This year, after years of knowing him, I looked the devil in the eye. I stopped running, stopped scrambling and stood up.
I stood in a place I’d asked others to stand because I was too scared.
I was a coward for so long, convinced of the lies that were whispered in my ears. They rang loud, louder than the cries of innocents.
But the devil is just a man. A clever man. A liar. A trickster. But still just skin and meat.
As powerful or weak as anyone. As me.
He reaches out sometimes, with words that twist my stomach. But I’ve faced him and survived. And I will do so again, for as long as we both shall live.
Lately, when I look in the mirror I see my mother’s face. I see her mouth, her eyes, the pores of her skin.
I don’t hate my mother, nor do I resent her. But I see my relationship with her more clearly now.
As a child I felt flawed, like a mistake inside me made me unlovable. She was distant and cold.
As an adult (and I’ve been one for a while now) I realise that my relationship with her is the same.
And I’m still taking the blame for it. I’m older now, I have the life skills to really create a proper close relationship with her. And it’s just not happening. I’m waiting for her approval, her interest.
She’s a new age hippy type. She loves crystals and talking to angels. But her heart is closed. And I am confused.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been waiting for her to save me from drowning, but her back is always turned. She’s looking the other way.
And so, I’m letting her go. Which is strange, as I see her everyday as I put on my makeup, as I do my hair.
I don’t feel bad, or sad. I feel free. And maybe she does too. Maybe the burden of my expectation has been weighing her down. Maybe she just wants to fly away.
Fly away mumma. It’s ok.
I’ve prayed for help. I’ve asked God to make me strong, asked my spirit guides to show me the way. I’ve beseeched the Universe to open her heart to me – to see me, and make me whole. I’ve stood under countless full moons begging for guidance and release.
There’s not another human being on the planet more open to change and healing than me.
And yet – there never seems to be a reply.
Reminds me of this joke I heard years ago.
John, who was in financial difficulty, walked into a church and started to pray. ”Listen God,” John said. ”I know I haven’t been perfect but I really need to win the lottery. I don’t have a lot of money. Please help me out.” He left the church, a week went by, and he hadn’t won the lottery, so he walked into a synagogue. ”Come on, God,” he said. ”I really need this money. My mom needs surgery and I have bills to pay. Please let me win the lottery.” He left the synagogue, a week went by, and he didn’t win the lottery. So, he went to a mosque and started to pray again. ”You’re starting to disappoint me, God,” he said. ”I’ve prayed and prayed. If you just let me win the lottery, I’ll be a better person. I don’t have to win the jackpot, just enough to get me out of debt. I’ll give some to charity, even. Just let me win the lottery.” John thought this did it, so he got up and walked outside.
The clouds opened up and a booming voice said, ”John, buy a f*cking lottery ticket.”
You have to be willing to do the work.
I have to be willing to do the work, that’s what I’ve learnt.
I can ask for all the help in the galaxy. I can ask someone else to show me the way, but the truth of the matter – the bare bones reality, is that the help I need is already here.
I have everything I need.
I’m not a good friend.
I don’t know how to be.
Sometimes I see acquaintances smiling at me, uncertain.
Like I’m a simpleton, or a fragile egg.
“Do you even want to be here?” “Are we an inconvenience?”
No, that’s not it.
It’s just that I’m just pretty certain you don’t like me.
And I don’t want to waste your time.
I was having a sneaky read of The Guardian at work today. The topic was death.
More precisely, our fear of death.
A lot of the comments suggested that what people feared most was dying a painful death.
I don’t fear pain. I sleep with pain, wake with it and have lived with it everyday day for the last 8 years.
And no, I don’t mean spiritual existential pain, but actual physical pain.
Pain I can come to terms with. Yes, it grinds you down, can make you numb. But it’s known.
Pain is not the thing I fear about death.
I fear the idea that I will cease to exist. That the thing that makes me me, can and will vanish.
Where will I go? Where will my thoughts go? How can I just not be here?
To vanish into darkness, how is that possible? I mean really? How can the sum total of all our experiences and feelings over the course of our lives just disappear in the blink of an eye?
Maybe there’s a heaven, or at the very least an afterlife.
But maybe there’s not.
What if there’s not?
It’s the biggest cliche ever written, but Eat Pray Love changed my life.
It was never a book I considered reading. I avoided it for months, despite Oprah’s urging that I should read read read!
But then, it was made into a movie and I figured at some point I probably would stumble across the film, and I’d be damned if I hadn’t read the book first.
I’d been married for long time by the time I picked it up. I was unhappy, desperately lonely and living a loveless lie.
So I found this book, with no expectation. I read in the bath, night after night, and by the time I’d finished Pray my heart had been split wide open.
I wanted to be seen. I wanted to by seen by my God. And I wanted to be loved and to be happy. I wanted to be embraced and welcomed.
I felt cracked in two, with no one to turn to. My husband had long ago turned his back on me. I was a hole to be fucked and a body to be blamed.
I had no safe space.
So this book asked me the question I needed to ask my entire adult life.
“What do you want?”
“I want to be happy.”
“Can you be happy continuing to do what you’ve been doing? Can you be happy here?”
I cried. I cried a lot. Anguish poured out of me.
And for the first time in endless attempts to leave, I felt supported entirely.
I’d leave. And I’d be ok.
I’ve not picked that book up since I read the last page 8 years ago. I’ve not needed to.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not cured or less neurotic. I’m not even sure I’m any better at relationships than I was before I read it.
But I am free. Freer.
A bunch of stuff has happened to me in my life.
But the things I did, I did.
There’s no palming it off onto upbringing or environment.
It was all me. I just didn’t know.
I didn’t know I was the person I was.