Posts tagged ‘anxiety’

THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME. 

This morning I woke up from a nightmare in which I was getting my children ready for some imminent apocalyptic event. I don’t remember what it was, I just remember speaking to my kids and trying to prepare them, in a detailed way, including instructions on what to do if separated from me, or from each other. They were smaller, younger, more vulnerable versions of themselves, just to add to the ambiance. I was talking to them in a very matter of fact way while in my head I was screaming because I knew it wasn’t enough, wasn’t enough, wasn’t enough and the very bad thing was coming and I couldn’t keep them safe. 


Yesterday I woke up from a dream that left me so disoriented that it literally took me a full sixty seconds, without exaggeration, to work out – first – where I was, but then, when I was. In that order, which is weird. Yesterday disappeared into a bit of a hole that I was unable to crawl my way out of. The level of exhaustion is hard to describe. I read somewhere that people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder feel so tired all the time because you are basically on high alert constantly. After nightmares all night (I will wake up several times during the night and even if I go back to sleep all I remember are nightmares) I slump into some days. My head pounds, I have chest pains and my limbs all feel like they are made of concrete. My whole body aches with heaviness. Everything, every. little. thing. requires such effort that, even if I can be bothered, a small task can take up most of the day. There are days I can’t even pretend to be a functional human being. 

I guess this is my annual Mother’s Day whinge. Feel free to stop reading. I don’t claim any exclusivity. Everyone has hard days and Mother’s Day is hard for lots of people, for many reasons. Childless mothers, motherless children, women who mother other people’s children, children and mothers who are separated by whatever circumstance. I don’t pretend my list is comprehensive. You all know who you are. 

For some, it will be their first Mother’s Day and for some it will be their first Mother’s Day since. For some, it will be both and that’s just the way it is. What I know is that as soon as Easter was over, literally the day after, shops were full of Mother’s Day merchandise. Mugs and slippers and photo frames everywhere you turn. Brochures in the letter box and advertisements on television and Mother’s Day espisodes of television shows. Choking up my newsfeed in every direction. A constant assault that is impossible to escape. And for me this year the added bonus of a later Mother’s Day bringing it even closer to the anniversary of my Daughter’s death. Two and a half weeks to go. Bonus. 

Would I have been a grandmother by now? I cried on the packed train today, silently, after scrolling past a mother guessing her daughter was pregnant on a facebook post. Bit, fat, hot tears that dropped singly from my lashes and felt like lava carving their way down my face. 

After tomorrow there will be marked down slippers, mugs and photo frames and that is nowhere near as fun as marked down Easter chocolate, nowhere near as fun at all. But the days, even the hard ones, pass. Just a bit slower. 

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Tonight I am baby sitting three rascals of the four legged kind. Two very special babies and the big brother of the little girl Son Number Two and I have staying with us; precious souls all of them and I am glad to be here. 
A friend asked me to edit her manuscript recently. I cannot possibly put into words what it meant to me to be trusted with that task, but it meant so much. It worked for me on a number of levels. 
I have friends I can text random things to and they will meet me where I am. I recently went to see a performance of live theatre. It was an incredibly moving adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank hosted by the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts. I’ve had lunch in the quiet, leafy grounds of a University and laughed at my Daughter Number Two and my Sons. I have felt the relief of cool nights after just warm enough days. Videos of small boys and big dogs that melt my heart. And, you know, marked down Easter chocolate. 

The best of times and the worst of times. 
For the rest of my life; the best of times and the worst of times. 
Safe onward travel x 

IT’S A NEW DAWN. 

Well, here we are again. Another year.  2017. Donald Trump is the American president and it’s safe to say the times they are a changin’, for me personally and on a worldwide level. It’s safe for me to say that because times always do. Change is our constant. 

My current psych is trying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with me. Part of that is mindfulness. Be in the now. Sure. Still, as much as I acknowledge that the past is the past and cannot be altered the inalienable truth for me is that the absence of my Daughter Number One is my present. I acknowledge that she is gone but that loss, the great, gaping, abyss-like wound caused by her absence is with me always. And most days, most minutes of most days, it takes everything I have not to just fall right in. Some days it takes everything I have not to just jump. Or to simply let go and drift gracefully into the warm, inky, welcoming, comforting, NOTHING blackness. 

Because for me, there is nothing beautiful about my own struggle. It is me, hanging on by my fingernails as I feel them splinter, grazing my knees and elbows as I stumble along, blinded by my tears and struggling to breathe against the constriction of my chest. Aching joints, aching head, aching heart. And that is me being mindful. That is me living in the now; where my other children grow older and my Daughter’s friends get engaged to be married and my first born Daughter never does and never will. Where I accept the reality of her absence but that will never make it ok. 

After George Michael died last year, after Prince and Leonard Cohen, I commented somewhere that it was the year the music died, but of course I was wrong. The music is eternal. The gifts people give the world, that is what they leave us to hold onto. For someone who only lived fourteen years the legacy of love my Daughter Number One left behind is immense. I am awed by it. Sometimes I am even comforted by it. But it is not enough and never will be. Call me a greedy bitch if you like, I know some people have much less. But I want more. 

Since I have told you what there is safe to say and what is fair, let me tell you what is UNFAIR and not safe to say out loud. Ironically, as I wrote that last sentence I wrote ‘fear’ instead of ‘fair’ and I allowed myself a wry chuckle, that, sitting on a crowded flight with tears escaping from my eyes, could only enhance the aura I imagine surrounds me!

This year I face the fourteenth anniversary of my Daughter’s murder. No anniversary is easy and I have told you before that the months between her birthday and the anniversary are progressively excruciating. As the years have passed though (how is that even possible?) I have been aware of an increasing dread. As we start off another year I can tell you it has now grown into a creeping, cold terror that wraps itself around me. It is crushing. It is paralysing. 

It is the knowledge that at a certain point this year my Daughter Number One will have been gone for longer than she was here. And for some reason the thought of that is DEVASTATING to me. For a start, it doesn’t even seem possible. To continue to be living this long without her. It is a thought my mind has trouble containing because it is just so wrong. JUST SO VERY WRONG. Incomprehensible. Perhaps it is the simple fact that we are not meant to outlive our children. It isn’t the way it is meant to be. Which is why, when Debbie Reynolds died so quickly after Carrie Fisher, I thought ‘Oh, that’s good’. 

Rationally I know that this year will not make my Daughter any more gone but I can only tell you how it feels. And how it feels is like I am losing her all over again. That, somehow, she is getting farther away. That she is disappearing further and I literally do not know how I will bear it. I do not know how to do this. To keep doing this. I am so scared. What I don’t expect people to understand unless they have similar experiences (and I don’t wish that on anybody) is that it isn’t and has never been one finite loss. Clear cut and contained. It is a million, billion losses that still – daily – assault me. Sometimes with the force of a sledgehammer and sometimes more of a pin prick but they are chronic and unending. My loss does not diminish. It is infinite and immeasurable. I have simply lived with it longer, the longer I live. 

My other children, my beautiful friends, my family of the heart; they are the reasons I keep putting one foot in front of the other. I know I am so lucky to have them. I know I do not walk alone. But oh, gosh, it’s been such a long walk. I am so tired. It is not so much good days and bad but better days or worse. I know joy, I feel happiness but they are bittersweet. Part of that is guilt. Even when I am happy I am sad. Trying to ‘pass’ as a functional human being is exhausting. 

Today I am travelling and I enjoy that. I love being up here in the air. When you get above the clouds the sun is always shining. I am sitting in the emergency exit row. My first time ever. I don’t like having to put my handbag above me in the overhead locker and not having it easily accessible but, eh, I took out everything I hope I’ll need on this short flight so ok. It seems a small price to pay for the extra leg room! I am actually sitting here with my legs crossed! Which is probably really bad for my circulation but feels so comfortable! 

This is the second of three flights I will take today and as usual I am taking the long way around. The road less travelled. My first flight took me south. This flight takes me north, over and past the point from which I started and the flight this evening will take me west and home. Five flights, four airports and three states total in forty eight hours. I am lucky to be able to spend time with people I love on this journey. But parting is always such sweet sorrow. So I am in a state of agonising ecstasy today.  

I knew early on, after my Daughter’s murder, that it would be terribly easy to slip into a cosy state of detachment. In fact, completely switching off emotionally is what I constantly, consciously fight against. It would be so easy, to just not feel. It would be So. Much. Easier. And some days I need the reprieve. But as a very dear, much loved kindred spirit reminded me today, indifference is the opposite of love. And I choose to keep loving. And feeling and living. Because how is any of it worth it otherwise? 

My not so little now Daughter Number Two said to me yesterday “It is hard when you are always missing someone.” 

And she’s right. It is. It just is. 

Safe onward travel x 

ONCE I WAS SEVEN YEARS OLD. 

A couple of nights ago Son Number Two woke me in the early hours of the morning. I had been having a nightmare that something was coming at me out of the dark and, in my dream, I had been screaming his name. He said, in real life, that he couldn’t understand what I was crying out, but that I was clearly distressed, so he woke me up. It wasn’t the first time, it will not be the last. He wakes me up and talks to me for a couple of minutes as I reorient myself and then he goes back to bed. And in the morning he gets up and goes off to school. 

Last Wednesday was Son Number Two’s eighteenth birthday. That seems incredible to me but there you have it. My beautiful Daughter Number One died when he was four years old and he has very few memories of her. Life ‘After’ is life as he knows it. I wanted his birthday to be all about him and I think, I hope, that he felt that it was. The birthday video I made to post to facebook had only one photo of him with each sibling; the rest of an increasingly good looking boy across the years. So many memories as I trawled through photos to pick the best ones. 

And I got things together and I organised his birthday dinner but by the big day I was exhausted from the effort of containing the unfairness of his big sister not being here to celebrate this milestone with him and the brutality of the knowledge that she never got to see her eighteenth birthday. Or any birthday after she turned fourteen. Each night this week brought a nightmare that didn’t really stop when I awoke. 
On his birthday Son Number Two went off to school and I attended to the last few details. I went to visit a friend and while they were sweeping outside I stood in their kitchen with music on full blast and sobbed the kind of heaving, full bodied sobs that leave you unsure if you are going to vomit and bring you literally to your knees – and they did, and they did. But before my friend came inside I had wiped off my face and regained my composure and the day wore on. 

I came home to my Son and one friend, followed by another, then another. We all got ready to go out for his birthday dinner and there were many laughs. The general consensus amongst his friends seems to be that I am cool, as parents go. But they have no idea of how hard my Son’s life has been at times. We have had some adventures though, he and I, and I guess we have both made it this far. That’s saying something in itself even if I’m not sure what that is. What I do know is that he has a solid group of friends who, like him, are loyal smart arses for the most part. But funny as fuck. 
We all prepared to go out and I sent them off to the bus stop and waited for my own lift at the top of my drive way and with their laughter travelling around the corner to me I felt the tightness in my chest and the change in my breathing as the grip I held so tightly once again started to slip. I sent an emergency text to one of my oldest, dearest friends and then my other lovely friends picked me up to go to the restaurant. 


The birthday dinner was a good night out and a jolly good time was had by all. I limped through the rest of the week and here we are, on Father’s Day. 

Once again I feel for my son and all that was stolen from him but more than that, I am so grateful. I am grateful beyond measure for the truly good men who have been in his life. The ones who came to his birthday dinner and clapped him on the back, shook his hand and hugged him goodbye. I am grateful for all of those men who have spent time with him over his life and who have cared enough to make the effort. I am thankful for the beautiful men and fathers I have the privilege of knowing, the true good guys that mean I continue to have hope. Lastly, I am grateful for my Son, who he is and who he is becoming. 

Safe onward travel x 

YOU AND I, WE’RE PIONEERS. 

  
For weeks I have been lucky enough to be staying near the ocean. One house back from the beach to be exact. It was not a luxury unappreciated; from walks along the water’s edge to listening to the waves from my bed at night it was an experience I savoured. They say all good things must come to an end though and so it goes that three nights ago was my last night at the beach house. 

I lay in bed in the early hours of the morning listening to the sound of the waves rolling in; the ocean kissing the shore. I found myself thinking about all the places I have lived. That is a lot of places, lovely people. Lots of different houses both during my childhood and as an adult. On my last night in the beach house I lay there and let the anxiety of the unknown wash over me. I felt the sadness of leaving the beach, with the acknowledgement that being there had soothed my soul. But the new day dawned, as they always do and my time at the beach house came to an end. 

So many things have happened over the last couple of months. 2016 has been a huge year and we are not even a third of the way into it. I woke this morning to the news Prince had died and felt the metaphorical sands shift, once again, under my feet. So much change. So much happening. Throughout it all I am lucky to have good people in my life. Friends who have travelled far with me and those who have just connected. I am blessed to have known great kindness and I feel a deep responsibility to keep paying that kindness forward. 

  
Someone thanked me this week, for checking in with them during a difficult time and for being happy for them when their situation resolved. It was someone I don’t know very well but the reality is that it cost me nothing. Two emails and a few kind words. Just before Easter a young guy asked if I had any change. He had planned to walk home but it looked like rain and he didn’t want the fluffy bunny rabbit he had bought to get wet. I only had a dollar in change but I gave him the dollar and his face lit up like a Christmas tree as he thanked me profusely. When the time came for him to get off the bus he said ‘Hey, thanks again’ but I felt like he’d brightened my day so we broke about even in my book. 

I offered to take some photos for a friend of mine and she invited me to her son’s first birthday party to take a few snaps of the big event. My friend and her gorgeous boy were the only two people at the party I had met before and as more and more guests wandered in I could feel my chest tighten as my social anxiety reared it’s ugly head. I took my camera from it’s case and felt the weight of it in my hands and the memories associated with it. It was the first time I had used it in weeks and it felt good to be doing something I loved. Especially at such a happy celebration. Earlier this week my friend contacted me to tell me how much she loved the photos and, just like that, my investment of time and effort was repayed ten fold. 

  
Just be kind to each other. That is all we have to do to make the world a better place. In my life and in the last few weeks I have known huge kindnesses. Letting people be kind to you gives them something too. It’s a win-win, really. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture. A smile in an elevator can change someone’s day. A five minute phone call can change someone’s life. Sometimes you will never know the difference you made. Sometimes there is no acknowledgement. Sometimes there’s just the warm glow inside from knowing you did a good thing. And that is more than enough. 

Just be kind to each other. Fight the good fight, one act of kindness at a time. 

Safe onward travel x 

  

TELL ME, WHAT’S FEAR TO YOU? 

Trigger warning: This post deals with domestic violence, suicide and loss. Safe onward travel x

– A Day in the life of my PTSD and me.

My telecommunications and Internet provider is experiencing difficulties this afternoon. My mobile phone has been intermittently unable to make or receive calls and my internet is dropping in and out too. I am trying, trying, trying not to completely lose my shit.

And I am failing.

After venting to my facebook friends (during a brief period the Internet was actually working) I know that it is definitely a network problem. Not exclusive to me and so I shouldn’t take it personally. But it is personal. So very personal.

The walls are closing in a little bit and I cannot focus on anything for too long. My thoughts are jumbled.My chest is tight and my breathing is shallow and I can feel a headache coming on.

I walk to the beach and I sit, watching the waves hit the shore and the sun sink slowly towards the horizon. I play Fletcher Pilon’s – winner of Australia’s Got Talent 2016 – album ‘Banjo’ through my headphones. The sea helps, the music helps, the warmth of the slowly sinking sun helps because I feel chilled even though it is a warm day. It all helps and I am trying hard to relax into it but my chest is still tight and my head hurts more.

So still I try. Try to re-establish control and restore my equilibrium. Try to take deeper breaths. Try to stop the rocking I suddenly notice I am doing. And writing everything down helps. Mindfulness, yeah? Grounding myself in the moment. I can feel my heart banging around in my chest. I hear the waves crashing on the sand. I take some photos of things that appeal to my eye.

  
This must all sound an over reaction. Phone companies have issues. Shit happens. First World Problems. But today, after I first noticed my lack of ability to communicate with the outside world the Internet kicked back in briefly and multiple messages from my seventeen year old son filtered through. “Mum, I need my Medicare number please” “Mum, are you there? Do you keep hanging up on me?”

Walking along the waters edge I notice several feathers. Further still I see what I think at first is a dead fish, being pushed back and forth gently by the waves on the very edge of the water. Then I am closer and my sluggish brain returns my gaze to it until I realise it is a wing of a bird. Ripped and torn; it’s white, white bones spilling out and the feathers gently ruffled by the ocean. I recoil as my mind starts to kick in reflexively, and make suggestions about how that wing came to be there. I don’t take any photos of the wing. But it is too late. It is too late for me and for the bird no longer flying. The wing is there anyway, in my mind’s eye. And my mind throws up the picture every so often, like a macabre Viewfinder, shuffling images as I walk.

  
I manage to get through to my son. He is having chest pains. He is heading to the GP. He is young and fit and healthy and I have no reason to think it is anything more than a pulled muscle from teenaged hijinks. So says my rational mind. He has friends with him. This is good. They are good friends. I have good friends too. I am lucky. And yet my chest still feels like I am buried under concrete.

I play the same album, over and over again. I listen to the lyrics, letting each word wash over me. When my internet kicks in I check facebook and see what my friends are doing and try to relax and try to feel normal and try to feel real. I run the sand through my fingers and feel the coarse grains. The sun is losing it’s heat. There is a sailboat on the horizon.

My son has his appointment with the doctor. She says his heart rate is a little elevated but he seems ok. She advises rest and if the pain gets worse to go to an emergency room. I manage a call that actually connects and I hear my son tell me this in his own voice. I am relieved. But my own chest stays tight.

  
I hear the counsellor ask me earlier today “When do you have a rest from this stuff?” And my voice answering “It is with me always. Always.” And it is. To varying degrees in a million ways which can be heightened by anything, or by nothing.

Not being able to contact loved ones by phone does me in. There is the illusion that they are right there, right there at the end of a phone call or a text message. I don’t wait patiently for responses. It is agony for me! All hail read receipts! And I know, better than most, that it is only an illusion. That each and every time I physically let someone leave my sight it may be the last time I see them. Life happens. But having them on the end of a phone line is something, because I can’t handcuff myself to everyone I love indefinitely. Even if I could, life would still happen. I know the security of having them at the end of a phone call is only an illusion. But it is a beautiful illusion and it is all I have.

  
On the night my beautiful daughter was murdered I rang the mobile phone of her killer dozens and dozens and dozens of times. It was turned off. I didn’t understand. It was never turned off. They were meant to be at the movies though, so maybe the film hadn’t finished yet? I didn’t understand.

On the beach, in the present moment, a gorgeous chocolate brown and caramel kelpie trots towards me. The largish stick it is holding pulling the edges of it’s mouth into a happy grin. It trots right up to me. The orange of the sunset ringing it’s silhouette in a golden glow. The chocolate dog comes right up beside me and then sits down. It stays with me for the few seconds it takes it’s human to catch up and then it trots happily off again. And I give thanks for the chocolate dog who let me touch it’s soft, warm fur and who stopped to comfort me because dogs know, they really know.

On the night my beautiful daughter was murdered I rang the mobile phone of her murder again and again and again for hour after hour after hour. It stayed off. I couldn’t work it out. It was night time and there was still no answer and I started to ring hospitals because the only horrible conclusion I could come to was that there must have been an accident. But there was no accident. It was not an accident.

The sun is touching the horizon now and soon it will dip beneath it. A man sits thirty metres up the beach singing to his crawling smiling baby and watching the setting sun. It is over three and half hours now, since this internet issue started and the service is still dropping in and out. The sun is half sunken and the wind picks up and the waves, like the days, keep rolling in.

  
At about twenty past eleven on the night my daughter was murdered, after I had called the police to say my daughter and her murderer were missing I called the mobile phone again. And my daughter answered. I asked where she was and she said she could not tell me. I asked her yes and no questions – I heard her say to her murderer “She doesn’t understand”. The phone dropped out at her end. I could still hear my daughter but she could not hear me. They were driving through mobile reception black spots. I hung up and rang again. My daughter answered! I kept trying to ask questions that might give me a clue. I asked if she was coming home and she said no. I didn’t say “I love you” because I couldn’t say goodbye. And then the phone dropped out again. She could no longer hear me.

I heard my beautiful daughter’s voice as she said, not screamed, just said “Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad.” Over and over again. Still calling him Dad. And then I hung up so I could call the police back to let them know Sam was answering the phone. When I tried to call her back there was no answer.

  
Later, when I got my phone bill and read the witness statements I realised there were probably only seconds between my hanging up the phone and the car my daughter was in hitting the rock face wall on the expressway. When I heard her saying “Please Dad” she was begging for her life as she hurtled towards a rock wall. I just missed hearing the impact and I am glad for that. Because for half an hour longer, until the police car pulled silently up in front of my house in the dead of night, I still had hope my daughter was alive.

The sun is long gone. The light with it too. Who knows when the telephone service will be fully back on line. My limbs are stiff. It is getting cold. I am shivering. My phone battery is almost flat. But while sitting on the beach, writing this, I have begun to breathe a little easier. A chocolate dog, a giggling baby and waves that keep on rolling in.

Sam is with me always. Always.

  

I’M A BITCH, I’M A LOVER, I’M A CHILD, I’M A MOTHER, I’M A SINNER, I’M A SAINT, I DO NOT FEEL ASHAMED.

This post is dedicated to the beautiful Elijah Rainbow; for all that you were, all that you will always be and all that you could have been, with my love x 

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(Me circa 1988, photo credit to my lovely and dear friend Hayley. You can find her here and here.)

Several weeks ago I was asked to speak at a Keynote Presentation on Victim Awareness in the Mental Health sector, presented by Angelhands, a not for profit organisation that works to provide support for those affected by homicide or serious personal violence. This was a very big deal for me for a number of reasons. The most important reason is that I feel very strongly that silence and secrecy contributed to Daughter Number One’s death and, like this blog, this opportunity gave me the chance to speak about my beautiful Daughter and hope that in some small way it will help someone else. Secondly, I used to go to these kind of things, back before my life imploded. I used to to eat them up. Learning is fun! I have a folder full of qualifications and certificates from training days and the like that I’ve never used but have collected in my travels. Third reason was that it gave me a boost of self worth and a timely reminder of my value. Which we all need every now and then, don’t we?

Overwhelmingly it was a positive experience for me. Although the only public speaking I have done in over a decade was at the wedding I went to eighteen months ago I was confident I could do it based on my long since past days at the Australian Theatre for Young People when I was sixteen and my desire to get it done. I was hoping to tap into a different head space, than my present day to day one, and I was able to manage that.

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Maybe I managed it a little too well. For a little while I completely forgot why I was there. As I said, I’ve been to plenty of similar events where I was on the other side of the podium. As I listened to the other speakers I found myself really getting into their words. I looked around the room and listened to the questions the attendees asked and I could have been one of them. My tertiary qualifications are probably similar. I didn’t feel out of place or uncomfortable or intimidated – which I thought maybe I would.

Son Number Two came with me and as he sat next to me listening to Ian Carter, CEO of Anglicare, speak to Anglicare’s Community Perceptions Report 2014: Family and Domestic Violence (which you can find here) I could see him reacting physically, flinching as he heard the sobering statistics. When Daughter Number One was very young she attended a few protests with me. Not a bad thing. My now seventeen year old Son Number Two hearing some hard facts on Domestic Violence – NOT A BAD THING!

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Before, during and after the Angelhands event my glorious friends surrounded me with their love and the positivity and extent of their confidence in me was truly humbling, as always. When I don’t believe in me I believe in them and their belief in me and that has gotten me through on many days. I have been thinking about the girl I was who won the scholarship to ATYP and the one in the photo above. The young woman I was when my Daughter Number One died and the woman I have become since then; the person I am today. I am all of them and she is all of me and then some. I am more than the sum of my parts and the ones who truly love me have taught me that. There are vast expanses of myself yet to discover and explore, and beautiful oasis’ to revisit and I treasure the ones who value me enough to be part of the odyssey that is me. 

A couple of weeks ago I had a message from Baby Daddy to let me know that in a couple of years he will be having Daughter Number Two undergo a cosmetic dental procedure to rid her of the ‘unsightly’ gap between her teeth. You know, like the one I have? He has no idea who I am and all the ways that Daughter Number Two is a part of me and I of her. That however hard he tries he cannot erase me from her. Given the approaching season I’ve also been reflecting on the fact that Baby Daddy told Daughter Number Two that Santa was not real the year she turned six. He told her because she had found her presents. This pains me terribly, still, two years later. She’s eight now and still young enough to believe in that magic. But instead she chooses her own Christmas presents and she knows she is getting an xbox this year. Which is super great because as it happens she is meant to be spending Christmas with me but I can’t compete with the xbox buying and cannot deprive her of the Christmas morning she is already looking forward to. Despite all of it I am never unaware that Baby Daddy is her father and as much a part of her as I am. We are all medleys. 

I have been very raw lately. Small things rubbing against me like I am an open wound. Not unexpected with major life changes. We cannot stand still, we are always evolving. It is not always comfortable. The speaking opportunity given to me by Angelhands would not have happened if I had stayed where I was. I woke the other night when the soft, velvety head of my darling friend Frankie gently rested on my thigh. I had been having a nightmare and he woke me from it. How does he know? He always knows. As I gave Frankie my heartfelt thanks My One True Love rolled over and wrapped me in his arms, holding me tight. 

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(Frankie and me 🙂 ) 

I was thinking that ‘raw’ and ‘roar’ sound the same. 

raw

3.
(of an emotion or quality) strong and undisguised.
“he exuded an air of raw, vibrant masculinity”

They definitely fit me! Raw can also mean unfinished, which I am. And when I think of it like that it no longer feels like a negative.

roar

  • a loud, deep sound uttered by a person or crowd, generally as an expression of pain, anger, or approval.
    “he gave a roar of rage”
    synonyms: shout, bellow, yell, cry, howl, shriek, scream, screech

     
    antonyms: whisper
  • a loud outburst of laughter.
    “her remarks brought a roar of laughter from the old man”
    synonyms: guffaw, howl, hoot, shriek

    I do that; I laugh loudly. My One True Love is one of the funniest people I have ever known and my children are often hilarious, as are my friends, so I am lucky that I get to laugh a lot. And I’m thinking it’s time to do some more roaring, of all different kinds. Because there are different kinds of raw and different kinds of roaring and they are no more or less than each other. They just are. 

    So here I am and this is me! 

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    RAW AND ROARING! 

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IT’S CLOSE TO MIDNIGHT AND SOMETHING EVIL’S LURKING IN THE DARK.

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Trigger warning: Trauma, loss, grief, PTSD.

As predicted it has been a very crappy week. Tomorrow I will be heading off on a plane to the wedding, which for me is a very good thing. Life affirming. Can’t come fast enough really and just in the nick of time. Because of the stress I have been under my nightmares have ramped up a bit. Not surprising really and tedious definitely, but that is life. My life, to be precise.

In the early hours of this morning I woke up with a start. That doesn’t really do it justice. I woke up unable to breathe with my back arching up off the bed as I desperately attempted to get air into my lungs. I frantically searched beneath my pillow in the dark with my hand for my inhaler, my heart hammering so hard that it felt like it was breaking through my ribs before falling back inside my chest cavity with a thud.

I don’t remember the entire nightmare, just that right before I woke up there was a female figure standing in front of me and she set herself alight. I watched her hair catch and whoosh up in flames and her features melt and blacken, her disappearing eyelid exposing the entire eyeball. I don’t remember recognising her as someone I knew but then she wasn’t foreign either. In truth I don’t want to think about it too much or examine her too closely. Maybe she is me but definitely she is my Daughter Number One, crumpled and broken in a crushed lump of metal that used to be a car. The woman/girl in my nightmare is my reading the eyewitness reports and the words of a newly minted police officer as he described the smell of burning flesh. It is seeing the mangled metal remains of the vehicle and the perfectly preserved McDonald’s fries in a bag under the charred mess and mounds of ash of god knows what in the passenger foot well. It is not being able view my Daughter’s body or dress her for her funeral. It is a post mortem report I read and photo’s my solicitor refused to let me see. It is Bali bombing victims all over the news. The figure in my nightmare is all these things and so many more, layer upon layer (like the old advertisement said) of thoughts and the associated emotions that assail me the instant my mind is concious. EVEN as I struggle for air, EVEN as I search frantically for the cold metal plastic combination of the inhaler with my fingers. INSTANTANEOUSLY. DEVASTATINGLY.

And no, it isn’t just a nightmare, or like a horror film, not real, or something I can just shake myself free of. The weight of it clings to me like a tar I can’t wash off. A cloying psychic cigarette smoke that permeates my being; stale and unpleasant and persistent long after the source is gone. I don’t enjoy it. It is not something I hold onto; I try to move my thoughts on. I employ various strategies learnt over long years, purposefully. And yet, here it is, 10pm and my chest has remained tight all day.

I finally fell back to sleep this morning and had another nightmare, I kid you not. Different but the same themes of trauma, pain, loss, grief. Some nights are like that. I’m not here asking for your sympathy. I’m not asking for your understanding – please know how genuinely HAPPY I am that for most of you, this is beyond comprehension. I’m also not asking for your judgement. If I could just move on I would. No one would choose this. And maybe I am weak, who knows? But any systemic vulnerabilities have been caused by numerous assaults on my being from various sources. Because you see, my worst nightmares have happened while I’ve been awake.

All that I’ll ask is that we be gentle with one another, that we be kinder. Because we all fight our own battles. And tomorrow I will try to be kinder to myself.

This morning I read this poem by Greysie. He has his own Greysie’s Poetry facebook page – it is powerful stuff. It’s not always pleasant or easy reading but it’s always real and I like the real. I liked this. It said it all.

“Scared.”

I crept in while you were sleeping,
Laid waste to your mind,
I woke you up screaming,
Pain is all you’ll find.

I am always in your body,
Chewing on your soul,
Sleep is just a fantasy,
To destroy you is my goal.

As you woke in tears,
Another nightmare in your brain,
I’m already plotting further,
How I will drive you insane.

Keep you awake for hours,
You to scared to go to sleep,
To scared to close your eyes,
I intend to make you weep.

All the while surrounded,
With your friends who can not see,
That I’m tearing you apart inside,
I will never set you free.

I eat you inside out,
I will kill you in the end,
I am your enemy,
You will never call me friend.

I eat just under the surface,
So no one else can see,
All the while you in agony,
Terrified by what is me.

I am the Evil Clown,
It’s you that I taunt,
I’m hidden just around the corner,
It’s you that I will haunt.

I’m a door left open,
That stops you in your tracks,
I’m that tightening of your chest,
You can never just relax.

I’m the shadow walking past you,
That no one else can see,
That scares you to death,
I am you, you are me.

We are one until your end,
As that reality does sink in,
I am your Evil Clown,
I’ll tear you open from within.

You will never have respite,
This painful sorrow will never end,
There is nothing you can do,
Your brain will never mend.

I’m the blood that you still smell,
I’m the epitome of terror,
I’m horror after horror,
I am your forever.

I’m just around the corner,
I’m waiting just for you,
To terrorise you further,
There’s nothing you can do.

Written 21.7.14

Safe onward travel. Sleep tight x

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