The Bottom of the Hill.

Hills and more hills as far as the eye can see.

On the outskirts of town, they ebb and they flow. Looking like a far off distant land you could easily explore and conquer like a Burke and Wills expedition.

Why is it you feel like screaming and crying and dying as you walk up a hill, wanting to stop every breath, every step, but as soon as you stretch your whole body and reach the top, you feel like a queen; an athlete; a champion! Adrenalin pumping through all of the pulsing, hilly veins inside. Wanting to feel this way forever. Hooked.

When my mum was my age, she had birthed and mothered four children. She was in the midst of a life running a household containing a 15-year-old, a 14-year-old, a 10-year-old and a 4-year-old.

She had at 37, already lived in a shack my parents had built with their own hands as newlyweds, on the side of a hill, in the middle of nowhere.

Their first year of marriage and they had no electricity, no indoor toilet a new baby and snakes and spiders to contend with. She was 21. On the side of a hill.

They then went on and raised the rest of their brood, on a huge, flat, dusty property with a long, long dirt driveway. She handled it all bravely. The kids, the cows, the dust, the wheat crops and dad..worrying about the rain, the drought and making ends meet. Despite the flatness there she could still look out across the plains and see hills on the horizon, warily keeping an eye on them – closer then she wanted them to be. She was focused on staying strong and keeping a household running, she had no time to enjoy ups or wallow in downs so she kept charging on and planted her life firmly where it was flat.

I have wondered lately how she coped with it all? She did not have cafe dates with girlfriends, cocktails or book clubs, hiking or wine tasting weekends…or the freedom to throw a tantrum and hurl herself under a mountain of doona to Netflix and chill.

So it is her that I think about now, on the edge of that hill of hers. Her and that incredible strong will, as I face plant my bed and give up.

As I dig my way through all of my hills and tell them to all go to hell.

I am sick of the climb, sick of hurting as I scrape my skin from my legs – only getting half way up before I slide down again in the rubble and rocks and muck, sore from straining my neck to look up and see where I long to be.

I have had enough, so today I quit. I give up, resigning myself to the fact it is too hard to reach the top.

I am sick of the injections, the nausea, the headaches, the cramps, the negatives, the scans, people mourning, dying, leaving my job and trying to stay positive; more scans, more injections, turning around and pregnant bellies and newborn babies everywhere swirling around me, not knowing who I am or where I should be; up the hill, down the hill, round the hill? I am sick of the waiting. Waiting until I am suddenly told I am over the hill and it is too late.

So today I am going to just quit and surround myself with soft hills of pillows and bedding filled with feathers. Diving into doonas, hugging hot water bottles and a call to my mum today because the hill is shitty and she will tell me what to do.

Maybe next week I will feel like I can strap my hiking boots back on ready to go forth again. Maybe I will be surprised by how light those heavy boots suddenly feel.

Maybe by then I will look out across the Autumn afternoon and feel OK when I see those hills on the horizon.

Thinking about how at least I am not on the side of one of them, doing a wee in the dark.

 

Em xoxo

Treasures.

Before there was all of this and things were hard. Before I moved through life tactically and knew about pressure.

There was a large, clunky dress-up trunk, at the back of the sun-soaked kindergarten room.

It had dents in it.

Dents made from my young teacher I now suppose.

As she pulled and pushed it to do something amazingly romantic perhaps – fleeing a Budapest bedsit in the middle of the night, where a lover slept soundly.

Catching a plane, then a train to a dusty country town for a new start. A chance to disappear into something other than herself. Resting it down gently, filled with old costumes, in the midst of my class-roomed world.

 I remember the buttery warmth across the mostly brown room, like yesterday. The trunk itself was often covered with cushions and pillows and packed up tight, which made it always seem even more of a treasure trove; a mystical box that my little hands itched to dive into at all times. When all tasks were done and colours were kept in between lines, Miss Eveleigh gave me the nod I needed.

Silent indications that it was finally time for me to carefully – almost reverently, make my way to that box before anyone else thought twice about it.

A chance to disappear into something other than me.

Children around me picked up fireman hats and stethoscopes, teachers glasses and astronaut suits.

Maybe I should have to.

Instead, I reached like always for the thick, heavy faded wedding gown and fell into it. Dancing around in complete bliss.

I remember it was so scratchy on my skin and so billowy and so big, it was hard to walk in a straight line without stumbling over.

I always picked up a doll; my baby – and felt that was that; ambition recognised. The dress, the kid. I had it all. This was where things were going. Children around me pretending to be surgeons and pilots.

Perhaps I should have to.

Then maybe right now I would be able to breathe in. To not feel the weight of the pressure of a clock booming in my head. To not feel my next birthday approaching like a roaring jumbo jet inbound from Budapest. In the middle of the night, my body dented from pushing and pulling it all around to get where I need to be.

I am running out of time, I can feel myself drowning in layers and layers of white lace and billowy fabric, clutching on to imaginary babies for dear life.

To discover you only have a finite time to turn make-believe real; a hard punch to not fall down in a heap from. To realise it may not happen, makes me wish I never wanted it at all. In my head, I now have 2 years left. 2 years to find the treasure, the trunk and pull all I want from it.

What an unrealistic time frame I have managed to set myself.

What a time for wishing I could easily disappear into something other than this.

Why am I suddenly a 37-year-old pirate digging for treasure?

Em

xoxo

Cocoon

emotional-baggageToday.

It feels like a spectacular floaty, peach cobbled dress, with oodles of shoulder draping; breezy wings to billow behind as I descend down a long staircase.
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It feels like I can do it all with a wink and a smile.

Like that sun is hung just for me to warm the top of my head and the roses of my cheeks.

I have never, ever felt as good about being me as I do right this moment, and to think it is only going to get better the more baggage I hurl out of the window, smashing it onto the tar – clothes flying out everywhere in a trail behind me as I go.

 

It has nothing to do with any tedious daily events, or who I am in the company of; what I am supposed to have reproduced by now or where I lay my head.

It has everything to do though with waking up from a long, long slumber. Opening my eyes and seeing how strong I am and how easy I can be where I need to be. Slipping my toes from the comforting hammock that held me and my worry, my sadness, my fears down onto the cold floor.
Cocooned for so long; wrapped up in a sea-weedy, salty ocean of blankets and comfort and warmth as I thrashed around kicking and fighting it all endlessly – before finding myself giving in.

Flopping as I floated and bobbed along on top of it all, lifelessly. Curling up at the end of a hard day of dealing with what I had become. Pathetically submissive; submersive. To be suffocated by all of it for so long, years and years in fact. So completely exhausting all of my bones and my aching tired muscles. Knowing that what I was immersed in, was an overwhelming and heavy feeling of being totally out of control and totally unable to dig myself out of the giant hole I had fallen down.
I have been so miserable – deeply miserable, for so long.
And I did not even know it.
I didn’t know you could still laugh, and buy raspberry tea and pick apples and wash your hair with pretty shampoo and be so completely miserable.
I didn’t know people saw me so much worse than I ever saw myself.

I didn’t know you could wear a fancy dress and dance under the lights and not realise you were still invisible.

I was only miserable within myself, about myself – everything external was just dandy, delightful, dreamy. Inside though it was concrete – heavy, sad concrete that weighed me down for a long time. I had put on the brave face, the lipstick, the clothes for so long I started to believe that I was just fine. Then I rubbed my lipstick off, smudgy and thick and I instead hid myself from everyone. I tricked myself. So much so, I didn’t even know I was playing hide and seek. Saying no to anything that involved people showing up as assessors, of the damage I had done to myself.

It hurt my shoulders the most; the weight of the failure; the weight of the complex intricate things that made me; and the weight of…the weight. It was all about the way I held my weight – tied it down under a microscope and focused on it forever and a day.

It all was about the way I held my failings –  forever and a day. Holding myself down against my will. Exhausting.

For the first time ever I have reached a point where I have fought myself and won; I have put myself first and it has worked. I have been able to see my way out of an impossible situation. I have found my old self again and at the same twirly, giddy moment I have found a new me I have not met before. Whenever I said ‘oh no I cannot face you with this face,’ I meant I could not face me.

I always thought I was an outsider – my whole life. Never fitting in, never truly belonging, always watching from the sidelines wanting desperately to be wanted, for someone to hoist me up on a pedestal even but for a moment.

I know now how brilliant and bright and god damn good I am.

I am not a stretch and pulled cartoon. I am a Matisse, a Klimt a sparkly Van Gogh!

I have peachy, billowy chiffon all around me. Life couldn’t be any better.

A B-52 Bomber, dumping the bags and crap and the weight as I fly.

I am the lightest I have ever been.

No need for a cocoon today.

Em xx