House Party

As much as I would like to romanticise my teenage years, to look back on them as a mess of illegal substances and sexual exploits, I was awkward and shy for the most part. I remember speaking to my now-best friend, then-new acquaintance, about the first few times we met, and he says I was withdrawn so he couldn’t really gauge anything about me. How and when that changed, for him to now know more or less everything about my life, is a mystery to both of us. My adolescence was not cool, I don’t mind admitting that, but it leads me to the night of the house party. In a way it was my first introduction to what I had always imagined being a teenager would be like.

I was sixteen and it was a friend’s birthday; she was not like me, she knew people outside of our seclusive girls school. More than this, she had a magnetism I envied, because as loud and silly as I would be around those closest to me, I could never act that way around new people, and so the prospect of a party made me nervous. The boy that she liked was coming, and I remember her telling me the first time he’d touched her breasts and it was the most radical thing in the world. In fairness, four and a half years later and I would still receive news of any breast touching with the same kind of wonder and excitement. In my mind, this party might have been my debut into the dark and edgy Brighton underbelly, a way of coming out of my shell.

A few friends and I went together, I remember exactly what I was wearing, this green and black knitted skirt with an Aztec print, purchased when I had first discovered Urban Outfitters. We didn’t drink anything, I wish I had, and we went to that same house we had been a hundred times before. I don’t remember every moment of the night, but I do remember someone throwing onions around the living room and there being pink shampoo all over the bathroom walls. For a little while a few girls from my school and I were locked inside this room with some boys we hadn’t met before, at least I think we were locked in, although I have no clue why this would be the case. I remember standing by the door and explaining to these boys that they needed to get out if they weren’t invited, I had a strong moral compass back then. Aside from this, the only details I can remember come from a photo taken at this exact moment; my side parting was ridiculous and my glasses seemed trite.

The images from this night are so blurred in my mind, a part of me wonders if I was actually drunk and just forgot that part. There were girls from my school doing lines of MD on the upstairs landing, and as much as I had wanted this experience to feel like an episode of Skins, it did not come across that way. I remember my friend stressing out because there were too many people and they were trashing her things; her parents were designers and so every inch of their home had been curated like a piece of modern art, clean lines and white leather. Someone’s boyfriend ended up shouting that there were fireworks going off outside, and as much as this sounds like a stupid plot from a teen movie, it worked, and the crowds of intoxicated teenagers emptied out onto the street.

Her brother came over to help us clean up the place, but there were still a few loiterers outside, even this one guy who started throwing his entire bodyweight against the front door. He was demanding to be let back in, but one girl was stood on the inside with a fire extinguisher put through the letter box, shouting at him to go away. There was an ironing board trashed in the hallway and as my friend stepped into the kitchen, someone threw mushed up banana at her face; I think this is my favourite memory because it was so surreal and for a second none of us knew what was going on.

Months later we found out that her dad had been sat across the road the entire night, and so knew everything that had gone so terribly wrong. To this day we don’t know who it was that punched a hole through her heavy, porcelain sink, nor do we know who tried to turn all the furniture upside down. They were missing a TV remote control for almost a year, and a second house party did not occur.

I wish this story had some kind of moral, or that maybe I kissed a boy or did a line of ket in the toilets, but nothing significant or bad-ass happened. It was indicative of my teenage years, nothing necessarily happy or sad, just things that happened to me. These are the moments I shared with my dearest friends, that we can still laugh about. More than anything, it is important to be reminded that I will always be, in part, that shy sixteen year old, sober at her first house party. I wish I would have known then what I know now, that house parties are better drunk, and even better when you end up passed out on the bathroom floor.

Warm Light


It is dark and loud,

Alcohol fuelled youths,

Like kerosene,

Candles lit and flames leaning.

Too many drinks and we’ll be leaning too,

Hearts fast and minds slow.


Sunny afternoons was when I met them,

And their souls were bright.

This is where I fell in love,

With Brighton adolescence.

Brighter I grew, and lightness is now

What I associate with home.

Bad Habits

My history with boys has been kind of a long list of people you should not be involved with and things you should not allow yourself to experience. I’m not talking about the boy who chooses another girl over you, or who gets drunk and phones you at three in the morning; I’m talking about the boy who refuses to meet you for nine months, who posts too many selfies to mask his towering insecurities. I am not criticising these boys for having their own scars, mental and physical, for we all have a past that persistently haunts us. This can be caused by an underlying self consciousness, a lifetime of having people see you only for your race, or your financial upbringing. This can also be a physical pain that you learn to cope with, white scars tracing your veins.

To look at me, I do not seem strange or mentally unstable, I am healthy and self aware in almost all areas of my life (or I at least try to be), but I still have this unconscious addiction to boys who make me sad and it is a twisted kind of relationship. It has been funny up to this point, picking the wrong ones, always ending with disappointment and a good anecdote to tell. It is fun to tell my friends about how I was pushed up against a tree in Hyde Park one time, or hung out with some guys who had just got out of prison, or smoked a joint with some guy who only cared for my body and not for my mind, but it is the same pain again and again. I am left with these stories, but my esteem becomes fragmented. Why is it that I am this human lighthouse for the damaged and disturbed?

It is becoming more and more difficult to sell myself that lie, that it is these boys who find me and not the other way around. I am the one going back to the commitment-phobes and narcissists. I must find some kind of perverted pleasure in trying to fix people who are not only broken, but enjoy the damaged lifestyle. This damages me too, the darkness rubs off on me, slowly at first so that I do not notice, and then suddenly I am not the same person and I start to enjoy the damage too. This bad habit is debilitating and although self inflicted, I am mature enough now to see how I hurt myself.

I suppose it is a kind of self sabotage, and there is no doubt that I could sit at a shrink and they would trace it back to my childhood or my insecurities blah blah blah, but I don’t think this is necessary. I know that in the past I have allowed myself to be with these boys who need me more than I need them, because it has made me feel wanted for a short while. I also know that at points that has been all I thought I deserved, mentally ill, anxiety ridden, boys who need to be told by someone that they are alright, and that things are okay. But I feel better now, and I am starting to realise that I deserve more than this lovesick mentality, this false belief that there is romance to heartbreak.

The ‘nice guy’ myth needs to be broken because I have tried too many times to fix something that does not want to be fixed. It is about time that I allow myself to be with someone who makes me happy, like genuine happiness. I need to stop letting niceness have a negative effect on how I view boys, because I see my friends and I see that they are happy, I just can never imagine being with someone who treats me with respect and with kindness. I know that sounds super sad but it is the truth. I feel bad that I have judged guys for their softness, for maybe it is that softness that I am missing.

This is my bad habit, worse than drinking or smoking, it is an attraction to disorder, and I am sick of being made to feel less than what I am worth. I deserve happiness, and I deserve someone who sees me and knows that I am important to them, I deserve that decisiveness. Romance should not be dictated by mysterious, bad boy types, and with maturity I find myself welcoming in the light. Everyone deserves someone to make them a better, happier version of themselves, and I am glad I am realising this now, even if it is a few boys too late.



Breathe deep, in and out,

Move faster, think faster.

This is your only mind,

And your only body.

You are in control.


Write down everything,

Every passing thought of every passing minute.

Time is fast, but you can be faster.

Each muscle shows your strength,

And you are strong.


Strong minded and strong-willed,

At points you are the only person who will care,

But you are important,

And you are in control.



Dearest Reader,

My name is Lily, I’m 21, stuck in this place between adulthood and adolescence. Writing is my kind of therapy, to express why I am angry or sad; I should write more when I am happy, this is a resolution of mine. I don’t know what I want to be when I am older, nor do I know where I want to be six months from now. I yearn for that sense of complacency, to know that I am where I am supposed to be in this universe, on this ball of dirt floating through space.

Without reading, I could not write, and so I pay tribute to DeLillo and Sylvia Plath, Bukowski and Fitzgerald. ‘A Handful of Dust’ by Evelyn Waugh was the first grownup book I ever read, and this changed my life, it changed my whole outlook. ‘It’ by Stephen King, is the longest book I have completed, and I have never experienced such immersion as that created by King’s wonderful mind. ‘Invisible’ by Paul Auster reminded me in more recent years the beauty of story telling, the power of perspective, the trust you put into each protagonist.

Life experiences too have changed the way that I write, and provide me far too many opportunities to moan about things that have gone wrong, bad decisions I have made. Hindsight is dangerous, and I am trying to remember this when feeling reflective. On the other hand, hindsight can be the basis for so many untold stories, played out on paper rather than in real three dimensions. Each time something bad happens to me, I must think of it as simply inspiration for a story I am yet to write, and not an everyday catastrophe. I think being melodramatic helps to produce interesting characters, and I am in every one of my characters, although some more than others.

I hope you find this interesting, or that reading what I write helps you in some way; writing is an incredibly self-indulgent act and I hate this aspect of it. Writing is like a conversation between individuals from different time periods or backgrounds. I believe that everything that I have read has contributed to my style of writing, and so when reading my work, take a piece of me away from it too.

I hope you find what you are looking for,