Who am I?
I’m someone who feels deeply, who in any given moment feels and holds multiple conflicting, contrasting, complimentary and complex emotions, sensations, experiences, all at once and separately in individual layers, together and apart.
I’m someone who believes that we, all of us, as unique and connected and complex human beings, have an infinite capacity for this. I’m someone who believes that this is one of the most wonderful mysteries and realities of the human experience.
I’m a girl who rarely cries (especially given how often I need to), and when I do I most often fall to my knees in unstoppable sobs that pull my gut from the inside out, where only the hard ground can steady me.
And I’m a girl who is trying to learn the lesson I forgot about how to cry freely, as I believe crying is a skill, one I (and many others) unlearned and denied and told myself was wrong over and over as I grew.
I’m a woman who fiercely stood by my friend’s side as ‘he’ stared me down, because he knows I’m one of the only ones who knows and sees through his lies, because, yes, I know. I know. And I will not back down and smile and play along with his toxic mind games, because I’m a woman who will always fiercely stay by the side of those who I love and believe in.
I’m a person who will stay up all night to listen as you say the same things over and over, or while you cry a million tears, again and again, or I’ll sit in the silence when there are no words if you don’t want to be alone, or hear the secrets you’ve held inside and never spoken and will never say again (and I’ll hold them), if that’s what you need.
I’m a person who will sit at your table as we sing out our songs, or dance it all out until my body aches. I’m a person who will hold you close when you are scared, or hang back when you need room to move on your own.
I’m a girl who gets it wrong, a lot. I’m a girl who tries to learn from my mistakes, constantly; who apologises when I do wrong and I truly mean it.
And I’m also a girl who apologises too often for things that I had no part in or for hurts that others caused me, and I’m in a constant learning about how to break free from this deeply rooted habit, to stop apologising for every breath I take.
I’m a woman who, at times, can hold a room full of people, hosting and helping everyone to feel welcome and wanted and connected.
And I’m a woman who, more often, wants, needs, craves, creates alone time – solitude – and on the rare occasions I am holding the room I’m mostly fronting out some extroverted version of my introverted self. And sometimes I’m the woman who cannot hold even a small part of the room, and being there, quietly watching and listening, is all I can do to stop my anxiety bubbling over.
I’m a woman who often can’t get to that room at all.
And I’m a woman who can quickly move from connected solitude to a deeply painful loneliness that feels like it runs through my blood, sometimes without realising when or how it shifted.
I’m someone who has to manage (or who fails miserably to manage) my anxiety or trauma responses all the livelong day, every single day.
I’m someone who has only experienced refreshing sleep a handful of times in (nearly) thirty years of life, someone who gets frustrated as hell when another’s response to this is to tell me that they love sleep in a way that suggests I don’t, because trust me, in those handful of times when it actually happened I’ve loved sleep as much as a person possibly could and the reason I don’t sleep well is not because I do not love sleep!
I’m a girl who clung to numbers and math and dates and timelines as a child to stop my life feeling as out of control as it most often did.
And I’m a girl who holds so many part of my life in a hazy, dark, distant or forgotten part of my mind, or body, that no amount of logic or arithmetic or calendar counting will ever get back.
I’m a woman whose body often tells me more than my mind ever could, sometimes in a language I’m yet to understand. I’m a woman working and fighting and moving and listening, and sometimes just being quiet and still, to try to learn and understand its language.
I’m a person who loves.
I’m a person who loves deeply and wholly and without reason and for all the reasons, with every part of my being.
And I’m a person who sometimes cannot express my love in the ways I want and to the people I need to the most, who holds secrets and feelings and stories in different, silent, shattered parts of my heart.
I’m someone who has spent nearly thirty years experiencing trauma and abuse and mental illness and grief and loss and (more recently) chronic ill-health, who has a whole mixture of personal and professional experiences that have given me deep and varied understandings around these topics.
And I’m someone who some days feels like I know nothing at all or like I’ve been caught completely unaware and have everything, absolutely everything, still to learn.
I’m a woman who believes that trauma and abuse and mental illness and chronic ill-health and grief and loss and pain (and life!) are processed and experienced in layers, and there are always deeper and deeper layers that we can open ourselves up to moving and learning through.
I’m a woman who is in this learning for the long haul and will continue peeling back and working through and living the layers until my final breath.
I’m a girl who some days needs everything to stop, all of the pain, all of the hurt, all of the mess and all of the heartache, and sometimes this need manifests as a thought or a feeling or a screaming in my being that “I do not want to be here, I need my life to end, I cannot do this anymore.”
And I’m a girl who regularly feels overwhelming gratitude to still be here, alive in this world, against all the odds and despite all of the pain.
I’m a girl who might always, in big and small ways, be feeling both despair and gratitude, lost and found, hopeless and hopeful, sometimes at the very same time.
I’m a person who believes in the healing and transformative and connecting power of words and writing and art and creative expression.
And I’m a person who is learning, everyday, after decades of suppressing these forces within myself, how to open myself up to using my voice through words and writing and art and creative expression.
I’m a girl who believes writing saves lives, it saves mine over and over (true story).