Monday, January 04, 2016

2015: Acknowledgements

[The larger part of me is still afraid to bring any of what I experienced upon another, let alone the people I love, so I cannot name you. It is still important to acknowledge you, however. If you find yourself in this, then it was meant for you. I apologise now if you think you should be here but find that you aren't. I've tried to encompass all, but I doubt that's possible. I've lost my voice and my ability to brain confidently.]

Thank you for giving me a home that has always been open to me, whether I be child or adult. That sanctuary is not something to be taken for granted, and simply knowing it to be there has always given me strength. Thank you for being proud of me, though my unorthodox life choices have caused no end of worry, and for relishing in my strange accomplishments and adventures. Thank you for growing in me a sense of self determination and responsibility. Thank you for never doubting me. Thank you for making me someone who could do what I did and survive.

Thank you for opening your home to me, and letting it become a home for me. Thank you for letting me be a useless wreck and feeding me and nourishing me with your glorious cooking and house full of goofy laughing. Thank you for finding me, amid all the trauma and mental catastrophes, and showing me that I was still there.

Thank you for saltwater and sunshine, for sitting in quiet over avocado on toast and for squealing about big blue gropers and squid. You made it easy for me to step out the front door when it was at its hardest, because I knew you were at the end. Thank you for curling up with me on the couch and watching terrible telly. Thank you for being a safe place.

Thank you for your wonderful, luscious and vigorous conversations. I always felt safe drifting into rougher waters with you, because that grace of spirit that comes so naturally to you will see a smoother navigation than I in my mind. You are an inspiration of kindness and gentleness, two things I crave but find so wanting within myself. From your patience, I find patience. Thank you.

Thank you for being the cavalry. You amazon warrior valkyrie. You and that happy-maker I still have not met saved me. Saved us. For that, you will always have my love and loyalty, my door will always be open, and, and, there is no way I will ever be able to repay you. I know you don't expect or want repayment, but. Thank you. I hope you are never in such dire straits as to need cavalry, not ever. However, even if never called upon, this cavalry stands by solely to rescue you. Thank you.

Thank you for finding time for me when you can barely find time for yourself. You've always soothed this howling heart. You're a beautiful constant in my haphazard life.

Thank you for being so understanding. You listened, and gave me what I needed to continue as long as I could, and it is only because of you that I lasted that long. I doubt I'll meet another your peer for a long time.

Thank you, the staff at Coogee Medical, Equilibrium Psychology and Spiral Medical, for handling this shattered wreck with care, and making sure I survived the worst of it. I honestly don't know how I would have managed if I'd been put off at any point by a brusque encounter or indifference, such a damaged thing I was. Thank you.

Thank you for that phone call. You grounded me in the storm and showed me how to see the way forward. Thank you for laughing. Thank you for being the first person out there to say "You can do this."

Thank you, neighbourhood. for being so softly suburban, so muted and quiet. Thank you for rolling out great swathes of silence in the deep night, silences so vast I can hear the sweep of the night birds as their feathers tear the air. Thank you, home, for just not being right on top of a major traffic and pedestrian interchange, including buses, and seriously heaps of pedestrians, and look, if you're ever considering renting the flat above Oporto in Coogee? Just say no. Between the Pav turfing out its clientele at closing time and the 4am street sweeper you'll get maybe a couple of hours unbroken sleep a night. The texture of overgrown gardens and lawns, and greyed wooden fences, and lichen on tiles, and powerlines through trees, and a train in the distance, a car passes nearby, somewhere a door slams, and this is a soundscape in which I can exist. Thank you.

Thank you for being my friends. I thought I was lucky before all that happened, because I had to be lucky for having so many incredible and awesome people in my life. I don't really know what word is appropriate now. 'Blessed' perhaps, although I'm not religious, but the idea that it is a gift, and a divine gift. You are a fortress around my heart, and when it seemed all the pestilence of the internet was spitting at me, you just kept on being you, kept on being beautiful, kept on being in my life and telling me that I was worth having around as well. I love and am loved by you and not all the bile in the world can touch that. You are treasures no one can steal. I don't know what I've done to deserve you in my life and I don't care, I'm just glad that you're here, and you still choose to be here, and as long as you're here, I can't be that broken. It does one no good to rely on external validation, but I can't say there's any real belief in the internal validation I present myself. You've given me in so many words and acts undeniable proof that awesome people do not share my opinion of me, and see something here worth waiting for. I don't trust myself in the slightest, but you haven't changed. I trust you with me.

Thank you, new friends, who have seen something worth hanging onto amid all the breaking down I've done this year. This is a greater compliment than you realise, and it is very much appreciated.

Thank you for not telling people that I'm the person who did the thing. Thank you for letting me be unremarkable.

Thank you for being wonderful upon finding out I was the person who did the thing. I've lived in fear, waiting for someone to find out and have a go at me in person, so I really haven't let many new people in on it. You who do know, though, you're ace.

Thank you for that text message, DM, private message, email. Even if I didn't reply to it, I saw it, and it probably made me cry, because every grain of kindness, love and support given to me has been a precious thing. I have kept them all. I know I've been a dead end this year, there have been so many missives I just haven't been able to answer. I am sorry. Thank you. They meant and still mean much.

Thank you for the invitation, and for the fact that you keep inviting me, even though I barely pretend I'm going to attend. It's not for disinterest. Combination fibromyalgia, major depression, social anxiety and trauma echoes mean I just can't face people. It's definitely not you. I want to be living my best life, which includes turning up to help you celebrate that which deserves celebrating. One day, I hope to do this, and thank you for inviting me in person.

Thank you for sitting with me over a cup of tea and letting the conversation go where it may. Thank you for sitting with me in silence. Thank you for giving me your time and your company. I don't know that my own quality of company is worth your time at the moment, so your time is a greater gift for it.

Thank you to all the retail, hospitality and customer service staff who have just done their job with a friendly smile. Social anxiety means your smile is a life buoy. Thank you to all those too who have let me wander through unaccosted and unnoticed.

Thank you for all the support. All of it. I don't think I got to see even a percentage of what rushed by, and what I saw was as vast as only the internet can be. The long tail of trolls did its damage to me, but you, you're a voice that far outnumbered them. I can say that with certainty. Vile and loud as they were, there was always more than us than there were of them. In a weird way, this thing that completely destroyed me, has reminded me of what hope tastes like.

Thank you for asking me to take part in research, to be interviewed for projects. I'm sorry I've not been able to accept any of these invitations. The fact is, I just haven't had enough therapy. All these projects and dissertations are tasty, however, and I've started to see bits and pieces of research findings surface. This podcast does a great job of breaking down how hate speech affects social spaces, and ends on a comment that- It seems arrogant to believe because so many others have been doing hard work for so long, but if it is true, even just a little bit, then. I think it all might have been worth it. One day, I'll be able to give you what you want of me, and I'll be excited to contribute. Thank you for keeping on with the good work.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to prove myself. It is an honour and the work is so important I don't feel worthy, but I could not let go for the world now. This has become a rich vein of joy and satisfaction in my life, and the chance to prove myself to myself is very much appreciated. One day, I may have confidence again, and I'm certain it will grow from these small tasks. Thank you for trusting me with this, and for sharing so many wonderful stories with me. Thank you for letting me be a small cog in a good machine.

Thank you. You've born the brunt of my breaking, which has been a process of interminable hours strung together in endless months. You've seen the worst of me come out as the best of me fell away, and yet you still reach for my hand in your sleep. I am so sorry. Thank you. I've said these words so often I don't know if they mean anything anymore. I don't know what I am anymore, but I know that we remain, because you still choose us. Thank you.

I didn't get through last year on my own steam. I made it because of you. Thank you.