Fighting harder through the Flames 


I bought tickets in May last year for a concert at the Royal  Albert Hall. I remember being so very excited in that. Williams vs Zimmer. Less of a conflict  and more a celebration of difference in Williams Sweepingly romantic and melodic soundtracks against the electro vibe of Zimmer who has a way of expressing strength in its many versions with gradual builds to crescendo and light and dark versions sitting side by side in all their versions of love and hate, courage and fear, success and failure. His music often has a way of building strength and courage in me. Not the versions that I see in all those strong kick ass women but a version that quietly deals with difficult things every day and survives it. I have listened to Zimmer’s music a lot over the past seven months. Williams bringing out my more dreamy,  magical, fantasy and adventuroush side with the occasional  melancholic undertones. There is no comparison between the two. They bring out something very different that ignites contrasting parts of who I am. The dreamer and the Invisible warrior. The tickets were for the cheap seats in the Gods. I could only get two singles in different parts of the auditorium. When I bought them I had a friend in mind. A present for their birthday which was many months away. It didn’t matter that the seats  weren’t together. Music travels and connects the soul and in that can be felt at a distance. That was my thought and feeling anyways. As it turns out I never ended up giving them that ticket. I made a decision to go alone instead. They didn’t need it. But when I came to the day with my daughter being at home and unwell I asked her if she wanted to come with me instead. It’s not really her thing but I thought it would be another nice distraction for her. So we went a couple of weeks ago. Another military operation (as these things are with all our supplies and all the anxiety that comes with having to feed in amongst it) but since the holiday I have been better in being able to manage them. I wish wish wish for the day when I don’t need to manage them and she can just fly completely freely again and be really happy in that. I just want her to be well and happy again. I always just wish for people I love to just be well and happy. Well anyone actually.  hope they are. I hope at some point that I might feel that  again too. If I’m lucky. Please let me be lucky. Sometimes I wonder if I will  ever get to that. It feels hard to remember a time when I didn’t have to worry and could just be really happy and me. Although I was told that I had had my time in the sun. 

It’s been a never ending nightmare ever since that course. I received a message the other day from someone I really liked, that I originally met earlier on in the process and continued on to the end. I found myself not wanting to open it and thinking  “please just leave me alone now” as tears filled my eyes. She was a lovely person and always lovely to me along with others there. But just the association to some people and that time was enough to trigger what I have had to compartmentalise in order to deal with this illness. It all just feels completely ruined and horrible and person and  life crushing and I find myself not wanting to be anywhere near it. Other than K and C who I trust and who understand. It’s just more collateral damage of not being able to be around people that I met that became some new friends that I really hoped for to  add to those few specials I really love, but was all messed up by everything. Everything about that moment just feeling like ruins, in what was supposed to be a really wonderful and inspiring and beautiful moment and adventure in my life that I had waited so long for it. An adventure that was about wanting to help others but in the process to get the opportunity that I had missed as a kid that others took for granted. Never getting that moment in the sun that was just for me. Where is wasn’t about being responsible, dutiful and having to just survive or take care others. Taking care of others is what I do but in my girl getting  older and being happy and independent, this was a moment to do something that in part was just for me. It wasn’t selfish. It was just what a lot of others do their whole lives. And I didn’t neglect all my responsibilities around it. I worked even harder to give myself that independent moment in the sun as they say. A moment that ended up being clouded all the way through in being constantly called selfish and it all being put down. And all the things that I ended up having to deal with beyond just because I took a moment of independence. In trying to be “more”. To see all the various things that I might be made of but never had the opportunity to be explored. And knowing that these opportunities didn’t grow on trees for me. This was it. And I wasn’t allowed to just enjoy it. Influences within it and outside of it not thinking or caring what it might mean to me. Not caring that it might feel really special for me. Just another little opportunity amongst many for them  or an opportunity that didn’t include them. Half a life lived but the first time I ever did something that was just for me. It all  upsets me so much that I have to just bury it all very deeply but was released for a brief moment in receiving that message and then more fully in a moment today as I cried. I can’t deal with any of it. Can’t feel the emotions attached to that chapter without it impacting on my ability to function in what I’m dealing with, can’t deal with others judgements or meanness or feeling all the chats behind others backs. Or feel those comments to new people in how “unhealthy” I am or being some kind of devil who they had the misfortune to meet. I was a very  healthy person before I put myself in that  place. Completely normal and nice and kind and friendly and warm and loving and part of anything. Just a sunny girl next door who wanted to be friends with anyone and everyone and looked out for other people. Fun and happy and just rolling along in life without asking for anything much. Just trying to have a happy and peaceful little existence in a world where I had to work for everything I had but didn’t care about being rich, famous, popular or powerful. Just wanted to be kind and caring and do things that made a difference. I told her that  I couldn’t come and was honest in my reasons relating to my daughter but without providing detail. How I often wish I could just erase it all that chapter from my memory now. It just makes me feel like a piece of rubbish, an ugly and unlovable person, a complete failure,  completely stupid and foolish and like a big joke that can be laughed at and mocked and put down. It all hurts so deeply that I don’t think time will ever really fix it. A chapter that has hurt me more than any other in my whole life even as a kid. Only distance helps in trying to have amnesia in it all as though none of it ever existed. But living with the consequences every day. How hilarious that would be for some as they carry on without a care in the world leaving it all behind a long time ago. Not giving a shit about their impact on me in all their lack of self awareness and leaving me never wanting to put myself around new people ever again because I just don’t trust people anymore other than those few I call my friends. Wanting them to forget that they ever met me or who I am. All my faith lost in being reminded in how the world beyond functions. How fickle it is. How hurtful people can be. just like when I was a kid. It’s not bitterness or disappointment. It’s like a recurring feeling of being worthless. That’s how that whole experience and the events that came beyond in its full entirety have left me feeling deep down inside. That’s the thing about being an emotional person who loves to the max. You feel the pain to exactly the same level and it hurt me in ways that feel too painful to really ever deal with. It has created the most pain in me in all my life. A trauma that feels never ending and has ripped my heart out and handed it to me to look at. In moments feeling like I am a monster or some kind of devil  as opposed to the superhero that my counsellor that I talk to on the odd occasion, tells me I am. As she offers me free sessions in order to help me  deal with the impact. What a lovely lady she is. It often feels like she is very protective of me and telling me every time I talk to her that I deserve to be taken care of too and always reminding me in all I have done, achieved and survived and who I have been in that and who I am to others. She gives my nan back to me and asks me to own it. But I know my nan was something so much more. So much much more. And my mum really is one of a kind. Something that T often says too. It is often her words that I place in my blogs that lift me out of worthless and to a place where I can continue to fight for the person I love most in this world. Never seeing each other’s faces as we talk by phone but she tells me that she thinks of me often. And tells me how much admiration she has for me and how proud  I should feel of myself. I try. I write it in order to try to. But I am exhausted. But I still get up. I always get up. Bravado in wanting to feel it but still feeling like that same simple girl inside. A girl who is really just so very  gentle and doesn’t want to have to be a warrior. But just having to be. 

I think of the moments when me and my girl try to do something nice together. It never feels  relaxing for me at the moment but I really really love to see her happiness and it makes me so happy any time I am able to create that, and within all of it, together somehow, we manage the anxieties that surround it all. It’s all just little steps. But I believe that all these little steps help, and take us further up this mountain. She rang me one day when she was with her friend just to tell me “mum I think you are my soul mate”. What a beautiful lift that gave me. 

For a change I have a plan. A plan in getting her through this and back to her happy and healthy place. Despite the resistance and conflict that comes with fighting with IT I know she really trusts me and feels safe. It’s just difficult work that takes time. But any progress is progress and I never give up. In many moments I feel tired, and sometimes completely dejected and wondering when and if we will make it to the top but then I have a chat with myself. You can’t think about it in that way. It requires an acceptance in how it is and trying to get through it each day and find some happiness in amongst it. So In those moments I try to remind myself of who I am and what I’m fighting for and  to have faith in something bigger than myself that is taking me along a path that I am meant to walk. That it is teaching me something important and to feel the humility in that. I take in every lesson and reflect a lot about her, me, life. My self awareness often feeling off the scale which helps a lot in this but maybe hopefully will also hold some value in time to come. I think that a life really lived is full of everything. Not just the joyful and easy stuff but also the pain and the difficulty. You can’t really have one without the other, especially if you really love. They come as a set. Light and dark. My daughter providing the most joy in my life and right now the most pain. Because my love for her can’t be quantified. She is the person who brought meaning to my life and seeing her grow and change through the years has been the most exciting adventure of my life. But right  now we are in a very heavy storm that follows many previous storms. But I plan on getting us through it. 

That plan changes and evolves, sometimes it goes completely off script or falls apart, but it is very intricate and complicated and has many different factors thrown in the mix. I don’t really like having a plan. Never really had one before. And don’t really like being in control of anything. Would prefer someone else to be. Well other than being in control of me. And even then I’m not always in control of that. My heart taking me up and down paths that a head would query more I’m sure. But I’m having to take the control in this in order for her not to drown.  Often wishing P would take some too. Because it is really draining. As I look after everything while fixing up the home to a way it once was. All these things make  a difference. A bathroom ceiling that is no longer black as the bathroom gets a similar  makeover to the garden and shed. I may be a thinker  but I’m absolutely a doer  as I put foundations back  in placeBut P can’t quite engage in the way he needs to yet and I think it leaves him feeling helpless, frustrated and on the outside. Even though as I tell him often, it is he who holds the magic key to this. He just can’t find it yet. But he absolutely has it. I can see it and he is starting to. But he needs to search for it first. The subsidiary patience in trying to help him as best I can with the time I have which has resulted in him beginning to take much needed care of himself and put his hand out for counselling. Both feeling like a massive victory that have taken forever to get to, alongside a lot of anger directed at me. But I am continuing to hang tough in this in knowing what he does will significantly impact on what my daughter does too. It’s not good enough to just run away with her. He is her dad and she is so protective of him. She needs him and she looks to me to hold it together. She sees herself in him. Their is method to this madness when you can see all the pieces and how they fit together. Sometimes you have to save the root in order for the flower to blossom. In the meantime I continue to just manage it and hold it together. As he finds that key she will start to find hers too. I’m sure of it. But it requires him to be courageous, take some  risks and have an open mind. But my continued patience with him is seeing him starting to take action. It is definitely catching her attention. I knew it would. Challenging her mind set in seeing him challenging his. They are two matching sides of the same coin. But struggling with different versions of eating disorders. Both a form  of comfort. Both used to hide their emotions and not share. In many ways I am the same now. Having to hold mine in order to hold theirs and function. But I share in odd moments of my own counselling and I write a lot. Journaling being my release.

She relates to him more in their way of being. She is stuck even though she is trying so hard. So hard. Her resistance to being helped being pushed against by me, the psych and the other people at the clinic. But we are singing from a hymn sheet of the converted. But being pushed against by the “not” converted will have way more impact. And not in telling but in seeing. She is watching. I can see her watching. Learning how to fight back for a life that was devastated by different events of life and people. But needing to see how to get back up from someone she trusts, understands and can relate to.  His magic key is all in his relatability. By starting to “do” he is enabling her to watch and learn in how to do it so that she can follow. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve got back up, she needs to see it in him. He will provide that permission to be open to things that might help by doing the things they are both resistant to. To make it acceptable just as right now he makes it acceptable to bury it all and release all emotion in aggression and anger. And I can see her observing closely without saying a word other than sharing how he might eat more healthily and encouraging him in exercise. All the opposite things of what she has to do. But she will be looking for the results and especially those that come from counselling. Whether it helps. She tried twice and didn’t want to. It can’t be forced. It has to be a choice. Him choosing to go makes a difference and also how he responds. How he changes in that. With only eight sessions  I’m hoping it’s a bloody good counsellor who can build a bridge to a different world and ideology and who doesn’t want to impose their version of what a successful and healthy person looks like. He needs to find his version of that that sits alongside who he is and what his values are. Sometimes it’s just having a safe place to share the frustrations and sadness or to dump all the traumas. There are many. A trauma he hasn’t even gone near for fear of how it will make him feel. It is scary. And just finding trust in that will be a challenge. It feels hard to connect with a stranger in a world that you struggle to trust. But the fact that he is committed to trying feels worth the time and effort in just getting him to reach for it. In reaching  for it for him he is reaching for her too and she can see that.  I feel such relief in him starting to try. It feels like a massive step forward. Her illness all hidden at her request. There is no respite that comes from beyond. My mum knows but is unable to intervene as she isn’t supposed to know. 

Back to the concert. I could feel her from the other side of the room. A nervousness in being alone again. But that little moment of alone but not alone, reminding her that she can do it. That she is ok. That I’m with her even when I’m not. The music connecting us as it travelled. The lights went down and the Hall lit up with magical sparkling lights to create the feeling of far away places out in the universe and movie magic as they played ET. I felt her. “I’ll be right here” this  alien sent out to her. It was wonderful as I was transported through music that I love. When Time played I thought of the original intended recipient of that ticket and felt a real sadness. My daughters favourites being different to my own which she shared as we walked back through the park after,  but I felt the connection with her as I sat there in the moments I knew she would love. I remember taking P’s dad to something similar after his mum died. Just the two of us. He held my hand part way through in his emotion. I took him there as a distraction and also a place to feel his sadness. It showed itself in that hand holding moment which felt very beautiful as William’s, Schindler’s List played. I remember these things because those little details really mean something to me. I am glad that I shared that with him. He was the best replacement dad for me and always made me feel like I was a totally a part of his family even  when I wasn’t. I treasured them both so much. I will always treasure the letter he wrote to me. I miss them both. They would have wished to help in this. Perhaps she wouldn’t feel like this if they were still here. 

On Thursday morning I felt completely exhausted. Those two days of intense heat taking everything out of me in making it through a moment that I knew would be hard. The levels of gentleness, calmness and patience rising to their highest levels ever too. I found everything in me to see us through it. Knowing that the challenge for her felt off the scale. She showed her anxiety and stress to me the day before in all its high alert build up. I prefer the news to not be on, but the social media panic is unavoidable for her. That kind of heat for a person dealing with extreme anorexia is the stuff of volcanoes erupting. Only that volcano began to erupt the afternoon before in all that build up. I could see it coming. Just little tremors. But I knew it was coming. And yet when it came I wasn’t prepared for it but I felt it in a way that left me going to bed knowing that I had to find even more. Sometimes in those moments when I think I have absolutely nothing more, a surge takes place overnight and I find it. I don’t know how. But I find it. Maybe just because  I have to. Because it’s her. The eruption producing an attack on me that I have never experienced in my life before, despite the fact that I have received many a good beating when I was a kid. But this illness showed itself at its full rage. Having to separate my daughter from IT is the only way to live through that as it kicked me, punched me on the back of my head many times and bit my arm. It is the most aggressive  it has been and her shock in that left her turning it all back on herself and on the illness. She is unable to make the same separation. It was the most awful of moments that left her completely distraught and left me injured. It was completely out of control and those punches to my head were fast and unstoppable. I felt it’s full force. And then all her shame  and guilt and distress. I don’t want her to feel that. It’s not hers to feel. It is the power of this illness. I tried to take it away as I stroked her hair and cuddled her before she went to sleep. She didn’t eat from lunchtime onwards. The illness taking a victory. The whole thing falling apart in a moment. It was one of the absolute lowest points in this and left me feeling completely depleted, hurt and so upset and knowing that I had soaring temperatures to contend with for the next two days. My own levels of anxiety needing to be hidden. When I say it’s hard I feel like I’m complaining. I’m not. But moments like that feel brutal. But it just makes me more determined. Sharing with the psych at the clinic who already knows how this works. But she knows that in the main I am able to contain it. Eventually some people can’t cope and make different choices. It’s hard and scary and upsetting in those moments. I am coping.

Feeling both of their anger and frustration being directed at me. His making hers feel acceptable. The exasperation in trying to cool those flames as he fans them but I’m hopeful the counselling will help in that. He understands that his anger doesn’t help. My calmness is off the scale but in moments I feel the mental exhaustion in that. But I feel the movement and progress as she hovers just below 40kg and P starting  to get help will help her to get well too.  I feel hopeful that it will make the difference required. I’m not crazy, unhealthy, down trodden or weak. I’m just absolutely dealing with what this is. Properly dealing with it in every way. Like a one woman army. I’m a person who understands what is required  to beat this illness and I’m doing everything I can to help that happen. It’s my focus in it all. I’ll get to me at some point. Maybe! Possibly! But whatever. I’m fighting for her sunshine  with every little bit of sun I can create in myself. And when her sun eventually shines on me I will feel like the happiest  person in the universe. 

Somehow we made it through those two days. My relief as we swam at the pool for ten minutes to cool down and then I saw the sun disappear through the window. It left me sitting on the swimming pool steps with my eyes filling with tears. Feeling so proud of me and my girl in making it through what felt like the longest two days ever. Not quite sticking to that whole plan but as close as possible in that intense heat and without a single eruption. It felt like a truly massive achievement especially when the power cut took out all those fans. 


Meanwhile in other thoughts … 

I still find little external inspirations and In moments I see or feel something really wonderful that reminds me of kindness and courage. Like the young boy I saw on the tv who travelled on his own from Afghanistan and was fostered by two amazing people who helped him. As cricket provided his happiness and feeling the heartfelt care of Freddie Flintoff who wished to help him too. All the traumas of this boys life seen by someone who wanted to share his same  passion in life. Their connection cemented just in that. It felt very beautiful to see them sitting together and Freddie’s wish for him to be everything that he wished to be. Wanting to share what he had with someone who didn’t. Little things like that lift my heart. Sharing your fortune with another because it just feels good. Just because it can make a difference. 

And lots of little happinesses sprinkled amongst this illness. Like the present brought back for me by my Polish neighbours as a Thankyou for feeding  their fish and watering their plants. I like them. The musical composer and the furniture mender. They have interesting stories of the past before I was born and what Poland was and is now. They’ve always lived  above me and I love listening to him play piano. Giving me some local polish vodka and macaroons and a book about Poland because of my interest in them and the place they grew up in. Their thoughtfulness was so appreciated.  

Or my mums message telling me how her and T had bumped into Prince William and Kate and their  kids in the Isle is Scilly and having a ten minute chat with them. Did make me laugh. I could just hear my mum just being herself as though he were her next door neighbour and asking after his nan. If you’re gonna celebrate the platinum jubilee might as well rub shoulders at the top. 

And then other sadnesses. The 12 year family member that I sat with a few weeks back in her bedroom for an hour as she shared all her crystals with me. Ones for confidence, self love and protection. Making me a little bag of them that I now carry in my bag. As we sat on the floor doing Angel Cards I told her “I have these too.” My mum gave them to me. She felt happy in having someone who shared her love in these things rather than Just laughing at her. The girl who has lots of cuts up her arm where she releases the pain from those who are bullying her at school. She doesn’t fit the version of “beauty” as defined by society. As her “friend” took a photo of her while she was sleeping at a sleepover and then distributing it beyond. As people showed her in the corridor and laughed at the “fat girl”. And this friend shared that, so that what? She could be part of the crowd and popular. Throwing her “friend” to the wolves and  leaving her isolated  in order to elevate herself up to a higher place. Leaving this 12 year old feeling completely worthless and not wanting to go to school. 

I think the bullied  go one of two ways. They join the bullies or they wish to help those who are bullied. 

And then thinking about the victories. My friends boy who was also bullied really badly at school and watching him In a show with all the friends he made at drama club. Another bunch of misfits who wrote a show for themselves that playfully showed all their own insecurities and flaws in a way that were celebrated and brought to life through 80’s karaoke in which not one of them could sing or dance. The most joyful thing I have ever seen in my life that made me want to be part of their gang. Because you didn’t have to fit or be societies stereotype of what is cool or clever or beautiful or rich or any other element that makes us more desirable to the majority. You only had to be you and in that you were special. Written in a way that didn’t have that condescending and un genuine feel that can come through an adult  version that sits behind many a thing I see. They were living it. They knew what it actually  looks and feels like. They knew they weren’t accepted as part of the crowd. They cared but tried to laugh it off and not care. And in that they found each other. I care but try not to. Knowing people are very fickle. But I really care  in how it affects kids. How it has affected my daughter. 

Why is it so hard to be kind to each other and look out for each other? And to treat  others how you would wish to be treated or even just someone you love to be treated.

And the escape.. I have written a lot about Stranger Things. A programme that is really popular and I love too.  I love it so much on so many different levels and only just making the connection of eleven, which was when I felt most like a superhero as a kid. I could write all day about my love of it. It’s subtle throwbacks all over the place of a time I lived through. Sometimes it can just be seen in a camera angle of a rehashed version of an iconic movie moment. I see every film and tv inspiration meshed in Along with all the psychological details. I love how that is depicted. But in its very Stephen Spielberg and Gooniesque way there is something for me just in the randomness of the group of main characters who are so courageous and loyal to each other as they risk their lives for each other and something more than just themselves.  It has provided me with so much inspiration especially the last series where our hero questions herself in being a monster or a super hero. The psychological elements that can be related to by many a kid  and also a middle aged kid.A master piece in my opinion that has lived in my own imagination. Feel very connected to their way of thinking and expressing. The Duffer Brothers to tv, what Matthew Bourne is to ballet.

Anyways a lot of ramble which has nowhere to go.

I found  this song the other day and it made me think of my girl. I loved that “simple” was so beautifully sweeping and epic. Sometimes in little moments when I look within myself and think about the real differences I have made for others, that is hidden away and not seen by the many and only comes with a title of human, it reminds  me to see the beauty in all my trying and struggling and battling. Perfection doesn’t really exist. It’s just a facade. And when listening to this song I felt how my own simple song has evolved through this. And just for a brief second I felt my own symphony.I hope you feel yours too. Because simple and imperfect is special too. And the only cool I’m loving today as I sit on my swing and write is that gentle breeze that is blowing through my hair. 

What a very beautiful and epic and simple treat! 


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