Seasons come and seasons go. It’s the nature of Seasons. Summer gives way to Autumn (Fall), Autumn gives into the cooler embrace of Winter, and Winter when her time is done, moves away, giving space for Spring to cover the world in flowers, and pollen and bees and baby animals.
The weather this Winter has been fairly mild, particularly over the past month. It’s been more like Spring actually. A family of Magpie’s moved into the Gum tree outside my front door and the grey feathered babies are now out of the nest and running around my front yard making a massive racket. One baby, who shall hereforth be named Rudolph, has taken to following me around when I’m pottering in the garden. It’s like having a feathered Foreman on a construction job. His parents seem almost relieved that the 6’1 human is taking over day time baby sitting duty.
Spring for me is always a time of happy planning. Winter I tend to hibernate, and with hibernation, comes the memories of my past niggling at that back of my mind. This mistake, that mistake. When I was younger, Spring was the beginning of the 12 week starvation diet that saw me fit back into too tight pants and t-shirts, ready for the Summer Party season. As I’ve aged the Summer Party Season and the Spring Starvation Diet have given way to other things, mostly work.
It’s been quiet a few years since I got excited about Spring. My past 7 years have been spent working on a career that ended a couple of months ago. I did it all. Travelled the country, a different day, a different capital city. Long hours, countless conversations, writing marketing and sales copy as the rest of the team left at 5:01 on the dot, every day.
I didn’t take my redundancy very well. It was Winter. I hibernated. Boy did I hibernate. I’ve barely left my bed or the table under the house since it all happened.
A couple of weeks ago I got approached by someone who used to be a friend. We are not friends anymore, that friendship died painfully 7 years ago. Every day since it’s been on my mind. Loss, pain, fear. All of it mingling together like Christmas Lights I never thought I’d untangle. I needed to let it go, and for a while I could, here and there. But sooner or later it would turn up again. And there I’d be; 33 years old, broke and broken, pushed off the edge of a cliff into a world of sharp emotions, panic attacks and fear. It felt back then I would wander in this broken kingdom of crystal and glass forever. The fact I don’t is testament, not to my own inner strength, but to the absolute determination of two of my friends in particular that I would not stay at the bottom of the well.
Without going into any detail – because I’m not, ever – the loss of that friendship was like the destruction of my first relationship. The way it happened, the hurtful things said, were to taint the next 7 years in ways I was mostly unaware of. I don’t make friends. Haven’t done in years. The friends I have are the ones who were here before my world hit the wall. I have major trust issues where that is concerned. I don’t like to be noticed, and I don’t have friends with children. It’s just that simple. I’ve had friends have children in the last 7 years but the minute I found out, I walked out. Without a a backwards glance.
Against my own screaming fear I agreed to meet this person who once was my friend for a coffee this week. The conversation was polite, it was surface level and I knew without a doubt it was a once off. I heard tales of her children, her family, exchanged polite conversation about my parents, barely mentioned any friends and talked a lot about work. Mid way through the coffee’s I got something I wasn’t at all prepared for. I got an apology.
This friend of my youth apologised. I’d known her 17 years and never once heard an apology come out of her mouth in all that time. It was what I wanted most of all, but the one thing I didn’t expect. She admitted me to me she lied. She admitted she said the worst thing she could think of and that she knew I was fragile at the time. She knew her comments would get back to me, and she knew they’d be a catalyst to push me off the edge of the cliff I thought no one knew I was perched on.
If I’d been anywhere but there I’d have cried as I felt the weight I’d carried for 7 years lift off my shoulders with an ease that shocked me. While I had known – and ignored – the surface level results of what I’d done since, I was surprised at the sheer level of release in a deeper, darker place in my mind.
It’s been 7 years since I seriously wrote anything of substance beyond a blog post or two. I start books or stories and never finish them. Since that meeting the words have been flowing from muse to finger tips like they used to when I was in my early 30’s and convinced I had what it took to be the next Sidney Sheldon. It’s only been a couple of days, but my trust in myself has had more repair done since that apology than I had managed in all the years proceeding it.
I guess the point to all of this, is that when you live your life distrusting everyone – including yourself; mainly yourself – you can not touch the sun, or even make a flower grow. Earlier this year a cactus I used to have growing on my patio at the unit I was living in when I had the breakdown flowered for the first time in 7 years. I took that as as sign of better things to come.
I don’t know if I’ll continue to flourish with my writing or whether or not I’ll just tear ahead for a few more days before the inner strength released by the apology starts to fade. What I do is this; Sometimes the only way to forgive yourself and your past is to face it full in the face. I had a million things to say when I walked into that coffee shop, and yet somehow none of them mattered once the apology had been given.
The only thing that mattered after that was how I felt. I live my life desperate to not hurt other people. I’m sure I’ve done it though. But the one person I have abused and bullied the most is myself. The inner dialogue I’ve carried for years has been one of hate and abuse. The record has – for the moment – changed and I’m grateful to the universe for the opportunity to have silenced that hateful voice in my head.
Talking to another friend the other day, she made mention of life operating in 7 year cycles. If this is the case – and the fact this initially hit 7 years ago makes me consider the possibility – I can only hope the next 7 years are freer than the past ones.
Whatever the next 7 years hold, I am confident – at least for now – that for me at least, writing and love will centre strongly. Who knows, maybe I’ll even learn to trust myself again.