I stopped feeling for a while



I stopped feeling for a while. I worked really hard at it. I preempted what might happen when we finally had our home.
Something I have dreamt of since leaving home at 16 and longed for for my kid since he was born.
But I was scared.
I dreamt this, I write about it, I wrote down every detail, the warmth of the sun, the proximity to the sea, my son with friends, the colour of my kitchen. So to be sat in my wildest dream, the holy grail feels both unreal and cripplingly scary and still infinitely fragile.
So I decided to stop feeling. I cultivated not feeling-ness. I stopped booking my therapist, I stopped dating and I filled my weeks up tight! But I miss my deep-feeling self. Since I left Bali and felt so very much on my return through the airport, re-living my escape, feeling the clammy hand of my 5-year-old in mine, no idea what I was doing or how I would do it. I turned off the feelings.

But since then I have only cried once (as we marched for Palestine my tears fell and fell). Since I buckled in I have had a non-stop headache and I have not written a single word. I have bought new books, filled my fountain pen, moved around meetings to create some pockets of space and nothing. I celebrated sitting at my sewing machine for the first time in a decade and not crying, and now I realise that maybe that is less of a triumph than I thought because feeling deeply is part of who I am.

But I got scared. I got scared that in this peace, in this home with pink doors and winter sun pouring through the window I would let my shoulders drop and so much sadness and darkness would pour out. Because the switch is only on or off, there’s no dimmer, no soft trickle. It’s nothing or everything and, ufff the tears are already flowing.

But this week as a birthday treat I booked a therapy session and my therapist asked me to imagine what it would be like to break down the wall between who I was, and who I am. And although I feel sadly comfortable in the erasure of her, and all her fear and sadness and rage, I am realising I lost some other parts that I’d never thought about. And I think I’d like to welcome her home. The girl who would sew for hours just thinking, just being. The one who went on aimless walks and wandered round markets looking for new fruits to try and liked long train journeys. In building a wall between this new me and her, I have removed all spaciousness from my life. I have been hiding in the light, really trying to be pleasing because honestly, I am scared that if the grief and sludge and crying til snot comes out starts that it will scare everyone away and I will be alone.

But it’s my birthday month, the last year of my thirties and I want to welcome that girl who worked way too hard to get us here for me to not feel it.

I stopped feeling for a while but as I sit in this home, this sanctuary that I used the fuel of grief and fear and loneliness to build, I shall let my tears flow and I shall laugh so loud I wake the neighbors, and allow the spaciousness of safety to lay an extra seat at my table for the girl who got us here.

Sending you all so very much love in this weird heavy joyful season.

Love always

Sal x

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