Ctrl, Alt…

I’ve always quite liked the idea of being in prison.

I’ve never particularly been a fan of the things I’d have to do to end up in prison. And, I’ll be honest, committing the crimes is probably less offputting to me than being judged to have committed crimes. But the simple, structured, externally-imposed aceticism of prison is a soothing concept. If I imagine existing in a world of white breeze block walls, smooth hard surfaces, rigid routines and basic expectations, ah, that feels nice. I know rationally that the experience of prison cannot be described that way, but still, nice.

It’s probably because my inner world is impossibly convoluted, and navigating its labyrinth can be so exhausting that I often don’t care for the mundane complexities of everyday modern life. That’s probably why. I’d also find it quite helpful to have someone tell me when to eat. And what. And where.

Sometimes I wish I could simply delete all the clutter from my life. Make everything but the bare necessities vanish. Take away the luxuries. Take away the choices. Take it all away.

Occasionally I do delete the clutter – carpet bomb any and all offending areas of my life and start over. The problem with that is, while it gets rid of one kind of mess, it tends to leave another. Because in real life, everything is connected to everything else. There are never the clean edges between deleted and non-deleted that I hope to find. In real life, the best you can hope for is partial deletion. Which is dissatisfying.

But it’s often a blessing.

I was sitting by the river, and I was thinking

What is it like to be the water of the river?

Always moving on, with no likelihood of ever returning? Unstoppable and unrelenting, always fresh and vital, always forging onwards, never able to stop and rest? Accumulating all the matter of things that enter the river? All things external to you, now yours?

What is it like to be the rocks of the riverbed?

Bearing witness to the world of constant flux above, moving ever subject to the same essential laws, courses changing only minutely over time? Feeling the infinitesimal wearing of the water as it takes part of you with it as it goes?

What is it like to be the scum accumulating in the slow bends of the river?

The water you sit on dynamic and churning, but some invisible force holding you in place; separate and trapped in stasis, almost but not quite in reach of the flow?

What is it like to be the river itself, bigger than all these parts and yet each of them at once?

Ancient and ephemeral all at once, yet always subject to the steady weathering of time? While so many parts of you rush and gush and tumble and splash, you stay your course, steadfast and grounded, yet knowing even you cannot ever be eternal?

What is it like to be the atoms of the water or the rock? The hydrogen or the carbon or the silicon that lends itself to this mission, and will be part of many missions more?

So fundamental, so first principle, having seen so much, having been so much? The seasons, the years, the millennia fail to make their mark on you, but will you end? How could you know?

…alright Yve, I think that’s enough river for one day.

One and the same

I learned fairly recently from a source I now can’t place that emotional trauma and physical trauma are essentially one and the same to the body. Which, I mean, I already knew in the context of understanding and dealing with trauma, but what I hadn’t considered up to that point was the implications for, for instance, exercise and recovery. Because if you experience emotional trauma and then do a workout, your body is now going to have two things to recover from. If something really bad happens in your life, it’s probably not a brilliant idea to push yourself too hard physically, even though that’s a fairly common reaction for people to have.

But it’s a tricky line, because exercise is often a healthy coping strategy for all kinds of psychological ailments and burdens. So the fact that they are equatable doesn’t mean they are necessarily additive. Does physical recovery train your body to deal better with emotional recovery? Does the low-grade physical trauma of exertion give your body something it knows how to do, providing some relief from what can be very mysterious psychological chaos? Does healing one heal the other?

This is on my mind because, late last night, I broke through into a little nugget of trauma I’d been unknowingly holding onto for the last five years. And, although it was an altogether positive experience, and I processed the revelation well, and then I even let myself sleep a little later; today I have felt very tired and flat. And I wondered, is my body recovering from a hefty emotional workout? Because there isn’t any other obvious reason for my low energy.

I don’t think it’s my exercise regime, because day four of daily running has seen an easing of the leg aches and I felt great striding out today.

I am too tired to dig into this further, but I have many speculations swirling in my head to make manifest another day.

Waiting for the shoe

I ran again this evening – I’d mapped out a 1.6 mile loop from my house and I did that and a bit extra and then I walked to the shop. I took it easy, because I don’t know how to run properly, I know most people don’t run every day, and it especially doesn’t seem to be recommended for beginners, but I’m starting to feel like I’m doing this wrong.

Honestly, when I promised to run every day I kind of expected to be resorting to five minutes on my mini trampoline, and of course there’s plenty of time for that yet, but the run (or rather what I imagine was in fact a very slow jog) tonight wasn’t nearly as taxing as I was preparing myself for. It was more of a light stretch. Which calls into question, well, a lot of things, actually.

I was expecting this to be hard already. I was expecting not to be able to run a mile in the first place. I was expecting today to be worse than yesterday. I was expecting this to suck a bit. And it doesn’t. A lot of my body is aching, and the idea of skipping the run this evening was quite appealing. But then I put my leggings on and I got fucking excited. And I wrapped my cheapy earphone wires around my neck to stop them falling out en route and that was me fucking sorted. Bloody lovely. There were no knee niggles or toe woes, everything was fucking fine again. I’m getting suspicious.

Am I being too conservative? Do I need to go faster, or further? Or, on the contrary, am I being too gung ho and will I suddenly, unsuspectingly, be flung into a pit of misery after a couple more days of this, because, no, I shouldn’t be running every day?

…OrrrrrAm I actually doing something right?

What a dangerous fucking thought.

The adventure of tragedy

I can’t stand it when I see children ripped away from their parents, or parents forced to leave their children behind for their safety. At that point in the story I just weep unconsolably now. It never used to be like that – it used to just feel like part of the adventure. Before I was a parent, I didn’t really get what the big deal was, honestly.

And maybe this was a simple maturation process, or a reward of the rite of passage that is parenthood, but I can’t help suspect there is something else at play. Because I have always maintained a rather unhealthy distance from the concept of family. I have looked upon others’ close familial relationships with bemused curiosity and an uncomfortable tinge of envy. I never had a parent that felt like a safe space; like plain and simple sanctuary; like unconditional love. I’d never known that, so I had no concept of what it would be like to lose it. And I hadn’t considered that that’s what those moments in the story represented – the tragic loss of true love.

I’m a good mother. I’m validating and responsive and highly attuned to my son. I am joyful to be blessed with this role, and I know he feels it. I am enthusiastic, I’m quick to admit error, I respect him as the whole person he is and protect him as the precious growing being that he is. I have done my best to earn the honour of being a safe space for him – a sanctuary of unconditional love.

And so I am terrified of messing it all up by doing what humans inevitably do. I’m scared of dying and leaving him behind.

I was watching Aquaman when it hit me that it’s so much more painful to have and to lose that kind of thing, than to never have known it at all. I don’t know why it took Aquaman for that realisation to descend, but there we are. I feel a responsibility, having gained my son’s trust, having nurtured his open heart, having made him vulnerable to me. Because that makes me a potential source of great pain to him, and a lot of the ways I could hurt him are outside of my control.

But the thing is, I didn’t really start living until I felt what it was like to love and lose. To give myself over completely, to trust in someone else, and to have that sanctuary stripped away. So maybe I was right all along. Maybe it is just part of the adventure.