I’m not coming home

I’m not coming home

I spent years trying to escape my burning home
The house was fine
But the walls inside we’re black with soot
The flames that I felt the scalding heat from
Lapped at my skin
Leaving burns in the places most people don’t see
The air inside is thick with smoke
It covered my mouth
Like a grey leather glove pressed against my lips
Fighting for breath
With my parents hands fitting so perfectly over my voice
The matches we lit ignited the carpets
They burned and burned with the alcohol flooding the rooms
From my mother’s empty wine bottles
They blazed so high
But so silently that there was nothing anyone could do
My lovers would see the ash on my skin
And weep with me
Because no matter how much I was being flamed
When there’s no real fire to put out
What can they do to save me?
I spent eighteen years fighting the fire in my home
I spent so long trying to hide from the heat
And longer soothing my burns
But now I am free
I am getting my breath back
With every exhale I set loose the smoke inside of me
Sometimes I am even scared to talk to people
Because of the stench of burning flesh on my breath
I got out less than a month ago
The air is cooler on the other side
The little fires inside of me still roar
When I hear my mother’s voice down the phone
And I smell the smoke on her tongue she speaks
I am reminded of the walls I fought to escape from
I feel the grief of the things I’ve left behind
Which have turned to dust
I grieve and I grieve and I grieve
For the home that I never knew
For the mother I didn’t save
And I burn for the father with matches in his back pocket.
The new skin I’m growing covers up
The parts of me that could never breathe
What a gift to no longer be suffocated
What a gift to be able to tell my father,
The one who built the home that he set ablaze,
That no matter how much you ask for me to forgive you,
I escaped the chains I was bound in
I survived the fire
I’m so sorry
But I can’t
I’m not coming home.

By Emma Catherine


The Names of my Parents

The Names of my Parents

My parents are called distant and desperate


Distant doesn’t understand and never will

he does things to make a point rather than to look after his daughter

he speaks with no words, just aggression

and eats with so much appetite


it spoils mine.


Distant plays life like a game rather than a journey

every question an interrogative

and each answer a tactical statement.

I am often left on rhetorical questions.


Desperate has desperate hands that shake

hands that hold bottles of wine to keep them steady

she is a wonderful mother

she tells me she loves me every day and makes me cups of tea

she calls me sweetheart and kisses me goodbye.


Distant has worn desperate down like sugar to enamel

Growing plaque along the ridges

and breeding bacteria to chew at the teeth


Desperate can’t cope she

is more seashell than sea creature

a house rather than a homeowner

a cloak rather than a body.

Desperate is tired, weak and poisoning herself

and she is a wonderful mother

isn’t she?


Distant doesn’t believe in mental health

and tells me he can’t cope with my illness

because it makes him angry

he denies my existence

telling me my love is a phase

and my gender a weakness


Desperate is understanding and then confused

and tells me she can’t cope with my illness

because she hates seeing me so upset.

She is always too drunk to listen to who I really am

and then gets upset  because she doesn’t know who I really am


I am angry about it

and so

I am writing about it.


Toxicity- trauma, abuse, me

Toxicity- trauma, abuse, me

There’s this feeling I get a lot of the time. The feeling of enlightenment that not everyone’s life is riddled with turmoil. That some people feel safe in their own home, or even with just themselves. That people can trust themselves to keep out of harm’s way, and not throw them into dangerous, reckless, stupid situations because of impulse issues and self-destructive tendencies. And the one that hits me so deeply; that people feel safe with their family. I feel this countless times, especially when I’m at friends houses.

I see the way they sit around their parents, their dad, comfortable, entitled to the seat they lounge in, unafraid. I see the way they talk to their parents, eye contact is something they can bear to hold with each other, and they can speak without screaming or saying nothing at all. To see their mums talking (not slurring), and draws are used for pots and pans, and wardrobes for clothes, instead of wine bottles.

This is the kind of freedom I realise I do not have. To live in a home instead of a house is not something I have had the privilege of doing.

I realise how much of an empty space this has made in me. One that means my friends are more family than my own blood. Feeling no care from my parents sometimes had left wanting more from them, all the way up to my 18th birthday. This wanting ‘more’ has been utilised in soft toys, changing my hair colour, impulsive spending, binge drinking and alcohol abuse myself, dangerous sexual relations, self-harm, and starvation. And a whole lot of thick, grey, emptiness. An emptiness that has almost killed me, many times. People showing me care is like me, a small moth, to a huge chandelier of light. I love you instantly if you show kindness. I can barely hold myself back from hugging you because I’ve never learnt that such kindness should be normal between people.

But it has put me in much more sinister, harmful places. I have been taken advantage of numerous times because of that emptiness it’s brought me. I can become so defensive and aggressive when hurt, trying to protect myself from that familiar pain. I can be out of control with alcohol and in mania, that I drink until I am seriously vulnerable. And a combination of this brought me to the worst night of my life when I was sexually assaulted. Violently, and degradingly. All because I never learnt how to protect myself from the real dangers because of my emotions, and because I did not know how to trust people who showed me some kindness.

Abuse is the toxic film over the eyes. You can’t see or even feel other people properly while it’s there. And like genetics, abuse like mine in childhood moulds you, usually permanently (although you can heal don’t worry), into the adult version of myself. My deep-rooted personality. My person.

The thing is with abuse, it often starts with one toxic person taking things out on you horribly, but the more you endure it, the less you truly feel the reality of abuse. Then them hurting you, can turn into you also hurting you, just to cope. For me, it was as if hurting myself, in whatever form, became soothing. I was used to being hurt, so I made it okay when I was doing it myself. It is sad, but it is also okay. I have never experienced abuse as we show it in the media, the hitting, serious physical neglect of small children, isolation from school due to injuries. No. But I have experienced extreme emotional and psychological abuse, along with a parent with her own demons. Each ‘blow-up’ was a trauma, and this repetitious traumatising grates on the mind and I feel like it just kept breaking me down. As much as I felt myself crumbling, it was hidden. And that’s almost what makes it so bad. It’s invisible.

Emotional abuse is just as serious as the other kinds of abuse. It fucks you up just as much. It catches you off guard. And it feels like being burned alive. (And oh god that horrible feeling of knowing you just can’t escape it, and even if you can physically leave that house, parts of you are always left there). It makes us extremely emotional, but colourful. Deeply loving and loyal. Kind, compassionate and empathetic. A wonderful human. And when the abuse has passed, bury it. But the bits that you are left with, I want us to turn into the most beautiful rainbow in the sky. Run with the parts of yourself that are troubled, build them up into flowers and watch them bloom. Beautiful, and stronger than ever before.

by Emma Catherine


instagram- @rain.on.rosy.cheeks


10 things my father says but does not mean 

10 things my father says but does not mean 

1. He says ‘I wouldn’t care if you were gay’. He means ‘Don’t you dare come out to me, you’ve seen the way I treat the weather man with a pink tie’

2. He says ‘I don’t mean to get angry’. He means ‘I don’t mean to get angry, I mean to scare you’

3. He says ‘You can tell me anything’. He means ‘I don’t want to read your diary just to find out how you’re feeling’

4. He says ‘You spend too much time on your phone’s. He means ‘I wished we talked more’

5. He shouts. Alot. He means ‘I will give you a lifetime of jumpscares when you hear a man shout’

6. He says ‘You can’t have a bath’. He means ‘I care about money more than you’

7. He says ‘You have a disgusting attitude’. He means ‘Youre copying me’

8. He says ‘stop being an agressive little girl’. He means ‘You learned to fight this way because I taught you’

9. He says ‘our family is normal’. He means ‘I am the reason you don’t want to marry’

10. He says ‘I love you’ he means ‘say it back’.