Star was looking lonesome so we got her a friend. The pet shop assured us Sparkles was a girl. It turned out to not be the case. I was cleaning out their pen some time ago, and Sparkles ran off, never to be seen again. Star’s tummy started expanding. I have been bringing her inside of a night in an insulated box, and the other evening, in the small hours, she softly whimpered. I got up and stroked her. She looked into my eyes with a knowingness, two mothers together, sharing a moment. This morning, I peered into her box and there were babies. New life. There are always new beginnings. Just when we thought the world or our place in it had ended, we discover that we have only just begun.
As a toddler, I had night terrors, the peculiar feeling of being cognizant of forces at play which can be felt in sleep. Terrorized to the point of screaming. They faded as I grew. Now, I suffer PTSD, as a result of having lived a dark dream. To confront the places of terror, and rewrite my own endings, was my weapon of choice. Many years ago, I revisited places of trauma. Instead of being left bloodied, broken and half-dead, my husband could recite a poem, I could leave flowers, and I could walk away. Not a speck of blood upon me. It rewrote the script, and I felt stronger. Over many years, I began to heal. It is a process, a series of steps. Walking to the letterbox whilst an unfamiliar car with a driver was parked outside was a moment of triumph. Listening to a song which once hooked me into the past was cause for rejoicing. Climbing a staircase, picking up my phone… Learning to be a functioning human.
The past few weeks have been tough. I have retreated somewhat, which fills me with pain, though not surprise. I have had a book published which details my dark dream. The media have interviewed me for hours on end, dredging up every painful moment, then leaving me to deal with the fallout. I was on a train with my daughter, travelling into the city for a day out. As we approached the station in the suburb where one of my villain’s lives, I could suddenly see his face. I could smell him. I recalled his deep guttural voice and the hollow eyes which contained no depth. He was there in that carriage. The other day, it was the anniversary of my fall. The day that changed everything. The reason I have had to pay a few home deposits to surgeons, the reason my kidneys are damaged and I self-catheterize. The reason I had to have a caesarean and was in unbelievable pain in pregnancy. The reason my daughter has to adapt to having a mother who needs to lie down mid-way through the day and can’t do all the physical activities other mums do with their kids. The reason I cry in the shower each morning from pain, so my daughter can’t hear.
A friend met me at my gym and we worked out together. We screwed up at our noses as a smelly, muscle man lifted weights, then had lunch together. I was so grateful she was there with me, my friend. I took my daughter to her singing lesson, and delighted in hearing her practice her scales. I chatted to the teacher’s grandmother, and revelled in discussing the frivolous subject of candles. I had dinner at the shopping centre with my child and husband and did the groceries. Songs from the past came over the speaker, and I was furious. Why tonight? Why are they playing songs he collected and strung together in a cloying, threatening mix-tape? I got home and burst into tears. The distraction of the day was over. I was here with my soul and my body’s cellular memories. Grateful and sorrowful at the same time. How could I not be thankful? Somebody wanted to kill me and yet I am still here. I have married, and had a spectacular child. I have a multitude of friends who love me deeply and I them. I laugh often and much and am resilient. Nothing much shakes me, certainly not the little hiccups in life. Thankyou! Thankyou! Thankyou!
Sorrow… Hmm, I have that too. As a mother, I grieve for that child, put in an impossible situation and left to fend for herself. She did the best she could. She screams within my heart that somebody hurt her, and it’s not fair. No, it’s not fair my darling. I will spend the rest of my life loving you, and protecting you as best I can. Memories get stirred up, songs are played. Something on the news reminds me of yesterday. I try to take each moment as it comes. Right now, my husband and daughter are playing with our baby guinea pigs, and I am in the office, listening to the sweet trill of my budgerigar, Cuddles, who has decided to join me. This moment is all that matters right now.
Writing my book was one of the hardest things I have undertaken in life. I am a dreamer, a poet. My friends call me a fairy, and it is true. I have a tenuous footing on the earth, and feel more connected to the stars. I love kid’s movies and art. Having the pull in my soul to write a book fused in stark reality, stripped of fairy-tale nuances has been hard. A big message within the pages is to never let anyone measure your worth. Whether they be the flatterers or the persecutors, they have an angle and it is skewed. I have tried to allow my worth and merit to bubble up from a well deep inside my soul. Yet, upon reflection, there are myriad ways I, and many others, sabotage that clear spring filled with self-belief and self-worth. The fears that come up at night. The coffee I drink when I am already jittery. The choice to drink that extra glass of wine that leaves me feeling retched the next day. Not putting aside time to meditate, to exercise or even breathe deeply into my lungs. Picking up junk and ingesting it when my body needs nourishment in the form of a decent meal I actually sit down to eat. So many unconscious acts which pollute that spring. I am tired of sabotaging my energy, my clarity and health. I don’t wish to go through life habitually. I shall do what I can to make the best choices for my body. Despite everything, despite the wounds rained down on this body, I still believe in it and the soul it houses. I have to start proving it.
My daughter and I woke Monday morning with excruciating headaches. Our stomachs lurched and we were both hoarse. We looked at each other, and said “day at home” in unison. We have been housebound for three days now. We have slept, played games, had lunch together at the dining table, and mummy has snuck off to do mummy jobs. I now have a clean fridge, laundry, home, and a life that seems in order. It makes last week’s disorder a distant memory. It was school holidays, and this mummy was trying to juggle media, writing, promoting my book, organizing my health appointments and entertaining my six year old with a myriad of activities. I hadn’t had time to cook dinner for a fortnight, couldn’t find a spare hour in our schedule to supermarket shop, and my email box was full to overflowing. I was exhausted, and scared I had forgotten something, Scared of letting anyone down. What she and I both needed was to stop. This virus had been building, first as fatigue which I chose to ignore. Our bodies are wise machines. They break down when they have reached their limit. I had forgotten the power of saying “no, I am sorry, but I can’t.” As much as I adore the people in my life, I can’t possibly see them all in the space of seven days. I have tried. I started to feel sheepish when faced with the reality of needing to attend to the basics of running a household. I have discovered that it is imperative to have more space in my day and on my calendar. I need to be a role model for my child, and teach her it’s okay to have dreamy, breezy, easy days, with no commitments. To cuddle on the sofa and watch a movie. To turn the phone off and disengage. I hope that the clarity this week has afforded me remains, and I can relish the simple joys, and have a bit more spontaneity available. Space for impromptu visits and calls, for travel and surprises. I don’t want to see a calendar groaning under the weight of the commitments pencilled in. I vow to pencil in pockets of time where we are home, and doing nothing but relishing each other’s company. The three of us. It makes the social activities enjoyable (which is what they are meant to be). I have to go sip some lemon water and play Uno with my daughter now. I shall see you soon, my friends. xxx