clocks

I can feel something awakening in me.
My clocks are finally wound again. The ticking of the minute hand offering rhythmic reassurance.
I’m being dusted down.

Spring appeared by stealth. I took a breath in winter, and by exhale was assaulted warmly
not by apricity, but new beginnings.
There’s a cathartic cleansing taking place of which I am entirely willing.
It’s time.

It feels different, though.
As I place my feet along familiar paths, there are no discernible outlines from before.
No breadcrumb trail to follow.
My senses are re-calibrating. There are smells I don’t recognise. Tastes my palate can’t place.

She led me here, to this curious new world, revealing a contrasting panoply of tints and hues, the likes of which I haven’t seen before.
As she takes my hand, I follow readily.
Hungry for what I will find.
Her at my side.

sixteen

It doesn’t feel as though it’s been sixteen years, because I’ve seen a version of you formed from the vapours of my unconscious so many times since. Each time, the same. How have you been? What happened to you?

Why did you leave me?

I don’t know if you answered these questions in the Wonderland in which we met during sleep. Maybe I didn’t ask, or maybe you just answered with shrug and disappeared back to 2000, to the hope and optimism of a new millennium spent without me at your side. I’ll never know how you felt about that time, about me. We walked arm in arm in a comfortable gait that didn’t betray the turbulence I felt inside. To want something so badly, but not consciously. You were an unfounded addiction I couldn’t put my finger on, and one which yielded so much that I hardly knew what to do with it. We were babies. We should have been reading magazines and laughing about boys, blissfully unaware of the pain of desire, and repression, and unnamed want. But we weren’t.

You had a maturity beyond your years which was borne from the pain of your experiences. You were a damaged, broken thirty-something, an imposter in your sixteen year old body. I think this is why you left. You can correct me if I’m mistaken. But you were living two lives simultaneously, and had to give one up. You couldn’t dwell in a land and time of rosy cheeked innocence and naivety, because you had none.

I’d like to say I understood, but I didn’t. My sixteen year old self in my sixteen year old body didn’t have the insight to know why you made the choice that you did. All I knew is that you left me. You opened the door to a world of entirely new possibilities, let me take a step inside, and then you slammed it in my face. Although I never blamed you, I also never got over it.

And now we plan to meet with another lifetime again passed. We have doubled in age and experiences, a fact that is scored into the lines on our faces. This time we meet as equals. There are no doors to new worlds, and no lives to to escape from. I wonder how those old feelings will present themselves now that I know the names for them all. Now that I have felt them with others. I hope they will drift away without fanfare or consequence like an old relationship that has lost it’s power, leaving space for new ones to grow. I hope our sixteen year old selves turn up sixteen years later, and that we became the people that we were unavoidably determined to be. I think that I did. I am far from perfect- as I was then- but I have become this way without wanting to be any other, and without fraudulence. I hope you see that too, and I hope you are the same.

meds.

Meds increases are super fun.

It’s hard to think all that clearly when your body feels as though it’s wrapped in an electric fence.

You look at your hands, and they seem to be moving on their own, independently of what your mind is instructing them to do. Which is nothing. All you want is to be still. To feel a sense of peace that a week ago, you took for granted. Now every muscle in your body is tied in knots a sailor would be proud of. Your feet are tapping to an inaudible beat, and you can’t concentrate on anything. It’s not just physical. Your mind feels it too. It’s as though the cognitive pathways have been disturbed and are jangling in sync with your shaking hands. They throw thoughts back at you without them finding a sensible destination. You find a home for this, I’ve got nothing”. And so, you hunker down, and try to protect yourself. You eye people cautiously because it’s all you have the energy for. And you push down the important things, because it’s hard enough to concentrate on sending an email, let alone contemplating the big picture decisions you need to make. You do this with your shoulders hunched, your teeth clenched and, metaphorically, with your eyes closed and holding your breath.

This too shall pass.

And, slowly, it begins too. The tide begins to go out. The fog lifts. And for the first time in what feels like ten lengths under water, you take a breath.

safe

It’s more important to me to be safe, than to be happy. With safety comes happiness, of course, but I cannot strive for the heady, endorphins this brings without a safety net to fall back into.

Safety in authenticity. It’s what I need from myself and from others in order to know where to place my feet. To know how far I can teeter on the edge of the cliff, admiring the view, without plunging into the abyss. It’s the tendons attaching my muscles to my bones, and the nerve endings to my brain. The holistic glue that makes up who I am.

It’s not that I’m risk averse, quite the opposite. I push myself into foreign lands, real and imaginary, to feel something new, something that scares me, or just to feel anything at all. I don’t tread the well-beaten path walked by those before me because I can see the other options available. I have imagination. Sometimes I live within the terrifying crevasses of my mind without the need for the safety and restraint of the outside world. And I do so gladly, readily, and without regret.

No. Risk does not scare me. It invigorates me. Looking into my future and seeing uncertainty doesn’t fill me with horror, but optimism. So much time, so many opportunities.

But, we all need safety. We all need something to rely on, something to build our values and morals, and ourselves around. Not just for something to do, or because we feel like we should, but because we have no choice. It’s involuntary. And for me, this has to be authentic. Real. Congruent. Genuine. Call it what you will. I need actual bricks and mortar to build the foundations with which I walk through life.

I lived in a country plagued by earthquakes. Unexpectedly, without warning, the ground moved, buildings swayed, and nerves shattered. We huddled together under the shelter of a pub awning drinking beer and talking with merriness none of us felt, because we were scared. As the aftershocks wobbled our glasses we wondered if this would be the Big One. The one that would do the damage we were threatened with so menacingly.

I can’t live like this. I can’t live in fear that the shudder from a passing train will be the tectonic shift that derails me. I need to look into your eyes and see only the onyx pinholes of your pupils looking back at mine, not all of the things that you’re not saying.

Because it’s not safe.

I can give you a list of things that make me feel happy without hesitation, but ask me what makes me feel safe- truly safe, inside, a security that locks and keys, passwords and codes don’t come close to- and I’ll have nothing. I used to think it was a person. One person who could save me from all the dangers of the world, and from myself. I used to think this, until I fell, again and again, and their limbs proved inadequate to catch me. So now I must endeavour to do all I can to ensure that I land on my feet. Being my real self, maintaining an integrity to who I am, displaying my flaws and my failings as proudly as my strengths and my achievements, and asking, respectfully, that you do the same; that’s how I find the springs in my shoes. That’s how I stay safe.

day… something.

I failed. I failed to write every day, as I promised myself. Not because I’m lazy, but because life got in the way, as it inevitably does. I don’t feel bad, I don’t feel like I’ve failed, because last night I had a conversation with someone who sees me as I should see myself, and who gave me the words to wake at 5am this morning and start writing again.

day one

I’m going to start writing every day. I’m going to start to today. I’m going to write about things that have happened, things that I want to happen, things that I don’t. And I’m going to do it for, oh, as long as I can.

It’s good to make plans.

It’s good to let go, too. I feel as though a good start would be to scrape off the remnants of the past year, like the frosted sheen on my car in these cold, white mornings.

My stepfather died. I watch him waste and wither in my mother’s living room. Nothing prepares you for death. Not for any of it. But mostly, not for the practical aspects. I’ve only seen the feature-film version. The gradual decline, wan smiles from a strong, yet weakened protagonist who fought and lost, but did so with grace and without fuss. The reality is much more indelicate. As the body and mind shut down, they do so with little regard for dignity, or preserving the memory of the person as they once were. They leave a shell. An empty case of suffering barely resembling the man who used to whoop and cheer as I walked into the room to visit in happier, healthier times.

“Sara, baby!”

So, yes. He passed away in his sleep, but it was not peaceful. His body was raging a war against itself, and finally winning. Glory in death? There is no peace in that.

I’d like to have started this with something more uplifting, and positive.

Maybe tomorrow.

yellow sunday

It wasn’t yellow, it was blue. And black. Dark. And sad.

I walked the streets, the cold, wintery, country streets. Days of smog and bustle and light pollution are a distant past. It’s quiet. I’m restless. I can see wispy licks of my breath as I pass the phosphorescent street lights. The yellow hue reminding me of my nicotine stained everything on those nights where we smoked forever. I miss those days. My lungs may thank me for the clean air, but my mind weeps for the depth of feeling I can’t access any longer.

I seek out the urban nasty in this pretty, pretty town I don’t care for much. I want to. I want to make friends with this new life, but, not tonight. Tonight I’m taking pictures of rubbish skips and clothes banks because they’re living in silos, and so am I.

I’m restless.

And it’s yellow. Tonight, it’s yellow.

musings from the car

The leaves are turning, as am I. The problem with learning from your mistakes is that sometimes there’s a time lag. Sometimes as I’m learning from my last, I’m midway through making my next, in a state of perpetual catch up. My leaves are neither green nor red. 
We talked of my life in purgatory, being not one thing or the other. Not fish or fowl. A necessity for extremes makes life hard. Being disappointed by everyone is not a reflection on them or even on me. It’s just, your needs are not being met, she tells me. And she’s right. My urge to retreat is stronger than my urge to compete, because I can’t. I can’t smooth off all of these awkward rough edges because my tools are inadequate and my hands are sore. Besides, I like them. I have spent hours looking in the mirror, flinching. Now I do it without blinking. 
Surely that counts for something?
Even if the people around me have no faces and their voices are a cacophony of white noise and strangled silence. 

autumn

This happens every year.
I long for the seasons to change over night. I don’t have the patience for the last, dwindling days of summer. I want to wake up and see my breath before me, that way, I’ll know I’m still breathing.
I want long, dark, black nights.
I want to pull up my socks and pull down my blinds. To hide away in the dense shadows I spent the summer searching for.
Every year, the same.

The cold warms me in a way that you couldn’t.