I seem to barely inhabit this place any more.
Since becoming ill and throughout my recovery period (which I think can most rightly be called a ‘Slough of Despond’), dust has fallen softly and silently, coating the surface of my laptop, whilst tiny, invisible bit-spiders have woven their silken threads into the corners of my blog, leaving it quiet, unoccupied, lonely, but for the (vaguely) at least once-a-week effort for a Thankful post.
I used to crave connection, the vibrancy and interaction of the Blogosphere. I used to think that writing and connecting and being part of, was something massively, massively important, and those wiser than me – the kind with Real Lives Worth Living – would indulge me, their eyes rolling slightly at my naivety, knowing full well (and often trying to tell me) that, in the nicest kindest possible way, I didn’t matter that much. Life would go on, and would go on, without my constant input. Or my even knowing about it. People would still write, as and when they wished. *I* would still write, as and when I wished. And there would still be points at which our lives would intersect, and with a brief nod of recognition, continue along their own paths.
I’m learning that, slowly.
I’m less involved. Less vital (according to my own reckoning). Less…present. Yet somehow, I still matter to the people to whom I matter. I still keep up (just about, ish) with the people whom I want to, though admittedly I’ve been worse at that lately. But I still connect, one way or another, and keep enough nods going to not lose the threads of friendship entirely.
Is it better? I’m certainly getting more sleep, and that can only be good for me.
It’s also meant I’ve fretted, having placed so much import on writing in this place for so long, hoping my words would mean something or do something. The discovery of their relative lack of meaning (in the bigger picture) has been jarring, a little shattering, as I laid on the sofa one morning this week, staring (near catatonic) at the ceiling for a couple of hours, too overwhelmed to write, too exhausted to go out, too jittery to sleep, and too sad, and the silence blanketed me like a shroud for the broken and scattered pieces of my erstwhile perception. Ghosts of former hopes – of writing my way to America, or sparking something huge about compassion or connection and how we need each other, and how in the end #LoveWins – disappeared through the walls of my mind, leaving only the faintest of shimmering suggestions they’d once existed, before nothing remained but the echoes of my own thoughts.
That said, my frantic desperation to connect HAS left me with some damn good friends. Life-changingly good ones. The ones I was lucky enough to meet In Real, in either of my Murica trips. The ones I have yet to meet. The ones whose counsel and input and encouragement I have come to see as wonderous boons in my life, as they send *twinklysparklygoodness* in my direction, and involve me in their worlds through the chinks of reality enabled through this World Between the Wires. My Hardwired Hearts. I hope to never lose them, and will always hold them close in my thoughts and affection.
Something which has really helped, while I’ve been attempting to recuperate, has been the arrival into my life of Flat Sawyer. My BlogWife Beth’s son, Sawyer, was given the project at school (if you haven’t read the children’s book ‘Flat Stanley’, it’s about a young boy whose gigantic notice board falls on him in the night, squashing him flat, and his henceforth discovery that life, flat, can be fun; he can slide under the crack at the bottom of doors; he can be a kite for his younger brother; he can be posted to America in a giant envelope and have adventures there; he even foils a criminal masterplan; but in the end he wants to be normal again, so his younger brother reinflates him with a bicycle pump and life continues as before, and the story ends) and wanted to send flat-him “to Lizzi in England.”
My doctor insisted I walk each day, to assist the internal healing of those delightful surgical scars (btw, for anyone who ever wondered, Bio-oil really DOES work to minimise them – HUGE thankful, because they were livid and ugly, and now are much paler and less horrific looking) and the only thing which has peeled me from my sofa-shaped-slough some days, has been the determination not to let Sawyer down. So I have walked, and we’ve had all kinds of interesting adventures (including Flat Sawyer being taught by a Time Lord how to split himself into three, so that he could visit Weston Super Mare, Haye-on-Wye, and remain in Southampton, all at once).
Sarah, then Jeri, tagged me for the 7-day nature photography challenge, too, and that’s also helped immeasurably, knowing that I’m letting them down if I don’t GET OUT THERE and find something lovely to share of my Springtime. I suppose, in a way, I’m most thankful for Instagram and Faebook, which is where most of this has taken place, allowing me to share photos of my adventures and findings, and join other people in, and do just enough connecting that I haven’t felt entirely lost.
I’ve also been thankful for the (probably related to my new perspective) Erma Bombeck blogging workshop, which looked like GREAT fun, and a setting for huge, wonderful connecting and networking. After being scythed by an intense envy, just as everyone was getting worked up to go, I’ve settled again and realised that it makes no difference to me, whether I’m here or there. My people are still my people. My friends are still my friends. I don’t get to go and do the in-person, delightful, giggly, meet-your-idols-and-reconnect-with-lovely-friends thing, but…it doesn’t matter with regard to the core stuff. That remains true, solid, and dependable (if a little fuzzy around the edges at times).
I’m thankful for Katharine, who is a staunch member of the TToT, but who takes time to share wonderful things and seems to really appreciate what I put ‘out there’, which is lovely, and we have some awesome little chats in the comments. I’m thankful for Kerry, who is another staunch member of the Thankful gang, and who uses her experience as someone whose sight is limited, to open my eyes to the challenges and unfairnesses of the world around us (there is more entrenched ‘ableism’ than I ever thought). I’m thankful for Lisa, who nominated me to participate in the ‘Music and Words Awards’, which will be something for me to think about and craft this coming week, especially as I’ve been without music for so long (never a good idea when it means so much). I’m thankful for Hasty, my Person, whose birthday it was this week, and for a world, and all the lives (especially mine) SO much embettered by her existence. I’m thankful for Vince, who I get to see In Real, and whose friendship and company (and the great cooking we do) is a high point, especially as I’m recovering and get to see him a bit more often. I’m thankful for Kristi, who makes me laugh at stupid’o’clock in the morning, when conversation about the lateness of the hour and my inability to sleep (whoops, late-night caffeine) turned into an impromptu poetry-jamming session (TOTALLY AWESOME). I’m thankful for Abbie, for her friendship and understanding, and for checking in on me. I’m thankful for Samara for giving me the ‘behind the scenes’ at Erma and for wishing I could have been there. I’m thankful for Denise, whose quiet words of encouragement have been a real boost this week. I’m thankful for Val, whose competition on Words With Friends has kept me feeling connected in a manageable way. I’m thankful for Dyanne, who has such a history of being able to help me cheer up when I’ve been down, it only takes one line from a song about ants to remind me…
I’m thankful for so, so many more. And for you, for reading this.
So it’s been a week of flatness, and a bit of brokenness. But there has been beauty in the brokenness, and no, those connections aren’t going anywhere.