At the start of this 30 day challenge I was determined to write consistently about recovery and freedom – unfortunately I quickly became bored and disillusioned and haven’t been entirely consistent with that particular task. I have written every single day! But it’s not always uber cheery. And part of me certainly resents the necessity to be cheery for no apparent reason. This is my blog – says the rebellious little girl still residing in my head – and I refuse to pretend to be what I am not. I wear a goddamn mask all day long, I’ll be buggered if I’m going to plaster it across my blog as well. I just want to be honest here. That’s the whole point!
So my intentions were good, but they ended up more authentic than cheery. Because that’s what I wanted to do.
Today I still feel the malaise hanging around – clinging to me like the stench of rotting fish in a busy harbour. I’m exhausted. Physically drained and worn out. I yearn to sleep – right through the night! I yearn to be pain free. I yearn to be alone – to spend time in my house with my own thoughts, free to wander without disruption or distraction. I yearn to lie in the sun with my cat curled under my arm and feel the healing rays of the winter sun soaking into my pasty aging skin and warming my spirit within. All these things can and will happen – but they just can’t and won’t happen today.
I have made the decision to accept the half scholarship to the writing course. I’ve had mixed reactions from people about it. A couple of friends are really excited for me – they think investing in myself and my future is well worth every penny we’re having to draw down on our mortgage. Others are questioning whether I will learn anything I can’t learn elsewhere. Is it a bit of a con? By offering half scholarships I’m still paying a large sum of money and the coordinator is still making good money. So is it a scam?
No. I don’t believe so. My gut feeling is it will be the continuation of the therapy I’ve been doing with my bulimia recovery – and even though this is a writing course, there is so much inherent work that needs to be done on consciousness, acceptance and emotional awareness, that the pay-off will be really huge mentally.
The things I will learn cannot be learned by google searches or sitting in the library reading manuals and encyclopedias. It doesn’t work like that. Sure – there are writers who learn their craft sitting by themselves in a room, typing away and doing the best they can, but there aren’t many. Most people do courses and workshops and attend retreats, groups and writers’ centers. You can’t be a writer without feedback. There is a ton of craft to be learned, and this course will fast track so much information, and introduce me to a community of women who will offer constructive criticism. I’m too old to spend 20 years reinventing the wheel and learning to be an author without guidance. I don’t have the time.
So I signed up. And if the above paragraphs sound defensive, it is because I am. My gut instinct says this is a great thing for me to do and I will learn a lot and benefit hugely. I’ve had a lifetime of people shooting me down in flames every time I try something new, but I never get used to it. It is always deflating. I’m going to do this course anyway. It is the right thing – I feel it in my waters.
The thought of doing the course and venturing into the world of writing and authoring is helping me find an identity – something I lost recently. I can picture myself writing and singing in the future. Not singing professionally lol! That would be hilarious. But I’d like to see if my damaged voice can be managed and whether or not I can sing in choirs again. Singing keeps me in touch with the world of music and performing arts, and writing is my creative and emotional outlet. The best of all worlds!
Then of course those two things feed beautifully into my picture of why I want to find freedom from disordered eating. I don’t want to be in and out of mental health units if I’m trying to write a story. I don’t want to be constantly bingeing and purging if I’m singing in a choir. I need to be fit and healthy and well for both. I need to be emotionally whole to write. So they offer me a glimpse into a future I want to be a part of.
The other thing I’ve heard recently, is three or four different people – from completely different parts of my world – commenting how incredibly happy they are for me with the progress I’ve made. Which is comforting to hear. I really do believe I’ve found the right place. I haven’t blossomed into the world of “recovered” yet, but I do finally believe I am “recovering”. Recovery is not a finite place, or a random line in the sand, or a finish line.
I’ve been travelling a really long, dark, tunnel for 50 years. I haven’t known anything else. Every now and then I’ve been given little distant flashes of light, but they disappeared again. Over the past year or two, the lights have started to shine more consistently and now it’s a beacon, calling me. I imagine that as I keep travelling down this tunnel, and the light becomes clearer, slowly it will widen out, becoming lighter and lighter. Then one day I’ll realise I’ve travelled to the point where I can’t even see the walls any more – they’re so far apart they’re impossible to see. I’ll have travelled into the world where all the other people are – wandering around and being normal and eating food when they’re hungry or feel like it. Dealing with life in their own little way. And every now and then I’ll see somebody in the distance heading out from their own tunnel, and I can grab a little lantern and shine it towards them so they know they can keep going. And that is how I see recovery now. I will one day realise I’m in an open field and the sun is shining. When I see that sunshine, I can say I’m recovered.
For now, it’s onwards and upwards, because no matter how dreary I feel, I will never ever give up. I will never, ever stay down.