As the wheels of my car crunched over the gravel drive I paused for a split second, frozen by the magnitude of what was about to happen.
I stumbled erratically to locate the right gear, switching from third and back down to first and eventually manically settling on neutral, my logical thought process completely stolen by the bleakness of the morning.
With my heart pounding out of my chest, the only reminder I was still alive, my little black family mobile, with the backseat holding little more than an empty, crisp spattered car seat and a small bag of my clothes, rolled pathetically in to large space and eventually came to a stop.
I don’t know how long I sat there staring at the big Daddy oak tree, I suppose it doesn’t really matter, I was as numb to the ticking of the clock as I was to my son’s kisses.
When I did eventually manage to climb out in to the cold air of the morning, I spotted a friend across the car park. She smiled kindly in my direction and that smile, changed everything.
The numbness I had so carefully cultivated over the months to protect me from the searing pain, was wiped out and destroyed by a tsunami of icy panic, which engulfed me from the tip of my heart to the bottom of my toes.
‘I don’t think I can do this’ I cried to her, my knees threatening to give way, my bottom lip actually shaking and wobbling as I spoke, the pain and the fear becoming unbearable ‘I just don’t think I can.’
She helped me carry my bags and with her arm around my shoulder we crunched over the pebbles towards reception.
We both knew I had no choice.
It was the unspoken elephant between us.
I was to be admitted in to hospital or I would be dead soon.
I was told I was brave by other patients.
You guys on here, supporting me in droves as I made jokes about packing my dildo and avoided the truth about my illness, told me I would be ok.
I will never forget all the kind words, but most interestingly, that first day, one of the most poignant things I remember being told was;
‘Do not make any drastic decisions or major changes to your life while you are undergoing any kind of therapy. You shouldn’t make any decisions until the dust settles.’
I remember thinking at the time, as I was being sectioned, that that was an odd thing to advise.
1 Blog, 3 tattoos, 1 Job change, 1 fiancée, 1 house on the market and 4 vivid hair changes later, I am starting to think they may have been on to something.
‘I probably should have waited for the dust to settle a little’ I laughed to my Laser Tattoo removal… removalist? (What is the official name for someone who removes your ill advised inking’s?)
‘You think?’ he asks sardonically, glancing up at me while turning the machine up to Cow Branding heat, as he is about to cross over the second O of the word WOO. ‘Do you know that Woo where I am from, means clunge?’
‘Clunge?’ I politely ask, my innocence about to be taken.
‘Yeah.’ He grunts ‘Clunge, like Vagina.’
I feel my eyes get incredibly wide and I stare at him.
If he wasn’t in the throws of death gripping my wrist I would yank my hand away and sink my head in to it.
‘Are you freaking serious?’ I gasp, completely and utterly panicked. The sweat already forming on the back of my neck, the clamminess gripping my heart.
‘Oh god.’ My gaze lands on a tasteful painting of a tattooed Buddha woman with twelve arms, but I don’t actually see it, it really is just the background noise accompanying my internal screaming.
‘What’s the big deal?’ He mumbles, his tongue sticking out the corner of his mouth as he concentrates on removing the first 28 layers of skin from my sad little veins ‘I am removing the WOO now.’
I look up at him but stay silent for a long while, digesting this horrific news.
‘I called my blog mammy FREAKING woo!’ I exclaim.
He stops what he is doing and slowly lifts his eyes to meet mine.
‘So your blog, that everyone kinda likes and reads, the thing you are really proud of… wait, wait, the blog you won awards for… is called…’ he tries to stop smiling but fails miserably and in the end gives up, finishing with a big grin ‘MAMMY VAGINA?’
As I sat frozen in time once more, I watched as he threw his head back in laughter, and in an extremely loud voice, told the rest of the tattoo parlor that my blog name was Mummy CLUNGE.
‘Is it a porn Blog?’ A bearded man who’s face I couldn’t see through all the body art asked, it has to be said, a little too keenly.
I can’t remember if I responded.
The part of my mind that blocks out all unwanted memories (the part that also houses that memory of that boy fingering me and that teacher catching us) grabbed hold of it and I … what was I talking about?
All I could think of on the way home was the day I drove in to the hospital and seemingly lost my ability to make sound decisions or listen to good advice.
I know in my heart that nothing will ever feel as mind-numbingly horrific as that moment when the orderly forcefully removed my car keys from my possession and took away my ability to escape.
How I missed my baby for weeks on end.
How I howled in to the dark, my heart torn and ragged, with nobody but a faceless nurse checking I wasn’t dead every 15 minutes.
How I wanted to cease to exist.
Nothing will ever be as truly awful as those dark, lonely and misunderstood days, but if I am being honest?
It was you guys that got me through it, supported me, listened to me and never, ever left me for even one moment to think I wasn’t worth life.
It was you guys who told me it would all work out, that everything would be ok, and I should soldier on, so for that?
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Now if you don’t mind, I need you to do it all again.
Oh my god.
This does not bode well.
From now on can this PLEASE just be the unspoken elephant between us?