Now that you’re grown.

You have to be in a kind of mood for writing, and for working out, and for doing anything remotely productive and worthwhile.

That’s what I used to think.

Now I know you have to show up, even when you don’t feel like it.

Show up every single time your child cries in the night, and they will have a healthy attachment with you.

Show up every session at the gym, or move your body every day, even when you don’t feel like it, and your cardiovascular health will excel.

Show up everyday and write, if you want to be a writer.

Show up for yourself, and you will reap the benefits. Nobody else.

One of my favourite quotes is this:

Write a million words, the absolute best you can write – then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you’re ready to begin.

David Eddings

I have had to show up these past three years. I have had to show up for my kids, at the expense of myself. I have had to show up regardless of how I felt, how ill I was, whether I had brushed my teeth or not.

And because I have had to do that, I have had to take a good long look at any hours I had free, and fill them with things which made me a better person.

A stronger person.

A person I wanted to be.

I don’t know what this means except maybe that I am growing up.


I think early motherhood is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. Every single day is a battle I am fighting alone. It is a vastly lonely place. Time stretches endlessly yet snaps away in an instant. It’s exhausting, exhaustive, filled with guilt, self hatred and overwhelming love.

I feel like there is a huge lump in my throat and I need to cry and cry and cry but it is not high enough to spill out of me in tears.

I know I know I know this will pass and I will look back on it wistfully and sadly and nostalgically and perhaps… perhaps with heartbreak? I know this time will go and I will pine and yearn and ache for my precious babies as they are now. Thieves of my heart. Apples of both my eyes. Their names are scarred on my soul forever and my back breaks for them every single day. I ball up fury and resentment and frustration and it explodes in hugs and kisses and squeezes and promises and the occasional yell.

I am alone. I am lonely. I have no family nearby and barely any friends in the same boat as me.

We are all busy busy busy and people tell us to enjoy every single moment and we try we do we try we try try try but there is only so much you can give when you have nothing left inside.

I am a hollow shell of who I used to be. I laugh shrilly now. Anxiety lives in all my pores and breathes under my arms and heaves like a pit in the loose folds of the extra skin that has stretched and stretched and stretched over my stomach. Housing my two babies. Rent free but I paid dearly for it. A price I am not willing to accept has left my bank yet.

I think about everything all day. Everything everything everything. Things I have to do and haven’t done. I am not being a wife or a woman or a partner or a daughter or a sister. I have no time to be and no help to be but I am facing the consequences of not being those things.

I am lost lost lost lost dark drowned.

They all say every day, they all say over and over again. They say: This is hard. They say: You are not alone. They say: You’re a great mama. They say: This shall pass.

So I write a note to myself and put it on the fridge, because I am always opening that fridge. I write it with an old felt tip pen that is washing itself out.

I write:

When you are feeling overwhelmed and angry, remember this is just a moment out of many. Make it count.

So when they are old, older, oldest. When they are older and I have space to breathe and space to miss them and space for my heart to yearn for their small little faces. So when they are old I can have less things to regret and more to cherish.

The Transition

Today I saw a man standing in the middle of Leeds town centre with two boards hanging off him.

At first, I thought, ‘He is probably advertising a club.’

But I read the writing, because when one sees writing, one reads it. It is inevitable. It was just regular writing. Nothing brilliant or fancy or popping. Just blue words on a white board.

The words said, ‘If you like reading books, please take a flyer.’

Or SOMETHING like that. And I do. Like reading books. Dream of writing a book, that is. A wonderful fantastic book.

So I asked for a flyer.

What has this guy got to say?

Well, he wrote a book. He said that he had a dream to be in the league of JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins, and a New York Times Bestseller.

Well, that is certainly a dream, alright.

He is very humble in his words. He says he thinks he wrote a special book, and he is not going to try to convince us that it is the best book, but to keep him in mind if we are looking for something to read.

His name is R J Tomlin and his book is called The Transition.

If you like reading books, check it out. I do not think you will be disappointed. And I do think that somebody who hangs boards on his back in the middle of town centre with a big smile on his face deserves to have his book read.




My Dad

Is getting old.
Constantly tired.
Took a holiday photo of him yesterday.
When I zoomed in he looked like he was just about holding on. A lump blocked my throat when I saw how tired and aged he looked.

When I was born, my dad was so excited running down the stairs to see me that he slipped and broke his coccyx bone.

Now if he sits too long it hurts him.
“It’s cause of you,” he tells me, eyes laughing.

I was late at the Moroccan baths today with one of the girls.
He walked all the way there to make sure we were OK.

He is so patient with everybody. And works so hard to ensure his kids have a good education and don’t take out loans. That is no easy feat you know. He never has a holiday, even when it is his holiday. He takes on numerous other translating jobs and is up so late, waking up before everybody else to finish his work.
Nobody cares.

All my memories of him as a child involve him giving us his time, playing with us, taking us to parks, telling us stories. Those were the best memories.

Now he listens to us when we talk. He shows his care through his actions.

My dad is the kindest person I have ever known. All the children everywhere love him to bits. He plays with them and makes them giggle and in return they pile their sticky kisses on him and wrap their chubby arms around his neck and climb all over him and I remember I used to do that when I was a wee tot.

I worry about him. So much. And I don’t think I could ever be a good enough daughter to him; all the sacrifices he has made and all the hours he puts in to make sure our life is not as hard as his was.

Hey, you know what?
We all have our own special memories of our fathers/parents. Our own little things that make them special to us.
What makes your father special to you?

Love Letters #1

I don’t know if you know this, but I love you.

I thought I loved you in the first month of our marriage.

I thought I loved you last year, when we were married for a year.

I thought I loved you on December the 19th, when I threw everything out of the cupboard in anger, and you were furious, and we didn’t talk all the way back to your family home, and you went out until late, and I was bloated and felt horrible, and you came back as I lay in the darkness, and without a word you held me.

Or last month, when you slept holding me so tightly I woke up with neck pain, and you massaged it before hauling yourself up for that long drive to work.

I did love you then, of course I did, but as the time passed, it crept up on me more and more and poked me on the shoulder, and when I looked back to acknowledge it, it had become a mass double its previous size.

Threatening to envelope me and overwhelm me.

Shall I give myself up to it?

I don’t think so.

I think I will carry on walking through life, clambering up the steep bits, pulling myself up the stark cliff faces.

Sometimes you’re ahead, holding your hand out to steady me over the sharp rocks, and sometimes I am throwing you a rope, and slowly hefting your tired body up.

Sometimes you are leaping on way ahead of me, and I am out of breath and in tears, struggling to catch up, calling your name but my voice is so faint over the wailing wind.

But you always stop. You stop and look round, and realise I have fallen behind, and you wait for me. Sometimes you come back to help me forward, holding me tight in your strong arms, whispering sweet somethings in my ear. Somethings I will never forget.

I want to get old with you. I want to go everywhere with you. I want to see you smile, and watch you learn and grow and change. I want to see your awe and excitement, I want to be a part of your epiphanies. I want to make you happy.

I know sometimes we will fight horribly. I won’t agree with you and you will become cold and hard, like marble. But you know me, and I know you. I know what you are about to say before you say it, and sometimes you can guess what I am thinking just by looking at my face.

Sometimes I smile at you, and you ask me what’s wrong.

“That lip,” you say, “is quivering.”

You pull me away from the crowd.

“Your eyes,” you say, “are not happy Len eyes.”

“Your personality,” you say, when I am at my lowest point, sad and inadequate and demotivated, “lights up the room.”

I know I love you more today than I might next week. But know that even when the love wanes, and anger and frustration take its place, I will still get up early for you, I will still see you off, I will still kiss you goodbye and make sure you have your hat on your ears. I will make sure you have enough blanket at night. I will get your pyjamas ready for you on those late, exhausted nights. I will ‘sort you out’ for lunch, because I know better than you know what you want. I will make sure you eat when you are so focused on your work you forget to take your coat off. I will hold you until you fall asleep, your breathing gradually becoming deeper and deeper.

I love you in words. I love you in actions. I love you in thoughts.


“Happy Birthday Rihanna: See her best ever looks”

Now I am no fan of Rihanna. Don’t get me wrong, she does have talent; her voice is deep and powerful and her tune is pleasing. However she just doesn’t do it for me musically. I don’t like the content of her songs, and the themes she alludes to. I am not comfortable to listen to what she has to say, it doesn’t fit in with my moral standards and it depresses me. There.

However, all that doesn’t deny the fact that she is successful and she must have got there due to both talent and hard work, which is admirable to say the least. So, in commemrotating her birthday, why does MSN feel the need to celebrate this woman by highlighting all the times she looked her best?

Here is the article, if you can call it that:

Surely they would celebrate a famous singer’s birthday by listing their most successful albums, or the times they reached a new level in their ascending career? By talking about the hard work and effort they put in, to achieve success at a young age? There is no denying that Rihanna is a beautiful woman, but really, is she only to be characterised by her stunning looks? Are her ‘best looks’ the only thing she has achieved in all her years as a famous celebrity?

People could argue this until they are hoarse but it doesn’t diminish the fact that by honing in on somebody’s looks, the media and its followers are making society more shallow and materialistic by the day. They are making it clear to the younger generations that Rihanna’s ‘best looks’ are what is important in this picture, not the fact that she worked her ass off and probably didn’t have it all handed to her, that she seized opportunities and put herself out there, and pushed for what she got. In this world of immediate gratification it is easy for a young person to think that they can judge somebody so easily based on what they look like or how they dress. It signifies that this is okay.

I know it’s the norm for some news outlets to publish these things, but because these types of articles are so numerous (it doesn’t take that much brain power to come up with a slideshow which focuses on a woman’s outfits – you can get all you need from google images!) and scattered all over the internet and are therefore so accessible to people nowadays (I saw this article when I logged out of my hotmail account!), it’s definitely going to be seen by a lot of impressionable people and contribute to making our society more empty and shallow than it already is.

This isn’t even journalism. This is an excuse to scrutinise another person by her physical accomplishments, rather than her hard work and effort to maintain her success. This is superficial bullcrap.