This blog has been on the back burner for over two years now. It has been sitting here undergoing change after change, hidden from the world because of the fear that I wouldn’t ever be able to write again. Writer’s block hit me about six years ago, the result of an inexplicable shift in my psychology due to certain changes in my life at the time. So when I started this blog a couple of years ago I thought it would be about returning to one’s element. I thought it would basically centre around mental health and self care. I expected that I would only go so deep as to share my journey as I re-learned and struggled with stories and words but with every piece I tried to write it turned dry and impersonal and stilted. It was everything else but who I am.
Gradually, other stories have filtered through my brain and tried to force their way on to the blank spaces on my computer. They have dared to jump from the innermost pages of my journal and on to this public space. Allow me then to honestly say that I am struggling to find the balance, to maintain the purpose of this blog, and not turn this space into a version of my journal. I know that as human beings we desire to relate and connect and it is important to be relatable and approachable. When another person is able to say, “Oh my goodness! You too? I thought I was the only one!” and find some comfort and a healthy way forward in that, then I believe my work on planet earth will be done. Therefore in finding that balance, I am praying we can become a gathering of Oh-my-goodness-ers; a bunch of people who are wonderfully surprised to have found their tribe.
We all ask ourselves “what if” questions at some point and I am no exception to that rule. I have struggled and still struggle with thoughts about how I would live my life if I knew I would never be able to write again. There was a point in time when that was a likely reality and I struggled with how to deal with the things that remind me of the gifts I have lost along the way, on the journey to writing again. The things which, like a baby learning to walk and talk, I find myself having to re-learn. I was afraid to dive deep into the dark well of the loss I experienced, losing portions of my memory alongside lessons I could have written about, and words escaping my brain as soon as they came to me; not being able to live life and yet life was all around me. Yet it is from these recesses that I hope the wealth and richness of these pieces is going to come.
So we see the guy with chiseled muscles and decide that he is strong and then we see him jump at the sight of a cockroach and decide maybe not. We see the girl in the wheelchair as weak and then learn that she is in the Paralympics and think wow, she’s really strong. Also, she eats cockroaches for breakfast! We have been fed a narrow, incomplete and untrue image of strength which involves Jason Momoa’s muscles and Thor’s hammer. We have confused bullying and dictatorship with strength and instead shamed quiet resilience, steadfastness and long-suffering. I do not have all the answers but I can say for certain that I know the following:
It is in laughing with and enjoying the company of a crowd of people knowing that in the midst of that you just might tear up or break down for no apparent reason or from the weight of your silent/hidden struggle. It is in allowing yourself to be vulnerable with your pain in an effort to courageously find healing and dealing with pain which the vulnerability brings. It is in mustering the courage to step outside of your comfort zone to find life even when you feel like there is nothing to live for. Again, sometimes it is in waking up in the morning and daring to breathe. Just. Daring. To. Breathe. And if in the midst of that, we fall into silence, or tears suddenly rise, if in that moment we become the person for whom uncomfortable glances were created, it is not awkward because we see and we know and we feel and this too shall pass.
There is complete freedom in the honesty of our emotions and coming to a place where we can dare to face the most uncomfortable and discomfiting things about ourselves and journey to be better.
We must give ourselves the gift of stories. Stories of overcoming and triumph, and of the bravery of a scrawny hunchback.
We must gift ourselves and others with the writing and the telling of these stories.
There is no fairytale without a tale of struggle.
Embrace your survival and dare to thrive!