It’s been a quiet 12 months.
It needed to be.
I suddenly found I could no longer roll with the punches.
The painted on smile faded and I stopped pretending everything was OK, because it very much was not.
My miscarriage, this time last year, was the king hit that had me unable to get back up. Too many years of not dealing with stuff, meant that I finally broke. Aside from feeling fractured, I was also very lost with no idea about what to do next.
And then I got angry, so angry.. at every body. I hated them all and any happiness they dared to parade in front of my puffy, blood shot eyes.
I decided it was all completely unfair and I had every right to be a spoilt brat about it.
I finished up a work contract and never went back. I stopped caring about pretty much everything. Even deciding to let my house plants die.
‘Why should they live’? I told my mother melodramatically, ‘when I am so dead inside’.
I instead spent a lot of my time hiding from the world, while wearing pajama pants and eating organic peanut butter with a spoon; painting my toes, listening to Sufjan Stevens and sobbing until there was nothing left, completely and necessarily grieving the years that had taken their toll on me.
I scoffed at anything baby related and avoided anyone who had one.
'This isn't like me", a little voice inside me cried, "tough luck" the angrier, louder voice shouted, "they can all go sit and spin".
I was angry at anyone with a Dad still too. I blinked back tears when I watched grey haired men the same height and build as my Dad. How lucky that family was to still have theirs.
It was just so fucking unfair.
I read back over the pages and pages of letters my Aunty and I wrote each other. I poured through the books she had given me and the one sided conversations we had all across social media..one sided now, since her accounts vanished as quickly as she did. And I wept for her too, for the first time since she had left us, I let it all out.
I looked out of my window a lot and watched the boats with their white sails on the lake drifting by, wondering how anyone got to be so lucky to be on a boat, drifting away from land filled with hurt and pain.
When I couldn’t even feel hidden in my house from the outside world, I hid my head deeper into the pages of a book; living someone else’s life, because mine was all too much.
I would love to say I did yoga, meditated and took long walks on the beach over that year. There was a little of that, but mostly I just had to coccoon myself and pray time would fix it all.
And it did.
I finally got to a point where I felt I could smile at my friends again and mean it. I could stop avoiding worried family members wanting me to talk to them and face it.
I viewed the world very differently though, a common occurance of grief. I was kinder, more upset and affected by other people's pain.
I once again got to a point where I realised compared to some people, my life was very full and blessed and shouldn't be taken for granted.
The final step was me finally feeling ready to step back into, well...something other than pjs and head back to work. Accept that all had changed for me too.
I felt like I was suddenly on a conveyor belt, join the masses on their daily sojourn, in their tiny little cars, to their tiny little offices to work at their tiny little cubicles. After a year away from a career I had worked hard at, while I felt like I had healed, I also couldn't help but look around and depressingly think, sheep, we are all just sheep.
So here I am, on a Friday night and it has been a long week at work. I am trying hard not to say 'baa'.
I am sitting on a squeaky stool in a stale pub, contemplating a hole I have snagged in my new black tights, while I subconsciously nod my head in time with the music warbling over the speakers. I feel momentarily, young and free and filled with hope. It is heaving in here tonight, with mostly testosterone. Men in suits back slapping each other and giving their buddies man hugs. Each of them seem to be on a high, forcing a surge of energy to exist in the air around us, relief that the week is done. I get it, believe me.
Adulting is fucking exhausting.
The rat race, the back slaps, the 9 hour days. Working for the man day in, day out. I am acutely aware of how soul sucking it is.
But I have no choice.
Adulting is fucking hard.
So I sip my drink and watch them all, like the weird little creep that I am.
The other thing I notice, while I sit here and now pick at the nylon hole with my fingers over and over, is how completely invisible I am. Not that I want to be noticed. But since noone is noticing me, it makes me think that I maybe I want to be. Definitely, not feeling so young and free any more.
I usually feel like an outsider in any situation I am in, but for some reason more so tonight, in this crowd.
Shiny, young Uni students start to drift in from the late afternoon sun, after a day of leisurely drinking in the beer garden, they fill the spots between suits effortlessly; and despite the differences, everyone seems to be buzzing on the same frequency. Hmmm, it seems you reach a certain age as a woman and suddenly you are on a squeaky bar stool, looking around, wondering how you got there and why you are not in on the buzz like you used to be.
Finally my eyes scan the room one more time and a flash of blonde catches my attention.
My sister. She is here to meet me for a drink.
She has her own shit she has had to deal with this year too.
She is older than me…and wiser, and stronger, because she has been through it all before me. She has even been through more.
She proves her wisdom straight up, by knowing to head to the bar first, to buy a bottle of something bubbly, returning with it and 2 glasses before finally sitting down beside me with a huge smile on her face.
Her husband died 2 years ago, her eldest has just moved away to start University and she sold her house this week.
But tonight she smiles.
We are deciding to let everything go. To clink champagne glasses and cheers my new job and her house sale. To focus on the steps we have taken to get back up again, and not all the ugly that had knocked us flat on our backs. Somehow and many bottles later the 50-year-old with the blonde hair and the 39-year-old, with a hole in her tights end up on a dance floor. Somehow the throbbing of the bass in the trance music has us in the middle of the young, shiny uni students and pulsing testosterone. And no fucks could be given. Not one. We may be invisible to all of them, but right now everyone else is invisible to us.
As we laugh and drink;
and dance. And drink.
We even have stamps up our arms like badges of honour. We are one of them.
And we are there for each other, like noone else can be.
The strangest thing happens too, the less we care about whether we are too old, too inadequate and way too past it to belong here….suddenly we do. A brilliantly choreographed gay man, vogues his way over to me, grabs my hand and spins me into the middle of it all, and then everyone is eating out of the palms of our hands.
Maybe someone slipped some acid in our drinks, but that is neither here nor there.
The point is we are on top of the world and the younger ones are looking at us, like we were born to dance and we are all truly one, in this euphorically blissful moment.
Everything crappy ceases and we are transported by the rhythm.
I am also so connected to my sister in this moment. Someone who on a cellular level, knows everything there is to know about me inside and out. It is such a different feeling to be floating around in this space with her and her support and her energy. Her smiles build me up. Nothing can stop us now, and I feel ready for this truly to be a turning point, to stay this happy.
I feel like a Queen, risen.
It is only really when I drop her off in a cab to her hotel, that reality sinks back in.
The cabby and I watch her as she gracefully exits the car, walks through the front foyer with her head held high, and vomits in a pot plant while waiting for the lift.
Funny thing is noone even noticed except me, already invisable again, the magic worn off.
Me though? I am sitting in the back of the cab laughing hysterically.
I am not sure what all of this means, except I was depressed for a while and now I am not. Life can sometimes feel so very shit, but it does pass, it really does and hope comes back again. I am lucky to have the sisters that I have to make me strong when I am not and make me laugh uncontrollably in the back of a cab, when I desperatley need it.
I am going to be OK.