“This is my face” she crooned from the stage “covered in freckles with the occasional spot and some veins”, a song that I listened to as the train whizzed me off to university for the first time in 2009, watching the District I had nearly always lived in fly past me as I went off to finally start my life. The funny thing is that these times we wait for so feverishly as the “next chapter” of our lives are rarely those days that “the next chapter” begins. The days that truly can be said to have happened are often inane, and the closing of one part of our lives begins on an inoffensive and unremarkable afternoon, and we don’t notice it happening, it just does.
The weekend was weird for me in that sense. Hearing this echo of my adolescence in my present, live and loud from the mouth of the woman who wrote those words that me and my friends knew by heart and sang with gusto on the field out the back of our stuffy school took me on some kind of a weird trip. Without realising it, I have entered a completely new phase of my life. I don’t know which day, which hour or which minute it happened but it has.
2016 was a shite year in many ways. And a great year in others. Part of it I spent driving alone along the roads I knew so well, my music turned up so loud I couldn’t hear my thoughts, couldn’t string a thought together, I just drove and sang until my face felt hot and all the emotions that buzzed in my brain melded into nothing comprehensible and for those short periods of time in that crappy piece of metal I was free from everything. The other part of it was spent with that music in my ears, throbbing while my feet pounded also on terrain they had never touched, that my eyes had never witnessed and I was utterly, utterly and completely alone.
The culture shock of my first few months at uni, with the people, the sounds and the smells of a new city, the total fucking assault on my every sense after all that quiet, all that nothing.
All of that should have been THE shift. Several shifts in life phases. But they may not have been. But I noticed the new phase in a field this weekend. I was wearing my heart shaped sunglasses and red lipstick, and as few cloths as I could get away with in the terrible sticky heat.
I was there with my boyfriend and two immensely good friends and we just stood in the crowd, and I realised that I knew this woman on stage, and she was singing songs that were so familiar and yet almost totally forgotten….and the closer I got to the front of the crowd the more I just closed my eyes and listened to the music, remembered what I have done and where I have been and who I have been in the past compared to who I am now, and it just felt like I was supposed to be there, with those people that day, crammed in amongst other strangers singing along to this song and it was like a weight just lifted off of my shoulders and out of my heart, that I’ve been carrying for so long.
I have this recurring dream that I’m struggling to walk through a corridor and there is a terrible screeching noise, totally hideous and I can’t block it out no matter what I do I see blue light coming out from under one of the doors that lines the corridor. When I open it, there is a giant, deep blue swimming pool in there and I know if I can weigh myself down enough to sit at the bottom on the smooth tile under the water my pain will be over, so I filch pebbles out of the decorative plant pots around the pool, fill my pockets and jump in. The silence is absolute, and comforting and serene and I sit there on the floor cross legged with my hair pleasantly floating around me and I am just so free.
That dream always sounds so terrible to other people, but honestly I don’t think it’s quite how it sounds. I don’t die when I’m under the water. It’s just I needed that change of medium to release me from the agony of that grinding sound that permeated the corridor. This weekend was kind of like that dream but….real.
I’ve carried a lot of hurt in my heart. I’ve cried a lot of nights, and I’ve shut out a lot of people who wanted to help. This weekend as I stood bare legged amongst people I wanted to be around…I realised that the hurt I’ve been dragging around is basically gone. Maybe not completely. But…it was almost happiness. That elusive thing I’ve chased for a long time. And even though today has been a hard day on placement and I’m tired and my spine hurts (my surgery isn’t for a while yet), that snippet of contentment has made everything much less….difficult.
I’m out of the woods, and things might be getting better. I might be finding a normal…
While the concept is in some ways scary to me, because I’m used to a constant uphill battle as ridiculous as that sounds….I’m hopeful. I think honestly I haven’t been hopeful in a long time.
And that’s worth a lot. To me, at least.
So this isn’t a terribly scintillating post….but it’s significant to me and that’s enough for me to want to diarise it.