What if today was the day you did all the things that are scratching the back of your mind? What if instead of dwelling you started doing? What if you made a list of all the things you could do to make life feel better TODAY, not tomorrow, or some day, or three months next Tuesday, but right here and right now, and then spent the rest of the afternoon, ticking things off?
What if today is the day you decide to say sorry. To be the bigger person. To write down all the things you did wrong and all the lessons you have learned since. What if you didn’t have to actually send it but could instead simply tear it up and put it in the bin knowing that you have let the sorrow seep from your fingers so you could move on? What if you ate a slice of Victoria sandwich cake for lunch and took yourself to bed at six-thirty this evening just because you are all grown up and you can do what the hell you want and that includes eating the rest of that gorgeous cake between the sheets and deciding there and then not to give a hoot about crumbs. Because crumbs are crumbs not nuclear weapons and in the whole scheme of things haven’t we all got bigger fish to frazzle our heads with?
What if today you take yourself out and spend the food budget for the month on a dress that makes you feel beautiful or wear the fanciest knickers you own to change the cat litter? What if today is the day to throw every last shoe you will never wear again and banish all the lip liners you have been accumulating since 1982? What, pray tell, if today is the day to march your personal history to the wheelie bin and tell yourself another story? A better one. One that describes you in the light everyone else sees you in instead of the tainted tale you have been telling yourself for far too long?
What if today is the day you show the doctor the mole on your back or finally admit that perhaps medication might be necessary if you aren’t to wake up dreading each and every day? What too, if today is the day that you admit to yourself that the glass of wine you are pouring is actually half a bottle and all the chaos in your head is stuffed into every drawer in the house? What if tomorrow morning you pack up a little suitcase and take yourself away for a day or two because it might just be the only way to survive without melting into a puddle of the screaming ab-dabs? What if today is the day you decide to tell the truth? And lose the bum and start saving a little kitty to run away with?
What if you write it all down. Let yourself weep? Or rage! What if today instead of being responsible and sensible and proper, you let yourself be reckless and silly and take yourself down to the end of the garden to scream into a cushion? Or lie down on the bedroom floor and just… stay there? What if you go wild and call your best friend and tell her you are swapping supermarkets for karaoke and tapas and her presence is non-negotiable? What if today is the day you say what you have suppressed for far too long and drag someone who is hurting you, kicking and screaming towards the truth? Towards decency and respect.
What if today you drive into the countryside and wander through a forest? Hug a tree, laugh like no-one is listening and sit among the fairies for a while? What if you say no to something you don’t want to do and a great big yes to something you know will change your life? What if today is the day you call the divorce lawyer or ask him to come home (please). To try again. To not give up on you? What if, when you wake up tonight feeling lonely you make the call you know someone else is waiting for? What if tonight is the night you put the recipe book down and have a takeaway delivered because Shirley Conran was right, life really is too short to stuff a mushroom when you could be running a gloriously steamy bath instead? What if today you finally admit that you love your child, but you do not like them and insist upon change (or else)?
What if today you say I cannot pay my bills and I’m frightened. What if you say please help. Please change my tyre, and unblock my drain and have a word with my daughter because she isn’t listening to me. What if today you decide that beans on toast is a perfectly acceptable supper, or decide that today is the day to come out. As a vegan, a lesbian or a reader of nothing more highbrow than cosy crime books set in libraries and Cornish tea shops? What if today is the day to wear your best tutu to the post office and chuck out all your books because they belong to a you who simply doesn’t exist anymore?
What if today is the day to decide to give up social media and terrible print journalism because you can no longer support something that wilfully destroys lives and announce that your love affair with cheese is over and done with too, because we must not keep stuffing our veins with the delicious stuff? What if today you throw away every t-shirt you own because you know you look a fright in them and take yourself out for a bra fitting that might just make all the difference? What if you stopped lying about your vaping habit, stopped pretending you like horror movies and stopped pretending you are a hoot whenever you find yourself surrounded by the dullest of audiences? What if… tonight you tuck your best pillow under your arm, take your book and go to sleep in the spare room because you might just end up throttling someone whose snoring is destroying you if you don’t?
What if you tell that obnoxious woman you cannot bear her bleating for another moment and tell that chatty plumber to shut up because you need to work? What if you keep the door half-closed when she who would steal half your afternoon turns up announced again, and say thank-you but no thank-you to an offer that makes your skin crawl? What if instead of wearing your your people pleasing hat, today is the day to pop your resting bitch face on and decide to take no nonsense from all that want to throw it at you?
What if today is the day you say yes, you were the love of my life and I have missed you for years, or finally say, please stop texting me because I just can’t carry on humouring you. What if today you clear out the pantry completely and start again so you can tempt your tired old tastebuds with a delicious new world of herbs and spices. What if this weekend you go completely mad and try a new restaurant and throw a different brand of toothpaste into your trolley? What if you were to open the front door right now and just start running? Run right out of your skin. Away from your drama and your pain and into your best life? What if tonight you just don’t answer the phone and instead text to say you are done. A lifetime is enough. You are done.
What if today is the day you get brave, say what is in your heart, and always on the tip of your tongue and squashed down in your tummy because you are too scared of what will happen if your let it bubble up to your throat? What if you stop censoring yourself, stop suppressing the real you, stop taming your wild side, stop believing you are something the whole universe is trying to tell you, you are not?
What if today is the day you grow up and abandon all responsibility and scream about being too tired too think and too exhausted to care? What if you say goodbye, say hello, say please love me, say let’s dance, say let’s run away, say let’s give it all up, the house, the mortgage, the jobs and go live in a camper van and dance under the stars! What if today is the day to say I was wrong, to get brave, to channel the energy you are wasting worrying about what isn’t to create what could be, and choose vodka jelly for dessert because you have reached the grand old age of eighty-ten and it is allowed. It really is.
What then if today is the day to start living? Despite it all. To throw yourself body and soul into living out loud and remind yourself, every day for the rest of your always, that life is short and you have to be brave because brave is beautiful and its time, its finally time, to fix your messy and embrace your lovely, and remember who you are.