Thank you so much for all the sensitive, caring comments yesterday. I very much felt as if I had reached rock bottom, both physically and emotionally – but I also felt hugely supported and cared-for by friends off-line and lovely people on here.
In the midst of greyness and aching, the phone rang – and, finally, we have a Completion and Moving date. I am not going to be any more specific than that – because there is much to think about and many twists and turns in the road to navigate.
But something hit home hard yesterday: The alienating effect of my own layers of defensiveness; the way I protect the fragile inner Ali by adopting the perennial entertainer’s guise. As long as I am bawdy, rude, angry or terrifyingly articulate, I feel I can hide that other, much smaller and shyer, me behind the persona. We all do it, I am sure, but, with me, that persona dos not always help: Rivers of deep emotion get trapped behind the dams of restraint, of reserve, of emotional distance.
If I can make people laugh, I am not so sad.
If I can dazzle and daze with words and images, my own greyness can be painted over temporarily.
If I can undulate then hips of sensuality and break a few sexual taboos by my writing, I can hide the fact that my own secret life is the exact opposite.
But dams cannot hold forever. Attempts to mask who we actually are behind masks and acts can become counter-productive in the end. Laughing tears away because of shame or fear is not a healthy way of behaving. And the biggest ‘personalities’ can – and, in my case, do – hide the tiniest and most terrified little children, boys and girls who learned early that a colourful appearance (in every sense) was an essential covering for (and, in many ways, antidote to) extreme vulnerability and profound fear.
With the steel-bladed footwear of persona I am skating over very thin ice indeed. I can see the cracks spreading. I can hear the moaning and tinkling and creaking of the ice. I can see the frozen fronds of weed thawing gently towards the surface.
And I can see the child lying on the bottom – small, with brown curly hair and blue eyes, a little one who hides and looks away and is quiet and shy, and who needs to be cuddled and warmed and forgiven and integrated within the capacious bosom and loud laugh and big (if somewhat wounded) heart of her older self.
Thank you again. Kindness and acts of love have woken this tiny former me up – and the process of recognition and integration now begins.