Last week I dreamt that I needed to see under everything. So I was crawling under trains and insisting people stand on their heads so I could inspect the “souls” of their feet. My female need to know having me turn everything upside down so I could try to understand it all. To leave, literally, no stone unturned in search of answers to questions I barely knew I had, as I squinted through my new huge, Dierdre Barlow glasses determined to see “the truth”.
I have been waiting. And last weekend everything shifted. Just like that. I made a big, fat, wild and wonderful decision and for the first time in a year the world felt like it was standing upright. And I was so astonished by what struck me as a revelation, I phoned my Dad to have him confirm that it wouldn’t be all manner of crazy and I sat in Rachel’s cosy living room eating tapas and drinking wine and talking the leg off her as I spoke it out loud. (I do that I’m afraid, I talk the leg off people and they humour me and it is kind and beautiful).
I have been waiting while my head picked its way through the tangle of my heart, knots as tight as the finest of forgotten gold chains. Fiddly, intricate knots I have made a hobby of trying to unpick so that I could see what potential I held between my hands. And suddenly the chain untangled. Just like that. And I saw things both as they are and how they could be instead, and I became all action. The kind of driven, determined action that saw me laying out what could be in my own head, requesting details, confirming possibilities, tying up ends in a way that doesn’t come naturally to me.
I’m no good at goodbyes, to relationships, homes, situations. I doubt myself and fail to drill down deep enough to examine what I really want or feel. Authenticity is all too often draped in the kind of fear that leaves me treading water. Hoping that the status quo will re-establish itself, for even when its ugly, or not enough, it feels safe. Feeling safe you see, seems to be what I live for and I finally understand how restricting it has been. How all too often it has stalled ideas before I have given them time to emerge from a cocoon I am too scared to utterly discard. And so it has been in the past twelve months. I have stayed hovering inside a cocoon I needed to discard in order to progress the rest of my life. For gripping onto hope, possibility or the merest chance of change, staying too tight in the bud, (to mix a metaphor or two), merely stalls the kind of inevitable flight we will end up taking regardless, albeit after being pushed off the side off the plane or learning to fly with wings broken by the effort it takes for circumstances to drag us beyond the security of these cosy, prickly cocoons.
So I sent a thank-you to someone who changed the course of the rest of my life in the course of a single weekend in October, closing the book on a chapter still open in my head, and I started boxing up all that I still thought necessary to hold on to just a few months ago. I spend a long afternoon researching the possibilities of this new life (jump and it will appear!) and making lists of pros and cons and I talked it all over with Finn, who came and snuggled up on the sofa with me and said do whatever you need to do to move on Mum. And for a while I sat and did nothing. letting my big, mad, wild idea ruminate and settle while I wrote down the details and weighed up all associated kerfuffle and still it struck me as the next, right thing and slowly but surely manifested itself, not as an idea, but as a decision.
The waiting was over. The restless thrum of a heart that would not settle soothed by commitment to something I could not before now have even contemplated. Though I’m not ready to share the details for I do not yet know them myself, I wanted you to know that trusting your instincts and sitting still long enough to be able to let them make themselves be heard, really matters because sometimes doing nothing at all becomes a matter of everything and the universe, in whatever form you see it, listens and starts to align the stars (and algorithms, socially and emotionally) for you! Since the decision, an email I was holding my breath for arrived and finally put to bed the chaos in my head. And then a text came that said something I needed to hear. Someone made me laugh endlessly, so that in-between the Nana-naps still necessary after last weeks terrible flu I am giggling non-stop and singing like the whole world is listening; then Facebook read my mind and filled my feed with alternatives and adjuncts to my big, fat, wild idea. and I found the courage to apologise for hurting someone by being careless with their heart and I came once again to understand that I too am capable of causing hurt and that a commitment to myself matters more than any imagined commitment to what once was.
This then is a treatise not on that big, fat wild idea but on patience, renaissance and courage. It is a call to arms to all who have convinced themselves that what is now, will be always. A rallying cry that says there are better days ahead, and while you might not believe it in this moment, (because why would you when life hurts?), around the corner, down the road or at the end of the year, courage will be waiting for you to happen upon her. For you to welcome her and pause long enough to understand that what is for you will not pass you, even when you are standing neck high in a sea of mud.
This is me, way beyond the broken I was last year when each and everyone of you held me up and showed me that life would get better, saying that it really does! This is me believing that doing what I did, telling my truth and sitting with my pain has created a strength in me I could not have begun to imagine and that though there are still scary and sad moments, and though my efforts to reach those who should have listened have gone mostly unheard, my olive branch ignored, I am here, heart on my sleeve, ready to embrace my own renaissance and live again. Still the same me. Still believing people are intrinsically good. Still not able to smile in photos and still wearing too much MotherPucker Pillow Plump to blow the ludicrous pout up! (Because our own brand of ludicrous matters doesn’t it?) Still possessed with too much need to know, still so very much the same and now so very different. Wrinkles et al.
So may you too all have your own big fat, wild ideas! May you too know that by allowing yourself to be drenched in whatever it is that ails mind or spirit, rather than trying to escape it, you will rise again. May life get lovelier for all of us with promises to ourselves we never, ever break.
Now get yourself a pair of Deidre Barlow’s, look life right in the eye and start believing in you. And yes, I do believe that is an order.