There are some things that have to be learned more than once. Some things that have to be pointed out and then underlined repeatedly before they start to sink in. For me, patience with myself is one of those things. I won’t go to bed and wake up in the morning suddenly able to function exactly as I would if I were my ideal self. I won’t wake up and find that every last trace of depression has been blown away in the wind leaving my mind clear and bright and so wide awake. It would be nice, it just isn’t realistic. Realistic means taking faery steps. Going out for a walk most days. Going out for a walk most days and doing something creative. Going out for a walk most days, doing something creative and doing chemistry, that’s the next goal.
I realised that I haven’t said much about the lighting in my snow globe cottage. For the most part it’s dim. There isn’t any electricity so most of the rooms are lit by candles or an oil lamp. That is how I have been able to crouch in the attic in a tiny circle of light and not look at anything outside of it. Until this week. This week a skylight was dropped into the attic roof and suddenly the room came into view. It’s dusty. There are cobwebs and I’m certain that some of the lurking spiders will be frighteningly huge. But it’s interesting too.
I finally got to move away from my sewing machine and the trap door. I got to edge across floorboards so thick with dust they no longer creak when stepped on. For a moment, standing under the skylight, I got to see possibilities. I wasn’t fenced in by what was in my lit circle of floor. There are boxes. Higgledy-piggledy, stacked up on top of one another. Most of them cardboard, some of them wooden, one or two heavy metal trunks. With the room lit up I could see all of them and at first there was an aching anxiety and a heavy sense of obligation. Now that I can see them I have to open them up. I have to look. I’m afraid of what I might find. Then I took a moment to breath, because no, I don’t have to look. I don’t have to open them. I can if I want to. If I want to open up a box and unpack it I can, but I can take all the time I want over it. If it turns out that I half empty a box and realise no, there are things in the bottom I don’t want to touch then I can close it again. I can look away and come back later. If I want to. Or not. There is no obligation. There is just possibility. It was with that thought that very slowly I did begin to open a box and bring out ink and paper. I cleaned up an old writing desk and then, tentatively, I started to listen to the characters in my head that I have spent so long silencing.