The Fading Firefly

The fog had surpassed looking thick; it felt thick. I felt enveloped in it. I could barely make out the others in front of me, their signals twinkling faintly and sporadically. I dipped and looped, dancing gracefully – almost hauntingly – in the night sky. It was almost tragic that no one could see me. That wasn’t the point, though.

As it does, panic found it’s way to me, and grace quickly devolved into something more staccato. For just a moment, I was secretly glad that my light was hazy.

When the fog lifted, I waited with bated breath for the lights.

Only darkness waited patiently to greet me.

There were no more lights to follow; there was only space. I was once again enveloped.

Bright and solitary, my light shone out like beacon.

No one came to find me.

I started to fade.

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Putting your best foot forward

How do you know what your best foot is?

I, like many other girls, always look a little bit different. In the day, I wear glasses, minimal make up, and my hair is a mess. Come night time, though – whether it’s for a date, drinks with the girls, or hitting da club – the glasses come off, the eyeshadow goes on, and the lips are painted red. My hair, however, tends to still be a little bit messy. I just rock that look.

It’s like going through a transformation every single time. But why do we do it? Who says that that’s what’s more attractive? I would never go on a date with my glasses on. In fact, I feel so strongly about this that in the past when I’ve met someone on the spur of the moment after a day at the library or whatever, I’ve put my glasses on my head and been partially blind instead of letting them see me in them. I would rather sacrifice my sight, endangering myself and others, than be seen in my glasses. What the fuck is that all about?

I started thinking about this yesterday when I got asked out in my daytime getup. I was showing a room for my grandmother, and when the guys left, I got a text saying:

Hi, my friend didn’t like the room. But I did like you!

I laughed it off. Then, 10 minutes later, he called me. He said that I seemed really nice and asked if I wanted to get a drink sometime. When I lied through my teeth and said that I was seeing someone, he posited that we could be friends and get to know each other. I said I’d let him know.

Now, this may sound bad – he was fairly cute, I would have said yes if he weren’t Albanian. Accent and everything. It just doesn’t do it for me. Was that harsh? Should I have given him a chance?

But my point is, he met me in my scruffy clothes, wearing my glasses, only concealer and mascara on my face, and my hair looking like something akin to a bird’s nest. And he was pretty keen on it. That night, I had a date. I straightened my hair, put contacts in, slapped on a full face of make up and even put on jewellery. The guy text me today saying we should hang out again. So, also keen.

Would he have been as keen if I’d turned up looking like I did in the day? Would the Albanian have been as keen on the night time look? Is it a context thing? Is it irrelevant because my personality is so awesome? Which is my best foot?

Maybe both my feet are great.

Liar, liar

As I mentioned here and here, I make bad decisions. W was a bad decision I knowingly made over and over.

We met on Tinder. After a week of constant talking, we realised how much we had in common and how similar we were. So we met for a drink after he was done with work and I was done with the library. I was awkward but we got along great. A couple of days later we arranged drinks and a sleepover. During drinks I had second thoughts, and started texting my friends saying that I wasn’t sure I was attracted to him and felt like it was just friendly. I stayed over anyway. We watched two of my favourite movies, The Big Lebowski and Megamind. Things happened but we didn’t have sex. The next day he bought me breakfast and took me back to the library. Sounds great, right? We definitely had great friend potential, I wasn’t sure of my feelings further than that. Regardless, we kept meeting up after work and during lunches. We’d go for coffee, take walks around the city, hook up in bathrooms – it was fun and easy.

After a month of this, we finally had sex. In a bathroom on campus. I knew I shouldn’t have done it as soon as it was over. Whoops. I said that I didn’t want to sleep with someone who was sleeping with other people, so he said that he wouldn’t. In hindsight, I’m unsure why I said that. I didn’t have feelings for him beyond friendship, I think I just didn’t want to share.

The next day I was at drinks with my best friend. He came up on her Tinder. I told her to like him. They matched. He chatted. He lied. I was raged. I pretended everything was fine. I got him to come see me on campus with the promise of a blow job. I confronted him. He denied it. We were done. I went out and got blackout drunk.

A few days later he text me something about wanting to put his dick in my ass. Brilliant. We spoke the next day, he suggested make up sex. No. But then I thought about it and decided we could have sex without the friendship. I got him to come fuck me and walked off without any chat after. He text straight away to say it was a weird experience. Oh well. I stayed distant, he tried to be friendly.

Eventually, we fell back into a friendship. I don’t know how or why. I didn’t trust him. We then spent a week together, from morning ’til eve, studying and hooking up everywhere. Bad, bad choices. Having a friendship with someone you don’t trust is hard. I wanted to be friends with the boy who was basically my twin. I wanted to be friends with the boy who’d wait ’til I looked up from my work and then rip out pages of his textbook with his teeth and eat it to make me laugh. I wanted to be friends with the boy who’d sing along to Childish Gambino, Taylor Swift and the High School Musical soundtrack with me. But he was overshadowed by the boy who’d tell lies. He was overshadowed by the boy that I just couldn’t trust. How do you have a friendship with someone like that?

The answer is that you can’t. There’s just no way. A few days ago he came clean about a pointless lie that he’d been running for at least a month. A lie that I had never believed and was completely unnecessary. After this I told him that we couldn’t be friends because I didn’t trust him. As hard as I tried to ignore him, he wouldn’t let me. It seems I’m pretty weak like that. But yesterday it all blew up.

He told me he got back together with his ex-girlfriend 4 days after they actually had. In that time he had talked about having sex with me, asked for sexy snapchats, and sent the odd dick pick. That’s just not okay. Not to me and not to her. There were other things, too – but I’d be here forever if I wrote about every cuntish thing he did. If I wasn’t already 100% certain that there was no shred of the boy that I thought I’d been friends with in him, when he said

I value myself more than others so I do what I want. [Being a] cunt is a side effect

I knew I was done. You can’t come back from that.

He is essentially someone I should have cut out of my life months ago. And I knew that. But against my better judgement I gave him chance after chance. Of course it backfired on me. It was always going to. It makes me angry and sad. I’ve never ended a friendship before. Not intentionally, anyway. It’s different when friends drift apart slowly and you almost don’t realise it’s happened. Cutting out a friend who had become quite a big part of my life was and is hard. But it’s necessary.

If you are in a relationship – whether it be romantic, friendship, casual – and if it is not serving you as a person, if it’s not letting you grow and be the best version of yourself, then get out. Don’t waste time on people who don’t respect you, don’t value you, don’t put in what you do but expect you to do this for them. You are worth more than that, and so am I.

‘Let’s blame you’

So, I was talking to my uncle – who is, as much as I hate to admit it, the ultimate lad – about recent happenings in my life and the troubles I felt had hitched a ride with them. Basically, I was reflecting complaining about boys. What else do I have to do? Conversation went as follows:

Uncle – You do pick them though. More than most. Why is that?

Me – I make bad choices

Uncle – Yes. Don’t blame the guys; you picked them all. Let’s blame you

Rude, or what?! As he himself is a bad choice that multiple women have made over the years – which I started hearing about from a much too early age! – it seemed pretty natural for him to put the blame on the girl. But I was having none of it. Why is it my fault?! I pick them when they seem nice and normal. I don’t purposely seek out all nearby pathological liars with enough emotional baggage to fill Heathrow Terminal 5. It’s not my fault that I seem to be the lonely lighthouse in the fog to their lost at sea selves.

As I said last week though, there does come a point when I realise I’ve made a bad choice, but then just carry on doing it anyway. This is the point where it may be fair to shift blame to me. The point where a normal, sensible girl would get out is the point where I seem to go for it just that bit harder – definitely fair to shift the blame to me.

To be perfectly honest with you, I’d never really considered taking any of the blame before. Situations had always resulted in an “Oh, he’s such a [insert expletive felt in the moment]!! Why does this always happen to me?!” Well, it turns out this always happens to me because I let it. I am (partly) to blame.

Now that I am actually aware of it, I will definitely try to work on it. But as my uncle said,

It doesn’t sound like more than a grade 6 slut-up. You’ll be fine

‘I just don’t like behaving’

Life is messy. Sometimes it’s messy because of external forces we have no control over, and sometimes it’s messy because we make it like that. My life is a mess because I make it like that. I constantly make bad decisions. Knowingly. 

After some more preachy, overbearing, hypocritical words of advice, this time in regards to anal sex, W clarified his hypocrisy by saying:

I know how people/I should live my life. I just don’t like behaving.

And it dawned on me that neither do I. Secretly, of course. I’ve always been the one that people would call a dark horse or not expect certain behaviour from. When I got a tattoo at 16 no one saw it coming. When I got my tongue pierced at 17 it was an even bigger shock – this lasted all of ten days, by the way, as my mother inevitably found out and made me get rid of it. Did I really think that she wouldn’t find out? Of course not. These were obviously poor decisions on my part as I definitely knew they’d get me in trouble. To this day my friends still talk about social events from our 6th form years and when I say that I don’t remember, they respond with, ‘Oh, you were probably grounded‘. Sums me up as a teenager, doesn’t it?

I can always be trusted to make a mistake. The amount of times I’ve got with someone and said it was an accident just isn’t acceptable. Of course, this is pretty normal. Everyone makes drunken sexual mistakes. However, continuing to get with said accidents over and over again when I full well know it’s a terrible idea is where I excel. One of my best friends said that it’s okay for me to do such things because I’m a cold person who is capable of separating my feelings and not getting attached. This was probably pretty poor best friend advise on his part. Obviously, because I make bad decisions, I took it as a green light to carry on misbehaving. 

Some people get far too stressed doing things that they shouldn’t. I find it far too easy. When I was a child my uncle literally thought I was a sociopath. I’m not, obviously. I’m nowhere near charming or confident enough to be. I think it was traits like inherent indifference, violent tendencies and the ease with which I’d lie that concerned him. Anyway, the point is that not only do I find it easy, I quite enjoy it. And I’m really unsure what that says about me as a person. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do things that are going to hurt other people or misbehave in a way that will affect someone else’s life. I make bad decisions for myself. If someone else is involved I just won’t make a decision at all because I would hate to make a choice that would disappoint them. Considerate, aren’t I?

So, why, when I know what the sensible, right thing to do would be, do I consistently do the opposite? Despite what my teenage email address may say I don’t really think I’m a masochist. Maybe I am. Maybe I subconsciously like the drama that making a mess brings. Maybe I’m an idiot who’s incapable of learning from her mistakes. Or maybe I just don’t like behaving. Either way, I always get a good story out of it.

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Letting Go

I have problems with letting go. Of anything. I find it hard to accept change once I’m invested in a certain thing or situation. This includes everything from types of food to my recently finished thesis, from old friendships I know just aren’t worth hanging onto to people in my life I know are toxic. Let’s talk about that last one.

Toxic people come and go from our lives. Sometimes they go because we’re strong enough to push them out, and sometimes they go because they found someone else’s life to pollute. They come in the shape of friends, lovers, partners, and even family members. Sometimes it’s difficult to know that a person is toxic. Sometimes you know they’re toxic but you ignore it in hopes that things will be good again. I think everyone can relate to this – hanging on to something they know they should let go of. We do this because we remember the good surrounding people; the times they made us feel good, the times they were good to us, and the goodness they inspired in us. We disregard the times they make us feel bad, the times they are bad to us, and the badness they bring out of us because maybe it’s just a phase and the good times are just around the corner again.

At the end of my undergrad I became involved in such a thing. I call it a ‘thing’ because relationship just wouldn’t be appropriate. We were friends, so I guess you could call it a friendship, yet ‘thing’ still feels like a better fit. We were unbearably similar. It meant that everything was extreme; we could never just be. All of our worst traits were brought out and everything was a competition – who could be ruder, who could be more hurtful, who could care the least. And because neither of us were the type to talk about our feelings, none of this was supplemented with the knowledge that we did in fact care for one another. It was all guess work.

I’m not the type of person to play games – which is probably why I am horrific at dating. I don’t wait two hours before texting back and I don’t pretend I’m not free the first time someone asks to do something, I don’t play coy or pretend to be something I’m not. I’m unapologetically myself. If I come across as shy, it’s because I am. If I seem awkward, it’s because I am. If you think I’m rude, it’s because you’re either a bellend, or I like you and am comfortable.

That digression had a point, honestly. Our whole ‘thing’ was a game. And it tired me. But I let it carry on probably four months longer than it should have. Everyone around me told me to stop, and I knew they were right. He made me a version of myself that I didn’t like and he purposely made me feel bad about myself. It was a kind of toxic that simply needed to be cut, but I couldn’t do it. Despite all the game playing and the shit he put me through, with him I could be the most unedited, truest version of myself, whether it was a person I was proud of being or not. And it was hard to let go of that.

Of course, eventually, I did – that was a whole drama in itself. Obviously I felt better afterwards. I felt strong and empowered and proud of myself. Yet somehow I find myself making the same mistakes again and again. When will I learn?