Today life has thrown me another curveball. When I actually think about it, I’ve been fielding curveballs for my entire adult life. The discovery that the basket I had put all of my eggs into at 18 was a failing relationship that could never provide me with happiness. The various jobs that weren’t enough hours or didn’t pay enough or could never promise to be permanent. The rented flats that suddenly became too hard to fund or too expensive to leave. The many, many times that I genuinely believed I had found something real, only to discover that I had been kidding myself all along. Over a decade of my life has passed like this, always wondering where the next seismic circumstantial shift is coming from, how I will get through it and if I will ever, EVER just fucking be “enough”.
At the start of every year, I aspire to this one thing: TO BE HAPPY. I choose this thing because it is ambiguous. It doesn’t subscribe to a certain set of rules or to depriving myself of anything I like. It’s a reminder to myself that happiness is fluid and it comes in many forms. Until today, I had managed to be happy for quite some time. The pain and trauma of F’s illness and the Almost-Divorce had faded. I had a stable job and felt purposeful and appreciated and worthwhile. I felt as close to being “somebody” as I will ever be. Because the more that I want for myself is not possible, and I had accepted that. I was okay with myself and my place in this life.
Today, my place has shifted. To be honest with you, my place is flat on my face with the rug ripped out from under my feet. And I know what will happen when I post this, because it fucking always does; someone will tweet me or text me or reply to this post saying “things could be worse.” And you know what? Things could be worse. I could be struggling to escape a warzone. I could be living on the streets. I could be dying. I know. I know. But right now, relative to how this feels, this is as bad as I have ever felt. This is as desperately worried as I have been so many times before in my life. This is where I wake up in the night and I think too much for too long and I cry a little bit and I can’t get back to sleep. This is where I wonder how I’m going to make this work and get back to a point where everything feels okay again.
When I’m struggling, I repeat this mantra to myself: IT’S GOING TO BE ALRIGHT. It doesn’t sound like much, but I actually got it from a movie, Now Is Good. It’s what Tessa says to herself when she’s sitting alone at the table in her dad’s kitchen, trying to come to terms with the fact that she is in the final few days of her life. It reminds me that I am lucky, that I have so much to be thankful for, and that I will be okay in the end. I know that my husband will help me through this because he has done it before. I know that he will be there when I can’t sleep and that he will listen patiently to my angry ranting. I know that my kids will distract me, that they will bring me their favourite toys, stroke my hair, give me kisses and tell me that I am beautiful, because they are empathetic little humans and I have raised them to be kind. And I know that my friends will show me love and be outraged on my behalf, because I know that they love me as fiercely as I do them.
Today, everything feels shit. Everything is shit. In a week or a month or a year… However long it takes, it will be okay again. Nothing can feel shit forever.