A candid tale of 20-something humanness and extended note to self.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

In the dark


They say you should write the thing that you are most scared of writing, because it matters. And what I've learnt, from the best, is that if you open yourself up to people: say or write the words aloud, you might become braver. And perhaps you might make other people braver too. Or at least less alone, which is, at times like this, everything.

I have a good life, for the most part. I have wonderful, kind-hearted, loyal, funny, crisps-and-wine-at-mine? kind of friends: people I've loved, and who have loved me, for years and years and years. I have a job at a hospice that brings my life so much meaning and purpose: a 9-5, yes, but one that teaches me and challenges me and makes me laugh and cry and think more deeply about the things that really matter. I have passions too, for the most part: my job being one of them, but also writing and reading and cooking, and exercising and sitting by the sea, and throwing a purple stuffed dinosaur for my dog. I have a lovely home. Beautiful countryside on the doorstep. A stack of old records, and candles that smell delicious when I blow them out. I have an email, in my inbox, from a commissioning editor at one of the biggest publishing houses in the world, asking for the submission of the book she fiercely believes in. It is the email I have dreamt about receiving for my whole life: the opportunity that might be lost. If.

I'm frustrated, because what do I have to be sad about right now? There are so many horrific things happening to others, and yet I've been waking up when my alarm goes off and snoozing it for as long as possible because honestly, I haven't wanted to get up. The sleep is my solace. Getting showered and dressed takes the little energy that I have, and so sometimes once I've done those things I take a nap, and that frustrates me too. I'm working, still, but the passion, once described as infectious, doesn't come like it did. I talk far less than before, and sometimes they ask, 'are you alright today?' and I look them in the eye and lie to them, telling them I'm fine or muttering something about a headache. I can't concentrate for long enough to lose myself in the book, and I can't motivate myself to do the exercise I'm so in need of. Dull skin. Half a stone where there wasn't. I have nothing, at all, really, to offer the people I love the most in the world, because fulfilling my basic needs, putting one foot in front of the other, is just about all that I can manage.

I might see the doctor later in the week, and she'll look at me with that gentle, sympathetic smile, and tell me all of the things I'm forgetting in the thick of it: that we're all a little vulnerable, and to feel this way does not make you less of a person, and that recognising you need help, and asking for it, shows the kind of courage that will pull you out of the hole. Those are the things that I need to hear, and I'll feel a little better for it.

I'll try, somehow, to be kinder to myself: to practice one of the things I preach the most: that you should treat yourself as you would a friend. I'll force myself to do one productive thing, maybe one more on top of that, and I'll do my best not to berate myself for the naps if I need them, because, well, this shit is exhausting. That's just how it is.

I'll make sure I take a walk in the sun every day, just like my friend told me to, and if -when- I can, I'll do the workout. Five minutes. Ten. Something is always better than nothing. I'll focus on the little things that remain beautiful when so much doesn't: how the sun bleeds across the horizon, and the laughter that fills the room when we're all together eating fish and chips, and how, in spite of it all, he shows me love.

I'll remember that this is not the first time I've been in the dark, and I'll tell myself that I will build an empire out of the ashes again, and that this time the foundations will be more resilient. I'll learn that my fear does not narrate my reality. The fear says it won't get better. It will. 

I will feel it again: that elusive thing, and I will step back into myself, the me that they miss: the me that I miss. There is laughter within me that will burst out and bounce off walls, and there are conversations I haven't had yet that will spark my soul, and tender moments where it is me and him and entwined fingertips, and all will be right in the world. There will be light where there isn't. 

It's humanness, that's all it is, and it's okay. I'll try to remember that. Just a small part of all parts. A part that can break and break and break. That I will fix, and fix, and fix.
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