That is why I am scared; because just like the undercurrent of a riptide, this feeling of complete numbness is strong, and it is dragging me out to the point where I am scared I will be unable to swim back. I think that much longer in this state, if I am dragged any further out, I may drown.
I think that character that everyone got annoyed by in Bridesmaids said it best, “At first I did not know it was your diary, I thought it was a very sad, hand-written book.” You know the one - that Australian chick who did the really quite awful English accent as she was saying that line. Yeah. Well, unfortunately this is, in fact, something out of my diary. I wrote it at about 9am this morning.
Without going into detail, as I really, truly do not wish to ever go into detail ever again, life has been kind of shitty of late. I could write pages and pages of what has been going on in the world of Leah lately, and I could write tall, unstable piles of letters to all of those involved, and I could cry - HAVE cried - hours and hours of tears. But instead, what I want to do, is try and wrap my head around where the actual fuck I go from here.
Seriously, where the fuck do I go from here?
I am at one of those crossroads in life that we all tend to believe only exist in movies. The manic main character has all of her shit together - she has the man and the job and the prospects and the apartment and the savings fund - and then due to some savvy script writing and clever editing, and probably a montage or two, her entire life falls the fuck apart. I am that character. It is my life that has fallen apart. So have I crumbled? I hear you ask - or have I prospered?
Both. I am still in the process of crumbling whilst really, truly, completely trying to prosper and regain some kind of a sense of who I am; some semblance of a life. I have never felt so alone in my life as I have the past few weeks - and let me stress that that in no way discredits or passes over the handful of people who have been utterly and wonderfully incredible. I mean alone in a much larger sense of the word. The kind of alone that you feel will never escape you, the kind that you feel in the absolute pit of your stomach. For the most part, I am putting out the image of someone who is doing okay. I know when to politely laugh with strangers when we both annoyingly pick the same side of the footpath, I am doing a lot of really long, exhausting walks to get fresh air into my lungs, I am staying positive for most of the day and I am still managing to feed my beautiful cat twice a day. But, if anyone knew the strength in which it took for me to retch myself out of bed every morning, maybe those isolated, long walks would look different. Or the strangers may see the sadness in my eyes, the glassiness of tears cried the night before.
All of my fears swam in my head throughout the night, playing themselves out in my dreams. When I woke, they had not eased. Nothing seems to be able to lift the fog that I am living my life in right now - nothing at all. Not the comforting nuzzle of my cat, not the blurred vision from the bottom of a bottle of whiskey, not the promise from the few people that are still around me that everything will, in fact, be okay.
But enough of that - you all get the picture. I’m not a well human at the moment. What I do wish to put out there right now, is what I have learned from all of this. Because that are what the hard times are for right? To learn? I hope so, because if I gain nothing from this, then I totally fucking quit.
What I have learned is that I haven't the foggiest idea of the woman I am. Not a thing. Outside of my name, my birthdate and where I grew up - the simple facts that make me a identifiable individual - I could not tell you a single thing about me. I could rattle off some things that I like - books, my cat, whiskey, baking, eating everything I bake, coffee, jumping into really cold water - but I still could not tell you the person I am, to my core. And now, with everything in my life falling away that gave it some structure, like my job, the lease on my apartment and my family, I really am left with only the shell of who I am. The shell of Leah Cwikel.
What I have learned is that my task now - however fucking daunting it may seem - is to fill that shell with things I know that I love, things that make me smile and feel warm and good and wholesome and hope that eventually, that will lead me in the right direction. So I am going on the Bay Walk every morning. I am meeting one of my girlfriends for more walks. I am relishing the feeling of sunlight streaming through my window of a morning while I drink coffee and read a book. I am playing fetch with my cat. I am drinking far too much whiskey and watching trashy television with my partner, my incredible, supportive, everything of a partner.
What I have learned is that sometimes, out of complete despair, you can meet some incredible people. Like my partner for example, who everyday reminds me of everything that is good, and wonderful and incredible, and fun and fucking lovely about this life. Like my new-found soul sister who is just as inappropriate as me, and dorky, and who deserves to have novels and films and plays written about her. And their family, of whom I still believe are the kindest, most heartfelt, accepting humans this world has to offer. And Pamela, who invited me to be a part of her Writer’s Club where I am the youngest by about thirty-five years but strangely fit in more than anywhere that I have in a while. And Fergus, who offered me my dream job and talks to me as if he has known me for eons and eons, and eons beyond that.
What I have learned is that I can, and will, be there for anyone who ever needs support, a friend or simply someone who just needs to feel not alone.
What I have learned is that you cannot run from the feeling of nothingness. You can’t. It doesn't matter the amount of hours I feel good, and say all of the positive things to myself, the nothing and absolute numbness will creep back in when you are sitting on the lounge, tired and alone. But it isn't about escaping it, really, is it? It is about working the hell through it. It is about riding those waves of despair and actually being okay with it. It is about not bursting into tears when your first cookie drops into your freshly brewed cup of tea. And I mean, the whole cookie. It totally ruined my cup of tea and I had to get up and make a new one and it was just this whole thing. I digress. But it really is about riding those waves and not blaming yourself for having really shitty thoughts. It’s about saying to yourself, with confidence - out loud or in your head, whatever works - “This is fucking shit. You have no job, and you are cold and should put socks on, and you don't know where your next pay is coming from and you don't really have any friends but you know what? That’s okay. Life is balls at the moment, but this will all be a memory one day.”
That’s my new thing, the thing that I say to myself to get me through. This, all this bullshit right here and now, this will all be something I look back on one day. I will look back and be able to say that I got through it, against everything and in moments where I could have given up in the biggest way, I didn’t. And that isn't totally on me, the people around me know who they are who have held me up in my most rock-bottom-shit moments, and for them I am and will continue be eternally grateful. I have realised that I really, really want to get through this, EVEN in moments where I don't really want to get through it and I want everything to stop fucking hurting for just one brief moment.
And so, right now, I am in one of my good and strong and positive moments and I am going to just go with that. I am going to deal in facts.
I will get the job and be able to start immediately - and that is where my next pay will come from. I have enough money to pay my rent for a month without the help of anyone. I managed to get a paid copywriting job without searching for it. If I don't get this job, I will find something else. I have a beautiful friend who cares about me and makes me laugh. I have a gorgeous man in my life who is standing by my side through the hardest time I have ever experienced and amongst all of this, I have managed to laugh harder than ever before. I am healthy, and still managing to keep my cat and myself fed. I have savings put aside going towards an overseas trip that I refuse to let dwindle. I know I overthink, and worry, but I am okay.
So yeah, I mean, right now my diary does read like a really, really sad handwritten book. But you know what? My handwriting is super fucking neat and a pleasure to peruse. And soon enough, my life will be too.