Goddamn mental health is a very fickle thing. Like some kind of secret flower blooming in the bush in all its glory to then shrivel by the end of the day with the great weight of heat and life encroaching on its once dew glistened petals. To be sucked dry, wilting its way to the end of the day.
Yesterday I dragged myself to a 12 round boxing circuit class. I’m testing the waters to see what ignites me these days. I’ve been trying meditation and yoga and in general just learning to be more calm about life, and much less breakneck speed. It’s been lovely, but I am also without emphasis in my life. By that I mean I am not motivated for anything. So, I thought that punishing myself physically may just kick me over in to shaking off the dust of a year or so and ignite a spark inside of me.
I realised that I am unfit. I realised that the side of my body that broke (with a dislocated knee followed by a broken pelvis) is substantially weak. I realised that mentally, I have much less ‘fight’ in me than before. I realised that these twigs that allege themselves to be arms cannot support me in a push up (mind you that was the 12th round after some quite substantial arm work in the lead up). But. I enjoyed this. I became conscious of my body, I heard it. I listened to it. I spoke to it, yelled actually, and made it scream back to me identifying exactly where I am weak and exactly where I am strong. It’s like I got to know myself just a little bit better. I was glad it was over and I did wonder if I would be able to make the walk home.
I stepped outside and the sun was still shining. It was a beautiful time of evening, with people meandering the streets on their way home from work or scurrying between places and pubs to meet friends. Tiny little cottage houses with their quirky roofs and gardens were all shimmering in the afternoon light, the scent of night jasmine was everywhere. Bright purple flowers of the huge jacaranda trees were scattered all over the roads and footpaths – marking the great Australian change in seasons.
I found myself looking at things. Really looking at things. This for me, is always a sign of happiness – when all of a sudden I see detail in the world. I am not just passing through a place on the way to another. I am in, and of that moment in time and it’s like this beautiful kaleidoscopic dance unfurls itself across my brain, where colour enters my world once more. I see every flower in the gardens I pass, I stop to smell them, I stop to admire the intricacies of their markings. I noticed that on the telephone poles someone had nailed old shoes and placed little flowers and plants inside of them to make a modern recycled hanging garden. Just as I was admiring this piece of genius, I hear “honk honk” of a clown’s horn and I turn around in time to see a woman on a bike whizz pass past me, her hair a beautiful symphony of every colour under the sun and leaving a trail of bubbles behind her. Yes. Bubbles. Turns out she was the very first legally recognised trans women in NSW. I grinned like an idiot all the way home.
I started to feel my heart race, I started to get a bit nervous and confused and found myself fighting the sensations that were bubbling up inside of me because it felt strange and unusual, like I wanted to burst outside of my own skin. But then I stopped, and I remembered what this was. This was happiness. Pure, unadulterated happiness. I was fucking overwhelmed with joy, my heart wanting to burst for the simple beauty that is this life and these people and this community and just … everything. I was alive again.
I’d had no clue, whatsoever, how much that had been missing from my life for the last few years. I could perhaps count on one hand how many times that part of my soul had burst through my ribcage since being home. I was confronted by that, how long have I been unhappy? I wanted to cry at the sensation of being content, it was so beautiful to feel that wash all over me again. I was transported back in time to my days living in Lisbon where every single second of every single day was a high like that. I was overcome with memories, with emotion, with such heart happiness.
I did however, wake in the middle of the night with very clear memories and dreams of Mum in that hospital bed dying. Here last days and moments and my heart and chest folded so far inward I felt that I may become my own black hole. I fought the sleep for fear of being faced with those images again. It’s in those moments, unguarded, that I truly become aware that she is dead. I spend the better part of my days just pretending like I am still overseas and the contact between us is limited because you know – I am on the other side of the world. Not because she is dead. And doesn’t have a voice anymore.
It shakes me those moments and where I was bursting at the seams lass that 12 hours ago, now I am an inward coward, fearful of the day ahead and the work that awaits me, believing that I am incompetent and not good at what I do in any task I undertake.
And so the whiplash continues.