Writing Reality: Sensory Walk through Time

10/08/2013 at 00:36 (Anorexia, Personal, Reviews, Writing, Writing Reality articles) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )


You remember that stale, squat building, after the strange gaudiness of the gilded gates. They had stood open to all, tucked away up a long, leafy avenue that reminded you of walking home from school. This didn’t instill greater confidence in you, though feelings were hard to come by at that point anyway. You stared out of the car window, listless and dry-eyed. The tears would come later.

Your mother drove carefully. She always did, but more so when you were on board, as though in fear of any jarring that might break your bones. You seemed made of lace and emptiness. The lowest point, the sucking darkness; inertia of the throat, no longer admitting food, barely taking on water. You were pumped full of pills, on the tail-end of a three-week stay in Purgatory; a mental health institution for all and sundry. That myriad-marble collection had almost killed you, as you were lost in the race of daily handovers and little feedback.

Now, you were being accepted into the ranks of a new and altogether more disciplined unit.

The hospital had stood as a bastion of incarceration for centuries; had only recently become an emblem of research, understanding and empathy. It made a small town, sprawling at the bottom of that avenue full of deceptive green-gold light, waving leaves and sunshine. Within its walls lay shadows of the mind and society. Therapy rooms full of clay and kilns and paint – none of which you’d see for months, until your muscles repaired themselves enough to permit walking. The kitchens always clattered with the silvery laughter of orderlies, barely-scrubbed plates, preordered food that never seemed to gather enough heat at its heart. You would come to know and despise the taste of cauliflower cheese, that mulchy mess, which all new inpatients were subjected to as a way of easing digestion back into practise. You were told that your stomach lining would split, were you to try even an apple; which, given its watery content, you’d have much preferred.

But preference was not the mainstay of this place. It was a system of control and peer pressure, to ensure survival. It was about clawing through the darkness of memories, and flashbacks; dissecting emotions, their resultant reactions, some of which you saw played out in awful tantrum-glory. You’d get to know the shine of aprons, the spitfire sound of syringes being filled; the slipperiness of gloved hands on angry limbs. And the awful nut-smell of calorie drinks, which still make you gag to remember.

You weren’t here on a tour. You were here for 7.5 months, not that you or the staff knew it at the time.
But first, you were to walk that first corridor.

Through a grainy back yard, surrounded by a wind-whipped tall fence that resembled the dog kennels your grandparents housed their boarders in. As the gate slammed shut, you glanced back to the wiry weeds surrounding this particular part of the compound; to your mother’s car. You saw dead trainers and flat footballs, a ratty broom; a hot-eyed girl, part of the adolescent-depression ward beneath your own, sprawled in a deckchair as though she only passed by everyday. You’d come to know that ward well, its sons and daughters of pain, anxiety and depression, through knockings on the ceiling at night, disturbing your sleep. They liked to pummel every surface with fist and chair, and you felt every scream and tear. You were only a handful of years older than they. An adult by legal standards, but a dwindling flame.

You walked up to the solid door. Saw its wire mesh, complicated lock; the buzz-in system. Your throat closed. You knew that it would make a sound like hell freezing over, when it closed behind you. That you would be trapped inside, on a locked ward, with time no longer a commodity and freedom less so. You would have things dictated to you, for your own good, for your wellbeing. But you still had no real idea what to expect. Not yet.

So when that door slammed behind you, after your mother had you both buzzed in, you walked up the flight of steps with its whispering trail of unswept leaves dragged in by visitor feet, and felt nothing.

Feelings of any kind, made your head hurt. Too much to focus on, with the white noise in constant static fuzz. It’s still up there, though greatly diminished by the world’s voice. Back then, it was far easier to stay routed in the rat tunnels of OCD; the turn-turn again before sitting down (jumping back up because you’d done it wrong, yet again, stupid lazy fucker); the pacing-nth-times before trying to get into bed, only to find a misstep had fallen foul of your prescribed exercise total, and you had to start again. Aching feet. Pock-marked back, from frantic sit-ups and breaking skin. Shiny patches, like dropped coins, among the once-thick sweep of your hair.

Compensation was your buzzword. It was one of many things that had landed you inside.

You still couldn’t fathom how someone as fat as you were, so lazy, could’ve been accepted onto this seemingly hallowed ground of stick-limbs and papyrus skin, dry eyes and broken teeth. Moth-eaten clothes that stank of thin sweat, riming every part of the ward like corrosion.

Your mother mistook it for bile. It’s still her residing memory of that place, the first sense to hit home. It stung your nose, at the start of a corridor full of doors, leading to rooms formulaic and yet still bound up with the memories of every patient to pass through; all those other unlikely candidates for life, like you in symptom, strangers in story.

The smell wasn’t puke. Not yet anyway, for it’d be months before that particular girl, with her throwing-up-in-bins habit, would blitz the ward and upset the tenuous peace balance, before quietly snuffing out one day in Spring the next year, on a day like any other, all green and gold light. The way some of us will go, without warning and when it’s too late for recall.

You don’t know the vast echoes, until the anorexic stops silent-screaming. Then they stay in your head forever.

It was raw fear. It was the sickly sweetness of slow decay, cellular breakdown; bad breath from old vomit habits, screwed-up gastric systems. You’d come to know that smell well; it still finds you, whenever an old person walks past on the street, and you know Death is near. On the ward, that smell would wind itself around your throat in a syrupy scarf, and you’d soon get used to it, as the days rolled to nights, to weeks, to months. You only noticed the difference when visitors commented on it.

Your little brother, when he first came to visit, piped up about the smell as soon as he walked through the main door. A child’s voice resonating up a corridor full of artwork depicting broken mental health; it still haunts your memory. You can’t bring yourself to talk about that time with him in any great detail, though he’s an adult now. At the time, he was a little boy, all bright blonde hair and beautiful brown eyes; one you used to tug around the back garden, in an old clothes basket. Back when you were both children, adventurers through mile-high weeds and Dad’s trellis, on the hunt for the world. Effortless in innocence.

You really wish he was still there, giggling behind you; not the dark young soul he’s grown into, though it seemed an eventuality anyway, a wire that runs through our family. You want to erase his memories of that time and place; how he saw you fall down to the floor one night, out of weak spite, because you’d lost weight that week and not been permitted on group walk. His wide eyes fill your mind, along with his little trembling lip. You want to take it all back, let him forever see his older sister as the adventurer she was, through fern and thorn.
You’d just settle for the flawed adult you are now.

That corridor spanned the length of the ward. Kitchens, therapy rooms, bedrooms, lounges, all swam away from it like a warren. The trick to keeping peace was in the heavy fire doors that segmented areas from one another. There were designated rest rooms, where – after an intense 90 minutes of passive-aggressive warfare with staff – 18 women and you, would be made to sit and digest. Food, thoughts, memories, feelings … everything would swim around inside, and you couldn’t even disappear for a quiet cry. Staff eyes stayed locked on every patient, to avoid purging.

You got to know that word well, among others. Like “IT’S READDDDDYYY!” jangling down the corridor from the kitchens, where the first inpatient to greet you, would often play emissary for mealtimes. Her lilting voice found you in those gluey moments, as you stood nervously by the main door.

A lithe figure of unspent energy, done up in post-Goth black hair and new-found pink infatuation, a velvety jumpsuit that made your eyes water. She wore little hospital slippers and scars on her arms. Closer inspection – you were still brazen then, hadn’t learned the cardinal rule of No Comparisons – found a girl already several months into her treatment, if the strangely disproportionate body was anything to go by. You still wear it now, a reluctant badge; the thicker midriff (still waiting for fat deposits to disperse evenly), the skeletal arms and legs. Hair running a downy paleness along the back of your neck and a bit down your spine. Lanugo, that old fail-safe; your body desperately trying to keep warm, when huddling under every radiator didn’t work. You have to resist the urge to shave it all off, knowing it’ll only grow back longer. It’ll fall out on its own, like all the old habits and routines seem to with passing years.

You were charmed from the start. The purest wide smile, huge dark eyes shining in a little triangle face. She knew that you were new, by the various bags and hangdog face. Odds and ends, all to be picked over and pulled apart for contraband. You wouldn’t see your Discman, batteries or razor blade for a long time. But you’d get to know all about weight-dipping, the process of lining one’s pockets with objects to add pseudo-mass to your frame, before morning weigh-ins. You’d learn about waterlogging, about holding back on pee stops. You wanted out as fast as possible, like all the rest.
Which is why you stayed inside, so very long.

She helped you sit down. Offered to find a staff nurse, mentioned something about a primary care worker, which was just so much jumbled nonsense to your dimmed ears. You were already zoning out. This tended to happen when you were most afraid; a dissociation tactic, conceived on the day you were abused. It had the potential to block out all feelings, thoughts, reactions. You became a ragdoll, something people could manipulate, and never really know.

But you still have fragmented memories of that first day. The smell of the kitchens, wafting up the corridors; the golden light playing along walls full of jagged words and gorgeous self-portraits of pain. It was an Indian summer; the firedoors stood wedged open to allow what fresh air there was on the ward, to flow. Leaves whispered outside, lost in windows that wouldn’t open fully. You tensed up at the smell of cooking, the brash shouts and clattering pans, all of which pointed towards horrors yet to come. Your nails dug into the scratchy material of the chair you were hunched in. Even with your birdbone weight, it sagged badly. The whole ward had an unfurnished feel to it. It was never supposed to become home, it was only a get-well stop gap…

But you’d soon come to know that strange Stockholm syndrome of inpatient wards, a chill-sounding word that reminds you of a blind man’s white stick: Institutionalised. You’d come to know a love for those walls, at once concealing and constricting. You’d know how safe a locked door can feel, even while your fingers itch to claw it open. You’d see enough girls try this, fingers bleeding, mouths screaming as they were carried away to be lightly sedated. Only the lawfully detained, the Sectioned, were subjected to this treatment; but it was because of the runaways, that the door remained locked.

You soon came to feel yourself as one of them, though you were put inside voluntarily. But in those first few minutes, as you stared around at the chipped walls, at the beautiful girl before you with her happy smile and sad eyes, you felt very alone.
“I don’t belong here.” The first words you spoke, into recycled air. You knew there was a waiting list behind you. Their desperate, sullen eyes followed your every move, waiting for you to stop pretending, so they could have a chance at treatment.

She laughed. Told you they all said that. And somehow, though you weren’t aware of it at the time, you were initiated into the strange clan of the inpatient unit. Their petty arguments and lethal rivalries became your days, full of buttery fingernails through hair, conspiring whispers of calorie counting; their movie marathons and impromptu jigsaw races, would be your nights. The food hoarding, secret trips to the bathroom; the corridor pacing (you still hear it now, thrumming heels on rainy days that meant no group walk.) The glaring eyes of staff, their sharp mouths and barbwire punishments; their softened eyes, whenever a patient dared break their comfort zone and talk beyond symptoms. The endless ream of group meetings, full of charged, pin-drop air; try asking a roomful of anorexics for an opinion, you’ll know the passing of cloud shadows on the carpet.

You’d come to know the smokers who stood out on the fire escapes, occasionally setting light to the bins with their stubs, bringing an entourage of blaring fire engines into the yard. You’d lean out the windows with them, to wolf-whistle and whoop at the firemen who invoked some sudden mad surge of Outside World appeal. You accidentally set off an alarm yourself, using a hairdryer to blast the rain out of your boots, after a forced march through the kind of monochrome evening that seemed sketched of graphite; when the sky upended itself in sticks of rain. The walkways swam with petrol rainbows, toxic beauty heavy in your throat, as the last ghastly weigh-in number squatted in your head to bleed poison through all the new hopeful thoughts you’d been having lately, about such novel things as recovery. Fear of gaining too much, too soon, won out. Regardless of having no umbrella, you were out under the Tempting Death sky. Your tears were lost in the rain, at least.

You remember the swirl of little umbrellas, as the school kids came pouring out; how they pulled the dark afternoon back, with their colourful anoraks and squealing laughter. They reminded you of what could never be, with irreparable damage to reproductive organs, if you weren’t careful. Some doctors didn’t bother pulling punches, if shock tactics would exert a stronger will on patients, than what caged their minds.

You hear the sound of heavy rain, and Gary Jules “Mad World”, and you’re back on the pavement watching those children giggle and stamp past, through shining puddles reflecting their boots and the sodium haven… You still feel your throat close up.

As it does with Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia”, because it marked the night when you knew Death for more than a passing acquaintance. Even the two suicide attempts hadn’t brought him so close. Pale fingers on your shoulder, giving it a squeeze as he walked through the ward, to find all and let them know You are Not Immune. One had fallen, spent the golden afternoon fighting for survival in an intensive care unit. It was a suddenness that can reach us all, but especially those who’ll sit beneath the Wall, in its chill shade, counting off their days in restricted calories and urgent exercise.

You remember the way the ambulance lights skirled blue along the corridor walls. How everyone stood in their bedroom doorways, fists up to mouths and white faces tight as the skin on their bones. You remember how the corridor was bracketed in black and green, the deepest lake-water light. A late hour, news broken … and a piece of you died that night.

Someone went to the lounge, you never did learn who; they opened up the cabinet housing the Hi-Fi, and put that song on. Cranked the volume up and opened the lounge door, and the staff allowed each partition to stand thus, until the sound of Springsteen’s melancholy flowed up and through every door, for anyone to listen and hear their own fate in the lyrics. You remember how the green light flooded across faces; some resting on shoulders, some turned to the ceiling and shining wet, in the ones who could still cry.

“Saw my reflection in a window / I didn’t know my own face / Oh brother are you gonna leave me / Wasting away on the streets of Philadelphia…”

That song would be played a handful of times thereafter, in memory of the one whose body gave out. There was always one line that cracked everyone up, in a knotted-throat kind of way:
“And my clothes don’t fit me no more
I walked a thousand miles just to slip this skin…”
……
You’ve kept contact with a few. The ones who mattered, called you friend and laughed with you, bitched and yelled silently at the indifferent walls. There were illicit wheelchair races and football games in the corridors. There were thin shoulders to cry on, full of surprising strength, and a strange kind of love found in all who carry pain as a happy passenger.

You still talk to them about the catchphrases (faithfully copied into a memory book) of the staff; how you’d tease and taunt at group meetings; about the raging inferno of a forced calorie drink, on top of the seemingly insurmountable pile of calories in a meal, if even one patient fucked the system. You reminisce about daft playlists (“Hungry Eyes” was always a favourite), and cheese ‘n onion pie burps. You feel quiet inside when remembering those who used the ward as a top-up zone, before heading out to emaciate their frames again. You reminisce about rest periods spent plaiting each others’ hair, watching films that made no sense to your fried brain, until the weight slowly crept back on and allowed for clearer thought.

That was like drinking from a glass of cool water; the day you picked up an old friend-book, and the words no longer jumbled together in formless mulch of meaning.

You remember how one staff nurse always got on your case about walking heel-toe; how you angrily responded that your mother had said you sounded like an elephant, and that you’d rather walk on the balls of your feet like a cat, than be called heavy-footed again.

You recall every single face, though their names slide down the gutter of memory. You remember how each person had their own smell, lavender perfume or white musk, crayons or calorie drink, where they’d forced the issue of denial too long. You can still remember how each flow of handwriting scrawled a personalized morning message across the main white board, before breakfast; quotes and capital-yells, cute doodles.

You remember the male nurse you fell in love with, his kind eyes and mischievous nature; how your emotions were bent around him, cost you dearly in journal entries, as you desperately tried to make sense of reawakened hormones. There was the time shortly after Christmas, when he left that note on the board, the Spider and the Fly quote that took you nine years to make sense of.

Some things will never make sense. How I can look into a mirror now, see a fairly healthy face with glowing cheeks, eyes that are wide and bright (if a bit red-rimmed; insomnia is still an old friend.) How I can find a body lithe with muscles, from years of weight training and countryside walks. How the words that once lay as ashes in my mouth, now flow from my fingers as spun silk, to form who I am. A writer again, at last.

Twelve years in the making, I am so close to being the whole weave. I no longer pine for the shadow of that sturdy child, so desperately in love with the world and ideas of travel and writing; for love unending, unfettered by stupid societal inhibitions like body image, manners, distance. Today, I live these ideals. After having Death on my shoulder, I know his touch and recognize it in the faces of others who’ve felt him pass close by. I reach out to them, one slightly cold hand to another. I am done with waiting. Now I live, and live for Now.

I reach out to you, reader, with the message and warning: Never underestimate the power of an unlocked door, a mind filled with ambition and thoughts. It doesn’t matter how dark, how light you feel. For me, to know emotions at all is to know reactions ungoverned by illness… and such freedom, a recently discovered quantity. It’s a flame I cup in both hands and warm my heart with, this new sense of humanity, when for long years I wanted only to be above and beyond this race, its unpredictability and cruelty and capacity for the greatest acts of love; I wanted to be buried beneath it, too. The fact I couldn’t make up my mind, is probably one of the reasons I’m still alive.
Still sensing. Still feeling. Now speaking out.

 photo 1afc5a2c-79dd-479f-b426-9fae5f4029db_zpseaff5ce0.jpg

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16 Comments

  1. Bianca’s Weekly Wonder List 10.08.13 | B.G. Bowers said,

    […] Writing Reality: Sensory Walk Through Time  by https://celenagaia.wordpress.com/ […]

  2. Jessica West said,

    For all the times I have joked about being too lazy to exercise, I hate myself. You did such a great job taking me for a walk in your shoes. I want to cry, but I’m gonna be strong. Though it’s probably not my place to say such a thing, I’m gonna say it anyway; I’m proud of you. The closest I can come to understanding what it took for you to overcome this challenge is quitting smoking. That doesn’t even come close. I do know what it takes to share something so personal, especially something dark.

    I liked your writing from the first piece I read. I got to know you as a person, and welcomed you as a friend. Now, I look up to you. You will forever be one of the few people I model my ever changing persona after. Your strength and courage are inspiring. I am so happy you made it through, to remain still sensing, still feeling, and now speaking out.

    • celenagaia33 said,

      Quietly awed, is one way of putting how I feel on reading this. I never expected to achieve such an emotional resonance with so many people, through this entry. As it is, I’ve been humbled by their responses, including your own.

      I don’t look on myself as a strong person. I’d like to, believe me. But it’s been so many years of progression and backtracking, lying and ignitions of hope, that in truth I’m soul-weary. Feeling a lot older than I should, and perhaps more aggressive now, in my stance against apathy and inertia in myself and others, than I should be. But when you’ve experienced stagnation of the soul, the same dark coiling fear every day, and fought back from it – sometimes, the fears of others feel laughable. I want to shake them and remind them of everything that’s gorgeous in this world, because for a long time I couldn’t allow myself to experience it.

      That being said, I’m still learning. Still having to force myself out my own comfort zones, to keep progressing. So any time I come across as snappy or abrupt, that’s because I’m dragging myself along as well as trying to prod others 😉

      I hate the stereotypes surrounding mental illness, and anorexia in particular. The whole glamourous veneer of it. So I took the step to publish this post, because if I change even one mind about what is still perceived to be a “celebrity” illness … then I’ll have done my work.

      My friend. You really have given me the greatest gift, in this affirmation. After reading of your own life, I can assure you the feeling is wholly mutual xx

  3. Jessica West said,

    “I don’t look on myself as a strong person.” “Feeling a lot older than I should,” “sometimes, the fears of others feel laughable.” Yes, yes and yes.

    As for the learning, I am polar opposite of you. I am constantly rolling on to learn something new. I have to reign in the enthusiasm, and remind myself to work on the skills I have learned that I want to build on. Sometimes I come across as a know-it-all, because I am so excited about what I’ve learned, I just HAVE to share what I know. 😀

    The world would be a much better place if more people realized that stereotypes are like fairy tales; oversimplified ideas that are inaccurate at best. Little girls want to be smart and beautiful, like Belle or Ariel. As they grow, they fall, seemingly naturally, into stereotypical roles of the smart, nerdy girl, or the dense, gorgeous socialite, and it all depends on what they look like. What’s sad is that they assign themselves these roles. Falling into the pattern of any particular stereotype is a natural thing for most people, because it gives us a sense of security to be thought normal, like others. This pertains to anorexia in that girls see (1) the stereotypical category that they place themselves into and (2) the stereotypical category that they would very much like to be placed into. As you know, seeing those two things to the exclusion of everything else, or even very nearly everything else, can be dangerous. Sometimes, as you demonstrated above, it can even be fatal. Whew… I don’t know where that came from. You have given me a lot to think about.

    Thanks. 🙂

    • celenagaia33 said,

      Excellent! Oh I did enjoy reading through all of this. I hope it emerges as a blog entry 😉 that’d be the culmination of my efforts, if it inspires others to talk about their perceptions of real life vs stereotyping, etc. Thank you!

  4. Jessica West said,

    That’s what I was thinking, a blog entry. I didn’t even know how strongly I felt about this until I got going. 😀

  5. Writing Reality: Crafting Sensory Scenes | celenagaia said,

    […] My own example of a walk through time, is here. […]

  6. James Prescott said,

    There are few words to describe this. Deeply moving.

    • celenagaia33 said,

      Thank you, my dear. It took 2 hours nonstop typing and a lot of rum to get it out, and believe me there were memories I had to omit because they were too painful. I still find it baffling to this day, that I have survived where others didn’t. It just doesn’t seem fair.

  7. Valley of Introspection; Stereotypes | Jessica P. West said,

  8. Aquileana said,

    Dear Rachael,

    Was an stirring text… I loeve who you describe the illness efefcts and form your own perspective of what has happened to you when you were a teenager.

    I think you leave a message of hope and overcoming your readerswhich is not confined by the bounds of your yown experience,.. Your tears were literally lost in that rainny rain, when you stayed with no umbrella,
    under the Tempting Death sky. The fragmented memories that vanished in the past with your tiny chill shade and that became words. That way of dissecting emotions beginning to walk that first corridor.make me think of the will of power you have had to go throw all this stuff,

    I think sometimes life tests us to make us stronger, to turns us into a more deeper person.. Also pain allows us to give birth to (re) creation,
    sometimes things happen for elusive causes, responding to a general pattern of inner self growth… And maybe this is the case…

    Thanks for sharing this poignant posts with us.

    Swnding you love;

    Aquileana / Amalia

    • celenagaia33 said,

      Beautifully articulated. There are some spelling errors, which you’ve asked me to pick up on but to be honest I hate to detract from the rawness of this response. Especially this part: “I think sometimes life tests us to make us stronger, to turns us into a more deeper person.. Also pain allows us to give birth to (re) creation,
      sometimes things happen for elusive causes, responding to a general pattern of inner self growth.”

      I wholly agree. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this, Amalia. And may I say, that’s a very lovely name 🙂

  9. Write with Conviction | Roses Are Read said,

    […] and again, write what you know, as honestly as you can. A virtual acquaintance of mine did so, telling a true story of her past, and it was gripping and […]

  10. Red said,

    Making a point to read this yesterday from your tweet, when I’d have time to sit down and absorb the content, not scrolling and enlarging my phone text. So now, sat in silence, reading, re-reading and even resorting to google, just for one word, I must say that I’m very moved by the most powerful piece of writing that I can ever recall reading, personal, raw, sensitive, potent…in the most personal reflective way.

    For now I can only applaud your writing, I’ll have to step back from my keyboard, let your words resonate, for they’re not the type of words to leave ones thoughts too quickly, and quietly admire your emotional and psychological strength from a distance…I’m lost for words myself, struggling to avoid cliches (can’t find my accents on my mac this morning), and words that give thanks for you sharing such pains as though I’m some sort of sadist or literary voyeur who revels in a persons suffering, but in a way yet to be explained I do thank you and bow down to your resilience as a person.

    On a final note, many years ago I picked up a very old booklet, Self Defense for the Gentleman, a wonderful if rather dated read, full of illustrations of a Gentleman in tweed being ‘set upon’ by a couple of N’er do wells with big floppy flat caps on…social commentary at it’s best, I digress, anyway, in the front cover of this book, written in cursive pencil, was the verse ‘Here is the tomorrow, that you worried about yesterday, and all is well’, I’ve seen this written elsewhere since, but I’ve seen it in the hand of a real person, writing it with care, to another, call me old fashioned, anachronistic even, but to be me it shows the reality of human compassion.

    Take care,

    Red

    • celenagaia33 said,

      I’m not so much a resilient person anymore, Red. Wish I was. Time has a tendency of wearing a body thin (no seriously, I wrote that before the pun kicked in; they’re always unintentional.)

      I’ve lost too many friends to this thing. It makes me hollow inside now, as opposed to angry, bitter, sad … these were feelings I had once, when I could still feel. Nowadays, I can tell this story with only a slight catch in the throat, because it seems to have happened to another person. I’m alive and vibrant with it, while at the same time dying a bit more inside every day, from the memories that cluster. I drink myself to sleep almost every night. One addiction tends to cede into another, and though my body’s a bit stronger than it was a decade ago, it’s only now (hah, as ever) that the real consequences kick in.

      Still, I’m making the most of what I’ve got. Some friends fell away, and family; the ones I’ve made online have been stoic in their support, especially this year, which has been a long one. When I feel in a low spot – as I seem to be these days – I think back on how very low things were. Heartbeat, BP, blood sugar, weight. Those were seriously dark days, some memories I shall never gain back. They surface every now as scratches on the mind, but I know they can’t really hurt me.

      That final image you left me with – cloth caps! – God it made me laugh, and fill up with a happy idea of really knowing someone through words. You’re alright, Red 😉 You’re going to be a firm friend, I can tell. You made it more than apparent with that evocative image, how you’re on the same wavelength.

      You take care too. We’re only here for the show, remember x

  11. Red said,

    Rach,

    I never know how to answer these things, if it was a letter, it would be from top to bottom, my scrawly, bent hand of the stork, kung fu style left handed cursive, fountain pen script…the trauma of ruined school work, my left arm dragging the slow drying ink across the page like the marbled covers of a fine old book, they never saw that, just the mess of my ‘what I did at the weekend homework’, anyway…bottom first…I’d like to think that even if we don’t get to go to the after show party, we’d at least get to take part in the show!

    I’m so going to have to fish out my cloth cap self defense book, it could be a nice sideline for me at a prestigious city gym, an ingenious twist on the current crop of ever diluted hybrid martial arts styles (wow two martial arts references in the first two paragraphs), you never know it could catch on.

    Once more I digress, despite your talk of loss and times of feeling low, I do see a strength in you, not just your blogs, but your interactions elsewhere. Though speaking from a distance I see a humour, dry at times, but humour nevertheless, to me a very worthwhile trait, my flippancy does me no favours at times, but it seems to get me though the day, add a splash of said humour in all of it’s guises and things tend to trundle along, a spot of denial and a great big dollop of procrastination and my life is complete.

    The above tempers any exposure to stress or trauma, which in my profession can appear at the most unexpected of times, though I’m luckily somewhat distant from it….a distance that no doubt makes things bearable, despite memories being the intangible, invisible spectres that seek to spontaneously pervade our thoughts whenever they choose.

    Do try and stay strong, encourage me with your industrious, heartfelt wordsmithery and ou never know I might just get my bloggery out of my head and onto the screen…I could do with a proof reader, a firm friend preferably!

    Keep tuned into the same frequency,

    Red x

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