In a room far away.

The problem with sleeping in the whirl of a sea shell is that there’s isn’t any room for anyone else. It begets a certain type of loneliness.

Tonight this is ok. My thoughts have led me far away, somewhere I could not take you, and yet I miss it anyway.

Because I’m thinking about being in a dim lit room. The soft pink colour of a womb, holding all of us there in a moment of stillness. Outside the cars swish past and past and past. In this sequestered part of a busy city we are quiet and anonymous. I could say I miss the world outside, but it would be a lie. I am content to let it all go with a sigh and float away.

I have paid much to be here and I am not the only one hiding. Not alone with my bandage wrapped wrists and raw, red eyes. I am ready to slip away, tethered only by the voice of our guide. The room smells of sandalwood and ash. How do they do that here, I wonder, where we cannot have anything so dangerous as flame. I push the thought away but it has stirred me from my reverie. I have always been easily seduced away from things that are good for me.

Beside me on a pile of cushions lies a pink haired teen. She is thin enough to be on a different ward, but I can see she’s one of us. The chalky pink is wearing out and tells me how long she’s been here. She is new, and so lost I can still see the ache of home on her. I am about to turn my gaze away and return to the drifty musings of our meditation, when my eyes hit her feet and I am jotled.

She is wearing sparkly sliver combat boots. They shine in the gloom and my eyes sting at the sight of their grey, untidy laces. Shoe laces so long they bring me undone and my mouth goes dry. I cannot even have the ties in my yoga pants, ICU robbed me of anything longer than a bracelet. But she is here, as broken as me, her glorious boots intact.

Bitter as the bile in my throat are the visions that dance behind my scrunched eyelids. My own feet that were once encased in thick soled boots. My hair long and wild, every thought dedicated to chasing the horizon and giving it a shove. Climbing, twirling, singing through the days in my battle boots. Wearing my brokenness with pride, unknowingly undamaged. Bared teeth in a flashing grin, counting the hours by moonlit parties, passed bottles, stories told. Eating the miles behind the wheel of first cars, giddy with the freedom, the music louder than a heartbeat.

Gone now, taken from me as surely as my shoelaces. Plucked away by frowning nurses. Gone, like that old thrumming search for what’s next. Trying not to remember why I stopping looking.

Because I found it, and it took me up like the intake of a wave. Breathed me in and smashed me down. Down and down until there was no way up. Shuddering small in my weakness. Beyond their reach, surrendered here for the hope of help. Into rooms like this one.

This womb room suffocates now, I want out. I can’t have it. My choices aren’t mine now and for a while I didn’t mind. They could take everything and I only stared at the walls. Take it all away, willingly given if they’ll take me too. But I feel myself waking. And I don’t want to. Give it back to me, my blessed numbness, I’ve bloody earned it. Wanting only leads to pain. It shows me everything I lost along the way. Discarded like pieces of clothing that trail a wandering soul in the wilderness. Leaving pieces behind as their mind loses reason.

Things I want back. Like the sharp edge of the day, now unreachable. My crusading heart in pieces, the whale song around me no longer soothes. Becomes instead a lament to what might have been, if I’d been better, tried harder, won more often than I lost. What I could have become, had I not found myself here, in this room, with a pink haired girl and her beautiful boots instead.

Lost On You

(These are old feel an old note… but it has to go somewhere right? Cos I don’t want anymore).

I’ve tried to tell you a thousand times.

What it feels like to wake up disappointed that you’ve woken up.

To hate the new Spring sunshine on your skin.

To watch your child laugh and feel it echo through your empty heart.

To see the smile on your lovers face and feel exactly nothing in response.

How it feels to already be dead inside and how it hurts to pretend.

What it’s like to keep on struggling because people need you, want you, beg you to stay. How that doesn’t feel like love, it feels like a life sentence.

I’ve talked to you until I’m blue in the face, and your resistance to what I’m saying just makes it harder to stay.

I’ve showed you my scars, begged you to see. You turn my arm over, pull my sleeves down and shutter your own eyes to my pain.

I don’t want to be here.

You made me promise to stay.

So here I am. You’ve moved on because everything is fine now.

I’m sinking in the dark, treading water while you work on the future.

I could show you all the things I’ve done, all the work I’ve put in. To be standing here next to you, while you get busy. You turn you head to your phone and I’m standing here alone.

I give when I can. I take what I need. I write it down and bleed it out. I’m losing more than winning these days. I’m half way gone already.

I never wanted to be this way. I didn’t get to chose. It kills me that the only thing I can feel in this black void is anger.

I’m screaming at the night sky, my head ripped back in a full throated roar. You think I’m just looking at the stars.

I could tell you all these things.

But you can’t feel what I feel.

And so my words

Are lost on you.

I Set Me Free

Dear Me,

I’m writing this as a reminder to myself.  To never be that woman I let myself become. That deflated mumsy lady, wandering around in a permanent uniform of the messy bun, shapeless mum jeans and a fleece top.  A lot of us do that after we’ve had kids.  Lose our way a little bit, trying to navigate the maze of our new lives with offspring.  Some of us want to look like we know what we’re doing, like we’ve accepted the day to day head banging repetition of home duties.

And then I went insane.  Or more exactly, had a breakdown.  I mean, I was technically already insane, but for a while, it became totally unmanageable.  So years after the birth of my children, when other women find themselves navigating the winding road back into the workforce, I was lying sedated, staring at the four bare walls of my room in a mental clinic, wondering what the fuck just happened.

How was I? I was dazed and confused and overwhelmingly fucking bored!

Bored with me, with my tired, sluggish brain, bored with my life, my aimlessness. Just so god damned bored!

So I spent my time in there wisely.  I got a friend who had outside privileges to smuggle me in some bright pink hair dye, and changed that bland mess on my head to mermaid fabulousness.  I cut half of it off and left the rest to curl itself into a bouncy, ringleted halo.  I started reading about other mum’s who suffered from depression. And the one’s who were fighting back, getting to know themselves as feisty, fun and fucked up mumma’s.  Hey, we can’t all be perfect right?  So we might as well embrace it, in all it’s awkward, precious, bare-faced glory.

Basically, it felt like I had been blown apart, and was now painstakingly putting myself back together again.   I spent the time in the clinic making friends, being an annoyance to the staff and I turned the brightest spotlight I had, on myself.

When I got home, I booked in with my lovely friend to get some long wanted tattoos.  I went back to my old piercing shop and had them put back in all my old favourite piercings and a few new ones.  I went through my closet and threw out every single stitch of denim (damn that shit is uncomfortable).  I draped myself in rainbows and tie dye.  I kept on reading women like Constance Hall and Tova and Jenny Lawson.  I found my tribe and I embraced them in all their quirky, introverted, fucked up, left-brained weirdness.  And in doing so, I also embraced all those things in myself.

When I closed my eyes, I no longer saw an ocean of beige stretching around me as far as I could see.  I saw myself as I once was.  A bright-eyed anarchist, dancing in the rain and screaming at the sky.  That girl who loved rainbows and butterflies.  Who believed in Unicorns, Mermaids and Monsters. Who could wake the dead with her wild laughter. I found my inner Queen and I brought her forth with vigour.  Since then, I have made a promise to myself to never let her fade into the background again.

I am what I am and I’ve decided that that is fucking glorious.  I woke up, saw the light, found my way… whatever the hell you want to call it.  This is me coming to Continue reading “I Set Me Free”