writing

A Cowboy from the Cosmos – part two

Read part one here!


What rotten luck! I was stranded in an empty, shadow of a world with a cowboy from space who was just as afraid of the dark as I was. Brilliant!

“But you’re from space!” I cried. “You can’t be scared of the dark!”

“Shhh!” He looked around warily. “You’re afraid too.”

“I’m a child! It’s okay for me, not you!”

“Well that’s not very fair,” he said.

I paused and pondered on this. It was true. Why were children allowed to be afraid but not grown-ups?

A howl echoed in the distance. The Cowboy sprang up from the bench, his eyes wide. A cool breeze chilled me to the bones and the stars began to fade into an inky sky.

The silence resumed.

“The ghosts are here,” he whispered. My breath caught in my throat. I pinched myself several times but nothing happened; this wasn’t a nightmare I could wake from. The darkness swallowed us up, closing in like a predator to its prey. My cosmic companion shook in his seat, eyes darting from left to right as he clasped his shaking hands together. It felt like we would be stranded here, in this abandoned park, forever sinking in our fears.

Enough was enough. I wanted to get home, wherever that was, but I wasn’t going to find it if I wept on a wet bench. I straightened myself up and grabbed the Cowboy’s hand.

“Come on,” I said. “Let’s run around.”

The warmth of another person seemed to melt his terror. We broke out into a jog around the park and my dress glowed like a pink ember. The eerie wailing returned, piercing the silence in between our heavy panting.

“What are you doing?” asked the Cowboy.

“I’m making some light.”

As we ran, the tattered old dress lit up more and more, bringing the park back to life around me. My dress was no longer pink but gleamed bright white, like a brilliant star.

“How is this helping us?” asked the Cowboy, but he let go of my hand and gaped at me. A mix of excitement and confusion spread across his face. I stopped running and felt the ground disappear from beneath my feet. I flailed around helplessly, floating in the air.

“Help me!”

The Cowboy grabbed my hands but my white gloves slipped off and he fell back to the ground. I screamed in terror, not wanting to be floating all alone in the dark with nothing but the howls of the wind for company. He jumped up and seized my wrists but couldn’t pull me down. The two of us floated higher and higher, away from the park and the world, with only a glowing dress as a guide into the unknown.

“What’s happening?” shouted the Cowboy. His eyes were shut tight and his long legs thrashed about.

“Stop moving, you’re making me wobble!” I yelled.

The park grew smaller, as did the world around me. I couldn’t hear the whooshing of the wind; in fact, I heard nothing at all. In front of me hung a big blue-green orb with swirls of white clouds, suspended in a silent orbit. I nearly let go of the Cowboy in amazement.

There we were, floating aimlessly in space, my dress burning like the brightest of stars, the Cowboy’s clammy hands gripping my wrists. His eyes were still shut as he whimpered to himself, but I couldn’t look away from the spectacular display around me. I spotted white wisps in the distance.

“Look, the ghosts are coming!”

I expected him to scream as I kicked my legs to try and move away, but instead the Cowboy laughed in delight.

“It’s not the ghosts, they’re the horses!” He let go of one hand and whistled with his fingers into the silence of space. “Oh, silly me, I need the whistle.” From his waistcoat pocket he produced a silver tube and blew hard.

No sound came but the white wisps became bigger and bigger until I saw they weren’t clouds of smoke at all, but horses. Five beautiful creatures of glittering white and manes of silver hair galloped effortlessly across the cosmos. They had no wings nor a unicorn’s horn.

“Come here Bess,” said the Cowboy, waving over the horse at the front of the group. He stroked Bess’s muzzle and she closed her dark eyes in comfort. I did the same to the horse behind. Its coat was like soft powder and they glowed just as brightly as my dress.

“You’re not afraid when you’re with them?” I asked.

“Not as much,” said the Cowboy. He smiled at them all and helped me mount a horse before sitting on top of Bess, positively beaming. Once more, the wailing came from behind us, piercing through the stillness of the galaxy. Green smoke drifted from Earth, coming closer to us.

“The ghosts!”

The Cowboy fumbled with Bess’s reins until he blew on the whistle again and the horses flew forward. I gripped my own reins and tried not to fall off. “What do we do?” I called out.

“Nothing, just keep running to Farallon!”

“But where is Farallon?”

The Cowboy didn’t respond.

The horses were like soft glowing clouds, and they moved like them too. Their graceful gallops couldn’t outrun the green ghosts, whose moans rang louder in our ears. We flew through deep space towards stars that moved further away from us. A green face appeared at my side, its grin as yellow as cheese and breath to match. It had tiny, dark eyes set deeply in its face, and awful slime drooling from its mouth.

I tried to scream but my voice was trapped in my throat. A wet feeling slipped down my shoulder as I felt the slimy hand of the ghost dripping on to me. The Cowboy glanced behind and saw the green ghosts gathering around us. He yelped and blew hard on the tube, but the horses were already running as fast as they could. I pulled on the reins of my horse and it moved out of rank to come side by side with the Cowboy and Bess. The wetness spread across my shoulder to my neck. Another ghost wrapped his slimy hands around the Cowboy. I pulled my horse over to get closer to him and my hands fumbled around for something, anything, till I grabbed the tiara from my head and threw it towards the ghost.

I had forgotten that gravity did not work in my favour. The tiara floated uselessly away. I fought back tears and tried to focus: why did they keep following us? What did they want? Their strange, crooked shapes looked like the shadows of the flies that buzzed around in my room.

An idea struck me.

“Stop running!” I yelled to the Cowboy. “Tell the horses to stop!”

He looked confused, but he obeyed. He pulled on the reins, even though he and Bess were covered in green slime. All the horses slowed to a stop, dripping with slime.

“Are you sure about this?” he said.

I said nothing and desperately hoped that the plan would work. My dress began to dim. I stayed as still as I could but my hands shook on the reins. The glow of the horses began to fade away. They were no longer white, but a dark shade of grey. Much to my relief, the green slime began to drip off.

“It’s working!” I said, but the Cowboy was not happy.

“We’re losing our light!” he called out, his voice filled with fear. The ghost slime slowly receded, but the spectres remained in front of us, with their awful yellow teeth and small, black eyes. They stared at us—watching as our light vanished completely—and the darkness of space cloaked us once more. My body tensed in fear, but I could not take my eyes off the ghosts.

“Your Highness… the dark… it’s so dark…”

“We have to stay still, otherwise they’ll keep chasing,” I said, barely moving my lips. I was scared to my bones. The ghouls’ long yellow teeth flashed at me and I blinked away, clutching the reins of the horse tightly. Tears ran down my cheeks as I wished I had never bought this dress in the first place. I wished I had listened to Mum, and I wished that she was there with me.

“Look, they’re leaving!” said the Cowboy. I opened my eyes and saw the ghosts drifting away from us until they became nothing more than a green haze floating towards Earth. I shook my head when the Cowboy lifted the silver tube to his lips. We waited until the green smoke was completely out of sight. The horses had grown so dark that they were almost invisible; it was as if we sat on nothing, and simply floated by ourselves.

Finally, the ghosts were gone. I glanced around at the emptiness of space, the cold darkness, the terrible silence. But somehow it wasn’t so bad. Maybe monsters lurked in the dark, but other things might be sitting there too. Like a cowboy in need of a friend.

He blew on the silver tube and away we went, gathering speed and light, riding until Earth was nothing but a blue speck in the distance.


 

Keep an eye out for the third and final part coming soon!

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A Cowboy from the Cosmos – part one

This is just a short, silly little story I wrote a while ago that was gathering dust in my desktop. Hope you enjoy!


My mother and I once argued in the middle of a boutique, and it wasn’t going her way. “You don’t need another dress,” she said, pulling folds of pink satin out of my hands.

“I want this one NOW!” I had screamed. I was adamant that I was a princess and that this dress was perfect for my many adventures in my kingdom behind the sofa. Mum was stubborn, but no match for me. She let go in frustration and I took the dress into my arms, hugging it like a doll. The owner of the boutique—an old woman with decades of wrinkles carved into her face—came towards us. She smiled, revealing her crooked yellow teeth.

“Find anything you like? Everything here is handmade.”

Mum sighed and pulled out her silver purse, clicking the clasp open in front of the till. I had won.

“No refunds or exchanges,” the old woman added.

My mother hesitated for a second before handing over the cash. I squealed in joy and skipped out of the shop, barely stopping to hear the old woman chuckling softly to herself.

At home I swayed in front of the mirror, the dress pulled on over my clothes. On closer inspection it wasn’t particularly beautiful. The colour had faded and the sequins on the belt were falling off. Nevertheless, I was caught up in the fleeting delight and had found my best tiara—shiny plastic with cheap jewels—and my white elbow length gloves to go with it. I pranced around the room, knowing I was the prettiest princess in the entire kingdom.

“Time for bed,” said Mum. She crossed my room and pulled the curtains across the darkened window.

“But I’m not tired! I’m a princess, and princesses don’t sleep when their mums tell them to.” I folded my arms and sat on the floor with a pout.

“Well, if you’re a princess, then I’m the queen. And you must always follow what the queen says,” she reasoned.

“Which means that I’m the king.” My father poked his thin face round the door, pushing his glasses up his nose. “And the king says it’s bedtime.”

I whined and beat my fists on the floor.

“But as you’re a princess,” continued Dad, “You can keep your dress on.”

I grinned as he hoisted me up under the arms, tucking me beneath the covers. “Are you going to be okay?”

“Can I turn the star on?”

He nodded. I bent down to the side of the bed and flicked on the switch. My pink star-shaped night light came on.

“Night sweetie,” said Mum. They switched the lights off and left the bedroom, closing the door behind them.

My heart raced in the darkness. The night light shone its pink glow across one half of the bedroom. It wasn’t enough; it was just a little light. Strange shadows cast themselves across my room, bent in awkward shapes and crooked figures. I hid underneath the covers, hands sweating inside my royal gloves. I could shout for Mum and Dad, but then they’d scold me for being scared. I was too old to be afraid of the dark, which was unfair because it was the dark—anything could be hiding in there. I whimpered in the sanctuary of my covers and waited for exhaustion to put me to sleep. A faint buzzing broke my fear.

Below me, a couple of green-bottled flies buzzed around the night light, entranced by its pink glow. I shooed them away but they continued flying around until one of them perched on top of the light. Its shadow extended across the floor and looked like a crooked ghost about to gobble me up. I snapped the night light off and heard the buzzing fade away towards the window, but now I was in the dark again. I sprang up from my bed and switched the bedroom light on.

A very pretty princess stared back at me through the mirror, but she had a wonky tiara. I straightened it and began twirling, dancing at my own royal ball. I had servants at my beck and call, a million and one different dresses to try on, and dainty slippers made of glass and gold. I twirled and sashayed across the ballroom, waving at my audience.

The room spun around me. I stopped dancing and stumbled to the door, opening it to the hallway. But the hallway wasn’t there. I stared into the pitch black emptiness and stepped through the door, wondering if the hall light had turned off. But the more I walked, the more I realised I wasn’t at home. I couldn’t feel the carpet beneath my feet, and when I stretched my arms out, the walls were not there. In fact, the entire house had disappeared.

“Mum?”

No answer.

“MUM!”

A heavy stone sat in my throat. On shaky legs, I ran into the abyss in front of me, hoping that Mum would be in there somewhere. I saw a path ahead of me, where weeds grew between slabs of concrete. Confused at how I could see the path, I looked down to see that my frayed dress glowed a gentle pink. As I slowed down, the light faded. So I kept running until the dress shone brighter and brighter, racing through empty streets where my footsteps echoed into the void of darkness.

The entrance sign for the neighbourhood park was half buried beneath grass and litter. The park itself was empty; even the surrounding houses had been lost to the dark. A deep silence shrouded my ears and my body clenched in fear.

I wandered into the lonely park and sat on a wet bench, the call of the wind whining in the distance. My legs ached and I panted heavily. There was no light anywhere and my dress started to fade again, but I had no energy left to run.

But it wasn’t completely dark. I looked up and expected to see the moon, only to behold the entire galaxy spread out above me. It was so beautiful: wispy clouds of stars all awake at night like a twinkling painting.

“You finally showed up.”

I jumped up, a squeak leaving my lips. A young man sat beside me on the bench. Surely he wasn’t there before? He had dark curly hair and a round face with big eyes. He wore a brown leather waistcoat, jeans that were torn at the edges, and scuffed boots. A strange hat sat on his head, like a cowboy’s.

“But it’s too late now, isn’t it? They’ve run off because you took so long. Well, I guess that’s princesses for you.”

“Who ran off?” I asked.

“The horses, who else?” He folded his arms and sighed, looking up at the sky with wary eyes. “Now I don’t know how we’ll get back.”

I looked around the gloomy park but couldn’t see any sign of a horse nor hear the sound of their hooves. This bizarre man didn’t make any sense.

“I want to go home,” I whined. ”I can’t find my house.”

He chuckled and adjusted his hat on his head.

“Princesses don’t live in houses, what a silly thing to say!”

My face became hot and tears trickled down my cheeks.

“But I’m not a princess! I just want to go home, it’s outside the park.”

“No way am I going back onto those streets,” he said, sitting cross legged on the bench. He looked eagerly at the sky. “We’ll just have to wait for the horses to come back. Don’t worry, they usually do.”

I stepped in front of him with hands curled into balls, my face wet and cross.

“Take me home NOW!” I tugged at his sleeve. “Now, now, now!”

He pulled away from my frantic yanking and looked down at me with curiosity. “Wait, Your Highness, I have to take you back to Farallon! You’re acting very odd.” I whined even more but he would not budge from his seat.

If I want to get home, I thought, then I’ll have to pretend to believe him.

“If I’m a princess, then what are you?”

The man cleared his throat, straightened his hat, and stood tall.

“Deputy Chief Wrangler of the Farallon Central Ranch,” he said with his chin up. “I’m in charge of looking after the horses.”

“You’re not doing a good job of that then, are you?”

He looked crestfallen and sat back down again.

“I’m sorry,” I said quickly. “I just don’t understand why you’re taking me back to… to Farallon?”

The Cowboy took a deep breath and clasped his hands. He bit his bottom lip.

“His Majesty told me to take Your Highness on a ride around the planet, as a treat, but I lost control and Your Highness flew away too quickly for me. I’ve been chasing Your Highness for forever and a day, and found you on this miserable-looking planet. It’s all my fault… I’m going to lose my job!” He grabbed his cowboy hat and sobbed into it, wiping his nose on the felt brim. I patted his shoulder with a satin-gloved hand and looked down at the dress. It no longer glowed, but I could make it out in the light of the stars.

I guess really am a princess, I thought. I always pretended to be one. Maybe dreams can come true with a pretty dress and a plastic tiara.

“So if we can find the horses, we can go back home?” I asked.

The Cowboy’s moist face appeared from behind his hat.

“It’s not just that…” He coughed and lowered his head to my level, looking around at the empty park before whispering, “I’m afraid of the dark.”

5 things I learnt from NaNoWriMo 2016

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For those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual writing event where writers all across the world are invited to write 50,000 words within November.

Yes, I actually managed it. To write 50,000 words in 30 days. To brave the early mornings, with bleary eyes and cold limbs; the frantic late nights, with aching feet and exhausted bones. This month, where my mind had completely crippled its creative capability, only to have a few hours sleep to recharge for the next day.

In 2015 I only managed 35k, which, at the time, I thought was quite an achievement. Now I’ve reached the ‘official’ finish line it feels great, but I still haven’t finished writing the novel. It’ll probably be another 50k before I do!

Here are the 5 things I’ve learnt this year, and hope that it encourages a budding writer to take part in next year’s frenzy:

1. Don’t let your other commitments stop you.

In 2015, I was a final year university student with, let’s face it, plenty more time than I had now. Despite that, I didn’t manage to win, and that made me cautious about reaching 50k this year as I had started a full time job.

I actually got off to a good start and was slightly ahead of the game for the first few days. In the middle I hit a slump but still wrestled through. I wrote in the mornings after fajr and when that was too painful, I knew in the evening I’d have to eat a quick dinner and get back to it. I wrote on my phone in the car before I stepped into work and again on my lunch breaks.

What this showed me is that you do have time to write. Anywhere and any time. Remember, NaNo is just about the writing itself. Editing is a whole other monster to tame, but just to write is much more fluid. Just do it whenever the feeling comes to you.

2. Uninhibited writing is brilliant

My novel had been brewing in my mind for several months. I had already wrote out a few scenes but nothing seemed right. I just couldn’t tell the story the way it was playing out in my head. I knew NaNo was the opportunity to write without any pit stops, breaks, or even any thinking. Just write whatever comes to my mind.

That was brilliant.

It means anything weird and wonderful can be born on the page, without feeling the need to hit the backspace or furiously scribble the out the words. No one will look at this crappy first draft, unless you give them permission. I know for a fact that the first drafts of any novel I write are completely out of bounds for any mortal being to lay eye upon.

Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of mornings and nights where stringing together words felt as painful as prodding my brain with a dagger (That’s where point 4 comes into play). But that’s okay, because it’s a first draft. When you let yourself write terribly you’ll find that the creativity of the story and the characters themselves start to shine better in your eyes, which is what I prefer to focus on in the first draft anyway.

3. Don’t look back. Not yet, at least.

Do not press backspace. If I genuinely cringed at something, but it was worth, say, 100 words, I’d just highlight it and click ‘strike-through’. That way it still counts towards my word goals, but when I get to editing I at least know it needs some work or needs to be deleted. Cheating? I call it NaNo-ing smartly 😉

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Daily word counts. See the infamous dip in the middle? A lot of self doubt going on there…

4. The community is wonderful

Join the forums (but don’t get too distracted), or dedicated Facebook groups, or even find people through Twitter. Don’t do this alone, because writing can be a lonely pursuit. Find cheerleaders to keep you going when you can’t bear to cheer yourself on any longer.

Word sprints are definitely what got me through: a casual challenge with other WriMos to see who can write the most words in a set amount of time. In reality no one is bothered who wins these sprints, because all that matters is that you wrote something.

That’s what’s lovely about the writing community: no one is trying to one-up you in anything. Everyone’s running towards the same goal, and if you trip or stumble, be sure that someone will catch you and pull you back up on your feet (or at least smack you to your senses).

5. If you want to do something, go do it. Go get your goals.

Yes, a slightly cheesy number 5, but a truth nonetheless. I’ve always, always wanted to be a writer, an author, or anything to do with words (let’s question my day job at a later time…). NaNo has shown me that I can write 50,000 words in one month, something I never thought I could do before. What’s to stop me from finishing this novel draft? From editing my novels? From actually getting published? The publishing journey can be a long and arduous road, but don’t be disheartened.

Remember what is at the core of your journey: your wonderful words.

Good news!

It’s nothing amazing or spectacular or even really that big. But it is, to me.

I finally got published!! *yay*

Just a short story really, less than 1,000 words, nothing special… but still — something I wrote is actually published. Alhamdulillah 🙂

Big thank you to Bunbury Magazine for giving me this opportunity, this stepping stone in my publishing and writing journey. You can find ‘Red’ in Issue 14 of the magazine here. All they ask for is a small contribution towards the magazine to help keep it running. That sounds fair, right?

And now to leave you with one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books 🙂

“– a beauty neither of fine colour nor long eyelash, nor pencilled brow, but of meaning, of movement, of radiance. Then her soul sat on her lips, and language flowed, from what source I cannot tell.” – Jane Eyre

Catch the sunlight

In these early hours of the morning, when all the dreams and wishes of the world lay in the palm of your hand, everything seems possible. Sunrise stretches over this ancient earth, but each morning it feels as soft and supple as a newborn baby,  like fresh snow awaiting footprints to carve a path into its canvas.

Push past the dreary remnants of sleep, the exhaustion that fills your bones, and the dread of the coming day. Push it all to the side. Listen to the songs of the morning birds, those that are ready to chase their purpose with every fibre in their tiny feathers. Those that chase the sunlight.

Spread the prayer rug out and let your forehead touch the worn fabric. Whisper words of wishes and hopes, to the only One who listens. Listens to the fears of frightened souls who have hearts too fragile to hold the world’s pain.

Go outside and embrace the breeze–cold and shocking at first–and feel goosebumps tickle the surface of your skin. Then catch the sunlight as it rises across a sleepy sky, until the warmth spreads over and fills you up from the inside.

In those earliest hours of the morning, when everything seems possible. When years of muddled confusions evaporate and you are left with a clarity as clear as polished glass. A clarity of purpose, of intention.

Take a deep breath. Look in the mirror and see your future staring back at you, waiting for you to take hold of it. Waiting for you to catch it in the palm of your hands, your eyes ablaze with the euphoria of eternal victory.

Crybaby

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I used to keep a baking blog here, but it took up too much time and I had far too much leftover goodies than I could eat myself. I kept the blog up for the nostalgic factor, but regardless, here’s what I made for Eid this year–a carrot cake that actually turned out pretty nice (if I do say so myself). Enough to get me back into baking! (Note: I realise I need to be more conscious about what I eat, but this cake was too pretty not to post!)

This post will probably be all over the place but to be honest, that’s how I feel right now. It’s as if I’ve been dragged out of my own body and plunked me into someone else’s, someone who’s more emotional, more tired, more fed up. And every day I keep saying “this isn’t me, this just isn’t me”.

I’m reading more into hypothyroidism/underactive thyroid because I want to learn more. Because the doctor can’t tell me more than is possible in a 10 minute consultation. Because I hadn’t realised how deep this condition can go (I’m still struggling to say the word ‘illness’). The more I do it, the more emotional I feel. Even the word ‘emotional‘–makes it sound like I’m getting teary for nothing. And honestly, I was never the type of person to cry over these kinds of things.

Was.

I remember being adamant that I only cried at ‘physical pain’, not emotional. I toughed myself out. Never used to cry at films. All that sort of stuff. Sure, maybe I put it on a little, but I wasn’t a crybaby. Now, these days, I’m having to take deep breaths. Tell myself to calm down. Don’t let myself get overwhelmed.

This isn’t me!

I tell myself I should stop reading into it and just give my brain a break–but in between all those moments of my brain fogging out, I’m thinking about this condition, because it’s starting to define me.

And I am so, so worried about that. It’s like having a cold define you. Or an itchy rash. It sounds ridiculous, right? So why should I let my underactive thyroid start to become me, because it’s not. I am so much more than my health, though my health is such an important part of me.

This is a strange post, I know. I figure writing it all out will help me sort myself out to a certain extent. It’s such an unsettling feeling, not being as reliable as you used to be. Reliable to myself; forget other people. I’d like to think myself as an independent person, always have done. Solitude isn’t frightening to me–that’s the perks of being an introvert. But the importance of asking for help is something I need to work on. It’s okay to feel weak, but asking for help doesn’t make you weak. It’s not something that should be looked down upon.

It’s like I have a dimmer switch in my brain that keeps going brighter or dimmer with a single thought. One moment I’ll be struggling to pull things out of my memory; the next, I’ll be jumping from one anxious thought to another, too quick to recall what I had thought the previous moment.

It’s frustrating.

Brain fog

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I’m tired of being tired.

I’m tired that my paper thin patience can snap at a moment’s notice because of something incredibly insignificant. I’m tired of feeling that way, and I know I wasn’t always like this. I’m anxious that I’m becoming more anxious;

a tiny thing I did yesterday is riddled in my thoughts today;

I feel embarrassed about doing something that other people barely noticed–or did they?

I am so concerned over these small things… and then not concerned at all. Not bothered and not caring–but not carefree. I just want to spend an entire day–twenty four cosy hours–in the security of my bed. Not having to speak to anyone. But I’m tired of feeling like I have to mentally pull a ‘let’s-be-social-now’ jacket over myself together just to talk to someone.

My bones, my muscles, my blood, feels tired. I can’t bear to drag myself up again, but I have to.

That’s normal, right?

But those are only the bad days.

I used to be carefree. I used to have the energy and zeal to spend time with others, to be able to make others laugh, be concerned about their well being. Now I fear that I’ll be too concerned, so I step back.

I don’t want to get hurt either.

I step so far back that I feel like my mind is in another room: boxed away, sterilised and sanitised; yet here I am, talking to you. You probably don’t notice all these things spilling around in my mind. Confusion upon confusion. Layers of fog.

I literally just forgot what I wanted to write next. I’m tired of that too.

I hate conflict, yet I feel like I want to start one whenever something ticks me off. I never used to be like this, I promise.

This isn’t normal.

It’s as if there’s a strange storm thundering inside me, wearing me down, straining me on all pressure points–and in the next instance there is nothing. Not even a calm sea–just nothing. I could stare blankly at a wall, neurons dimming, chemical circuits flickering; my thoughts too weak to resurface.

And then I’ll fall asleep, wake up, and the day will renew. It can be better. Sometimes I go back to normal, my normal, where I feel balanced and whole inside once again. But then it can get worse, and I’ll feel like grey clouds are filling me up, top to toe, bringing misery wherever I go.

It’s awful when you realise you’re no longer interested in those things that you loved to do. Not every day, thankfully, but sometimes I can’t bear to look at a book or pick up the pen. That could be classed as usual behaviour, but this isn’t just “I can’t be bothered”. It’s more a hollow non-feeling, where you have no connection to that activity, as if I’d never picked up a book in my life. A strange and unsettling thing.

It is terrible and tiresome when you have to contend with yourself. When your mind is telling you that nothing is going well, but there’s that silver voice that goes over the negativity, the voice of some-kind-of reason, telling you to get yourself together. Telling you it’s all okay, you’re just crying for no reason, you’re being scared for no reason. There’s no reason why you should stay in bed all day. There’s no need for this.

This is the fog that I fight through, and it feels terrible, because battling with your own thoughts is exhausting.

I don’t know where the end is. I don’t know for how long I have to carry on like this. I hope, well and truly hope, that I can manage this. You can never know what cards you’ll get dealt, but you can’t swap them or throw them back to the dealer. This is your lot in life, and you have to get on with it. Through every tear, every cry of frustration, each and every miserable morning where I don’t want to get up–I can do this.

It’s gonna be difficult, but that’s okay.

Not everything comes easy.

Just take it slowly, one foggy day at a time.