The Hell Butterfly

Musings

Red Versus Blue

Value of the gold of gods

diminished in the eyes of men.

Atrocities of blood long shod

Convince us not to start again.

Death, destruction, fear and doubt,

A people running, hiding scared.

Glass in the throat. We cannot shout.

It’s war and we are unprepared.

Electric tongues of famous faces

spit their lines amongst deaf ears.

They try to shock, their lies leave traces;

lightening scars awash with tears.

Athena won’t you come to me,

explain the reason for this woe?

She will not come, our destiny,

to take a seat and watch the show.

Smothered in a napalm blanket,

tiny hands begin to reach

up into the flames that drank it.

No more children left to teach.

Through echoes of the promised land

the sound of drums attempt to tell

the story we don’t understand:

we are the reason we’re in Hell.

They arm themselves with dictionaries

for words too striking to ignore.

They slip them into policies

they don’t explain, but kill the poor.

Cry me a river, grab an oar.

O, Amphitrite strike me down!

They took our freedom, then took more.

Faith can’t save us. Let me drown.

There is a lesson left to learn:

do not succumb to this defeat.

Through glass walls we watch it burn

and play our mantra on repeat.

“O, woe is me, this world is cruel.

Please, no more, my heart will break”.

We make our coffins, fit to rule,

and lay down in them. Our mistake.

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‘Tis the season

This Christmas didn’t totally suck.

And I kind of feel shitty about that.

As I’m currently mellowing from my final Christmas snootchie-boochie whilst Rick and Morty sneak through space customs, I won’t go into this now. This is, however, a promise to see you within the next few days with a full post. For now let’s just say I’ve started and ended a job as well as moved house since I last stretched my fingers for Jigokucho. As my laptop is finally fixed I shall enjoy a mental splurge to update you with the stress and intensity that is my everyday mundane life.

Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to all of the Hell Butterfly family. Here’s to the (hopefully better) New Year.


Hard to chew, harder to swallow

I really hate being hungry.

For those who know me through this blog, you may have seen me write about my issues with food before, and for those who know me in person … well, you’ve seen it firsthand.

Since I was young I’ve had an unstable relationship with food. I find it difficult to even cook in front of people. Eating in front of friends and family is a piece of cake (pardon the pun). But strangers, work colleagues and even my housemates? That’s where it gets harder.

If I had to pick one moment in my childhood that ruined me in the healthy eating side of things, I know what I would choose. That one defining moment that, like a bad dream, has never faded from my memory. Though the specifics may be gone I can still feel the shame of it. It clings like a bad smell.

I was eight years old, getting ready for school and it was time for breakfast. My older sister had recently become obsessed with Weetabix, so my mum had bought a load and decided to try me out on it. I didn’t like the texture, the little oaty bits floating in the milk in my mouth seemed like the worst combination you could invent for a morning meal. So, obviously, I said I didn’t like it and was about to go on my way. I was happy enough to last until break time when I could spend 20p on a warm bread roll from the Tuck Shop. I didn’t see the harm in turning it down.

That is, until my mum poured it over my head. I don’t know if she was in a bad mood prior to this, or if it was me who had sent her over the edge. All I remember of that moment was her anger, and my head covered in Weetabix. Thick, gloopy wheat slid through my hair. Honestly it resembled something more akin to baby sick than edible food, part of the problem when I tried to eat it. But I hadn’t eaten it, and so there I sat at the breakfast table, pink nightie and slippers still on, coated in my own food.

And then she made me go to school.

I really don’t like to think about this. It makes me feel like a horrible person, making my mum out to be some cruel bitch who treated me like shit. She didn’t, she just wanted to prove a point. She just wanted me to eat my breakfast and be quiet about it, but she never intended to cause me any harm. It did, but that’s beside the point. I forgive her … forgave her a long time ago. That doesn’t stop it hurting when I look back though, especially when I see the correlation between the way I felt then, and the way I feel every time I try and eat now.

So off I went to school; eight years old, pink nightie on, Weetabix now congealing in my hair. I was sent off to class like nothing had happened, but obviously it didn’t take long for people to notice. I was late as it was. I entered my classroom and all of my peers, one by one, turned and looked at me.

Picture it.

I was mortified.

I don’t remember much of the aftermath of that day, just the voice of my headteacher as she washed my hair as best as she could, and dressed me into my uniform behind a sheet she’d found in the fort in the corner of the room. I have never forgotten it: the feeling of being utterly humiliated.

I think that’s why I struggle so much now.

Almost every time I think about eating food, I feel like I don’t deserve it. I tell myself I don’t need it, that I can manage without. When I’m eating I’m not enjoying it; I’m wondering who is watching me, what they’re thinking, are they judging me? I’m covering my mouth so no-one can see me chew. Sometimes I’m screaming at myself for being a fat cunt who only ever seems to shove food down her throat and then is too much of a pussy to puke it back up again after. Because yes, I tried that. But I’ve puked too much in my lifetime through travel sickness to pull the proverbial trigger.

The bigger problem shows itself however when you look at the direct correlation between my eating, or lack thereof, and my mood. If I don’t eat enough in the day, my mood takes a severe dive. It’s why I get myself into so much trouble when I don’t eat at work. Sometimes it can be a simple thing of there being too many people in the room at once, sometimes it can be a case of being in a bad mood before lunch begins which transfers into an absolute lack of desire to force food into my system. It means some days I wake up at 05:30 and don’t eat until late afternoon or evening, where some days I eat at 12, maybe 13:00 at the latest and won’t eat again that day. And if I let it happen more than once, it spirals to more than once a week, then creeps up to more than half of the time. It’s unbearable. Sometimes lunch break is pure torture.

I am also infamous in my team at work for not accepting food from people. Bear in mind there are around 12-13 of us, including my manager who adores baking of all kinds, and on top of this a senior team who want to make us feel better about losing our jobs by throwing us all pasty days and the occasional lunch buffet. Any time food is offered around the desks, it gets to me and people will either skip me entirely, or offer out of mere politeness. In the case of the latter, I have lost count of the amount of comments – not hurtful I should add, that’s important – saying “don’t bother, she won’t accept it”. Whilst this is true, I almost always will turn down an offer of food, of chewing gum even, it is also true that it hurts that I can’t accept it. Maybe it’s habit, maybe it’s fear. Personally I think it’s both. That’s why I’m trying to break that habit and hoping with it so too will the fear dissapate until I can just … eat.

I know of a local place, or more I know of a local website, that offer courses, classes and in-person councelling sessions for eating disorders. I don’t know if what I have is a “disorder”, but I think they can help me. I am thinking of contacting them. I’ve had this for years. For 14 of my 22 years I have lived with this. It is crippling. Do you know how many panic attacks I’ve suppressed in restaraunts trying to have a nice meal with my family? How many hours I’ve spent crying because I’m so hungry but thinking of food is too excrutiating to remember how to breathe? At it’s worst I can go into total shut down just trying to pick up my fork. And all the while the voice in my head is verbally battering me with cries of “pick it up, you twat” and “just fucking do it” and “it’s only food; what’s wrong with you?”

I’m trying to make sure I eat lunch every day. So what if there are four people in there? There are more than four chairs, and I need to eat too. I have also discovered there is one person at work who can get me to accept food. Mostly I feel guilty for not accepting because he asks so nicely, but I think it has a lot to do with trust as well. Trust in him that he won’t pressure me into taking it, just encourage. But perhaps trust in myself that nothing bad will happen if I take it. Public eating is still hard, but it’s a start. I still can’t comfortably sit in a restaraunt and eat a meal, only time and practice will help that.

I want to get better. I’m sick of it. Food has held this power of me since before I hit double-digits and it’s time to stop. Time to kick the unwanted house-guest from the bedroom of my brain.

I want to be free.


That Time Again

As you may know, Christmas is a hard time for me. The last three or four of them I had to bail upstairs to escape my family even if just for a little while. It gets intense around them and I never quite feel welcome. Two years ago was the worst, I won’t drag you through the details again but that December through February were pretty fucking hard. I got over it eventually, just, but it sucked.

This year wasn’t so bad. I opened my presents without too much self-consciousness, ate my entire meal and then tried to enjoy the food-coma TV session. The latter became too much as expected, but this year instead of slipping upstairs to cut myself, I decided go get drunk on shots with my sister. We invented drinks, I learnt that I can layer Baileys on Creme de Menthe, and we actually had fun. Then I got emotional. Now, I’m not much of a drinker, so I don’t really know what kind of drunk I am. I usually get a little cuddly, then get self-depricating. This time however I let my December stress erupt in tears while my family watched Apollo 13 in the other room. I still don’t know if they heard me crying, but I was a mess.

Me and my sister talked for a good 30 to 40 minutes. It’s the most open I’ve been with her (voluntarily) in pretty much ever. I don’t want to say what we spoke about, but it was nice and helped put certain things into perspective. One thing I told her was that I still have anxiety and depression. She knew, of course, that I’d struggled. She accidentally saw one or two of my darker posts on here so she knew I cut and she knew I’ve struggled. But this time I chose to tell her myself. And now I’m telling you, just because it helps me to get it out in written text.

I’m struggling. Again for my own reasons I don’t want to talk about some of it, some things are too personal even for The Hell Butterfly. But I trust you and I like to write about it, regardless of whether you want to read it. I’m not happy in my job. I work in web support for 3 well known train companies here in England. I help people make bookings, process refunds, sometimes file complaints. It’s not a bad job and it pays enough, but I’m not learning and it’s stressful. People in the public are stupid, and rude, and sometimes even insulting. And when an angry Indian man who you’ve just denied a £100 refund to starts yelling and swearing at you down the phone, it’s hard to keep the anxiety from fucking up your job (yes that happened). I want to quit so bad, start a career in writing or editing or publishing, but I need the money and I’m trying to make a living in a dying industry. The conflict of what I want to do versus what is out there for someone like me is intense and it makes me uneasy.

I’m also finding it very hard to eat at the moment. I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about my food issues on here. I find it very hard to cook in front of people, and nearly impossible to eat in front of people I don’t really know or trust. It gets harder still when the depression and anxiety kicks in. I start over thinking, worrying about my weight and body shape,  what people will think of me, and it spirals to where I tell myself I don’t deserve to eat. I care so much what other people think that I start to hate myself and feel disgusted with myself for even being hungry. I’ve had a long-standing chaotic relationship with food. I think it stemmed from a childhood incident involving Weetabix, my mum pouring it on my head, and being forced to go to school like that in my nightie. I don’t like to remember that. About 4 or 5 years ago I would make sure I didn’t eat more than around 500-600 calories a day. I kept a spreadsheet. If I ate over 1000 I punished myself in ways I imagine you can guess, knowing my personality. My point is, the last few weeks have been tough and with it has come more issues surrounding my ability to eat. Some days at work, if there are 4 or more people in the break room I can’t eat. There’s too many people and I panic.  It means some days I wake up at 05.30 and don’t eat until 15.00, or eat at noon then don’t eat again that day.

I’ve recently come down with the illness everyone seems to be getting too. It feels like my voice box is trying to claw its way out of me through my ears. I feel nauseous a lot and that in turn affects my eating. Add the stress of my job and a recent (mildly terrifying) personal scare and we have a recipe for disaster. Yesterday I had a few cups of tea, some pasta at about 1pm, then only managed to stomach a half bowl of ice cream and a few sips of tea before bed. I was ill and in a very bad state of mind. It had been a hard day and a tough month in general. Finding the desire to put food in my mouth is a task in itself. I feel sick thinking about moving the fork to my mouth and chewing. It seems the only times I eat right these days is when my boyfriend’s dad invites me round for tea and cooks for me. I’m trying to fix that.

So basically this post is just me saying I’m struggling with food, my job, and my personal life. I’m hoping I can get back on track with writing as I’m finding it hard to know how to do even that but it does make me feel better to post on here, no matter the subject. Thank you all for sticking with me and Happy New Year everyone.


It’s Okay Not to Vote

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As has been on many a social media site and television channel alike, most of the country is focussed on one thing: the election. Who is voting for who? What will they do about immigration? How much do they plan to overspend by this year? Now, I am a 21 year old female about to leave university and join the ‘real world’, and this would seem like the prime moment to choose a side. But the truth is this: I am not voting, and that’s okay.

With so many people telling you to vote and stressing the importance of making a decision about who will run the country, it is hard to remember that it is okay to not want to vote. But the truth of the matter is that politics is hard, and not many people actually understand it. There is a lot to learn, and it isn’t something that can be taught overnight. Simple questions like, why does everyone hate Ed Miliband so much?, or what is the difference between left and right wing?, are actually much more complicated to explain that you may think. To really understand the complexities of politics, it will take a lot of perseverance, keeping your ear to the ground, and patience. Someone who seems to know everything about it has probably been following it for some time. It takes time to understand something that complicated and you should not be ashamed to ask the “stupid” questions because, to be honest, there are no stupid questions.

I am not voting this year. I took a survey online that suggested I should vote Labour, but just because an online questionnaire says I seem to favour the reds, it doesn’t mean I’m going to run out and sign the next 5 years over to them. The main reason I’m not voting is because I don’t understand it. I refuse to vote for something without first knowing what I’m voting for. I couldn’t tell you the difference between any of the parties, so why would I tick a box, or even spoil the vote, without first getting to grips with the basics? In my opinion, it is perfectly okay to choose not to vote at all if you don’t understand. Rather than casting a vote for something unknown, I have chosen to hold back and spend the next five years watching what happens. I intend to find and read the manifestos, see which I side with more, and then see if the party that wins A) stands by their promises and B) makes a positive difference. If they break their promises, or make things worse, it will make my decision more informed next time the vote comes around. By that time I will have a more well-informed idea of the world of politics.

And moreover, I will have a better understanding of what I need. I have a pretty good knowledge of student life, having just spent 3 years at university. But the vote is for the next five years. I am no longer in education, but I am also not yet integrated into the working world. It is impossible for me to comment on what I need in regards to wages, tax and benefits etc. until I have spent some time finding a job, and living in rented accommodation, I will be unable to know what I need from my government. This is something I think is overlooked. Young people still in education are being encouraged to vote, but that government will be in play when they leave, and it is near impossible to predict the difference in living during and after university. Come the next big election, I will have experience under my belt, and a working knowledge of the government. Only then will I be ready to make an informed decision, and have formed my own opinion.

It is okay not to vote. It is wrong to push a person into voting just because you, yourself, understand it. Many people don’t and it is far better to withhold judgment on an unfamiliar topic than to make an uninformed choice under pressure. Your vote is important, that much is true, so don’t throw it away needlessly. You wouldn’t buy a car without first understanding the differences, so why choose your parliament without an understanding of it? Get informed. Listen to debates, follow the headlines (and know the papers’ biases), read the manifestos. And then when the next election comes around, if you feel you understand it enough, go right ahead. At least then you’ll know your vote will mean something.


Because ‘Twisted’ is my Middle Name

Why do we feel we have to censor our writing in order to please the general public? The same old stories with their same old characters and same old plot-lines keep coming back over and over again onto our shelves. The same archetypes that have circulated the literary globe since the dawning of time. I can’t help but wonder, where are the real gruesome stories? Where is the blood, the incest, the fucked-up catastrophes that, let’s not forget, exist in real life.

Why is it socially unacceptable to write stories/poetry/lyrics about the topics that are a litle bit too ‘out there’ for a select few over-sensitive people? For some reason, there are a great number of people in the world who refuse to acknowledge that shit happens. Some people acknowledge it, but refuse to accept it. And what then for those of us that do both? I know there is some messed up stuff in the world, and I accept that. So why should it be considered ‘wrong’ or ‘taboo’ to stay quiet on the subject in literature?

I admit, I am not a great writer. I was under the impression for years I was great, but honestly I just know how to manipulate the English language in a mediocre way. But this aside, every story I come up with has some form of fucked-up shit happening either behind closed doors, or bang in the centre of a public place. For example, I just wrote a six word story for my university coursework:

Pale, cold, naked; Daddy’s Little Girl.

To many people the twisted suggestion of this will be too much to bear and in their heads they will be screaming why has something so vulgar been written? But I say to you, why not? Why shouldn’t it be written? Allow me to explain the meaning behind this story. On the face of it, it is a young girl loved by her father – maybe too much, and in the wrong way. The initial impression is perhaps some form of abuse. The point of the semi-colon is to split the physical attributes with the suggested context. But this can be read another way. Pale and cold, both applicable to the living and dead is it not? The other possible scenario here is a dead girl, treasured by her father. We don’t know why she is naked, but she is ‘pale and cold’, dead. In either case, the impact hits you like a truck on the highway.

This is why I love twisted literature.

What is the point of having one thousand books that all have similar characters, end happily and never have a single catastrophe, when you can have one book that smacks you in the chest with the iron fist of transgression? Dark writing is what I do best, and it is what I love to read. Shit goes wrong; death, disaster, sex drugs and tuck-and-rolling from speeding vehicles. Okay, so maybe the last one is a little unreaslistic, but why is it so wrong to use this unrealistic scenario to imply something much more sinister?

Basically, what I’m trying to say, is that vulgarity can make a much more moving piece of writing than a boring same-old-same-old mass produced pile of garbage mainstream literature. If you aren’t made to feel something when you read it, what is the God-damned point?


In Which the Future is the Letter ‘Y’

You learn to tie your shoes, chew with your mouth shut, be polite to your elders, respect money. You are taught that nothing comes without hard work, and you appreciate that. You are expected to grow up. You are supposed to know exactly what you want to spend the rest of your life on.

It’s so easy to get lost in the middle.

You go from where you are, to thinking about the future, and can get stuck in the great expanse between. You know you should strive to something more, always more. Always better. You must get focused, forge your path, know where it ends and never stray. But there are big bad wolves and pot-holes that try and drag you from it, and this is what they don’t tell you about.

Figuring out your future is one of the hardest thing you will ever have to do.

I am 21 years and 7 months old and I still have no idea.

At 8 I wanted to be a bartender. At 12 I wanted to be a writer. At 20 I still wanted to be a writer, only I was just beginning to learn I wasn’t very good at it. Now, part of me wants to be a firefighter. But let’s get real, I’m too lazy for that. I know myself, I’d never get off my arse long enough to get fit for the job. My only passion in life has been music and books. I’m not a good enough singer to start a band and can’t play an instrument. I know nothing about tech so I could never become a technician in the business. I can’t write creatively or even critically, so I’ll never be an author or a journalist. I guess that leaves me with one option – I must open a library and become one of these people who spends my life with my nose in a book and my torso in a knitted jumper.

Although, I do like baking. I only ever considered it as an ideal-world scenario but at this point, what else have I got? I’ve had this dream of opening a tea and cake shop. Maybe I should do a bakery course and get a qualification, move abroad and bring my British tea shop to Tenerife, or Vermont.

Knowing where you will be in 10 years time is impossible. Unless you are one of these people who know exactly what you want and have the passion, determination and skill to get there – which is not most people – then you will likely find it very hard to decide where you want to be.

I’ve spent the last 17 or so years in education, and am about to finish my degree in English. I feel like it was pointless. Honestly, I do. £21,000 of debt just for the course and more on top for what my Dad subs me in order to pay my rent and buy food. I’m out of pocket, and still I have no idea what I want to be doing with my life. At this rate I will be moving back home with my parents with no job and a next to useless degree before the Summer is out. I hate it. I don’t want to go back there, back to a place in my head where I have nothing going for me. True, I have a boyfriend now, but unless I suddenly want to dedicate myself to becoming a stay-at-home wife and mother – highly highly unlikely I assure you – then that won’t make much of a difference. It may mean I will want to live here in Plymouth instead of Basingstoke but that means I need a flat. To get a flat I need cash and to get cash I need a job. My Dad says he wants me to aim higher than minimum wage – and he says it in a way that makes it sound like I was going to aim that low – but if I need to work minimum wage for a year to save enough cash to move out then so be it.

It’s so overwhelming it hurts my head. Seriously, I have a headache right now. So far it has been easy enough. I see it as a giant Y. Up until now I have been travelling up in one sraight line: education. School, college, university. It has kept me going on one track my whole life. But, come May, that track will split off into a massive cone and I will have the entire world to jump into. It’s like I’ve been learning to swim in the shallow end with my Mum, with armbands, without armbands, putting blood sweat and tears into the task, and right when I think I’ve got the hang of it I’ve been thrown off a cliff into the ocean covered in blood to fend off thousands of sharks.

I’m terrified.

I have mere months until I must decide where I’ll work, what career to start, where I’ll live, how I’ll survive. I’m not ready. I’ve never been ready. I’ve been ignorant, letting the protective bubble of Education shut me off from the real world and it’s about to shatter to reveal that all along the walls were mirrors and all I could see was me and my little slice of ignorance. But there is a bigger world, with bigger people and bigger problems. I am so scared.

Is anyone ever prepared for the jump?

I have to wonder …