New Inspiration

This post is a crossover of after the before.
After … 
I’ve been watching Band of Brothers again. I’ve seen it before, quite a few years ago now. You can tell how long ago from the young faces of all those actors who went on to bigger things. From a young unknown who was killed in one episode to becoming the young Charles Xavier years later.  I loved this series at the time. It’s depiction of life within Easy Company from 1942 to the end of World War II. There is something about this time in history being relatable in thinking that my grandparents lived through that and then carried on beyond. An inspiration for me in watching extraordinary “ordinary” men’s fear and courage in their ultimate risks and sacrifices. This particular version depicting a camaraderie between men as well as a wish to not get close to new people, in seeing the rapid and many losses in the new and inexperienced. Protecting themselves from the trauma of constant loss. If you have never watched it I would recommend. It’s most vivid versions of human emotion can so easily be transposed into the every day emotions of normal life. It has an amazing ability to create perspective. A perspective I guess that we could all use. In this country we always seem to be crying about something or other.  No wonder everyone has mental health issues now. This place is crackers! Bringing it closer to home, it is definitely an inspiration for me to stop me crying from all those hurts. 
I find myself feeling a wonder and immense admiration as I watch these men risking everything as they run towards the horror and the danger, It’s hard to even comprehend. Trying to survive in their overall insignificance in the bigger picture whilst trying to take care of others. All the while having to take other men’s  lives. The enemy. And yet in the end they were all sons and husbands and fathers. The senseless waste in war.
Surrounded by so much death and loss and misery against friendship and enemies, courage and fear, strength and vulnerability, sadness and humour, oppression and freedom. 
Motivation a plenty for me when I have the headspace for it. I’m less late night party girl and crazy Christmas shopper and more quietly reflective, and magical early morning cosy with a candle as inspired by my friend and her cat. And enjoying the odd random and intimate meet up with special people. Just planning on doing quietly sparkling activities over the Christmas season. I like this more quietly gentle version this year. It has an air of dreaminess to it in all its simplicity with some London lights in a much quieter than usual version which suits me very well actually. Just enough for atmosphere and anonymity but without the crazy chaos of a crowd let loose. Many people falling out of love with this city but I bought a badge yesterday declaring MY love of it. It just holds an invisible something in the air that feels magical and makes me feel something, beyond the perfect and glossy consumer version that I see as I walk about. But some twinkling lights always help. I guess I know how much easier I find it living in imperfect and that feeling of being lost and unseen is often nice in feeling a freedom and an escape, even if in lot of moments I can feel that loneliness. I guess home is always where the heart is and I I feel closer to it in a city of so many wonderful memories for me. 
Anyways I’m going to allow myself a final moment to lay out that chapter in its entirety without crying. To have it somewhere that  I can see it as a breadcrumb before I get to Christmas. Yesterday meeting my friend L that I met  right at the very beginning of that journey. That journey that as I’ve retraced my steps often feels like my own personal war. Rolling in on day 1 with excitement and nervousness. Such a wonderful 10 weeks. That first day of year 2 of 3 saw me hit by a lightning bolt. Never had that feeling in such an impactful way that left me going home and sharing it with a friend. 3 months later providing end of life care to P’s beautiful mum who was gone in a matter of 3 months, from diagnosis to death. Shockingly fast, with images I couldn’t have imagined and wasn’t prepared for. Left in not knowing what happened. But seeing someone die so very gracefully was in it’s own sad way, so inspiring to me, despite the difference in what that must have felt like for her in being so totally and completely dependent in every basic way possible on people who loved her. I miss her in so many moments but especially right now as I think of her. And then the fall out of what that was. A previously gentle and fun man  who in moments could be controlling changed into a completely different version in all its “punchbag” anger and frustration and dislike. All those previous feelings of unfairness and disappointment with the world, being magnified, and turned onto me with its fullest force. Grief brings out so much in different people, me included. Leaving me needing to find safety and calmness and kindness and warmth in order to be able deal with life. My moment of decision in walking away from that journey changed by someone who thought I could do it. And that I would be supported by others in that. It was too big to cope with in so much hostility at home, while trying to marry all the demands of being a best version of a mum, working and trying to continue on with something so difficult and all consuming. I was not prepared for any of it. And then falling in love with that lightning bolt that was on their own journey too. So happy in the closeness of emotional intimate connection  alongside a joy in being seen and understood in all those dreamy and magical versions that had always existed in isolation. Being able to share in that beyond in a way that felt  like a home in a dreamy place of belonging. And  intrigued and fascinated by a version of similar but very different and the adventure in experiencing that in someone that felt so special and unique took me to places I wanted to go to. Feeling so lucky in finding them. While still  trying my hardest to be everything in all my tiredness and hard work whilst losing my home that I had put together with so much love and care. Taking away my security, my every single day and night with my girl, whilst stretching myself to my limits in all those lessons, all my efforts with every single client, whose sadness and difficulties I held as though they were my own and giving everything of who I was to help them to get to better and safer places, and seeing the scars on myself in every one of those individual battles as I kept pushing forward. Whilst trying to manage my own feelings, insecurities, vulnerabilities in a room full of people where everyone was fighting their own individual battles, whilst keeping up with academic requirements in between running from here to there to here. And all the while dealing with the continued anger and fall out from a safer distance but being injured by every bullet that was fired at me in their lack of understanding or care in how it all looked for me. Finding magical moments sprinkled amongst it, as I kept pushing on and trying to get to a place where it would all feel much better. Finding every happiness where I could with people who were nice to me even though they couldn’t see my hidden struggles. And feeling completely rubbish in others from those who were not so kind. And for a moment feeling I had reached a better place when I finally completed that journey. A journey that left me completely shattered. But thinking that I could begin to build something new and better. A moment of swimming in the sea with my girl and saying “things will start to get better now. I promise” Famous last words as I received a message about money invested with good intentions that was lost and leaving that future security falling away. Trying to find another way to deal with what lay in front of me. Thinking through every option but having no alternative but to pack all my things into black bin bags and one by one all by myself moving the whole lot back feeling that awful desperation. Absolutely broke. Keeping that security being the only thing on my mind. As for months I ran around trying to put together paperwork that would allow someone to lend me the money to keep the home we had spent a lifetime working for. Having no money and worrying whether I had enough to even get to work or buy shopping. Whilst picking up a  baton of seeing someone I loved and still cared about going through depression. Pulling us all through such a dark moment, to the other side. Sitting on my swing in the early hours of every morning  in the dark and the rain all alone wondering what the hell happened and trying to find what I needed to cope and be all the things that I needed to continue to be. Painfully watching everything I had worked so hard and tirelessly for, through so much difficulty, and with so much heart and courage, fall away in a moment alongside the the negative and heart crushing impact on new relationships I had built. All in a need to hide all the mess and chaos, sadness and embarrassment. But surviving and finding my way through again. Allowing myself a moment to find my strength to be able to rebuild again and work out how to start again and where to go. No money giving me less  choices. Just the flat and a whole load of debt. But still feeling like I could turn things around and find that better life. But of course nature had other ideas as a pandemic left me trapped. Feeling traumatised in finding myself in a place of no choices. Spending hours alone in the forest to find my freedom from all the demands that just kept on coming and feeling myself start to break down. Pushing on. No time to stop. P’s lost  job making mine more important and then P’s wonderful dad being diagnosed with a more severe version of cancer that had spread. A pandemic providing new realities of care. Very little hospital intervention and no carers. And finding myself in that position again in wanting to help take care of someone I love. Only this time much more slow and painful and over a prolonged period of suffering. The kind that feels soul destroying as you see the fear and sadness and loneliness in their eyes alongside the very real and basic versions of care that feel like they will continue forever without making any difference. And holding it all inside with nowhere to really share what the reality of it all looked like. Just brief moments of tears that I couldn’t hold, as my hand was taken and held. They not realising that there was a tidal wave  of tears  sitting behind those. Providing instead a watered down version of myself that could just enjoy those snippets of happiness and dreamy magic in tiny moments that were given to me like beautiful gifts. A life of my own feeling like something from a whole other life ago. Holding on so tightly to what felt wonderful rather than letting it drift away like a dream I once had. Feeling the relief and the grief in seeing someone who was so important to us all finally freed from their pain and misery and again feeling the fallout within myself in having nothing left to give. But needing to find something extra again in helping my girl with hers. As her grief triggered a huge weight loss from previously undiagnosed anorexia that had already been triggered through her isolation at university but had been hidden. When I thought that life had done its worst it gave me its very worst. As we battled to get our seriously ill girl of just over 5 stone to eat again and regain that weight. Still work in progress. But that last 8 months of life have passed without me even noticing.  And in amongst that no longer able to just continue on. No longer able to just carry on working and getting on with life. Complete annihilation of a person who was once so carefree, fun, happy, kind and open hearted and filled with warmth and sunshine and all things good. A person who never had bad bones. Feeling  a person I love drifting  away towards better and more and feeling the sadness in losing what I had felt so lucky to find. And then with an ending that stole all those beautiful moments that meant so much to me and had seen me through so much. But in that moment feeling  like they meant very little to them in all their “many”. What we risk of ourselves for the same thing. But since, reclaiming my own version of what that was for me and how much it was really valued. How much they were loved. It feels good to put a timeline to my own battle and what that has looked like. Something that I feel able to do after yesterday. Giving myself the right to feel so much in all my early morning quietness, with my girl returning  for Christmas and that feeling of relief in seeing her looking well. And thoughts of the lovely things that can be shared while she is home. Giving myself acceptance to not have gotten anywhere. That just keeping going has been worth enough when I lay it all out and look at it. Feeling like I can stand up as an equal to my own dad that has returned, but feeling a real compassion in what that is as I feel that past hurt, but trying to let it drift away in my want to find something better in that, and wishing for a life and relationships that are made of all the best parts of who I am. Where I can be everything I wish to be. I don’t want bad bones. Wishing to live in my own sunshine again. A sunshine that over time I have to create within myself. It will happen. My heart is in it. And when my heart is in it, anything and everything is possible. A healing process is under way and I will take some time in that as I try to just live again. Life really is too short…… 

Yesterday, I met a friend that was the very first person I met at the very beginning of that journey. In just a few hours I went from looking like a failure to looking like I was a superhero as she told me that I was ”incredible.” If only I could really feel that about myself. But I accepted it because it was given from such a genuine and heartfelt place. Our worlds being very different. Reminding me of how prior to that two year experience I never really thought about those differences. Just taking people as I found them and treating everyone with the same thought and kindness. Only ever really wishing to avoid people who aren’t very nice to me. Always trying, but sometimes having to accept when people don’t really like or care about me. 
Her beautiful kindness and warmth and genuineness was what I saw immediately and really liked. It didn’t even cross my mind that her life was better than mine. Because she didn’t treat me like I was less. She treated me like I was someone worth knowing and being friends with. And maybe because she didn’t flaunt her world, or didn’t give off that vibe of superiority or subtly throwing a power around. Wanting to understand what others worlds looked like and seeing it as a different kind of wonderful. Possessing a natural calmness and feeling like such a grown up. Another mum like me who wanted to do something more and feel like she might make a difference to others and still feeling like that. She made a difference to me back then, as we bonded before anyone else entered the room, and she made a difference to me today in seeing me in a way that I have struggled to feel in myself and  with some other people. Telling me by what’s app on my way home what wonderful  company I am and how she had skipped back to the station in a way that I always said I did back then, and how happy she felt that I had wanted to reconnect with her. I had felt so happy in that moment she had contacted me again. It was like being given something very golden. What a wonderful person. What a wonderful reconnection. What lovely company.
It really did feel like I had only seen her yesterday. It felt so easy and full of that same trust I felt with her back then. I had such a beautiful feeling when I got home. I really needed that and hearing about her beautiful life made me so happy. Such wonderful sharing. Her response to me left  me feeling the most proud I have ever felt since finishing that training and then having to deal with so much beyond. The most I have felt in someone really getting it, despite it being a million miles away from her world.  Left thinking how much I would rather sit in a room with an “untrained” person like her than some of the “trained” people with those pieces of paper. Her completely natural and beautiful ability in just being warm and accepting. A really beautiful vibe and something quite maternal in seeing me in exactly the same way as she did back then but with a real and genuine proudness in me for “going all the way”. The energy that surrounded us must have carried as the waiter came and chatted with us for ages too. What a sweet fella. 
It was just really lovely to chat with her. It reminded me so much of what that ten week period was like and how much I loved it. But what I found really reassuring was the fact that she still feels a lot of what that ten week period was even after six years. How impactful it was on her and her life and the changes that she made just from that short time. And how she still holds on to that time and thinks about it in lots of moments. And how she often wishes she could find that same genuineness of what was shared in that ten weeks,  in relationships beyond, in the real world. We both certainly felt it yesterday. It was wonderful. 
Being able to talk about that 3 years of trying to do something so big surrounded by all the normal things of life with so much big piled on top as well as all the stuff that came beyond. In her company I felt like a soldier that had been through a war and had come out the other side victorious. Achieving something that she said she would like to find the courage to do and to do it in a way where she invested everything of herself in the same way I had. 
In her company I felt for a moment like I was amazing. Whereas for so long  often feeling like I’m crazy, or that there must be something wrong with me in not being able to just carry on like others. But as we chatted it made perfect sense. Feeling the scale of what I have gone through. As I travelled back on the tube I thought about all those other people who had struggled through in moments, or felt the impact of what that experience was, or gliding through it as though it was just another day in the office. Wondering how much of themselves they had invested, whether they went through the motions just to get a piece of paper, or whether they wondered what that same journey looked like for themselves and others, or whether they had other big things that they were dealing with beyond, or  whether they had suffered in silence or hid what it ready looked like in just trying to reach the other side. That same journey I imagine looked very different for different people. And the impact of it to a greater or lesser degree. But in feeling the proudness and admiration in me from my friend in being able to live and work and survive through all of that and complete that whole journey with that same piece of paper as everyone else, left me feeling like a real somebody. In a way that I have really struggled to feel before yesterday. And remembering individually with such affection all the different people who had sat in that original room that had inspired me to feel like I was good enough to keep going. What a very beautiful moment of my life that really was and all held together by a wonderful Irish lady who had the ability to create a group of people who held each other with such a kindness and warmth that I’ve never experienced  in the same way before or since. A reminder of why I started in the first place and giving me the belief that I have what it takes moving forward. And that same kindness and warmth that I felt yesterday.
An antidote for all those that have had the ability to leave me feeling the complete opposite. Finding myself slowly rising again in being around people who see me for all the good things that I was before having to fight to get through so much. Which is really helping me to feel good about myself again. 

And as for covid… Well that’s all feeling like a piece of cake. Feeling small fry in comparison, as I find myself  just going with the flow. Last night feeling like I could take on the world and win. A calming warm bath really soothed a tired soul and left me feeling more bubbly.  


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