Last night I lay clock watching. 11.30. 12.30. 1.30. 2.30… the hours passed by in moments. I was in my head. Something had triggered open the black box and the blood and guts of the explosive opening were all over me, my ceiling, the air around me; floating images, words, messages scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.
I try shutting my eyes. But they are there. As clear as they were the first time I saw them.
I try opening my eyes. But they are there. Slightly dulled by the darkness.
I try to mindfully be aware of them and let them go. But as each one goes, the next one appears. My home, my mirror with her image, my plates with her food, my bedroom with her silver stilettos, my husband with her smiles.
I am lying here, spooning while he sleeps peacefully and wondering what the f*ck I am doing here. But these moments, I now know are all part of post traumatic shock, triggered by the subconscious. I am getting better at letting them in without the anger, and show them and myself compassion.
But if it weren’t for our boys I would have left. And yet if it weren’t for our boys I would never have given him the opportunity to show me his pain, his sorrow, his overwhelming remorse and love for me.
And as I lay there, I am frightened of that love. I am frightened of becoming too reliant, too needy of it and therefore, of losing it again.
I am still so confused. I love him. I can’t say it out loud yet, to him directly. But I know I do. And I know I want to build a future together for our boys and for us and for our individual selves..
But I also want to do something that is just a little piece of life for me. Just me. And do it before I have to go back to tidying up to the standard of his OCD, doing his laundry, ironing his shirts.
Why I have chosen to go to Antarctica I don’t know. Because I was asked by a friend from the very distant past, tempting me with the word ‘challenge’? Because it isn’t somewhere I would typically choose, not featuring in the glossy brochures that arrive in my mailbox. I mean I can’t even remember if it is the North Pole or the South. I think the South. The bottom of the earth. The underneath. The underworld. I can feel myself hanging upside down already… Maybe I feel this will turn me the right way? Metaphorically speaking.
It’s hardly going to be Scott Dunn. 8 on small sail boat. No 4 course meal with wine, amouse bouches and a digestif. No pressure shower for the girl who showers twice a day and sometimes has a bath in addition. Where the bollocks am I going to charge my electric toothbrush let alone wash my delicates? And god forbid the mono brow returning … no lights no mirrors no tweezers…
What am I doing lying here?
What am I doing going to Antarctica on a quest I don’t fully understand yet?
Why? Because it is so scary? I thought one of the most frightening thing would be to lose the love of the man I loved. But I survived it. I lived without it. So is this my confidence and desire to do more of what I thought I could never do?
Or is this a distraction? Or a goal? Or a dream to write about such an experience? Or pipedream given my reality and responsibilities? Or escapism from the very same?
All I know, and what I know for sure (nod to Oprah), that doing the hard things makes you stronger, more resilient, more grateful, more spiritual… just more.
Leaning in to doing what frightens you the most makes you grow on many levels. Facing your worst nightmare means you have no choice but to step out of your comfort zone, ask of yourself to be enough; strong enough, bold enough, brave enough, big enough to walk through the nightmare as a graceful, dignified warrior, aware enough to take on the lessons and the armour given to you as you fight and to keep it, safeguard it, use it and then share it with those who walk alongside you in the battle of daily life.
But still. I lay there. … clock watching.