There are a lot of thoughts, feelings, and contradictions bouncing around in my brain. They’re all vying for an ounce of attention, but they won’t give me a chance to think. Shut up, let me figure this out. Just, shush!
Is one louder than the others?
Hm, perhaps the voice screaming, I’m stuck. Frozen. Stagnated. I want to do something. I need to do something. Something different, new, fresh, and maybe a little bit out of my comfort zone. It’s pulling at me. Calling me. Begging me to follow, to do something, but I can’t.
I don’t want to do it. I couldn’t possibly make it happen. It’s me! I’m the problem. There’s no point denying it. We both know it’s true. But what if, eh? What if?
I slowly exhale, close my eyes for thirty seconds, and shake my head.
There’s fear, doubt, and a mountain of insecurities blocking my path. The what if’s hammer me from every direction. The good, the bad, the indifferent. What if I fail? What if I succeed? What if I try and nothing changes? I need things to change. God, I need a change. I need to do something right for once in my life. I can’t fail one more time. I just can’t because then what? What if I fuck it up one more time?
I’m good at that. Failing. I’m a pro. I could write a book: How Not To Succeed In Life Despite Trying Really, Really, Hard. I do try. You can’t say I don’t put my back into it. I try and fail and try and fail. I dream, and that turns into a nightmare. I hope, and that’s dashed. I just can’t do anything right.
Damn, these thoughts and feelings are really bouncing today.
I feel like I’m floating through life on a little black rain cloud. Did you read those books when you were a kid? A funny little bear who isn’t that bright, but his big heart sure makes up for it. I love those books. Written for dreamers by a dreamer. A place to go when the world outside becomes grey and dreary. A place that’s bright, always happy, and hopeful. There’s nothing that can’t be cured by a sweet pot of honey.
Or a cup of tea.
My Gran always put the kettle on when we walked through the door. Good days. Bad days. There was nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a steaming cuppa tea. Feel sad? Have a cuppa. Get a good grade in school. Well, that deserves a cuppa.
Tea was her pot of honey. It was happiness. It was warmth. It felt safe. Sitting there, drinking tea with her, made the world make sense. It didn’t matter what mood I was in when I arrived. I knew I’d walk out feeling a little more optimistic.
Yes, it had more to do with the person who made the tea. My Gran was kind, generous, and compassionate. She had a quiet, gentle, soft-spoken kindness that wasn’t for show. It was an intrinsic part of her character. She would sit there, sipping her tea while she knitted. Sometimes we’d talk, other times we’d sit in silence, but there was always a warmth that made everything better.
She’s been gone for a long time, but every day I make a cup of tea, and I hear her voice, “Hi love.”
God, I miss her, but the time we did have together was perfect. Especially those last few months. Watching her die sucked, but I got to spend almost every day with her right up until the end. She knew she was dying. She welcomed death like it was a long-lost friend taking her home. But she didn’t want to go without saying every last word.
Her favourite memories. What it was like growing up on a farm. How she dated two men at the same time. Then she told me how she decided to dump one to marry my grandfather. My Gran? Scandalous? Will wonders never cease.
She needed to know that I knew how much she loved me and how much she loved every single member of this family.
She told me that she had no regrets. None. Well, she would’ve liked to have seen the pyramids in Egypt. It would’ve been nice, but it wasn’t a regret. When she looked back on her life, and looked forward to the end, she had a smile on her face. It was done. She’d lived. Now she could die happily and peacefully.
When it’s my turn, I want to go out like that. A smile. A laugh. If there’s such a thing as a right way to die? I think that’s it. No regrets.
I look back, and then I look forward. Can I say that I have no regrets? I want to say it. When my time comes, I want to go with a smile on my face. I want to go out content with what I’ve done, but I’m afraid I’ll go out with a very long list of if only’s.
I know! It’s macabre. Talking about death. Thinking about how and when I die. Wondering what that moment will be like. I’ve done it before. I’ve been in that moment, the beat before the last breath, and each time it’s been different. Sometimes it was quick and peaceful. Other times it was long, drawn out, and I had plenty of time to think.
I’ve walked that line between life and death. I’ve straddled the border that separates this world from the next. I knew that, at any moment, the line could move, and I would cross over. I’ve had to prepare for the end. Say my goodbyes. Stand alone and wait because it’s a solo journey. There’s no way around that. They can hold our hands, but we’ve got to carry on alone. Walk towards…Well, towards whatever you believe comes next.
It’s a strange thing. Knowing you’re about to die. It’s surreal. The mind and body disconnect. They can’t function in unison or harmony. They become separate entities encapsulated by this shell of what used to be a person.
Anger. Grief. Desperation. Praying. Pleading. Begging. Surrender.
No one has to say the words. It’s a feeling. We know it’s coming. Crawling through the body like an entity that exists on a level we can’t quantify or express. Death. When you feel it, you know.
The first time I felt it, I was fifteen, days away from 16, and it only lasted a few minutes. It was enough time to call for my parents. Enough time to tell them something was wrong. Enough time to know what was coming. Not enough time to fully understand it, but there was time to grieve.
A mourning period of minutes or seconds. It’s confusing and chaotic. I knew I was too young. I knew I wanted to do something. I wanted to be something when I grew up, but I was dying. I wouldn’t grow up. I couldn’t be or do or dream.
I was dying. I was dead.
Then I came back.
How many people can say that? You only die once, right? Um…
It’s happened a few times since, and maybe it’s become a little old. Feeling like some cosmic yoyo. Pick one! Up or down. Stop jerking me around. Respectfully. Please. Sorry.
I probably shouldn’t poke the thing with another thing.
I don’t know if I care anymore. Live or die. Whatever happens, it’s out of my hands. I can’t stop it or change it. When it’s my time? Well, there’s not a lot I can do about it, but I can decide how I’ll face that moment.
Right now, I can’t bring myself to look forward. I hate looking back. I’m not happy with either direction because I feel like I’m just existing. Floating aimlessly. Collecting should’ve’s, what if’s, and with that, a few regrets. I don’t want to die with a long list of things I wish I’d done. But doing them now?
Why does it scare me so much? Too many hits to the sensitive bits, perhaps.
I want to find my own honey pot or cup of tea. That warm place I can go to when the grey comes back. The place where I feel safe. A smile on my face. Stare down what’s to come from the high ground or maybe just a few inches taller. That happy place where I can look in all directions and be content with where I’ve been and where I’m going.
I need to find that place, but I don’t know where to look or how to start. Do you?
Maybe I need to pick a direction and start walking. Slowly. I need to go slow. My sensitive bits haven’t healed all the way. My mountain of insecurities looks more like a molehill but still, it’s kinda heavy. I’m afraid, and I’m not sure I’ve got it in me to keep going.
But staying still isn’t an option so, what the hell. Maybe this time I’ll get it right. Maybe this time it will be different. Maybe. It’s worth a try, right?