Do. The. Work.

By Alison September 18, 2023 4 Comments 5 Min Read

Heckity pie, heavens to Betsy and all that jazz. My Dad and I have declared ourselves dismayed. Oh yes, we are bigly, muchly, truly and deeply dismayed. By the state of the nation. By the behaviour of those who say they know better. By Russell Brand and by the frankly claustrophobic and somewhat terrifying cost of living. We are dismayed and in our morning phone chats we voice that dismay and untangle it and find it to be a set of terribly thorny matters indeed.

Of course there is nothing to be done about those things we cannot do anything about because society is in a pickle of the kind that is in and of itself and won’t be undone by common sense. All of us ruled my fearmongering and media, social or otherwise that gives voice to those who probably shouldn’t be allowed a public platform and associated media-fuelled courts that a mob of kangaroos would be proud of.

And today as I put the phone down I felt again what I can only describe as a sort of suffocating nostalgia, perhaps that which C.S Lewis once described as sehnsucht, (from the German noun for longing) – an all consuming yearning for which we know not what. A feeling I have been fighting for a few weeks now as once again life shifts uncomfortably and I find myself existing in a sort of perpetual state of low-grade terror of what tomorrow might bring as domestically, problems pile up and I don’t quite know which way to turn.

Last Wednesday I reached a rock bottom of sorts. Suddenly utterly consumed by the kind of fright and worry I have been pushing aside in favour of survival for too long, as I realised that in the maelstrom of the last eighteen months I have forgotten who I am (while I have been busy busting my bottom in a fit of that’ll show him!), and that while I have sought solution after solution in the midst of managing all the things, I have in the process sought out the path of least resistance over and over again, simply so that all the things could indeed be managed, and that path turned out to be full of complicated pot holes and and thorns that have ripped me to shreds leaving matters now so very precarious that even the merest breath of wind could push me off the ledge.

Oh yes. I reached my own rock bottom and at quite my lowest ebb I ate a Pot Noodle for lunch and another for tea, because for a few hours nothing seemed to matter. The house struck me as chaotic. My diet temporarily in limbo. My work so convoluted, even I couldn’t make sense of it, My family so far away that thinking about it ties a knot in my throat. My baby happily ensconced in his own life, and the voices in my head, screeching DO SOMETHING!

So I poured a glass of wine and had A BIG THINK. Because while solitary drinking may well be the slippery slope, occasionally it oils the wheels of clarity and when a brain gets foggy, a glass of Malbec and a pen is as good a solution as any. Yes, I sipped wine and I wrote and I scribbled and the pages were worthy of an abstract art gallery, and there were flowers doodled over drama and angry faces drawn over pain. And it was a mess, and then all a sudden it wasn’t. For as I have taught those doing Renaissance, there is always, always, always something we can pinpoint as the nucleus of all our sorrows. Always something that from which everything else depends upon to be as possible as can be.

And of course sometimes that something is hiding in plain sight. And the only way to address it is to do the work you don’t wanna. To face it all, in all its ugly, exhausting chaos. To bury yourself in that chaos until you have made sense of it long enough to divert the course of the rest of your life. To spend what you don’t want to spend in terms of money, energy and emotion, and do the next right, thing. To. Do. The. Work.

There could be no distractions. So I turned off notifications and deleted the dating apps that are the bane of my life. I got enough food in to last the weekend and I tidied the house from top to bottom so that my head wasn’t constantly mithered by the need to scrub, tidy or polish. And then I bunkered down. And the universe helped by making the weather miserable so life beyond my front door didn’t seem particularly inviting and preposterously (I am Alison. I am preposterous) I popped the very first episode of Family Guy (of all things) on to keep me company and then I got to work. Working into the night, Stopping only to eat, to walk around the table twenty times once an hour so I didn’t seize up or become prematurely hunchback, and to press play on the next set of shenanigans from Peter Griffin and his gang of beer-swilling degenerates (giggity).

And over the course of four days I did what I have been avoiding doing for a good year. I created a space for BrocanteHome worthy of all most barely know exists behind the scenes. A framework for the future of my lovely site and a vision for all that I want it to be in its twentieth year. I did the work. And the results of that fierce commitment to taking control of what seemed to spinning completely out of it, are, if I do say so myself rather spiffing!

For here is the thing: there is much we can do very little about. Much as it is right to wring our hands about and declare ourselves dismayed over! But there is also stuff in this life, closer to home, that WE are ALLOWING to spin out of control, because it seems too vast, too scary or even futile to attempt to address. And it is this which is in our power to attend to. This we have got to batten down the hatches and do something about for it may just be the nucleus of all the issues we are stockpiling like so many prickly blankets. While we may not be able to fix everything overnight, we can at least stop the rot and build for ourselves firmer foundations for our tomorrows.

Today is the day Darling. As I keep saying, if I can, you can. So. Do. The. Work. And if all else fails, have a Pot Noodle and give yourself a time out.


  1. Callista says:

    I love that it’s posted here in the feed where I can see it and get notified! Well done!

    1. Alison says:

      Isn’t it great? Just one place for everything!x

      1. Callista says:

        You’re inspiring me now! 🙂 <3

  2. lesley says:

    Your sehnsucht puts me in mind of the Welsh word hireath, which I’ve loved since hearing it in a song in the 1980’s. Longing…which I feel more and more as the years pass and the contrast between modern life and the older ways deepens.

    What you say about doing the work is so true, Alison, and stopping the rot, literally for me (and less literally, too.) Some of the last few months have been spent using that money, energy and emotion you speak of to find a non-poisonous, affordable way to deal with some very real rot and termite damage we had in our beloved home. Just today, all is taken care of and the relief is huge. I am so glad you are feeling it, too, for you beautiful online home. xo

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