Gillian Cornwall, c June 2015
This photo aptly describes my current state. I am dark grey and segmented. One foot bravely treads forward despite the lack of strength and vigour for which I am usually known. I so wish I had an uplifting post for you, something that would have you go away, waving flags and racing into your life with a big smile but, the fact is, I'm not back there yet. Nonetheless, you have my honesty and my best effort for today and I hope it brings you something valuable.
Last week I told you it had been a rough week for me and that hasn't gone away. As a matter of fact, it's been harder. Work has been more challenging, relationships have been rocky and explosive and my ability to cope has hit an all time low, but I'm here and I'm telling you about it. I am doing so, not because i want you to join me down here in my dark, black hole, but because I want you to know that I am still moving, still trying, looking for ways to move forward, to get back out, asking for help and finding ways to keep going, even if the help is not always there when I need it or from whom I expect it.
I don't want you in here with me. I don't want you to try to fix it. I want you to hear the story of how I got here (Give me time, I'm working on that one and it's big!), acknowledge that it is hard and then offer to shine a light down here if you have one so I can find my own way out. There you have the "person in the hole" parable / analogy or whatever. I like it. It works for me.
It helps that I really dislike physical pain. I have had enough of it over the course of my life and having read up on the ways to die - they all suck. In fact, they all seem to suck way worse than the pain I am experiencing in my life right now. So here I am and I am staying and I think I understand why some people get to the point where they kill themselves. They must have struggled so hard and the pain of their lives must be so impossibly intense that the pain of death would be lesser than the pain of living. Unfathomable.
For any or all of you who have been through this, I love you and have compassion for you. It is horrible and the struggle is epic. I reached out this weekend and though no one is actually physically here, the mighty power of good in social media, particularly private DMs in Twitter have got me through and helped me feel less alone. I am not saying that these can replace a hug, someone wrapping themselves around you so you can still feel that you have a body, that you are real and that you are loved; I kept my engagements this weekend and got what I needed in that regard as well.
Keep trying. Keep walking your path. Crawl if you have to do so. Own your shit and keep going. Please. Seek help. Let's get this out in the open. Everyone loses hope at times. Please try to reach out and ask for help and know that you can keep that help on your terms. You needn't hand over your control of the situation.
Through this hard time, complete strangers have stopped to ask me if I was okay - on foot, walking past and in cars, driving past. Makes me realize how much the weight is showing on me but also makes me realize how many beautiful souls there are out there. The person who stopped their car, right on a busy road, actually offered to give me a lift when the bus driver pulled away just as I was running for the closing door. I hope he realizes the impact of his unkindness and I hope the woman knows how grateful I am for her offer - in this day and age, she put her own fear aside and offered a complete stranger a ride because she saw how upset I was - and it wasn't pretty either - let me assure you. By this point, I was ranting and crying, because when you get this low, it's hard to make the appropriate social decisions and remain within the right social behaviours. The other person was a student at the school where I work. So, for those of you who have lost faith in our youth, be heartened. They are compassionate and caring enough to do such a thing.
Remember your elders and mentors in your difficult times, as I have turned to mine in this time, when my usual rock-like self is worn to fine sand. Listen to them. They have seen much and travelled far and have usually survived horrors that we cannot imagine. Respect the mother earth and ocean and her ability to survive and sustain us despite the abuse we have shown her. Go to her and ask for guidance. Lay down upon her and offer your tears and your gratitude. She is as alive as your lover, mother or brother. We are not alone but sometimes we have to look to different places for support. Re-frame our patterns. Consider giving to someone else who needs, just when we think we are empty and at our lowest.
To each of you, I apologize if I continue to appear self-serving in these last few posts. Know that I hope my truth gives you sustenance. There is no perfection to which you must strive. You are perfect if you are showing up. Try to be honest, open and willing to be loved.
I offer myself up to you each week, in my truth, no matter how hard it is. I hope that it helps, that it gives to you - at least as much as it gives to me. As I write, I picture the eyes I have never seen, next door and around the world, Forgive me my failings. I am but human and in love with life in all its wonder and devastation.
Here, take my hand and walk with me awhile.
-Gillian Cornwall, c June 14, 2015
Gore Park, Brentwood Bay
Gillian Cornwall, c. May 2015