I’m out of the habit of writing, out of practise. I look in my diary and it was May the last time I’d written in my plot diary, but I’ve written in my phone notes and my home diary. Most of it is moaning about menopausal symptoms, memory loss, back pain (after creating the above gold medal and trophy winning garden), headaches, itchy skin, I shall not go on, but I’ve got a long list of irritating things happening to my 45 year old body. I’ve written lists of things to do, to remember, a few poem like pieces, but most originate from feeling stressed and down. Its summer so I berate myself in believing that I shouldn’t be feeling depressed. The sun shines, it’s been a really good summer, with the past few weeks topping up the water butts with night time showers. I like waking to the rain soaked car park, heating up, turning paler as the sun rises over the neighbours fence. I like to cherish the good days, the days when I feel like myself but I’m left with the wonder of where I have been. The real me, not the one thats always busy, the one racing past people so I don’t have to have eye contact with the people who know. The people, who are friends, the ones who know if they stop to ask if I’m ok then I won’t be, I’ll break. They know I need to work through this, they know I’m holding the outside together, they patiently wait, happy to give advice from afar (they know how stubborn I am), but assertive enough to tell me whats best for me. The ones who recognise I’m on the edge, who forgive me if I dont text back, but keep on texting to check I know they are there. Friends, bloody good friends, are priceless. They’ve reminded me that my family is happy and healthy. My friend’s neice has a tiny, premature baby with an under-developed brain who will not be resuccitated as the doctors advised she wouldn’t live. She is living, breathing, feeding, burping, bringing joy and wonder with her strength. Friends who remind me that I’m talented and beautiful in my own, blue haired, clumsy way. Colleagues who support me and have faith in my abilities join that list of bloody great friends.
Where’ve I been?
Asleep, no. Sleepwalking, sleep working, sleep digging! Communicating, not really.
Not listening, not eye contacting, not absorbing.
Emotional tightrope, grasping, holding on, anger, stress, on tiptoes.
I’m at the other side. I’ve stepped off and looking back at the fear, the pain, standing upright in the breeze.
Looking back ready to sever the cord, cut the ropes that tie around my neck.
Tightening my shoulders, ropes that trick my chest into shallow breaths of panic.
I’m armed, with hindsight, a past mistake, the regret is the scaffold that helps me build with the strength it taught me.
Like the phoenix, dare I compare myself to the majestic creature, I rose.
From depression, unemployment, lacking in purpose or support.
I DONE THAT. I SURVIVED THAT. I AM BETTER THAN THAT.
I don’t need the capital letters to tell myself, I am worth the investment in myself.
So this week I ground myself at the allotment. My shrub border starts to take shape. The plants escape from their black pots ready to spread their roots and the dark soil glistens with the recent rain. The downpours blow past while I shelter in my shed. I return to plant the pittosporum, getting it facing the right way, in the right position. Its shiny leaves reflect the sunshine, as I sit and absorb it, the orange seeps through my closed eye lids. I watch the grey clouds blow past in the wrong direction (usually they go away from the coast but today they go towards it) and the sun gleems in the blue pockets and gaps inbetween.
I know, I trust in the universe, knowing that these symptoms, feelings will pass, they will be lifted from me and things will be good. Things are good. I have my own allotment, my own veggies, flowers, my own natural space on this precious earth. My own little bit of paradise.