Explicit instructions

I put a sign in my sitting room above my notice board saying “breathe air, drink water, give thanks”. Last month I put a sign above my bedroom door saying “strong back, soft front, wild heart”. That one’s more poetic because it’s courtesy of Brené Brown.

I can’t say I welcome many visitors, even when we’re not in a national lockdown, but it’s the kind of thing I feel a bit sheepish about anyone seeing. Like I’m one of those people putting inane inspirational quotes around the place. Oh God, am I one step away from “live, laugh, love”??

But, to bring in yet another cliché turn of phrase, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is a pretty big deal in my life. I do better when I externalise things. If something is important, it’s probably better if it’s in my field of vision. So I’ve adorned my walls with explicit instructions, and there are probably more to come.

The first day after I put up “breathe air, drink water, give thanks”, something upset me, and I sat there glowering at it. No. I will breathe, but I will sure as hell not breathe mindfully, which I know is what you mean. And I will not drink water, I will drink coffee, and maybe cola, to wash down the chocolate. I will watch TV and avoid paying any attention to my emotions, and you can get fucked if you think I’m going to transmute them into fucking gratitude. So shut up. I’m this fucking close to pulling you down.

We faced off for hours this way, neither of us willing to give in, and then I went to bed. And then, the next morning, there it was again, as staunch as ever. I had to admire that. And, after some rest, I had to concede it had a point, and I probably should have listened sooner.

It’s a beautiful thing when you can get called out by your wall.

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