Two old ladies

I hate feeling unwell like this, nausea passes over me in waves, the back of my throat burns and I struggle to see as the words I am writing move and blur as though trying to somehow escape themselves.

This feeling is a stark reminder that I’m slowly dying. I forget that sometimes, once the chemo pump is disconnected for the fortnight and I’ve showered away the sticky residue from the tapes around my port, the nausea starts to dissipate and I jump back into life, make plans, continue on with the mundane tasks of running a household and carry on as though cancer hasn’t stolen my body.

I went to an eighteenth birthday party on the weekend, the young woman celebrating her adulthood was born to my dear friend T on my wedding day, a running joke that T couldn’t cross her legs for long enough to attend my nuptials.

I cried tears of joy when I’d been sent the invitation, joy that this beautiful little girl I loved as my own, who’s nappies I’d once changed who despite having to face tough challenges throughout her young life had now grown into a kind, intelligent and conscientious young adult.

We’ve lost touch a bit over the last 5 years, T and I. Life, work and physical distance getting in the way. We used to speak every single day on the phone when the children were growing up, about everything and nothing. Sharing our darkness and our light.

We decided long ago to spend our twighlight years together, both our husbands smoke and are older than us and we’d joked that when they succumbed to inevitable lung cancer we’d buy a quaint little federation house in a small town and grow wrinkly together.

I’m sad that I won’t get to realise that dream, that it must stay in my mind as only a fantasy, although perhaps there it is safe, there it can remain pure and untouched by reality, untouched by cancer.

For now I close my eyes and see myself sitting on a porch swing under the tin bullnose veranda of a little red brick house, crickets chirp in the summer evening and we sit together peacefully, two little old ladies watching the sun go down.

Acid Rain

Drifting through the currents of my mind,
I find myself lost in a sea of thoughts.

Through high tides and low,
in the shadows of darkness we’d roam.
We weathered the storms together,
but now this journey takes me alone.

I counted the grains of the sands of time,
as we built their castles and they fired their shells.

Days turned to weeks, to months, to years,
time passed as we stood still.
Marooned by ghosts from lifetimes past questioning why we were ever here.

Let me sleep tonight,
untouched by this acid rain,
let me close my eyes,
let me forget the pain.

Worn out stories like broken records play,
as the daylight fades away.
Please save me from myself,
please take my nightmares away.

Let me dream tonight instead, of love and laughter and light.
Let me remember the good times,
let me bask in childish delight.

I’m frightened by the vastness of this ocean,
and what lurks beneath its waves.
What might come back to bite me,
when the sunlight starts to fade.

Sharks circle around our heels,
as we tread water in a dying world.
But the only thing left to find here,
isn’t even real.

Shipwrecks lined our shores and we asked ourselves, how?
Salt water burns into my cracking pores,
it’s too late for apologies now.

We fought against the flow,
but were pulled further out to sea.
Everyday fading faster,
banished by long lost memories.

Our eyes reflect broken souls,
Haunted by voices of the past,
The sirens song that lured us,
To a long forgotten farce.

Let me sleep tonight,
untouched by this acid rain.
Let me close my eyes,
Let me forget the pain.

Worn out stories like broken records play,
as the daylight fades away.
Please save me from myself,
Please take my dreams away.

Death’s Playbook

It’s hard to fight against such a friendly foe, to ignore its whispering promises of a rest long awaited, a peace long forgotten when one is so desperately sought.

The distorted images of a thousand yesterday’s and infinite tomorrow’s play over and over in a finally silent mind as the scratchy black and white film reel of an unfamiliar life.

I watch from my comfortable perch above, the moments un-lived, paths un-explored and I try to take in what was and measure it against what could have been.

I’m mesmerised but tired. Too tired to make meaningful associations from my share of this incarnation, there’s so much I have missed, so much I couldn’t see. I’m impatient to know all of our life’s lessons but I lack the stamina and must rest and heal before I can continue further in this journey.

Death stares at me from the corner of the room, he tips his hat and takes a long draw from his thin cigarette smiling a wry smile, mischievous eyes glistening in the moonlight. I sense I’m forgiven for now, but as I fall towards the earth below I know the beat of my heart is still on his terms.

I snap back into my body like a jolt of lightning, gasping for air in the darkness, my skin fizzes into a cold sweat and I try to hold onto those images for a moment, from the playbook book of my life, but it slips away and disappears into the ether as though it never existed at all

White Walls

Poem from our journal inside the psych ward circa June 2015

As dawn rises again from my window,
and the birds sing their morning call
It’s clear I’m a drifter in my own life,
maybe you were never here at all.

My mind has turned against me,
and I’m in a room with an unlockable door,
inside a white walled hospital, on the only locked floor.

Haunted by voices and shadows we can’t outrun,
we are hidden from the world, separated from loved ones. Whispers no longer heard.

Victims of a common enemy,
we are now essentially owned,
held by a government institution,
our rights are no longer our own.

You even watched me as I showered,
threatening to put electrodes on my brain,
you couldn’t imagine my thoughts,
and you couldn’t feel my pain.

Yet you still tried to control me,
feed me pills until I was numb.
You can’t be a threat to anyone,
when left drugged, immobile and dumb.

My mind has turned against me,
I’m in a room with a padded floor,
inside a white walled hospital,
on the only locked floor.

Surrounded by my peers,
the crazy, depressed and insane,
we are fighting a battle against ourselves,
against our stigma and our shame.

We might be a little lost,
but we’re still people too,
Men, Women, young or old,
one day we may even be you.

Rewriting History

Things have been really hard lately, emotionally that is. All these things are happening around us that should be good, great even but a familiar shadow of shame hangs over me and I feel only numbness, fear and pain.

Any writing I’ve done lately has been largely to try and convince myself that things are lovely so I can look back on my words one day and believe that I was happy.

I’m having a lot of trouble writing from a place of truth and authenticity. I know this is something we’ve always done to cope with stress but it feels so far away now that I barely remember ever doing it. I’m forcing myself to write here now because I’m struggling against an inner temptation to delete this blog, the book drafts and my journals.

Having DID puts me in a unique position. My poor memory gives me the opportunity to rewrite my own history. It feels as if deleting all the words we have ever written is the only solution to this sadness that is encapsulating me right now. If I erase our past, time will let us all forget. Maybe if I can make us disappear, it will make the pain disappear too?

Rejuvenate

We’re back at the beach, resting, rejuvenating. Tis’ bliss 💜

Look at all the little shells lined up!
White sandy beaches, tranquil waters.
How’s the serenity?
Teeny tiny crabs!

What did you do to rejuvenate yourself over the weekend?

Lemonade

I have just seen the report from my recent PET scan and there’s no evidence of metastasis showing up!
I’m currently cancer free, stage four can kiss our ass because it’s time to make lemonade from all the bitter lemons we’ve been gathering for so long.

Time to say thank you and treasure all the laughs.
Life is a crazy, messed up beautiful dream and if I could do it over then I wouldn’t change a damn thing because even the hardest and most hopeless moments brought gifts of beautiful people, important lessons and the appreciation of connections found in a world where so many feel alone.

We’re all human, it’s wonderful, terrible and generally a pretty incredible opportunity when you think about it, we forget that though. We spend so much time trying to guess what other people want from us, what other people expect us to feel and dream that we forget to find our own self among the chaos.

As humans we need to learn to treasure our authenticity more, embrace our unique hopes and desires and to remember what is important lies below the surface not above it.

The pathway to loving yourself lies in finding meaningful connections with people who embrace you for you, no strings attached, no expectations and most importantly creating a meaningful connection with yourself.

Connection can come to you through random people on the internet, strangers sharing an experience or a knowledgeable glance but mostly we find it through our family, not necessarily the one we were born with, but the one we created for ourself over time.

These are the people who come for the giddy laughter & stay and hold our hands through the ugly crying, we might only talk to them once every few years but when we do they fill our hearts with joy and a sense of purpose.

I spent so much of my life trying to end it that I think it was only when I finally realised I was dying for real that I figured out I had no more need for long term goals and actually needed to learn how to live for now.

I’ve been given a second chance, probably a third or fourth now really and this time I can’t take it for granted because I don’t know how long I have left to feel well.

It’s time to live for myself, get enjoyment out of my world, my earth and embrace both my chosen family and my inner family, hold them close and be grateful that they loved me even when I couldn’t love myself.

It’s time to enjoy the lemonade, and my glass is half full.

The Path to Nowhere

His journey is a lonely one, He travels through the night, On a long path to nowhere, Just looking for his light.

Living his life out in the open, But still hidden from everyone, On this long path to nowhere, What has driven him to run?

She rides in the daylight, Hair gleaming in the sun. But it’s an act of desperation, In the disguise of being fun.

On a long path to nowhere, She got lost along the way, Everything at her doorstep, But she just wants to run away.

And they sang together in the moonlight, From the darkness of their caves, 100s of miles between them, But nothing had really changed.

It seems that time waits for no one, As we swim through its sandy hills. Only our faces wear the lines, Etched by the battles of our wills.

They say it’s not about the outcome, But about what we have learned. Yet the grass is always greener, After the lands been blackened and burned.

Finally fate turned a corner, And from the shadow lands emerged, The rider in her costume, Standing silently upon the verge.

Across the hills the sun slowly set, Lighting up nowhere’s path. She waited there for the runner, Oblivious to the aftermath.

He appeared from the shadows, And she breathed in his spirits song, She felt as though she’d never left him, But he had continued on.

And they sang together in the moonlight, From the darkness of their caves, 100s of miles between them, But nothing had really changed.

It seems that time waits for no one, As we swim through its sandy hills. Only our faces wear the lines, Etched by the battles of our wills.

They say it’s not about the outcome, But about what we have learned. Yet the grass is always greener, After the lands been blackened and burned.

As the darkness once more encompassed all, she dropped her bloodied knife. Devouring her lonely, tortured soul, Memories of their once shared life.

For nostalgia beckons lonliness, Fanciful versions of the truth, We weep for a past that never happened, The lost naivety of youth.

And he’s been to everywhere, As he searches for the sun. And she’s still only been to nowhere, Yet time was filled with what she’d done.

They sing at last together, For one final show, As the distance fades away, Their voices only grow. Then like owls that bask in the moonlight, They fly silently away, Put forgotten pasts behind them, On the path to somewhere new, today.

Image from WordPress

Mind Condos

This is a page from the old journals from 2018, I think Katie wrote it before splitting with Ezzy… it’s an example of some de realisation dissociation and mild paranoia experienced at the time.

Today I went grocery shopping with Miss 9. Sounds like pretty standard Saturday, except I spent most of the time unsure if she was really with me or not, doubting her presence and intermittently her actual existence at all.

People seem to look at me weirdly an awful lot at the moment and I’m afraid my thoughts are showing somehow. They pretend to talk to each other or on their phones then glance at me, their eyes penetrating my Ora and radiating some sort of ‘knowing’ sarcasm. It feels like they’re on to me, only I don’t know what I’ve done. Has one of the others done something?

Whispers, stares, sniggers.

I wipe my mouth discretely with the back of my hand, no there’s nothing there, I make a mental check of my outfit, my hair, it all seems appropriate. Is there a kick me sticker on my back?
Is it my weight?
No, that’s not it, come on girl get a grip!
I try and convince myself that it’s not high school anymore as memories of being singled out and shamed in public for my weight by bullies flood back into my mind and suddenly steal my breath.

“Stop it!” A voice inside tells me firmly, “there’s plenty of larger framed people than you in the store you are being ridiculous.”
I know that’s true, but I can’t find a reasonable explanation so I put the biscuits back on the shelf just in case.

Miss 9 suddenly dances around the corner holding chocolates, “Muum, can we get these?”
“Not today” I reply calmly but internally panicking as I notice someone else looking at me funny, do they maybe think I’m going to try and fatten her up and ruin her life the way I did my own at that age?

I look down at my trolley, it’s mostly ‘healthy’ if you can forgive the sausages. No, surely that’s not it, kids always ask for lollies and sweets, I glance back up and the man is still giving me a look that screams “WTF is wrong with you you crazy bitch?”

Then it suddenly dawned on me, what if Miss 9 isn’t really here? OMG!! Am I actually talking to myself? I looked for her but she wasn’t there.
Surely she’d just skipped off somewhere again, why does she have to keep doing that?

I started looking around trying to be discreet while also desperately trying to find proof that she was genuinely there with me. Was her disappearing and reappearing through the aisles and taking things off the shelf was my imagination or actually happening?

She suddenly reappeared and I hissed at her to stay with the trolley, I needed to be able to see if anyone else was actually spontaneously acknowledging seeing her there with me.

It felt like rewatching the sixth sense after finding out the twist and desperately searching for plot holes because you were so damn sure Bruce Willis had been communicating with lots of people.

But he hadn’t. How the hell do I know if I have?
Do I even have a daughter?

I got to the point where didn’t want to answer when she spoke to me just in case she wasn’t actually there and I was talking to an empty space, yet I also had to reply because if she’s real then she’s a 9 year old kid, my 9 year old kid and you can’t ignore your own child!

Logic suggested that she was there with me because I wouldn’t have left her at home and I didn’t remember dropping her at Hubby’s work, but then I didn’t really remember anything before suddenly being present at the shop with a 9yr old I know to be my daughter asking me endless questions.
The world around me was fast fading from dissociation and the an overwhelming sensation that I was imagining her.

I silently tried to summon Suzi to help me, I can cope when she’s here, to which I received a vague, distant and kind of exasperated “you’re nearly done” comment. Damn it, why does she keep leaving me alone like this? She must know I can’t do it! She’s supposed to help me, is she just pretending to care but secretly trying to hurt me too? Why do they all hate me?

I noticed that the checkout lady didn’t smile or acknowledge Miss 9 when I paid. We took the groceries to the car and Miss 9 talked to me as we drove to the workshop, I replied hesitantly but when we got there Hubby talked to her too and asked her if she had fun shopping so I guess she must of been with me after all and I was just being silly. I still cannot quite let go of that nagging feeling, what if Hubby has just been humouring me? Is he real?

What if people see me talking to thin air all the time and just decide it’s better to ignore it than tell me?
Maybe it was real until the suicide attempt, maybe it was successful, maybe I’m in limbo or some sort of after death eternal dream like state?

I don’t feel like I actually exist, Am I Bruce Willis in this scenario? Frankly, that would be quite helpful if it meant the knowledge of that set me free because I don’t think I want to exist anyway, certainly not like this. I’m standing here looking around the world through the virtual reality lens in my mind-condo in the sketchy time-share ponzy scheme I got roped into without reading the fine print or realising the
literal meaning of the term ‘time-share’. I want out.

Magic Wand

The beggars they’ve got the best of you,
they all want to see you fail,
year after year you tread this path,
sing your sordid tale.

Oh wave your magic wand,
my learned vagabond,
wish yourself some whisky,
chase yourself some tail.

But where at the bottom of the bottle,
is the meaning of your life?
Another year won’t kill you,
you’ve gathered tokens by your side.

Where can you lie now?
To best avoid the fight.
The past is catching up with you,
and you’re hiding in plain sight.

Apologise nostalgically,
for what you used to do,
1000 days of sobriety, 1000 lies from you.

When did it all go so wrong?
When did the earth stand still?
We gather back to our oldest songs
upon that greatest hill.

Oh wave your magic wand,
my learned vagabond,
wish yourself some whisky,
chase yourself some tail.

Impart your magic wisdom,
to those who pass you by,
because your time it will be over,
I’m the blinking of an eye.

Sing us songs of courage,
sing us songs of why,
tell us your tales of wonder,
and let us dance all through the night.