My wonky fence collapsed

I’ve spend the morning hiding tears from my children, trying to smile while colouring with them or taking them out in the garden. Nothing bad has happened this morning, I was typing a long message to a what’s up group chat of my classmates when the overwhelming feeling of sadness and emotional overload took over me. The message wasn’t particularly sad either, I was asking them to ask around for home based easy jobs my dad could do for a bit of income. I received two responses immediately, one with an idea of a business to set up and another with an actual little job to do. It was the kindness of people, I know they are not complete strangers but I haven’t seen many of them for 13-14 years now, that pushed my ready to collapse emotional fence I’ve been trying to keep up right for the last couple of months. It was there, now it was in writing I couldn’t hide it anymore, nor from people not from myself. The words that hurt, the words that I was hiding from myself: kidney failure, reanimation, dialisis, not long left, disability, jobless, bad spirits. It was all there. Painful. I felt naked, I exposed my vulnerability: here I am, I am hurt, I am lost, I need your help. I struggle with this, I always guard my space, my weaknesses, the things that hurt and bleed, I try to be strong untill I can’t be strong anymore and then it comes out at the most inconvenient times and places. I remember crying at a party after an innocent question about Alma when I was struggling with breastfeeding, sleep, her food allergies and my anxiety, I was crying in various toilets at shopping centres and cafes, I was crying surrounded by complete strangers. Don’t get me wrong I also cry surrounded by my family and friends, but more so at random places in a company of strangers. Like Miranda from sex in the city when her mother died and she kept strong, but couldn’t hold her guard anymore when bra shopping for a funeral. This is me. Just like with a real fence a wonky emotional fence can collapse at any moment without any warning, a phrase can push you over the top, and there you are vulnerable in your pain exposed. It is always surprising though how this moment of emotional nakedness, rawness can give you a strength. Accepting it gives you a new perspective that you don’t need to hide it anymore, that people around you can accept you with your pain, that being strong doesn’t mean not feeling the pain but acknowledging it, having the courage to speak about it and to put it out there. This is why I find writing so therapeutic, I don’t have to speak about it, because my voice might tremble, the words might escape when I need them the most, but if I put it in writing it’s there. I can look at it, I can examine, it isn’t an idea in my head anymore, it is a written object therefore it’s quantifiable, more observable and feasible. Come pain, I will look at you, I can see you there in the what’s app messenger written down and exposed. I am not hiding you anymore, I can read through you again and again, I can cry over you again and again, and I know that they might be aware of it but today my classmates shared my pain and once the pain is shared it’s not as big anymore.

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