Mel’s Top 10 Things That Happened After Age 30

THEME: GMGM 2016!

Editor’s Note: Each writer submitted a list of her Top 10 Anything. These lists will be published over the next few days as we usher in the New Year. We hope 2016 is the year that shakes your snow globe – in the best way possible.

These are just some of Mel’s evolutions in choice. It’s a list that starts with wine and gets real deep.

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by Melissa

  1. Choosing proper wine: from sugar pops and cheap-ass cider as a teen, to two bottles of wine for a fiver at uni, to half price wine (still a fiver) in my early days as a young professional, to my current sophisticated palette. I now have grape preferences, region issues, and even began buying wine as an investment. Check me out.

Continue reading

Writing Retreat

THEME: Travel

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by Melissa

This was no ordinary getaway. I had characters without homes, streets with no names, bars without atmosphere. I had to search for authenticity, otherwise I’d remain feeling a fraud.

Fleeing family and jobs, I arrived alone. I had to allow myself this sliver of selfishness. This was me, exhaling.

I had a single bed. Everything in the room was white except the wood floor and a royal-blue chair: the perfect blank canvas. I purchased wine to match artichokes and began indulging, passionately fingering my laptop with oily tips.

I knew nobody. Continue reading

Getting Better Every Day

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Baby Max Knight photograph by Elle Fallon Photography, ellefallon.co.uk

THEME: Sex, Love & Intimacy

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by Melissa

Once I believed that when love came to me, (sing the Mamas and the Papas) It would come with rockets, bells and poetry…

I had this idea of love too. Exploding fireworks and dazzlement. That love would hit me like lightning transforms the sky as described in that cheesy film, Four Weddings and a Funeral: “Thunderbolt City.”

Perhaps it’s the media, or those pop songs that pine for the other and pull at our heart strings. Films that ramp up “get the girl” moments of frantic running towards airports or train stations just in the nick of time for a reunited kiss, when in real life, such acts of “courage” resemble desperation and usually end in tears. Don’t do it people. Trust me. Nobody is ever there at the gate, shoulders turning theatrically waiting for you to arrive. They’re on the plane sat happily browsing the film guide. They’re not at the train station platform with ears pricked for your clacking footsteps; they caught the 17:25 and got home early. They’re drinking beers with friends or reading books at the library or buying fish or any other of the insurmountable ways the object of desire is otherwise occupied. Continue reading

Making It Up as We Go Along – Part 4

© Nicole Keane

© Nicole Keane

Theme: Yes, AND…

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by Melissa

Marguerite was almost blue in the face when Drucilla turned to see her by the curtain. The images of Drucilla’s father, Paolo, dehydrated and lying on the floor, disappeared. They were for sure not her real memories; how could they be? She hadn’t been born.

Drucilla wasn’t sure how long she had stood there but a lack of music coupled with a lack of applause told Drucilla she herself wasn’t meant to still be on stage. Marguerite, flapped her clipboard, waving for Drucilla to walk towards her. Finally Marguerite approached and guided her backstage. Continue reading

The House that Jack Shit Built

Theme: Money

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by Melissa

My main bug bear with money right now is housing. I need a bigger place to home an upcoming family. We are not yet in a position to buy. The housing market has surged into crazy anxiety-inducing prices. Just when I think it can’t get more expensive, prices go up another 10%. And one thing I really don’t like, is being in debt. Continue reading

Ending Abusive Relationships

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Theme: The End.

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by Melissa

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, unable to sleep, I switched on my phone and read my Facebook feed. Usually I’m tucked away in dreamland, but in the still of a 4am twilight where few songbirds had begun their gentle melody, I clicked on a Huffington Post article. The title drew me in, ‘I Didn’t Know I Was In An Abusive Relationship…’ the rest read, ‘Because My Boyfriend Never Hit Me’. Continue reading

Blissful Thinking

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Theme: We’re all using the same photo to fictionalize a backstory.

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by Melissa

Disclaimer: the content of this post may be disturbing to some readers.

My girlfriend’s been having this recurring dream. It’s been going on ever since she took on a new caseload, a twelve year old girl, repeatedly forced to suck boys’ dicks in succession. Kids call it a line-up. Perhaps Emma shouldn’t tell me details but I’m her girlfriend and she needs to offload. The recession cuts in social work, in everything, but especially in her field means there is little in the way of real supervision. That’s why so many social workers burn out within five years. They call it compassion fatigue.

Continue reading

The Kelly Fantasy

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Theme: Obsession.

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by Melissa

the state of being obsessed with someone or something

an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind

Since the age of fourteen, when my boobs decided to grow faster than the skin around them warranted thus adorning me with red tiger stripes, I got the sense that my body was irreversibly changing. When those same stretch marks made their way across my hips, I remember thinking: That’s it. I’m done for. Continue reading

It’s Black or White

me as a teenager

Theme: Get if off your chest.

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Written by Melissa

When I was a teenager, I was elected onto the first ever Greenwich Young People’s Council. Part of the work we did was act as a younger version of the adult-run council, and so we sat on committees like Equal Opportunities, Housing, and Children and Young People’s Services. We also ran conferences, rallies, and raised awareness on issues such as the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. My world was basically a utopia where, what with all the hard work we were all doing, by the time I became a proper middle-aged adult, we would have successfully stamped out racism, sexism, homophobia and all those horrible judgements we unnecessarily make about others. My children would be able to grow up in a world where the content of their character is more important than which hole they would decide to put their sexual organ into, or the colour of the skin attached to that hole.

What the fuck happened? Continue reading

Roots of Friendship

www.manorbeauty.co.uk

Theme: The personal rituals shared between lady friends.

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Written by Melissa

One thing I’m not good at is routine or rituals. I find it a struggle to stick to a rigid timetable. I’m the queen of variation. Was amongst those who skipped with joy at the introduction of flexible work hours. And “lady rituals” are a no no. It’s a struggle to put deodorant on. I wax my legs only because it means I don’t have to bother with them for another six weeks, and even then, my work is patchy, literally. Too many summer engagements when I’d look down to see a hairy bracelet around one ankle. I avoid any interference with my bikini line as I’ve found pruning requires extra effort and any hair with follicles like eagle claws deserves to stay there. They only punish you with in-growing hair and puss bubbles. Besides there’s never a good time to own an itchy crack. Continue reading