-one even knows that they were there. They have allowed me to believe I am finally exploiting the miracle of modern science to preserve my countenance. Because I can use a serum, and my skin is still my skin. I have now built an entire regime around having my skin still feel like my skin.

When it comes to relationships, I think I prefer serums too. Give me the good stuff, but don’t fuck with my life.

For a long time I’ve mostly avoided them, because all the ones I ever had disrupted the balance, and I realised being in them felt worse than being alone.

But I’m exploring other options.

Wordgame: Split

I have had two memorable experiences of a visceral split in my life. I’m not referring to a mere change in external factors, but rather a feeling deep within me of being torn asunder.

The first, when Polaris disappeared, was abrupt, catastrophic and incomprehensible. The only way I could describe it at the time was as the Universe being split in two, and I felt desperately stranded on one side of the chasm. The second, when I was embarking on a relationship with the father of my child, began as a bizarre and uncomfortable stretching, until eventually I felt that I, myself, had split in two. I could choose where to place my consciousness, but I wasn’t fully present on either side, and the halves were irreconcilable.

I hypothesise that this splitting was the sensation of disconnecting from my true self.

When I met Polaris I was very disconnected. I was broken and beaten from a lot of toxic situations that I had, to a large extent, willingly endured. I was exhausted and disillusioned; living in the aftermath, in a world that had become desaturated. Polaris brought colour. He wasn’t the only one; I was experiencing a pivotal moment with or without him, but he was a significant catalyst. He mirrored to me the parts of myself I had mistakenly disavowed, and highlighted the parts I had carelessly betrayed. He confronted me with all the things I wanted to be.

And he started doing this, it must be mentioned, unknowingly, before we’d even spoken, because of the way life delivered him to me. I was incredibly resistant to the very idea of him at first, despite also being inexplicably compelled. There was even an aspect of revulsion. But he kept being presented, and the resistance developed into curiosity. When we finally did speak, it didn’t take a lot. A floodgate was opened within me, and the ensuing torrent was thrilling, terrifying and confusing in equal measure. And it carried me. To a different place. To a beautiful, fantastical place, drenched in power and possibility. And I resisted that too.

Until I didn’t. And the moment I fell hook, line and sinker for the fantasy, he was gone. Presumably, because his work was done.

But mine was not. Because I had attached him to the fantasy. I had attached him to the power and possibility. I had attached him to the sense of wholeness I had found. And when he left my life, I felt suddenly bereft of all the beauty I had so recently discovered. I had no idea how to reclaim it.

I spent the next years trying diligently. Learning, and working to accept, that all of that beauty was actually within me.

By the time I met Babydaddy I was in the best place I’d even been, and I’d gotten there on my own steam. But I was still fragile. Untested. Unweathered. Babydaddy presented a challenge to my healed chasm. He still lived with a rift whose magnitude rivalled my own in younger years. At first, the challenge was fine; it felt like an opportunity for growth. Intimate contrast. An exercise in holding my ground in the face of his fear. And that was the stretching. I was dubious about living that way long term, but it felt valuable and instructive in the moment.

When I got pregnant, though, the scale tipped. The challenge was too great. I let my own chasm gape once more. I knew how to vault over it now, so I wasted much of my energy doing so, in order to avoid the real work. I wasn’t bereft this time, just exhausted from straddling incompatible worlds. I had to make a choice: disconnect from the beautiful, fantastical place I had worked so hard to recover, or leave the relationship and heal my chasm once again. It wasn’t a choice. But I still took too long to make it.

During the second, incremental split, I had been aware that it was happening. But I didn’t trust myself to know what was best. I didn’t trust, in the face of opposition, that I could live in beauty and grace. I conceded that I must be wrong about the world. That I needed to let go of the fantasy, and this was the way to do it.

It wasn’t. Because that wasn’t true for me. I was living a life that wasn’t true for me. I was out of integrity. Denying myself wholeness. Denying myself a sound structure. I made myself unseaworthy.

I’d like to think I’ll never make that mistake again. But life is long, and full of twists and turns. Who knows what calamity could emerge to shake my very foundation? And every new day is an opportunity for microfissures to appear. All it takes is a little complacency, and I’ll be splitting down the middle all over again.

Wordgame: Armchair

A symbol of modern Western comfort.

We all live in a magical world. But there are different kinds of magic. Those of us lucky enough to sit in our armchairs every day if we like are inherently more subject to a certain, and altogether intoxicating, kind of magic. A magic of instant gratification, world at our fingertips, all our tiny wants fulfilled, delivered to our door. It’s positively glamourous. And so we are naturally mesmerised by it. Naturally inclined to…recline.

I have been sitting in my metaphorical armchair rather too often these past few months. I’ve barely gotten out of it recently, if truth be told. I have known it, and I have been too apathetic to remedy it. Frankly, I have been enjoying it too much to quit. The magic show has been too compelling; too impressive. And I have been unwilling to tear my eyes away.

But the magic show is empty. It’s gloss and glitter in the cracks. It doesn’t touch any real part of me. It doesn’t nourish me.

It makes me feel safe, that’s for sure. But it doesn’t truly make my life any less precarious. It doesn’t change anything, in fact. It just lets me forget. It lets me relax. It lets me succumb. I don’t have to be strong when I’m watching the show. I don’t have to face the darkness. I don’t have to make any difficult decisions. I don’t have to live up to my potential. It’s all so very comfortable.

But I don’t want the life I’d have if I keep sitting in that comfy, cushioned, atrophy-inducing chair. I want a life of exercised power. I want to create my own sort of magic.

So go on then, Yve. Up with you.