OK, welcome to analogy time…
First of all, I am currently skating through life, trying to stay upright, and I am oh so close, regularly, to going off the rails. That would be mixed metaphors, so sue me.
But here’s where I was actually going…
Living life now is like having to walk across a large frozen lake. Up on the surface it’s cold, and unpleasant, and you don’t want to be there…but at least you’re dry, and hopefully wrapped up in enough support to keep you warm enough, and you don’t have a choice other than to keep going anyway. So off you go. One foot in front of the other. One minute at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.
One breath at a time…even when breathing actually hurts.
The shore line is where the waves broke, as did you, and so the ice is fractured into many oddly beautiful and unstable pieces, and as you walk over it, you end up in the water all the time, trying to get through it and keep going.
But you do make it through that bit. You get past it and then on top of it. And you start walking across that endless lake.
It all looks solid underfoot.
Walk in the frozen park, right?
But it’s ice…
Ice is not a reliable solid.
As you start out, you slowly walk and walk, but frequently and unexpectedly, you fall through the ice. It wasn’t as thick as you thought. Like you, it has flaws. You haven’t got the hang of this yet. You can’t judge the ice. The flawed falls through the flaws.
And then you get a little better at it. If you’re lucky you can see the weaker parts. You can walk around them. Keep moving. But every now and then, no matter how well you think you’re doing, the ice breaks underneath you. A crevasse opens up, and down you go. You weren’t expecting it, and…
…every time you fall into the freezing water, at whichever step you are taking on your journey, from the rocky start to wherever you are now, however far you are across the lake, it is just as cold, and scary, and painful, and all encompassing, and drowning is so close…and it is always just as bad as it ever was. And it hurts SO much. SO much. And no-one is diving in to bring you to the surface. There are no saviours here.
It doesn’t get better.
It doesn’t hurt less.
It never hurts less.
It always hurts just as bad as it did when you were first thrown into the depths.
It’s a pain like no other, and if you’re not in the club, which hopefully you aren’t and never will be, any description will be wasted on you. And it’s not a competition. However you end up in the club, you get it.
I’m not crying…oh yes, I am. Regularly. At the drop of a metaphorical hat.
Sometimes, when you’ve spent hours, days, weeks, without being able to climb back on to the ice,when you realise it hurts just as much as it ever did; you wonder whether it’s worth climbing out, and maybe it would just be better to resign yourself to this being how it is?
Maybe it’s time to live down there.
Still being here.
But just not trying any more.
It can feel like trying isn’t helping.
You’ve been walking across the frozen wasteland for so long.
You still fall in.
You’re running out of fight.
You feel like it will never get better.
That it will always be with you.
And the pain is always indescribable, and all consuming.
Your heart breaks over and over and over again.
Your person still isn’t here.
You miss them with every fibre of your being.
Your brain puts up random memories from nowhere for no reason.
Vivid as the day you were living them.
And all that love is still there within you, with nowhere to go…
What if, what if, if only…
Climbing out of the depths again, and trying again, is so hard.
Maybe it would be easier not to…?
But you don’t give in.
You climb out.
You try again.
You keep on walking.
You hope that there’s a distant shore waiting for you; solid ground beneath your feet.
And you hope it’ll be a while before the ice crumbles beneath you again.
If you’re lucky, the further you go along your path, the ice will crack less often.
And you will fall in less often.
But by now, you know it will always break again.
You just don’t know when.
Because this doesn’t go away.
You don’t get over it.
This is now your life.
And the pain will always be with you.
Carried with you wherever your journey takes you.
As it should be.
It will change.
But as you loved, so will you grieve.
In the meantime I continue to skate on thin ice, and flirt with going off the rails…because at least that way I feel alive. Briefly. Even if it’s unwise. Sometimes it’s whatever it takes to numb the pain, or take me away from reality. A change is as good as a rest, right?
Eventually sensible cuts in again…but I don’t think I’d ever describe myself as ok. I don’t know what OK is anymore, other than knowing I’m definitely not OK. But maybe one day I will be…with a little help from my amazing friends.