Free Verse: Letter To Myself (Aged 14)

DS,

There are so many things
That will challenge you in life,
And challenge will push you
To learn things
You should have never had to know.

Sickness,
Emotional pain,
And death.

You know all of these things early,
Yet I’m not sure anyone
Ever thought
To explain them to you
Properly.

Instead, you take everything in,
And you understand it
As best you can.

Help will always be there
When you need it.
If you need it.
But it will take you
A long time
To be okay with asking,
And even longer
To actually accept it.

You spend years,
Trying to repress
Any part of yourself
That makes you different.
That makes you stand out.

After realising you’ll never fit in,
You try to change yourself,
To make it less obvious
That you are different.
You try so hard
To make yourself invisible.

You will repress
Every part of you
That makes you unique,
For fear
Those other people
Will judge you.

But all the while,
You will desperately seek
Some form of acceptance.

First from adults,
Because as far as you are concerned
They are right,
And know what is best
For you.

Some will see you,
Really see you,
But their influence
Will be fleeting.

Most will side with the masses.

Most will tell you to be
Like those that make it hardest
To be yourself.

People will tell you to change,
And because you can’t
You will tell yourself
You have failed them.

That you have failed yourself.

I need you to know
That is not the case.

DS I wish I could tell you
That the loneliness goes away.
I wish I could tell you
That the love
You so desperately want to feel
Is something you will have
In abundance.
Perhaps never in the way you yearned for,
But know you are loved.

Your family’s needs will drain you,
But they also love you.
You have real friends,
Friends who you have absolute trust in
And who love you.

Not a pretend version
Of yourself, not a facade,
Not even the version of yourself
You portray to the world
To make it seem
Like you are confident.
They love all of you,
With no parameters.

Love is hard
For you DS.
It’s not something
That comes easy.

Even now
The most important person
Who could love you,
Needs to remind himself
Every day
That it is okay to do so.

I am so sorry for the damage
I have caused to you
Over the years.
I’m sorry for punishing you,
When you had worked your hardest.
I’m sorry for not understanding
What you gained, when you walked away
From a path which seemed important.

I’m sorry for pushing you
To be something you are not.
I’m sorry for blaming you,
For the things in your life
That you never had control over.

I’m sorry DS, for never trusting you
To make decisions,
For hiding and playing it safe,
When I could have instead
Let you live.
Truly live.

Worst of all DS
I am so sorry for not loving you.
You are wonderful.
You won’t always feel like that,
But it is no less true.

What you overcome in life,
Is truly outstanding.
You judge yourself
Against the worth
And the attainment
Of others.

You push yourself
To grow and develop.
But everything you do
Is done with passion,
Dedication,
And a sense of purpose.
Commitment
Which I cannot begin
To commend enough.

You can turn your hand
To anything
And make it work for you.

You’re flighty.
You are easily distracted,
But you always get done
What needs to be done.

You have so much love
In your heart,
And you willingly invest it
In others
Before you invest it in yourself.

You push yourself
To make life better
For others
And in so doing
Make it harder for yourself.

You struggle to get by.
You push to be better.
And if those around you
Aren’t flourishing
You will do anything you can
To help them, or blame yourself
If you can’t.

It is both the best
And the worst thing about you.
It will take you far in life,
But the one thing
That will evade you
Is your own sense of self.
Your own purpose.
Your own happiness.

But help is always there.

Eventually, you’ll ask for it.
Eventually, you’ll accept it.

Where you go after that
Is up to you.
But know that wherever you go
You have my love,
My support
And my trust.
For once, above all else I have
Your best interests at heart.

One day
I may feel like I have found
‘My purpose’.

But until I know for sure,
I would like
To make you a promise:

‘To keep trying, to enjoy
What I’m doing,
And to take care of myself.

To live a life I am proud of,
And one which allows you
To be as happy
As you possibly can be.’

Personal Blog: Over Reacting

The Following is an extract from my Personal Log:

Unknown Date (Between 06.09.14 – 12.04.15)

I overreact to things. I already knew this about myself. But…

For the first time in the longest time, I had a dream which I remember.

I received a gift from an old family friend, a calendar with precious pictures of us and then some pictures of her family. Each picture had a beautiful quote on it which related to the picture. I was so overwhelmed rather than just put it straight onto the wall, I took it to my mum’s house to show her it. She took it out of its bag and then for whatever reason removed the binder. I was so angry, I watched as all of the pages of the calendar fell to the floor and I couldn’t help but shout my frustrations. My mum, realising too late what the binder was for started crying as she had unintentionally upset me.

Even in my dream, I was devastated, I said quite calmly, 

“Actually it doesn’t matter, I can just use blue-tack to put it on the wall, it doesn’t change the beauty of the gift itself.”

I then hugged my mum and tried to reassure her that everything was okay.

Then. I woke up.

I felt guilty. I was devastated that, even in my dream, my actions resulted in my mum crying.

I overreact to things. I already knew this about myself. But for the first time, in the longest time, I realise that my behaviour does not just affect me, but those around me. When I become irritable, irrational, irate at all of the little things. When I demand and expect the world from myself.

Personal Blog: The Beautiful Warrior II

Written on Tuesday, 18th September 2018:

On the 8th September 2018 my mother’s physical journey ended. Where death for me has always come with a fear of nothingness, what her passing taught me is that the end of a physical existence is just the beginning of new existence. One in which the spirit and energy of a person is free from the confines of their physical form.

Tomorrow I, along with my family and friends, will gather together to attend a service planned to allow the people whose lives my mother has touched in some way to say goodbye to my mother’s body, the vessel that carried the soul of a warrior into her final battle.

Called in on a Monday morning to spend what we were told could be our final hours with mum we began a journey with our mother that lasted six days. Perhaps the six longest days of my life so far.

My mother was thrifty, and creative. She could create something from nothing, and always worked hard to provide anything that we required. So when she was given hours, she somehow managed to find days. Those days were long but she was never alone. Those of us that were with her ensured that in her final days she was constantly surrounded in love. Her family, and friends around the world prayed for her, loved her, and thought of her. Strangers who had never met her, heard of her and asked to pray, and to share her story. The story of The Battle of Room Seven.

Although the illness which took her into her final battle came suddenly, my mother’s health had been in decline for a while. Small things at first, things which we passed off as inconvenient, but which mum would never directly complain about.

As was her way my mother put the needs of her family first. This was her way in life, and so to was it her way in death.

With each day that passed in that bloody week, we struggled to come to terms with what we were being told. After the first two days of watching her fight so hard, I had to ask. I had to hear the words be said and so I spoke to a nurse and asked her to tell me what I needed to hear.

“Your mother is dying. She isn’t going to get better. She doesn’t have long left.”

The nurse who said these words said them because I asked to hear them. It didn’t make it easier, but it allowed me to change my thinking. To begin to process what was actually happening rather than what we wanted to happen.

We prayed of course for a miracle, but miracles come few and far between. To have shared a moment with Thilda was to experience the miracle of her generosity, of her kindness, of her ability to love indiscriminately and unconditionally. As a close family, I have the luxury of a lifetime of memories with my mum and I hold each memory dearly now.

As hours stretched into days, mum’s transition from physical to spiritual became a testament to ‘The Beautiful Warrior’. A woman who championed those she fought for.

I asked my mum a number of times throughout the years to tell me what made her happy. Her reply was always the same,

“I am happiest when you are happy.”

This was my mum’s way. To live for others and in particular to live for her family. As her final battle drew to an end, I was struck with a moment of clarity. The fight, the bold and bloody fight which my mum had put up so far had never been a fight to get better. It was instead a fight to be with the people she loved for every last second she could be. Each breath in and out a gift to us, to give us the time we needed to come to terms with what was about to happen.

During the whole week my mum was unconscious. Though she was surrounded in love. Love which transcended the physical environment she was in, and surrounded us all. Keeping us strong, and protecting us in this time before we say goodbye.

Mum’s last week with us was a powerful one. One in which myself and all of her family members learned about ourselves and each other. Even in death my mother brought us together, creating bonds that ensured we would always have people to surround us in love when our time comes.

Losing mum feels like losing a part of ourselves. It is a living nightmare from which we can never wake. The loss of such a profoundly wonderful person has affected so many people, but what I have learned about my mother since she passed is that she has given so much in her short time on earth.

Solace comes from the memories and love she gave and left us with. I treasure not just my own memories of The Beautiful Warrior, but those shared by the people whose lives she touched. Memories which keep her with us, until we see her next.

Personal Blog: The Beautiful Warrior

I wanted to write something grand and beautiful. I have tried a few times now, to find words enough to express an experience so profound it has left me changed and very much in shock.

On the 8th of September 2018, at exactly 8:00am my mum died.

The drafts I have will likely be developed into content that will be shared in the near future. I hope to tell you more about my mum, she was an amazing woman who was compassionate and selfless through and through. She had so much love to give and all she ever asked in return was to be around the people she loved the most as often as she could be.

During her last week of life, she was a warrior, and she proved her strength and love in a six day battle that she gloriously ended. On my last full day with my mum I told her about Valhalla, I told her about the mead halls of vikings and warriors of great battles who she could regale with her tale. I can see her now bringing a rowdy hall to silence as she takes them on a long and rambling tale with many false starts and tangents. I can see them hanging on her every word.

I wanted to write about her sooner, to acknowledge what had happened. But the longer I left it the more difficult it seemed to write about. Even just writing it down makes it feel more absolute, writing about it makes it feel more real. No matter how much I want it to a lie to be false, I find myself having to come to terms with the fact that she is no longer a part of my physical life. Thankfully I still feel very close to her spirit and the love that she built into the fabric of everything she did, but I miss her dreadfully. I long to speak with her, to sit with her, even just to hold her one more time. But of course the finality of death is to accept that however much we want these things, we must accept that they are not to be.

Grief has been both horrific and beautiful. Trying to control it is like trying to control the tides, it comes and goes as it pleases, dynamic and ever changing. A reflection of life itself, which is also dynamic and changing. As painful as losing my mother has been, life has so far gone on relatively unhindered, and will continue to do so long after I rejoin her.

But before then I have a life to live. A life that I promised my mother would be as happy and full as I could make it. This was my final promise to my mother, and one that I intend on keeping.

Rest peacefully mum, your final battle may be over, but the legend of ‘The Beautiful Warrior’ has only just begun being told.

I Had To Ask

Three times I’ve met you in the last year and each time, I am incredibly glad I had the notion to do so. The more time I spend around you, the more time I want to spend around you. Hours in your company never quite seem like enough time and even the topics which might otherwise be difficult to talk about are interesting and fascinating, partly because your unique view of the world challenges my own perceptions and makes me want to know more about the world around me.

When I first got in touch, I did so because I couldn’t shake the feeling that you were someone I would enjoy developing a friendship with. I sat next to you everyday for the best part of a year, ten years ago, yet I was never able to chat to you beyond trivial greetings. With hindsight I recognise that that was due to an attraction to you that at the time I wasn’t able to admit to myself, and instead presented itself as a social awkwardness.

I’m still aware that a part of me feels that same attraction to you now, and although I am very happy to be able to develop a new friendship with you, I don’t want to mar that potential friendship by misconstruing any unspoken boundaries. I said earlier that a big part of the last year has been about creating opportunities, and knowing you is an opportunity I am so glad I acted on, if I’m completely wrong here and you have no interest in anything beyond friendship then I’m sorry if this makes you uncomfortable. However, I hope that even if you aren’t interested in anything beyond friendship that asking you directly does nothing more than give you at least the reason why it was you I chose to catch up with beyond any other person.

19th May 2017

One year ago today, I was at the very beginning of a mental breakdown that led me to write this.

I shared it on Facebook at the time, but the words seem so powerful still that I wanted to share them again. This time as a reflection, and a reminder of where I have come from, and how far I have come to get to where I am.

Life is so hard to evaluate at the time, but rather than saying “is it better?” It has helped me to say,

“What is different?”

In the time since writing this so much has changed for me and likely will continue to do so, but I feel ever closer to the life I should be living. It doesn’t matter what I do, as long as I remember to do what I do for me and no one else.

*****

Two days ago, I became so overwhelmed I cried at work. On that same day the exhaust fell off my car, and when I finally made it home it was to find my washing machine had broken and the kitchen floor was very wet. But the time I was done cleaning it up, I was laughing at just how ridiculous a day could be.

Since then I’ve done very little. I’ve pressed pause, and I’m currently evaluating. I’m going up North with my family for a couple of days, and in that time I’m going to try and figure out what the next step forward is.

Sometimes it is about stepping backwards from the things that upset you and looking at the bigger picture. Once I have a better idea of what is really going on in my life I can consider what I do armed with information, clarity and hopefully for once in my life, my own interests at the forefront of my decision making process.

There have been more than a few people who have helped keep me together over the past… how long has this really been going on? It’s been a while.

Thank you for your ongoing support and thank you for giving me the space to get to grips with things in my own time. It can’t be easy being friends with someone with depression, but know that even when I can’t speak to you directly or when I cancel on plans that took far to long to put in place that I love you for your support and will always do my best to come back to you when I am ready to try again.

College Application

I just pressed ‘Send’.

I’ve been putting this off since January. I kept finding things I ‘needed to do’ first.

After a while I realised I had written it time and time again in my head.

I was putting it off because until I pressed send there was always the possibility that I could get in. Yet if I pressed send, there was always the possibility that I wouldn’t.

I began to feel like it was insurmountable that I would never meet the standard required to succeed.

But by doing nothing, I will always fail. I may yet be told that I am not able to get a place in the course I want, but I can at least say I tried and that is always worth more than failing to do anything.

If I could just convince this cat to get off my lap, I feel like I could do anything today.

A Bloody Disgrace

“Would you look at that it’s ridiculous!”

“Aye”

“Imagine cutting the grass like that.”

“Ah, know”

“That field used to be looked after.”

“Ah, know”

“They cut it when it’s raining.”

“Ah, know”

“Now look, a bloody disgrace”

“Ah, know”

“It’s those kids I’m saying.”

“Ah hear you hen.”

“Are you listening?”

“Aye.”

“It’s those kids I’m saying.”

“Ah, know”

“Running aboot in that field playing football at aw times eh night.”

“Aye.”

“It’s a bloody disgrace.”

“Aye.”

“Imagine cutting the grass when it’s raining.”

“Ah, ken.”

“A bloody disgrace.”

“Aye hen, a bloody disgrace.”

(Conversation overheard walking past an elderly couple as I walked past a football field on my way to work.)

Words

Words. There are many words. Words which can be combined in an almost infinite combination. When used together they convey not just meaning but expression, emotion and purpose.

Some words can hurt, others heal. Some words can be said quickly, without thought yet their effect can be lasting. Haunting.

Words bring opportunity or condemn us. They record history, only as accurate as those who observe it. They can be edited, misconstrued and taken out of context. They can be used to justify the unjustifiable and free those who pray for liberation.

Words are powerful. Words are lasting. There are many, so chose them wisely.

Living Ghost

There was once a time where everything I did felt good.

Now the things that once brought me joy chip away at my soul leaving me feeling like I am no longer a real person.

Imagine how scary it is becoming a ghost when you are still living.

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