If she did it again, she wouldn’t

Ben likes to hang out at the land, if he gets the opportunity. We don’t own it yet. It would be nice if we were close. Maybe we are. Just waiting on the trustees. Maybe they meet twice a year. That would make sense.

In the meantime Ben has been making friends with the neighbours. They bought their bit of land at the same time our vendor bought ours. They built a house on it. She said if they did it again.. they wouldn’t do it again. Too stressful, too hard.

So I was asked the question again. Do I really want to do this? I guess there are challenges she hadn’t anticipated, difficulties she hadn’t thought of.

In the eyes of the optimist, we are realists. In the eyes of the realists we are pessimists. I’m sure we haven’t thought of everything that will be a problem, of all the challenges that will come our way. But we expect challenges and problems. It’s taken most of a year not to buy the land. And that’s just the beginning.

Yes, I still want to do this. I just hope we get the chance.

Best guess

It is really hard to know how to help other people. And for other people to help me. Online, at least for me, the advice is right but what they mean is not. The advice about helping someone who is depressed seems usually to involve listening to them. This is right, if it means listening to what someone says helps them. For me, it is not right if it means expecting me to do the talking. On dark days the doors are shut; it doesn’t feel like a voluntary thing but rather a statement of my reality. Any kind of opening takes the kind of effort required to heave open a great oak door, barring the entrance to a castle that hasn’t moved for centuries. Opening the actual front door feels like that, opening my mouth feels similar. The words lurk somewhere down below in one of the twisting tunnels into which it is not quite possible to peer. Even then, those words aren’t about what’s wrong. I don’t need to talk through a problem. There is no problem, just not enough chemicals in my brain of the right sort. Not a lot to say about that. So I’d much rather hear you talk than do the talking myself. Actually that’s always the case, but typically that’s more to do with introversion than depression.

Perhaps there’s an underlying issue here which can be seen as a tendency to make assumptions and to assume everyone is the same, or could be viewed as a need, in order to give generic advice to make fairly sweeping generalisations. I have also come to wonder to what extent we make assumptions every day about how someone is feeling, what they mean, which come from our own experience and interpretation of the world and may not relate to the person we are hoping to be helpful to. It’s happened a few times here, where my intentions or implication has been interpreted differently to what I intended, and from my point of view a comment that was, I assume intended to be supportive did not really resonate with my actual thoughts and feelings. Or maybe that’s an assumption and there was a deeper point being made that I missed… I wonder how often it’s me that isn’t in line with how someone else is feeling, what they mean. In the end we can only make a best guess, alongside the right questions, with the intention to listen to the answer. I hope you’ll accept my best guess, while I endeavour to accept yours!

Clouds lifting

Today the cloud lifted. I’d been trying not to look at the cloud but it hung heavy and closed the doors for a while. I don’t know why, or quite how long it stayed or why this morning it felt better. I am glad it feels better. It was odd though. Suddenly I could run faster. I’m just finishing the Couch to 5k programme. It worked, now I can run for a good while and keep going. Yesterday I didn’t go for a run. The cloud was crouching too low, my legs were too heavy, doing anything was hard. Today I could run, and faster than last week, much faster than yesterday. Strange, the physical impact of something that I assume is primarily in my head.

At the weekend we were away camping with friends. It was nice, the place was pretty, the food was good. It was really hard. Somehow the doors were closed and only the dark colours could get through. A bit like when in Harry Potter the Death Eaters put a charm on the stairs so only those with the Dark Mark can get through. Eventually the jinx is broken but it’s pretty gloomy in the meantime.

It would be useful to understand why the cloud descended, and what made it blow away. I’m not certain there’s an answer. Perhaps there are factors. I found it very emotional moving out of my parent’s house and wanted to surpress that as much I could, for everyone’s sake. It was busy moving house, and everything takes a bit more effort, finding the things in the house, finding my way out of it. I’m really good at getting lost. Or maybe for a while my brain didn’t make enough of what it needs to make me feel happy and then one day it did again.

I think this is something a lot of people go through. It’s not the first, or the worst time for me. I’m really glad it’s past. At least for now.

Not in public

There are lots of things I like. One of them is watching tennis. Not such a good player but I reckon I could commentate. Except that it would be quite exposed. Not as much as the players obviously. We don’t always get to see them at their best.

Serena Williams was playing at the US Open finals on Saturday. She totally lost it when she felt she was being accused of cheating. I guess you’re so pumped up, so competitive and combative on court you’re already quite close to losing it one way or another. It wasn’t a good look.

Most days I can feel myself drawing towards the line over which I will lose it. I suspect one of the best things for me about having children is the opportunities it affords for developing patience. I didn’t think I had a particularly fiery temper, wasn’t aware of my threshold for patience until I had children. Now I see myself a little more clearly and can see where work is needed.

What I’m really glad of is that so far I’ve managed to not totally lose it in public. It must feel terrible to have lost it in front of millions, even if many concede that she had a point. And each day I’ll keep trying not to lose it. Sometimes I’ll succeed. Those are the best days.

Days pass

Funny the difference from one week to another. Last week, packing and managing some big emotions, this week unpacking and managing different big emotions. No wonder I feel tired.

We wanted to move to this area and I’m glad it has worked out, one way or another. But it was really hard moving out of my parent’s house. We treated our stay a bit like a holiday, at least when we were both there which was less often than you might expect. I really like my parents. It was fun to share this part of our life with them. Of course, we will still share our lives but it is different when you live together. There is good and bad. Mostly there was good, taken with a glass of wine.

It’s interesting to see how, because we are on the move more often, I may be noticing the passing of time more. A few months there, three months here and half a year has gone by. Having a baby makes you notice that too – so much changes for them in the first year. Today I’m glad of that. Birch has said “uh uh uh” meaning “make it all better” for a lot of hours today. It felt like a long one. But now the sun is setting through the bathroom window and the scented candle is bringing the tranquility it advertises and the day is past.

Enjoy the pie

So the summer ends. It was lovely. We did a lot of camping and went to Kent which is just about one of my favourite places to go and was as beautiful as I remember. Then we moved house and the children started at their new school and all of a sudden summer is over and a new style of life has begun.

We’ve taken a rental house as near to the new school as possible. It’s nice. The neighbours brought us a freshly made pie the day we moved in. The house is as close as is possible to exactly the same as the house we sold, complete with hatch (we knocked that wall down which made the hatch rather larger). That’s quite strange. It wasn’t like we thought that was the best ever house but it has worked out that we are in a replica. At least the furniture fits.

Children are amazing. They were nervous but it didn’t much show as they walked into their new school and began to find their way. Red said he didn’t have a snack on his first day as he wasn’t sure how that worked, but the second day he did. Good strategy: observe and then act. Myrtle went straight for the pancake; Isobel said that’s what you’re meant to do. Good strategy: check with a friend. They’ve both done so well. I am so relieved. Now I think maybe they can handle anything. I think maybe they think that now too.

The wait on the land seems a bit interminable. Still waiting for the mysterious trustees to meet and confirm that we won’t get a bill for tens of thousands as soon as we get planning permission. Can’t go ahead and buy before we know that so on we wait. And wait.

In the meantime, we will enjoy the pie.