My inner world has shrunk to one of those grey, overcast afternoons where you want to go out but can’t because the rain is lashing against the windows and no-one wants to play anyway. My desire to write has drained from whichever part of the soul has a grimy plughole, leaving a swirl of greasy scum behind, as a memory of what once was thriving, sparkling, filled with frothy excitement.
My ability to be thankful has become stunted and grudging, crabbed thoughts like ancient twisted boughs blocking the sunshine – I SHOULD be able to identify things in a way which is relatable, I SHOULD be writing, I SHOULD be joining in with my own damn hop, instead of nurturing secret, vicious hopes that it will fizzle to nothing, adding the final nail to the coffin of waysiding.
I haven’t even been taking photos – usually something I take great pleasure in – because I haven’t seen anything worthwhile. It’s almost certainly because I’ve been looking wrong. I’ve been thinking wrong. I’ve been lazy. I haven’t even had the depth of passion to properly take myself to task (I’m usually a gold medallist at giving myself a hard time) – I’ve just…lost it! Whatever ‘it’ was.
I’ve been reading a lot of books. I’ve been losing myself in other worlds, experiencing things I never could in my own one, through the power of other people’s words, and I’ve been less discontented whilst lost. I’ve enjoyed disappearing, and the lack of frenetic, which awaits me between the pages. I’ve appreciated SO much that the life I have is one which allows me to retire to bed with a book after work, and not be needed elsewhere.
I’ve been healing a lot. I never appreciated just how huge an impact the removal of two lower wisdom teeth would have, but it’s knocked me for six and I’ve been slow to regain ground. I was VERY thankful to be able to nip up to the hospital dentist whilst at the office this week, and get examined, x-rayed, and a prescription of (free) antibiotics for an infection which had set me back even further. I’m thankful BEYOND MEASURE for the bliss of pain meds, and of knowing that if I hang on, the pain will lessen and I’ll be able to continue my day or get back to sleep, or whatever I’d been involved in before that feeling of iron bars being shoved through the sides of my head, erupted again.
I’ve been struggling. I still can’t decide whether it was the best or worst timing, two days after dental surgery, to receive news that the straightforward student-visa-to-America was not an option which was open to me. It was devastating, dream-shattering, and has required a LOT of rethinking and trying to hold things lightly, and in perspective, and trust to life…but also it meant that I was so taken up with agony and living from one set of painkillers to the next, and trying to manage the far more immediate pain, that I wasn’t able to focus on it or overthink it or get worked up. It was just a thing that had happened. My hope was gone and that was the end of it, but it wasn’t my focus. Couldn’t be my focus.
So I haven’t mourned. I haven’t tantrummed or stamped my feet and buckled under the unfairness of a perfect plan going so drastically awry. I’ve resigned myself to it, with the theory that life sometimes takes us underwater but we usually bob up again in the end, and in a different place, so why expend the effort? Just keep swimming! In all honesty I might as well – as when dealing with traffic jams, my getting upset about it isn’t going to change the facts, so I might as well be as chill as possible and remain composed, detached, and get there (wherever ‘there’ is) whenever I do.
It broke my heart.
And then came the tide of churlishness, because my family, friends, and colleagues here are SO PLEASED I’m not going yet, that they’re not losing me, and that calls back into question the shaky foundations on which I wanted to go in the first place. But those foundations, riddled with guilt and hurt, stand firm, and my stymied dreams are still as set as they ever were, when first they were established.
It was a year ago. A year ago I was there, and my life changed for ever. A year ago, I experienced more happiness and contentment and wonder and delight than I knew it was ever possible for one human to contain. A year ago, I discovered I had another home.
Meanwhile, I feel I have no business writing a ‘thankful’ post. I have OODLES to be thankful for, and feel utterly mean-spirited about the whole lot of it. I have turned decidedly curmudgeonly, and my spirit has shrunk with the length of days. I am darkened, lurking in corners of the room, watching and wishing I had the *something* to step forward into the fun and join in. I am weighed down. Flattened. Crushed.
Small points of light and hope and help have kept me going. Gretchen has inspired me to write, regardless of whether anyone sees it. She said she’d look out for it. Katia has kept writing, and kept my faith buoyed that small, beautiful moments, rendered in words, DO matter, CAN happen, and ARE lovely. My usual Lifeboat people have been in touch, buoying and boosting just by being part of my world and letting me be part of theirs. I’ve had some wonderfully supportive chats with Denise, in quiet corners, which have just HELPED. I have been WONDERFULLY looked after and nurtured by Mum and WonderAunty, and I’m endlessly thankful for their input and support and care. There are people who still read what I have to say, still ‘get it’, still care, and I’m incredibly thankful for that. There are people who know what it is to lose passion for everything, and continue in a grey fug, and I’m thankful to be not-okay in their presence, and know it’s alright. I’m thankful I don’t know what the future will bring, and that somehow, some way, I still have a dream to chase, when I feel up to it again.
I suppose, in the end, in spite of my grumpiness, I know the show goes on. Somehow. And there’s good and light and happiness along the way.
But I’m not looking. Not now. I’ve got a book to lose myself in.