Wednesday, 30 December 2020

13. New Year, New Me is Bollocks, But This Time It Could Be True

 




I am going to be honest - I have NEVER understood the whole new year hoopla.   I get it from an ancient "movement of the planets" perspective, and I would probably have been quite excited in the Middle Ages, when I was a witch, but right here, right now?   No, no and no.


I always think there's something forced about New Year's Eve - you HAVE to go to an amazing party, you HAVE to get drunk, and you have to make bollocks promises.   I'm not good with things that are expected of me, or that are hyped up by others, and I am not a big drinker and I hardly ever do parties.    Although this year will be different, do I feel the need to celebrate in my Party of One?  Also no.


My biggest problem is with the cult of resolutions.  Why do we do this?  Is it good to reflect and make changes?  Absolutely.  Is it good to only do it once a year, on a forced timescale?  Absolutely not.


From an early age, I hated the whole "you need to pick a New Year's resolution" deal.   Why do I HAVE TO????  With the lack of illumination of a child, I didn't think I needed to change at all, yet there was this weird expectation that I should.  Worse, the suggestions that were being made to me were things I enjoyed, thank you very much - biting my nails, eating too many crisps, picking my nose ...


As the years go by, you realise this conversation is about people trying to iron out your faults, and it becomes quite insulting.  Lose weight.  Wash the dishes after you've used them.  Keep the house tidy.  No, no and no.  Take your ideas and shove them up your arse.  I am not going to change just because you want me to.  That's not how it works.


Eventually of course, you mature, and sometimes you CHOOSE to make a resolution, but it didn't take me very long to get to the place I am now, a battleline I have fiercely defended for 20 years - if you want to make a change, don't fucking wait for New Year's Day to do it.


The great thing about change is that you can do it at any time.  You can go big, you can go slow.  You can be bold, you can be subtle.  It doesn't require anyone else's timescale to do it.  In fact, if you do it for any reason other than your own selfish desire, it won't work anyway.


For change to take root and become a habit and become a norm, it requires motivation.  It needs a WHY.  Compare the woman who wants to lose "some" weight to the bride-to-be who needs to drop 2 dress sizes.  Only 1 of these women will be successful, and it will be the one who has a concrete, endlessly inspiring WHY.


We should never change for the sake of change.  Change when you want to, or when you need to.  Do it to please yourself, and commit to it 100%.   It's never too early or too late to change, and you can do it as many times as you want.   Just don't do it because someone else - or society - thinks you should.



As Facebook reminds me of my previous posts at this time of year, they all seem filled with a quiet desperation – this WILL be my year; this WILL be the year everything is better.  They make sad reading, not only because they weren’t true, but also because of the girl who thought that just by saying them, they could be true.

2021 actually excites me, and it’s a long time since I’ve felt like.  I’m not full of grim determination and resolution.  No, I’m filled with the awe of opportunity and the thrilling knowledge that I don’t know where life will take me this year, and I am absolutely cool with that.

I’ve heard the Universe calling to me these last 6 months, and I know a Big Change is coming.  I know I am getting ready, and I know I am excited to finally be walking forwards – too many years of my life have been spent in the quagmire.  I know I am finding myself again, becoming myself again, and OWNING myself again – wow that’s been a long time coming.

This New Year is so different in so many ways, and just like the way I got excited about Christmas for the first time in 5 years, I am also a little tingly about New Years Eve.  Not because I intend on making any resolutions, I hasten to add, but because this New Year seems to be all about HOPE.  It’s as if there’s a collective consciousness around the world willing things to feel different on the stroke of midnight.

Will they?  Well they won’t BE different, but maybe the ticking of the clock will be a mental reset for us all, and signal a time of looking forward, rather than feeling stuck.



12. Heading Forward with Health and Happiness

 



2020 has been surprisingly good to you.  Unexpectedly so.  You’re astonished to find that you’ve ended the year in a better mental state than you can remember in a long, looooong time, and this makes you feel – whisper it – happy about the future.

The very things that have proved difficult for others this year – the inability to do what you want with who you want, when you want – have been the very things that have healed your soul.  You have the silence of the world, the absence of the clutter of people and events.  Lockdown has suited you, spiritually, and through it you have found strength.

Not only did you Love Furlough, you loved living in a world where everything had to slow down, and maybe part of your happiness is because you no longer feel the world is racing away from you.  It has been within your reach all year, and whilst sometimes you have been breathless from the chase, most of the time you feel that you have finally ARRIVED.

The absence of things has been so good for you – deserted streets, a sparsely populated office, less noise in the world – that you have forgotten this is not normal lol.  An only child in every way, the lack of connection has been your emotional touchstone for your entire life, and the anti-social person at your core has been soothed by it.

The year has not been without its tempests.  January was foul, and when you finally hit the stride of success in February, you were told it was a fluke.  And then just as you were proving them wrong in March, lockdown brought a premature curtain down on your success.  You’ve been heartbroken, grief-stricken, ultra-anxious … and you’ve SURVIVED. 

You were shocked in October when, driving to work, you heard a foreign sound.  You were singing.  You were in shock, and in thrall, to a sound and an expression of joy that had been alien to you for literal years.  You NEVER sing out loud, and yet here you were, exhausting yourself with happiness.

You almost felt mentally free around then too.  You were as “fine” as you can be.  No darkness; not blinding light either, but definitely sunshine and a lightness of spirit that was like a stranger to you.  You got your BOUNCE back.  The reunion was sooo sweet.



Your truest self has an aspect to it that’s hard to describe, although you can picture it perfectly.  It’s not quite cocky, but it’s relentless, and for many weeks you felt that nothing could knock you down, and you thrived, genuinely happy for the first time in … how long?  10 years? 15?  Maybe even longer.

You know this feeling is in part due to the “work” you have done on yourself this year.  The growth through learning and understanding, examining your grief, and getting closer to the real you than you have in 20 years.  You finally woke up, and realised this Snow Globe you were trapped in all along was one you climbed into, imprisoned yourself in, thinking it would bring you safety from the trauma of the world. 

All it did was seal you off from life.  Nothing touched you.  Nothing reached you, and it’s only now you realise that part of you has been dead for many years.  For nearly half your lifetime – certainly the years you count as being your adult life – you have lived in denial and self-destruction.

The clouds began to break sometime in June, and ever since, you have heard the distant clangs of the universe sliding into place, finally ready (because you are ready) to transport you into the next part of your life.  There are too many coincidences afoot – the 20 year anniversary of your mother’s death; your daughter leaving soon for university; nothing to tie you to the ghost town where you live or the ex-husband in whose shadow you have withered. 

You feel like the Universe is creating the world’s hugest reset button for you.  Within 12 months, everything about your life could be different.  Where you live, what you do, who you are, your purpose.  The world is opening to you, and beckoning you in, begging you to choose something that will restore your happiness, and make up for all the opportunities you squandered.  You are being restored, revived, and the universe is breathing life back into you.  Nothing is impossible now.

It is time for new.  It is time for you.

 


Monday, 28 December 2020

11. Depression post 3 of 6294 - The Things That Help Me

 



You’ve suffered with depression since you were a teenager, on and off.  Significantly more on than off, but varying degrees of “on”.  You know the wishy washy grey days, and you know the black numb days, and every shitty shade in between.


Sometimes, nothing helps.  It just IS.  It’s just there.  Sometimes it arrives like an uninvited guest.  You’ve been “fine” the day before, and yet you wake up with the cloud there, unasked for, like a dream hangover.  And as the day passes, the cloud stalks you, settles on you, and starts to take you.

 

But over 30 years, you’ve learnt that some things DO help (and not just the medication, which I believe is essential), so here are some of the things that sometimes work for me, in the hope that they might work for you.

 

Smells. 

You suffer with your sinuses and have a super hooter.  Some smells can make you ill, and even make you vomit, but others clear your head and your soul.  You are particularly partial to the pure cooling bliss of lavender, which soothes you, even when it shouldn’t.   

The smell of citrus cuts through the crap and each sniff gives you a second of respite, clarity.  

Fresh air.  Inside The Bell Jar or the snow globe, everything is stale, and half dead, and a rush of breeze to the head reminds you that another world exists.  It greets you with a smile, like health.

 

Poetry.

You’ve heard that poetry can be an effective anti-depressant, and you love poetry, so that’s good.  The slowed breathing required to create holy communion with a poem is like a religion, and the connection with other people’s emotions reminds you of what you no longer feel.  Poetry slows time down, as you savour each word and rhythm, and each couplet nourishes your soul.

Your favourite poet has always been Sylvia Plath, and when you need her, she’s always there, her words cutting through the stale air like a knife, and reminding you what it’s like to hurt and feel and hurt and cry and rage and hurt and be wounded by the knife of life.  The poems she wrote in the last months of her life are full of anger, and also hope, and they soothe you like balm.

 

Matt Haig.

Haig has written several exceptional books about suicide and depression.  You love that he is not preachy, just a member of the club, sharing his worst moments with you, and reminding you that there is hope, if you can only cling on a little longer.  Notes On a Nervous Planet is your bible, stuffed with little face slaps that remind you how your own behaviours are killing you, and urging you on, coaxing you back to health.

 

Sound.

You don’t remember when life got so damn NOISY but your sanity depends on cutting the chatter.  You only like music, not SOUND, and you can only tolerate what you’re in the mood for.  Some days you yearn for the sunshine, so you play cheesy pop, other days you need to stabilise, so you choose mid-tempo tunes that soothe you without troubling you.

Sound becomes a key regulator in your life.  Many days, silence is the best music you can hear.  It’s the only way you can hear your own voice.  Other days, Radio 5Live is the only thing that’s there for you, the backdrop of friends, chattering in the background, allowing you to dip in – if you want to – and out – if you can’t.

This year you’ve loved Taylor Swift more than ever.  Her 2 albums have been a masterpiece of mood and emotion, equally soothing and thought-provoking.  Those songs have been there for you when you’ve needed company, needed to listen to poetry (for what is a great song except poetry put to music) or needed solace.  Music can cure.

 

Sleep.

You’ve always loved your bed, and loved sleep, but when you’re depressed, you measure your life by the time you can spend there.  You know that sleep is not only a healer, but a time stealer, and that if you sleep enough and for long enough, you will eventually wake up feeling better.  If you can keep sleeping, you might even get there faster.

Lack of sleep makes you jangly.  Jittery.  Bitchy.  Your synpases no longer connect the way they should and everything feels such an effort.  The day becomes a countdown to bed, rather than a reason for living, and you have to search harder for the things that you know will help you.


Don’t Embrace The Darkness.

When you’re in the Snow Globe, you’re stuck.  You don’t feel in control, and you don’t feel like you can move.  But somehow you know you have to remain positive, even if that takes every ounce of energy you have.

You remember reading, in 1989, an interview with Kate Bush where she was asked to name what she would most like to eradicate in the world.  Her answer was "negativity", and she went on to explain how it was such an empty and pointless emotion, something that achieved nothing, and you had an epiphany.  From that moment on, you tried to be more expansive, more open, and definitely glass half full.

But hope hurts, so you try to stay on an even keel, and you fight to Keep Calm and Let It Go so that you don’t get more diminished by what life throws at you.  And sometimes it gets strained, sometimes it cracks, and sometimes it plain old rips at the seams, but for the most part, your positive mental outlook keeps you tethered to this life.  

Tethers.

You need to find your tether.  Each and every one of you.  There has to be something or someone that locks you into this life and makes it impossible to leave, even when every bloodied cell and broken bone is begging you to quit.

For all the dark days, and the black days, the days when I want to stop the world and jump off, the days when I just want it to end, there is one thing that stops me – my daughter.

There are days when I REALLY struggle with my depression, days when my insecurities, low self-esteem and fuck-ups come crashing through the wall I build around myself, and I can find no reason why MY existence should continue.   But all it takes is one thought of my daughter, and I carry on.

I distinctly remember being in the grip of post-natal depression when she was a few weeks old, and asking other people to bottle feed her.  They would happily accept, but also ask "why", and I don't think a single one of them understood me when I said I did not want her subconsciously scarred, and to remember on some level that her arrival into the world reduced her mother to constant tears.

And some days, it's pretty much like that, all over again.  I will NOT have my daughter growing up without a mother, or wondering her whole life why her love wasn't enough to keep me alive.  I will not do that to her.   Famously, Arthur Miller said "a suicide kills two people, that's what it's for", and I will not have my amazing, pure, and wonderful daughter blighted by that which blights me.

So please, find your tether.  Find what soothes you.  And hold on, for dear life.  And know, above everything, you are not alone.  Far from it.  The community of the depressed has never been larger, never been more vocal, never been more willing to help.

 

All you have to do is Reach Out, or Hold On. 

10. The Unique Agony of Heartbreak


 

Rage

I have so much rage.

Rage for you

Rage for me

Rage for me falling for hope

AGAIN

Rage that I was so fucking stupid

Rage that I never learn

Rage that I couldn’t stay there, withholding and safe

Rage that my heart yearned for something I’d forgotten I wanted.

Rage for all the things you said

Which I believed.

Rage for how I now think you said them to lure me in.

Rage at how they counted for nothing.

Rage at how you made me feel,

That goddamit you made me fucking FEEL.

Rage that I loved it.

Rage that you let me go like a snap of your fingers.

Rage that despite everything you said, it couldn’t have been true.

Rage that if it was true, you were so willing to give it up.

Rage.

Rage that I can’t stop fucking thinking about you

Rage that you’re still in my head, fucking me over, doing me in

Fuelling my rage, doing me in.

Rage that you cared more about hurting the feelings of a woman you don’t love than you do for a woman you allegedly do

Rage that you didn’t fight for me

Yearn for me

Regret for me

Reach out for me.

Rage that you gave up on me.

And I don’t know how to undo you

How to undo the hurt

The rage

The shame

The feeling of being an idiot

The mistake of you

The hope of you

The fucking yearning of you and everything you offered

The dream of you

The actual believing I could finally have everything I ever wanted

And the stupidity of me.

The fucking utter stupidity of me

The believer in me

The lurer in you

The hoper in me

The compartments of you

The dreamer in me

And the nightmare of you.

I don’t know what hurts more

Realising I still want the things I trained myself not to want

Or the sting of them being snatched away

Or the bitterness of feeling played

But who played me, me or you

I was definitely part of the crime

I stood on the cliff and I chose to jump

I chose to believe

I chose to hope

Fucking hope

You led us along every step of the way

It was always you who inched us forward

Always you who took the next step

And whenever I needed you to confirm those steps, you were silent

Non-committal you said

Over-thinker you called me

Yes, but there’s reasons for that

There’s suspicions for that

There’s things that don’t add up for that

There’s messages not read for that,

Messages not replied to

Messages ignored

Sudden swerves

The absence of messages

The absence of thoughts

The on and off of it all

And just … the rage of it all.

I want my mind to hush

I want to never have known you

I want to never have discussed the things we did

I want to never have had the hope

I want to feel whole again

Impervious again

Not needing again

But life changes us, always fucking changes us

And yes we learn but oh how we hurt

And yes we grow evolve and bleed and die inside

But it doesn’t change the core of who we are

The hoper

The heart

The optimist

Doomed to be hurt

Destined to feel too intensely

Unless I become a hermit

Or cold

Or cynical

Or dust

You can’t turn off who you are

Anymore than they can turn off the lies that come out of their mouth

Or the things they say to get what they want.

And now you sit with a knot in your stomach

And a scab on your heart

A fissure in your head

And a bruise on your soul

You can’t undo it

Even though you want to

Even though you hate this

The rage won’t die

The hope won’t die

And you realise, neither will you

You will get through this, over this, endure this

Recover, reset, revive

If only the fucking hope would die.

9. The Caesarian



 So today is the day of my Caesarian.

 

Today, munchkin, you are finally coming out.

 

So far, 5 doses of Prostyn, the eagerness of your granny and the impatience of your mother have had no effect whatsoever.   Today, all that will change.

 

Surprisingly, I have slept really well (surprising because I can never sleep on Christmas Eve, and the suspense of this is killing me far more than that).   I have had my Last Supper (well, last sip of water) and now all that is left is a final encore of waiting.

 

Even more surprisingly, I am calm. I think this is because I know what is about to happen. There are no ifs, ands or buts. There is just this. My caesarean, and then you, my sloth of a baby.

 

Of course, not everything can go to plan.  When your father finally arrives, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  Of course he looks dishevelled.  Of course he is wearing his favourite lucky rugby shirt.  Of course he looks as if he has slept in a hedge.  However, what your father never looks is worried, and yet here he is, head in hands, looking everywhere but out, frantic with panic cos he has just remembered that 4 days ago I asked him who he would choose if he was faced with saving only me or you. Now he remembers.

 

I have never ever ever seen him like this.  He slides down the wall and sits with his head in his hands, propped on his knees.  He paces.   He cradles his head again.  He provides excellent humour material.  He paces again.   This is not my movie star boyfriend.  This is a man whose life is about to change, and he doesn’t know which way, or with what effect.

 

Unfortunately, all this comedy is having a far from funny effect on me.  My serenity is rudely interrupted by an osmosis case of diarrhoea.  All my calmness has been abraded away by your Daddy pacing around and exhaling doom n gloom.  Suddenly the reality of the Caesarean hits me.   Needles.  Spine.   Inefficient anaesthetic.   Sliced open.   Unable to screeee-

Its time.

 

I am wheeled gingerly to the delivery ward, all my many bags stacked around me, next to me, on me …  and suddenly the big moment is here.

After 9 months of lusting after you, visualising you, anticipating you, salivating over you, suddenly I am not ready.  I am not ready to be a mother.   I am not ready to be a mother for the rest of my life.  And I am certainly not ready to be a mother today.

 

But life is sometimes like a rollercoaster (Ronan) and right now I am at the top of that first incline you know the one that seems to go up and up and up forever at an impossible angle and you feel the curve is so steep that you are actually going backwards hanging upside down clinging on for dear life …. And that there is a lifetime of twists and turns ahead, some dizzying, some scary, some just downright exhilarating.  But above all else, you are strapped, bolted and pegged into this rollercoaster of life and from this moment on there is no getting off.  

 

Ever. 

 

The pit crew are great.  Professional, chatty, breezy – after all, to them this is just another day at the office.  They explain things to me and I nod, but I have too much energy to nod, so instead my whole body shakes its agreement. 

 

Annoyingly the movie star boyfriend is no longer gnashing his teeth and is instead laughing at me.  Would you believe it !!??  He explains that now he is calm because it doesn’t affect  him now.  Charming to the last.  He neglects to apologise for successfully transferring all his nerves over to me.  Bastard, he is enjoying my anxious ripples.  Little Miss Got To Be In Control hopelessly out of control – somehow I fail to spot the humour.

 

The anaesthetist gets ready.   Her assistant uses his hand as a tourniquet – bloody hell, never shake that man’s hand – and the drip goes in.  I am perched on the end of the bed concentrating fiercely on my breathing, fixing my gaze on a specific object, but nothing helps, because all I can see is the smug face of my grinning boyfriend, gleefully enjoying my nervousness.

 

Turning the dial, he decides to start a conversation, knowing that I am not capable of words.  I blow replies, too scared to nod or move in case important needles go astray.

 

And here it is, the key moment.  I fight to relax as the needle aims for my spine.  I can feel every goosebump, the blood rigid in my veins.  My nostrils flare and I feel the needle pop in.  Immediately my right thigh jerks.  It’s a bit like horror movie acupuncture – there is electricity hurtling down some damn meridian from my spine to my thigh, but bizarrely it amuses me (hey, I loved acupuncture).   Alert, the anaesthetist stops.  Thinks.  Begins again.  This time the speed limit on the meridian highway is well and truly smashed and I jump, startled.  The anaesthetist slows up and offers the reassuring words – “this might mean it won’t work.  So if we find out it hasn’t –“ (how how how will we know it hasn’t?) “-we’ll have to give you a general.”

 

But but – a general …  I may never wake up from a general.  Worse, how will I ever bond with my daughter if I have a general ?  How will I know she was plucked from me ?  How can I bond with someone when I have no proof she hasn’t been swapped out on the ward while I was still asleep?

 

I have to be laid flat very quickly so that the anaesthetic can spread up my torso.  If they are too slow, it won’t work properly.  If I could move, I would move very fast, but instead I allow myself to be handled and positioned.  I stare at a cracked tile on the ceiling and I breathe very deeply and very determinedly. 

 

They move me now to a proper bed, and this is when it gets weird.  I know they are about to move me, so I prepare to help them, by turning my body, lifting a buttock, tilting, shuffling … except I don’t.  Nothing happens.  I feel as if I can move, but I can’t.  I feel completely normal (though enervated) yet obviously I am not normal, because I cannot move.  So instead I burble with nervous laughter and pretend I am enjoying the experience.

 

Now the critical bit.  They begin testing whether the anaesthetic has worked.  I concentrate extremely hard.   First they prick me all over with a little needle and I have to tell them where I can feel it and where it disappears.   Then they get an ice spray out, and again, in some places I feel it, and in others it just disappears, into a void where sensation used to exist.   They agree the local has worked.  But how do they know if it has worked 6 layers beneath my skin ?  How can they tell that my womb is frozen, that the blood won’t hurt, that I am ready to be gaped wide open ?

 

I am wheeled into the operating room, my lucky homemade CD on the stereo and my movie star boyfriend by my side (now togged out in his blue scrubs) trying to hush soothing thoughts into me.  I stare up at the only thing I can really see, a beautiful light above the bed which looks like a spaceship hovering in the ceiling.

 

The Movie Star Boyfriend is doing his best to keep me calm, but it’s not really working, so I reassure him – “I’m OK.  I’ll be fine as soon as I know they’ve started.”

“Started ?  They’re about to pull her out !”

 

What ????  I have been lying there for 10 minutes, sweating as I waited for the blade to pierce my skin, my subconscious and my pain barrier, and all the while the anaesthetic had obviously been working.  Nobody bothered to tell me, after all, it is not as if I am a significant player in the day’s events.  Most of my miff however comes from having missed the gush of water – I am assured there is the best part of an Olympic sized swimming pool on the floor, but I cannot see, I cannot feel and I refuse to laugh cos no one told me we had started.

 

So before I have a chance to relax into anticipation, you are plucked from me into the light of the spaceship and you are not happy darling, oh no, not happy at all.

 

I can feel nothing and I realise I feel absolutely nothing.

 

 


Sunday, 13 December 2020

8. A Girl Stood On A Cliff

 


 

Once upon a time you were a different girl.  Many different girls.  You've been many incarnations of yourself - some of them utterly true, some of them hollow strays, dragged away from your true path.  The only thing they have in common is that they've all experienced pain, and you're now so bruised you don't know if you can ever feel again.

 

Once upon a time you were Cinderella.  You utterly believed in soulmates, other halves, The One .... and you were a good girl, because such pure love would need goodness, in order to remain without blemish or tarnish.  You were a hoper, a dreamer, a fantasist born to be forever disappointed because actually, Prince Charming doesn't exist.

 

Once upon a time you fell head over heels in lust.  You thought it was true love and you lapped up every lie like a fabulous drug.  You believed the dazzle, the fake promises, the electricity of his touch, and you crumpled, bereft and tear-stained, when you saw his true self.  

 

Once upon a time you were in an actual relationship.  You loved him deeply and recklessly leapt off the cliff, only to realise he wasn't going to catch you.  As you fell he watched, to see if you would land or die, and his ambivalence cut you to the bone.  You built dreams with him and for him - and that was the problem.  You wanted what you could both become, not what he actually was.  And by the time you were pregnant the ambivalence had turned to ice in your veins, and a bitter, slow death consumed you.

 

Once upon a time you thought you'd never fall in love again, but you did.  Or did you?  It was probably lust.  And desperation.  And relief that any man would ever want you again, even though by this point you were just a fragile shadow of your real self.  Again you flung yourself off the cliff, but without knowing why.  It was a lemming muscle memory, and you died.  But he wouldn't leave.  And so you lived, dead inside, for 8 years.

 

Once upon a time you decided that relationships were toxic.  That men brought nothing but pain and grief, and that you couldn't have other people have that level of control over your life, that you needed to live by YOUR rules, your destiny, and no one else's agenda.  So you avoided them for 3 years, as if even thinking of them would infect you again.  And slowly, achingly slowly, you started to recover yourself, inch by bloodied inch.  You put yourself back together so tightly, that you made sure no man could ever crack you open again.

 

Once upon a time you decided to let go of love.  You chose to use men for your own purposes and satisfaction, and not theirs, and mostly it worked.   Occasionally, your wounds would tingle, and you would remember a life on the other side of the looking glass, where someone held you, stroked you, adored you, and your heart would try to break with the loss.  But you stayed strong.  You had to stay strong.

 

But staying strong meant staying cold, and that is not your true self.  And what do you do when ensuring your own survival means denying your true nature?  You so badly want to throw yourself into an earth-shattering love, but you know the only thing that will shatter is you, and how is anything worth that price?

 


Hope.  That's the unfortunate truth.  Hope is the most destructive thing in the world, and hope makes you believe a man when he says he loves you, even though you know this can't possibly be true.  It makes you want to be a slave to him, and entangled with him at a cellular level, even when you know this can't possibly be true.  It makes you blush at the intimate words he showers on you, and covet them, like a secret ..... even when you know this can't possibly be true.

 

Hope.  You so badly want to be loved completely.  Irrevocably.  Eternally.  No escape, locked in, enmeshed, intertwined, an osmosis mind.  So badly.  You are shocked how much you still want this after all these years and all this hurt.  You desperately want to believe him, but experience has taught you all the ways that men lie, and all the ways they are inconsistent, and how they get tangled in their own deception.

 

Once upon a time you stood on the edge of the cliff.  Your instinct is to dive off, again.  Recklessly, again.  You've even asked, "will you catch me?"  The first answer felt like being slapped in the face.  The second time, it felt like you were being told what you needed to hear.  So do you trust?  Do you fling yourself off the edge, knowing another crash landing will obliterate you forever, or do you stay standing on the edge, aloof and unhurt?

 

There's a problem with building walls.  They keep you safe, and they keep other people out.  They are not half-hearted things, and neither are you.   If you choose to break down the wall, you might let in amazing things, but those things may be banshees in disguise, waiting for the slightest crack to invade you and whip your soul into smithereens.

 

So where do you stand, and what do you do?  Is it worth dismantling the wall?  And how do you make that decision wisely when you don't know if you can trust, let alone trust yourself, even if he is the only man you've known in half a lifetime who makes you feel complete, and like your absolute truest self?   And what if you don't want to be alone, walled-in and empty, what if you are yearning for those cracks to be filled?  What if the thing you crave might destroy you?

 

Once upon a time you stood on the edge of the cliff ......

 


 

Love isn’t a fairytale, even though that is what we’re sold from an early age.  It’s brutal.  It’s literally soul-destroying – how can 2 souls merge without ripping holes in each other first?  The trouble is, although the blended soul can be alchemy, sometimes the souls that mix are toxic to each other, and you slowly die until you find the courage to rip away, and stand alone, in pain, and begin again.

 

Dear reader, I jumped off the cliff.  I did.  And he didn’t fucking catch me.  And it was just another little annihilation in this hellfire year that cut me to the core and made me bleed tears of bile.   I hated him, but mostly I hated myself, because all along my head had known what my heart could not accept – no one is worth jumping off that cliff for.

 

I have a friend – Niall – who knows how destructive the cliff is and refuses to go anywhere near it.  He lives as far away from it as possible, at the furthest point inland, and he’s comfortable with that.  And I love his bravery and his commitment to his own self-healing and self-preservation and yet, why do I lack that?   Why do I not protect myself when deep down I know what will happen?

 

I love waterfalls.  Any waterfall.  To me they are spectacular.  They are free-falling, reckless and full of abandon, and they call to the wildness in my soul.  I am not good at living in a cage, living in the barren inland, living where the gulls don’t cry, but neither do I.

 


So did I learn this summer?  Yes.  And no, lol.  I know I cannot risk jumping off a cliff again, that I need to be whole, and that I owe that to myself.  But I also miss hugs, and holding hands, and having someone to bury yourself into, and so the cliff keeps calling.

 

I’d like to think I will only jump once more, and this time only if it’s Niagra.  The problem is, it’s only once you jump that you realise where you are, and mid-jump is too late to turn back and avoid the jagged rocks below. 

 

The only way to stay safe and stay whole is to be like Niall.  A life of preservation, without much of the things that actually make you feel alive.  Much as I long for his Zen state, I’m not sure the “me” in me can settle for that, but there’s only so many times you can pick your broken body up off the shore.   Bones heal.  Hope endures.

 

I17. Looking Back on Post Natal Depression and How I Survived It

  Looking back at my post natal depression today has been really emotional.   I think it’s the worst I’ve ever felt in my life and once, my ...