Sit back. Or wait – grab a glass of wine, or tea, or coffee, of whatever beverage likes to accompany you on your travels. I may be a minute here.
Today is the 10 year anniversary of the day I started blogging. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s a memory that I can recall easily. I was sitting at my desk at work, the office empty for summer holidays already, the sun streaming in. Someone had suggested a blog to me, and it seemed a good outlet for what I didn’t know, just something. The name came to me almost instantly and to this day I have no idea what it really means. It was just right.
I never had a specific purpose for this blog initially. It was just a space that I ventured, a virtual room whose chairs could be any color I wanted, whose walls and art changed with the whims of my mood. Initially it started off as a place to narrate life in Sweden but eventually the rooms here became as dark and black as my mood. I found more and more that if I lifted the lid of the laptop, blew the dust off my psyche and disconnected my soul I would just write and write and write, and much of what came out surprised me. I would look back on posts and not remember writing them, it was freeform in every sense.
And through those posts I started to learn that I had problems that needed dealing with. Real, rampant, in your face problems. Ones which meant that continuing in a long term sense was a falsehood, one that I had sold to myself with a box of hydrangeas and some merlot.
I spent a long time being someone else. I tried to be the funny one in real life, I tried to be the bitch at work, I tried to be the seductress in photos. The truth is that I am none of those things. After years pretending to be someone else just to be a real girl, the reality is that now I am a real girl and I haven’t a fucking idea who I am. But maybe that’s the point. Maybe life is about constantly defining and iterating who you are, so that you can look at the midlife crisis people who leave their spouse to “go discover themselves” and quietly whisper in their ears that the path to finding the person they need to be does not lay outside of their door. You can go looking for yourself all you want, but one of the great miracles of life is that life is one big constant miraculous surprise.
Through all the years I have written here, I have always written honestly. Although I change some details to protect individuals and, ultimately, myself (although I think a fair few know who I really am), I really am the person you read here. I could never be anything else. After all the years of tears, self-destruction, disassociation, and therapy I am rather intrepidly me. I fuck up a lot, but at least I know that when I do, it’s the real me that did it.
I am not sure if blogging has had its day or not. I was big at one point, about the time people could choose to be kitchen counter top bloggers or professional ones. At that point someone with a not-so-nice agenda send a load of pervy crap my way, and in response I took a two month break. When I came back I was not myself – on guard, angry, vengeful. That backed off to me entering a new understanding – while I spent a lot of time searching my soul on here, it didn’t mean others wanted their souls offered up alongside it. That was my mistake, crossing boundaries like that. People who want to be talked about will talk about themselves. And now with the responsibility of children in the house, I have to respect that. I knew I would have to quit at some point, I didn’t want to be the type who dragged out the death long past its due (which in hindsight, maybe I did). And I knew that once I closed it down, I would not be coming back. I may do other things, I may have other options, but this door once closed would close along with that last part of my somewhat damaged soul.
This is that day.
I grew up here. I grew up here and in real life alongside it. Had I not made the changes I made I have no doubt that at the very least I would be single and alone, at the other end of the spectrum there is every real chance that I would be dead. I was so intent on living in the broken that I would have sacrificed any safety constraint that would have tried to move me to the kinder lanes.
I am still dark. I don’t know who I am, not really, but I know that inside of me is the capacity and capability to live a life without the lights switched on. I am not an optimist and don’t know how to be one. I am someone that trips and falls easily into depression and it is something that I will bear in mind forever. Just as I will never truly be ok with food and about my image, I know too that some of us are just born to get by with a little less sunlight on us.
Everything happened to me in the past 10 years. Everything. I went from Sweden to England. I lost a job and gained new ones. I ended a marriage and started another. I hopped off and on the therapy train. I hopped off the vegetarian wagon. I got a father and a stepmother. I moved into the home I love right to the bones of it, and finally found stability. I hurt myself and stopped doing it, I starved myself and stopped doing it. I have loved (Jesus, how I have loved). I had fertility treatment, acres of it, until the last cycle with my two average embryos that have become the most beautiful human beings I have ever, ever known. If you take one thing from my blog, one thing from my life, it’s this – I was a broken shell, and my redemption is that I love my family and that they love me, and that the way I love my children and my daily gratitude that I get to know them helped make me whole again.
I became a real girl here, in these years, and I wrote about it. I will go back and unlock all the old posts I wrote at some point, as my life is here and if my life helps anyone else, well then that’s maybe me giving back to the universe in a thank you for the two little people it has given me.
I feel like crying.
I want to thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for the comments and words, the emails and gestures. Thank you for being my virtual friend – no, rather, for being my friend. Thank you for watching my journey and for cheering me on when it was needed, admonishing me when it was earned. I think maybe you know me, and for that I owe you. Sometimes you knew me better than I did. At the end of my road, someday, I will smile knowing that there were others who witnessed me, and who witnessed what it was to go from someone so fundamentally broken to someone who could have a life with love.
I know these things:
- that the simple act every night of checking the twins, touching their heads while they sleep and ensuring they are covered, is a karmic obligation I can never repay
- I love how my husband and I continue to try to grow up together
- the song “Lullaby” can reduce me to tears every single time
- a little “Doctor Who” can cure everything. If not, “Elf” certainly can
- the fight for true love can be unexpectedly difficult but will heal you along the way
- that a dog can truly be one of your best friends
- the next time I get something in my craw and think a short haircut is a good idea, to ignore that impulse
- the world would be a much better place with Kim in it
- travelling is an essential. Not only do you see how others live, you can appreciate how you do
- I don’t make enough time for sunrises, which I shall rectify immediately
- very little in the world can beat floating, effortlessly, with a snorkel in your mouth and fish in sight
- what I did for them I would do all over again
- some cheesy tater tots and a cherry limeade would make a lot of situations just that little bit better
- Christmas. Ah, Christmas…
- hold on to your friends, even when they piss you off and especially when they go quiet
- when you look back to your past and see only bad, look again. In amongst the darkness are bomb pops and sprinklers, and they are amazing
- that person you need beside you really is the one who needs to know you better than you do, and they need to love you even with your idiosyncrasies
- when my life ends, I will know that a boy and a girl are the greatest and best part of me that I could ever have dreamt to leave behind
- it will get better. It will always get better.
And now I am crying, and this is a first for me.
I will miss this, and you.
I am and will continue on Instagram (Shannonsosw), Flickr (everydaystranger) and if you are a longtime commenter and are on Facebook, then you can find me there (or message me). I will still write. My novel is an editing disaster (and I am not good at editing). It is a work in progress that got changed midway, with some characters coming and others going, with some scenes disappearing and others appearing before time. When I wrote it, it was my brain pouring from my fingertips. I would have a glass of wine and in my dark office just let the characters out and believe me, I love my characters. I have high hopes I will publish, but I may not ever make that magical step. Maybe for me this was all I was ever meant to be. If I do publish, I will come back here and let you know. I already know what it is called – I have long known. Just like this blog the name came to me out of the blue, and it did not waver, not once. It is my non-negotiable, and I have it on a yellow post-it on my office board amongst other things which mean something to me, which are a souvenir, or which make me happy (apologies for my horrible handwriting).
Can’t see it?
I have thought about this goodbye post for a long, long time. I don’t historically say goodbye and am not good with the wording, the sentiment. I did not have it scripted and inevitably I will want to change something, tweak something, add something. This goodbye will not be perfect.
Then again, are they ever?