Tag Archives: vulnerability

You can run…

28 Apr

I’ve always been a bit of a nomadic soul. For many, many years I moved house about once a year. I enjoy change. I get bored quite quickly. I like “new”.

So, whilst most of my friends and peers seem established – with a family, a mortgage and steady employment – I find myself two months into a three-month trip to South Africa. And with no home to return to.

My hubster and I decided to come out here to volunteer at a project and explore future possibilities in Durban – a place very close to my heart. I love South Africa – the people, the sunshine, the optimism and opportunities. I love it, and yet I find myself feeling strangely displaced. Not-quite-at-home.

It’s a feeling I am accustomed to.

I tend to gravitate towards the periphery, towards the outsiders. I often feel not-quite-at-home.

I am realising, however, that being-at-home is much more about the inside than the outside. Much more about feeling at peace and settled in myself than whether I live in Durban, London, Mumbai or Texas.

I can “move home” as many times as I choose, yet one thing remains constant – me. I can relocate anywhere in the world, but I cannot escape from “Becca”. I cannot hide from the flaws, doubts and insecurities; they refuse to stay in the garage with my belongings.

Being away from the life-I-got-used-to-in-London has taken me out of my comfort zone. In some ways, there are less distractions here – no internet in our home, no TV, fewer phone calls and text messages. This makes it harder to hide from myself.

So I find myself searching for definitive answers and, as yet, uncovering frustratingly little that is certain or absolute. I am desperate to know what is next – to find some comfort and security – and, yet, this is eluding me right now.

I am learning, once again, that maybe it’s not “what we do” that matters most anyway.

Maybe a better question is: “who am I?”. It requires more soul-searching and wrestling, but the discipline of facing ourselves – looking in the mirror – is far more important than “what we do”.

This is a hard lesson for me – I am, by nature, an activist, a doer. I like to be busy, to feel productive. I find it hard to just sit and “be”.

All the running, though, has made me tired.

So I am choosing, once again, to look in the mirror, to face the deeper questions and doubts, and ask again: “who am I?”.

It is, I think, only when we choose to move on from our futile attempts at hiding – from myself, from others and from this world – that we will find “home”.

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“If there’s a b…

21 Apr

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison

I’ve been thinking about writing this weekend. And this on-hold blog. 

I am not really sure why I stopped writing here. But I did. And I’ve realised that I miss it.

I love writing. I love words. I love thinking and wrestling and find the right words. Editing and re-writing. And posting little thoughts when they come.

I love talking about failure. The things that others find it hard to talk about. Life-when-it-is-not-perfect. I love finding community through this blog – fellow travellers who choose not to hide their lack of perfection.

So, I think, it’s time to resurrect a story of failure. To write again. 

For, sometimes, “you must write it”.

Under the cloud

9 Nov

It’s been one of those weeks.

I saw the dark cloud approaching, hovering on the horizon, probably about ten days ago. I spotted it and I ignored it.

For some reason, I thought that denial might work – this time.

And as the cloud approached, I remained naively optimistic. It will be different this time. I can do this. I can win this battle.

I started feeling slightly disconnected – from those around me, from conversations, from life. And I still carried on thinking I would be ok.

Then. Then – the crash. Unable to get out of bed. Unable to answer my phone. Unable to connect – with anyone, anything.

The cloud had enveloped me. I could no longer deny its presence. I could not fight, I had no resources or strength. Nothing.

I felt so sad. Overwhelmed by disappointment. A sense of loss. A sadness at the world we live in, at the suffering of those I love. A sadness and a questioning – of the path I am on, the world I occupy.

I could no longer see, enveloped by blackness. Bleakness.

I have been under the cloud before. And it is horrible. Awful. It is lonely, isolating, enveloping, all-consuming.

No-one should ever have to live under the cloud.

And today? Today, the cloud is still there but there are some rays of light too.

So please don’t worry. I write these words not to alarm anyone, but in the pursuit of honesty and truth. Of vulnerability.

For I spend many years pretending I was strong. And I am not.

I cannot do this on my own.

And I cannot pretend anymore. It’s been one of those weeks.

The savagery of schizophrenia

22 Oct

I recently wrote a blog post on Elyn Saks’ TED talk about living with schizophrenia.

Here are some truly beautiful, sad-making and true words about the same condition. This is a must-read article by Caitlin Moran (and – if you are in a rush, read anyway for it won’t take you long).

I love how words can be a force of life: a rampage against darkness or an acceptance of this darkness, an articulation of truth or its denial.

Words can heal. And hurt. Encourage. Or destroy.

Words can create. And they can shut down.

I love reading the words of true wordsmiths. These ones made me want to cry. And that is good – for they reveal truth, love and life in all its messiness and ambiguity.

Thank you Caitlin.

To blog or not to blog…

30 Jun

… that is my question.

I’ve been fretting about the blog for a little while now. Last night, chatting to a friend, I spoke about how I don’t feel I give it enough time anymore. Yesterday morning, someone asked how many people read it. Last weekend, I confided in a friend that I worry people might misunderstand some of what I write about here. And over the last two weeks, several people have asked if I am “ok”. They had read recent posts and worried. Which, for me, adds to the catalogue of confusion.

You see – I have been feeling insecure about it for a few weeks. In a “hovering-in-the-background” way. In a “can’t-quite-shake-the-feeling” way.

Is it too gloomy (or as a friend commented to my husband “more gloomy than usual”!)?

Is it egotistical online therapy – or does it serve a bigger purpose?

I started the blog to open up conversation – about failure. About daily, almost-mundane failures. And bigger, catastrophic ones too. I wanted to be able to talk about things-that-remain-taboo. To break the power of shame, silence and sorrow. Of disappointment.

But I worry that the blog no longer does this.

And whilst I love writing, and find it therapeutic too, I could go back to just writing a private journal. Rather than hanging it all out to dry on the online washing line.

So – what I would love to know, particularly from any of you who read regularly, is:

Which posts have you most liked/appreciated on the blog?

Which are less appealing? (I know that preferences are very personal, but I’d love to know)

Are there any that really turn you off?

How often do you read the blog?

Do you ever comment on posts? If not – is there a reason why? Would a more interactive set-up be a good thing?

Are there any specific issues/subjects you would like to see on here? Would you be interested in doing a “guest post”?

So.

To blog or not to blog…

That is still the question.

 

An unconditional love

26 Jun

I read this blog post yesterday and cannot stop thinking about it.

I am thinking today about “unconditional love”, a phrase often bandied about – but rarely practised. What does it mean to love someone unconditionally? Accepting someone as they are now, not as-you-would-like-them-to-be?

Shari Johnson, who wrote the blogpost, speaks of unconditional love from a mother’s perspective. I want to learn this sort of love. And put it into practice. As Shari says: “I had always known that I had a problem with unconditional love, but I thought if I followed all the “rules” and “worked” for God and his Kingdom, I would get a pass on the love thing. I didn’t.”

Will we love unconditionally – even if it means being misunderstood by others. What if it means I am judged to have “lost my way” or “backslidden”? What if there is a cost?

I’d rather be judged and misunderstood than be the judge who misunderstands. I want to love those around me and accept them as they are, without agenda. Even when  there is a cost. For there will be. This love is not easy.

Life observed

18 Jun

I haven’t felt “right” for a little while now. Under the weather physically. And in my mind and heart too.

Not sure that I can articulate why (and why do we always need a “reason” anyway?). And so I find myself retreating – it seems easier than trying to explain that which I don’t understand.

These times – of discombobulation, of uncertainty and anxiety – are hard. I find myself retreating from “normal life”, struggling to do the simple things. The basics – like getting out of bed, getting dressed, going to work – feel, each time, like a mountain that needs climbing, rather than the everyday habits of a 35 year old urban dweller.

I am not used to these sort of mountains, they scare me and I feel so ill-equipped. Life becomes a battle rather than a joy, an unknown rather than familiar.

And so it is, during the difficult days, that I feel like I am observing life rather than living it. I am watching others “live” whilst I just “get through”.

It is the strangest feeling.

As though life is passing me by, happening to others. While I am on the sidelines.

I am trying to learn how to respond. How to not simply “get through” but live – even when life feels hard.

How do we embrace uncertainty when we crave the feeling of being-in-control?

How do we find peace when anxiety is intent on crowding it out?

How do we enter into life – in all its fullness, ups and downs – and not stay stuck on the sidelines?

For the sidelines might feel safer, but they are – after all – not the main event.

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