I thought I’d catch up on some correspondence, which always makes me think of that scene from Friends. A lot of things I do makes me think of a scene from Friends. It’s not even like I’m a massive fan, it’s just the conditioning of endless repeats. Which makes me think I should keep up RD’s therapy. And make sure he doesn’t ever attempt to wear leather pants without talc. I’m hoping someone else has this infliction too otherwise what I’ve just written is very odd indeed.
This correspondence has been on my mind for a while, after reading some great letters on other blogs (I’ll link to them at the end). But they were written months ago. Promise I wasn’t just waiting for enough time to pass so I could make out like it was my idea. It was because I wanted to be sure the foundations of the place where I now stood were solid enough. I stamped and stamped and made sure I didn’t crumble. And after this I felt able to write to me first. The me of the past. Not the boring telling myself not to down a pint of Top Shelf when a teenager, but the me of the last few years. Because somehow, imperceptibly, I’ve changed. And I kind of like it. So here’s my “Hey, how you doin’?” to myself. Did it again didn’t I?
Dear To Mrs D
Chin up eh? Worse things have happened at sea. No really, what’s up? You look troubled. You look scared. Anxious. Somehow the upper and lower portions of your face look like a Venn diagram. The mouth smiles and chatters, but the eyes, they’re a bit shark like. It’s be safe to say you’re not pulling off a schmize.
You look as though you’re trying to solve a crossword in jelly. A bit aggravated by Other People’s Carefree Lives. You couldn’t swallow another platitude, some of them are so big they’re surely not to be taken orally. You don’t like the fact you’ve been ‘Chosen’. Feels more like you’ve been sidelined for your lack of sporting prowess again. You don’t feel that much like a Coper. Sometimes you gasp at the fear. A chasm opens up and you feel dizzy and sick, press your nails into your palm which hurts satisfyingly.
Bet you didn’t think you’d ever be able to take it one day at a time. I’m pretty sure someone got an ‘I’m trying my fucking best’, either muttered under your breath, or shouted as you swooped out of a room. But you know what, you will. And no, you are not high. Maybe it’s because you’re child’s right to an extended life has been questioned. That’s pretty much a buzzkill. Or because you’ve had such a rough run of hospital stays with your boy that you no longer take the good days for granted. Or that you see how brave and stoic he is, taking each stay in his stride. You somehow will realise taking each day as it comes is all you can do. And you are doing all you can do.
You know those endless days where the glacial developmental progress has you questioning your every decision. How can I do more? What does this all mean? Weeks become months. Melt into years. You begin to forget how old Rufus actually is. Because it just doesn’t matter as much anymore. He’s so far off the beaten track that the race to catch up tears away in front of you. You lean forward, brace yourself on your knees, sit down on the racetrack and pull out the packet of Haribo you’ve had stashed in your aertex pocket and realise that if you’re going to come last, you might as well do it in style. It’s not like you’re alone there. You offer the girl next to you your fried egg, and it’s a lovely moment in the sun. And you gossip your way along at the back.
You realise all bets are off. You change the bar you were originally aiming for, lower it right down. You stop looking in fear at the world you know you’re firmly in. Speak it out loud. Rufus is disabled. And he will continually surprise you. Don’t take a flutter on what he will or won’t do. You can be realistic, but allow yourself to be optimistic. You’ll learn to relish the only true goal in life, for anyone’s life. Happiness. So take off your shoes and squeeze into some tiny size 19 piedros. The world looks different through these eyes. Sounds different through these ears. Confusing, scary, sounds like the teacher from Peanuts. So give the lad a break. Give yourself a break. Just put their happiness high on the agenda, and don’t feel guilty for putting yours on there sometimes too.
Listen, I can’t promise you won’t wobble. But wobbling is good for you, you’ll find your centre again. Because someone’s been slowly filling it with steel. Pouring it in slowly, taking a beating. Bet you didn’t think you’d ever accept this did you? Don’t be too much of a show off, climb up on your pedestal. Just a gentle pat on your back. An extra laughter line. Because, you know, It’s Not Your Fault.
Ex Oh Ex Oh,
Mrs D, aged 33 and 1/4
And here are some lovely penpals you can catch up on too