The first week of a new year, a decade is over. To say that I’ve been feeling out of sorts since the new year is either apt or an under-statement, at least I hope it’s one of those. I know this feeling, I know how to feel this way. I know it because it’s how I used to feel – and I hope this isn’t that.
Today I stopped as I cleared away old newspapers. One article: ‘The Year of Living Joyously’. It was the ‘joy’ that caused me to pause. That small three-letter word that describes perfectly how I felt for the second half of last year. In those months the glass was more than half full, it overflowed. Life was mine and it was good. And even when it wasn’t, all it took was for me to remember, and it was easy again. I appear to have carelessly misplaced that so far this year and I wanted to feel it again, so I read.
‘Have you been put under a spell? Have you been tamed and domesticated? Or can you still walk on the wild side when you need to?…Long ago, for reasons that were appropriate at the time, you toned down a part of your personality that could be scarily fierce at times. You learned diplomacy, discretion and patience. Arguably, you learned it too well. You started to accept situations that ought to have been challenged and changed. You began to fear the consequences of controversy.’
Strip away the words to their bare bones and that’s how I feel. Like I have denied too long who I am. It’s not just recently. If I am honest I’ve always questioned whether I had changed. That shadow I thought was the mask, perhaps it isn’t. Maybe everything else was the illusion.
I’ve made the mistake before; thinking that if I closed that part of my life off that sometimes made the laughter scarce that it would have no effect. I was wrong. I saw it every time it surfaced. I still see it now, permeating through the cracks in the smiles even though I have chosen those most destructive parts of my past no longer have a place in my present.
Certain words still resonate too loudly in empty halls. Feelings evoked I choose to ignore no longer. Instead, like a fallen but not defeated soldier I take this time to sit and let the wounds heal. I rest my eyes for a moment knowing that I will rise eventually. When the pain subsides I shall return to my feet having known what it is to fall.
In the quiet time when I realise how far I have come, I must first remember where it is I started. Too easy to fall back. Temptation calling me to test how strong my resolve. That’s the only true test after all. Happiness is easy. When everything that is good in you is because of those you choose to surround yourself with, it’s easy. Who you are without them, that’s when you learn who it is you’ve become.
Time for me to decide who that is, and accept the decision.