Somehow in its labyrinthine way, the library has moved while I have remained in my spot surrounded by bookcases. I am still wrapped in my blanket, my nose still buried in a book, but now my little cushioned corner is at the foot of the stairs. All I have to do is turn and walk up them. I fully intend to keep them at my back until the last moment. It’s only when I am at the airport, boarding the plane that I’ll let myself look up, stretch my legs and really realise that this is happening.
Over the past week, particularly the past few days, there has been the strangest addition to my little corner of the library; a ping-pong table. For it is not war that my mind is waging with itself, there are no fiery explosions nor grievous wounds. Neither is it a game of chess, there is little logic and no pause for breath. It is ping-pong and I, as my own opponent am constantly darting to and fro across the table. ‘I can’t do this,’ I bat. ‘It’s too late to turn back now, you’re going,’ I volley back. Back and forth it goes, the ball carrying with it waves of panic then floods of excitement and relief.
‘Run and hide.’
‘Look out and see.’
Regardless of where the points are dropped and lost, I am going to Italy. If for no other reason than because I can’t let Arlo down. In my next blog post there will be pictures, assuming he remembers the camera.
In one boxed in corner of my library there is a pile of cushions and blankets on top of a sheep skin. That is where I have been hiding lately. I’m tired. The blankets are warm, the books aren’t challenging and there are bookcases on four sides. I’d have to climb over one to get out. From time to time I get up and push against one, just on the off chance that it’s a hidden door. Those are the times I go out and do something. Or get on with planning the Italy trip. Then I go back to curling up under the blankets and daydreaming in the hope that when I open my eyes one of the bookcases will have conveniently moved.
I know I won’t be trapped in this little corner forever, but that doesn’t stop it from feeling frustrating. I’m tired of feeling tired. It’s funny, there are things I want to do in the abstract, it’s just that finding the motivation or the energy to do it is difficult. Sometimes, while I’m wrapped in my blankets in the Library, darker thoughts creep back in. I think, as I said before, it’s that now I can look back and feel some of what was blocked out while I was in the midst of it. I crossed a line the first time I cut myself. I crossed another line in November. I can’t undo those things. Now there is always going to be a place in the back of my mind that says I can escape fear by hurting myself. Much like this cushioned corner, the dark thoughts are a response to fear. They creep in at those times when my mind is screaming to run and hide.
I’m tired of hiding. I can’t hide forever. If I insist on waiting until I’m better, I’ll never let myself get better. I did some Chemistry earlier in the week. I did get anxious. I didn’t completely panic. I’m scared about going to Italy with Arlo. Of course I’m scared. But if I pull out now I’ll feel number than ever. It’s okay to hide sometimes. What I want is to be able to choose for myself when I want to curl up in the library and shut out the world instead of feeling trapped.
I’m not sure where this came from. I wanted to write, this is what happened. I am half way out of the dark. This time feels different to the flashes of light that have come before it. It has been slower, the lightening more gradual. I feel like for the first time in years I can say that I’m okay without it being a lie. I’m not better. I’m a long way from happy, but there are scattered moments of happiness now. I’m beginning to be able to breathe again.
Lately, while I was lurking in my library reading, some emotions started to stir. It’s only now that I’m half way out of the dark that I can feel what I was numb too while in it. It’s only now I can see that I can look back. How can you possibly thank the person who held your hand through the time when light ceased to exist? How can you ever put into words how important their just being there was? There were nights when I would stand in her bedroom doorway for hours because even while she was asleep her being there was enough to keep me safe. Safe enough.
There is a reason that I’ll blog about Mum, about Arlo, about Dad, but not really about Narnie. The reason is that I can’t find the words to explain how much she helped. I’m here because of her. She won’t take the credit.
I’m crying as I type. I’m allowed to cry.
The past week or so has been spent predominantly in the library. Of course I find that frustrating. Not because I don’t love the library, but because there are so many other places I want to be and I feel as though I am lost in it once again.
I have ranted about the library before and I’m sure I’ll do so again, that is not what I want to talk about. I did spend a brief half hour in the kitchen too. Thus far I hadn’t stepped into that room in my snow globe cottage, but on Monday morning, with much trepidation, I pushed open the door. The kitchen, it turns out, is the family room. Most of the important conversations I’ve had occurred in one kitchen or another. The snow globe kitchen, which I only got glimpses of while risking a glance up from my book, is big and old fashioned. There is a wooden oblong table in the middle surrounded by a mismatch of chairs. A Rayburn stands at the far end, a copper kettle simmering atop it and a clothes horse hanging above. The lighting is softly yellow, if it was any harsher the room would have an intimidating feel, as it is its warm and welcoming.
The reason for being in the kitchen at all was a conversation I had with mum. I didn’t go into work this week. After spending much of the weekend sleeping or crying I was tired of being tired. I fully expected her to be angry with me. She wasn’t. Hence the soft lights in the kitchen. She understood. She arranged for me to have this week off and to come back next week on the days there was actually something for me to do and for less hours. In that moment I think I realised that she has come just as far in the last year as I have.