When I kicked a psychopath

Comedian Sofie Hagen

“I think we’re all psychopaths,” a close friend of mine told me. Then proceeded to tell me about all the times she has cried over someone else’s misfortune. I don’t think she knows what a psychopath is.

I grew up with a psychopath. My grandfather. He is not my real grandfather, not my flesh and blood, thank god, he never reproduced. My grandmother left her first husband (also a psychopath) for him and they moved far away from everything together and brought my mum. She was a single mother with two kids, so I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and him.

I think that’s why I became slightly obsessed with psychopaths. I remember the moment it happened. I was telling my second psychologist about him, about the things he had said and done and how I had felt and she froze. She showed me her arm, which had goosebumps. She started telling me about how insanely dangerous it is for a child to be around that kind of person. I was never in physical danger, but mentally, I’d been through one hell of a ride. She then smiled slyly and said, “I’d love to sit down with him and pick his brains.” and I fear she meant it literally. She gave me two books about the subject of psychopaths and made me read them – so if nothing else, I would be able to see the warning signs. Because as she said, “you might find yourself trying to fix your childhood by being attracted to a psychopath, in the hope that you can make him feel empathy.”

OH BOY WAS SHE RIGHT. I met a full-on psychopath and fell in love. One day, he would tell me that I was the most beautiful woman in the entire world, that he had never felt this way before, that we had something special that no one else had. I was young. That’s how you think people talk the first night you spend with them. Cut to three years later. I’m kicking him and slapping him. Not in a cool, dramatic way as in the movies. It is making absolutely no impact. I have no strength. He’s standing in front of me with a puzzled facial expression and a slight sneer every time my kick actually does a bit of harm. I’m trying to keep him from a 15 year old girl, he wants to have sex with. She asked me to help her. There are people around, but no one sees it. His eyes turn even darker and colder than they ever have been before and he says, “I genuinely hope you die. I want to kill you right now. I want you to drown.”

I kick him again. I’ve given up trying to psychically trying to harm him. Now I’m just kicking because I have no words. And I feel like I have to protect the 15 year old girl – because I’m over trying to fix my psychopath grandfather through some pompous dickhead and I’ve moved on to trying to fix the scared-shitless child in me through a poor 15 year old girl who was at the wrong time at the wrong place. I walk her home. I can hear him threatening me, as we walk away. When I can no longer hear him, he texts me the threats instead.

Four weeks later, he called me. He had joined a support group. He apologised because they had told him to. I asked, “for what?”

He paused. “For… everything.”

I said, “Tell me one thing you did. Just name one thing you did that you apologise for.”

His voice went from being pretend-sad to being coldly furious, “You’re ungrateful.” he said and hung up. He genuinely had no idea what he had done.

When I met my next psychopath, the immediate feeling of excitement and attraction quickly turned to actual physical disgust and fear. He tried hard to manipulate me, but I was 25. I knew the tricks. At one point, I told him, “You’re a psychopath.”

He said, “Oh, not this again.” and proceeded to tell me about all the people, medical professionals included, who had given him that diagnosis. He rolled his eyes at them and at us. He then asked me, “I don’t understand why that girl over there wasn’t interested in me. I told her all of my best anecdotes.”

I said, “Did you ask her anything about herself?”

He squinted his eyes and looked confused. It had never even occurred to him.

My grandfather would tell long anecdotes from his job. He worked in a factory. Nothing exciting ever actually happened. But at 4pm, my grandmother and I would have baked him cookies, made coffee and served it all for him at the living room table and we were sitting facing him, smiling, looking excited to hear him talk. He would start talking. If we interrupted him – by either looking away, coughing, laughing too much at something that wasn’t that funny, not seeming interested enough or sipping the coffee too loudly – he would the story over and this time, talk shower. Whenever I see someone being tortured on TV, I almost envy that it only takes seconds to pull out a toe nail.

We could sit like this for hours. Once I made a joke – not just a joke, a callback. To something he had said in the beginning of the story. It was funny. I was a child(-genius, some would say) and I was so proud that I had thought of a joke. All hell broke loose. He closed his eyes. Slowly. Took a very deep breath. His forehead wrinkled in concern and he tightened his fists. The disappointment he felt was massive. I had let him down. I had made him feel less important than he felt he was. Then he said, in the most self-righteous tone I have ever heard, “I guess I’m going to have to start over, now that no one listens to me.” and he did. From the top. Slower.

But I had listened to him. In great detail. He didn’t know how hard it was to do a call-back. I didn’t do another callback till my 2015 Edinburgh show, which some journalists said was, “too callback-heavy”. Well, I’ve heard that one before, mate. Get in line.

We would watch TV at night. They had horrific, new leather furniture which squeaked when you moved. And if you did – move, that is – he would turn up the volume so loudly that it hurt our ears. When we’d sat like that, without moving, for sometimes 2-5 minutes, he’d turn it down again. If we’d move and the furniture would squeak – the volume would go up again.

He once brought me a massive cake and said, “If you love me, you’ll eat all of it.” I was five. Today I’m fat. I WONDER WHY.

Psychopaths are dangerous because they use people as pawns. If you accept their behaviour and their worldview is being correct, you’re in a shithole of danger. You will allow yourself to become second priority. You’ll accept that you exist to please them. If you don’t give them that power, they cannot cope with it.

The last time I visited my grandmother and grandfather, I refused to let my grandfather drive me. I took a £50 cab. At this point, I hadn’t acknowledged him for about 13 years. If I call their house, I politely say hello and then ask to speak to my grandmother. I am polite. He knew all of this – so he went to his car and sat there for the six hours I spent with my grandmother. It was all a game – he assumed I would eventually feel so bad that I’d go and get him. Instead I had the time of my life with my grandmother, who is 92 years old and frankly, also sick of him.

My grandmother was ill when she was around 89 years old. She was scared. She told me that she was religious, like it was a secret. I realised it wasn’t because it was secret, but it was because it was private. To her. And she told me. Not her asshole husband, even though he was also in the room. She said that she knew that when she died, she would be with her sisters and mother and father again. I told her that it sounded lovely. My grandfather, her husband of 30 years, looked her in the eyes and said, “That’s stupid. When you’re dead, you’re dead. Nothing’s there. You turn into dirt.”

And that’s a psychopath for you.

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I’m doing last year’s callback-heavy show “Bubblewrap” at Soho Theatre on May 6th and 7th. I’d love to see some of you there.

If you haven’t heard it yet, go listen to guiltyfeminist.com

Or my very own podcast comedianstellingstuff.com

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somebody please put this baby in a corner already

“Do you have a table for one, in a corner?” I asked the waiter who met me at the door. I had high hopes for this restaurant, as their toilets were perfect for crying in. Let me explain. First of all, they were on a totally different floor, far away from everything. No music was playing. The stalls were completely closed, no huge gap above and under the door, so people can hear you weeping “God oh why, oh God why me” or whatever you decide to cry out on the given day. Neither can they hear a plop, if that was to happen. No, completely closed off. Good, decent lock on the door. A good coat hook on it as well. It was big enough for my ass to feel comfortable on the seat without half of it having to rest on the bin for Embarrassing Lady Stuff. And it was quiet – no queue. No other people in there. It even had automatic hand dryers, which is perfect for when there are a lot of people there – and you have to blow your nose or do the plop without anyone hearing. It was even on the top floor, so the cellphone reception was excellent. This public bathroom was a five star bathroom and I spent a good 20 minutes in there, taking deep breaths (after flushing) and trying to get my head together again. I had spent six hours straight amongst people, loud people in particular. I needed a small space, alone, to clear my head and close my eyes. To let my guard down, just for a bit. And this bathroom stall was perfect. So I had high hopes for the restaurant itself.

“Yes, of course!” the waiter answered me and I was not surprised – I already knew it. Based on their toilets alone, I knew that this restaurant was one of the only Social Angst-Friendly restaurants in all of England. I followed him to a table that was… Oh… Wait… In the middle of the room?

“I mean, it’s a table for one, but it’s not in a corner,” he said, laughed a bit and placed the menu on the table, “Enjoy and let me know if you need anything.”

“A FUCKING TABLE IN A FUCKING CORNER IS WHAT I NEED!” I almost shouted at him and maybe I would have, had I not been at a high level of social angst. And then again – had I not been at a high level of social angst, I would not have needed a table in a corner in the first place.

It is just that corners are amazing in the same way that bathrooms are amazing. I would say – the more walls that surround you without including other people, the better. Instead I was placed right between two dates.

I do not really remember the meal – I ordered, ate and paid within twenty minutes and rushed out. I had 1,5 hour left of the two hours I was meant to spend relaxing. Instead I had been tensely scribbling notes down in my notepad whilst listening to ‘No Such Thing As a Fish’ podcast whilst texting two or three friends at the same time whilst taking shallow breaths and swallowing food. I. Needed. A. Corner.

Just. A. Fucking. Corner.

My friends always think I am silly when I do not wish to sit in the middle of the room. “THE BOOTH!” I always demand when possible.

Rare times I am okay with being around people. I think it is when I am either in my own comfort zone, for example, when I am on stage doing comedy. I am fine with the audience. They are all shutting up, facing the right way (usually). Or if I am at a party where I know everyone. Or if I am particularly confident or with someone I trust immensely. There are only three people like this. They are all in Denmark.

Usually, if I do go to a party, I will excuse myself at least once an hour, to go somewhere and sit. Often toilets in pubs are horrible, 1 or 2 stars max, with huge gaps under the stalls and usually one or two of the toilets are clogged, so there is only one left and girls are standing in front of the mirrors screaming to each other. Horrible.

Instead I find a corner (oh, corners) or a staircase or an alleyway outside, nearby. Then I take deep breaths. Tweet about how much I hate people and parties and being not in my bed. Text a friend. Put music in my ears. Fifteen minutes later, I feel like I have to go back and plaster a smile on my face and pretend I am listening to conversations – where chances are, I’m focusing on not being in the way of people walking close to me or on how the voices around me seem to get louder and louder.

When I take the night bus home, I try and get the front, right window seat on the upper deck. That is the most corner’y seat. There is usually not a seat behind you and in front, there is a window. It is the best seat on a bus, if you don’t want to be close to people. Tubes are no go, especially during rush hour. There are always people using the tube. If I have to go, I always sit in the front or rear carriage, up against a wall, as far away from people as possible. And then I hold my breath till I’m over ground again.

When I was a teenager and my boyfriend and I would throw house parties, I would make it my ‘thing’ to always sit in a corner with someone, on the floor, and have a chat. I loved it. “Come on, let’s sit on a corner and talk.” and people would be drunk enough to think it was hilarious. I just thought it felt safe. I spent New Years of 2006 doing the dishes (mind you, it was a house party that we were throwing – I didn’t just break into a kitchen at a restaurant) because the kitchen was bright, quiet and I could be alone. I was happier than I have ever been at any New Years party ever.

I have never been diagnosed – well, I have, but not for this. No one has ever told me I have social anxiety, agoraphobia, socialphobia or even that I am introvert – the one thing I know for certain that I am. I use “social angst” because it works better than saying “I would rather not sit by the table in the middle of the room, as it makes me uncomfortable”. Then people look like they have sucked on a lemon for an hour and sigh, “What?” and then you have to explain that you give public toilets a star-rating. “Social angst” sounds horrendous, it is horrendous and it makes people shut up.

Cars. Cars are incredible. Tiny, little boxes, sound proof even. I was recently stuck on the M4 for five hours because there had been a car accident. The other two comics in the car immediately got bored and nervous about not making the gig we were going to. One of them got so restless, he left the car to go for a walk.

I was saying things like, “Eurgh, come on already, how long can this take?” whilst thinking: “This is my psychological vacation.”

I enjoyed it, probably more than anyone has ever enjoyed being stuck on the motorway. When one of the comics jokingly said, “There was once a car queue in China that lasted for three weeks!”, part of me secretly hoped that it would happen to us. Three weeks in a tiny, confined space with one two people? Stick a toilet in there and you may have just found yourself a six stared vacation resort.

I am not sure of my limit – it depends how high my level of social angst is on the given day. I have been standing in a backstage room with seven wonderful comedians, whom I would all refer to as my friends and yet, when it came to saying goodbye, I panicked and just left. Instead I texted them all a bad excuse – had to run for my train or something like that. The thought of having to interrupt their conversation, get their attention and then say goodbye made my throat dry up and my eyes flicker. So I bailed. Other days I can say goodbye just fine. Other days I cannot even make it to the gig. This is quite rare though. Gigs are my safe space.

I have sometimes been able to be alone in a crowd. Few times. Front row at concerts is good. You’re stuck between people and the music is louder than everything else. You get to jump up and down till your feet start bleeding and then some more. You sweat and let go of the tension.

Or, of course, if you’re drunk – in the nice way. Where you do not give a flying fuck. That usually only lasts till you get either drunker or less drunk or someone says something such as “Why are you drawing stars on the bathroom wall?” or “That guy whose leg you are dry humping probably finds you really annoying” and then it’s back to reality, cruel, cold reality where being surrounded by people makes your gut tense up, your breath become shallow, your muscles tighten, your body language close up and your head hurt.

I am not sure if it is social anxiety. It could be one of the other diagnoses I have been given through my life. Laziness (“come on, just because you don’t want to get on the tube at rush hour? shitty excuse!”), anti-social (“you never go to parties, how are you supposed to make friends?”), weird (“why are you sitting in a corner? people are dancing, come on!”), boring (“you just have this dead demeanor around people!”), stupid (“you just said nothing and kept looking around the room, so we assumed you didn’t know anything!”) or simply just arrogant (“you didn’t say goodbye to anyone, you just left, like you thought you were better than all of us!”).

I have been called a “diva” many times. And I guess I would be – for if I was ever to be famous, like really famous, Madonna-famous, my first demand would be that I always had a corner table ready for me, wherever I went. And I would only dine in restaurants with Social Angst-approved five star public toilets. But most of all, I just want a fucking table in a fucking corner.

A boyfriend for your thoughts

“If you ever want a boyfriend, you have to stop being so opinionated on Facebook. No one wants a woman who’s all angry and annoyed,” someone told me as the answer to a question I never asked. Another person said to me,

“Jeez, just be happy, will ya? I’m so sick of talk of sexism and feminism and blah, blah, blah.”

“When it comes to feminism, people need to chill out – on both sides of the fence.” another one said at another time. And another and another and more and more. And tonight, for the first time ever, I understood.

I met the audience after a show I did. First guy stood uncomfortably close to me. I took a step back. He took two steps forward. He was a bit drunk, I excused it in my head. One more step back. His breath hit my lips. I got away.

A man told me about the other female comedian who had been on the bill, “She was right in front of me. I never saw her face, I just stared directly at her crotch – and that was fine by me, if ya know what I mean?”
And another audience member followed up with, “Ah, her tits were great too though. Didn’t hear a word of what she said, mate.”

Older, bald guy came up to me and said, “What are you doing now?”
I said, “I’m going to my hotelroom. I need to be alone.”
He said, “If I wasn’t married though…!”
I said, “I’d still be alone.”

Someone pointed at another audience member and said, “Look at how she’s dressed. You just know that she’s one of those golddigging whores who just stay at home all day because her husband is rich.”
And I said, “I spoke to her. She runs her own company. She’s single by choice. She’s a millionaire and a trailblazer.”
And he said, “…”

And of course, the classics. “Finally a funny woman”, “Girls usually aren’t funny, but you…” and “You were awesome!” (that one wasn’t offensive, I just wanted you to know that someone said that to me).

(A few weeks ago I was a guest on someone’s podcast. The opening question was, “So we’re here to discuss why women aren’t as funny as men.”)

And I’m back in my hotel room now. I sat down and wanted to write a status, expressing my frustration with these experiences. With these comments and these men (‪#‎notallmen‬) and this and that.

And I felt it. The fatigue.

I am too tired. It’s too exhausting. Really? Am I going to do another bitchy status, where I whine about being a GIRL and how it’s so HARD and SOCIAL JUSTICE and BURN YOUR BRAS and DON’T SHAVE and blah blah blah. It’s getting old. It’s getting boring. And most importantly, those boyfriends who were just getting in line for my hand in marriage (I’ll be wearing white as if 2008 never happened), will only vanish at the click of the Post-button.

Because it happens so often, every day. Anything you have to repeat will get dull. Doing the dishes, brushing your teeth, masturba… Anyways. These things happen on a daily basis.

And it’s annoying and tiring to listen to and read about. But the reason I did it anyways, is because it’s even more excruciating to have to deal with. I swear, as soon as none of this happens anymore, I’ll stop talking about it. And then maybe, in that golden year of 2150, I can get a boyfriend. Or you know, meet someone in 2015 who doesn’t prefer his women indifferent and quiet. Or maybe, wait a minute, not focus at all on how my opinions and social media activity will affect the members of the opposite sex? Is that possible?

You’re probably thinking, “Did you just write this status so that you could implicitly tell us that you’ve done a gig that went well, in Dubai where you’re currently on vacation, and that your legs are really smooth?”
But how do you know all those things? I haven’t said any of that, even though it’s all true.

I’m saying it because the alternative is not saying it. And maybe by saying it, it’ll make a tiny change. If nothing else, I expressed my feelings. Which is just such a classic woman-thing to do, man. What’s next? I’m gonna period all over this status or something probably. Shoes. Cosmopolitans. Brad Pitt. C’mon girls, let’s do the chant:

WHAT DO WE WANT?
Boyfriends!
WHEN DO WE WANT IT?
Now!

DO WE WANT EQUALITY?

WHAT WAS THAT I DIDN’T HEAR YOU?
That’s because if we admit to wanting equality, that means we have to speak up and actually, like, demand it, you know. And then the boys will think we’re hysterical, so uhm… I’ll just stay here below my pay grade.

That’s A Lovely Big Black Tent You’re Wearing / Being Fat, Wearing Clothes

She was a lovely woman, the costume designer. She walked into the office, carrying three bags. I had wanted to warn her or offer my assistance when she got the job of finding me a dress to wear on TV and it quickly became obvious why.

“I didn’t know it would be so hard to find a black dress.” she said, slightly apologetically, and pulled out three black dresses. Actually, that’s an exaggeration. She pulled out two black dresses and a black, oversized t-shirt from H&M. One of them fit. Almost. She pinned needles everywhere and assured me that she would make it look better.

“I cannot believe how hard it was finding a dress.” she repeated. I know. I knew. I’ve known since I started buying my own clothes at the age of 13. When my friends would empty a shop for clothes and I would take some size 14s and try them on, even though I knew they wouldn’t fit. Afterwards I’d claim the colour was wrong. Eventually, I would go on American websites and pay hundreds of pounds, just for the experience of actually wearing something I didn’t have to squeeze into. I knew because when I discovered the website ASOS, which had decent clothes in my size – and even bigger than that, I actually cried. I immediately bought shirts eight sizes bigger than mine, just to try and feel how being too small felt. I know how hard it is. I had known when she had said she was just going to go into central Copenhagen and find a dress. I had asked if she was planning on looking online and she had looked at me with a facial expression saying, that she knew most about this topic. That was now the look I was giving her.

“I bet you’ve never had to find anything for someone my size?” I asked. She widened her eyes and started telling me what I’ve heard so many times before. That oh, I’m not that big and either way, it suits me and it’s not the first thing people notice. I stopped her to let her know that I’m okay with it. We discussed shoes and tights and hugged goodbye.

I didn’t give it much thought, but it finally hit me. It’s a deep, deep feeling of relief and sadness. Like the first time I told my thinner friend that I always had music in my ears when walking alone, because I would get yelled after. Fat pig and stuff like that. And my friend listened and expressed surprise and disgust. After that, I was relieved too. A lot of these struggles are secret. Not intentionally, necessarily, but I’ve been taught to be ashamed of my body – thus making everything that happens to me because I’m fat my fault. I felt like I deserved to be yelled at and I have never felt like I deserved to easily be able to find clothes in my size.

When the professional clothes-finder struggled to find me an outfit and when it surprised her, it was an overwhelming feeling of being heard and having my everyday issues understood. Fatphobia isn’t per say acknowledged by the public. Not even most fat people are aware of this. It felt like another person is now aware that it’s hard sometimes. It was the opposite feeling of what I felt last week, when a comedian laughed in my face and exclaimed, “What?! No one hates fat people!” which coincidentally, was two hours after he had said, “There’s no such thing as sexism in comedy.”

It never fails to surprise me how easy it is to silence a large (haha, large) group of people into not complaining. That is why it meant a lot, that I didn’t have to be the one to tell yet another person what it’s like being a fat person. She didn’t even get the full experience – of having clerks look at you with narrowed eyes, followed by them looking up and down your body and finally looking into the ground saying, “Sorry, we don’t carry your size.”

She just had to experience that because I am a size 20-22, her job became harder – and almost impossible to do. But only almost, because of her magic fingers, she did manage to turn a black tent into an actual dress:

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The amazing Debz has got a major kick-ass list of online plus-size clothing shops here

 

The Life I Have Decided To Try And Live And The Cunts Trying To Ruin It

A friend of mine surprised me a few weeks back, by complementing my weight loss. I had not tried to lose weight, I had merely walked up more hills than usual, as this was during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His exact words were,

“You’ve lost weight! It looks good!”

“Oh,” I replied, startled, and added, “I’ll have to eat more then.”

Not the most clever response. But his eyes widened and he looked horrified as he said,

“Oh no! Never again!”

I was speechless for a while. All fat people, including myself, know that fatphobic assholes exist and most of us have to deal with it on a daily basis. Be it from elderly family members who refuse to die or from front covers of magazines or commercials on TV. I had just not expected to hear it from someone I call my friend.

It happened again last week, when another friend of mine said words I found myself wishing he’d never said. He said that he genuinely believed that all men were born predators and rapists, and that it was in their nature.

I tried to dissect his assumption and question his “logic” and I hope it’s enough. Yet, I couldn’t believe ai was hearing it. Again, I know these people exist – hell, I even know that some of my friends feel this way – but what is constantly a huge surprise is that they say these things to my face.

I think I had the naïve notion that people who know me also know what kind of life I have chosen to live.

I do not watch reality TV. I do not read women’s magazines. I am a feminist, a body-positivity-activist and I used to work in charity fundraising. So keep your opinions about reality TV stars to yourself. Do not associate the word ‘fat’ with ‘unattractive’, do not refer to women as ‘girls’ and if you think someone asking you to donate to charity in the street is so annoying that it’s worth you saying that out loud, get out of my face.

It has taken years to realise the brainwashing caused by society and media. But it is now the most liberating way of living – realising that there is no reality, there is only perceptions of reality.

If I hate my body, my reality states that I am unattractive. If I decide that my cellulite is sexy, it fucking is and then I live in a reality, where I’m sexy-sexy-hot-stuff. If I do not acknowledge that money matters more than art, then it does not. If I refuse to accept that “all men want a certain type of woman”, then I live in a reality where my values are worth more than the hair on my legs. I believe, with all my heart, that we are attracted to personalities, energies and souls. I believe everyone is beautiful. I believe you can’t appreciate real love till you’ve been burned. I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side. I believe you don’t know what you got until you say goodbye. I believe Savage Garden was an underrated band.

Fat people can’t wear horizontal stripes. Men hate women who has slept around. If a woman is single after 30, she’s desperate. If a woman is fat, she’s good in bed.

Bullshit. (Apart from the last one obviously, although I can only talk for myself, am I right fellas, woot woot, *high5*)

So many bullshit rules are just accepted as facts. Fine. Accept what you want. But if we are friends, do not assume that I agree with you. Do not flaunt your insecurities in my face. Or I’ll go out of my way to be a single-and-loving-it 31 year old horizontal-striped-shirt-wearing woman who sleeps with hundreds of men, and I will be terrible at it – just to piss you off.

What’s the difference between a female comedian and period blood? They’re both disgusting.

The problem with female comedians is that they ALL talk about their periods all the time. It is literally their whole sets. Periods, blood, tampons, ladydiapers, period, period. Period. Eurgh. It is disgusting, am I right, guys?

I have heard more people say that out loud, than I have ever heard a female comedian talk about her period. I have heard one. It was good. Most female comedians would not dare to talk about it, because most of us are too stubborn – we do not want to become the stereotype people have created about us. Unfunny, period-babbling, ovary-owning, kitchen-abandoning… Anyways.

Why can’t I talk about my period?

It is five days every month, it is £4 every time I run out of tampons, it is the reason I had to say no to sleeping with my ex-boyfriend one last time before he went away for three months. It is why my muslim friend had the energy to meet up with me during Ramadan. Otherwise, we would not have seen each other for another six months. It is not even just five days a month. It is the three days leading up to it, where I crave penises and ice cream and it is the two days right before, where I collapse onto my bed, crying, weeping, because I watched a sad commercial on TV and I can barely control how much my mind connects that commercial with every heartbreak in my entire life. It is powerful.

It was used as a weapon when my friend took revenge on a guy who had wronged her. He woke up to a redstained, formerly all-white and expensive couch and hopefully that was a clearer ‘No!’ than the one she had said the night before. It is the six days you say a prayer before you look down, hoping it has finally come, because it is late and you had not worn a condom that night in that guy’s bed in Herne Hill. You fear the phone call you have to make, then you remember you do not have the guy’s phonenumber, you only know his name was ‘BigMike’ which is not what you imagined the father of your firstborn child was going to be called. You were thinking Ewan or Gabriel or something like that. And the relief when it finally comes and you are not pregnant with LittleBigMike and you feel like dancing, despite the pain, the mindnumbing pain.

The cramps, the headache, the backache. You cancel your plans without giving a reason, because you have been told that no one wants to hear about your period. People cringe when it comes up. On TV, it is always light blue and women smile. I am not sure which of those is the most unrealistic.

I have heard people describe in details the story of the time they took a dump so big, it clogged the toilet and they could not walk for a week. Men, mostly, but I myself have paraded around showing everyone a picture of poo so big, if it had been a baby, it would have to be c-sectioned. It did not make people as proud of me, as I would have expected from my close friends. It was however, much more acceptable than mentioning my period. Despite how natural, normal and human it is. Dare I also say feminine?

And yet, we are shamed into not talking about it. Which frankly, is more disgusting than actual periods. Which we know is very disgusting indeed.