For tomorrow

I can’t remember what started it, but last night Adam decided to start talking about the period of time when we first met. 18 years is a long time for me to try think back, especially when it comes to remembering people and the things that they said and didn’t say. For some reason, he still finds it hard to accept that I really don’t remember much of it. We had initially been introduced by one of his ex-girlfriends who I worked with at the time. It was some months later that we met in a nightclub and, well, let’s say our life together sprung from that point. He has told me many times, that in the time between those two meetings, he had watched my comings and goings from a rock bar we both frequented. For some reason, he has never been able to accept, that I have no memory of ever seeing him during that time, not even once. Last night he persisted but I couldn’t remember even the people he kept talking about. I know that I actually became quite abrupt with him, but I have no memory of the things he was speaking about. My life has been slowly vanishing for years now, I remember the important things, the major events, but things like parties, meetings in pubs and people I spent time talking to, even some I know were friends, all the details are now gone.

I guess that a good example is something like the festivals I attended. Outside of the headline act, I don’t remember who else was there to entertain. I just remember spending a day sat on the grass drinking warm cider. Even the performance of those headliners are now gone, no songs remembered no stage acts preserved, all gone. It has just become another day. As I said, I remember the day Adam and I truly met, how we walked from the club across the bridge and trying, trying so hard to get him to go away when I found out he was 20, 17 years younger than me and was something that wasn’t going to happen. The words no, or how it took us two hours to walk what normally took ten minutes, all those details are now gone. As are the dates, the time spent together, all gone. I remember going to Arran for a week, what we did there is a mixed blur of bonfires on the beach and walks on the hills, followed by evenings in the pub. What we talked about while there, is all gone, just the result on the night we returned to Glasgow, as that was the night we became engaged. I remember the words around that hour, but the rest is gone.

My entire life now is like that, just the structure, not the decoration, the frippery that makes life sing, it’s all missing. It is as though my life has become nothing other than events and feeling. Oh god, do I remember the feelings. In many ways, it is the feeling that trigger the memory of the event. I remember that feeling of being drawn to Adam, how within days I couldn’t bear being away from him, and when together, I couldn’t stand not touching him, that need to be as close as space and propriety would allow. I remember all that as clearly as I remember falling into the hollow pits of hell, the feeling as my heart was ripped from me, and of it being shredded and how death would have been a joy, the day my son died. My entire life is now all procession of feelings, feelings I appear unable to forget, but the details, the words, the people who surrounded me, they are either gone or fading, disappearing like ghosts as they drift slowly into the fog. And trust me, there is a lot of fog.

Losing your memory isn’t like there is a chosen date where everything is cut off, and with each day that passes, that date also moves on. There are no clean lines, there are no types of memory or categories that fade faster or slower. Things just go. For me, the first I lost were names and not just names from the past, but the names of people and places, I still really should have known. Just like the people, I all to often have forgotten their voices and their words, unless, those words held feeling. I remember many painful events from childhood on, but just a few of the good. I know there have to be more, no one could have a life with so much pain, without some balance of pleasure. Yet until twenty-five years ago, I can find little else. I know that it had to be there, I know as I can feel the gaps, I know that those gaps are there, and every gap I find, good or bad, it’s maddening and painful in its own way. Just as I can’t remember the things I am supposed to be doing today, I don’t remember most of my past. Today, yesterday or forty years ago, what isn’t there, hold a powerful pain. I may forget to eat, to have a shower or whatever, just as I now struggle to remember who attended our wedding or what speeches were read, or even by whom, or if any at all.

We don’t choose, we don’t mean to anger or hurt, we just don’t remember and none of what we have forgotten was by choice. All our lives are precious and what happens in them important to all involved, but ours are vanishing, ours are no longer there to supply the conversations of today. There is a frustration in knowing that life was so much more, in knowing that all the colour and vigour is gone. It’s a bit like being cheated out of life, what was the point when you can’t remember when you can’t share and laugh at what happened? What was the point of living it all, if it is no longer there? Why live today, if it will be forgotten tomorrow? But of course, we do, of course, we live, because the one thing that doesn’t seem to fade, that doesn’t vanish is the most important feeling of all, love.

 

Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 16/04/2014 – Self-inflicted

There are those days that just seem to pass without thought or true feeling, days when you don’t actually know, or care, what will happen next, as whatever happens will be right. It has felt for a while now as thought I would never have one of those days again as I have done nothing but worry about one thing after another, days where I have been chasing my tail and convinced that the only good point will be when I eventually manage to go to bed. I don’t know what made the true change, may be just at last having my mind settled over where my Mother is and how she is, but something changed yesterday and all those feelings of pressure left. I wasn’t any more able to keep up…..

Processing happiness

I managed to make a little space in my days over the last week and I used it to change a rebuild everything that I now do on Twitter. I have been wanting to for quite a while now as once again it had become just that bit too much for me, so although nothing has vanished, everything has been altered in some way, mainly reduced in their frequency which means fewer tweets and less work. When I look at what I do these days compared to what I started out doing, it was just madness the amount of tweets I once sent out, some might say it still is, but I did always set out to do it my way and that hasn’t changed. Over the next few days, I know without a doubt everyone will spot the changes and I just hope it still keeps everyone happy and not feeling as though I am ignoring them, as the mentions were the thing that needed the most pruning, something I started about a month ago. It’s really hard when your health forces you into making changes, changes that you know without a doubt you wouldn’t have made for any other reason, but that is what happens with conditions like mine, we have to keep changing to keep up with what it is doing to us.

It doesn’t matter whether we are ill or not, one of the things that it is impossible to do is to not look back on our lives. Those people who tell you to just forget about it, or not think about it are mad and personally, I actually believe that looking backwards is often the best way of working out not just who we were then, but who we are now. There are events in everyone’s lives that none of us will ever escape, those events that can’t be forgotten or brushed over, but no matter how painful we are always drawn back to by events, or just our mind’s still trying to make some kind of sense out of the whole things. I for one have found that the worst thing possible to do with those memories is to try and push them into some kind of box and keep them there, it doesn’t work, they always explode suddenly and you don’t just feel them, you relive them in probably a more painful fashion than you did originally. One of the biggest problems of our modern world is we don’t have space to think, there is always something to distracts us, gives us an excuse to pack those thoughts away. There is one thing that totally amazes me and that is people who say in bemusement that they can’t sleep because they can’t shut up their minds, why are they so surprised by that fact, if you don’t think about things, they will make you think once you have the peace and quiet to do so. To me it has been the most positive thing to have come out of being housebound, I have had time to think, time to go over all those things that were my life and to see them often in a very different light, that’s why I said “to see who you were”, I have learned more about me in the last 8 years, than I learned in the previous 45 and the biggest thing I have learned is if you have things pushing their way into your mind, it is because there is something wrong with the way you are remembering it and all too often, it is the viewpoint that’s wrong, the fact that I hadn’t looked at it from the viewpoint of the others involved.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about forgiveness and how it was all too often ourself that we had to forgive, but not all memories are about apportioning blame, most are far more about emotions, our times of both happiness and sadness, if we are lucky exceptionally lucky the happiness memories out way all others. There is a myth in my head that says everyone in this world is happier than I am, I know it’s a myth because everything I read tells me that everyone out there feels ruffly about the same. It has taken me a long time to realise that being content is actually the reality of how most of us live, somewhere along the line we have this black and white view imprinted on us, that you are either happy or sad and there is no in between, but if there were the truth everyone would be walking around either in fits of tears or manically laughing, contentment is a very under appreciated state. When I found myself housebound I also found myself with the time to work through a million things, forgiveness was one of the first and it took a lot of soul-searching and lot of pain but I still stick to what I said in 2013, it is so worth doing, it changed me into a much more mellow person inside, I was no longer pulling myself apart and fighting my way through a life that had so many painful events in it that the past was a dangerous place. I was lucky in one way, that I had tried to do the same thing once before when I first moved to Glasgow, but I had held onto some who I was just not ready to forgive at that point, two years ago I at last forgave both my Father and the man who raped me when I was 12. It is hard to grow up when you are permanently being held back by so much hate and it holds you back emotionally as well, I had spent most of my adult years still acting like a child when I was confronted by anything I didn’t like, want to face or wanted to admit. My memories had been overshadowed by those spectators who I couldn’t put to rest and finally forgiving was a wonderful feeling. In the last few years, I have spent a lot of time going through my past, well as I said the other day, new memories are hard to make when every day is identical, but someone the other day said something that made me sit up and think again.

It was in response to one of my tweets, I can’t remember exactly which one now, I know I should have made a note of it, but I didn’t. They too had a chronic illness, but they were trying so hard to fight against it and to get back the life they had before their illness hit. It was something I never once tried, I had had so many different lives, that the whole idea of trying to get back any of them, well it didn’t make sense to me, I have started over so many times that starting over again seemed like the natural thing to do and I just did it. With every change that my health has imposed on me, I have readjusted and restarted what in many ways is another book in my growing life history. I have always taken with me what I had learned but not once trying to hold onto or return to what was now a closed book. It never once occurred to me that anyone else out there would be trying to do anything else, yet here I had it in front of me in black and white, someone who couldn’t move forward because all they were doing was looking back. Part of forgiving and letting go is the acceptance that holding onto something that can’t be changed is only ever destructive to ourselves. It doesn’t matter if it is a painful memory or a lifestyle that is now out of reach, if we can’t let go it will do only one thing and that is to eat away at us and make us unhappy and probably even depressed as time goes on. To be able to survive not just being chronically ill, but in my case housebound, I had to let go not just of my past but everything about your health as well. It is easy to get caught up in the blame game, to hold this doctor or that doctor responsible for us not being diagnosed sooner rather than when it eventually happened, to spend your life ripping everything to bits in search for the cause, the thing that you did wrong that meant you got ill, that will make your health worse. Draw a line under it, accept that it happened the way it did and this is where you are now, there is no way back, nothing you can change and if you ever want to be happy again, start a new life, this is day one, this is the start of something new and something exciting as the unknown always is.

It took me a while, like I suppose it does everyone to have that first day that I was happy, that first day where I didn’t want to punch the lights out of everyone who looked at me wrong or didn’t understand that I was ill or who had the misfortune to work in the medical profession, but it happened, I did smile because I wanted to not because others told me to. It took me even longer to realise that I didn’t have to be happy all the time to not be depressed the thing everyone seemed to be waiting for and that being content was far more important. Content is a wonderful thing, content means that you have stopped hating, stopped blaming and started living. It is the first step that follows acceptance, as until you do you will never be content. I have done it so many times in the last 14 years that I now do it without thinking about it or even planning it. Every time I know that things are just too much for me, I wipe the board clean and I rebuild taking into account what is too much, what is destroying my contentment. I don’t do it daily and I don’t do it lightly and yes I do still try to hold onto the things that I shouldn’t from time to time, but I never try to go back, as that is the perfect way to land up in a worse state than I was already in.

Just as I said a few days ago, asking yourself “am I happy” is something we all should be prepared to do every now and then, if your not well fix it, but just as important once your health has gone is to ask yourself “am I coping”, if your not well fix that as well. My answer came back no a while ago, but I always give myself a window to see if things improve, they didn’t so I made the changes to my day that I hope will bring back the answer that I need of yes. If any of us are going to live as well as we can for as long as we can, we have to adjust, not once, but probably more times than we ever care to think of, but once you have started again a few times, it just becomes part of your life, not a horrific process that scares the hell out of you, aim for contentment and enjoy the happiness that comes with it.

Read my blog from 2 years ago today – 17/05/13 – Interpretations of a good life

After my panic of the other night yesterday was a totally ordinary and straightforward day, thankfully! All those things that raise your pulse and all those chemicals that race around when your brain has lost control, maybe not only useful in the past and captured for profit by thrill seekers, but I now know that I would happily live my life without them, as I can only see one way of equaling all of them and that is not knowing…….

New beginnings

Well it appears my New Years morning really are good ground hog days. I am sat here with a glass of bucks fizz, something in the background on TV and Adam snoring, totally identical to two years ago and in fact every single New Year since I haven’t been able to make it through to midnight and the bells. I have to admit that it really doesn’t bother either of us as neither of us have ever really been huge fans of the midnight madness, but we do both enjoy the chance of the post Christmas feasting of New Years day, once I have written this, well it will be time to make the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon trimmings through it, to be eaten with croissants, what’s not to like. Christmas and New Year are the only times we eat together now, for so many different reasons, but I don’t know if he said it to please me or if it was genuine, but for the first time neither day has been filled with meat as I really find it just to hard to deal with and Adam said he didn’t mind at all. I do at times feel as though I am forcing changes on his life, which he may not care about at all, but I do as I know all to well, life isn’t just about me.

I can’t work out why as the house doesn’t feel cold, but my hands and feet are freezing, which with the rest of me quite comfortable is really odd. I know it will be just one of those odd sensations that PRMS creates, but the coincidence of both hands and feet at the same time is as I said a little odd. I have been so busy this morning with all the New Years messages on Twitter you would think that my body wouldn’t have time to invent the impossible, but it seems nothing is a good enough distraction for that. If I haven’t already sent a message of happiness for the New Year to you directly or in reply, well I wish all who are reading now a very Happy New Year. Like many I used to wish people a happy and prosperous New Year, I said it, well once I could actually pronounce it, because it was what my parents always wished others and they them, I saw it as the right thing to say, no thought ever put behind it. It took me many years to drop the prosperous, but I guess we all get to a point in our lives where either traditions change or our values do, for me it was the latter, I realised that prosperity wasn’t the important bit and it didn’t make me sound grown up, just trite and shallow.

Growing up is the oddest thing that we humans try to do, I honestly don’t know why we are trained to believe there is this huge importance in being something we’re not. The only part of growing up that is important, is being able to get and keep a job, as without it, well life will be very limited, strangely the majority of us aren’t actually taught about or trained as to how we actually do that. I was lucky, as other than being taught how to be pretentious, I was also taught to work and to put a true value on making my own way through life. I have mentioned many times my growing up years, how I learned as we all do from not just our teachers but our parents, and just how deeply those double edged swords of life can cut. I will be 54 in a couple of months and I have just realised that I am still more deeply affected by my early years than I ever thought was possible. I long ago forgave both my Mother and even more so my Father for the terrible things they were responsible for, but I hadn’t really realised that there is hardly one thing I still do that I wasn’t taught by them, things that I had lost in amongst all the bad, as once you are carrying pain around you forget to say thank you for the good things and there were good things as well. Forgiveness isn’t enough, on it’s own it is a job half done, a start but not enough to make life as happy as it should be. I could sit here and make a list of all the things that I have let go of, but that list wouldn’t achieve anything as they no longer hold the pain, or the need to be spoken about again and again as they once had, but what I had never done was to look at my life and list the good things that came out of that time and there was a lot of good things, things I had brushed over and hidden under the corner of a carpet of pain. I guess it has taken me so long to notice them as they didn’t have the same strength and didn’t shout as loud, often the way of the good things in life.

Yesterday when I was writing about how important learning is to me even now, I omitted to say that it is my parents I should be thanking for that, they knew I had a hunger to learn things most little girls have no interest in and they not only let me, the encouraged me to begin with. My private education was the start, but time spent in my grandfathers antique store, not just cleaning and serving, but time with the cabinet makers and packing crews. Telling my big brother to let me help with his fixer-upper his car when he could, sending me to piano lessons, letting me spend hours discovering and bring home things mothers don’t want in their homes, but greeted with a smile. Letting me help in the dark room, or with decorating and DIY, even sending me to Art Summer school, nothing was out of limit’s and nothing not right for a girl, all of it be thanked for. As a child I felt they forced me into working for my weekly money, working for an hour before school every day and every Saturday morning for the grand payment of one pound, which for 1972 wasn’t bad. Now I thank them, even though it turned me into a manic bluebottle for years, if they hadn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this every day, regardless of what happens or how I feel.

Harder is to thank them for the things I had to forgive, as without all of them, well I doubt that I would be this person who doesn’t give up, who became determined to be herself and to enjoy life, regardless of what it brings. It some how feels right now to thank them for all of it, regardless of how I saw it at the time, or after, and not just them, but others too. We can’t escape our history, we can go back and change it or stop it from happening, if we could, well who would we be, I’m me and comfortable to say so because of them, good or bad, forgiven and thanked for.

 

Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 01/01/13 – New Year nerves 

I am sitting here with a glass of buck fizz, Oliver Twist on the TV and Adam snoring, it may be a New Year but some things don’t change. lol. I woke briefly early this morning as……..