Due to localised internet problems, I have been unable to access any of my sites for the past eighteen hours or so – and, for all that this may appear obvious to those of you familiar with my back-story, the technological nightmare has added considerably to the stress I am already under.
People have always said to me, ‘But you seem so strong!’ or, ‘But you are always so lively and cheerful!’ or, ‘You seem to just keep going, keep on coping, somehow…’
Obvious really, isn’t it? What you see is, after all, inevitably what you get, isn’t it?
Well, no, it isn’t actually! The smiling mask can be covering a wail of pain kept down; the bright social chit-chat can be hiding an inner story so ghastly that the listener would reel back in horror if that particular box were flung open; the oh-so-obvious ability to field all problems and keep on keeping on regardless can be as flimsy as a butterfly’s wing.
Yet, we often miss the clear epidermal, behavioural and physiological clues which could tell us that the obvious is yet more needful concealment: The slight tremor of the hands, for instance, or a blanching, or blushing, of the skin; the odd tummy aches or headaches, or feelings of faintness which have no obvious medical explanation: All of these, and more, can show us the desperate lie sheltering beneath the awful need to appear other than we are to reassure others.
Truth? We usually see only what we want, or expect, to see – and a smiling face, a breezy manner, a well-timed joke and a proper concern for others can often blind us to the deep suffering which is lurking behind the sodding obvious!
Forgive me this anger: I have kept a brave face on for the world for bloody ages – and sometimes, when one demand too many fractures the thin ice on my psyche’s lake, I am tempted, ever so briefly, to snarl and shriek and rend a few garments…
But I won’t. After all, I have my obvious reputation for being strong, cheerful, able to cope with whatever life throws at me and support others to live up to, don’t I?
Yes, I can be the life and soul of any party you might like to attend! Yes, I can be hilariously funny and vulgar and rude! Yes, I can, apparently, cope with loads thrown at me at any one time without cracking! Yes, I can appear strong and resolute and determined!
But, underneath the orange-haired Alienora persona, I am often – if less obviously – scared, anxious, despairing, at my wits’ end, overwhelmed and overburdened.
Today? All the arrows of circumstantial stress seem to have been hitting the target that is Alienora more-or-less simultaneously, all Bulls Eyes too – right through the heart. And a part of me would love the obvious solution: Collapse winsomely upon the sward and let someone else take over!
My final thought: Most of you are familiar with the images of myself I show on the blog. But, if I were to post a photo of the little Alienora, you would see, instantly, that the apparently confident soul has not always been that way – and that the bright orange hair is a form of camouflage…
Perhaps this somewhat stressed-looking image of me holding Tigger, my oldest snuggly, is nearer the truth…