I’m going to steal everybody’s left shoe.
When the instant finally arrived, hurtling towards me like a ton of concrete bricks I had spent 17 months evading, my heart began thrashing and kicking, screaming for me to escape. My chest became so tightly knotted I found myself forgetting to breathe and against my will my eyes started releasing tears brimming with pure anguish that seemed to burn tracks of hatred down my face.
It was at this point, with James staring in to my soul, and an audience of six strangers, that I found myself unable to fight any longer.
All it had taken was the sheer terror, hiding behind some heavily carved distraction techniques, to be glimpsed at, for the briefest of moments and my carefully painted masquerade, filled with dancing clowns, cotton candy and merry go rounds, came thundering down, landing around my battered and tired feet, before shattering in to a hundred tiny, finger cutting, soul destroying shards of malevolence.
In this moment, the risk of not sharing my pain, by far outweighed the fear of not knowing what would happen to me if I did.
This became my element of freedom.
Which incidentally is also the name of Alicia Keyes’ last album.
And fair play to her. It is a great name, and a great album.
However, as I have not been blessed with a figure that allows me to confidently carry off shoulder pads on a regular basis (I always end up looking like I am about to play American football) am unable to wear hot pants without Greenpeace showing up with a huge net and a shit load of placards (Blubber is not fashionable, leave it to the whales!!) and am so tone deaf, that even singing Happy Birthday sets off the neighborhood dogs howling to the moon and running around in manic circles frothing at the mouth, can we just pretend, just for a heartbeat that I came up with that last line all by myself, and that Alicia is ok with this?
I think at the very least, under the circumstances, she owes me that.
Interestingly though I have visited the concrete jungle, so in fairness we do have that in common. I climbed up the Empire State Building in 1996 (not in the same way King Kong did, just to be clear. Although I do own a gorilla suit. I am not sure why I feel this is relevant. I wasn’t wearing it or anything… but anyway.)
Addison’s godmother and I took the stairs, as petulantly at the time, I refused to get in the lift. I am claustrophobic see, or at least I thought I was, but according to my therapist James (the one with the eyes that can tear through your soul like heat seeking missiles) I am not.
I am, in fact, Agro phobic (aren’t we bloody all!)
Which isn’t a fear of wide-open spaces as I thought it was, but a fear of not being able to escape. So although we both have a love of New York, Alicia and me, I wouldn’t have been able to wax lyrical about it as she did, while I was there, as after mounting 186 floors (in a gorilla suit) I was too busy coughing up a lung, to sing anything. (Much to the relief of New York pet lovers anonymous.)
My favourite Disney film is Lilo and Stitch.
Yes I am aware that was a very tenuous link but really, if you can link Alicia Keys and a tiny blue, four handed alien that burps the Kauain national anthem better than that, then please let me know, and I will add it in here, and claim it as my own… I seem to be doing that a lot today.
Ohana Means Family and Family means nobody gets left behind.
Five years ago this small sentence said by a mongrel experimental alien life form (that isn’t even available in HD) would have either reduced me to tears or sent me in to a fit of anger that would have resulted in me shouting at the television and branding the shit out of my arm with my hair straighteners.
Utter bollocks I would have thought. Family brings nothing but pain, rejection, loss and hurt.
So in that moment, taken unawares, with my circus tent falling to its knees, in a room filled with tortured souls, luke-warm tea and stale biscuits, I took a deep shaky breath, and I faced it.
And it hurt.
It hurt like hell.
And in many ways, it still does.
As I sit here munching on my waffle (seriously. If you poke me, I oink) I am still feeling an underlying sensation of vulnerability and acute sadness but, and there is always a butt (and mine is huge) the fear of feeling this way was actually a million times worse, and more anxiety inducing, than actually the way I am feeling right now.
Sometimes the dread of the feelings we may feel, is actually worse than the actual feelings that follow from tackling the unknown, and the fear of the unknown.
I was terrified I was going to break, but actually I was already broken, and sometimes the only way to fix things is to remove all the jagged edges, and piece them back together part by part.
Yesterday, following on from a moment of utter carnage, during which my pet poodle Doodle had a horrifically wet runny poo while sitting on my neighbors knee in the garden (I honestly couldn’t make this shit up, is it any wonder I ended up in a mental institute?) and following on from the ensuing screams of delight from Addison, who had found a worm and was presenting it to me at the same time as me trying to find wet wipes that could not only wipe the soggy doggy squit off my neighbors jogging bottoms but also from his memory, I caught sight of the Lilo and Stitch DVD peeping out from behind an old box of Ski gear sat in the hallway (long story. Cold summer. Not enough meat on my bones…Yeah right) and thought, after 5 years of avoiding it, maybe now (not at that exact moment per say, as my neighbor was still sat in his deck chair retching manically at this point but soon) would be a good time, to process the past while looking to the future in the hope of creating some new family memories.
Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind.
Two hours later with the neighbor back in his own house no doubt showering in bleach and scrubbing at his knee with a wire brush, Doodle wearing one of Addison’s nappies, the Irish one wearing most of Addison’s dinner and me, wearing galoshes and moon boots, all sat down together (under duress) on our manky old sofa and prepared to create a loving family memory I would no doubt cherish for years to come, with no anger involved!
Great expectations and all that.
Turns out, making perfect memories is a certified nightmare.
The film was only on for 15 minutes before the Irish one fell asleep, Addison was repeatedly biting my leg and squealing for Toy Story and Doodle was shaking, panting and making some decidedly squelchy noises.
I could feel myself becoming upset.
I wanted a happy memory for god sake!!!! How hard could it be???
Why could things never go according to plan???
I shook the Irish one awake and bellowed in his face.
‘CAN YOU JUST BLOODY TRY TO STAY AWAKE LONG ENOUGH FOR ME TO MAKE A NICE FAMILY MEMORY PLEASE? IT SHOULDN’T BE THIS HARD!!’
He jerked awake with a look of shock, wiped the dribble from his mouth, (he will love me for that – serves him right) and smiled openly.
‘I think today’s memory’s will last a lifetime for all of us Lex, let alone next door. I love you. Now please let Addison get down before we all go deaf, open the door for Doodle before his bum explodes and lets go for a walk in the garden and enjoy the sunshine.’
‘What?’ I shouted back
‘Lexy, take off your ear muffs if you can’t hear me’
‘Oh right yeah. What?’
‘I said’ he sighs getting ready to repeat himself before stopping, smiling a secret smile and adopting his know-it-all face ‘I said, lets take the stick away.’
So we did.
(Smug sod. Ahem…)
And even though I had to let go of making the ‘perfect memory’ we actually had a lovely afternoon.
But don’t think they got away with it. Even if I have to drug them, we will all sit down and watch Lilo and stich together at some point.
That’s how I’ll mark my progress!!
*This post was sponsored by Post Natal depression. Balancing out the better, with a little bit of Psychopath. OHANA MEANS BLOODY FAMILY!!! AND FAMILY MEANS… YOU WILL DO WHAT I SAY… MWAHAHAHAHAHA.
Give me your shoe.