Friday, 16 October 2015

Broken bits

How is it that a person can be insanely happy, yet impossibly sad at the same time?  Is that even a thing?  Does anyone else ever feel the same, or is it just me?  I'm sorry it's been so long since I last wrote.  I've been suffering from terrible writer's block and the reason I haven't been able to shift it is because I haven't known how to deal with all the crap which has been going around in my head.  I've come to the conclusion that the only way I can move this stuff out of the way so that I can write about the things I'm meant to write about, is to get some of it down.  So forgive me for dumping a whole load of baggage right here.  I have no idea what is going to come out but if you'd rather just read about my latest money saving exploits and don't want to read my jumble of mixed up thoughts that follows, then please stop reading now and wait for the next post when I've moved on :)

Where to start?  I feel a bit of an idiot really because they're hardly earth shattering issues but nonetheless they're my issues and not getting them out has been literally stopping me from functioning. When people share their problems with me, the first thing I always tell them is to write it all down. Doesn't matter what you do with it after that, keep it, burn it, whatever but often the simple act of getting it all out is enough.  My mum told me to do that when I was nine years old and a girl called Charlotte was being mean to me at school.  Getting all the hurt and sadness out worked like magic and I've been doing it ever since.  Writing for me is like therapy so I guess I should stop being stubborn and take some of my own advice!  There are a lot of things I am unable to say in order to protect the privacy of others but I will share what I can.  At least from now on when I disappear and am unable to write you'll know it's most likely because I'm working on one of these things.

Firstly, the relationship between my youngest and his father has suffered a breakdown to the point that they are estranged.  It's heartbreaking, it's exhausting, it's disruptive and gets in the way of every damn thing and I feel completely powerless because I've tried and tried to fix it and I can't.  My baby is hurting so much and I can't freaking well fix it.  Just writing that much has got me crying like an idiot, so in the words of Forrest Gump, 'that's all I got to say about that'.  All I know is love cannot ever come with conditions.

I've also been grieving the loss of my best friend for a few months now.  Except nobody's died, it just feels like it.  At least when someone dies it sucks but you know they don't actually WANT to leave you; they just don't have a choice. Unfortunately in my case, he decided he didn't want me in his life any more.  I wasn't young enough, or pretty enough, or rich enough, or smart enough.  Or anything enough, who knows.  Funnily enough I don't care about any of that.  I'm completely comfortable with myself and happy with who I am.  I think that when you know for sure in your heart that you're a good person, you don't worry about that sort of shit.  I've never taken that stuff personally, it's not my problem.  But I still lost my best friend.  The person who knew me better than anyone, whose company I adored, who I shared a million zillion memories with and loved with every single fibre of my being.  You get the idea he was more than a friend, right?  He was my everything, my absolute everything.  

If there is one thing I've learned the past few years is that I'm not very good at being sad.  I always seem to find far too many things to be happy about!  There's no such thing as a fake smile with me; if you've seen me smiling or laughing these few past months it's been genuine.  I've just been overwhelmingly sad on the inside at the same time.  You see the problem when you've shared a million zillion memories with someone is that they are everywhere.  In my house.  I can do something as simple as opening a drawer and one will pop up without warning.  On the beach.  In my car.  In every poxy song on the radio.  Everywhere, I just couldn't escape it.

And then something happened which completely blew my mind.  You may have seen me post that Ali and I were recently guests on Mike King's radio show, talking about Ali's experiences with depression and suicide prevention among his peers.  At this point I was at my lowest, not least because going to the show and staying overnight in the city meant revisiting so many of the old haunts I used to love.  It killed me but I made myself do it and somehow I managed to survive until it was time for the show without collapsing into a sobbing heap in the middle of Aotea Square and for the next two hours I was sat completely awestruck in the company of the most incredible man I've ever met.  I have never met anyone with such absolute humanity as Mike King.  I can't even find enough words to describe him but I know he had a similarly profound effect on Ali.  During the time we spent with him, he made me question everything I had ever known and somehow managed to change my whole perspective on life; most notably on people and the way we treat one another.  And all I've been able to think since is 'I want to help this man.  I want to help him make a difference'.  I bloody will too, you'll see.

The day I got back from the show I realised something had to change.  I couldn't live in this town with all these ghosts any more, hiding myself away.  I needed to get out of the house, go for a walk and clear my head.  So that's what I did.  I downloaded as many happy songs as I could think of which had no memories attached that I couldn't handle and off I went.  Every day I walked anything up to 15km a day, walking off my grief, walking off the pain.  I can see a whole heap of people reading this now and thinking 'Ahh, so THAT'S why she walks everywhere!'  It was like a compulsion and during this time I didn't give a stuff if I got nothing else done all day, as long as I did that.  You know me, if there's a positive to come out of anything I'll always find it and I realised that so much good has come out of this horrible time.  I have learned to be kinder.  I have learned to be more compassionate.  I have learned never to judge.  I have learned that an opinion is just that - an opinion.  I have come out of this a far better person now than I ever was before.

My daily walks are still a compulsion.  But now I just do it because it makes me feel good.  I love the music, I love the sunshine and I love everything and everyone I see when I'm walking.  I'm not on auto pilot anymore - in fact I feel more 'me' than I ever have in my whole life.  Just to seal the deal the other day I finally did something I've always wanted to do - I got a tattoo!  Before I was always worried about what people would think but not any more and I absolutely love it.  I don't think anyone can understand what an intensely personal thing it is until you have one.  The only downside is I can see I'm going to spend the rest of my life explaining to people what it means!  Which is this - I first learned the word 'attraversiamo' and its meaning when I read 'Eat Pray Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert.  It's one of my favourite books and thanks to her I'll probably go off and climb a mountain in Tibet and hang out with some monks one day.  Anyway, there are many ways you can interpret 'attraversiamo' - it's direct translation is 'let's cross over' but the philosophy behind it is more like 'transform yourself'.  I figure that word sums up what I've been doing these past few years pretty well. As for the little swallow?  That's for my dad.  He passed away at 57 and he loved swallows. Anyone who knew him well associated him with the little birds, he was always fascinated by them and would watch them migrate south every year from my childhood home in England and watch and wait for them to return.  He was the kindest, most gentle man to ever walk this earth.  I feel like he's always watching over me and having him represented on my arm reminds me of the fact that he was taken much too soon so I should really make the most of every day because my life is a privilege.  

To anyone still left reading this ramble, thank you for letting me spill my soul everywhere.  I'm in a good place now, really good and I have all sorts of things I can't wait to tell you about and show you! I just really had to get this out of my head first.  I remember reading a little while ago something which said 'One day someone will come along and hug you so tight all your broken bits will stick back together'.  At the time I felt so dead inside I laughed, what a crock!  But now I believe it.


  1. I think it's ok to be happy and sad at the same time, I think that's what makes us humans.
    Here is a BIG Cyber Hug - probably won't be tight enough to stick all the broken bits back together, but lots of little hugs to help you on your way xx

  2. Loved reading this. Yes you can be happy on the outside (the side you show the world) and sad on the inside. I know how you feel. When my husband died 3 years ago I was very sad. He was my best friend and we had been together for 49 years (married for 46), but I was happy that his suffering was over and he was at peace. I think about him every day remembering all those hap memories even though I am sad to have lost him. You are a strong lady and I admire your spirit. Hugs

  3. Loved reading this. Yes you can be happy on the outside (the side you show the world) and sad on the inside. I know how you feel. When my husband died 3 years ago I was very sad. He was my best friend and we had been together for 49 years (married for 46), but I was happy that his suffering was over and he was at peace. I think about him every day remembering all those happy memories even though I am sad to have lost him. You are a strong lady and I admire your spirit. Hugs

  4. Jackie I read right through to the end and I honour you for sharing such deep personal stuff. I also have found it best to write my problems down and then magically my brain feels emptied and lighter. No amount of thinking about stuff can replace what writing does. And I also have found long walks to be cathartic - before I had my current physical issues I walked ten kms everyday and walked my problems away, seemingly. I can no longer walk much but I do still write alot. Thank you for inspiring others to get through what you have, and end up stronger just as you have- well done Jackie! And -hugs to you!

  5. My goodness Jackie. I have been reading your 'stuff' for years and there is rarely (if ever) a moment that you don't hit a nerve in one way or another. I could go on and on (and often do) but just to say, you are in my thoughts and keep on living, helping, hoping and loving as you do!