September 12, 2014

On turning in


On turning in Image – Kelly Rae Roberts – follow the whispers

I was walking to pick up my son the other afternoon, a short stroll but I deliberately walked slow. Stopping and thinking and reminding myself to breathe.

The last two months have been a little topsy turvy in my world. I got sick, no one could work out why and in the midst of not sleeping and not eating I lost my hope. I lost my perspective and I lost my way.

I think there are two types of writers. Ones that write through the tough stuff, turn their bits out to the world to view. Embrace the vulnerability that comes with the dark moments. And then there are people like me, when Im in a fog my fingers seize up. I can’t write, I don’t want to share. I need to work out where Im at before I tell others.

Some friends picked me up at the airport yesterday morning, so lovely to see their smiling faces not via Skype or through Instagram and within about 7 seconds we were debating the role of telling people things, of typing them out. How we move from sharing recipes or interesting articles online to telling our inner most thoughts about what is going on behind closed doors. A friend once wrote the most stunning piece on the role of turning in when loss happens – of making your world smaller, of hibernating. We often think that the sign of making meaning from what happens to us is the sharing or the conversations that we all have. The idea that ‘if one less person’ has to endure what we have then the sharing is worthwhile.

I see benefit in both.

Some of the blogs I used to read become strange graveyards, months and months of no words with the poignant previously written posts collecting dust in the background. Blogs have their place in acknowledging a space in time, when I stumble across an empty space I want to remind people that if they step away they need to do something with those thoughts they poured out to the universe. Collect them up, save them somewhere. Just like the diaries we revisit from our adolescence when we open a box tucked into the back of our garage.

They tell us about who we were before we move on.

Im starting to feel better. My work on tolerating ambiguity has made me absolutely rubbish at letting myself surrender to the fact that I can’t control everything. My specialist suggested that perhaps Id swallowed too many grief stories in my career and some part of me thinks thats right.

So I spent that time turned inwards. Sleeping early, working less and staring at my lovely Kelly Rae Roberts print near my door….’What is calling you, follow the whispers’.

And the whispers are starting to yell louder as I feel better and the world looks sunny again. Perhaps breathing and walking slow is a good thing and writing. Thats good too. When the time is right.

Are you a turner inner or outer?

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. I am so sorry you’ve been unwell, Sarah. It’s a hard road to travel at the best of times. A lack of clarity as to why makes it harder. As you’ve probably guessed I’m an outer. Though not 100%. There are aspects of my life that I share and some that I made a clear decision to keep private. Some stories are not mine alone and it is not my right to share them. But for the most part the act of writing is a survival mechanism and in many ways an act of rebellion. I lost my voice and then reclaimed it through writing. I was told never to share and now realise how much that stifled my spirit. The spoken piece below explains why I am primarily an outer.

    I spent a lot of time fighting for control when I first became ill, it was a ridiculous fight, not that I could see it at the time. For me, my disorder didn’t care how much I did or didn’t fight, it just was. It’s hard to control something that just rolls on unaware, might as well control the wind. Not that it stopped me beating my head against a wall for a long time. Now I am more about soothing my soul if not my body directly. I don’t think those of us who’ve been in the psych roll, give ourselves the self-compassion we so instinctively give to others.

    Really glad to hear things are looking brighter. I hope each day brings more light and lightness xx

    • I’m always mindful when I write about being temporarily unwell Michelle that I don’t sound woe is me but your line about pushing for control is so true. I have googled my symptoms 43 billion times looking for secret answers that would fix me NOW without addressing how much id run myself into the ground over the last 10 years. It took me a long time to get here – I’m trying to get better at surrendering to the journey back. Thanks for sharing your links – I love offering people space for multiple perspectives x

      • What makes life interesting is the infinite variety in how we interact with it. I think I was an inner for a long time but it was like wearing someone else’s skin. I feel much better for the change, although at times I still um and ah about putting up certain posts.

        It was a really beautiful post, Sarah.

  2. big hugs hon – i agree that you probably swallowed too many grief stories. One reason i decided not to go for a masters program in socila work was my husband not so tactfully pointing out that i would absorb all the emotions and hard times i was exposed to as a sensitive and empathic person. I think slow walks and deep breathing are great for now and am sure your writing will come xx

    • Thanks Deb – there are so many positives to being an empathetic compassionate person but the challenge is the amount of stuff we let in, even unintentionally. Slow walking is my new thing x


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