I am a Little Meadow Flower

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Bright Pink Flower Against Bright Pink Grasses

I am a little meadow flower
Slightly ragged
Barely noticeable
Sometimes called weed
Lost almost
In a field of many blooms
Adding to the beauty
Of the many
But nothing on my own
I take the soil
Whatever’s given me
And make seed
For the future
For whoever follows
That is all
I am a little meadow flower

September 2016

Heroes Yet Villains

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Once upon a time, when we were young
The heroes were white and pure
Stood apart, tall and strong
When did we raise them?
So they would always be taller?
Did we make them or did they make us?
Their gold glittered at us
Sunlight or human natyre?
But it was only there to fill the cracks
Distraction, lure, deception
Yet how we believed
Maybe we wanted to believe, hoped
Regardless, no matter what
For someone bigger, better, stronger than ourselves
But we worshipped eggshells
Fragile, broken, redundant
Hollow and empty, with nothing to offer
Yet they cast long shadows
We are forever in their thrall

The Nature of Me

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What is me?
A shadow or a being?
Something lost or something to be found?
If at birth I am me
Then once I was me
But now?
Who is me?
If at death I am me
Then I am not yet me
Then what of now?
Is me just a hope or dream?
Something far off
Until a line cuts through
And marks the end?
Something lost or something to be found?
What is me?
And what of now?
I am me
Something shaped by what is lost
Something shaping what is to be found
A someone in the passage of time
Me is a moment in time
And yet an entire lifetime
I am me

How Do You Like to Journey?

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Charity Shop Needles - Pink (English) Nines

Life is all about journeys, metaphorical or otherwise.  Sometimes we don’t even realise that we’re on the journey and although some would prefer the comfort and control of a well thought out itinerary, some of the best, some of the most memorable, some of the most meaningful were never planned.  I have to admit that I am one of those who likes to obsessively cover all eventualities, to know where I am headed.

Of course, life doesn’t always turn out that way.

What about you?  How do you like to journey?

I return once more to the metaphor of knitting.  Whether or not you knit, I’m sure you can draw parallels in your own life.

It is said that there are two types of knitter.  The process knitter and the product knitter.  Are knitters one or the other?  Sometimes.  But as with all definitions, us humans rarely conform to the boundaries, to the limits, to the black and white.  We are what we want to be in the moment, or what we need to be.

For me, knitting is very much about the product.  But I say that only as regards the concept of knitting.  Surely knitting is about making something, something likely as not practical and necessary?  I do love the idea of having a finished product, something that I successfully made.  A bit like the whole been there, got the t-shirt thing.  But is that really the point of travel?  To just come out the other side with a souvenir?

Car journeys can be fun.  It’s no fun when you’re stuck on traffic, our local trunk road is particularly notorious, and you have a deadline, an appointment, a clearly prescribed time of arrival laid upon you.  And shouldn’t knitting be fun?  Few of us are knitting for our bread and butter, we’ve taken it up as a hobby, a craft, a pastime.  Aren’t we meant to be enjoying it?

In my knitting, as with I think probably everything else in my life, I do not like having a deadline or even some form of obligation laid upon me.  It stresses me out and completely demotivates me.  (I am a recovering perfectionist).  Whilst I am happy to knit for other people, you’ll have to join the pipeline and accept that it’ll be knitted when it wants to be knitted.

However, I have to shamefacedly admit that I like the buzz of instant gratification.  Hey, I’m human!  And I have a short attention span.  I like the excitement (although this often feels more like trepidation) of casting on new things and I particularly like the thrill of finishing something, especially when it’s something wearable.

So am I a product knitter?

Well, the end product does motivate me.  I like to choose my journeys knowing that I can come out the other side.  And preferably in one piece too.  I want to know where I am going (or at least where I am meant to).

But as much as I like to know my destination, I also enjoy planning and envisioning the journey that I am embarking on.  I do want to know what the highlights are, what to look out for.  I’m interested in side roads, shortcuts, detours and distractions.

So am I a process knitter?

More than likely.

I’m not the kind of person that can churn out projects with regularity and precision.  I get distracted.  I change my mind and want to go elsewhere.  I’m happy to work on something else for a bit, whether like a family game of I-spy to distract and dull the pain or as a leg stretch to give me a breath of fresh air.

(Incidentally, I am under a lifetime ban from the game of I-spy).

So I guess that the kind of knitter that I am is the kind of person that I am.  I like to share my experiences with others, I like to connect with other people.  I don’t want to travel alone, I am a sharer.  It doesn’t matter where we end up or how but I want to be part of other people’s journeys, to help them, to abet them, to enable them.  And most importantly, I want to learn from other people.

Maybe I could be called a social knitter.  Although, I might not be propping bars or the like (one of the associations with the term), my knitting definitely accompanies me.  But it’s more than that.  It helps connect me, one stitch at a time.  And that’s part of the process.  The process of knitting, the process of life.  One stitch at a time.  That’s how I do it.

And that’s something I should bear in mind the next time that I’m stuck in traffic.

My Goldfish Year

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A Little Green and Blue Handknit Fish on a Hand

I have learnt to live with my limitations on a day-to-day basis; I mean, I just don’t have the energy to fight it anyway!  Most days, I don’t expect myself to do anything in particular and certainly not by any particular time or in any particular order.  I let my day unfold as my body allows.  It is frustrating.  And it is, at times, so very boring.  Once upon a time, I had a hyperactive mind – dashing from one thought to another idea to ooh, let’s do this!  – and I thought doing nothing involved doing at least two things.  Now I am a goldfish in a very limited, very empty glass bowl.  I’m not sure if I’m cut out to be a goldfish.  I know about welfare standards; even goldfish need enrichment.  Can I have a plant?  Or a tacky castle?  Just anything to look at, at least!

The biggest challenge is being upright.  I can’t really explain how easy it is to take for granted the ability to sit up.  It’s something we do at an incredibly early age and then just go on doing naturally ever after.  I used to see pictures of people in my story books, lying on their bellies reading in front of a fireplace (it was always a fireplace) and wonder how on earth they could do it.  I can’t breathe.  I certainly can’t read.  I am sitter.  Although, invariably, cross-legged (even in chairs) to help maintain my balance and to ease the pain.  And that was probably Mongrel Beast’s fault too but it’s been so long my normal that I don’t really blame it anymore, it is just how I sit.  This last year, however, I have learnt to do many things lying down.  I can use a laptop, with a mouse so my little temperature fickle paws can stay under the covers and so that I don’t need to overstretch my grumpy muscles and at times, even with an onscreen keyboard.  I have had to eat and drink lying down.  Sometimes I haven’t been able to do both – sit up and eat.  Multitasking is not Mongrel Beast’s strong point and you’d be surprised what does count as multitasking for it.  I learnt to knit.  Lying down.  How ridiculous is that?  But I need my knitting and it’s well worth the aches that it sometimes gives me so knitting lying down it is.  (I get dizzy working on DPNs and I can’t knit anything too big, not just because of the weight and drag on my hands but because it’s very difficult to manoeuvre if you’re lying down, and sometimes I can’t follow the most basic of instructions and sometimes I can’t remember what the abbreviations are and I have to wear a little sock on my index finger because nearly all the yarn irritate my skin one way or another… but I keep knitting).  Even if I manage to sit up to do something, I list.  Like a shipwreck at the bottom of a goldfish bowl.  And there’s always a price to pay.

There’s always a price to pay.  But sometimes I don’t care.  Sometimes I need to be with people, sometimes I need to go out and do something.  And that’s just the things that I want to do.  There are often things that have to be done (although I have minimised my appointments to virtually non-existent).  I can’t keep swimming in circles looking out at the world.  That’s why I have the laptop so that the world, what used to be my world, can come to me.  But sometimes I want to be in a bigger pond again.  (Goldfish can grow huge, just so you know.  (Not that I’m huge, please)).  I miss being with people, being connected and knowing how they’re feeling.  I miss not being there for people.

So to some extent, I have stopped fighting this.  Because I didn’t have any other choice.  It won.  Very much so.  I can’t pretend to be well whenever I go out into the world like I used to because Mongrel Beast rules everything I do and how I do it.  The effects of this relapse are very evident, very transparent and I cannot hide them behind a veneer of pride or a sense of duty.  I have elderly people hold doors open for me and ask if I’m alright, if I can manage and if I need a hand getting up.  I would feel a lot more mortified if only I had the energy.  My friends carry my belongings and wait for me to catch up.  (It feels like I’m always playing catch up now).  There is shame in losing a war.  Especially when everyone else has to know.  But I didn’t get a choice.  I’m still not getting a choice.  So I plan to keep on swimming because that’s what goldfish do.

I may not plan my days or my weeks but I still catch myself – it’s a little bitter sometimes – assuming that the future will be different.  You can’t accuse the Chronically Ill of being lazy because my heart is not lazy, it longs for and can only imagine a future where I am doing all the things that I want to.  I’ll be better by then.  Of course, I can do that then.  In my heart, I am not Chronically Ill.  I do not have these limitations because these limitations are not me.  Come the summer, come the autumn, next year… Then the other night I dreamt of something future and I had my Legs.  Both of them.  They were there in my future.

It broke my heart.

And I tell myself, well, it’s only been six months since I collapsed.  But those six months have got longer as the year goes by.  And it’s been a very surreal experience.  I might not personally be an optimist but I did truly expect this year to be different, even as it was happening.  I didn’t have goals or anything fixed but I couldn’t comprehend a future, however short term, that would look like this.  I still can’t.

Instead, I appreciate not needing at least eighteen hours sleep a day, I appreciate it not taking twenty minutes to walk to the bathroom across the hall, I appreciate it when I can sit up, I appreciate it when I can string a sentence together.  I appreciate it but it still isn’t enough.  I want my life back, such as it was.  I want me back.  I miss being me.

And now I need to rest.

It is Time

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Arum Lily in Black and White

~ Trigger Alert ~

 

I have never feared death.

But yet I fear change.

I feel the pain of loss and mourn those who have passed.

Some I wish were still here.  Was it really their time to go?

Death, our attitudes to it, well, that’s a curious thing.  We like to pretend in our sophistication that death does not come to us all; we like to believe that we can hold back the inevitable like Cnut or, more successfully, the Dutch dyke boy.

Yet death comes.

There is this bleak realisation that slowly come into my mind a few months ago and has never really left it since:  I never planned on getting old.

It is this thought, this feeling that now often surfaces, an unshakeable, disquieting companion, in the lonely or painful or sleepless or dark moments that I pass through.  Yet, I don’t really have the words, or even the consciousness, to describe it.

There have been moments in these last few months when I have faced the bleakest moments of Old Age; my physical body is failing me terribly (ironically at just this time when my psychological self seems stronger than ever) and I struggle to do the most basic of things.  At times, everything is so difficult and painful.

So I ask myself:  Why am I still here?

Actually, more often, I ask myself how.  How am I still here?

You see, I never planned on being a grown up, I couldn’t envision such a distant, alien time.  And now, apparently, I am one.  Due to years, at least.

And this year I have found myself feeling like a grown up, or at least, like what I think feeling like a grown up feels.  I am old and weary.  And I don’t like this feeling.

What happened to all the time between here and there?

Since when did that inconceivable there get so close then arrive?

I don’t know.

I never thought that I would be a grown up.

I thought that I would die young.

Maybe it was the morbid fancy of youthful depression and too many romantic concepts of invalidity born of stories.

Do the good die young or is it more just for the wicked to be allowed to leave before too long, before too late?  Is death a punishment or a reward?  Is death a climax, a culmination or is it an excuse, an easy way out?  Is death for the brave or for the cowards?

I still don’t know.

I didn’t fear the evil word that is Cancer, I am pragmatic about such diseases and their outcomes. I feared earlier evils in my naïve, backwards mind: consumption, perhaps; unseen, little understood spectres that took without discretion, who wreaked havoc in swathes and left no survivors.

(Even as I write this, Beth’s words from Little Women echo in my head still).

I feared hospitals.  I still do.  Hospitals are places of suffering, in my mixed up, dark mind, where everything is taken out of your hands, out of your control and given to nameless, shapeless deities, revered by some in society.  I fear them.  Hospitals are dark and dirty, hospitals are places of other languages and other worlds, hospitals are places of loss, hospitals are a place of another kind of death, the loss of self.   I never want to be in a hospital.

I had no dreams for the future, just this certain, unshakeable belief that I would be gone.  But now I find myself here and I ask why and I ask how.

Do I want to die?  I still don’t know the answer to that.  I just know that I do not want to be here.

Do I wish I was dead?  I still don’t know the answer to that.  I just know that I do not want to be here and the future, well, there is no future, just a continuation of days, of months and of years.  This is not a future, I have no more hope.  I dream and wish for nothing.  At the very best, I survive.  And I’ve had enough even of that.

Am I Depressed?  No more so than usual.  I would not call myself suicidal; I know and recognise the tug at my heart that comes briefly when the Depression is not so bad and my mind is clear, determined and resolved.  A reactive Depression that still has the motivation, the willpower to act.  I know too that suicide is not the worst of feelings because most often my Depression sinks far, far lower into a never-ending, murky abyss.  I don’t fear feeling suicidal either.  There is worse.  Much worse.

I have, as with so many things in life, two standards.  One for me, one for the rest of the world.  I’ve always had this dual outlook.  I will stand by your side through all your sufferings; I will not leave you.   Death is not something that anyone should face alone.

I fear endings just as I fear change.

It was me and my father who took our dog to the vet’s one early morning when I was still a teenager.  I understood that the others had duties, responsibilities elsewhere and I respected that.  It is only within the last few days that a passing remark on a television programme made me think again, review this episode.   Apparently, most people don’t want to watch their pets fall asleep.  Well, of course not.  I understand that much.  But to not be present?  I don’t understand that.  I had no concept of it then and I struggle to comprehend it now.  I am not a macabre, sick-minded person who takes pleasure in viewing the end, a end but rather, I see quiet respect and dignity in accompanying someone, something at that moment.  Even just an animal.  Maybe it was duty or responsibility that kept the others away.  But maybe it was duty or responsibility that prompted both of us to stay in that room to the very, very end and beyond.

(We went home and poured ourselves generous tots of brandy to steel ourselves and never spoke of it again).

I feel sad that I was not up in the night for the myxy rabbit which passed in our care.  We had brought him home late one night as he was too ill to get out of the road and fixed him up comfortable quarters but knew there was little hope.  I felt I had abandoned him in his hour of need when he passed whilst we slept, unconscious.  But hopefully, not uncaring.

But for me?

I want to go quietly, as in alone.

I don’t want any fuss or spectacle.  I don’t believe that I will be missed.

I just want to slip away, somewhere quiet and lonely, away from everything and everyone and for it to end.

I don’t even know if I want to be found.

(I don’t know if I can be found).

Since I barely had double figures, I have always written a Will and in it I have stated that I do not want a funeral, I want to be chucked in a river and forgotten about.  Although I am pretty sure that the Environment Agency would have something to say about that.

Is it Depression?  Is it morbidity?  I don’t know.  I am weary though and not getting any younger or more well.  I am not likely to ever be well again.  And happiness has always been the most fleeting of experiences in my life.  I have survived until now and now, I don’t want to anymore.

I want this to end.

Does that make me wicked?

I don’t know.

Does that make me selfish?

I don’t know.

Does that make me weak?

I don’t know.

Death comes.  But it hasn’t come to me.

And I don’t understand why not.

 
 

Related Posts:-

 

(I only recently came across this post and I feel terrible for not reading it at the time.  I hate not being there before people).

A more recent post from another blogger on a similar subject.

Bruises, Bleeds and Breaks

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~ Trigger Alert ~

 
 

Who’re you going to tell?

Who’d believe you anyway?

They said that names will never hurt you

They say it’s just words

But hearts bruise

And hearts bleed

And hearts break

 
 

The constant stream of insults

(Name-calling would be so simple)

But there’s more, always more

Mocking, taunting isn’t where it ends

The criticism, the scepticism

The where do you think you’re going

The why do you think you can go

The what do you think you look like

The why did you go and do that for?

You’re stupid, stupid, stupid

Abrasively wearing down

The heart bruises too

It bleeds and breaks too

 
 

Fists aren’t the only blows

Aim low, no one ever sees

Hit hard, no one ever pays attention

Who cares about you anyway?

But hearts bruise

And hearts bleed

And hearts break

 
 

Sand away, sow doubt

Maybe you don’t deserve any better

Maybe you did do something wrong

No one else would put up with you

Where’d you be without me?

Learn to be grateful that it isn’t any worse

Learn that the only fault is with you

Living with the eye rolls every time you open your mouth

Living with the blame, for anything and everything

Mind games, spirals

Everything’s out of control

Not knowing what just happened

Not knowing what to believe

The heart bruises too

It bleeds and breaks too

 
 

Taking responsibility, blaming yourself

Living with fear of someone finding out

Dreading that they discover just how bad you must be

Living with the burning shame, living with the isolation

Knowing that you drove them to this

Hearing only ever one voice

Losing your own voice

Is this never-ending nightmare just in your mind?

Who is going to believe you?

Who is going to listen to you?

The heart bruises

The heart bleeds

The heart breaks

 
 

Are you going to listen?

Are you going to believe?