The Dark Days

I’m in a dark place and I don’t know how I got here.

Honestly, I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. Only a month ago I would said, “I could handle a depression, that’s fine, I know depression.” Oh, how the ignorant spout! It turns out I can’t ‘handle’ depression. It hasn’t handled me so much as drowned me.

Three weeks ago today I made an attempt on my life. I will write about it one day but right now it feels too soon. And yet I want to write, I think I need to, but not about that. Not yet. Right now I want to talk about the repercussions which I weren’t expecting and which have hit me over the head harder than I thought possible.

Work is impossible; the idea of going to work like normal is just insane. The job I used to do with such ease (and sometimes enjoy!) feels very far away. I’ve dreamt about work several times and, in each one, I find myself standing still, staring blankly at everyone around me working and getting on with it and thinking, why the hell am I here?  So at the moment work is a no. Luckily I live in a country where my sick pay is good and my employers are supportive, so I mustn’t dismiss that blessing.

But my hobbies…I never thought I’d ‘lose’ writing. The flame was always burning: even when I wasn’t actively writing, my brain was still turning over ideas and imagining scenarios for future scenes. Now I just…I can’t. I’ve stopped and started on this post more times than I’d like to admit. My writing doesn’t seem to have a point anymore. Before, I used to work towards the ultimate goal; publication. Now the motivation is gone and, with writing being such a solo sport, there isn’t anyone to fan the flame. It’s gone out until I feel in a place to relight it.

Other previously enjoyable activities have lost their appeal too. I can’t say I’m interested in anything at present. I’ve said this to many of those who are trying to support me, and for whom I am grateful: I feel like a part of me was lost that day. The vital part of me that believed in myself and knew who I was. People tell me it’ll come back, with time, which I admit I dismiss. It’s easy to make promises about the future but they hold little weight in the present.

I think I’ll stop here. This entire post feels like a jumble but then I don’t feel my writing is up to its usual standard. Some days I wonder if it ever will. Thank you for your time. Perhaps, hopefully, I’ll be able to do an update in six months’ time, proving current me wrong. We’ll see.

Who Hates Me Most?

You are your own worst enemy.

How many times have you heard that phrase? If you’re like me and surrounded by smug do-gooders who consistently like to point out the obvious (as if this somehow grants them brownie points in life), then you’ve heard no doubt heard it countless times and felt the need to dryly reply, ‘yes, I am aware, nobody can hate me more than I hate me!’ with all the light-heartedness of somebody about to enjoy a root canal.

If there’s something us people who’ve struggled with our mental health are well acquainted with, it’s that joyful thing; self-loathing. After all, it’s so ridiculously easy. Who hasn’t hated themselves after an anxiety attack has ruined a well-deserved night out? Or after a depressive period has wrecked a relationship beyond repair? Who hasn’t wanted to pull their own brain out and scrub it clean off its deformities because why the f**k can’t it be normal?!

I have. When the OCD held me in its grip (ha, who am I kidding, I still walk hand-in-hand with that bitch everyday), I despised my mind for falling victim to its tricks on a daily basis. I wanted nothing  more than to chuck my brain in the bin, where it belonged, for being a thoroughly useless organ. Like, hello? Your job is to keep us going and instead we’re on the point of dehydration because we can’t drink out of the cups in the house because you’re convinced they’re contaminated? Also we can’t wash them because you say the dishcloth and the tea towel are dirty, too? What is this self-sabotage and how about you give it up?! Needless to say, Brain and I were not on good terms and I still don’t feel sympathetic towards its shenanigans. On my great journey of life, I haven’t reached that milestone yet.

What I have done, however, is found a peace with my younger self.

Like many people reading this, my mental health issues started young. I was fourteen when I was officially diagnosed with depression, but that bitch reared her ugly head the year before and the OCD, well, I’m beginning to think she’s a parasitic twin.
The depression, however, hit me around the face. I’d been a happy child. Relatively normal parents, normal upbringing, no bullying; my backstory is poor. And then, when I was thirteen, I was attacked twice in the space of a month by two different gangs of teenagers. It had never happened before, it has never happened since and I understand if you found it unbelievable. So did many people at the time. But, with God as my witness, I assure you it is the truth. Those incidents robbed me of my confidence and sense of security and, as the months turned, I developed PTSD, experiencing flashbacks and a sheer terror of leaving the house.

(This was also the time when the grooming started – I had a really shit year, that year! – but let’s not get distracted. Here’s an insight to that here; The Adult Looking Back)

This depression lasted for three years; the entirety of my final years within the education system. The most important exams I’ve taken were held during those years. The main bulk of puberty hit me during those years. We can all remember those teenage years and mine took place under the umbrella of depression, during a time when mental health wasn’t discussed as openly as it is today. A lot was lost during that period; I was pulled out of a fairly prestigious school, in case it was contributing to my stress. My grades suffered and so my final exam results reflect this. This had an adverse effect on my further education: I have never been to university. I was rejected, folks, and I was bitter about that shit for years. (Ha ha, joke’s on me, still am)

Now, personally, I feel there’s too much pressure on teenagers. The idea that one can know, for sure, what one wants to do at the age of sixteen (as it was in my day) is, frankly, terrifying. I did not figure out that writing was my jam until I was…twenty-two. A full six years later. And that’s relatively early. Some people don’t figure it out for decades. So it seems insane that teenagers are expected to be confident enough of their future plans to stack over £12,000 on them without having had any chance to live. Combine this with a mental health problem, which is becoming more and more common among teenagers, and it is of little wonder we have a society fueled by their own self-loathing.

However. Recently I have decided to look at things a little differently; firstly by alleviating the blame on myself. I didn’t give myself depression. As they say, shit happened and my brain did not know how to cope. It had never experienced anything like it before. The depression was a response to my circumstances with a mind that did not know how to process them. A shrink once said to me that the mind is like one of those baby shape toys. You know, the circle fits in the circle, the square in the square. But when shit happens, that shape can’t fit. The brain doesn’t know what to do with it. I like to think of it as a plague within the mind, pressing its smoke up against functioning areas and contaminating them with its negativity.

The more I look at it, the more I don’t think I gave my mind enough credit. Ultimately it saved me. I had dabbled with the idea of suicide and given it serious thought, particularly during the third year and in the run-up to my exams, yet my mind refused to crack. It still believed, deep down, that there was hope. The little girl I’d been before shit happened was still alive and deserved the opportunity to realise herself as an adult. I didn’t recognise this almost split-personality for another eight-odd years but I believe that’s where it began; where I began to differentiate the depressed me and the me I believed I could be.

It was this depressed me that I hated for all those years. This pitiful, worthless version of myself who allowed herself to lose her school place, who didn’t bother to try harder at her exams, who forfeited her future education and the opportunities it may have provided. Nobody hated me more than I hated me. As time went on and I watched friends graduate from the school I’d left, glowing results in hand, off to universities to begin their lives, my bitter resentment towards myself flourished. I was the walking, talking definition of you’ve let yourself down. As far as I was concerned, my brain has SPECTACULARLY let me down. It had all but SABOTAGED me. What an absolute f**king bitch. Aided, of course, by those well-meaning do-gooders who’d tell me I was “too good for a low-paid job” and “wasted not attending university.” Yeah, thanks for that, give the old hate crowd another flag, why don’t you?

And then, in 2015, a year after I’ve come to the realisation that writing was my path in life, a song lyric caught my ear. Originally sung by the Beatles, a cover version of Ticket to Ride by The Carpenters had fast become my favourite song, along with this line in particularly;

“Before he gets to saying goodbye, he oughta do right by me.”

This lyric, slightly altered by my fair hand, I wrote about a picture of myself, a school photo taken when I was eleven, before any shit happened. Before you get to say your goodbyes, you’ve got to do right by me. It was the first time I’d acknowledged that 1) wrong had been done to me and it hadn’t been my fault and 2) I pitied the depressed teenage me rather than hated her. It became a goal for me then, a life-long one if you will, to balance the scales. I explained it to my husband as: “it has to have been worth it”. Those years lost, spent suffering under the rain cloud of depression, losing so much (and that’s another thing. People are like, ‘not going to university isn’t everything’ but that’s not the point. To me, it is a loss and FEELINGS ARE VALID. Another shrink phrase), they all have to have been worth it. That depressed teenager has to come up on top on eventually. I’m not saying I want to be as successful as JK Rowling or as rich as Bill Gates. I aspire to neither of those. It is merely a message to the girl with the black eyeliner from ten years before, the girl who carried on even when she didn’t want to; you gave it your all for those years, I’ll give it mine for the rest of them.

Lola Deelay of Of the Light and the Dark

Owning the Shame

I’ve wanted to talk about shame for a while, for shame and mental health tend to walk hand-in-hand, yet I haven’t known how to address it. I think it’s safe to say that everyone who has been diagnosed with a mental health condition or illness has also experienced the ‘shame’ that comes along with it and it is this which I want to talk about today, for I no longer believe in shame. Uh-uh, not a bit.

My history with mental health goes back over ten years, prompted by a violent incident in a park and escalated by years of abuse (which I speak about here, if you’re interested: The Adult Looking Back). The earliest memories I have regarding my mental state at the time (depression and anxiety, FTW) pertained to how my mother reacted to it and her default reaction was that of shame. It wasn’t outward or deliberate. This was 2006. Despite only being twelve years ago, the world has moved forward rapidly, as anyone born before the millennium can tell you. But back in 2006, mental health wasn’t spoken about in public in any kind fashion. Cruel words were tossed about far more frequently than they are nowadays. If someone heard you had a mental health condition, they assumed ‘the men in white jackets’ were on their way. I still hate that phrase to this day. Henceforth my mother decided that my diagnosis would stay ‘in the family’ and the given reason for my rapid change in mood was ‘stress’. The exam period at school was coming up and I was under a lot of ‘stress’.

Good friends, I was not merely stressed. I was suicidal. I was a fourteen year-old planning the quickest and easiest way to die. But even the mention of suicide doesn’t shock people into kindness. It didn’t then and, sadly, it doesn’t now. If mental health walks hand-in-hand with shame then suicide and the word ‘selfish’ are best buddies. I cannot tell you how many disagreements I’ve had with misinformed people who believe suicidal people are just selfish.
My mother didn’t even want to talk about suicide. It wasn’t something she was comfortable with (still isn’t) and as such, she didn’t want it in her world. That part of me was so shameful it couldn’t even be spoken aloud.

But depression and anxiety are not the only the mental health conditions I have suffered from. There are three beings in my marriage; my husband, myself and my good old friend, OCD. OCD and I have been trotting along through life together for many, many years. For several of those years, OCD disguised itself so I wouldn’t recognise it was there. It’s a marvellous shape-shifter. It still catches me out these days, even though I know what its ugly face looks like.
You’ve no doubt heard of OCD, with your earliest hearing of it pertaining to people who wash their hands too much (me) or who have to check the door a thousand times before leaving the house (also me). Unlike other mental health conditions that’ve only been making appearances in public conversation in recent years, OCD is well established. People have been talking about being “a little OCD” for years. It’s become an excuse for someone’s extreme cleanliness or any odd habits. “It’s just my OCD!” In fact, people are so comfortable with OCD they laugh it off when I tell them I have it and insist that I don’t.

I will write a post about my OCD in full, so fear not if you’re interested in that story. I want to show you a snapshot of a time in my life when OCD was not at its worst, but gaining momentum: The house was old, there was bound to be lead in the paint. The paint would kill my baby. Had my husband washed the cups up properly with a fresh sponge and dried them with a clean tea towel? Actually, did he remember to hang the tea towels inside so no bugs could get on them and make me ill? Did I actually shut the fridge door or did I only think I did? If I hadn’t, the food inside wouldn’t be fit to eat and I’d have to go without. But if I went without, the baby would go without, too, and maybe it would die! But if I ate the bad food, I’d get ill…and the baby could die! I could go to the shop but then I’d have to go on the germ-riddled bus and touch germ-riddled money and how could I wash my hands before getting back into the house? Everything I’d touch – my bag, my keys, the door handle – would be contaminated! I’d have to disinfectant everything! But then I’d have to touch the cleaning products and what if inhaling their odours hurt my baby?

I hope you can tell, via that small inset of thirty seconds in my brain, how easy it is for OCD to spiral completely out of control. You’ve probably noticed that I try to fix things; the food is bad, buy more. The door is contaminated, clean it. The cleaning products are dangerous…the next step would be to ask my husband to clean it, then himself and throw the towels into the washing bin. But occasionally the situation could not be fixed. Once I ate half a sandwich without realising the bread had started to go mouldy and fell into a depressive state, convinced I was going to lose my baby. OCD latches on to what you fear most and, during that period of my life, it was miscarriage/stillbirth and after she was born, it became SIDs. OCD is a shape-shifter and, if you don’t recognise it for what it is, because it is clever, it becomes an instigator of shame. I was terribly ashamed of myself. I considered myself to be a relatively intelligent woman, so why was I convinced that a tea towel could hurt me? Why didn’t I trust myself to close a fridge like I did every day? Why didn’t I realise that it was all in my head? I was so ashamed of myself that I decided others would be ashamed of me, too, and refrained from telling anyone my problem. But the time the problem was realised and addressed and I was sitting down to my first therapy session, it was five days before my due date.

Shame has accompanied my mental health every step of the way and, frankly, I’m fed up of it. I do not feel ashamed by my past or by the mental health issues created. I’m at a place in my life where I feel the time is right to own them. I like to tell my stories not because I am looking for pity (I cannot abide the idea of pity) or sympathy but because it allows me to own them. My mental health took as readily as it gave. While my mind fought to protect itself, sacrifices were made along the way. I missed out on opportunities I could have taken, places I could have seen and people I could have met. Of all that is on Earth, time is the most irretrievable and the most bitterly lost. But as those experiences were lost, I was saved and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Back when I was fourteen and researching suicide, I came across a page no doubt many of you have encountered. It told me to stop and to think. It pointed out all the things in life that I likely hadn’t experienced, from trivial things like my favourite ever song to the love of my life. Potential was out there, but only if I stayed around long enough to let it find me. I hold that memory very close to my heart and am eternally grateful to the person who created that page. It allowed me to accept that, yes, this was my life now and these things were happening, but everything in life is temporary and I will see the sun rise again. I prayed for strength every night and, as is clear, I did not die one night in 2006. Nor any day in 2008, when I tried again, or in 2016, when I so desperately believed that my baby deserved far better than me.

I could easily banish those years, hell that entire decade, to the dark corner of my mind where bad stuff tends to gravitate, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve decided to embrace my past. What happened happened and led me to where I am now. I am not ashamed that I was swallowed by a depression prompted by years of abuse. I am not ashamed that OCD ate up the best parts of my pregnancy and the first year of my child’s life. These dark plights upon my record are mine to own and own them I do.

My name is Lola Deelay. I have experienced depression, anxiety, suicidal inclinations, PTSD and OCD, these are my stories to tell and I am not ashamed.

Photo by Sabine van Straaten on Unsplash

The Adult Looking Back

I’d like to tell you about the first relationship I ever had. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of stories about first loves; in books, on the TV, via grandmothers and close friends. Everybody has a story to tell, whether it’s theirs or someone else’s. Lend me five minutes of your time and I’ll tell you about mine.

Let’s introduce ourselves. My name is L and it has always been L but, to her, I was M. A lot of couples have their own names for one another, don’t they? As time passed, we had ours emblazoned on keyrings and charm bracelets, but in the beginning, they were just our internet names. Were you around for the early 00s? They were a magical time. I’m fairly sure, on my deathbed, I will hear the dingdong of MSN and stick up straight, convinced I am thirteen and someone is waiting to speak to me. Those were the days when we had usernames like AngelL and Lolzfaerie and passwords that were pets’ names. They were simple times, my friends. That relationship blossomed on MSN and it wasn’t the only one. Why, a dear friend of mine met her husband on MSN when she was sixteen. MSN was the Snapchat of our day.

I can’t tell you how many hours we spent talking on that messaging service, exchanging favourite music and TV shows, deep thoughts and personal feelings. Anybody who’s had a close friendship on the internet can attest how quickly you can fall into a sort of intimacy with another person. So you don’t know what their perfume smells like but you know their mother died when they were eleven and they’ve never really recovered. What’s more important?

Do you remember, when you were a little kid, thinking about how amazing it would be to meet Father Christmas or go to Disney World? Something so extraordinary that it didn’t seem possible and yet you hoped beyond hope that it would happen, because it would be the GREATEST THING EVER? That’s what it was like, meeting her for the first time in real life. I couldn’t believe she was real. I couldn’t believe I could smell her perfume because she was here, with me, in real life. It was insane.

Those weeks were something else. We watched movies she’d saved on her laptop holding hands, we’d stay up all night until we could barely sit upright and we’d play games she’d devised. We had days out around the city, around the shopping centres and the local parks and if I’d ever known I could have been so happy, I wouldn’t have believed it.

I’d like to tell you about the first relationship I ever had. Sure, you think you’ve heard mine but let me try again. I told you my story through the eyes of the fourteen year-old I was. Let’s retell it, through the eyes of the adult I am today.

Let’s introduce ourselves. My name is Lola and if nobody is allowed to call me M. That name, which once held such a positive association for me, is now dead in the water and if I could set fire to it like I did the keyring, I would. The early 00s were a different time; the world hadn’t fully embraced the internet yet. We were the pioneers, the first, and as with any new world, there were few rules and even less security. Why did you think we could get away with passwords like Fluffy?

I met her in circumstances no different to what you may do now. A shared fondness for a TV programme, an easy enough explanation, but you tell me; how many adults are devoted to children’s programmes? She used to send me episodes that hadn’t yet been aired, a privilege that set me above others my age and bonded me closer to her. An artist could twist it, extending a drawn hand, offering a shiny lollipop, and I think you’d get the idea. Perhaps we’re not on the same page yet?

She used to tell me about her life – tell me a lot more about her life than you’d probably deem appropriate for such a young friendship – but isn’t that what bonds people? In return I gave her my life; my quarrels with friends, my worries about exams, my disagreements with parents, all things she chucked back in my face because they didn’t rate beside her adult problems. I didn’t mind. She was right, after all. How can a failed exam compete with the death of a parent?

I say we exchanged music tastes but that’s incorrect. She wasn’t interested in mine. She sent me woeful, lyrical music that I’d never have discovered on my own, songs of despair and loneliness, songs with too big a feeling for a girl whose main worry is her Neopets. She sent me other things, too; pictures and drawings too old for me to understand over the internet and gifts through the post; little mice holding hearts and perhaps a necklace, too? And words, words like ‘only you, only ever you, you’re the best, you know?’

She also used to phone me when drunk, laughing and shouting until I’d beg her to go home before she hurt herself. Other times she’d call me out to shout abuse, to accuse me of betraying her. She’d leave spiteful messages to keep me in line and exchange them with adoring notes to keep me still.

The first time I met her wasn’t the greatest moment ever – did I tell you that I missed it? I missed her coming through Arrivals, because I was in the toilet, sick with nerves. When she saw me, she threw herself at me. There were more gifts and more babbled declarations of joy and I drank it all in, because why not? I was fourteen and I believed the world to be pure.

We spent nights watching movies of her choice, movies that frightened me and made me afraid to sleep. I never was good with horror. She declined invites to meet my family or hang with my friends and kept me to herself, even matching our clothing down to accessories as if I could doubt who I was with. And the games, the games she devised, where she’d pretend to be a man, dress like a man and use a man’s voice. I remained what I was, a fourteen-year old, but that was what she wanted me to be.

And at night time, when the world was still and the laptops stowed, she’d creep into my bed and press herself against me, acting out what it would like to be a man. I was fourteen years old. She was nineteen years-old.

This carried on for years. I probably don’t have to tell you that, by the time I turned sixteen and started to question this, she turned against me. She dropped me like a hot potato and vanished into the dark side of the internet, into that place where they now warn children to stay away from. But the devil doesn’t come in the shape you expect and what you believe to be true in one decade, you can realise to be false in another.

Once upon a time, all I wanted was to know the smell of her perfume. Now, if I am out and I catch the merest scent of it, all I can do is panic. And those conversations I used to save, the same ones I deleted in the immediate aftermath, they’d be used as evidence now.

Note: This piece is probably the most personal I have ever written but it’s a story I have wanted to share. I hope I’ve managed to portray what happened throughout the story, but if you are confused and would like clarification, please feel free to ask and I’ll explain in the comments. In another blog, I will speak more in depth about the ramifications this had on my mental health (which I’m sure you can imagine) but it doesn’t hurt to have some backstory. Thank you for taking the time to read this, I always appreciate it.

Lola Deelay, of Of the Light and the Dark

The Little Girl in the Mirror

The little girl sits in her room, her face illuminated by a screen, the room dark apart from this one square of light. She plays melodic, dramatic songs, songs you’d never hear on the top 40 or on the commute to work. Her slim figure is drowned in an enormous black hoodie, the sleeves of which cover her hands down to her fingers, revealing chipped and bitten nail polish. In all senses, the girl is no different to any other thirteen year-old, holed up in her bedroom, connecting with the internet world far more than her real world. It’s what teenagers do, so they say.

But this thirteen year-old is still a little girl and she’s researching suicide.

The year is 2005. Mental health is still kept firmly behind closed doors, along with sexuality and gender identity. The term ‘suicide’ is usually only spoken of by mentally healthy people, commenting on the selfishness of the act as if the decision was an easy one and not a last resort out of desperation. The little girl knows this, because she has heard her mother make such comments, and that is why she conducts her research alone in her room. She knows, because the world has told her, that she is being incredibly selfish, but she has to disagree. The world will be a much better place once she has checked out of it.

I watch this little girl look at pictures of gunshot victims, of people run over by trains, of souls hanging from their cupboards with their eyes bloodshot and glazed and I want to smack my hands over her eyes and pull her away before the images can sink in. I want to shield her from these images, to keep her from the sadness that perpetuates the world, even though she is now aware of it to such depths, they horrify me. I look over her shoulder as she looks up the success rates for hanging, slit wrists and overdoses and I think, you are a child, what are you doing, why is there no one to save you?

Because nobody knows. Nobody can know because depression is shameful, suicide is shameful and you cannot be seen as selfish, as inflicting your pain on others, because what a horrible person that will make you.

So I kneel down beside this child and I turn her desk chair towards me. I grip hands that I’d forgotten had been so tiny once. I run my thumbs over bare fingers, where one day I will have rings to symbolise my marriage and the birth of my daughter. I look deep into her eyes, eyes that haven’t seen the wonders I have seen, and tell her the honest truth. She has yet to read her favourite book, hear her favourite song or see her favourite movie. Chances are I haven’t either, but that potential is there, isn’t that exciting? I tell her the world extends far beyond the four walls of her bedroom. I explain that one day she will understand; that her brain is trying to process things too great for it, beyond its potential, but it will grow and it will develop and it will understand. I grip her hands and I promise her that, one day, she will outgrow her mother and will be confident enough to make a stand, to talk about mental health without shame and to stare down anybody who dares to label it as selfish. I swear that, with time, she will understand what has happened to her and she will regain her power and realise she was not defeated then and she will not be defeated now.

I tell her with absolute confidence that, in life, everything is temporary and in death, everything is permanent.

I hold her frail body close, remember the times when my shoulders were as narrow as my hips; a body of a child with a brain desperately trying to figure out things that baffle adult minds. I turn the computer screen off and nudge her away from the desk and promise, with the certainty of one who has walked this path before, that all she has to do is get through tonight, for tomorrow will take care of itself.

Additional Info; In case you didn’t guess (you probably did), this is a ‘sort of’ letter to my own 13 year-old self and what I wish I could do/say to her.

An Introduction

Don’t you just hate when you join a new club or group of people and some smart-ass has the bright idea that we should ‘go around the circle, introduce ourselves and provide an interesting fact about yourself?’ I remember my first day of secondary school and my ‘interesting fact’ was that I collected train tickets. Want to establish yourself as a complete oddball on day one? Just ask me, I’ve got it in the bag. They’re lucky I didn’t tell them about the plastic frog collection that I kept in an old Skittles box, still with the best before date of Jun ‘01 stamped on the side.

But introduce myself I shall, for I feel it is good manners and, let’s be honest, humans are notoriously curious. I may even give you more one fact, depending on how generous I’m feeling. My name is Lol and you can call me Lol. I am the slave of a toddler tyrant by day and a poor writer by night, who looks forward to editing during daylight hours with relentless enthusiasm. I don’t collect train tickets anymore (or plastic frogs) but I am fond of a good notebook and any Dumbo merchandise. I love me a Dumbo.

Mental illness has been a part of my life for over ten years. In fact I think I’ve spent over half of my life with some sort of mental health issue cropping up from time to time. I can still remember the days (and they really weren’t that long ago) when admitting to or even talking about mental health was something that was looked down upon and I am so, so glad that times are changing, more people are talking and I am able to help push the world forward just a tiny bit through this blog. I am honoured to be a contributor and look forward to reading others’ work and engaging with you all.

I have a personal blog over here ( and I am also on Twitter (@loladeelay) so feel free to come and chat or just be nosey! I’ve been working on my first contributor post but, as previously stated, I am a poor writer of an evening and will need to do some heavy editing when I’m next properly awake.

Thank you for reading and see you about the blog soon!