You know how everybody says things like,

‘Oh I learned to love my curves and wobbly bits’


‘I changed my lifestyle and suddenly I don’t mind the fat. I feel comfortable in my skin.’


‘I am happy with how I look, fat rolls and all.’

How can they say that? And how do they look so good? Does their confidence automatically add ten million nice real life pixels on to their bodies?

I am above my necessary weight. And I feel so so fat. And ugly. And so uncomfortable in my own skin. I can’t breathe properly because I am a few pounds overweight and always trying to suck my tummy in. And NOTHING looks good on me because I have a massive ass and huge thighs but tiny calves and ankles and arms and my stomach is not flat anymore, so my clothes all look weird. Fat does not sit well on me at all, and I have a small face too so it just looks – WRONG!

I TRY to tell myself it is okay, I am still beautiful.. but I do not feel it at all. I feel fat and ugly and horrendous and out of place.

Also my husband says, ‘What happened to you, Lenora!?’ and he THINKS things because I can read his face like a book and it makes it worse and I just feel so horrible and unattractive and nasty.

Yesterday I was in the changing rooms and it felt like the music of my life sizzled into a buzz like an angry wasp and then it crankled a bit like a big machine dying down and crumpled into nothing. I noticed my muffin top and my pouchy tummy and then my arms are wiggly and my face is horrible and my legs are not legs they are wobbly misshapen things and I am just a massive ball of wobbly horrible things and I can’t love this. Who can love this? It is awful.

And I stood there for a good fifteen minutes just staring at myself in shock and disgust, and when I came out the lady said, ‘Did you like anything?’

And in my head I said, ‘Yes I loved it all but i hated my body so I am not getting anything at all because my skin does not deserve it and I am a flabby, ugly, dragon and I hate myself.’

I said, aloud, ‘Yes, thanks! I’ll take this one!’

And walked out and now the cute top I bought it hidden away in my drawer because I can’t bring myself to wear it and see how expanded my stomach has become in the span of TWO MONTHS.

I am just a miserable pile of unwanted fat.


How the heck do they do it? How do they look so gorgeous! Image Credit.



Uninspired Girl

I am an uninspired girl.

I have a wound, you see, and every time I am reminded of it, my world turns to grey cloud. There are things I want to say and do and create, but this barrier of gloom and fear acts like a deathly sponge, sucking all joy out of my motivation and creativity and rendering them, well, nil.

So, today I am an uninspired girl. My fingers are itching to turn dull brown into technicolour, and this page into a portal to somewhere more vivid and enticing. But I can’t.

The reminder this time came in the form of an email. And I am tossing and turning throughout the night. Please don’t find me. Please. I don’t want to know you. I don’t want to live like this anymore. It is painful and deadens my heart. I want to be free. I wish I could be free. I wish I could just let go.

I feel like I am trapped in chains. Mental chains. Emotional chains. But they are just as hard and cold and painful as though they were real. And I used to keep telling myself to hold on and push through it because time is the greatest of healers, but as the years have passed, I am still as raw and terrified and anxious as before.

It is an old wound, but it feels as fresh as if it was spliced open yesterday.

Well, maybe that is why I am losing all my hair.

I don’t want to live like this anymore.

Please, leave me alone.

Love Letters #18


Now that was not a word I hear often these days.

These days, it’s all who slept with who and on what date, and one night stands and accidental sex leading to romance. Which is all very well if you swing that way but I never wanted to meet a man for sex first.

Does anybody court anymore, or is that an old fashioned game.

He courted me, though. Before he married me, that is. Let me tell you this story, because it is warm and sweet and very dear to my heart.

He asked me to go out with him, the first time. I stood for ages in front of the mirror, pinching my cheeks like in the books and debating whether or not to wear makeup. I didn’t even own any makeup back then. Only a wand of mascara and an old foundation bottle that my mum had no use for anymore.

I was nineteen. He was twenty two.

I went downstairs and my hair was still damp from the shower so I pulled it back into a high ponytail, my thick, heavy curls cascading down over my back and my mum surveyed me and tweaked my hair a little, pulling a strand or two down by my face.

‘You look lovely,’ she said.

When I walked into the front room to see if he was ready I was trembling with nerves. I was aware my face was flushed and his was a little too, which I thought was so sweet. He put my hand through his arm when we walked and he opened the car door for me and he bought me a bouquet of lilies.

He smelled amazing. Musky and minty and cinnamon and leather. His face was so handsome. But on that first date, when we sat opposite each other just talking the hours away, he smiled at me. A real, genuine smile. And something deep down within me shifted a little bit. Moved out of place. My body became aware of his presence, and my stomach somersaulted quietly.

He courted me. Every time he came to see me, he brought me something. He always had something to show me, something to tell me. When we talked, hours would pass that felt like mere minutes.

Once he came home from Worcester where he worked during the week, and came straight to see me in his work shirt, the top button undone. He looked exhausted.

He said, ‘I couldn’t wait till Friday, I had to see you.’

He’d driven an hour and a half straight after work in the traffic and arrived at 9PM and was I flattered? Yes of course, and my heart surged with happiness but I just smiled and let him in and made him a cheese toastie and some Lady Grey.

It was Tuesday. He sat in my room until midnight and we barely noticed the time go by, and his proximity to me drove me crazy. I could see his muscular arms through the white shirt and the way his shoulders were so big and straight, and his mouth when he spoke to me and his smell every time he moved and I couldn’t even look at him because I thought I was going to kiss him, and I had never kissed him, and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

One night I wore my red dress and red lipstick and he couldn’t stop looking at me and I felt it and I felt like my dress material was too thin and I was so hot even though the wind was biting, and I didn’t want the evening to end.

When he dropped me home he text me straight away, ‘I couldn’t tell you, I don’t know why, you looked so beautiful tonight.’

The next time he saw me he asked me to marry him. He said when I wore my red dress he couldn’t believe I was real and he felt like a very lucky guy.

I didn’t hesitate. I said yes.

When he did finally kiss me properly it was after we got married and it was in a hospital room where I was held hostage for a week and it as just before he had to leave.

The moment had been building up all evening, and we’d talked about everything we could think of, and the lights in the hospital room were dimmed, and outside the window the lights of the city were gleaming through the night and it was magical, in a hospital room that smelled sterilised and sickening.

And finally he got up and said he had to go because he had a long drive home. So I reached my arms around him to hug him and he put his forehead on mine and whispered that he wanted to stay. And I held him closer and then his nose was on mine and then his lips were on mine and it was like electricity from my neck to my toes.

He held me so tight and his mouth was so soft and his arms were so strong and muscular and I never wanted it to end, I never wanted him to leave. The nurses had to force him out and they made a joke that sounded so bawdy and horrible and I didn’t like it because this wasn’t like that at all.

And he waited till they left and sneaked back in and pulled me close to him one last time, and held my face so gently and kissed me and kissed me until I thought I would turn into a puddle on the ground.

He courted me even after he married me. He took me to London one time and planned a whole day out and another time he took me to the aquarium in Birmingham and he came out with all these little tidbits of information about fish and I said, ‘where did you learn all this?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know’.

This morning his boxers were still damp from the washing so he asked me if I could lie down on them under the covers while he was in the shower and when he came out the boxers were warm and as he buttoned up his work shirt he said, ‘I got that idea from eskimos, they sleep on their clothes when they are wet because that is the only way they can dry them.’

‘How do you know that?’ I said, incredulous because where on earth did he get that information?

‘I don’t know.’

And I love him madly so so madly even though he frustrates me and can be a right moody git to me but he takes care of me so well like a true gentleman. A true gentleman who is not a romantic guy but he does small things that make me pleased and his smile is electric and every single time he smiles he charms me, even when I am in a temper. His dimples and his cheeks and his eyes filled with light and mirth and if anything ever happened to him I don’t know what I would do without him and his smile and his light and laughter and life.

And this story is old fashioned, and we are a little old fashioned, but this is how it panned out and this is how we are.




To Write


Good hair.

A dress that fits and doesn’t show all the wobbly bits.


Yeah, that’s right. I don’t have any wobbly bits. Hear that? ANY. The very idea! Huh!

*flicks hair*

A dress that flatters the shape.

Perfume. That smells like something classy and refined.

Shiny, manicured nails.

Sleek, black heels.

Tiny studs in the ears. A dainty necklace snuggling in the crook of the throat.

It’s just one of those days. You know those days? When you want to swish around looking fabulous and type away for hours. Nevermind you aren’t going anywhere and you have unwashed dishes in the sink and your house is empty and there is nothing on the agenda.

Who says you can’t look nice to sit at your desk and write?

Things I wish I could have told you

(You know who you are)

(But I hope you don’t read this)

(In fact, I hope you are dead by now.)

(Please. Never contact me again. Ever. Please.)

  1. I hate you. You debilitated me. To this day, three years on, whenever I think of you I palpitate and sweat in fear. Right now, just reminding myself of it, my hands are shaking and my heart is in my mouth.
  2. Clearly, I am scared of you.
  3. Why am I torturing myself by thinking about this.


Okay, okay.


  1. Don’t touch me, I don’t like it.
  2. You are disgusting, and your voice is disgusting when you swear at me and insult my parents.
  3. I never loved you.
  4. I pretended every single time, so you would leave me alone and let me go home.
  5. I was terrified to leave you, because I was terrified you would hurt me if I tried.
  6. When I finally did get the courage to, it was not for all the reasons you thought it was. It was because I hated your slimy being, your manipulative ways, and your revolting habits.
  7. You stink.
  8. Your teeth disgust me.
  9. Your feet are long and horrible and you are a lying cheating scumbag.
  10. I really, truly wish you were dead. But I know you aren’t.
  11. I don’t wish you well at all. You treated me despicably, then had the audacity to send me on a guilt trip, making me feel bad when it was YOU who hurt me and used me and lied to me and made me your back up plan.
  12. You blamed me for the bad things you did, as though you weren’t a human who could make choices.
  13. You destroyed my happiness.
  14. No really, you destroyed it. I live in constant fear of you, and I don’t even know why anymore. I am anxious all the time now, and I find it so hard to laugh and be free, like I used to.
  15. You say I ruined your life. That makes me so angry because all I ever did was be loyal and kind to you. You treated me so badly that when I did leave you, you dared to tell me I ruined your life and make me feel bad about it? I hate that so much. I feel like punching your face, YOU ruined MY life.
  16. You cannot go through life thinking that people owe you things. Nobody owes you anything, ESPECIALLY when you stomp all over them and make them feel insignificant and use them – they CERTAINLY don’t owe you anything then.
  17. I wish I could tell you to STOP CONTACTING ME.
  19. Leave me alone.
  20. Seriously. I do not care. At all. Ever. I want to erase you from my memory. I want us to have never happened. I regret everything. I regret hearing your filthy scumbag voice. I hate you. I hate you. I won’t tell you any of that myself because you will see it as encouragement and then the contact will never stop ever. You treated me like absolute crap. You dirty, filthy animal. Go and die somewhere. You classless ignorant being who never wants to make any good out of his life and who moans through life blaming others for his misfortune. You brought it on yourself, lazy asshole.

Britain’s July

Sticky hands

Giant flies


The loud tinkle of the ice cream van

Sun beating down

heavy, humid air

Shade and breeze

summer dresses

windows flung wide open

Because there is no air con

No air con, did you hear that?

The carpet is too hot

My pits are heavy

My head is lolling on my shoulders

Lips bright red and stuck together with countless lollies

Garden chairs

Empty plates outside

A tall glass

Glistening with condensation

Ice cubes tapping the edges gently

Fizz bubbles rising softly and bursting furiously at the top of the brown syrupy liquid


Britain’s July.



This is my current dream:

I am walking past a huge Waterstones. And there, in the glass display, is a book written by me. Yes me. You see that? It says Lenora Sparrow on it. The cover design is simple and elegant. No pictures. Just a dark blue cover with little yellow dots all over it and the title in handwriting that is not too airy fairy and not too serious either.

And the blurb on the back makes me so excited because.. well.. I don’t know. I just love it and them and want to share them with you.

And there are lots of my book in stock. And all the signs say, ‘Hurry up and grab this book!’ and inside my heart is surging with joy because that is all I have ever wanted since I was seven years old writing stories in my dad’s university exam answer booklets.

I said to my parents, ‘Just you wait, I will have published a book by the time I am fifteen.’

They used to tease me and take my exercise books and read them to each other!! The audacity.

I wrote it, folks. That book I swore I would write. From age 11 to 14, I wrote it all out using dozens of pens. Seven massive notebooks, filled to the brim with words. Three huge folders with family trees and calligraphy signs and characterisation sheets and land naming and maps and paintings of what I think my characters look like.

I still have them. Shoved in the back of my gateway to Narnia.

I want to write a book that blows your socks off. I want to write a book that makes your heart ache with nostalgia and joy and the pleasure of meeting my people.

I want to write characters that will walk out of the pages and live in your mind and haunt your dreams.

But can I? And will I, EVER?

I walked past Waterstones today and there was a new book in there by a young woman not much older than me, and it’s famous already because she is a relatively well known Youtuber and it looks like a decent book, you know, because this girl actually has something decent to say.

And I felt so excited because it looks completely gorgeous and I have a feeling it is a heartbreaker, and I picked it up and read a few lines and well, I am happy for her, of course, but I am also a little bit jealous. I will definitely read her book because I like her content, and will support it.

It’s called ‘On the Other Side’ by Carrie Hope Fletcher.

I was jealous of Christopher Paolini who published Eragon at age fifteen. I thought, ‘I gotta beat this guy’ because I was thirteen at the time and I had two years ahead of me and I had three books under my belt.

But I didn’t send them to anybody. Because they weren’t good enough. Of course. They aren’t good enough. Nothing I have written is good enough. And I have a wonderfully electric story in my head but my fingers and brain will NOT collaborate to write it how my mind sees it and it is so FRUSTRATING because all I want is to have my books in shop windows and on bookshelves and to contribute to somebody’s childhood.




I want an epiphany moment.

I want to just get in my car and drive somewhere nice and have a right laugh and just.. let… go.

I realised that I have never, in my entire life, ever, ever ever ever let go.

Just let go.

Sometimes I have to force my mind to enjoy something I KNOW I love, but it is not truly carefree or heartfelt.

I always worry!

Even my laughter is checked. My hand will shoot over my mouth, and I will hunch my shoulders a little. I have never thrown my head back and laughed truly, deeply from the pit of my stomach. I worry my teeth might be too ugly and I hate my smile. I think it’s the cheesiest smile ever.

I have laughed myself to tears, of course. But never a belly laugh.

My sense of enjoyment and humour is checked too. I used to be a witty creature, back when my friends and I would hang out all day at school then call each other after school under the pretext of homework but we would always end up chatting about everything.. four hours.

I was with the kids yesterday and it was a party day because it’s the penultimate day of school, and I couldn’t get myself to really laugh and enjoy the moment. I worried the teacher would disprove or that I was doing something wrong. I wanted to make up and play so many games but I was worried the kids would think it was lame.

I worry too much about how I will end up looking or sounding that I end up stifling myself.

And I don’t want to do that! I am 22, almost thirty!

When I am cycling freely down a hill, wind whipping through my hair and slamming into my face, cool and refreshing, I worry about my brakes and the hard concrete below. It’s adrenaline inducing, and not an entirely unpleasant feeling, but it stops me enjoying the freedom and going as fast as I want to go.

So. I haven’t yet had the epiphany one has, at an age of their life, when they shrug off all concern and worry, and just enjoy the moment for what it is.

Sometimes my moments are horrendously ruined for me because I am a morbid old soul and think about death on a roller coaster, or my manipulative and abusive tormentor when I am on a special date. Then it all goes sour and what is supposed to be a great memory is marred by anxiety and sadness.

I am worried in the cinema because I don’t want to die in the cinema. It’s too loud and crashy and my soul doesn’t feel that great there. Weird, right?

My soul is special needs (insert joke face here). It doesn’t feel comfortable in some places. Or maybe it isn’t my soul and just my mental state.

So, folks, I want an epiphany. I want not to worry. I want a ‘hurrah’ moment where my shoulders are suddenly so light and airy and I can sail down that hill without ruining my joy.

What was your epiphany, if you have ever had one?


Love Letters #16

Handle with care. Don’t bark or bite. Step on egg shells around her. Oops. Made her upset again. I don’t know why. Or how. It’s all crumbling past my ears. I don’t know what I did wrong. Why is she so distant and moody. I only want to make her happy. That is all I care about. Why can’t she see that.

Dear Len

What if we both got in your old micra and drove down to Bradgate one evening. We could stay there till the sun sets, and have a little picnic. Maybe listen to some tunes. Spread a rug on the floor. Watch the horizon light up in flames, and as darkness spills over from the other edge of the world, slowly encompassing everything, we could watch the city lights twinkle on one by one. Until there is a crescendo of lights, magically winking through the distance. 


P.S. On Saturday. It’s forecasted to be sunny.


Sour expression. Again. Mouth set firmly. Slightly downturned. The left corner crinkles, pressed tightly. That’s how I know he’s upset. It’s because I didn’t sleep in that long car journey when I had that UTI and felt like there were knives slicing me open, and nausea and dizziness were threatening to tip me over the edge. How can you sleep when you feel like that, in a car? You just can’t. He was being too controlling. I didn’t sleep and now he’s been ignoring me for two days.


Fingers clutching ends of sleeves, hands barely visible, arms pulls over her chest. Head down. Can’t see her eyes. Don’t know whether she is sad or angry. Maybe both. Who knows these days. She doesn’t listen to me. Doesn’t she know I only want the best for her?


‘What’s wrong?’

Dreading the answer. Because I know what its going to be. He is always like this.

A shrug.


Well it can’t be nothing. Else you wouldn’t be so distant.

‘There is something wrong. Talk to me.’

Set mouth. Staring at laptop. Watching Last Week Tonight.


My heart is heavy. I hate this tirade. It’s exhausting. Over and over again. It’s too much effort. Something small could have set him off, and then he is moody for days. Days. Until I confront him about it, and these days I really don’t want to. Unnecessary effort. And he says am high maintenance.

Shall I give in and say sorry? I am cold at night. I need him to hold me. But why should it be like that? Why should he hold a grudge against me over something so insignificant and unnecessary?! It drives me mad!

Why should I say sorry when I didn’t do anything wrong? Why is he such a grown ass child? I am so sick of it. I have to torment myself for days while he becomes colder and colder and….

‘Maybe I am sick of my job. Maybe I have way too much on and very little help. Maybe I am sick of telling people what to do; because they are too useless to figure it out for themselves. Maybe there are too many demands on me. Maybe I am sick of travelling three hours a day to a job that doesn’t let me do what they employed me to do; that is, engineer their cars. No. They give me the filing paperwork crap that is useless and unnecessary. They employed an engineer to do secretarial work. What a waste of money and energy and brain cells.’

It burst out of him. The frustration only barely contained in his calm voice.

And that was all he said, all night.

Maybe I overreacted. Or maybe he used that to cover up some real resentment towards me. Or maybe I was being selfish and thinking his mood was all about me. Still. I don’t think he should take out his frustration on his wife, the only person who isn’t putting demands on him. I try to help him as much as I can. I don’t deserve such harshness. But. Well. People deal with stress in different ways. And he is under a lot of stress. I will give him a break.

For now.

But oh. My heart is so heavy.

N.B. He doesn’t really write like that. But in with his limited spelling and vast vocabulary, I am sure he could if he tried. What he did say sounded so much better, in his own special words, because I know him so well. It doesn’t translate so clearly in writing, though. Writing is in a league of its own.



Walk Away

Sounds so easy doesn’t it?

So why don’t people do it more often. Personally I think they darn well need to.

And in some sad and tragic and heart aching situations, they can’t walk away. Else they will get shot. And if they don’t walk away, they will still get shot. They will get shot because they have more melanin in their skin than those shooting them. They will get shot because people believe in stereotypes. They will get shot because the people who run the world don’t care enough, they will get shot because immorality is rife and society is breaking down.

I won’t say ‘spread love’ because that is what we are DOING. It’s not working. So many systems are flawed, and we are run by clowns.

I do, however, send my warmest wishes and condolences to the mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and children of those lost. I feel their misery, even though I cannot know how deeply it sets within them. I feel their pain and suffering and I want them to know that even though much of the world is harsh and cold and unfeeling, there are masses and masses of us out there who will speak out for them, who will keep shouting for justice until our voices are hoarse.