On Tuesday night a name flashed up on my phone several times. In all its random and magical timing, having not spoken to him for over a year, and after I literally just mentioned his name only 5 minutes before.
The bizarre coincidence left me waiting to open the messages until the next morning.
But just seeing his name flash up, sent me into writing mode as I captured all the thoughts and feelings that came into my mind on the back of it. So many things in just seeing one name in the right moment, without even reading a single word. I shared them with him the next day in my response and thanking him for helping me to “reconnect” as he had said in his original message. Perhaps my name had come up in conversation and prompted him to get in touch or perhaps my thought had travelled through the universe. I prefer to think it was the latter. I will ask him when I see him. Either way, it really helped to shift me in all my current lack of confidence and feelings of small and less. It didn’t create a sudden surge of wishing to reconnect with many. But it did find me reconnecting very strongly to myself. In who I was, who I am and who I have the potential to be. A similar feeling that I felt when I was the same age as my girl.
Finding myself championing the heavy work I have been undertaking over the past 2 years and the 2 years before.
Feeling both my warrior and soft gentle and loving versions from all my own experiences. You can grow so much from others experiences but to live them is to really feel them. As opposed to looking in through a window which I was doing with my girl as I wrote. We are connected in a way that feels so strong and intimate and I feel really proud of, but you can never really feel everything that exists within another person no matter how close you are. We are always a deep ocean of so much unseen beauty. Only we can really find and see it within ourselves. The seen part is just what we put out in the world every day. Ripples that sometimes become tidal waves but are just the surface image of the life that exists underneath in all its quiet power and colours and mystery. We are always alone in the extent to which our minds and feelings are always at play. It feels extraordinary to wonder how much lives within the outer shell of just one person. So much attention in this world given to just a shell and yet all the amazing stuff that is really worth seeing, is hidden inside. Unless you really look for it within yourself. That’s a real adventure of discovery.
Some of the things me and my girl have experienced together in this illness have pushed against everything our relationship has always been. As I had to become what has been required for her most basic well being, while pushing against what is our normal. The easy stuff that has always been so fun and happy. I have worried and questioned whether our relationship can withstand the moments of conflict that exist as I put myself in a role that doesn’t come naturally, easily or with any pleasure but has been required. And yet when it’s been required I have found it. And finding it for the greater good. It’s been so hard but when I think of the deep love that I feel for her, it always feels worth it. A beautiful and pure love that is reciprocated and matters so much to both of us. Without that shared love and care it’s just a relationship built on quick sand. Eventually it will just sink and disappear. Because it isn’t worth fighting for. Our relationship was her reason for taking responsibility in controlling her own eating plan. She didn’t wish for this illness to come between us. There is something wonderful in knowing that the time and effort and love that we have put in to what we have shared since she came into this world is rewarding us by providing a reason for her to fight harder.
In moments this illness tries to undermine that. Feeling it in those momentary responses where that powerful voice of not wishing to eat comes at me in all its force and shakes me to my core. But my love is strong. Holding the line with boundaries as solid as they need to be. And I stand tough and resolute in doing what needs to be done. Never wavering, as a mothers love should. In the moments after, feeling breathless. Feeling my fear of losing the person I love most in this world. But there is loss and then there is loss. And I have chosen to risk what we have now for what we can always have in the future. With those solid foundations of love in place, I always believe that they will be enough to ride any storm. Her massive progress and permission to return to uni hitting a tricky week. A dip in her fighting spirit. A wearyness in continued effort and trying. Wanting to just carry on without caring about it all anymore. And yet she chose to delay. She chose to stay for a moment longer rather than just running away from it all. Staying because she knew that what she needed in this tricky moment was still here. A choice that has seen her finding her way through it and now feeling stronger in trying to do it alone. I’ll still be here. Who loves you more? The anorexia or me? Feel my love within you. I’d like to think that love always defeats hate. And our love is so solid. She needs now to find hers within herself as I am doing too. It’s a climb but we are both winning. She climbs a little higher each day knowing I am there to catch her if she falls. Until she reaches the top and can just fly.
As I dropped her off she looked happy and confident if still very tiny but no longer skeletal. I felt so proud. Just in her being her. It’s still work in progress. But she has a network of care around her to help. And I believe in her.
I am reading a lot. All sorts of things. I love reading right now. Anything and everything. Sometimes to take me somewhere else, sometimes to help myself and sometimes to help me learn more. A solitary person who has felt very lonely in moments. Reaching out to relieve that before moments later realising that I’m doing ok. Isolation can veer between peaceful and lonely.
Isolation .. I guess when all those people were “all in it together” it felt a little easier. Lots of people easing their isolation by bumping each other up to get through. Were they doing that for themselves or for others? I just stuck with my few.
Now those same types doing the same back out in the real world. I guess at some point I’ll be out there again too. And yet for me it is still all about my few.
In moments I feel like I’m in it all alone and find myself limping. But I also feel like I’m growing and getting stronger In doing it for myself. Knowing there are many others out there doing similar. I feel the invisible solidarity in that. Being in it by myself requires me to look much deeper within to find what I need. And the deeper I look the more I find.
I sometimes have moments, usually when I’m out and surrounded by people, when I get this horrible sensation in my stomach and I feel small and insignificant again. Easily replaceable and forgotten. A feeling of being used. It just catches me without warning. Hearing the voices of others who have left me feeling like I’m not good enough. That there is something wrong with me because I feel things in the way I do. ”Unhealthy”.
Some people have the ability to make a person feel smaller as a way for them to feel bigger. I have felt that, and in lots of those moments, haven’t had the strength to fight back. Now I feel stronger I don’t feel a need to.
My own voice is getting louder in reminding me that I’m none of those things.
I’m a person who has always been really open hearted, loving and has always really cared. Who has her few long term friendships that are built on reciprocated love and care. I’m a person who fights for others and often gets hurt in that but still keeps fighting because it matters. I’m a person who gives everything of myself and because of that it also includes the ability to find all the joy and magic and happiness in life. I have felt that often in life. I’ve just been worn down by all the battles, but survived them all. I don’t need to feel bigger. I just need to feel like me again.
I know that I feel my own worth a little more each day. It helps in seeing the progression of my girl. Knowing how I have poured myself into her treatment and recovery. With every kg that has been added I have felt a sense of victory. Hers and mine. She is doing it, and of course there is other specialist support there. And yet I know I have been on the front line of it every single day. The dedicated constant in it all. Nothing and no one being more important than her. And at some point every single day my girl has thanked me for it. I don’t need it but I keep them as badges in what success looks like for me. Along with the other things that I have done over the past four years and in my life before that, where my big and small actions have made a difference. Not in that way that others see and congratulate each other for. Or comes with any reward other than feeling glad in making those differences. And rarely heaped in the admiration and respect of others or being seen as more. Often without an ounce of gratitude. But I know. I know what I’ve had to find within myself to do that. And those badges are sewn into the fabric of who I was and who I am and who I have the potential to be.
Somehow for a moment in all those feelings of being small and less, I confused my version of success with others versions. The girl who never really compared herself before but found herself doing so in being told she needed to be more than she was. Because that version was so much better. And I believed them. But I’m not them. My world and the way I grew up and the way I am, comes with the kind of sparkle that isn’t seen. It’s just felt. Those heavyweight values always have helped me to make a life beyond just what I want and need. And that has always felt really good even when it hasn’t. It’s what always created my inner sparkle. Having to work that bit harder for the things that I have wanted and needed and because of it those things have always really meant something to me. So much. In a way that I often don’t see in this instant and disposable world. Just another thing. Who cares! I did. I’ve cared about all if it. Which makes me so grateful and appreciative of everything. Every little moment. Every difficult time. Every kind gesture. Every thoughtful thing. I have cared about it all as they are etched in my heart. But never more so than in others who care about me too. Valuing what many others just take for granted.
Being around that other version has made me feel smaller and less. Why? Is the question I have been asking myself.
As for the name that flashed up.. He asked me the same question as he reminded me of his reasons for caring about me. None of which were related to the version of more I bought into.
As I hear from others about career, money, popularity, external admiration and respect and being seen, I find myself disconnecting. It’s definitely the more of the majority. And yet my whole life I’ve always been more interested in the more that is hidden. The people who are interesting and genuine and kind and often unseen.
And why I’m beginning to see my success again in the big and little differences I make in the every day. The stuff that often goes beyond my own life. The stuff that doesn’t come with any gloss or sparkle but requires lots of qualities that others might not possess, or maybe have not found yet. But make me feel really proud in the way I’m made. My success is having the ability to love. I’m really good at it actually. Have been ever since I was a kid. It’s a very different feeling in giving love to taking it. You can’t be taught that. You don’t find that. It’s just how you’re made.
Regret what you do and not what you don’t. I’ve made plenty of mistakes for sure but I have or will never regret loving and caring so much about others. Others that are part of my life and those that aren’t. It will never make me rich or see my name lit up in lights but as I reflect more on all those big individual challenges as well as that four years combined it certainly is allowing me to live more comfortably within myself. Knowing that I have really tried my best and looked beyond just me. And I have fought for it. Wounded and crushed in the process but just like the Cinderella man, I will find a way to come back. One fight at a time. That’s the way it works in my world. As I was reminded as I watched that film.
Its the stuff I see others now trying to fine or create, but it’s always just been a given and the basics where I come from, and is totally a part of me, my life and my relationships. It’s the stuff that money will never be able to buy. It tries of course. But it’s a very different version.
As for money.. well who knows. Maybe this time next year I will be a millyonaire. But whatever! .. sometimes you are more without it. I’ll just continue to duck and dive. Cause I know I’ll find a good way with or without it. Always have.
Because when it comes to real life and love, I’m the real deal.
And it felt so good to be reminded of that