I knew this time would come. I knew it, I expected it, but I didn’t anticipate it. I am Having A Wobble.
It’s well overdue. You don’t go through the sort of crap I’ve dealt with in the last six months without there eventually being a reckoning. This should be the easy bit. What it is instead is the hangover.
Thing is, when you walk through the storm, hold your head up high and don’t be afraid of the dark. At the end of the storm, there’s a golden… sorry, I’ve got You’ll Never Walk Alone as an earworm today. You’re lucky you’re not in the same room as me.
ANYWAY. What I mean is, for months, I’ve had to just ride out the storm. Of everything life has thrown at me, from assault to access, from family disintegration to The House Of Many Colours, from ruptured relationships to bewildered Blondies. Annnerrrmmm [whispers] I’m pretty fucking proud of how I’ve managed and coped and the things I have achieved (photo below was an especially cathartic moment).
I’m not saying I deserve a medal or anything like that*, but everything I did, I planned, was methodical. I got my head down and told myself ONWARDS. Always ONWARDS. Don’t be distracted, don’t overdo things, trim it all down until you know what you’re facing, deal with it, ONWARDS.
I was offered a lot of Proper Support by the relevant types. Counselling, advocates, an IDVA, therapy, a place in a refuge, GP appointments, Victim Support, the whole shebang. But after the first ten days or so, I refused all offers of help. Because I knew I needed to be as robust as I could be, and talking about things would upset me too much. It was bad enough with the things I had to talk about, let alone the things I was asked if I wanted to talk about. I couldn’t afford the emotional energy, and I really couldn’t afford to fall apart again. I’m not going to pretend that this was a healthy way of dealing with things, but it worked. Shit got done, stuff got sorted, The Blondies didn’t miss more than two days of school, and I got the case stopped, ditched detritus, and redecorated almost an entire house on my own, armed only with a chair, a vat of magnolia paint, and, as it turned out, a broken foot.
So now I should be freewheeling, right? The dark days are over, spring is sprung, I should be able to relax. And I am. But by relaxing, I’m allowing myself to experience emotion again and FUCK ME, I’VE GONE FUCKING MENTAL.
I sort of suspected it a bit last week, when a considerable number of niggles and annoyances led to me spending most of Friday with my lips clamped together, trying not to cry. I was a bit concerned when I realised on Saturday, just before giving a tour of medieval graffiti at Norwich Cathedral, when I realised I had absolutely no enthusiasm for it (yeah. Within five minutes I was flying man, totally flying, and by the end of it, my victims were preparing to fashion me a ball gag from a scarf and devotional candle, just to get me to SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP TALKING ABOUT FECKING GRAFFITI).
But then my downfall came. My debit card. It was due to expire at the end of this month. Replacement card arrived. And I burst into tears. Big, proper, full on, fat, hot, face soaking tears as I got out the scissors to cut up the old one. Because we’d been through so much, that card and I. It’s been my bank account weapon of choice since I first started writing. It’s been there, been a constant, a source of both joy and sorrow. It’s been there when I’ve been told I’m loved, and when I’ve been told I’m nothing. It’s humiliated me in shops; it’s delighted me at cashpoints. All of the silver has worn off the letters and numbers, the chip is more akin to mash, and my signature on the back has worn off. But saying goodbye to it made me cry because, symbollockly, I was saying goodbye to the old me, the me I once was (or wasn’t), the life I had (or didn’t), the life I had that I shared with someone (or not).
So fare thee well, 03/13 – 04/16. You were there when I had everything, nothing, and an all the times in between. I shall never forget the times we shared. For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, til debt do us part. And saying goodbye to you made me realise that perhaps I’m not quite as ok as I thought I was, and this is just another storm I’m going to have to ride out. And I’ll be alright, I know I will. Just a bit wibbly wobbly for a timey wimey.
*But YES I WOULD LIKE ONE THANK YOU.