Superficial Faces

Social media.  I don’t tweet but I do (did) Facebook. Here I engage my fluffy face. I paste on layers of ‘likes’ and ‘interests’ and pretty frock pictures and chitter about on the Spin Doctor / The Gothic Shop / Kate’s Clothing pages. It’s completely superficial and yet it gives me pleasure. I post retro videos and comment on books. I discuss nail polish and eyeliner and why the Illamasqua sale is, like, the best thing EVER. I geek over Gaiman, Whedon and The Hobbit. I post sweet pics of family events and days gone by. I celebrate my friends achievements and milestones.

And I am never – ever – nasty to anyone. I am never cruel. I sometimes have joking conversations, the odd bit snark and spar with the folks I know can handle it, and believe me they give as good as they get.

So I forget the bad side. I forget that people only see a slice of me (and not a Gunter Von Hagans slice either…). They get the cupcake me. Sunny side up. Even when things are bad I try not to allude to them publicly, though I may tell those closest to me who I don’t see on a daily basis what’s happening via the message service.

And I have to admit that it is a pretty superficial face. It’s relentlessly chirpy and posts pictures of itself all prettied up and in nice clothing. It shows me going through the looking glass and avoiding reality. It was brought home to me today when I left an old friend a fairly innocuous comment regarding a music magazine that has been getting rather repetitive of late. Indeed, it still thinks the Brit Pop wars are happening. Bands are cover rotated every six months. My comment was basically that it no longer catered to my needs and I couldn’t find another magazine that did.

I didn’t quite expect a sudden outpouring of bile. Apparently I am not qualified to comment as I resemble ‘a Laura Ashley cut out paper doll dress pattern‘ of superficiality when online. Specifically Facebook.  It hurt. I wish it didn’t but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t.  The person involved is not a ‘bosom buddy’ friend, he’s an old uni course mate.  However, we were very close at the time, went on holidays as a group and shared some pretty big events when younger. I like him. I liked him. I don’t quite know how I feel about him anymore.

Is this his face? Grump old gadgee from Galashiels? Or is it really him? I can’t tell and I don’t like the muddied waters. OK, I invited them by having a public profile and glossy face. I don’t make it public that in actual fact life is pretty stressful right now and that I need superficiality to take me away from the grief and the exhaustion that’s just about smacking me round the head daily at the moment.

If I need somewhere to vent, it’s here. My non publicised blog where half of what I write is marked ‘Private’ and available only to me for consumption. It’s in the stories I write about the lost and the dispossessed. Another slice of me. And then are many others – the work slice, the parental face slice, the book consumer slice.

So I took the maudlin slice for a walk. Useless slice forgot umbrella and got soaked. Then useful slice hoovered the house and did the washing. You get the gist.

The face may be superficial. The whole is much more complex and not necessarily public.  As The Cure say, ‘No one ever knows or loves another’.

There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west

..and my spirit is crying for leaving.

Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven. Probably the one song I can sing word for word when sozzled.

But there is a lady I know whose spirit is is gold, who is leaving us. She’s fought, she’s lingered, and I think she needs to follow that spirit that lies on the whispering wind. She’s loved, she’s lost and she’s loved. In a life, that’s all we can ask for.

When she goes, she’ll take him with her. The little brown chestnut that is my father. I know that’s life; that the choices he has made and the life he embraced have brought us to this. Is it serendipity that brings them both so close to the end together? I am surmising, his prognosis is far from sure.

All I can give them is another’s words, my blessing in effect, to let go.

‘Your head is humming and it won’t go in case you don’t know

The piper’s calling you to join him

Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow and did you know?

You stairway lies on the whispering way.’


There are things you don’t ask for, that sometimes others crave.

The value of these can be disproportionate to that craving; people think they’ve set up an infrastructure that allows them easy access to something that really isn’t theirs for the taking.

I’d have happily sat back and let them all get on with their Jeremy Vile lifestyles if they’d only left me in peace. However, money does funny things to peoples’ heads and I’ve noticed they quite often find it hard to grasp the concept that I’m not really interested in it. Especially when it belongs to other people.

It’s a device that can be used to control the needy. Handout here, small bung there – now you do what I want you to do.  So I’ve shied away from ever asking for – or becoming dependent on – other peoples’ money.

Hence the dislocation. I am deemed trustworthy; ergo turn up with several biscuit tins stuffed with notes that the Godfather would be proud of and it’ll be taken care of. But people fail to understand that my innate common sense refuses to let me sucked into the black hole of larceny. I also will not be bludgeoned into providing services I wasn’t willing to give before.  If I don’t iron my own clothes willingly, WTF would I do yours?

I don’t want to be blackmailed. I don’t want to be responsible. I don’t want to be the only port in a storm. I have enough on my plate without becoming my parent’s parent.


Dear Costa ‘Baristas’. Yes. There is a difference between Earl Grey (fragrant, bergamot, caffeine) and green tea (decaying pond scum, no caffeine). So when I politely ask you to give me the tea I’d paid for and not the one you arbitrarily decide to give me whilst you discuss photo bombing with your equally tango’d neighbour, please don’t snark back that ‘it’s all the same’.  It’s not.  It’s very far from not. And if you do it again, the mild mannered goth with the coffee stained manuscript in the corner may just have to barf on your counter top to prove it.

*dimples* Jane


There’s a room I don’t wish to revisit. Its genesis was my coming of age; it’s ending a mattress in the dark and the shadow of the wings of the Nephilim.  I have no desire to go back into that darkness where he can find me again, and carve his name on my pristine flesh.  Expose the weakness that lies at my very heart.

Shadow of his Wings

Shadow of his Wings

I’ve been running from this for so long.  Long years when I kept it packaged away tightly in one of those compartments of my mind that my father taught me to find so long ago when teaching me how to be a proper empath.  I lie to myself, tell myself that it’s gone but the truth is it has permeated everything I have done these past years.  My dreams, my relationships.  I was stupid and careless.  I was young and wanted to be like everyone else.  To keep on feeling pretty.

I was a fool, in short.