I am playing about with some writing at the moment. I want to intertwine the stories of 4 young women and include an element of mental health. Aimed at anyone really, but leaning towards a young adult audience. I started writing and have put together a passage of about 1000 words and thought I would post it on here to see if anyone has any feedback or comments. I know it’s not much to go on but it shoul give an idea of my writing style and the type of content. Let me know your thoughts 🙂
Have you ever felt like you could be an outsider in your own life? Like a guest in someone else’s home, too uncomfortable to make yourself a drink or help yourself to a sandwich? That was how it started.
There wasn’t some big event that kicked it all off – no defining moment of grief or melodrama – it just seemed to seep into the cracks of my personality and wash over me, with very little warning.
The loneliness didn’t help. That year it felt like I was always alone, just me and MTV and a confusing phone relationship with a boy who seemed to be as interested in getting to know me as he was avoiding any kind of communication with me in public.
Don’t get me wrong, there were parties and beach visits with friends, the usual social stuff that centred around the people that I managed to hide just enough of my personality to be associated with. Everything was the same but completely different somehow.
I don’t feel like I’m explaining myself very well.
All I can say is that I don’t remember where one version of me ended and the other began, but I do know that I started to feel different, like I had lost control over my life and was just a helpless bystander in it – hoping that someone else in the crowd was better qualified to deal with situation that was unfolding.
One of the main things I remember about my childhood was people telling me how pretty I was. People would often say to my mum, ‘Oh isn’t Ivy such a pretty girl’ or ‘She will be a heartbreaker when she grows up.’ These are, in fact, some of my earliest memories. I remember how proud mum would look as she bent down to stroke my shiny blonde curls, ‘You’re my beautiful girl, aren’t you?’ I would always smile and feel slightly awkward; I was terrible at receiving praise even then.
The more I heard it, the more it became part of the list of qualities that I learnt to attribute to myself as time went by. In my pre-teens, that list also included qualities like ‘clever’ and ‘talented’, but these swiftly faded and were replaced by ‘lazy’ and ‘overweight’ by the time I was about 12. And suddenly ‘pretty’ was all I cared about. It was like I felt it was the only one left so I better work really hard at it. I used to spend ages fantasising about being the most beautiful girl in the world, like a modern day Frankenstein’s monster, body parts of various popular culture goddesses sewn together and coated with a perfectly airbrushed finish. But, at some point, a ‘harmless’ yet constant stream of daydreams started to take their toll – around that time, the bingeing began, and I started to panic.
As I scanned the room, I realised I had been stood there on my own for, what felt like, at least half an hour. If you multiplied that by how much of an idiot I looked and then a bit more for the awkwardness of it all, I had probably been standing here for about 7 days straight. I had also become incredibly aware of how short and uncomfortable my dress was and the fact that my cheap, knock off ‘Spanx’ kept rolling in all the wrong directions, every time I moved – even if that was just to move from one foot to the other to stop the excruciating pain from my ridiculously uncomfortable shoes.
I checked my phone again. I have no idea why as I only had one bar of signal that kept fluctuating up and down, so it was unlikely to be of any use to me. Looking around I could see the problem. Apart from where the staircase came down in the middle, the room was completely enclosed and had no windows, due to it being situated a few meters underneath street level.
I looked over to the direction he had walked in – hoping to see him walking back towards me with two drinks in his hand and an apologetic look on his face. But all I saw were men in blue jeans with white shirts talking to pretty women with orange skin, with varying degrees of success.
It must have been about 20 minutes now. I stood on one foot like a flamingo and rotated my ankle. I didn’t know whether to stay put or go and have a look for him. Maybe he was in trouble or had been chucked out? As I released my foot back down and took a step forward, I felt my phone vibrate. It was a text from Ryan.
‘Where are you going?’
OK, I thought, trying to be funny and pull a prank on me. I looked around in a circle from where I was stood, but still couldn’t see him. I wasn’t amused, but I wouldn’t let on, I didn’t want him to think I was as boring as all of his previous girlfriends.
‘Haha you got me! Where are you?xx ’ It took a few attempts to send, but when it did I still wasn’t sure, as I didn’t get a reply. It was really starting to piss me off now. I walked over to a nearby sofa and sat down on the cold leather, avoiding the hole where the Gaffer tape had been vandalised, leaving the sticky side exposed and grubby.
As I sat and rubbed my calves, I remembered that we had sat here the first time I had come up to visit Ryan. We had spent the night drinking way too much vodka and laughing until we cried. I smiled as I remembered the way we danced and shouted to each other over the invasive thud, thud, thud of the bass. The way his gaze was permanently blinkered in my direction – I had the reigns and I knew it.