Monday, 11 November 2013

Treading water

Some days it feels like I'm treading water. Or maybe it's mud. it certainly feels heavy and confining enough to be mud. It clings and drags and consumes. Treading in my endless muddy water, barely keeping my head above the ripples I create with my ineffectual flailing. Exhausting. Draining. I hate those days, or should I say these days. Because that's what it's felt like of late.

I paint on my smile and put on my Can-Do hat. I do what has to be done and try to live in the moment, rather than the overwhelming notion of tomorrow or the next day. Time never ending is intimidating in it's endless expanse. It swamps me when I try to think about it. When I try to make sense of it. So much is in flux and it's tiring. There is a desperate need to finish something. To have an end to even one small thing. A decision made. A task completed. A symptom to finally reign in. An answer finally bestowed. So that I can dump it and forget it and move onto the next task at hand.

But life isn't like that. Illness isn't like that. Neither care for my need of ends. Flux is hard to deal with. But it seems to define life in all it's permutations. A permanent state of flux. There are no nice neat boxes that I can pack, seal and stack in neat rows. No storage lockers for all the sorted and completed tasks. All labelled and marked. Colour coded to reflect the effort taken and the task overcome. So I can go in at need and reassure myself that those are the burdens I no longer need to bear. A tangible tally of all I have dealt with and completed. To give me the impetus and encouragement to know that today's issue will be sorted. That it will have an end. Nice and crisp.

In my more sanguine moments I know that such dreams are unrealistic. In those moments I can tell myself that this is life. In those moments I am okay with the uncertain nature of life. I can take a deep breath and move on. In those moments I have the reserves to deal with the lack of tangible endings. I can appreciate that uncertainty also has that magical flipside of as yet unknown possibilities. That the future is unwritten and that mystery can sometimes be the most precious gift we can be given.

But today I am going to wallow. I am going to let myself feel the weight and the exhaustion. I'm going to pout and moan and shake my weakened fist at the sky, and scream obscenities at the universe. I'm going to shout about the unfairness of life, the lack of justice in the world. I'm going to sob into my pillow and throw plates at the walls that surround me.

And then...

...when the roar is over. When my fury and and sadness is spent. When the venom that is that little voice in the back of my mind, is finally exhausted and silent. I will take a deep breath. I will feel the lightness of my being. I will stand. And I will be ready to accept the possibilities before me once more.

In the words of Maya Angelou (1978)

Still I rise.

This is one of the first of Maya Angelou's works I ever came across back when I was a teenager. I remember feeling the power in the words as I read them on the page, but it wasn't till I was older that I realised the true importance of her work. Hearing it in her own voice sends shivers down my spine. Whether the voices that harangue you are external or internal we can choose to be stronger. We have to believe we are stronger.


  1. Thank you for using some of your precious energy to post at all. We all need to hibernate in our 'bedcave' sometimes, please think of yourself first when things are that bad, we will all still be here when the words of wisdom flow a little more easily xx

  2. I came out of my cave seeking inspiration and hope. You have done it again. So many hard days. New symptoms, more tests, same old crappy feeling.
    Still, I will rise up again.
    Thank you

  3. Thank you so much Michelle. Again, you express what I can't anymore. The tears flowed as I read your words and then there was Maya's poem. The words new, as if I heard it for for the first time. I send you love and friendship and support and really, thank you just isn't enough. Spoons and hugs.

  4. I really hope this spell passes for you soon Michelle and you feel a bit better. I have learnt not to ever think about the future or what lies ahead or I just freak out with worry. All of us with chronic illness have to just get through each moment as it happens, its a terrible and weird way to live but sometimes I think it must be how animals live, just completely in the moment so maybe its actually a more natural state. We are cursed with having such complex thought processes. Anyway, have a good day today, hugs xx


All who are lovely enough to comment should be showered with cup cakes, glitter and macarons. I promise to use my spoon bending mind powers to try and get that happening for all who are lovely enough to share their words. Those who go the extra step to share posts should really get a free unicorn. Or at least the gift of finding the shortest and quickest line at the supermarket on a regular basis. xx

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