And quite by surprise, I discover that I have been writing publicly and daily for 2 years. Just like that.
With the onslaught of opinion, most negative recently, I question the future of the alisandwiches.
When I started 2 years ago, I didn’t realise that the first year would be the story of grief and the slow and final loss of my Mumbo. I learnt that grief has no timeline, that there is no shame in grieving and that sharing heals through the empathy and compassion that is wrapped around you by those that are willing to sit in your darkness with you. Something that prepared me for the year that followed.
When I continued into the next year, I didn’t realise that I was about to learn that you could lose joy so suddenly, nor be able to find the strength and courage to rebuild it, and keep rebuilding each time it left. That was just one of the lessons that the challenges and knockdowns of this second year have taught me.
I have also learnt the very hard way that hitting rock bottom can be a good thing, if you are open to seeing it that way. That at rock bottom, you find yourself, you find out what is important to you and that the way to get back up is to follow the path to the light by following the diamonds and jewels within you. The things that shine are so much easier to see in the dark – funny that.
Last weekend was a very harsh lesson in understanding that putting family first and ensuring that we are ‘ok’ first, rather than listening to the opinions of what other people think of our family. If we are ok, if we are solid, they can throw stones, but they won’t even damage the brick work, let alone the foundations.
Over the course of the year, I have learnt that doing what is uncomfortable takes courage. And that many people don’t like understanding your discomfort because it makes them feel uncomfortable too. And when they share their discomfort, it drives you back in to shame; that shame which triggers anger, frustration and fear enough to make you retreat back to the darkness where you feel there is no love, no belonging and therefore, only suffering remains.
Standing alone, without support, leaves you vulnerable, open to risk and challenge. And that can be lonely, make you feel like you are stranded in a wilderness, exposed.
Until you hear the words of Maya Angelou and Brene Brown, that explain that true belonging and the only way to never feel alone, is to belong to yourself, to be true and authentic to yourself. Authenticity to me, means doing what brings me joy and then regardless of the exposure and in whatever kind of wilderness I find myself, I can stand tall and smell the pines, the fresh air and not care about anything or anyone else.
And writing daily and publicly brought me back to joy. So why would I stop?
There is mention of the impact it may have on my boys when they read it. And I am sure one day they will, as all children of writers or creatives eventually do. But what will they read? And what will they learn? That there is no shame in sharing pain or sharing shame? That the challenges in life are there to be overcome by learning the lessons they bring? That mistakes are made… and can be rectified in the presence of determination, hardwork and above all love? That life isn’t perfect? That out of tragedy, you can triumph? Aren’t those the lessons we want our children to learn?
AS I embark on the next chapter and the 3rd year, I hope that the future I write about continues to be one of love, joy and the pursuit of happiness and less about grief and heartbreak. I hope that this year is about spreading light and love in a way that makes me happy, as well as others too.