I have just finished watching one of my favourite films, Stuck in Love. It’s one of those films that I have to watch every six months as my cinematic way of self-care. It helps me keep my feet on the ground and gently reminds me of where I’m going and what I want to do. It helps me remember that maybe I’m not doing so badly. It tells me this, specifically:
Write about what you love, and do it with honesty.
That’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do. I want to write so graphically that you can feel what I feel. I want to write so cuttingly that half of you can’t stomach it, but the other half really wants to try. Most of all I just love the initial blank piece of paper in the middle of the night that turns into something else by morning. There’s so many possibilities of what can happen. Sometimes you have to trust yourself to roll with it.
My wanting has made me draft three new goals in 2018.
-The first is to be bold. Bolder and bolder again. (I actually took this from my best friend Rhianne while we were on the crosstrainer machine at Walthamstow Gym, not very bold of me, but bold to admit it, I think.)
-The second is to write more. As much as I can. Don’t be afraid to write badly.
-The third is to let myself be scared about stuff. Mainly by new experiences or bad writing (see point 2.)
I will keep you updated with how I’m getting on with these. With this blog, I may just achieve all three. I thought for a long time about how I could make a piece of writing scare me – I can be quite an unabashed person. And yet, I’m eating a bowl of coco shreddies (ready to tackle bowl 2) and thinking about how on Earth I can write in a way that scares me. It all came back to being honest. Write and write honestly.
What can I be honest about? My first thought was the people around me. I can be honest about why I love the shit out of them, but I don’t want it to be horribly cliche. I want it to be true and very short. Write just one thing I love about them, two at max (for there are many to list anyway), and whichever I happen to think of in this moment is what I shall write down. This concept scares me, and I‘m not sure why. So here it goes, let’s try it. This is my attempt to write about what I love, by writing about what I love, about the people I love.
I hope you love it.
Mum: ever since I was little I’ve loved the way my mum smells. Her skin smells like sweet cream, a sort of buttery, custardy warmth. If I had metamorphmagus like Nymphadora Tonks in Harry Potter, my hair would turn a calm sea green whenever I’m with (and can smell) my lovely mum.
Dad: when my dad wears his flap cap and big coat, he looks like an East End legend in a history book of the Blitz or something. The black and white photo effect suits him more than anyone I know. It’s something about his eyes and his stories, I think.
Granddad: my granddad is obsessed with making the sons of the family order him jazz CD’s from amazon. He keeps them all in neat trays in his living room in South Wales – he has hundreds. I think he’s listened to every one. It was also from my granddad that I learnt that in the army the men called a wank a ‘Jay Arthur.’
Katie: my sister has this fiery energy that can light up a room. She is fierce and tough and will stand up for me against anyone. Even against a battlefield of sophie haters swinging swords with venom, my sister will be ready. She will take them all on and win, then down a bottle of cherry lambrini to celebrate the victory.
Jack: when he is wrapped up in conversation, he uses his hands to express himself whilst he’s talking. They’re captivating. He’ll ask you thoughtful questions and is genuinely interested in your answer. I love that Jack can get fully distracted by the TV for hours and zone out to the extent that he won’t hear his name being called, but when he gives you his attention, he gives you all of it.
Tom: a rebel without a cause and our family’s very own James Dean, Tom is a man of few words, but the words he does say are nothing short of brilliant. Tom also hums when he eats, he has done since he was little (and doesn’t know he does it) which I find so adorable I can’t even cope.
Ben: I am a classic little sister case with Benny Boy (or Bur-Bur, as I have referred to him when I was a toddler and couldn’t talk properly.) I think he is the funniest person in the world. He can do anything, and particularly excels in practical labour. Don’t tell him this, but I idolise him completely – except when he comes home from work and yells at me about the dishwasher.
The girl and the best friends
Jo: I could watch Jo have a laughing fit all day. Her back on the bed, her cheeks a rosy red, absolutely belly laughing so much she can barely breathe. Later on this can become concerning because she does have delicate lungs, however in the moment it’s one of my favourite things to witness ever (particularly if I’m the cause of the racket.) Jo also reads books four times faster than I can, which is annoyingly attractive.
Rhianne: she is a completely and utterly no-nonsense woman and she doesn’t give a shit, but when she gives you a compliment you feel it with your whole being. Rhianne is quick, witty and when she laughs you immediately join in, she is so endearing. She also wears black and baggy coats/jumpers like they were made for her to wear them. Uh, my queen.
Sara: she is so emotional is Sara, and very openly so. She is proud of it. She will shout about what she believes in (as her dad encouraged her to do growing up), but she also has an innate ability to listen and understand those that don’t always understand her. I need to also mention our car chats. Parked stationary outside of my house, usually in the dark, our car chats make me very happy and keep me sane. (I feel like this is more than one, but it’s difficult not to elaborate.)
Harriet: every time I think of Harriet, in my head she is always in the same position. She’s sunk into her the sofa at her house wearing her fluffy pink dressing gown and slippers with her hand curled round a cup of tea in a polkadot mug. She is most likely watching Corrie and she isn’t a fan of the script at all. This vision is accurate and one of the many reasons why Harriet is my oldest friend. (Might I add that her tea is also ground-breaking.)
Charlotte: she does cracking impressions of celebs (and our former school dinner ladies) and is literally one of the wackiest and bravest people I have the pleasure to know. I will never forget in like 2006 when someone stole my purse in Vue Cinema Romford and Charlotte marched over to the gang of the perpetrators sitting in one of the cinema rows and demanded they give my purse back. I stayed sitting in my seat, too scared to ask. I actually can’t remember how this situation even came about, but it was scarring at the time. Charlotte got my purse back. To this day she has been my hero, straight outta Dagenham.
Katie G: you may think this Pompeii girl is shy and timid, but once you hear the sharp tongue on her you will never ever forget her amazing wrath and pointing finger (whilst she slurs ‘ya c*nt.’) Katie is a blinder of a poet and she’s going to make mega bucks from it one day playing in some insanely cool venues, but she’ll stay grounded. I know she will. How do I know this? Because I can always count on Katie for being up for a rolled fag and a cold pint with me at the Coborn Arms in the pissing rain or burning sun. It’s the mark of a great character.
Liz: she was my greatest discovery of 2016, and for the first time in my life when she returned back to her native Australia, London felt a little less like home. Liz is tenacious, her humour is brutal (but not as offensive as mine), her music taste is pure fire, plus she wears a big yellow scarf which she knitted herself. She doesn’t just know how to have a good time – she is THE good time, with £3 pizza takeaway included. I frequently think about our inevitable reunion and catch all the thirsty feels. Whenever or wherever it happens, my tears will turn her emotionless self to mush. I know it.
I wrote about what I loved honestly, even though it was scary. All in all, I strangely feel a lot better for it. I love more people than this, of course, and as for the people mentioned here I love far more about them than I have mentioned. My thoughts are I can’t go dishing out too many compliments in one go, can I? It’s only January after all, and I can’t let people think I’m all sugar and no spice.
I plan to write again very soon, keeping align with the same tone of my three goals for 2018: Be bold. Write more (and badly) and do more of what scares me shitless. As for 2018, I know this year will be a defining one for me so far. And even though I am terrified beyond my wits, I honestly can’t wait.
© Sophie Grace Hollis 2019. All rights reserved.