To age is to feel the miraculous and often disturbing changes in one's body and mind.
When I wrote this I was dealing with middle age musings about my own body, especially my bones in my knees...
Sometimes people look at you and see the picture of health but your body is a map with stories to tell...
Shhhh if you listen carefully you can hear...
So recently I was invited to participate in a spoken word poetry open mic night and the subject was death.
It is a subject I am all too familiar with having spent the first part of my career as a nurse and some of my third as a support worker for people diagnosed with blood cancers.
I wrote this poem a while ago and was going to perform this for the open mic night but I ended up coming up with something else, something way more raw, so now I can share.
This one is for you NP...x
What happens if you are a loyal friend and someone tramples you?
What happens when you feel alone and like nobody cares?
What if you move around so much that friends you thought would be in your life forever, simply vanish?
What happens when you feel you have to force a friendship?
What happens when you move on and they don't?
What happens if they move on and you're not quite there yet?
What if they don't understand your concerns?
What if you don't understand theirs?
What if you are still affected by a past friendship gone wrong?
Turns out that what happens varies from person to person. Changes with the seasons and situations you find yourself in.
I was always someone who prided myself on being a loyal friend and something bad still happened. It happened when I was too young to know that it should not define me but ultimately it did.
I guess you could say it is still happening because no matter if you believe you are over something or not, it can still creep insidiously into your life and ultimately bring you to your knees again.
A few things have occurred over the past few weeks and each one has sharply brought into focus that some situations cannot just be swept away.
I am past the stage of pretending. I can't pretend not to be hurt when I feel broken by relationships. I am past pretending with people in general. I will no longer wear a brave face and try to 'get over it'.
Here's what brought me to this place:
When my expectations were shattered, parts of me felt shattered too.
When I saw a picture in an app it triggered a painful episode that brought me to my knees.
I made an error in judgement and almost lost a really good friend.
This post may get long so I apologise in advance...
I won't bore you with details or explain in full rather give you the gist of something you might have gone through, been going through or may go through in the future.
When you get really excited about something and tell everyone you know that you are excited and you are expecting something great, your illusion may be shattered leaving you feeling quite empty and alone.
Someone may not feel as deeply about you as you feel about them. Someone may not understand how excited you actually were. They come with their own expectations and sometimes they simply don't match up.
What is worse is that sometimes you realise that person has changed and you simply don't fit into their new version of life...
It hurts, it comes as a shock that sits on your skin and seeps deep. You lie awake at night and wonder what you did wrong but you did nothing wrong gorgeous. All you did was be yourself and tell the truth, your truth and sometimes people aren't in a place to hear that truth. They don't quite know what to do with it...
Warning...by telling your truth you might force someone out of your life completely.
But then, if you have to force someone's friendship...well then is it really a true friendship?
You may have brought old haunting memories kicking and screaming to the surface and as they get dredged up, you paint them on current situations, you almost poison your present with them. That is never your fault either, it is simply a limbic brain stuck in old pain. Forgive yourself. Don't shy away from expectations but perhaps lower them...
This leads nicely to the next topic...
After shattered expectations came a rude reminder of the past leaking horribly into the present.
Someone who really fucking harmed you in the past when you were still forming your version of the world, appears in an app of a yoga studio someone told you about and said you might enjoy. You are eager to find out more and yet when you download the app the picture on the front of the team shocks you and you start shaking, your breath becomes rapid and you almost feel like being sick.
It is early morning and your partner is still asleep. You reach out to your yoga community and they come back with supportive comment after supportive comment.
Some say you should go and take her class, some say to avoid it like the plague, some say people change and maybe this person was called to teach mindfulness and yoga because of what happened. The comments are helpful but they are also confusing. You are over the fact this person did what they did but do you really need to face the person who fundamentally fucked up your teenage years royally? My answer after digesting the comments was stay away. No matter if the Universe had somehow pushed us to connect in the same space again, I couldn't handle a cheery wave and a careless attitude, what if that happened? It may serve to throw me back into an older version of myself.
For almost a year you haven't spoken to a friend only to finally get a message after so long. Part of you wanted to reach out in that time but you had been feeling lately that it is always you reaching out to people and never the other way around. You get that people's lives are busy, heck, yours is too but you get slightly fed up of it all. You decide to put up a boundary and you eventually get back when this person asks if there is something wrong. You tell them that sometimes you just feel that people only reach out when they need something from you. You tell your truth even though weeks before you did the same and think you may have lost a friend over it.
Your friend surprises you by thanking you, she loves you and she wants you in her life. She shares her life with you and explains the reasons why and guess what...it had nothing to do with you. This whole time, again, you thought you had done something to upset her and it turns out that she probably needed you more than you would ever know. You want to reach your arms across the world and hold her but for now, a Skype call will do. You anticipate tears.
So the last month ended on a high note for me and even though the month was very challenging and you felt very fragile, keep this in mind...
It won't always be this way, nothing stays the same, everything changes from moment to moment- read my poetry book (I write all about this) and it's cheap too :)
I hope you can learn even a little nugget from my month and the realisations that I had surrounding the beautiful thing we call friendship.
Oh and if you meet me, if you become my friend, if we connect, don't worry, I haven't gone all confrontational on you, I'm simply past the stage of pretending.
When you are surrounded by people yet all alone
When you're supposed to fit in and feel at home
You feel like an Alien far from space
Sometimes not part of the human race
Brows frown and jokes on lips die
Nobody understands when you cry
You are always apart feeling sad
You speak, words come, people get mad
What you try to do doesn't always work
People who surround you call you the jerk
They will never get you, you'll forever feel blue
A foreigner, a creature, a newcomer too
You tried your best and gave it your all
But you feel like an old tatty ragdoll
Left on the shelf because your limbs don't move
Lost in a sea of negative attitude
~ Yvonne Anderson
If you would like to read more poetry by me then you can purchase my book (it isn't much) here
I woke up in the middle of the night with the first line of this poem fuzzy in the forefront of my tired mind...
Thought I would share...
“Slow” encompasses several layers of meaning that go beyond simply “sustainable.” Slow is the opposite of “fast” — fast food, fast money, fast living — and all of the negative consequences “fast” has had for the environment and for the health of people and societies. “Slow” embodies cooperation, respect, sustainability, gratitude and resilience. (From the Slow Living summit website.)
I started listening to a podcast recently called The Slow Home Podcast. I went right down to the first episode and popped in my earphones.
What I realised rather quickly was that I have been living like this for most of my life. Having lived in 3 different countries over the past 12 years, I can honestly be really ruthless at letting go of my possessions. At the point of writing my hubby and I literally own approximately 4.5cubic metres of 'stuff' and it isn't even all in the one place...
I have learnt over the past 12 years that we never really own anything, it kinda owns us.
Modern consumerism baffles me and yes I do like shopping but if I am being completely honest, I get an icky feeling when I accumulate. Maybe it is years of culling and decluttering but I try to buy one throw one nowadays.
Whenever I buy something new, I chuck something out to make room for it.
Yet there are some ways in which, especially over the past year, I have not been slow.
So as I write this all down, it allows me to see where I can improve and where I can lean into the slowness again.
Remember: “Slow” embodies cooperation, respect, sustainability, gratitude and resilience.
Being respectful could start with you. Being sustainable can be easy when you start to notice how. Allowing gratitude to become part of your daily life can be as simple as telling yourself that evening what you were grateful for that day- start small. Resilient can mean changing your mindset on a moment by moment basis by choosing to live in gratitude and abundance rather than fear and lack.
If this is slow living, would you choose it?