The Unspeakable

Last night I went to bed. Gosh I’ve been lonely lately. It was really suffocating me as I lay in bed. I started to imagine what it would be like to take a large knife and drive it through my middle. There was a certain comfort in the thought of bleeding out right from my centre. I started to wonder if I had the courage. I decided to find out if I had the courage. I threw back the covers, climbed out of bed and walked toward the kitchen, intent on finding out if I had the courage to take a sharp knife and drive it through my middle.

I had only reached the lounge room when headlights flashed through the lounge room window. My son had arrived home at the precise moment I had decided to take up my own dare. I scampered back to bed. He was none the wiser and lay there thinking, “There must be a God. And he must care about me.”

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My Hero

You’ve heard the saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’. Well the strongest, most resilient, most inspirational woman I know (I’ll call her Annie for the purpose of this post), is suicidal at the moment. It seems like an oxymoron I suppose. It’s not a case of ‘well she was strong, resilient and inspirational but has hit a tough slump and lost hope for now’. Nope! Annie is most definitely ALL of those things in the midst of it. The way that she feels right now, is quite separate to the person that she is.

This beautiful woman is struggling desperately. She is not safe to be alone and is afraid to be alone with her children. There is a side of her that is feeling weak, fragile, frail, broken, tired. There is a side of her that is feeling like she is dreadfully flawed for feeling the way she does. But all I can see is immense, awe-inspiring strength!

My Annie, despite the way she is feeling, does not become negative. She refuses to give in. She fights and fights and fights……for life….for quality of life for herself and for her family. She fights to hold onto the strong hope in her heart. (Yes, someone suffering depression can hold strong hope!) She fights to see better days. She does whatever it takes to remain safe so that she will not give into the urges that are screaming in her head! Even at her lowest point, I have to say that she is the strongest, most resilient and inspirational woman I know! She inspires me more right now, than she ever has. I wish she could see that. I am so incredibly proud of my girl. I want to be more like her. Don’t judge her by what you see on her face. It is only what she feels. It isn’t who she is.  Annie is my hero!

The Beauty of Weakness

 

I’ve been having pretty rough run lately. Recently I wrote an email to a friend, filling her in on all the happenings in my life and home and it read like something from “A Series of Unfortunate Events”! At the moment I am kind of bracing myself thinking, “What’s next?”

I have the unfortunate disposition that when I experience enough stress for a prolonged period of time, eventually the cracks start to show and I become physically ill. I hate that! I feel like a basket case. I struggle with debilitating dizziness, physical weakness and levels of brain fog that leave me not knowing what the hell I am doing a lot of the time. To know that your physical condition is psychologically induced is hard to come to terms with. I wish I were more resilient – made of tougher stuff.

I stood in front of the mirror last week. I stared at my reflection and all I could see was weakness. And I despised that weakness.

Why do we hate weakness so much?

I don’t hate the weakness in my friends. In fact I love my friends all the more for their weaknesses. Those little chinks in their armour make them human. They make them someone I can relate to. I don’t know about you but I don’t relate terribly well to squeaky-clean people who appear to have it completely together.

For a person to allow you to see their flaws and weaknesses is a great privilege. It is a sign of depth of friendship because of the trust that comes with it. A weakness in a friend also gives you the unique and special privilege of offering them support. And in doing so, the bonds of friendship and love become even deeper. When I look at the people I love, their weaknesses are a blessing, not a curse. They are a gift.

There is a Japanese tradition called “kintsugi”, where, rather than throw away broken or cracked pieces of pottery, they are repaired with a resin and gold powder, or substance made to look like solid gold. It is born of a philosophy that the cracks and breakages are a part of story of the piece, not a reason to throw it away. Once repaired, the piece often looks more beautiful than it did before it was cracked or broken!

So why do we hate weakness? Why does our culture despise weakness? Why do we despise cracks and flaws? Why do I look in the mirror and despise my own weakness? My weaknesses are a part of my story. Yours are a part of your own story. If I can see the gold in the weakness of others, perhaps it is time to start looking in the mirror and seeing the gold in mine.

 

Kintsugi

You take the high road and I’ll take the low road…..

Scene One

Ten…

Nine…

Eight….

Seven…

Six…

Five…

Four…

Three…

Two…

One….

That’s it…..All over Red Rover!!!!!!!  Done!!!! Finito!!!!

That was my Facebook page on Friday.  I was sitting in the room beside the examination room (No I’m not a stalker mother.  The subject teacher who was also in there is a good friend of mine) counting down the minutes till the examination’s end time.  And when we hit Zero?????

Zero = Freedom!!!!!!

That’s it!  My daughter’s school life over.  No more driving her down to the school and staying there late nights because she can study better there, no more meltdowns over ‘I’m gonna fail’, no more ‘I need it to be silence!!!  You don’t realise that just walking around the house is distracting!  I don’t fell like ANYONE IS TAKING ME SERIOUSLY!’ outbursts.  No more, no more, no more.  No more of a lot of things!  She was elated!  I felt like the air had just cleared………………………

 

Scene Two

Marking exams.

She did it!!!!  She did it!!!!  She passed.  That one wild girl who gives her mother hell, who breaks all the rules, whose missed soooooo much school.  That one wild girl that I have a very big soft spot for cos she’s not so scary, she’s not so different from my daughter a couple of years ago.  That one wild girl that I have had a vested interest in.  That one wild girl, passed her semester exam!!!!!!!  My heart soared!!!!  I texted the well-being worker so that we could jump up and down in excitement together!!!!

Marking exams continued……

Fail….

Fail…. (Did he study?  This is one of the smart kids)

Fail…. (Questioning myself)

Fail…. (Well, I’ve only seen you for 5 days in the term.  No surprises there.)

Fail…  (Geez man!  What the heck am I doing wrong!  What’s it gonna take?)

Fail…  (Deep depression)

Fail…  (Someone else needs to teach Year 9 Maths next year)

Fail…  (Despair.  I am clearly not a good teacher.  I need to sack myself!)

What the??? PASS!!!!!  The kid with a disability passed.  The kid whose parent I had spoken to days before passed.  Mum held little hope he would pass.  He generally doesn’t pass anything.  HE PASSED!!!!!

 

Scene Three

Hmmmmmm…….. My son’s home.  He must have come during the night.  I didn’t know he was home.  He is 16 and recently moved in with his dad.  I get a phone call.  He’s supposed to be at work.  He had checked the roster but read it wrong.  There’s no food that doesn’t require prep time so I take him to the milk bar for a salad sandwich.  It’s closer to lunchtime anyway.  He’s not in good shape.

“Were you out drinking last night?  Answer me honestly.”

“Yes.”

“Are you hung over?”

“Yes.”

“Shit!  Get two Gatorades as well.  Sip at them.  Don’t skull.  If you’re gonna throw up you’d better do it before you walk into work, not during!”

Back to failure mode!!!!  All these people with their perfect kids who go to church and don’t deal with any of this stuff.  I suck as a mother!  All the couldda, shouldda, wouldda’s of my parenting history start to flash through my mind.

 

Scene Four

Out for a walk on the beach to let the failure complex of the day blow away.  I take a detour and head towards the back of an island, climb down to the reef and as the tide is out, explore the rock pools.  This place is just glorious and I have it all to myself.  I’m at peace with the world again and completely basking in the beauty around me….fascinated.

What struck me about today was the incredible highs and lows.  One minute high, next minute low, then high again, then low….all in one day.  I guess what it brought home was the consistency of life.  If there is a high, there will always be a low coming, but where there is a low, there is always a high waiting…. guaranteed.   It’s a case of, as surely as the sun goes down, it will rise again and visa versa.  There is encouragement and comfort in the consistency of that.

“And it came to pass…..”  A pretty common phrase in the Bible…..repeated over and over.  It’s a phrase that I have learnt to take comfort in.  As surely as something comes, it also passes.  I tell myself often, “And it came to pass”.  Some things come for the express purpose of passing again.  In the black times of my life, I have learnt to tell myself….. “And it came to pass”.  This too shall pass, like every other thing.  So for the dark times, endure it while you must and for the good times, enjoy it while you can.

Sometimes Tears Say it Best

This time last year we were grieving – my friends, my colleagues, my church.  My friend had fallen pregnant with a little girl.  There were problems from the start and my friend and her husband were warned their little girl probably wouldn’t survive outside the womb.  She didn’t.

What words can you find to comfort a friend in such times?  There aren’t any.  There are only tears – tears that say, “I ache with you my dear, dear friends.”

Today there are more tears.  Three days ago, that same friend has given birth to a beautiful, perfect little baby boy.  Today I went to visit at the hospital and had my first cuddles of what most of us are claiming to be OUR new baby!  Shared sorrow and joy has made family of colleagues and friends.  I cradled that perfect little life in my arms today and joy, gratitude, relief, pride and love swept over me, the tears came.  There were no words that could come close to expressing the magnitude of any of those things……only tears…..lots and lots of tears.

I don’t particularly like to cry.  I avoid it whenever possible.  I think many of us are often afraid to cry – to lose control of our emotions – to have the dam burst in front of people we might not know so well.  Today people I have only met once before, wanted photographs of the tears.  Today, tears spoke volumes and said what words could not.

I think today I learned something new.  I learned not to be afraid of the tears, because some times simple quiet tears just say it best.

“…weeping may endure for a night, bug joy cometh in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5 KJV Bible)