Today, it is four weeks since I moved to Glastonbury – and much has been incredibly positive. I have been very busy getting the house in order and exploring my immediate area with Jumble, my elderly dog. This has meant that a huge amount has been achieved – and I have not, for the most part, been prey to dismal thoughts or tears.
‘Excellent!’ you may say – and, on the one hand, you would be right. I am no more fond of the low, even panicky, weepy moments than the next man, or woman; I would far rather be happy and energetic and laughing and occupied by positive tasks. Of course I would!
On the other hand, my reasons for exiting my marriage and moving from the village which had been my home for nearly two decades cannot be swept under the carpet and forgotten. There was always going to be a reckoning, a time when sheer physical toil – and its wonderful way of exorcising emotional angst – would have to give way and allow the grieving process its time and its place.
I have exhausted myself with an enormous amount of heavy lifting. My body is one huge ache from this and from the twice-daily walks, mostly uphill. In the long run, I am sure that this exercise will be beneficial – but, short term, with muscles screaming and lassitude overtaking my optimistic spirit, I am, once again, vulnerable to the little whispers of ongoing physical decrepitude.
I am happy to be here. I love my home. But I am sad that such pain and woe and tension was necessary in the months and years leading up to this moment. I mourn the illusion of love I entered into, with such hope, all those years ago – and feel wounded that such a wrenching had to happen in order to free me. But I also feel rage at the awful effects of continuous stress and tension upon my body. I hate this constant pain – and its resurgence fills me with dread.
My mistake has been to try and deny, or bury, these healthy and inevitable bursts of unhappiness. I am under no obligation to be cheery, chirpy and uplifting all the time. The raw pain has to be allowed its place too. Distraction only works for a limited period of time – and joyful activities, no matter how genuine, cannot hold the floods of our emotional lives back for ever.
There will be days, like today, when I feel fragile and teary once more. But I know that they, too, will pass – as long as I give myself permission to ride their waves right into the shore and onto the beach. With luck, such days will become further apart, and gradually less intense, as the healing process gathers pace.
Being down is no worse – in the moral sense – than being up. It is merely the other side of that coin, its dark face if you will. And yet we beat ourselves up for showing the down-turned mouth, the tear-tracks, the bowed head. We feel we need to apologise for the want of a smile, for the inability to laugh, for our failure to click our fingers and cheer up to order.
Perhaps part of my purpose as a blogger is to show that it is all right – more than all right: bloody wonderful! – to be imperfect, to be human, to run the gamut of all the emotions we have been gifted with.
I can think of worse reasons for writing!