one hundred & thirty-eight: summer

summer feels like forever away, but i know it’s not.

and honestly, i just keep thinking about how after this summer, i’m finally going to meet¬† pocketbrit when she comes to stay.

you know how labrador retrievers wag their whole bodies when they’re excited, and it looks like their sweet fuzzy doggo faces are grinning?

yeah. that’s how i feel about seeing her. i can’t fucking wait.

Apart (118)

Sometimes I get so dammed mad and jealous that pc and I are so far apart geographically. Like, I’m a total jealous pain in the arse when other people get her in person and I’m stuck way over here. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what she says, or how genuinely she means it, she is just too far away for me to feel her care. It doesn’t feel enough. It drives me mad that the one person who actually claims she cares (and she does care, to be clear) and would hug me, be close and gentle and loving, is too fucking far away to prove she’d actually do it in person. Like, what good are words when everybody close enough to have to prove their words has told me different? Has not touched or hugged me, has not cared?

And then there are other nights, like tonight, where her words make me feel like I’m right next to her, like I can feel the things she’s saying, like I can feel my head leant against her side. These days make me feel sad too for some reason that I can’t completely pinpoint yet. I know she means it, I feel it, I feel her. And it’s more than I could ever ask for, and somehow I feel both so far apart from her, and yet right there next to her. I feel both simultaneously (and yes, I’m aware that makes zero sense). But I do. I long to really actually be in the same room, and yet I can feel it from here, it’s warmth and safety and gentleness. I feel close, really close. And that bit feels very very good. ūüíú

one hundred & sixteen: neck

my little one’s favourite position is what i call spidermonkeying.

wrapped fully around me, legs wound about my middle, arms around my shoulders, face buried into my neck. nose pressed in tight, her warm damp exhales tickling my ears. the wanton flyaway sweet baby hairs at the top of her head blowing in and out with my own breaths.

sometimes, pocketbrit and i will ‘take’ each other’s wee ones, when it feels hard for us to comfort them ourselves. and my little one, always desperate to be held, will clamber up and do the same to her (and often, fall straight to sleep.)

and when she is held like that, it’s like an audible, tangible, palpable sigh is released from us both, i can feel it from here.

she is safe. we are safe. we can breathe. we can rest.

Crying (111)

Well I’ve been doing a fair bit of this today…

This one is kind of mixed in with all the ‘being weak’ stuff that I wrote about the other day (or started to write about)¬† And when I say mixed in, I mean glued together, being smooshed into each other by ten tonnes of iron either side, inside a locked safe with the key thrown away in a room 1,000ft under ground… ie really fucking together, and never not going to be. Crying is weak. That is the message that was planted into me very early on, and fed all the time. So really the first huge thing I think of when I think of me crying, is massive amounts of shame. And that’s all thanks to my family

I mean, to begin with I grew up with two older brothers, and that just in itself probably tends to result in a girl being a little tougher and less likely to cry (maybe? Maybe not. Depends on the family and the kids, but with my kind of brothers definitely so). Then you can include my hard mother, who doesn’t cry, never has been a crier. She was tough, not soft, and that was how I was to be. And then, y’know, you can add into the mix my entire childhood experiences. Violent father, abusive family, sexually abusive family, for that matter. And I was the mediator, the one required to keep her cool and keep the peace and make sure everything was okay. I was needed to be emotionless, and to a great extent I was. Different parts generally held different emotions, and I appeared to the outside world devoid of all ‘bad’ ones… Or “fine”. (that word had better not come up any time soon or I really will cry).

So, what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t cry much. I absolutely could get upset, but as I got older I started to switch my emotions off. But to do that, I absolutely did cry… late at night, all on my own. About things that were happening to me, about imagining family members dying, about characters in books and films. I had books and films that I would turn to when I felt like I needed to cry. And I would sob into my stuffed elephant, like really¬†really¬†cry… About fictional characters, and yet also about the feelings of things that were actually happening to me, in my very real life.

And that was almost every single night for a while. I took myself to bed and I read if I needed to, and I cried myself to sleep.

Fast forward on a few years and I felt like I must’ve cried myself out, used up all my tears, because I could no longer cry…my tactical books and films no longer worked, I was immune to them. I was noticeably hardened, to the point where people commented on it. All of it had been turned off¬† because it was all far too much.

Im still so ashamed of crying, of being weak, of allowing there to be a place for my hurt and of people knowing that I am hurting. But I’m so much better with it. And I do think a certain Canadian friend has helped so much with that, by being kind and gentle and reassuring and sitting with me when it happens. I’m relearning to cry, and I really hate it sometimes, but it feels much better and safer with her by my side. She uses the phrase that “it feels like you will down in the grief” or “die from the pain of it”, and it really really does sometimes. Just today it all felt like too much to bear, it felt like I would never stop crying, and yet always, always, I have.

All of this is not to say that I cry a lot, because I don’t, I’m still getting there. But it’s more. Its also only ever on my own or with safe people, which so far only includes pocketcanadian, (though my therapist is close to being added to that list I think, if she stops disappointing me enough that I actually go back to her). But it’s so much better to give it space, to feel those feelings, even when you feel like you won’t survive them.

Lastly, this makes me think of pocketcanadian and how heavy my heart feels that she let’s me be there when she’s crying, that I’m safe enough. And it makes me think about how being on the phone to her and hearing her cry, is sometimes enough to make me cry too.

Patience (95)

At the moment this word is making me think of pocketcanadian, the amazing friend I’m lucky enough to share this blog with.

She doesn’t have endless patience. Nobody does (or should), but lately, she’s so much more patient than I could ever ask of her. I mean she’s always been patient, but extra lately. And the best thing of all… Its been with one of my young ones that really needs it. The little one and i have spent the last couple of days listening to pc’s voice and rereading the conversations between the two of them. Because, pc has been so gentle, so loving and kind, and so patient.

Neither of us can quite believe our luck, because here’s the thing, my little one believes pocketcanadian. She believes her words and she believes her love. She always knew that it was genuine, but she never dreamed that it could actually be applicable to her too. That somebody, actually, really, wants to fight to love her. That they care. It’s amazing. And she’ll carry on fighting it a bit sometimes, keep thinking it isn’t safe, but she also knows it’s there patiently waiting. And that’s so much more than we could have dreamed of.

ninety-two: ember

when pocketbrit and i meet by the sea, sitting fireside features hugely in our scenarios, so this really made me think of her tonight. and it is fitting, too, because christmas sucks pretty hard for both of us, and we both had varying combinations of work and family obligations and that same universal gd pressure to pretend and be happy, when really, i just wanted to crawl under the covers and awaken in mid-january.

so, when we head to the sea together, like if we’re upset, or having trouble sleeping, or are particularly sad, or just because we feel closer there, one of us inevitably sends the other a message, setting the stage, if you will. and, nearly always, there is a fire. sometimes it burns brightly, crackling, spitting sparks, blazing away as we watch. but most times, our fires are burning low and hot, with the light of its glowing embers flickering on the walls, permeating the cold and wind and chill of the salty air. it burns as we snuggle in and try to dispel the loneliness and sadness, as we try to find peace and comfort and sleep.

tonight, at the hearth in my head, there is just that kind of fire, deeply warm, gentle, soothing, as i reach for her hand to squeeze it a couple times, wishing us both the strength to get through tomorrow. that we may last through the pretending and pressure and expectations. we can do it. it won’t be easy, mind you, but i know we can. and when it’s hard, there’s always the sea, in its tumult and saltiness, its ebbing and flowing, dependable in its constancy.

six: friend

i don’t even know where to start with this one. except the word’s been prickling behind my eyes all day, every time i think about it. because of course, i can’t help but think about you, pocketbrit, as my best one of these…and also about how this word in no way does¬† justice to what you mean to me.

i have always been someone who was friendly with lots of people. i have loads of people who are my ‘friends’ in some way, but very very few people who i feel truly know me. and maybe that’s the point, that friends are those people with whom you share some things, and that there is another name for those people with whom you share nearly everything. maybe friend does not capture that.

but i guess i want to talk about the people in that second nebulous, unnameable group. because it is those kind of relationships, with intimate emotional connections, with trust and love and tears and heartache and communication and hard work, that i want close. they are who i want nearby for the good and the rotten, the silly and the traumatic, the short-term and the fifty years (lest i still be kicking in my 90s) hence.

the woman with whom i share this blog is someone who knows more of me than i’ve ever shared before with a ‘friend’. she has seen me…so so low. like, not-wanting-to-be-here-anymore low. she knows things that nearly no one else does. is present for me in a way i have very rarely experienced, for which i am endlessly grateful. i have never cried so much in the presence of anyone, other than my therapist (and possibly my mother, when i was an infant and had no other way to communicate) than i have with her. tears just come out, so easily. at this point, it’s a bit of a joke between us…and i know it’s coz given how i am now, it’s so hard for her to believe that for the years and years and years before her, i just held it all in. bit my lip and sealed it all up until i could maybe let out a few frustrated, angry tears behind closed doors, in solitude, every couple of months. i just didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t cry. my spontaneous teariness/weepiness/general messiness is all she’s ever known from me, so it’s not her fault that she doesn’t understand. and i can never find the words to tell her how much it means to me, how being able to feel, and share how i feel, is like a gift that i had no idea was possible for me. and giving it, is also one of the biggest gifts to myself…

the most completely bizarre thing about us is that we have never, ever met in person. i know, i can’t believe it either. it’s so so weird and wrong. and, to date, we have also never, ever video-called each other. never actually seen our responses to the other’s words. never actually interacted, in the way two people do in each other’s presence, with all five of our senses. and yet…and yet, though i look forward to enriching our experience of each other by meeting face to face…what i’ve realized today is that i don’t even need it. i don’t actually need it to be any different from how it is – it is just right, as is, this very moment.

sweetest pocketbrit is a part of my daily existence, she is a part of my heart, she is more real and present for me than than people i have known for years. she is one of the people i want closest, nearly all the time. she is so so silly (in her britishness, for certain, but in other ways too), so wonderful, sensitive, gentle and sweet. she is smart and kind and lovely. she is one of the three loves of my life.

(writing that made the words go so so squiggly for a few minutes)

(like quite a few minutes, as in, i’m going to be horrendously late posting this as a result)

so this post, dear one, is one of the easiest yet one of the hardest ones to write. because our word today was friend…but what we have here? is beyond what i could have hoped for, in any way deserve, and something for which i will forever and ever have gratitude. i love you, pocketbrit. wouldn’t be without you.

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