I have been away from my blog for a while whilst I have been working through some stuff that is going on in my world. From time to time, I have started to write about the things that have been going on, but I have stopped myself from posting for fear of sounding like I was whining or being self-indulgent. And if I am honest, some of the things that have been going on are personal, very personal and I was scared to expose the rawness of my feelings. But in the past two weeks, a couple of events have made me realise that it’s all fear.
The actions of a few have inspired me and have led to this post. Recently, my beautiful sister wrote this post about the horror of not once, but twice being mistaken for her friends mother during her friends visit. That and the so so brave post on Facebook by a dear friend publicly announcing her recently diagnosed battle with mental illness, and in the process, standing up to those who have been less than supportive since her diagnosis, have made me take a deep breath and “pull up my big girl panties” and get over myself.
And then there was today – ohhhhh today. Today I found out that a beautiful person, my friend Jayne, whom I have known since the beginning of high school passed away last week when she lost her battle with breast cancer. This was a woman with a truly amazing spirit who was bravely doing this in the year when we are all planning our 40th birthday parties – just way too soon.
Whilst I had only re-connected with her in the past few years thanks to Facebook, I found that as adults we were similar in the ways we approached things and I admired her attitude towards life. I followed her blog and Facebook page and loved the amazing photos she shared through instagram of her clean, simple, organic food and approach to healing herself.
I am struggling to remember her ever without that beautiful beaming smile on her face. Her “About” page on her blog tells her story and when re-reading it today it made me cry all over again. Here she was battling breast cancer yet she was still trying to help others. This was Jayne to a T. So Jayne, this one is for you, thanks for giving me the bravado on loan and helping me to stop being a la-la and just say it.
The things I have battled with of late and the wonderful scary and altering realisations that have come from them – that are, in hindsight, not so scary.
- What I do for a living does not make my heart sing. There is very little about it that I am even remotely passionate about anymore and whilst going through not one , but two brutal rounds of redundancies in the workplace, I have finally decided to step off the roundabout rather than waiting to be thrown off at speed by the “machine”. This means for me a complete career change once more, and I will admit, I am pretty much “shitting myself” about it, but am doing it anyway. Because, like so many other things in my life, I can sit and bitch about it, or I can get off my arse and do something about it. And I chose to get off my (now slightly smaller) arse and re-find my passion. And it starts right NOW.
- Less is more, or to be more precise, less is enough. Now that I have finally stopped living out of a suitcase and starting again after a separation last year, I have had to very slowly replace furniture, appliances and other house items. I started with a TV on a stool and a beanbag, my cat, bed and little else but my clothes. Each month, I have slowly added more and more, and through the generosity of some friends and my family, have accumulated some great retro and antique pieces of furniture and finally have all I need. It’s considerably less than I have ever had before – but is MORE than enough. And its lovely having mismatched bits and pieces, items that are pre-loved rather than brand new and shiny and I am proud of my little home I am building.
- The best thing that I have done in a very long time is adopt my cat Marvin. His furry little face and hilarious antics keep me grounded and it’s a joy to have this “monkey in a catsuit” to come home to every day. And if that makes me a crazy cat lady – so be it
- I have learnt more about myself in the past twelve months than I have in the past decade. Some lessons have been extremely hard and at times, I wasn’t sure what to do but to keep going. I look back and can’t quite recognise my life, and sometimes its a sad reflection of what is gone but mostly I am surprised at where I am now.
- I may never have children. This one is still very raw and is following recent developments with my (now stupidly long) list of medical conditions and due to my age. In the words of my gyno – “you are straight off to IVF if you want a baby and even then it would be challenging”. Now you are probably thinking “but I know someone who got pregnant post 40 and they said it wasn’t possible”. And to all my friends etc who have tried to reassure me with such stories, I am grateful. But being a realist, I also know that friend was probably in a long-term relationship (which I am not) , was probably actively trying to have a baby and had been doing so for a while . And whilst nothing is impossible , and I am not actively wanting to have a baby in the immediate future, this news was a massive shock. And let me tell you, the aftermath has been surprisingly harsh to deal with. There’s nothing like being in a public place, seeing a young family playing together and out of the blue bursting into tears thinking “I may never have that” . Since hearing this prognosis, I have been fighting the angry voice in my head demanding to know why this has happened, why is it that I may very well miss out and the screeching voice at the unfairness of it. It has been a struggle to work through and to try to find the positive but I try to.
- Some friends – as hard as it is – are worth losing/moving away from. This one was a tough one. One person once very dear to me has gradually drifted away in the past few years and of late has been downright insensitive whilst still demanding that I provide my full support and that I listen to their dramas constantly. They have become progressively less and less interested in anything other than their own angst . Now I admit that I am guilty of deflecting the conversation away from my problems and what I am feeling, but this person has become blatantly uncaring and time and time again I have patiently tried to steer the constant negative dialogue to a positive supportive place only to have them turn on me. No more – I have walked away from that. They can find a new person to drain of all positivity. And the “friend” that has been sharing every private detail of my life (and bizarrely about my cervix!) with anyone who will listen (including people I don’t know !) may never understand that what they have done is a betrayal (because, amazingly, they think it proves how popular they are and how much of a good friend they are that they know everything about someone and that people will be impressed by their inner knowledge of lives). As a result of their constant gossiping, this person will from now on, never be privy to anything about my life and if they are hurt or confused by that, tough.
- And some friends you can re-find after many years – and you never have them back long enough or email them often enough. You can make each other smile and support each other’s ventures and when they are suddenly no longer there, it profoundly shifts something in you. Jayne, I am so glad I got to have you as a friend, I will always remember you, I wish I could have had you in my life longer. And I know that beautiful smile of yours will live on in Sophie, your beautiful daughter. RIP my old friend x.