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When strong people break

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“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” - Roald Dahl -

When I look back on 2015, the more I read, listen, learn, watch and experience, the more I’m immeasurably grateful for the trip and fall that I took this year, the fall down, the staying down, that made me take stock. Take stock of me - who I’d created - and who I really was. As Brene Brown says in Daring Greatly ‘What we know matters but who we are matters more. Being rather than knowing requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen’. In the absence of any other coping skills I started to allow myself to be seen, mostly by myself.

The falling down necessitated asking for help which is about as appealing as gargling with cut glass but I realised I was in trouble. A friend of mine once said, the only time we change is when where we are is more scary than the change to where we want to go, and where I was, was no place to stay. So I turned to a friend who immediately assured me that I wasn’t the only person who was feeling what I was feeling - whilst I appreciated that my demise into what felt like dementia wasn’t a lone dive I also assured her that company was not what I was looking for - I needed answers, I needed to get back up, I needed an acton plan.

I wish I could say that, no sooner had that cry for help been heard, I was back up and running again but I can’t say that. I kept reading all these poems about people leaving but not one about how I convinced myself to stay the course. I know what you want to hear, that I slayed the dragon, swallowed my demons and laughed in the face of my nightmares to live happily ever after - but the truth is much more ordinary.

The truth is somedays I breathed through the pain and others I wrestled, in anger and despair.

A friend who experienced much loss and sadness in her life shared with me how - during her worst moments - she knew who the real people were in her life, it was those who keep showing up - time and again - even when it’s inconvenient, even when they have enormous hurdles in their own lives, even when they are time bankrupt and battling their own demons. It’s those people who are your tribe and here's the kicker, it’s never the people you think it’s going to be.

The people who walked into my life, unexpectedly and those who have continued to show up, quietly and resolutely, continuously opening the door for me to see myself differently; to see myself through your eyes - through kind, generous, wise, loving eyes. It’s to you I’m writing this; those with the wicked sense of humour, those who make me blush and smile all at the same, those who keep silly hours and stupid jokes, those friends - old and new - who just loved me, even if they didn’t know how broken I was feeling, those people who can laugh and cry with me, who I call (or voice note) random mumblings and who listen - always - even if it’s just for nine seconds. 2015 knocked me down but it sure as hell didn’t keep me down. "It seems backwards but sometimes you have to destroy the most important thing in your life to be who it is you’re supposed to be: gold, warm, alive." Anaïs Escobar Mathers.


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