Beauty Regime (poem)

I stand naked facing the mirror
getting ready for the night ahead
I rake the curls back from my face
that’s outlined with dread
because I know I’ll feel bad tomorrow
but it will be worth it in the end

I remove foundation covering
my grey and dehydrated skin
ignoring the bruised temple
that slammed against porcelain

revealing the flaked scales
hidden by too sizes too big clothes
I carefully cut my nails
so I don’t scratch my throat

then I grab my pillow
to rest my poor bones
sharp brittle fragile
protruding at every angle

I’ll sleep on the bathroom floor again
because the

two

step

dash is still too far
so I take my usual spot
the taste of Senokot and diet Coke
already making me wretch
and count down the hours until
120 laxatives take effect

By Kimberly Jamison

Things I learnt from my father

The other day I had to fix my laptop, a mundane task. However, throughout the process I heard my dad’s voice telling me what to do and how to fix it and even to back up everything just before I wiped it accidentally. A lucky escape! This got me thinking, my dad taught me how to fix a laptop but he also taught me many other things that have shaped my view on the world and how I conduct myself. I never really acknowledged some of these things until now but it seems appropriate to make a post just over two years after his death to show how he really did affect and teach me things that would last a lifetime. This is a list of things my father taught me and that I am still trying to use in my everyday life.

Things I learnt from my father:

  1. Never make excuses. You either have a good reason or you don’t.
  2. Don’t bullshit anyone and eventually they will stop bullshitting you. Only do this if you are willing to take people’s true opinions.
  3. Respect yourself completely.
  4. Even the longest and darkest nights end.
  5. Earn people’s respect. Then work to keep it.
  6. Never break a promise.
  7. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best.
  8. You will end up where you need to be, just trust yourself and enjoy the journey.
  9. Don’t tempt fate.
  10. Friends are common, good friends are rare and enemies are earned.
  11. Stand up for what you believe in even if you stand by yourself. The buck stops with you.
  12. You’ll go through hell…
  13. but sometimes life is very very good.
  14. The world doesn’t owe you anything. Work for it.
  15. If you love someone, show them.
  16. Offer no context. The people who matter don’t need it and no one else will listen anyway.
  17. Always apologise for your temper, especially when you lose it.
  18. Love what you do.
  19. Follow your dreams while you are young, while you can.
  20. Stop worrying.

Kimberly

Perfection is overrated, I’d rather pretend to be a lion any day…

I’ve had a very interesting few months. I have been writing a novel and working hard. I have moved into a new house and been catching up with my amazing friends. I even went to the South. I know right.

I can honestly say, that although the last few months have been very stressful for me due to family illnesses and moving and general life issues, I am content. I have reached a point in my life where I can honestly say I don’t worry as much about things, I don’t get as angry about things and I have let go of a few of my inner demons.

A few are still there, of course. I wouldn’t be me without them. And that is the crux of this post. I have thought a lot about perfection recently, or the strive towards perfection and how it can benefit and harm us.

I was talking with an amazing friend recently and a few quotes from our conversation were:

Everyone dislikes part of them self. Humans strive for perfection, that’s why we accomplish great things but we’ll never meet the finish line. We can’t be perfect. It’s like an endless race. And you might think what’s the point if there isn’t an end, but to me I just think what’s the point in being on the side line. Might as well go forward and get a better view. Learn to love your flaws because they make you, you.

Being in recovery for an eating disorder has made me think a lot about my imperfections.

  1. I’m very short.
  2. My hair is a mess constantly.
  3. My eyes are weird.
  4. I have truly terrible skin due to eczema and psoriasis.
  5. I store all my fat on my lower stomach.

and many more.

Another quote was:

They do though. Imperfections are what make you overcome things, try new things, find ways around things etc. Imperfections are brilliant. Why be another mould of someone else. Have dents and scratches.

So let’s try that list again.

    1. My eyes are weird. I like heavy eye make up, I get an excuse to wear it. Also I can see, even if I need glasses. I actually have eyes. I also like the colour of them quite a bit and it isn’t even noticeable. Stop comlaining, Jamison.
    2. My hair is a mess constantly. I quite like dressing like Bellatrix Lestrange, my hair is PERFECT for this. Also I can dress like a lion. As everyday wear. I think this is an acceptable thing to do, so I shall do so. I am eccentric, I don’t even care. Also curly hair can get away with mess and frizz a lot more, just saying. Stop complaining, Jamison.
    3. I’m very short. I may be short but I don’t need to duck under low branches and quite frankly I have kick ass calves from all the reaching for things and wearing heels and jumping and such. Also I am afraid of heights so… Stop complaining, Jamison.
    4. I have truly terrible skin due to eczema and psoriasis.I have skin. I am not burnt, I am not contagious, I am not actually that bad. Although this is propbably one of my worst points, I know I could be a lot worse, because I have been worse. It is mostly contained to my hands, sometimes feet and no one can actually see my psoriasis even when naked and I doubt most people even knew about it. With moisterizer and a good diet I can live mostly normally with my skin with only minor issues. Stop complaining, Jamison.
    5. I store all my fat on my lower stomach. In the grand scheme of things it is not that much fat and it is healthier than upper stomach. Also I no longer look starved. And I have boobs again. And a few crunches would make it look better. Stop complaining, Jamison.

So there we go. Flaws help us become who we are. I am a Bellatrix Lestrange fanatic who can flip her lion mane hair franticly in frustration after she has failed to reach something on the top shelf and I can stalk off under our plum tree wearing heels without having to duck the branches.

FAB-U-LOUS.

Yes, I am being silly, but you get my point. I love my flaws even though I dislike them. I guess they are like some family members. Heh heh.

We then said:

That’s why you should always have friends who are flawed. Polished stones just slide off each other. Rough pieces can fit together better

That and perfect friends would be boring as hell and probably make you go insane. The reason I love my friends is all their weird quirks and habits, admittedly I am probably weirder, but still. It is their flaws that make them…not perfect… but PERFECT FOR ME. I wouldn’t change any of them, not one single one. Love ’em. To bits. Tiny little lovely bits. Sorry, going overboard again.

So go forth and love yourself, all of yourself including your flaws. Be who you are completely and utterly. Strive forwards and find great adventures behind those obstacles you overcome. Again, like family, you are stuck with them. You don’t have to like those imperfections, but love them and you will become so much happier.

Kimberly

Work experience, writers and the big wide world

This week I have been doing some work experience for Nottingham Writers’ Studio. It is the first time I have had a proper working day. I have had freelance jobs but never a nine to five job for five days a week. Man, I am tired.

Working at the studio, I wrote some copy for blog posts, edited webpages and copy, did some research to create some writers’ resources. That was very fun because I got to think of things that I would like and need, and then create them for other people. I thought of ideas for FAQs and forum ideas for the studio to help with their new website.

Since they had moved premises, into a bigger and better studio, I put some flat pack furniture together and helped give ideas of where to put the rest of the new furniture. I shadowed a meeting with a councillor talking about a UNESCO bid for City of Literature title for Nottingham. It was brilliant to meet someone so passionate about culture and culture in Nottingham. I helped proofread a copy of the brief for the bid.

I attended a branding workshop, which was actually extremely helpful. It was like a little crash course in branding and marketing and I learnt a lot of skills I will be able to take forward into the future and my future projects. I also went to Waterstones to help an author, Sarah Dale, to advertise an event helping to launch her new book. I got to talk to people and heard many interesting stories and saw how an author has to market their book in person in this new changing industry.

This week was also leading up to a coursework deadline on the Friday, and then another in a week’s time as well as other social commitments. I really had to learn how to organise my time and use the time I did have effectively. I had to make sure I was productive.

I know a lot of you are reading this and thinking, “yeah welcome to the world of work,” however it is hard when it is something you have never had to do before. To clarify, even though it was was, it was rewarding, I learnt so much this week, it was exciting and I did so many different things. I am looking forward to finding full time work now because I know there are enough opportunities out there to keep me busy and occupied and, although working really hard, having fun as well.

It is true it is a lot easier to go through everything when you are doing something you love. I was surrounded by amazing writers and interesting people, I got to write and be creative, I got to organise and make the best out of myself and I thrived. Even though I had my coursework deadline coming up, and almost no time to complete it except very late in the evening which lead to a few all-nighters, because I picked a course I adore it was fine. The base part of myself was still pushing myself forward because this is the world I want to be in. This is why everyone should try and do what they love.

“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

I partly agree. You will work. However your motivation will be so much higher, you will be able to push yourself further than you thought and you will achieve more than you ever dreamed of. The work you do in the day, no matter how bad it even gets, you will be able to get through it. After the day is done, you will look back and know it was worth it.

I enjoyed almost every second of my work experience week and I didn’t have any bad days because I am lucky. However, the fact that I didn’t sleep for over 72 hours at one point this week, was the hard part. But it was brilliant. And I would do it again. I will do it again. I owe a big thank you to everyone I met this week, it was fantastic and I hope to help you as much as you helped me one day.

By Kimberly 

 

So far so good… OR New Year Resolutions UPDATE

Things I want to do this year:

1) Finally get rid of the ‘friends’ who keep dragging me down. I have some brilliant friends and some ‘friends’ who frankly by calling them friends I’m insulting my true ones.

2) Be more positive. I need to stop looking at the dark side of things.

3) Finish my novel. Self explanatory.

4) Finish the short story collection I have started.

5) Get high grades at university.

6) Be a better friend.

7) Lose weight. I need to stop piling on the chub chub.

8) Finish looking for houses. Such fun that. I hate house hunting. Ew student houses. Eurgh.

9) Win some form of poetry/ short story competition. Please. Pretty please.

10) Finish Game of Thrones dvds.

11) Read 100 books.

12) Write 100 poems.

13) Be a better person all round.

Writing, doubts, writing doubts and how to combat them

You my dearest readers put up with a lot of my rants no matter how nonsensical they may be. I appreciate this. Recently I have learnt another life lesson and I thought I would pass it on to you in thanks. You probably already know what I have just figured out, because you are all clever and lovely people, but you never know. This might help at least someone.

Recently I have found myself doubting a lot. Doubting my choices, doubting my ability, just doubting myself. I am a writer by trade and recently I have hated every single thing I have written. It is all rubbish. I have thought have I lost what little talent I had. I have also become less confident with people. Efforts to organise social events with people from my course have mostly ended with a lot of rejection. There is only so much you can take, you know? I have seen the anthology stress people out and I have now started doubting my ability to organise other people, calm them down and generally do what I do best. My health has not been that great recently either, I am going in and out of clinics and slowly think I am losing my mind.

Well. All of this was until I realised, it was doubt. Just doubt. I am not a confident person, I am quite insecure but I have always been confident in my abilities to get things done. So I reverted back to type and made a list. Everything that was getting on top of me, I listed down. I then wrote a second list of all the things I needed to do to fix these.

I got on with the high priority things. These included doing my edits for the anthology. I had been procrastinating and I didn’t want to do them. But I got them done and now it is up to the writer to get back to me. It is out of my hands.

I got some blog posts done and some presentations done and slowly, I found that I had had a really productive day. All because of a list.

I then looked at the harder things to fix. The confidence. The insecurity. The doubt.

Now that I had all of the practical things out of the way I could see a lot clearer. It was kind of like the opposite of when I was younger. When I was nine years old I was convinced I would never see the age ten. Not because I thought that something dreadful was going to happen or anything, it just seemed so far away and unimaginable that I could never see it happening, so I didn’t believe in it. The opposite is happening now. Everything is happening so quickly I feel like I am imploding. I am in my second year yet I have to think about the final project for third year. Then in turn thinking about the final project makes me think about my career when I haven’t even finished all my modules on the second year yet. It is getting ridiculous how quickly time goes.

I went back to my list. I found I could already cross off certain things. I realised that no I was not going mad and no I was not going to fail everything completely. I am far to organised for that. I then realised since I am trying to organise my internal emotions by listing things, then I am far too organised for my own good. And someone who is as organised as that should have no reason to doubt themselves. I will get everything done. I will get everything done to the best ability I possibly can.

I think I just needed an hour or two just to sit down and, almost revel in the doubting mood. I needed to embrace it to realise that I had no reason to, at least not at this point in my life. Yes everything is getting hectic, but you know what, it is more fun when it is hectic. More things are happening and I will meet more people and get more done and the trivial things like people not turning up to things, and getting bad critique will fade from my memory.

They seem important now, but I doubt they will in a few weeks. I think I will have found a new thing to worry about in a few weeks.

So dear readers, what is the lesson?
Just take time out of your life to sit back and think. Embrace the bad emotions. People tell you to get over things and pressure you to internalise things but you shouldn’t. If you are doubting yourself, let it out. Doubt yourself, but if you do, don;t forget to figure out why. My guess is by the time you figure out why you will have figured out that the reason is only in your head, like mine.

So, I am now looking forward to getting my coursework finished, the anthology published, getting better, getting the novel written, getting work experience and generally being happy. Just looking forward to things makes me happier, and knowing I have the support base that I do makes me feel safe and secure.

No more doubting, just writing. Good or bad.

Kimberly

Anthology update

As some of you know, I am one of the project managers of the University of Nottingham Creative and Professional Writing anthology this year.
Last year I was an editor and helped during the submission sorting process. It was this that made me a candidate to help run it this year.
This year however we had an issue of funding as our grant was to be taken away from us. I sent out over two hundred emails and letters asking for funding and got rude and negative replies back.
BUT our amazing course leader and her team managed to convince the funding grant people to let us keep the money that was left over from last year that was due to be given back.
PHEW
We are still fundraising, and any ideas are welcome guys, so next year’s lot are not put in the same position as us.

Things are looking up.
We are going to publish something amazing.

Kimberly