13 January 2023

Creative Corner - Writing Prompt 2


Today's writing prompt is:

A houseplant is dying. Tell it why it needs to live.

Jenny looked at the dying Snake Plant in front of her.  “Please don’t die.  You are supposed to be  indestructible!  I’ve loved you, watered you, why are you dying on me?”  The plant of course, didn’t reply.

This was no ordinary plant to Jenny, this was the only thing left that she had some control over, the last thing before everything in her life collapsed, or so it seemed.  In the past two months she had lost her job, her boyfriend had left her and now her landlord was threatening eviction if she didn’t make up her payments.

Everything that Jenny touched lately seemed to crumble away.  Her world had shrunk down piece by piece until suddenly; the only thing that she felt that she still had control over was that goddamn Snake Plant that her mother had bought her.  Now even that was dying.

Jenny wheedled and cajoled the plant over the coming days to revive; convincing herself that if the plant made it, so could she.  The plant ignored her and got worse by the day, with its now brown and black leaves falling all over the old carpet.

By day five Jenny had given up.  The plant was showing no signs of recovery.  She started packing boxes up around it, readying herself for the move back to her parent’s place.  She didn’t know what road lay ahead of her but couldn’t see anything good.

On moving day, Jenny was carrying the last box out of her apartment when something small and green caught her eye.  Hidden near the centre of the plant was a small green shoot.  New life amidst all the decay. 

The plant went into the box and Jenny left the apartment with a small smile on her face.  Maybe things would work out after all.

11 January 2023

Creative Corner - Writing Prompt 1

Writing prompt for today - 

You are looking down through the skylight as chefs prepare dinner for your ex-fiance’s wedding.

I am sat here, on the roof of the hotel where my ex love is getting married, peering through the skylight.  There are a million questions running through my head right now.  How did I get here?  How did it come to this?  Why has the bastard got the same cake design that we chose for our wedding?

Mark always used to tell me that I was too organised.  So organised it seems that I have helped him plan his wedding, to someone else.  How can it be that only nine months ago we were planning our own wedding yet here I am today, staring down at everything we had planned, but I’m not invited.

The kitchen is busy with waiters running around, chefs shouting to get the first course out; I see Mark stayed with the prawn and mango salsa starter that we had decided on. 

I only meant to take a peek around the door of the venue, how did I end up on the roof?  Now I am here, I’m not sure if I'm insulted or if I just want to laugh.  The menu looks to be exactly the one that we chose, the bespoke wedding cake that I had designed is there; I have no doubt that if I could see into the reception room, the place settings and decorations would be the same too.

Where is the bride in all this?  Where is Sarah?  When Mark left me, he told me that he wanted someone who wasn’t so fiercely independent.  Someone who would stay at home, have the children, become the perfect wife that he always wanted.  That has never been me. 

I always used to notice the way my friend Sarah looked at Mark.  The look of longing that she thought I didn’t notice.  Well I did, but never thought anything of it, until a week after he broke our engagement and I saw the two of them strolling hand in hand down the street.

I wonder what life she has chosen for herself.  Her own wedding, chosen down to the napkin holders by someone else, by me, the friend that she betrayed.  Not the best start to married life.  I thought I was over all of that, yet here I am, sat on the roof like some deranged stalker.

Ashamed, I move back to the edge of the building, looking round to make sure I won’t be seen as I descend the fire escape.  I wonder, have I made a lucky escape or has he?  He is the one in the wedding suit and I am crawling around on a roof.

I made it back down to street level and start walking around the building, anxious to get away.  I spy the wedding car pulling up to the front entrance in the distance and my heart starts to beat faster.  Do I hide, do I walk past; do I turn back?  Instead I linger at the corner, unnoticed by the people now crowding at the entrance.

Sarah looks happy, but also a little nervous (perhaps she thinks I am going to jump out of the bushes?).  Mark looks smug.  His loud voice carries down the street.  I hear him telling people that they are going to be amazed by the reception.  All his own work and planning.  He's taking credit for everything, as he always used to.

I smile to myself.  My heart stops it's relentless pounding.  I'm done with this man.  I wait for them to enter the hotel and then walk away, entering my own new life.

9 January 2023

The Turnstile


Have you ever had one of the moments when you have a sudden realisation that you, or your life (or both) has suddenley changed?

I was reminded of one such moment today and honestly, it is moment that I will treasure forever.  I even know the date that it happened.  Thursday, 4th October 2013.  Nearly ten years ago.  Such a small moment, but huge at the same time.

Firstly, let me give you some back story.  As I have not written on this blog for over a year, I am writing as if I am starting afresh.  So let me tell you about me.

Before I started down the gender critical path and found my true voice, I used to have another blog.  This blog was started as a plus size fashion blog.  The aim was to bring my wardrobe out of the depths of black that it had sunk into and for me to find some confidence.

I started out slowly, posting photographs of outfits that I bought, terrified with every post as if someone was going to reach through the screen and tear my tiny, but growing confidence, to shreds.  I wanted so much to feel better about who I was as a person, feel more confident and dress better.  I saw other girls doing it and wanted to do the same.

I started to get to know other bloggers and a few brands sent me some clothes (which was the most unbelievable thing that had ever happened to me).  Imagine, a clothing brand emailing you and asking you to pick out some clothes to review, and keep!!

I started to get a good readership and my confidence, not only in the way that I dressed but also, and more importantly, in myself, started to change.  I grew, not in size, but as a person.  I could feel myself changing as I forced myself to do more things, go out to places I would not have, speak to more people and challenge myself.

So comes to the day in question.  I had been asked by a brand to travel down to London to a dinner and reveal of a clothing line.  The thought of travelling to London on my own and doing all of that was absolutely terrifying to me so of course, I said no.

But then, the brand came back to me and offered not only to pay my rail fare, but also book a hotel for me.  All I had to do was go.  I couldn't turn down such an opportunity which would be great for my blog and I knew would a turning point for myself.

I remember my best friend telling me that I would be a different person when I came back.  I didn't really understand what she meant at the time.  But she was right.

I never travelled alone, or did anything outside of the house on my own so believe me when I say that I was terrified on that train journey down to London from Preston Station.  I had planned out the tubes I would need to get to get to my hotel and figured that I would take each step at a time and try not to have a panic attack at Euston Station when I decided that I was lost.

I managed, after negotiating around an Ecaduarian embassy in the middle of the street I was staying, to find my hotel.  I got dressed and went to the launch which was amazing and quite unreal to me.  I was there as "blogger press" alongside actual fashion journalists, other bloggers and also prizewinners who had entered a competition to be there. 

We were given a three course meal with wine up to our eyeballs and then were shown the clothes.  We were encouraging to try on and take any photographs we wanted, as well as, again to my shock; allowed to keep anything that we wanted.

I honestly felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, except a shorter, dumpier, not so beautiful version.  I felt amazing none the less.

The moment I realised that I had changed was on my journey back to Preston.  I had navigated my way through the tubes and had arrived at Euston.  Travelling down to London I had worn all black, black boots, black coat.  Travelling back I had decided to wear some of my new gifts along with what I had brought with me.  A black dress yes, but with colourful flower detail.  A bright red coat.  Mary Jane heels.

I did not really think about the outfit when I put it on that morning.  In truth, I had never worn anything like it before.  Colours and prints, together.  Heels when travelling.  

So to the moment.  I was coming throught the turnstile at Euston and I caught sight of myself in a mirror.  I didn't recognise myself at first.  I saw the outfit, liked it, then realised that it was me.  But more than the outfit, it was the expression on my face.  No worry.  No self conciousness.  Happy.  I looked so happy.  I looked like a different person.

I was a different person.  I had grown so much in 24 hours.  Although I still had far on my confidence journey to go, this was the biggest leap I had ever taken.  I just wish that someone could have taken a photo of me right then, that outfit and that expression.  That feeling.

It was one I will always remember and I will always cherish.  Because it was the first time that I realised that the pieces of me that I kept inside, the person that I wanted to be, was showing on the outside.