It’s easy to write about your life when it’s shit. I don’t want this blog to be an outlet for just when things are shit, I don’t want to be just another first world whinge. This blog for me has always stood for giving an insight into a chronic illness and the hope others with it will find solace and support from it.
Instead of writing about things that consume me when depressed I want to tell you about the good times from someone who is doing OK (never thought that word would come out of my mouth). In the midst of many of this years winters there have been some great things that have made this year happier, the things that saved me and made the day to day brighter.
Way back earlier in the year my friend Gemma introduced me to this beautiful poet and song writer. The song she shared with me ‘You’ is, in my humble opinion one of the most beautiful songs ever written and although it makes me tearful when I listen to it (especially the Derek Jacobi spoken word version), it offers me so much comfort. Especially on the darker days when grief consumes every inch of my being, there is a lyric that my gramps and I said to one another before the worst happened and it, although not word for word. Is everything,
‘If you must die, sweetheart, die knowing your life was my life’s best part’
If you know me well, you’ll know that I love a good car rave, when stuck in traffic as you wait for someone else’s bad day to unfold a few miles ahead of you it can be easy to be consumed in the annoyance of being late or your day being changed without your permission. But I always try to see the positive – at least it wasn’t you whose bad day was unfolding.
No instead I choose to make the best of an unfortunate situation and introduce everyone to a car rave. Now you can choose whatever song you like, often for me it’s Katy Perry or James Bay but more often than not it’s my go to ‘feel better’ song – Sigma, Nobody to Love’.
This song is so catchy and barmy that whatever I’m doing wherever I’m doing it, it quietens the noise and replaces it with joy. When I was going to the gym it used to be my cross trainer song, so now whenever I’m raving I pull out the cross trainer dance and boom. Instant happy.
That Sea, The Gambler.
When I visit the seas and beaches surrounding Devon or the warm seas of abroad it’s always with friends and family, perhaps that’s why I love it so much or perhaps it’s because I am merely ensconced in a love affair with the sea.It makes me feel as close to free and relaxed as I can possibly feel before the anxiety monsters infiltrate it’s swirly, foamy gates.
There’s something about it’s smell, the wind on your face as your feet get chased by it’s watery embrace, the freshness of the air as it fills your lungs and the beautiful gifts it leaves on the sand for you to treasure. It’s a joy that is rarely matched and my visits to the sea have been many this year and even as I sit here, typing, just the thought, makes me grin from ear to ear.
Being Auntie Apey / Rosie / Ape.
I am one of those people who is firmly on the fence with parenthood, I have yet to decide either way, and for someone with my condition – it’s a pretty weighty decision to make. But I am a big fan of other people’s children. I am super comfortable with being an aunt, in fact I strive to be the best darn aunt they’ll ever have, whether it’s my blood relations or my family through friendship. I love being Auntie Ape / Rosie / Apey. Seeing a squidgy face light up just because I’m making stupid faces or because I’m feeding them sugary ice cream goodness, is a joy I am beyond grateful to have.
Yes I am going to dedicate a whole paragraph to my cat.
It’s scientifically proven that pets help with mental health and none more so than this ginger creature. He is needy, affectionate and talkative – somewhat human like, he’s turned me into a crazy cat lady – last week I even bought him a bow-tie – which he did not appreciate. Having this responsibility has got me out of bed on days when I definitely wouldn’t have, had he not been batting me in the face with open paw. When I am sad he sleeps near my head and follows me around, instinctively knowing that I am far lonelier than normal and need this protection of sorts.
He is more than a pet, he is a lifeline on dark days and stops me sinking in the greyer shades.
Mother, Mummy, Mum.
One thing that I am grateful for above all else is my mother, mummy, mum. This year in-particular has brought us far close than I ever imagined we would be. She is my friend, confidant and protector. No one understands my mood swings better than she, there’s also no one else I would listen to over her, even though I’ll be pretty fucked off at the time.
She is a woman who has lived. Life has dealt her some pretty shit cards but she remains a positive, loving and joyful person in spite of it. And what better quality to admire in a person than someone who finds joy even in the darkest places. I could gush about this woman for a whole blog, but I won’t because she’d be livid.
I’ll Be There for You.
There’s many things that I find the joy in now. Singing along awfully in my car to many a Ben Howard track or Barbara Streisand if I’m feeling particularly brave… binging on Made in Chelsea even though I know it’s bad, it’s so good. Early Grey tea in my favourite mug with a slice of three of cake or receiving a text from my favourite people, just because.
Joy doesn’t have to be the big things, in fact it’s very often not the case. I have felt and find more joy in a beautiful autumnal day when I am wrapped up in scarf and hat, listening to my favourite tunes that I have felt on much bigger occasions. I have finally understood that life is not about searching for happiness in the big life goals, it’s about finding it in the things you have and finding it when you’re at your lowest ebb.
Those are the moments of joy you’ll remember, when my gramps was losing his marbles at the end he wasn’t talking about the big things, he was laughing at the little things. Ice skating with my mum, teaching me how to play dice when I was 4 getting drunk with his mates and causing mischief.
And I think above all else the lessons I have learned over this year from the death of my beloved and lessons from my glorious mother. Is that joy is finding a group of friends that see you as you are, the raw gross bits that many would ignore, who envelope you, pouring you into the cracks of their heart so you become just as close as family and discover a loyalty and love that is unshakeable.
The ones who get the train up to spend the anniversary of your beloveds’ death with you and head back home at the crack of dawn, just so you’re not alone. The one’s who ask you to be chief photographer at their child’s birthday party because you’ll capture the heart, the one’s who send thoughtful messages from thousands of miles away and the one’s who are always supporting you by attending parties with you so that you’re not on your own and feeling anxious.
This post wasn’t going to be about them, but it has become one as I speak about joy, it is them. So this is a love letter to them. My darling friends.
Whom without ,the moments of joy would be fewer and far between.