The past five years, in particular, have seen me running around, unable to pause. It were as though there was a big scary monster pursuing me. I became embroiled in the world of demanding schedules, with cross-cultural references, faces and world news seared into my mind. If I stopped, I would have to acknowledge grief. I would have to feel physical pain. Hell, I may even cry and fall apart. I was on a trajectory of keeping my name out there, producing work and being connected. It helped that I desired to escape the house as much as possible. Armed with a little bag of snacks and my Opal card, I ran. I move to a beautiful and peaceful home and what happens? Every memory is vying for attention. Within the peace has come a storm.
I had to laugh the other night. My daughter was cuddled up next to me, and I woke with the most excruciating lower back pain at 1am. I fumbled in my bedside drawer and found my TENS machine. Drowsily attaching the pads, I turned it on. I gave myself quite the electric shock, as I had unwittingly put it onto top speed! I lay there in agony, laughing whilst trying not to disturb my daughter. I read a book the other day, and it described in great detail, the ward at the Children’s Hospital where I had spent many weeks at thirteen. It talked of the ICU. The moments I was actually asleep, were spent dreaming of these places. The smells, sights and sounds were alive.
I have just wanted to sit and cry. Chronic pain is merciless and cruel. Trying to manage life takes everything I have. I will book in for scans to see where I am up to. My main goal is to keep walking. If that is threatened, I will have surgery. At the moment, I am preparing meals, meditating, setting up a new computer and preparing to write a new book, detailing some of Sydney’s secrets. I am exhausted and excited at the same time. I know I have a degree of depression, but its hard to tell what is caused solely by not sleeping and being in pain. It is confusing, to be able to laugh whilst feeling crummy. To have anxiety when the phone rings and yet be able to do other scary things. Damn, we are complex beings!
I sit and grieve for those whom I lost. Grief doesn’t happen on cue, rather it comes upon us like a wave crashing in. Physical pain is the same. Sometimes it can be held back so as to be tolerable, whilst other times, it cant. Just as I have times where I can sleep for 12 hours through exhaustion, so I have times when I sit and cry. There is nothing to be done, but feel it and allow it. I look out at this rainy day and see the torrent. I also see how it is nourishing the many rose buds in my garden. This week, I am not going anywhere. I am staying home, putting on my brace as though it were a seatbelt and preparing myself. Songs are coming into my mind, alongside memories. Its okay. I am going to be okay.
Alongside the full calendar and buzzing phone is a woman desperate for rest. I just can’t do things at the moment. I need to process what I am thinking and feeling. How often do we actually do that? Allow ourselves time to determine what it is ours and what belongs to other people? When I am done, I shall return to society with a full cup, rather than a cracked glass, leaking fluid, rather like my spinal discs. Dancer, the budgie, has had moments of jealousy since we got Noel the cockatiel. If Noel dares to toddle near her, she has a tendency to let off a string of budgie expletives and try to pull her tail. I have just had to assure Dancer that she is valuable and just as loved. If I go into retreat, I hope I am just as loved as during the times when I am flitting from event to event. There is nothing that anyone can help me with. I just need rest, to come up from the tidal wave of 2015. To scan this spine and cleanse my heart and mind.
Rain doesn’t last forever, but its effects are felt deep in the soil. I am coming out of a haze even I cant fully comprehend. I think that is what keeps us silent about these times. We find it hard to articulate what is going on within us. After having a baby, we were once kept in hospital for quite a while. Sundays were a day of rest. School holidays were spent in unscheduled splendour. Maybe it’s time to just be and let the days unfurl again.