It’s been a year and half since my last post and I’ve just realised that that sounds a lot like the prologue into the enforced ritual of the Catholic confession.
Unlike confession however, I’m drinking red wine, although maybe that’s how the priest got through the interminable flow of teenage girls coming from the neighbouring convent school to “confess’ their sins of not going to bed when they were told; giving back cheek to their mothers; using bad language and not saying their nightly prayers on Tuesday – those priests surely knew confession was a ‘get out of class’ ticket for us and that we would never tell them (old men who we barely recognised, let alone trusted!) what we had actually been up to? Confessional nostalgia aside, however, it’s weird and terrifying to be writing again because, these days I’m back in my home town and I have a career which makes me somewhat visible and the people who know that I’m the real Dotty Rocker, well, I’ll probably meet them in Tesco. Then again, I remind myself, confessing our weaknesses in private darkness didn’t really get us anywhere Catholic Ireland, now did it? So, in the interest of open and honest mental health debate, here I am, listening to the soundtrack from The Crown (it’s great for running); sitting in the reading nook that I hardly ever use because I’m “too busy”; ready to self-evaluate.
The last time I wrote I was seeing someone and I thought it would probably last a while, now, we’re engaged; the wedding is booked; we moved house twice in eight months; left our beloved Dublin: adopted two new dogs (we now have 4 dogs and very few unchewed shoes); had a few blazingly serious arguments; wondered why we’re so often too tired for sex and rediscovered how good the sex is when we finally have the energy; pulled one kid out of school because she was basically too far beyond mainstream education and we’re hippies at heart; put on a collective 5 stone and started running/pilates/gym again to try shift it; taught the other kid how to swim; have nice manners and understand the depth of our love for him; opened/relaunched and expanded two businesses; wondered most months how we’ll pay the bills and then marvelled at how they always get paid in the end; buried a darling family friend; tried for a baby for 14 months and have just now discovered that I’m not ovulating properly (if at all – I have to have more tests); had an early miscarriage; drank approximately 500 bottles of wine and 20 bottles of gin; I convinced myself that I was an alcoholic and then realised that actually, I’m not, thanks to the reassurance of My Girl and Future Hoosband; had a wonderful week in Paris; fallen out with my dad a couple of times; fallen out BIG TIME with My Girl’s dad (as has she); joyfully reconnected with My Girl’s dad’s dad and her aunts and uncles (which is glorious); started coaching little people rugby with My Girl; haven’t seen even nearly enough of my sort of ex-step daughter; joined two choirs; had to give up one due to work commitments; learned more Christmas carols in record time than I can care to count; I’ve been through 5 different migraine meds and have finally found one that has enabled me to be migraine free for 6 weeks; moved to just around the corner from my main mama, my Nana (who turned 96 and still likes to have her hair done fortnightly and make risqué jokes over her tea); had the best night of my life with my sistafromanothermista at Coldplay in Croke Park; watched Wonder Woman and fell in love with the mind of Patti Jenkins; stayed up all night and watched in horror as Donald J. Trump was elected President of a country that I used to love, respect and consider my second home and walked into a house party, delightfully unaware that the man who raped me when I was 16 was obnoxious and drunk in the living room. That’s quite the list, but I think the thing to remember is that when I saw him, being generally an embarrassment and a dick to his wife – I kept it together; friendly; chatty; enthusiastic – supported by Hoosband TO BE and My Girl, he was the one who left the room: he vanished and nobody asked his whereabouts. I came home and fell apart; Hoosband and My Girl stripped me and showered me and showed me the greatest display of love and safety… and I won. He left the room, and he lost that battle.
And I intend to win the war.
I decided to write today because I had a bad day. The bad days usually just come now when I’m premenstrual and boy, am I a raging hormonal mess today. I could not get my energy levels up or my temper down this morning but with encouragement, I made it to the beach with Hoosband; My Girl and the 4 doggos and despite early stress induced screams and rants, calmed the fuck down and actually enjoyed it. Then a bath: a lie down; an all encompassing, ‘make everything better snuggle’ in the huge strong arms of Hoosband (think Rollo from Vikings but with a sexy Essex accent) , we took my darlin Nana for a drive around town to her old familiar stomping grounds and new developments that she remember only as fields. I am really trying to be a good granddaughter to repay some of what she has done for me, but again, I was “too busy” there for a while – trust me, you’re never to busy for life and love.
I guess I’ve realised today that depression never really goes away. Hormones; life; dips in serotonin – anything can trigger the demon again. At one point on the beach today, I thought, I can’t do another day; things will never change in my head and my head is a prison but here I am:writing and feeling the thrill of writing – alive and calm and wondering when my sautéed potatoes and bacon will be ready.
And how are you? I’d love to know how some of my regular readers are doing.