From the Snow Globe, with Love

 At some point in all the time I’ve spent hiding in my bedroom huddled under my duvet over Christmas, an idea occurred to me. I’ve said that I, this me, the one inside the snow globe wants to write. Well currently I don’t have the mental capacity to construct plot lines, most days I can barely string a sentence together, so I passed over that part and got to the dedications. If I ever did manage to write a publishable book, who would it be dedicated to? Wandering down those lines got me thinking slightly more positively than I have been lately. There wasn’t a single person that sprung to mind. There were several. More than several. Lots. Lots of people who I care about, who have inspired me, who love me, who believe in me. So because it’s Christmas and because the last few posts have been depressing, I’m going to write out a few that came to mind.

To Narnie, who is always there with a hug, a mug of tea and a sympathetic ear. Who believes in me and refuses to give up even long after I’ve thrown the towel in.
To Arlo, whose name is magic. I aspire to be like you.
To Mum, you’re the reason I’m well versed in sarcasm and wit. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
To Mr Leahy, for telling me the only thing I couldn’t do was climb Mount Everest without taking a step, through no fault of my own but because it’s impossible. That sentence has stuck with me much better than any of the maths.
To Dad, who loves me as I am, however I am and never expects anything back.
To Penny, for being quite possibly the only person on the planet to actually get my sense of humour. Auntie Enid’s other eye fell off so I threw her in the bin, but I know she loves you. Also for the Atwoods, EDAM knows where I’d be without them.
To Billy, whose hair is a constant source of amusement.
To Dylan, well….. I suppose your fabulous-ness deserves recognition.
To Tim, aka God.
To Dave, who doesn’t have to put up with me but does anyway. Who can brighten my blackest days and who can always think of something silly to say.
To Mo, for loving me and cherishing me and being there however much I push you away.
To Louie, who was my first friend.
To Hati, because it does get better and you make me want to get through this.
To Daisy, I wish other teenage girls were more like you.
To Pearl, my baby sister, irritating as you are, you’re one of the few things that makes me want to stick around.
To Beth, for being awesome.
To Beau, for making me feel special every time I see you
To my two nameless friends from, for letting me plot with you, for reading all of my rants and most importantly for giving me a reason to wake up in the morning.
The wonderfully frightening thing is, I could go on. I could fill pages like this and still miss people out. It looks like I’m going to have to write a lot of books. 

Inside a Snow Globe

I feel like I’m living inside a snow globe. One of those snow globes with a quaint little village scene inside. A picture perfect cottage, a snowman in the back garden perhaps and snowflakes made of glitter. Nothing is real.

I think that is what I mean when I say my world is tiny these days. I am not sitting beside the fire in my living room, not really. I’m trapped in a snow globe, beside a painted fire inside a model cottage. My world is contained within the contours of the snow globe. Snow globes can be moved, whenever I go somewhere, do anything, I take the snow globe with me. It surrounds me. The world outside is muted and distorted by the glycerine and the glass. I can look but I can’t touch. I am contained.

A snow globe can be shaken up, sometimes the world outside appears more distorted than others. Those are the days when every touch makes my skin prickle and my nerves scream with panic, when sounds are deafening, when the slightest smell is overpowering. Those are the days when the glitter snow is falling so thick and fast I can barely see the world outside. I can’t interact with it because the turmoil within the globe itself is already too much to deal with. Then there are times when the snow globe is calm and serene, when the view through the glycerine and the glass is crystal clear. Those are the days I can imagine that I am really a part of the world outside. But nothing connects. Nothing is real because at the end of the day there is still that barrier and although light and sound can penetrate it, they are muted. Nothing can really touch me.

If I, as a person, am trapped, then my emotions are a snow globe within a snow globe. It is as though the tie between the way I think and act and the way I feel has been severed. Even when I am overwhelmed, there is a barrier there that I can’t break down. I can’t let go. I can’t smash the snow globe. 

Back in the Living Room

I’m back in my living room. The curtains are shut, though that’s less to do with shutting out the world and more to do with it being cold and dark outside.

The fire is alight. I didn’t go to Hong Kong. Obviously.

No surprises there. The world I inhabit has been growing progressively smaller when I’m at an age where it should be expanding. I’m seriously considering hibernating until April in the hope that I re-emerge a new and improved person. Somehow that seems doubtful though.

In not going to Hong Kong, following an entire day spent in melt-down mode, I raced back up my garden path, slammed the front door behind me and curled up under a blanket in front of the fire. I don’t plan on moving anytime soon. Although the intention for writing this blog was to help me work out who I am, so far I have succeeded in uncovering who I am not. I am not a Main Character.

There is a question that comes up in the Observer magazine (this is how you can tell I live with my grandmother) when they interview people: who would play you in a film of your life? Well, nobody. Nobody would want to make a film of my life, it would be boring. Girl sits in bed and plans to go on an adventure……the day comes, girl falls to pieces and hides back under the duvet. Rinse and repeat. The best I can hope for is to be a supporting role in ‘The Rise and Fall of Rimski’s Piano’, a mention in ‘How to Lose Friends and Irritate People, the autobiography of Jen Fernbank’ or perhaps as footnote in ‘Arlo Jackson, the Man behind the Maths’.

The girl that lives in my head, let’s call her Aurelia, is the one who has ideas and adventures. She’s the one who is brave enough to put herself out there and make the world a better place. She is the one who would explore the world, do cutting edge science experiments and write award winning novels while maintaining incredible friendships and embarking on a whirlwind romance. Aurelia is a fantasy. I, Robin, am the reality, where the ideas fizzle out and more often than not inspiration gives way to panic. I would rather curl up beside the living room fire and plot out stories I’ll never have the courage to write out in full. I don’t like me very much. That precisely is the problem. I don’t like me, so I’d rather spend my time daydreaming Aurelia’s life because in that life fear isn’t an overwhelming emotion. 

Of course, I could spend the time by the living room fire sketching out a map, then perhaps the world outside the front door would be less frightening. 

Opening the Garden Gate

I’d like to think that I’m standing by the garden gate, but maybe in truth I’m still there hovering in the doorway. Maybe the fact that I’m still alive counts for something. Maybe that is a step outside. Maybe going to the pre-Raphaelite exhibition was another.

Those three rooms, standing in front of those beautiful paintings was something. Even though right now, no matter what the light intensity, everything looks as if it’s being viewed through sunglasses on a cloudy November afternoon, the colours in the art stood out. It was as though somehow the artists had managed to paint emotions and the pictures left behind were raw. Like me.

So let’s say that despite the days of sleeping and silence between then and now, I’m standing by the gate. Going to Hong Kong means opening the gate, stepping outside and walking right into something completely different. Pulling out at the last minute means staying safe. Maybe if I go to Hong Kong I’ll have a melt-down. Maybe I won’t be able to cope. Maybe I’ll spend ten days trapped inside a hotel room wishing I could go home. But if I don’t go, I’ll still be at a standstill. I’ll be leaning on the gate with my eyes closed letting everything pass me by, waiting for a moment when I feel better.

The thing is, what if better is like feeling ‘grown up’? What if it never really comes? I could spend my whole life sitting under my duvet staring at a computer screen and doing nothing because I’m ‘too sick’ to face the world. I could feed myself platitudes about how I need rest or how I’m ‘trying’ or how I’m going to get therapy and after that things will get better, but what if they don’t? I’ve already tried a lot of things and here I am, in exactly the same place as I was nearly three years ago.

Going to Hong Kong is scary. It might be awful. But at least it’s doing something. It’s taking a step. It’s movement. Going to Hong Kong is like making an effort to re-engage with the world. Perhaps it’s drastic, but I have always been a person of extremes.

I suppose that’s me adding plane tickets and my passport to my rucksack.