Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Challenges, Upheavals, Growth

There is a sort of wobbling that happens when I don't write for a while. An unbalancing of self. Things begin to feel off-kilter and strange. I start to meander. I worry more and get easily stressed because I'm not taking the time I need to process and connect.

This last fortnight has been hectic and unpleasant, and as a result, I'v barely written a thing, which has only contributed to my stress. But in a way, it's been a good thing: it's highlighted how crucial it is that I make the time to analyse and reflect and explore my feelings, no matter how crazy things might be around me.

We have moved house. It took ten days from finding out there was a house available to actually moving in. Almost two weeks of constant tension. Packing and sorting and shifting. Sweating. Not sleeping. Mum and sister snapping, stressed, curt.I have cycled from upset to acceptance and back again. I have cried, sighed and determined to remain positive. I have moved between the extremes like a pendulum.

I live with my Mum and sister. It was meant to be a temporary arrangement - or at least, that was what I told myself when I moved back home almost two years ago. A chance to pay off my debts, save some money and get healthy.

I think I've mentioned before that my Mum and I don't have the easiest relationship. I will do anything I can to avoid conflict, whereas she thrives on it, and is quick to lose her temper. It makes for a prickly environment. Luckily, she works nights, so the arrangement has worked thus far as we weren't living in each other's pockets and didn't spend a lot of time together. But now my sister has moved back in with us (hence the need for more space and a bigger house). And she is very like my Mum in terms of temperament, meaning that I'm back to treading on eggshells. (Funnily enough, the two of them get along beautifully).

I didn't want to move. The new house is further away from my place of work, my friends, everything familiar. But due to financial constraints, and the sudden snowballing of events, I didn't have much choice.

The silver lining is that I'm atthis particular point in my recovery process. I wouldn't have coped well with the change even a couple of months ago. I think I'd have scuttled right back into my tried and tested coping methods and made myself sick again. I think I'd have been a mess.

As it stands, I'm coping. It's difficult, but as I keep reminding myself, it's not impossible. It's hard being in a potentially harsh and negative environment, feeling like the outsider, the third wheel. It's hard feeling so suddenly uprooted and out of control. And I'll admit that initially, my thoughts did return to their old, practiced groove like a cuckoo obediently following its prescribed circuit, out of the clock and back in again: You know what would make this better? You know what would make you feel stronger? If you lost a couple of pounds. Or twenty. If you stopped eating breakfast. If you walked and walked until your bones showed and your feet bled.

It's a marked sign of progress, I suppose, that I have yet to succumb to the siren-song of that voice. Instead, I swat at it, irritated, impatient. I determinedly look for the brightnesses, the beautifuls, however small they may be. Yesterday, as I stood at the bus-stop, it was the cloud-coloured water rushing over the reservoir, the thousand points of light the rain left in the trees. On Sunday it was the flock of silver-white birds that kept wheeling and returning overhead, the sun flickering off their wingtips so that they looked like a shoal of fish glittering in water.

There is growth here. There is. Even if I feel hesitant and uncertain sometimes. Even if I worry I've regressed.

Things will be better once I'm a little more settled. Once I've painted my bedroom and unpacked my many boxes and returned my books to their shelves, once I feel that I've claimed the space as my own. I need a place of peace and retreat, and that place has always been my bedroom, which I've always made pretty, filled with light and beautiful things, and at the moment it is utter chaos. But I'm making progress. I bought paint for the walls at the weekend, a gentle sort of colour I fell in love with even before I saw the name: 'pearl-grey'.

When I saw the label, it felt like a lovely little synchronicity. A gift.

I love pearls. I love what they represent. They have always held a special meaning for me, so I loved that the paint for my new room had 'pearl' in the title.

Pearl as in something beautiful that results from injury and difficulty. Pearl as in grit and endurance, transformation, treasure. Pearl as in strange; as in little.


  1. You are so amazing and reading this gave me such strength.
    Never stop being YOU my beautiful friend <3

  2. Thank you so much for that lovely comment :)

    And right back at you - you are the strongest and most inspiring person I know xxx

  3. Cheryl, you always write so beautifully and clearly, even on topics that are painful.

    I too, live in a rather negative and rather toxic at times home space. I don't want to be here, but like you, circumstances have conspired to place me here for now. It's hard sometimes not to let it affect you, but I think if you resolutely focus on the positive, it helps. We live in our minds anyway, physical space is only secondary to that.

    And 'The brightnesses and the beautifuls' are there to help. Yes, if we only look for them. And there are a lot of them here in this post!

    I think that pearl grey paint you found was most definitely a little wink of encouragement from the universe!
    I wish you all the best with your new abode :)

    P.S. (thanks for your comment on my last post - but rather strangely, it doesn't appear on the blog post, only by email notification!)

  4. Siobhan, that's so sweet of you - thank you. I know you're a fellow writer so you probably understand better than most the absolute need to use words to process and create and understand, and the mudling effect it has when you can't or don't write for a while, for whatever reason.

    I think focusing on the positive is the best way possible to deal with circumstances that aren't completely as you would like. It's difficult sometimes, especially when, as you say, the environment is potentially negative or toxic. But I like to think that it's those very same circumstances that help us to learn and grow...what's that saying about a smooth sea not making a good sailor? I always liked that.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - and so beautifully, as always xxx

  5. Oh yes,I see how you can draw parallel's between the two of us right now.You sound like me in this.Hmm.

    'Funnily enough, the two of them get along beautifully' > I had to snigger.

    And the pearl-grey,yes,I'm feeling it.

  6. Hey Cheryl,

    I can identify with that voice
    Anorexia whispers in my ear and these days it is very loud.
    She tries to lure me in with false promise of happiness but I know by now that it is all lies.
    I know that she will never be satisfied no matter how much weight I lose.
    I know that along with losing weight I will feel like I'm losing my mind.
    I'm trying so very hard to fight this thing but I fear I am losing the battle.

    I really liked this post and your description of the pearl, it's symbolic I think x

  7. "There is growth here. There is. Even if I feel hesitant and uncertain sometimes. Even if I worry I've regressed."

    Yes, there IS growth, and lots of it! Two steps forward, one step back. The inner voice is so flipping annoying, but we don't have to always listen to it. Posts like this make me grateful for the blogging community, makes me feel a lot less alone, cause yes, I know what you're going through... and know you'll make it through! xo