Moving, shifting.

I moved house last night.

Out of the cold, old, dilapidated apartment with space for things and a good solid table to be fucked on. But it was too cold and old and the wooden window frames trembled at passing buses and I found myself retreating into my bedroom, first, and then my bed, where I lay with my solitude and my drinking and never wrote anything.

Yesterday my long suffering mother, still mothering me long past the gestation period of an adult, helped me move into my new place. Maybe I’ll get some writing done here.I’m all excuses. Recently I spoke to an artist, an actor, and he told me I needed to DO things and get up in the mornings and live my life like it’s not the waiting room for something else, and I felt like crying because he was right, no, not because he was right, but because I’d let my guard down and forgotten that intelligent people can see right through my flimsy bravado. I must have relaxed and let someone see me for what I am, my sadness pouring out in excuses and defence of doing nothing.

I feel happy, I have the symptoms of happiness. But I’m not independent, my life is paid for by the state, my mother shouldered more than half the weight of the fridge-freezer. I’m just like so many others. But I feel wrong, like this. You can justify any lifestyle, I believe, from housewife to banker to lunatic to whatever I might be, as long as your life doesn’t injure or abuse and you can pay your own rent.

It’s not my fault I grew up now, when rent is commonly half a person’s wages, and everyone feels entitled to avocados and parma ham, and craft beer. And suffers without them. But I’m a little ashamed that I grew up now, if I did indeed grow up, and failed to adapt to the world, as it crumbles and swells and freedoms are legalised and then encroached upon, and finally we’re told it’ll all sink into the sea. This is my generation. I’m built for it and by it. Maybe if I lived in the Chelsea hotel, and paid a pittance to live, I’d have been right, or right-on, there’d have been room for my dreams, but this is a bit sad, me, lamenting the fall of the starving artist, in post celtic tiger Ireland, like  a less impressive, less grotesque Ignatius J Reilly with his copy of Boethus.

I’m broke, I’m penniles, I’m cold and I’m a chancer. I’m Sebastian Dangerfield with a vagina. But I’m not, I’m not, I have cognac in my wardrobe and three avocados in varying stages of ripeness, a chilean one and a pair of new zealanders. And I have all these skirts and heels, and when I’ve worn them more than thrice they look old and like they belong to someone I haven’t been for a long time, or a week, but then I shed my passions so quickly, and I shed my skin, and need to buy it new. Because the shoes are worn from climbing walls at 4am and the skirts have been worn thrice and pulled lustily over my head by rougher hands than mine as many times. All my clothes with tags, a look of approval, lust, a compliment. From that moment, the clothes became his, like a lick of paint on a sheep. The skirt I wore to meet Jack, and it was all he thought about, lifting that skirt, he told me later, lifting it. The Shoes that Adam loved so, the ones that left angry red marks on his chest, his neck. The dress I wore for dinner with Antoine, dinner in my flat, with the candles and a tablecloth and he saw me and said “what a dress.” and I wore stockings and he’d never been with a woman in stockings before, he was so young. And he didn’t know to leave them on, when we made love. He took them off me, and I could see he wasn’t sure if they should go, because socks are bad in bed, or stay because they were sexy. And in the summer, I wore those shorts, my little shorts that barely held me inside, and Max watched me paint the sign for the bar in the sun while he sawed planks and sent a breath of sawdust onto the wet paint. And I didn’t mind, because he was so gentle, so adoring, then. And he held me while I was in crisis, not sure what to do or where to go, on the verge of tears at any time, and he made all sorts of promises. He should have let me be and stayed away, and he would have stayed away, but then I would were those shorts.

 I bought them for myself, for how I’d feel, who I thought I was that day and how she would look. But those men, they like to own things, and maybe the don’t know they do it, but they wear me down and they take possession of my clothes, and then I don’t feel like that girl I wanted to be in my skirt any more, covered in fingerprints. Perhaps I just want to give myself fresh to each new lover, and I’m afraid he can see the wear, and it’ll remind him how my mouth isn’t new either, how many hands have reached under my hair to release a clasp. Perhaps it’s not, it’s just there’s so much hope and possibility in new clothes. I remember when I bought my little black playsuit with the high neck and the short shorts, and I saw it in the mirror and thought I looked so sexy, and glamourous, and like I belonged draped on a couch somewhere fabulous drinking something expensive. But then where did I have to wear it, really? I wore it to Bob’s kitchen, to dance to 80s music, which was lovely and fun but my little playsuit went to waste. And then I wore it to the Market Bar, and it was too short, and I felt uncomfortable, but I looked great. And then I went home with Steve, and I shouldn’t have because he’s so wrapped up in himself, he can’t even tell that I don’t care about him, so there’s something insulting about how he never calls or sends a message later. These clothes have too many memories.

What I’m trying to say here, essentially, is that I need a new dress, and I hope you understand how I need a new dress. It’s not wrong, to want a new dress, when you can see how all my other clothes are tarnished so.

But ah, what was I telling you? About the move. Out of my hermit’s cave, into a bizzare houseshare of over 20 inmates, an old hospital of sorts, padded handrails down the corridors and three floors, and everyone has their own fridge, fridges littering the two kitchens and when I scurry down the corridor to the bathroom there’s a ladies and a gents.

And the inmates are friendly and some seem lovely warm people, and others seem obvious like characters written lazily by someone lacking imagination. When I was a child I entertained the thought that I was the main character, and all others were minor, or bit players, or extras. When an adult chastised me I felt sorry for them, that they were written that way, their only contribution to the world as a fleeting villain.

I eventually grew out of the idea that I was the centre of the universe but I never gave up feeling sorry for those people who were written by hacks.

It’s strange to be back in shared living… but it seems like a good thing. It’s warm, I’ll be less inclined to go out every night, maybe, maybe I’ll save some money too.

But the thing that struck me straight away is that I now find myself in a censored environment. For months I’ve surrounded myself exclusively, truly exclusively, with people who I can be so open about, tell every secret, every filthy secret and thought. And now I’m in this area where I don’t know the people, and some will be open minded freaks and perverts, too, but some will not, and so I’m keeping myself to myself, a little. Which is odd for me.

I got so used to being just me, living in a world of my own creation where nothing in nature is twisted, or dirty, as a man said long ago, I think it was Servius.

Changes, anyway.

I hope I write more here, I hope I do. I’ll try.

But it’s not, as people close to me who don’t write seem to thing, some kind of muscle I can get up in the morning and knock out 20 reps of 100 words.

I could write 50,000 words right now, and I’d forget to eat, drink, pee, masturbate, yes, even masturbate. But what kind of words would they be, and is there any point?

My friends tell me to just DO it. Do it and you’ll have written, and you can edit. But I don’t like to edit, because then I read back and it’s not the voice in my head any more, it’s something I’ve crafted. And why did I do that? It’s the honesty of writing I love… and beautiful turns of phrase, and sentences that make something lurch inside you like arousal of your sense of harmony. But mostly honesty, and when I edit I think why did I do that? What am I trying to say, and what’s the point?

And I collapse in nihilism, and I don’t do anything, and I feel bad about it, because even though I don’t think anything matters, it matters to me that I don’t fade into a sad future. Also, I don’t edit because I don’t know what’s good.

People tell me to just write. Just write, write all the time. You have so much free time, you should be writing. I know. I KNOW. I know. I just need to… do it. I know.

In my old place, you see, it was too cold. It was so cold, I couldn’t think, my fingers were cold, my brain was occupied in being cold and suffering from it and overcoming it. In France you may know, I thought I’d recreate the misery and solitude of my life in Italy, without being so miserable and solitary that I’d hate it, like in Italy.

But it seems it’s either one or the other. I’m too unhappy in Italy to live. I wrote there, maybe nothing great, but I was so unhappy I wrote like my writing was my friend who understood me and it just kept me from the abyss of true misery. And France, oh I didn’t speak French, but I learnt French. And I didn’t know anyone, but I met people, and I met wonderful people and they made me laugh and I somehow made them laugh in my awful French. But I wasn’t truly happy because I was like the dumb princess, the little mermaid, clumsy on my legs and deprived of my singing voice.

The prince didn’t love me without my gifts, but he was compassionate, he thought me charming with my strange ways and my clumsiness. But that’s fine, for a short time. In France there were men, but none of them loved me for what I was, they just loved what they could see, a ballsy travelling girl with a love of wine and food and a tendency to make clumsy puns that didn’t really work in French. And they murmured things in my ear, that sounded less beautiful as my French improved and eventually just made me roll my eyes. Fucking French, everything so doomed and poignant. On a beach somewhere near Bordeaux we watched a sunset together, feet curling in the sand, and one lover told me he was glad the clouds were there, on the horizon, because had it been any clearer the sunset would have been too much, too cheesy. “I ‘ate cheesy” he said.

“I ‘ate you”, I remember thinking. But I loved him a while longer.

I missed my wit and humour and I felt dulled. I drank far too much and snuck my bottles out of the lovely, jolly house I shared with 6 people so they wouldn’t know how far it went. I couldn’t write there, because I was learning French and my head was full of French and I was being pestered by romantic men who felt no shame in throwing themselves at me.

I had so many friends, there, I couldn’t muster enough loneliness to really write. I was aware as I made this excuse that I could never make myself be lonely, Italy was a mistake, I was trapped there with my husband and my mortgage and my debt. I’d have run home, long ago, had I not been caught that way. I told people I moved to France to be lonelier.

Really I think, now, in hindsight, that I knew full well I was moving to France to have a legitimate and shameless reason to be lonely. I was desperately lonely in Ireland but I was from Ireland, there was no excuse, how could I not find the right people? And I couldn’t write there either, because I had to work in this awful call centre and I didn’t have time to write because I had to work from 9 til 5.30 and didn’t get home til 6.30 and then I was tired and sad, and needed to relax and watch something absurd and funny and forget about my life, and I’d do that til 1 in the morning and then I had to go to bed because i had work in the morning. And if I tried to write anything I’d write how I felt, and god, that was awful, and I didn’t want to think about how I felt because I felt sad and hollow and like something really awful had been done to me and I was being made pay for it. Some awful wrong, my whole life was an awful wrong that had been inflicted on me by my parents, my teachers, my friends, my boyfriends, my parents, my parents, my parents.

And I was such a lovely girl with such a sweet heart and I loved so strongly and why did they all do that, tread on me and make me so sad and break my heart so now I haven’t been sweet or loving in years.

So I didn’t like to think about that, it was too dark and I cried so much when I thought of how I felt and who I had become or was becoming. And my eyes would be puffy in work the next day. Maybe I’d write at the weekend. That’s it, I’d get a bottle of whiskey and lock myself in my bedsit, quite a nice bedsit, not really suited to drowning your sorrows, but I’d make do. And then Friday I’d be half drunk and thinking of typing a few words about something, and I’d get a call from some man I’d vowed to stay away from because he kept giving me false hope and then hurting me, and whenever that subsided I’d remember he was no good, not very interesting and not at all impressive. But I’d be lonely so I’d go and meet him, and sleep with him, and start to feel the rumblings of emotion again, and then I wouldn’t write because all I’d write about would be how I liked him, and maybe I didn’t, and why wouldn’t he call when he said he would.

and what’s wrong with me.

Well, that’s all sort of gone now. I’m not that kind of unhappy now. I’m quite happy, really. In the short term. Long term, I’m not sure, because I need to prove to myself that I am what I claim to be, a writer, and that I’ll do something with that and not just be a drain on family and the state. Not that I care about being a drain on the state, because look at everyone else, and look at all the corruption. But it’s still not right for me, personally.

I am quite happy, really. I don’t cry, I don’t feel like I’ve been hideously wounded by life any more. I feel like I’ve been wounded just the right amount, to make me someone I could respect, if only I got off my ass once in a while and contributed something to the human experience. Because no, it doesn’t matter one bit if I drink and fuck all day and get old and then no one will want to fuck me any more, but it matters to me that I leave a little bundle of pages behind, with something in them that can be picked up, and read, and maybe enjoyed, and maybe someone will read and know me through them, and my life will be in there, and all the silly things that you couldn’t invent, that don’t matter at all, but that contain everything of me but my DNA.

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Quarter life crisis!

I’ve been writing little bits and pieces recently, but nothing on my blog. I’ve been trying to write something more structured and less rambling but I haven’t really got anywhere with it. I guess my life has been all up in the air… Moved to France, moved to England, came back to Ireland…. Fell in love, got over it, fell in love, got over it….

This year has been the year of the quarter life crisis.

The… ok, I’ve had a lot of fun and done a lot of stupid things and met a lot of people but now what the fuck  am I going to do with my life?

I don’t want to be broke and I don’t want to trudge up the office career ramp while my bum gets flat and square from sitting in a swivel chair.

Those seem to be my options. 

So I decided to go back to college this year, after moving briefly to England and realising how fucking hard it is to find a job when all you’ve done so far is start again and again and never learn anything that comes with that bit of paper.

I decided to go and study business management. Because my dream has always been to own my own little cafe and make cakes and pies and feed people in a charming little room with twinkle lights and oh wasn’t my dream to have a bar and serve cocktails and craft beers and a vast range of whiskeys?

And then wouldn’t business be fucking boring, and not really guarantee me any way closer to my dream?

And then what about computer science, because I’m smart and I’m good with computers and if I hadn’t taken the slippery slope paved with sex and drugs and alcohol, I’d probably have gotten really good at programming…..

So that’s it, I’m going to do computer science.

I started to set it all up for next year. Did everything I needed to ensure I get my fees paid for with this government initiative that pays for everything, including a weekly living expense that could pretty much take care of me all through college.

Brilliant.

 

And I was going to do it. I started to take a little course online, an intro to computer science. Interesting.

Except then I started making excuses not to do it.

Like I’m hung over, or it’s the weekend and I want to go out and get laid, or it’s the weekday and I don’t have anything to do but I’d rather rewatch all the episodes of insert embarassing comedy series here.

So it started gnawing at me, the reality…

I don’t really really want to study computer science. I don’t. I’d like to have a smart degree, something I could impress people with, something that I could get a good job with.

But…. I don’t know. I’m interested in computers but what about all the math?

And then yesterday, I was looking up creative writing classes because now that I have all this spare time, as I have to stay at least partially unemployed to get the government grant next year, I thought I should take a creative writing class. Keep me busy.

I still want to write, but like, it’s such a pipe dream. I can’t count on that ever leading me to decent money. 

And I discovered there’s a masters program in a college in Dublin, a masters degree in creative writing.

I don’t know why I phoned the college, because OF COURSE I can’t do a masters without having a bachelors degree.

Except when I asked the lady on the phone, she said…. yes. Yes you can. All you need is good writing samples.

And then…

I got so excited! I realised… that’s what I want to do. That’s all I want to do.

My dream has never been to own a cafe or a bar or write programs or design websites, it has been writing, all my life it has been to write. And I could go back and do a masters degree and how much would i enjoy that? Jesus.

That’s it.

Suddenly it became totally clear to me that the business and computers ideas were just not me. they were me panicking and trying to catch up with everyone else I know who is SOMEWHERE in their life now while I’m floundering in what I’ve always called mediocrity but is sliding further down the scale as everyone else overtakes me.

It’s always been my dream to write, and I’ve never done it because I’m chicken shit and don’t know where to start.

And now I realise that I could probably learn and get guidance and DO IT and just find out if it’s my calling or not, and it would only take a year and then if I’m not cut out to be a write I’d just know and it could stop being the thing at the back of my mind that lets me get away with being unambitious.

what a great discovery.

Except, then I started doing my research, and I found out that the government grants I was going to get to fund me in an undergraduate degree, don’t count for masters programs.

So I’d have to come up with 7 or 8,000 euros and then all the money to pay rent and living costs for the year.

And Dublin is expensive. 

So I can’t do it.

And not only can I not do it, but now the other things I was going to do are so clearly wrong that I just don’t know….

what to do with my life.

 

I’m kind of totally lost in my own life. What the fuck should I do with myself.

I’m 26 this month and I’m finally, only now, finally at the point that most people are in when they first leave school.

Except I’m nearly 26. 

 

Ahh… I thought writing that would help clear my head but it’s just cementing how I have no fucking clue what to do.

Advice much appreciated.

An open letter to the late Thomas Hardy

Dear Thomas Hardy,

You are an ASSHOLE.

And a jerk.

I just finished Tess of the D’Urbervilles, one of your many famous novels, and I am very very upset.

I should have known after the misery-fest of Jude The Obscure that you hate your characters and want them to suffer immensely in life and then die prematurely. But there was a curve ball in there somewhere… can’t remember what it was called, obviously Howard’s End wasn’t exactly happy either, but I know I read something of yours that didn’t end in death and despair.

You are a bona fide asshole, though, for making me upset now. I hate this bullshit.

Apart from one anomaly that I can’t recall now, all your books are really cruel to your characters. This is one of the reasons why I will never probably write a novel- I couldn’t bear to be so horrible and make my beloved imaginary people suffer so much and I hear conflict is important to get people to give a crap about reading on. The other major obstacle to my way of becoming a proper writer is probably that I have no imagination, people always think I have a vivid imagination but I don’t, I just get myself in ridiculous situations and I have pretty weird dreams. When I was a little child I won a writing competition with my “book” about a girl who goes to this magical dome country full of weird snail people who operate massive levers. I forget what else happens but in the end, she wakes up and it was all a dream. Her name was Jessie. I won that competition (the other entries were about people’s dogs liking to chase cats, in fairness) and everyone was like “wow so imaginative”. What happened was, I had a dream one night that I was in this dome country with these snail people operating levers. My best friend’s name was Jessie. I have NO imagination.

Anyway, Thomas Hardy is on my shit list right now.

You see, first what he does is give you a really virtuous main character. Virtuous as FUCK. So virtuous, for those of you who are big saddos like me with the classics, it’s almost on the same level as Pamela. Never read Pamela? You are missing out. It’s basically a whole book about this crazy rich dude trying to rape this young girl who is around 14 or something, well she’s probably younger at first because he has her locked up in his house for months or even years, and he tries to rape her ALL THE TIME. And to this she replies by whimpering and begging him not to take her virtue, but not trying to run away at first or tell someone about it or yell stranger danger, and she stays for ages and he offers her all sorts of jewellery and to be his mistress and calls her a cheeky sauce box which must have been a strong insult back then but I don’t get it, “sauce box” to me sounds like a special meal deal at a chipper, maybe like if you couldn’t decide between garlic and curry sauce…

Anyway she cries and wails and begs forgiveness all the time. He dresses up as a woman at one point and hides in her bedroom and then tries to rape her, but he is so shit at raping cowering little girls, he never manages to do it. I can’t remember how but something happens every time to stop him, and you can bet it aint Pamela or his conscience. Her defence on one occasion is to faint. Eventually he marries her and the proposal basically evaporates all that was wrong with the situation. Her parents are overjoyed despite knowing the whole story (and doing fuck all about it) and Pamela is the happiest cunt in the world, like a sex offender’s cinderella. Anyway. It’s the most infuriating piece of crap I’ve ever read. Apparently it was one of the first novels. It was written as a series of letters supposedly written by Pamela to her parents throughout her imprisonment. It was also the first appearance of the simpering fainting fool of a heroine: The consensus among the period’s authors seems to have been, it doesn’t matter if a girl is really really poor as long as she is distinctly good looking and very pious and humble and dignified. Kate Middleton, baby. In fact, if they were to write a novel about Kate and her rise to royalty, it couldn’t really go a whole lot differently.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles is a wee bit bolshier than Pamela, but not a whole lot really. Just enough for me to actually give a shit about her. But she has this annoying classical literature heroine attitude where somehow there’s dignity in just letting some asshole try to rape you or successfully rape you and sort of turn the other cheek, maybe tell him he isn’t kind and that you don’t care for him. So anyway, I was sure she was gonna get her happy ending on but no, far from it- she gets like 2 days of happiness with her true love and then she’s arrested for killing her repeat rapist after he attacked her, and then she is excecuted in prison and her true love winds up marrying her sister which is what she had asked him to do.

Eh, hello?

What was the point in my reading this shit?

Great novel, asshole.

I appreciate you, Thomas Hardy, you weave a good yarn all right, I respect anyone who can come up with fiction because I sure as hell can’t do it, and I do love a bit of period drama, boy do those perverts in waistcoats get my lady wood… but was it entirely necessary to kill her? She had loads of hardships already from the rape to the giving birth to the rape baby to the rape baby dying, etc…

No one would have accused you of sugar coating or Hollywooding up the ending.

And look at Jude the Obscure: Again, shitloads of hardships for all the nice characters, and then boom! The nice characters get together and are briefly happy although living in sin and they take in the main dude’s ex’s son because they are kind hearted people, and then the stepson goes and MURDERS their two or three other kids and then kills himself and then they split up and die alone and miserable. WTF THOMAS HARDY! WHY YOU GOTTA PLAY ME LIKE THAT? How so heartless?

I don’t need to get all wrapped up in your virtuous unlucky imaginary people’s heads only to find them completely screwed over and miserable and dead. It’s not necessary and it’s not cool. I can’t even tell what he’s trying to say, because on one hand his clever good characters you know you’re supposed to be rooting for, all seem to lose faith in god at some point, probably around the time their babies are murdered or die. And it seems like they are right in Hardy’s eyes, because the priests are not depicted in a nice light at all, but then it’s like they get their comeuppance for being godless heathens. I don’t get it Hardy, were you just pandering to the religious powers that were, tacking on a miserable end for the atheists while showing the punishers to be bastards in your opinion?

I don’t want to finish a book like that and find out that they are dead and had like 5 seconds of happiness in their lives. I want alternative endings for saps like me who can’t bear shit to get real. I’m sure glad Thomas Hardy didn’t know about Aids because you can bet his characters especially the harlots who got raped as kids, would have wound up riddled with Aids too.

Thomas Hardy, I know you are dead now so I can’t expect this critique to move you to write me an alternative ending.

So I’ll do it myself.

 

Alternative ending for Tess of the D’Urbervilles, by Chesty Le Roux.

(this takes place when Angel finally tracks down Tess and she’s being forced to be a sex slave for the guy who raped her before. It happens instead of her yelling “go away, don’t ever come find me, I’m his CREATURE now it’s too late” and then him leaving and her murdering her rapist and then going to run away with Angel who forgives her and they are briefly happy and then she is arrested and excecuted and he marries her sister but obviously will never love her as much as Tess.)

Tess: Ahh no it’s too late, I’m his creature now!

Angel: No it’s find, you’re grand, don’t worry about it, I’m not a virgin either.

Tess: Really, so my having had one other sexual partner doesn’t bother you?

Angel: It’s fine, let’s run away together now before you do something you regret.

Tess: Ok, let me just go tell that rape-happy asshole that I’m leaving him.

Angel: Better not, eh? Just come now.

Tess: What if he comes after me?

Angel: Well technically we are married, and I’m a gentleman so let’s just go to my parents house and alert the authorities that this man has been trying to fornicate with a married woman. In fairness the only reason he managed to get you in his clutches was that you are extremely feeble and also, he was generous to your poor family, but now you have me and my family to protect you and also we have money so we can save your family too.

Tess: Ok then, great.

Cue retro porn music…

THE MOTHERFUCKIN END.

They lived happily ever after.

 

So there. Now I’m not entirely satisfied with the closure my ending gave me, but it seems much more fair on the nice characters.

I would like some sort of system, in future, where books with a horrible ending could have like a black sticker on the cover so people like me could know not to bother. I don’t read to learn or to intellectually stimulate myself, I read because I enjoy the hell out of reading, probably more than I enjoy a good tv show or film. In fact a funny book has more chance of making me laugh out loud and uncontrollably than any sketch show or sitcom. I love reading, don’t make it a downer please!

Thomas Hardy, I know you are dead so you can’t write me another novel with a nice ending now, it’s too late for you. You’ve gone the way of all your nice virtuous characters, but you probably had a damn sight more happiness than they ever did.

But other authors, then, please be kind to your brain children.

Thank you.

Love, your biggest fan,

Chesty