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Thursday, 29 March 2012

My Dartmoor Tree


I don't make a habit of talking to trees.

Let me rephrase that... I don't often talk to...

Oh OK. I talk to trees all the time. And rocks, and flowers and bumble bees...

What I really mean is I don't often form a relationship with a tree. I talk to them and they are good enough to listen (not that I give them much choice), I pour out my heart and open my soul and am sometimes blessed with a little of their stillness in return, but it is a transient thing. There is rarely an attachment.

My beech tree, my Dartmoor tree is different. The connection we formed was almost instantaneous, not on sight, he stood proud beside the car park like so many others, nothing to mark him out as different, but when I laid my hand upon his bark... that's when the magic happened.

He is old, and ill. His bark, in places slimes and festers. One or two of his companions have already been felled. I know not when, or why, but I wonder if the same plight afflicted them. He knows he is not long for this world although time, to him, is not of my comprehension. It could be he will outlive me still, and yet each time our car turns into that lonely car park my heart is in my mouth in case he is gone.

He talks to me. He answers me. Not the questions I ask of him, that would be too simple. He reaches in and answers the questions I have not yet formed. He's almost scarily good at predicting pregnancies, even before the mother herself has wondered 'could I be...', he has known. I have known. He talks of changes, big changes. Cryptically, confusingly, but he's always right.

He talks of journeys to be undertaken, a pilgrimage. He talks of preparations for what is to come and although I am preparing blind, unknowing of what the future holds, prepare I do. I trust this magnificent tree. I glimpse his connections, his insights, his knowledge and take it all on trust.

I have faith.





Tuesday, 13 March 2012

What's Going On?

My life is never normal. I rebel against normal. I throw mud at normal. I run for the hills if I so much as glimpse normal in the distance.

But this is weird, even for me. Right now I'd love a little bit of normal, and think I need it.

And I don't think I'm the only one. The world seems topsy turvy right now and its throwing so many of us off our normal usual axis. Maybe its the crazily warm winter we've had. Maybe its the coming of spring with such a rush. Maybe its the solar flares. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I had a feeling, right back in January, that this year was going to shake things up a bit. A bit? I must have been wearing my crown as the Queen of Understatement for that one! You only have to skip merrily through blog land at the moment to see that there are an awful lot of us who are undergoing some process of change, or self discovery (often painful and harsh). Some greater force is at work here, forcing us to take a long, hard look at ourselves and I, for one, am finding it uncomfortable.

For me, the process began about a month or so ago with strange and vivid dreams of my past. Now just the fact that I remembered them was strange enough, as I often don't and when I do they tend to be just fleeting images taken out of context, but these? These were strong and haunting, staying with me throughout the day, never quite drifting from sight no matter how hard I tried.

I dreamt of people and places I haven't seen in decades yet the memories were fresh and clear as if created only yesterday. Its as though some strange shadow has stalked through my mind, rummaging through cupboards, emptying boxes, smashing padlocks off heavy chests and tipping out the contents for me to pick through, re-live and analyse in minute detail. Every aspect of my life, my past, has been looked at, my successes and failures, my joys, my mistakes. Only my childhood seems to have been spared in this random riffling though my experiences. So far it seems only to have taken me back to my teens, and my late teens at that.

It seems to be since I was let loose on the world as an independent adult that things went haywire, and they are the experiences I'm being forced to reevaluate. First boyfriends (the good, the bad, the ugly and the very ugly), friendships lost by the wayside, motherhood, abuse, love, death, rape... There have been highs and lows, exquisite joy and heart wrenching pain, suffocating fear and blessed happiness. I feel like I've been fed through my grandma's mangle!

It wouldn't have been so bad if it had just been confined to dreams but I'm actually living this. Some things have remained in dreamland, examined by my psyche and dismissed as of only minimal importance, others...Oh my! Others have been dragged out and paraded all around town, or at least that's how it feels.

It has been almost 12 years since I was raped. On my own doorstep, at knife point, in daylight. Now I'd be a liar if I said that didn't really screw me up for a while. It left me feeling I wasn't safe anywhere, at anytime. And when the police turned up on my doorstep saying 'actually, we think it may have been someone you know,' I  felt I wasn't safe with anyone either. You wouldn't believe all the stupid things that go through your head at that point and my circle of friends diminished down to nothing. Not that I felt any of them were responsible in any way. I knew the police were convinced my ex-husband was involved somehow. And that is where I made my big mistake. I put the brakes on the investigation; I didn't want it going any further for the children's sake. I didn't want them even having a hint that their father could be responsible for such a thing, but by doing so it meant I never knew the truth. And that's when your mind really starts playing tricks with you. Its easy to see now, but at the time...At the time I was swallowed up by a world of confusion.

I thought I'd learnt everything I needed to from all that. I moved on. I swallowed my fears. I had a choice, you see. I could hide away under the duvet and pray the world had disappeared the next time I looked, or I could come out with all guns blazing. I took the second option and went back to college and on to university.

And over time I worked the most powerful bit of magic I have ever worked. I turned the negative into a positive. I could, with a smile on my face, say 'The rape? Oh that was a good thing.' I couldn't turn back time and erase it, so I made it work for me. I had thought I was going to die that day and it made me realise that life is short, maybe shorter than you expect, and if you have any regrets they are not the things you have done, but all the things you haven't. It was that which fuelled my desire to return to college, so if it hadn't happened I wouldn't have gone to uni, wouldn't have escaped to London away from it all, wouldn't have had the most amazing job in the world.... Do you see how my mind was working?



But now it seems it is not done with me. There is more. What more do I have to learn? What did I miss?

Actually, I know the answers. I'm just trying really hard to ignore them.

Its time to strip away the veneer of recovery and actually, well, recover.

Easier said than done.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Thank You and an Update

Firstly, a very big Thank You to everyone who has been so kind and supportive since my son's accident. He's doing really well and is back at school, enjoying his 'celebrity'.

I see my doctor again next week and I'm hoping he will see sense and put my medication back up to what it was and then maybe, just maybe, I can shake off this sluggishness, and at times utter exhaustion, that seems to sap every shred of energy I used to posses.

I hate having to rely on medication. I would love to say 'That's it. No more!' But I can't. Me and my thyroid are at war; it wants to slow me down and make me fat and I'm not going to let it. If that means having to ingest pharmaceuticals just to get out of bed in the morning then so be it. Now I just have to convince my doctor of that. I've been ticking along OK for the last few years. I've been tired and run down but not a 'thyroid' kind of tired, and I've been dealing with it for long enough now to know the difference. Unfortunately my G.P hears the word TIRED and thinks THYROID. Every. Single. Bloody. Time.

Now I'm no doctor but I know there must be a million and one different causes of fatigue and aching but my doctor steadfastly refuses to see this and a few months ago decided (without the benefit of a blood test) to up my dose of Levothyroxine by 25mcg. Then when he finally decides to get that blood test taken the results show that while my T4 is normal, my TSH level was just outside the lab range. It really was just a teeny bit out 0.04 out to be precise. Does he cut the 25mcg he'd previously prescribed which was most likely responsible for the TSH result? No. He cuts it by 75 mcg and turns me into a zombie who struggles to get out of bed or even think straight!

I feel my life has been put on hold. I haven't seen the dawn in months. By tea time I'm looking at my watch and thinking 'is it bed time yet?' Following the plot of anything on T.V is damn near impossible and even conversations are a trial some days. Dust is gathering along my skirting boards, my kitchen feels neglected as I pull meal after meal out of the freezer instead of cooking from scratch. Blogging is an effort instead of a joy. Going to the shops for milk is a major expedition and the woods across the other side of the river just a far away dream.

I WANT MY LIFE BACK.

I see my G.P at ten to nine next Tuesday morning and I swear to you now, if he doesn't increase my dose there and then, he'll be saying 'RIBBET' by lunch time.