A Place To Be Fucked Up In


If you showed me your latest playlist I’d listen until I couldn’t listen to it anymore. No matter how painful. I’d stay up with it and then wake up to it. That’s just how I am. Music can feel like an actual place to me. I’m working on a soundtrack of songs I’m going to stop listening to. Here’s part of it, I have these on repeat right now:

-       Long Time Traveller – The Wailin’ Jennys

-       Say Something – A Great Big World

-       Let Her Go – Passenger

-       Yellow Light – Of Monsters and Men

-       So This Is Goodbye (Pink Ganter Remix) – William Fitzsimmons

Yesterday I was at work in the laundry folding guest towels. I couldn’t stop crying. Someone found me. I kept folding while I told him I couldn’t possibly explain how awful it feels to not be able to express how awful it feels. My boss sent us off to the beach. I’d forgotten the perks of losing your shit in front of people at work, it’s been a very long time. We stood at the water in the black sand. I asked how it can be so beautiful outside when it feels like this inside. We talked about nature and anxiety pills and Echkart Tolle and new-age people who believe in dolphin messages and how we can’t possibly know what will happen next. He said I should try to allow myself to be how I am. Just be, he said, it’s okay to want what you want, to feel what you feel.

We had sandwiches and smoothies and stared at the horizon. I practiced sitting still and being calm. We went and looked at rooms for rent after. I thought about where I used to live and where I used to live before that and before that and before that. I had black sheets once, so many windows looking out to different places. I carried a 1kg sleeping bag around for a year. I remember in the old pub in South London, we used to keep our milk out on the windowsill because we didn’t have a fridge. It kept freezing but we kept putting it out there because the winter was long and we were never thinking straight or sleeping enough.

I just want some space, I said, a room to be fucked up in. And then we found the perfect space for me. A quiet spot with a separate entrance and a deck and a table where I could be alone and just write. I loved it until we drove away. I can’t move there, I said. The white walls scared me, I couldn’t be there, paying double the price I do now, still unable to forgive myself for who I am.

When my ex gave me keys to his apartment he posted a picture of the set on Twitter for me to see. They were shiny and I felt like I’d won something big. I hit Favorite, joked that they wouldn’t fit in the lock. In the end it was me who didn’t fit in the apartment. It was too nice and too clean for me, no breathing room and nowhere to go. It was snowing that last day, after we broke up, we held hands because that’s just what we did. I realized we’d seen all four seasons together and it felt equally done and undone. I wore a summer dress on our first date. I’m that girl, I wanted to say, standing there kissing him goodbye in the snow. But you can’t keep telling someone something they already know.

It’s okay to be who you are. This too is on repeat, in my head.

We parked and sat in the back of the truck after we saw the room. I made a list of pros and cons even though I already knew I wasn’t going to move. You can take your fucked-up-ness anywhere you like, he said and we laughed because we’re always making the same point. My contacts were scratchy from the tears and driving with open windows, but I was laughing now and there was nothing to prove that I was ever upset, or anything else. The universe in all her indifference will do that, make you feel like you’re losing it, until you realize you never had a thing to lose.

I tried telling someone the other day that I don’t even really think it’s my nature to move from place to place all the time, despite the pattern of my past. I said if I found a place I wanted to be in, I would stay there. I want to find that place, I said, and maybe that place will be a person, and it wouldn’t even have to be summer all the time.

Jennifer ChardonComment