Tears Over Iced Olives

By alison May 5, 2019 16 Comments 5 Min Read

I spent yesterday in emotional crisis talks. Long conversations and a bit of spontaneous weeping over perfect green olives in Jamie Oliver’s. For I am tired. More tired than I can explain. I am tired and worried and worried and tired and honestly it makes for quite an exhausting combination.

At the heart of my discontent is I suppose I kind of existential crisis. A sense of what is it all for and why am I? Why am I is such an odd question I know, but it feels right, though the answer is I do not know. I used to know, but I don’t know anymore.

What used to fill me up now leaves me empty. Where once I could partake in the kind of conversation that always struck me as existing on the peripheral of emotion, now small talk leaves me wanting to punch people, despite understanding how very irrational I know that is. And where once I would feel sorrow and disappointment, I now feel anger. And anger to she who has avoided such ugly, for the best part of her life, is both astonishing and petrifying.

There are things I am realising about myself now that I have simply never noticed. I am the most dreadful of friends. I am not good with people. I find group conversation, offline and on, confusing, overwhelming and exhausting. I have huge sweeps of energy where anything feels possible, swiftly followed by long periods in the trenches, savouring solitude, drowning in depression and fastidiously organising my online life in order to feel in control of something, that even after fifteen years, I cannot fathom how to manage. Life feels horribly complicated when my whole being is yearning for simplicity. And because I am so very at odds with my own authenticity and apparently now fuelled by rage, the consequences are ricocheting through every aspect of my life and leaving tiny fires in their wake.

Above all else my health is controlling my whole way of life in a way I would never have imagined possible. My body is behaving incredibly badly: a refusal to use the hormones, my medication is supposed to replace and the merest effort leaving me literally exhausted for days on end. All normality now lost to managing my spoons and trying to get enough nutrients into my blood so that I am not constantly gasping for the breath my continued anaemia keeps stealing.

I keep hearing myself muttering “I can’t go on like this”. And yesterday I let it out. I said it out loud. To my sister, And my Dad. To my Ste, over olives and even to my Finn who text me late at night, to say how are you Mum? I said to all of them I can’t go on like this, I don’t like me. I have lost all connection to my work and it feels so very pointless now, I don’t know what I want anymore, what I am for, why I am. And they listened, And Ste took me to a hill where we watched birds with red heads chatter and rabbits play hide and seek and wondered at a landscape patterned with broccoli: great swathes of bushes in every shade of green lining fields and paddocks and farms. And he let me talk and talk and talk until I was all talked out. And Helen said start again, get a sheet of blank paper and re-invent everything, and I felt better for letting myself be vulnerable instead of always keeping my vulnerability locked inside my rib-cage. I felt better.

Start again. You are doing too much they said. Expecting too much of yourself. Always complicating that which should be simple. Losing your message, your very point, in busy work and over-promising in order to offset some peculiar shame that you are not enough.

I listened and I felt better. As if I had been seen. Heard. Though I do not talk about it here, life has been horribly hard recently. Ste’s depression so all consuming for the past few years and my own grief put on hold to prop everyone else up.

And now it has caught up with me: my refusal to truly acknowledge what I need.

But how to start again? How to sequester myself from patterns so entrenched, even when I know they are killing me and that in the process I am so frequently letting people down. Not seeing messages. Cancelling plans, Missing deadlines of my own making. Arguing because of my own discontent. How to stop diverting my own attention from what matters with the all-consuming pull of the social media that is sending me nuts? How to eradicate damn Facebook, to come back here, to my blog and hang pictures that thrill me and write stories that matter all over again?

Sometimes of course, drastic action is so very necessary to stop inevitable decline. The willingness to say I can’t do this anymore. Behind the scenes I am going bonkers. The deliverance of yourself to your doctor and the handing over of your health to her in the hope of some relief. The power of vulnerability. The willingness to let tears drip onto iced olives, and the joy of sitting with someone who doesn’t try to wipe them away with pacification but instead just listens. The derring-do to say no more: this doesn’t fill me up anymore. I cant carry on.

Its time to sit down with this blank piece of paper and start again.

What this means I do not know. It is I suppose my very own fallow period. A time to dis-lodge old roots, rake over the land and plant new seeds. A process that can’t be hurried, will sometimes have to be endured and will ultimately see me grow into who I need to be as I enter the next stage of my life.

I’m not too proud to say I am a little frightened.

Other Things To Do At BrocanteHome

16 Comments

  1. Carol-Anne Powell says:

    I’m happy that you are looking after yourself….or at least trying to.
    I find that my own depression often shows up first as anger & impatience. No idea that was a symptom.

  2. Chrissie says:

    Dear dear Alison
    You sound frighteningly so like me. I’ve always related to you so much but word for word me… A friend asked me to describe myself in one word. I said scared. My health is poor I’m getting through my 60s by the minute. I’m known for my humour and all assume I’m gregarious. I’ve achieved little I’ve scant talent but I’m kind and I try always to rise above my roller coaster adventure of a life. I once cried as every egg I fried cracked and I binned them as would not give anyone a cracked egg. I suffered abuse as a child and in my first long marriage so all psychological.
    I am always here for you if you need to talk. You have achieved so much and I greatly admire you. Have often thought I’d love to be like Alison who has given me so much pleasure over the years her blog lifting me on my darkest of days.
    Keep on keeping on.
    Love You ❤️

  3. Chrissie says:

    Dear dear Alison
    You sound frighteningly so like me. I’ve always related to you so much but word for word me… A friend asked me to describe myself in one word. I said scared. My health is poor I’m getting through my 60s by the minute. I’m known for my humour and all assume I’m gregarious. I’ve achieved little I’ve scant talent but I’m kind and I try always to rise above my roller coaster adventure of a life. I once cried as every egg I fried cracked and I binned them as would not give anyone a cracked egg. I suffered abuse as a child and in my first long marriage so all psychological.
    I am always here for you if you need to talk. You have achieved so much and I greatly admire you. Have often thought I’d love to be like Alison who has given me so much pleasure over the years her blog lifting me on my darkest of days.
    Keep on keeping on.
    Love You ❤️

  4. Keri Howard says:

    You are so brave Alison-don’t ever forget that. You’ve been through traumas over the last few (several) years and those feelings must come out eventually. I and all your other friends will always be here to hold you up when things get too big for you to carry alone. You’re one of my favorite people and I haven’t even met you in person (yet). Much love and strength to you <3

  5. Barbara D. says:

    Oh Alison….How brave you are to bare your soul to us. To say out loud (and here in print) that you can’t do this anymore, that you are frightened. It takes an enormous amount of strength to recognize what many of us hide from others. I want you to know that a smile is on my face when I open your blog and read your whimsical and touching words. You show us that there is more to life than pinterest and facebook) 2 things I refuse to be pulled into. Your words touch on the soft, kind little aspects of life that seem to be buried in today’s rush rush rush world. PLEASE take care of yourself and PLEASE keep inspiring us. We need you,

  6. Barbara D. says:

    Oh Alison….How brave you are to bare your soul to us. To say out loud (and here in print) that you can’t do this anymore, that you are frightened. It takes an enormous amount of strength to recognize what many of us hide from others. I want you to know that a smile is on my face when I open your blog and read your whimsical and touching words. You show us that there is more to life than pinterest and facebook) 2 things I refuse to be pulled into. Your words touch on the soft, kind little aspects of life that seem to be buried in today’s rush rush rush world. PLEASE take care of yourself and PLEASE keep inspiring us. We need you,

  7. Marsha says:

    Hoping tomorrow is a soft and gentle day for you.

  8. Melanie says:

    Dear Alison….there’s so much here to which I can wholeheartedly relate — so much of your experience resonates and mirrors what I’ve gone through these past couple of years.
    You’re doing the right thing — giving yourself the time to step back and recalibrate. I’ve done the same for myself…it was the only way to preserve what was left of my sanity! I’m calling it a convalescence…which doesn’t have a deadline or prescribed path, just simply time to rest and sort things out. I’ve been doing it for a couple of months now and I’m only just starting to see a glimmer of my old enthusiasms return.
    Do look after yourself….the people who truly care about your work will wait patiently for you to heal and restore yourself.
    wishing you peace…xo

  9. Di says:

    Hi Alison, you have brought love and care to so many of us through your eloquent and warm words. I have found that one of the hardest things to do is to take care of oneself. What form that care takes changes from year to year for me. Please take care of you. You are so precious to us, and your loved ones. 🙂

  10. Di says:

    Hi Alison, you have brought love and care to so many of us through your eloquent and warm words. I have found that one of the hardest things to do is to take care of oneself. What form that care takes changes from year to year for me. Please take care of you. You are so precious to us, and your loved ones. 🙂

  11. Kimmer says:

    Alison,
    I have never met you, but you are such an inspiration to me. Your writing has made me feel excited about my life again after an extremely tough postpartum period. I was floundering and I was lost. Your writing moved me. I feel happy after reading your books and blog posts. You showed me a way out of the despair I was suffocating under. When I feel I need a friend I just log into the Salon and read. I don’t always finish the tasks, but reading your unique voice makes me feel as if I am not alone and what I do is important in the world. I wish you all the best. Take care of yourself! I for one agree with you about Facebook and the like. I deleted my account a year ago and never looked back. It was quite freeing. I do hope you feel better and I wish you good health and happiness.

  12. Maggie Forrest says:

    Hi Alison
    I have only just discovered you! It really is time to take care of yourself – something our vintage housewife ancestors weren’t good at! Don’t be frightened of the blank sheet or letting go of stuff that yesterday seemed so very important. Its back to basics time. I don’t know where your journey will take you – just take it one step at a time.
    Love and Light Maggie xx

  13. Maggie Forrest says:

    Hi Alison
    I have only just discovered you! It really is time to take care of yourself – something our vintage housewife ancestors weren’t good at! Don’t be frightened of the blank sheet or letting go of stuff that yesterday seemed so very important. Its back to basics time. I don’t know where your journey will take you – just take it one step at a time.
    Love and Light Maggie xx

  14. Meesha says:

    Oh, dear sweet one, it’s time to retreat and take care of yourself. You have given so much of yourself away. You have been a soucrce of encouragement to myself and many others. You mean so much to us, even those of us who have never met you in person. Take care sweet one. You are needed and very much loved.

  15. Meesha says:

    Oh, dear sweet one, it’s time to retreat and take care of yourself. You have given so much of yourself away. You have been a soucrce of encouragement to myself and many others. You mean so much to us, even those of us who have never met you in person. Take care sweet one. You are needed and very much loved.

  16. There is so much I want to say that I don’t even know where to start. So here’s just one thing – perimenopause sucks. I ended up so anemic I could barely walk up the stairs and needed long daily naps. And yet I remained exhausted every minute of the day. All I can tell you is that it does eventually get better. After several years of no periods I’m finally no longer anemic. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m energetic but at least I can make it through the day without a nap. I hope you find that encouraging on some level.
    As for the whole blogging/social media/business stuff, I’m right there with you, sister. I have no answers but I sure do long for the pre-Facebook era of blogging. No matter what you decide, I’m here for the long haul. (((hugs)))

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