Hello, emotion – it’s been a while

These days it’s very rare that I cry or get emotional – at least while sober! It’s like I’ve suddenly developed this thick layer of skin that no harsh word can get through. I’m not phased by things like I used to be, and certainly do not have patience with first-world-problems (“the under-floor heating in the kitchen doesn’t work with the new tiles”…f**king spare me!). Obstacles are now challenges, and I’m much more of the “just-get-on-with-it” mentally that my mother spent 30 years trying to instil in me. 

Think the Snickers’ ad with Mr T charging a football pitch in a tank, screaming “GET SOME NUTS!”… this is genuinely the image I have in my head when I’m quietly congratulating myself on my new found resilience. (Disclosure: *Or the words I am silently saying to you as I stare at you blankly, eyebrow raised*)

On the other hand, in recent weeks, for example, there have been a couple of occasions where my hard-exterior has crumbled unexpectedly, and I’ve found myself sobbing uncontrollably and been complete and utterly overcome with emotion The first time, five weeks ago, on hearing the words it felt like I’d waited a lifetime to hear. The second, two Saturdays’ ago, getting on the train and seeing my mum for the first time in months. And thirdly (and fourthly), twice in the last week being reunited with two of my most favourite people in the whole-wide-world, both of whom I haven’t seen for nearly a year. (Oh, and watching the Four Paws ad on TV this lunchtime. Heartbreaking).

The fact of the matter is, I miss my people. The ones who make me genuinely feel good about myself, build me up, make me laugh-out-loud, and remind me of who I am. They say it’s the people who you surround yourself who make the difference. And they’re absolutely right.

In the 18 months since I went missing, up until the beginning of this year, aside from J and the professional services, there was not one person I came across who didn’t try to exploit me in one way or another, or take advantage of my vulnerability. That’s an awful lot of time being around people who would rather see you destroy yourself rather than recover.

But I was one of the lucky ones. Despite alienating myself from pretty much everyone, two old friends emerged from the ashes of the nightmare I had created, and without them, I don’t think I would have ever got free of the web of destruction I’d got myself tangled in. They were my saviors, the only links to my old life, and the ones who kept my head just enough above the water so that I could eventually gather the strength to pull myself out…and survive. (*Love you long-time, T & AF*)

I emerged from 2018 as a wreck; a frightened little mouse who trusted no-one and was clinging onto finest of threads to protect the shield I’d built around myself. My people got me through it, and it’s my people who will help me rebuild my life and keep me anchored throughout the good and bad. In recovery they say that you need a reason to fight, and to keep fighting. My reason is the people who make me feel whole; and it’s for them I reserve my tears. 

The Love We Never Had

Why do I miss you the way I do today?

 It’s just over 5 years since we met, not the actual “on this day” – I can’t even remember the date – only “around about this time”. The memory is hazy: a broad, dark, ominous figure standing over me, your voice deep and authoritative, ordering everyone around here-there-and-everywhere, saying my name over and over again. And then later, my necklace moving between your fingers, gold and green flashing left to right – quiet contemplation as you tried to defuse the situation. Your presence was authoritative, commanding – electrifying.  You were everywhere. You were all I could feel, all I could sense. You were a stranger, but you were there and you were my protector.

Bronze Commander – that’s what they called you. I didn’t even know what that meant, until they told me. You shouldn’t even have been there that night, but you were; called into the unknown to a situation at a 14th floor apartment in the centre of the big bad city, to find me – pathetic, childlike me! I was sloshed, making threats that everyone knew I wouldn’t follow through with. What was even the matter? Why was I so low? Something to do with not living up to everyone’s expectations – yes, that was it.

Much later, it would only take a second for your heart to rule your mind.

Heavy clouds were closing in over the darkening landscape, the wind lashed at our faces and the rain had started to come – not unusual for a summer’s day in West Yorkshire. We were running out of time, well aware that as soon as we reached the top of the hill we’d have to grit teeth, clench fists and deal with the unavoidable shit reality would bring.  It would have taken less effort to push the Cow over the brim of that hill – every ounce of my being was clinging to the last fragile threads of that moment, willing the earth to stand just for a minute more.  You were my calm, my rock, but also the calm that brought the storm and the force that shattered my world.

‘There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice’ – F Scott Fitzgerald

You had all of me.  And then one day, you were gone.