October 15th 2012.
It's cold today. Everything's frosty and the grass looks like it's been suspended in time, each individual stalk covered in white ice. There are rosehips and holly berries sprouting, their red berry colour striking against the coolness of the graveyard. Yes, I did say graveyard. This is like my home away from home, the place I go to whenever I need some time out from the world. Everyone says I'm morbid and obsessed with death, and some have even called me a goth or a Satanist, because we all know that that's what people do nowadays - give out misnomers to people like they're going out of fashion. If I'm anything and I have to have a label, I'd probably say I'm a pagan. Not a weird person who dances about naked (yetanother misnomer!) but someone who loves Mother Nature, who respects the ways of the Earth and someone who happens to cast the occasional Circle and do spells to make this world a better place.
The reason I love graveyards so much is because of their history and beauty. Beauty might be something that you don't normally associate with a graveyard, but they do have a kind of morbid beauty. I often sit and wonder what the person was like who's now lying six feet under. What did they do from day to day? Were they a builder, a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor ... what did they do? Did they have children or grandchildren or pets? Nobody else would wonder that, if you believe my mum, but my mum's never really understood me or ever tried to. She'd rather pretend it wasn't happening and try and turn me into this perfect little princess than accept that her daughter's a bit kooky and does her own thing.
My mum and I have never got on. She's a lot older than me - 44 years to be precise - and unfortunately that age gap means we're not really in tune with each other. I think that whilst she is a phenomenal teacher and a great woman, she doesn't really know how to parent someone who is so much younger than her. Her main problem is that she has a fixed idea of what I should be like and how I should behave, and when I don't fit that mould, she either argues with me until I do what she wants or - now that I'm older and an adult in every sense - denies it and stonewalls me. Take my faith for example. I've told her numerous times that I'm a pagan, but she doesn't believe me or, if she does, she doesn't want to admit that her daughter is anything other than a perfect little Barbie doll who does what her mother says every minute of the day.
With all this going on it's not surprising that I spend most of my time in a graveyard. When I'm there I can talk to myself, or the elements, or sometimes even the gravestones. They never tell me I'm wrong or that I shouldn't do what I want to do, nor do they expect me to fit a mould. They are just there and I think on some level that they listen to me. Of course I know they're notreally listening - I am a logical person - but it's very therapeutic to think that they might be listening on some deep level beyond the levels here on Earth. It might be weird and it might be kooky but that's just who I am and how I feel. After all, who hasn't been awestruck by a sunset or the clouds, or even a small river gurgling its way to the sea?
The graves are frost-rimmed, the names on most of them weathered and barely legible now. Most of them are centuries old, some less old, and some are pretty recent. There's one grave in particular that I walk past every day. I love this grave because it has my name on it. Not my full name, just my first name: Jessica. She died centuries ago at a ripe old age, and hopefully I will die at a ripe old age too. What's rather ironic is that I'm terrified of dying, yet I spend all my time in a graveyard! I suppose you could say that's the strangest thing about me, but it's what I love and it's the place that I feel most at home in.