Sunday, July 14, 2019


Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself;
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
- Walt Whitman

Mental health moment: I am large, I contain multitudes. I have been transported back to being three or four when all I could remember was that I was bad and that my father was constantly angry at me. I don't remember why and I don't know whether this was correct but this is what I have carried. I lost myself to my three year old self and despite years of therapy and the most unhelpful of British "pull yourself together" voices I was alone with myself, in a corner, knees up to my chest, arms around my knees, feeling terrified. 

The thin veneer of ok that we carry gently with us is easily cracked. And even as we are seemingly on top of the world. 

Look at this from Friday: A good day. Life is in balance. It's about the architecture, the placement, the elegance, the feng shui, how many parts to how many parts water, the Fibonacci sequence, the golden ratio. It's about excelling in all areas and juggling all the parts. 

Was this too much pressure? Could I not live up to the perfection? 

My lovely man has been my rock. He is my rock. I fear losing him to these shenanigans. I fear his open, kind face will crumple when he sees the real me. It's complicated, baffling. 

My friend J responded to my text in the middle of the night by calling immediately. Without a beat. I was ashamed (oh shame, there is something that needs volumes to be written in it: the most unuseful emotion, the absolute killer) but I managed somehow to text. And she came to me immediately. Kindly. Openly. Sweetly. Don't be hard on yourself. There has been so much change. You can't just keep putting on a brave face and powering on. You must allow yourself to feel this. 

She is a miracle. 

I contain multitudes. Some I am more proud of than others. 

A friend told me that as a teen she asked her mother, right before going out "How do I look?" "No-one will be looking at you," her mother replied. 

Love your children unconditionally. It's the only thing and the best thing you can do.  ❤️



Katherine C. James said...

Sending you so much love. I understand this. My experiences came from my mother, but I understand. My dad loved unconditionally, my mother could not, and I was the focus of her anger. I have an old New Yorker cartoon that shows a tiny boy in a tiny school desk. A giant teacher looms over him. She is saying to him, "You are wrong, Timmy. You are terribly, terribly wrong." That cartoon that I first saw in my twenties or thirties spoke to me because it was about the shame I carried. It took me years to understand that; it took me years to understand that I was often living my life as an apology. Others place their emotions onto us, and we carry them. There are mixes of nature and nurture that complicate it, but that doesn't really matter; it doesn't matter whether what you feel is literally correct, it is your experience of it that matters. Reaching out is strong. Receiving love is strong. Your friend is right: there has been so much change. Feel however you feel. However you feel is exactly the right way to feel. Embracing you from afar, your three-year-old self and you now. I'm so glad your friend is there for you. You deserve that friend, and the love in your life. And yes, we need to love the children in our lives, our and others, unconditionally. xo.

LPC said...

I will speak to shame, it's a terrible demon, as bad as anxiety in my opinion. A demon that gives wasting sickness to all our dreams and blames us for their death.

I am glad your lovely man is there, and also your friends. Wish I could give you a hug in person, for I am glad you exist.

Miss Whistle said...

My dear Katherine, my dear LPC, what extraordinary women you are. I have never met either of you in person and yet I feel that we know each other. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am for this. (And I say this from my kitchen table, at 7.20pm, with the wood pigeon cooing gently outside, a cup of tea next to me, the storm somewhat abated, and a strong sense that I am very, very fortunate. Big love to you both, Miss W xoxoxoxo

Katherine C. James said...

My dear Miss W, I also feel that we three know each other despite never having met in person. This is something I have discussed with friends long known on social media, and then met in person. We reminisce about previous events, and then laugh at the realization that we are remembering events we shared before we were ever in the same place at the same time. LPC is lovely. She has been there for me at low moments. Her perspective is kind, wise, and welcome. You have enriched my life with your honest expression of your emotions, your writing, your surprises of poems I have never read by a poet I thought I knew by heart, and your sharing of the beauty of the world. I say this from my desk at 11:55 a.m., looking out my window at bright blue sky, and sun reflected on the summer-green leaves of the tree that fills my view. I am glad the storm is somewhat abated. You remain you within any storm. Big love back to you, and to LPC. Katherine. xoxoxoxo.

Speranza said...

I relate so much to all of this especially the part about your lovey man seeing you so emotionally raw - I too have felt this and (the British part of me!) warning that I will be seen as "flaky" or worse, weak. You are talented to be able to articulate what so MANY of us are thinking/suffering so I thank you for that and also for making yourself vulnerable.