Two key features are different this week. The first is that it is indeed a Friday. The second is that I have had a really good week. There are six coloured squares on my patchwork and tomorrow I’ll be able to add a seventh, it’s a new record. I like the patchwork, it helps me take things a day at a time and keeps everything in perspective a little more. Besides that it gives me an excuse to listen to music for a few minutes every day while I sew.
As I said last week, I have decided to stop worrying about the glass around me in favour of exploring the snow globe itself instead. Inside my snow globe cottage there is one room with which I am familiar, the library. Even within the library, which is a vast tunnelling network in the basement, I still tend to stick to the same cosy corner reading stories that are simple and require little thought. Occasionally I’ll tiptoe across into the fantasy section and lose myself for a while in somebody else’s universe. Once those times were a common thing, now they’re relatively rare. It’s only now that I’m pushing past some of the fear that I can let myself miss reading.
It is fear that holds the doors of my cottage closed. I stand outside them trembling, my fingers curling around the door handle then, sometimes after moments, sometimes after hours, I run back to the sanctuary of my library.
This week I pushed past that. I chose the easiest door, the one with the least resistance when I touched the handle. The door to the living room. I have been in there before briefly. But those times I remained huddled by the fire, too afraid to turn and face the window. Inside the living room are thoughts of now, but also thoughts of tomorrow. The living room is a place to simply be, to think about life as it is now and the direction it will take. It is a place of observation.
I linger in the doorway filled with trepidation. On stepping inside, I take a breath and allow the door to fall closed quietly behind me. The fire is a light. A think red rug covers the old oak floorboards. Opposite the fireplace is a bay window, the curtains of which are drawn. I’m not ready to look outside just yet. Being in here is enough. The sofa is low, dark in colour and cushioned. A fleecy blanket hangs over the back of it. I sit down and tuck my feet up under myself. The living room is an open space, there is nowhere to hide.
For the first time in a long time I am open to the conflicts and criticisms in my mind. A hundred ‘not good enough’s’ a thousand ‘could do betters’. It could be overwhelming but I find, as I pull my blanket close around me, it isn’t. The reason for this is another voice, a quieter, kinder one. This is the voice that reminds me just how much I have learned in the last three years. Perhaps I’ve learned little academically, but I have learned much about mental illness. But also I’ve found Buddhism. I have learned a lot about compassion. A lot about kindness. I’ve learned more about my own ability to cope. I’ve learned to recognise that the walls fear puts around me aren’t as solid as they seem. That time was not wasted. I may not yet be where I want to be, but it is still reachable and every day I can move closer.