The Brown Eyed Dreamer

'Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.' William Wordsworth


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I Think I’ll Be Okay.

The last couple of weeks have been awful. Exam stress and my over thinking mind combined to make a minefield of angry bombs exploding doubts and fear in my face no matter how precariously I stepped to avoid their trap. I spent so much time feeling horrible and people were beginning to notice, some even commenting on it, asking me to cheer up. But it was only this morning I realised something very important. I was in a bad place, but that wasn’t a bad thing.

I realised I’m allowed to get sad once in a while. I can lock myself in my room, turn off the lights and turn up my music. I can spend hours listening to Radiohead and David Bowie and crying silently into a pillow. I can write down everything I feel, let every slice of pain, doubt and anger cutting at my mind splash onto the page before me. I can fall asleep or just lie there motionless, thinking of everything and nothing. I can stay in there all night without emerging, alone, slow steady chords rolling forlornly through my head. I can be sad if I want to. It’s normal. It’s human.
I can always be happy tomorrow. But if I’m not happy in the morning, that’s okay too. I can refuse to get dressed or put effort into my appearance. I can make myself food and go back to my room, passing half-heartedly mumbles to my parents as I pass. I can ignore text messages, Skype calls, human contact. I can refuse to see people I don’t want to see. I can shut myself off if I want to. It’s ordinary. It’s fine.
People seem to believe that sadness is a bad thing. That crying is weakness, and not being okay is definitely not okay. But let me tell you something- you don’t have to be happy today. You don’t have to be happy tomorrow. If you don’t want to be better today, you don’t have to be. You’re not weak because you’re sad and can’t face it anymore; you’re strong because you’ve carried pain this far. Everyone has a time when they’re down. You shouldn’t feel pressured to be alright just because everyone else wants you to be happy. You’re not a burden because you don’t feel your best.
You’re a person, and if you’re sad, you can be sad. Just know that even if you don’t want to be happy now, there will be a day when happiness will be a welcome friend. And on that day you can step out and take its hand and it will be just fine, I can promise you that. But until then you can cave into your sorrow if you want. To hurt is to be human. Happiness is patient; it will wait. That is the lesson I learnt this morning.
So no, today I am not okay, and tomorrow I may not be okay either. But guess what? That’s okay.


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The Art of Disappearing- Part One.

[Inspired by the writing prompt from Alice Kuiper’s website, here.]

He didn’t want to be a victim; that was the very last thing he wanted. He didn’t want lines of stony faces watching him with cold, emotionless eyes as he slouched along the corridor, head bent in a vain attempt to hide himself. He didn’t want sympathetic pats on the back and pep talks from awkward teachers, and brand-new, supportive ‘friends’. He didn’t want people tip-toeing around him like he was a bomb ready to explode. He didn’t want to come home every day to find his mother sat at the table, concentrating on something in the far difference that only her eyes could see. He didn’t want to walk about in this alien world where everyone pretended everything was fine while everything crumbled around them.

He didn’t want any of this. High School was the only place where he could escape from everything that had happened. All he wanted to was blend, and now he stuck out more than ever. And the scar probably didn’t help.

It was a huge gash running from his top lip up to his cheek bone, bright red as if bursting with blood. He hated the way people stared at him now, never fully being able to meet his eyes when they talked to him. He hated the whispers hardly hidden behind hands as he passed by, the rumours and speculations about what really happened that night. He hated the interrogations, people who’d never passed acknowledgement now wanting to know if he was okay, their eyes begging for a piece of truth, a delicious sliver of revelation on the incident. He always ignored the stares, bowed his head and carried on walking, mumbling a half-hearted reply and shrugging his shoulders as he left.

Today was a day just like any other. His mum barely tore her gaze away from the spot on the kitchen wall to say goodbye to him before he left, and after closing the door he knew already he’d come home six hours later to find her sitting there in the same position, fixated on a memory frozen in her mind. She’d completely changed since everything had fallen apart; she was barely a person anymore, merely a ghost trapped in another night. In his own confusion about everything, he chose to ignore it, making sure she had food and water and always leading her up to her bed at night. He felt more like a carer than a son- but instantly he pushed these thoughts to the back of his head. He didn’t want sympathy. He wasn’t a victim.

Everything could be normal if he could pretend for long enough.

His hood up in the light drizzle, no one could see his face. No one could know who he was, and in that brief, momentous walk to school he was a normal kid, not the boy everyone had heard about. He could walk and passers-by didn’t lift their heads in recognition, cars didn’t slow while drivers stared out of windows, mouths slightly agape. No one could see his scar, and in his head he could imagine his skin free of bruising and scar tissue.

He was so caught up in his daydream of perfect normality he didn’t notice anyone walking alongside him until a voice spoke from beside his right ear. A voice that was warm and quiet and completely unfamiliar, that flowed gently through the air like a fresh breeze on a Summer’s day.

‘Sometimes it’s nice to disappear, isn’t it?’


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Slow Dancing in a Quiet Café

Picture this. A small, fairly unknown café on a street corner in late September, where inside it draws closer to closing time. And there’s you, in a small booth beside the window, coffee cradled in your hands to warm your fingers. The first leaves have begun to fall from the trees,carried in a cool Autumn breeze past the window and skittering along the pavement. You’d be busy marvelling at the beauty outside the window if you weren’t marvelling at the beauty sitting opposite you.

This person; you’ve only known them a short while and yet you’ve already formed this bond a thousand years of friendship couldn’t match. This person with eyes so wide and welcoming, and a smile that awakens the butterflies in your chest and makes your hands clammy. They’re sitting in front of you, this sweet smile playing across their lips as they tell you a story, and you can’t help but smile and nod along within them, completely captured by their everything. You barely lift your head to nod a ‘thank-you’ at the waitress busily scrubbing at the crumbs on your table, so absorbed in this wonderful being in front of you. And it is only when you reluctantly stand up to leave the café that you realise it is empty except for a few half-empty coffee cups scattered across tables. The waitress has disappeared into the kitchen, leaving the both of you completely alone.
‘I had no idea we’d stayed here so long!’ they exclaim, looking at you with a small smile. You shake your head to stop yourself getting lost in those eyes and try to think of something to say.
‘Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess,’ you reply, scratching the back of your head, unable to stop a smile and nervous laugh escaping your lips.
You always hate this part the most; goodbyes have never been your favourite things. You hate the awkward goodbyes and promises of seeing each other again which mostly get broken. You pack away your stuff slowly, trying to savour the moment for as long as possible. Meanwhile they stand patiently beside you, humming along quietly to the tune crackling out of the old battered radio on the checkout table.
‘This is my favourite song,’ you utter, looking up. Your gaze is met to a hand reaching out to you where behind lies an expectant gaze and curious smile. You return a questioning gaze, an eyebrow raised.
‘Do you want to dance?’
The small question is answered by a quiet gasp. Nervously, you take their hand and straighten up. You both draw closer, until your bodies are gently brushing each other, and you can feel their chest rise with each breath while their heartbeat gently thuds against your chest. You pray they cannot hear the intense thudding of your own heart and begin to dance.
The moves are slow and simple, perfectly matching the smooth, calming acoustics of the song. You both remain silent, eyes locked as you spin and step to and fro. Your fingers intertwine, they absent-mindedly stroking your thumb with theirs as you roll a strand of hair intricately through your fingers. Small, shy smiles create conversation that no words could match, the silence enveloping you both in your own world. Their eyes are pools that reflect yours, searching your face, trying to create a memory as feverishly as your eyes are. You could happily stare at those eyes forever, fall deep into the crevices of their soul and remain there in perfect serenity. You could fall in love with those eyes.
And so that is how your perfect date with this perfect person comes to an end; not with stiff, awkward hugs and the drop of your chest as you have to watch them walk away, but with a slow dance in an empty, quiet café in late September. A café where outside leaves fall and life moves on, and where inside two people dance to the gentle rhythm of two hearts beating as one.


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Raindrop’s Revival

I like to walk in streets of rain,
When droplets gently prod my skin,
Slipping down collars along spine,
Cold streams tracing icy lines.
Shivers escape from between blue lips,
As golden sun escapes eclipse,
Shafts of light pour through darkened cloudy clots,
Lift my head, heavy with darkened cloudy thoughts,
Towards horizons where hope still survives,
A brief reminder, I am alive.


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I Promise.

When I promised them I was getting better, I wasn’t lying. I am getting better. Food doesn’t lodge itself venomously in my throat like it used to, and calories and calculations don’t swim before my eyes anymore. I can face mirrors and have learnt to ignore most of the screaming taunts from my mind; the urge to shatter my mocking reflection into a thousand tiny pieces is mostly gone. I’m learning to ignore the judging eyes and smirks that play upon muttering lips as I pass by, and snide little comments are beginning to hurt me a lot less than they used to. I’m finding my feet and picking myself up again, and I am getting better, promise.

But sometimes, when I look behind me to where I used to be, temptation grabs me like a rope clutched around the neck and pulls me backwards, and suddenly it seems okay to make excuses and ‘forget’. Suddenly the mirror wailing out my flaws for the world to hear seems like almost like an old friend, helping me find perfection by pointing out the imperfection. And in the depths of my wildest thoughts, I can’t help but cave in to the pleasure of wrapping my arms around my body in the cold air, rubbing fingers across flesh and feeling the ridges of bones protruding where they really shouldn’t. And in those moments, I can hear a distant crack that sounds vaguely like a cry into the darkness or the slow breaking of an innocent heart, the gentle wail of a promise slowly breaking.