Grief.

I am so up and down at the moment.  Grief is like that.  Apparently.  And apparently I’m grieving.  I feel awfully wanky saying it, it seems a bit self-centred and…weak (I am Superwoman, right?  Nothing should get to me, right?) but after much discussion, apparently that is what’s happening.  I’m just letting it come out, letting myself feel it, instead of shagging everything in sight or drinking through it or taking anti-depressants or whatever tactic to avoid it.  I’m just sort of…grieving.  It’s hard.  Realllllllly hard.

Grief just sort of…hangs there.  It’s omnipresent, constantly threatening to topple over again, like when the barman fills your glass so full to the brim that you’re scared to move it in case it spills out everywhere. It’s there in the background, even when you think it might have gone.  It’s gargantuan and squashes you hard, winding you, as if you’re trapped under something so big and heavy that you can’t move, you can’t even wriggle to get more comfortable, it’s just your head sticking out, eyes wildly trying to latch onto something that will be comforting.  It’s crushing*.  It’s enveloping, like a thick, warm blanket that sucks the life out of you instead of making you feel snuggly and safe.  It sucks.  It really fucking sucks.  It’s painful and ridiculously unforgiving in its relentlessness.  It shows no mercy for the everyday minutiae of life, the getting on the bus, the going to work, the having to function like a normal human being who can interact with other people.  It doesn’t inflict itself on you all the time, but when it does, it doesn’t let go!  So what if you’re shopping in Morrison’s, idly perusing the cheese section?  Grief comes out of nowhere: POW! I WILL PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE AND MAKE YOU CRY!  On the bus?  Whatever, weakling!  Punch, punch, punch.  And then nothing.  It comes in waves and I guess you just have to ride them.  There is no real way of dealing with it, you just have to roll with it.  Roll with those punches.  It’s like a game of fricking Whack-a-Mole, this business.  Only you’re the one trying to duck it, and sometimes you get lucky, but mostly you get hit.  A lot.

Yesterday was a bad day.  I cried nearly all day.  Maybe it was partly hangover, partly feeling ill (still! damn immune system) but whatever it was I just felt…lost.  And alone.  Wondering, thinking, pondering, about everything that has happened over the past year and how I got here and why nothing is ever simple, and how it gets harder and harder as time goes on, instead of being easier.  I felt breathless with grief.  It was literally like I could not catch my breath for all the sadness that I was feeling,  as if it was filling me up so much that there was nowhere for the air to go.  It was suffocating.  And yet, today…today has been a fairly good day.  I went to work, I didn’t feel like crying, I had a fairly difficult day (work-wise), but I spoke to a couple of good friends and made plans for Christmas Eve (which is tomorrow – eep – I am working nights but a friend and I are going out for dinner before we start our shift).  Yesterday I was feeling as though I wouldn’t have minded if the world had ended, like the Mayans ‘predicted’.  If I’d just expired.  It would be easier, said the sad little voice in my head, to not be here anymore.  Today I feel hopeful again.  I had a little mantra going around my head: “You are not alone”.  It seemed to filter through the layers of varying emotion and stayed with me, solidifying me from within, settling in between the many cracks to make me stronger.  I won’t always feel that – there are times when I feel the exact opposite, yesterday being a prime example.  But just because things aren’t exactly how I want them to be right now, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to get better, that they are insurmountable.  Today feels ok because I have hope.  I have hope, and everything is going to be fine.

May all your Christmases be lovely, or at the very least tolerable, rather than being a pressure cooker of emotion, which is what they often seem primed to be…  I hope you have lots of love and laughter and yummy food.  Because that’s what it’s about :)

*A lyric that immediately sprang to mind is from Ani Difranco’s Two Little Girls: “Love is a piano dropped from a four storey window, and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Song for Today: The Lion’s Roar by First Aid Kit.

Random thoughts for today:

I high-fived a drunk man on the way to work today (at 07.00).  Walking under a velvety navy sky.  Perfect crescent moon.  The cold making my nose run even more.  Listening to Nils Frahm, who made me tear up, and nearly fall asleep, so I switched back to something slightly less traditionally beautiful and more buoyant (the song was You, played on 6 Music last night.  Fitting.  Listen).

I am constantly getting mistaken for someone else.  Patients and their relatives always ask: “Have I seen you on this ward?  I’ve met you before, haven’t I?”  And yet, no.  So I have a double.  And I was thinking, on my way home, what if my double did something really terrible and a mugshot went out and people thought it was me and I got arrested?  I mean, those are just tired, ill, post-work fatigue thoughts whirring around, but still.  It sounds like a (bad, probably) film.

So today’s song is one that I have fallen in love with recently, as is often the case.  Last week (or possibly this week, I have lost track of the days) I heard the song ‘Emmylou’ on the radio and immediately was like OMGWTF I love this.  Even though it’s not particularly brilliant, or special, and actually is quite syrupy in a slightly Taylor Swift way.  But, you know, music.  And emotions.  You can’t control what grabs you.  So I downloaded their albums on Spotify and ‘my’ song, The Lion’s Roar, kept poking me in different ways until it became one of those songs that I end up skipping back to as soon as it’s finished, and then eventually end up sticking on repeat for a few hours (seriously, I do this).  Something about the song just sounds really…organic.  Not in a Boden-wearing, Organix rice cracker-feeding Brighton mummy way.  I don’t even know in what way I mean, quite honestly.  (Shouldn’t really be writing this but I want to, even if I can’t say what I want to say because I am SO FREAKING TIRED).  Just listen to it and if you like it, great!  If you don’t, oh well, but you might enjoy the hot Swedish girls writhing around in the forest.

Must go to bed now.  (And in another random thought: going to bed before midnight is SERIOUSLY where it’s at.  Dudes.  It’s BRILLIANT.  I mean, I know that everyone already knows this, but I am usually a night owl and I have been making myself turn lights off by 23.30.  And it helps slightly in the mornings!  Who knew?  Well, everyone apart from me, obviously, but even I knew it really.  Just don’t like going to bed early.  Now I do!  Maybe one day I won’t have to force it either.  Honestly.  Loquacious.  One word for it…)

And I’m a goddamn coward, but then again so are you
And the lion’s roar, the lion’s roar
Has me evading and hollering for you
And I never really knew what to do