On life, lately.

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You may have seen it, but maybe you didn’t. We’re moving. To halfway across the world, to Australia, to a place where it feels like everything is upside down, the wrong way and inside out. We leave the start of summer to arrive in the beginning of a new winter. It’s all different, the seasons are different, the food is a little different, the lifestyle is different, even the air smells different. I’m sitting here writing this in a house that is slowly emptying out and existing within boxes more and more each day. We are excited. And nervous. And tired. But mainly heart-thumpingly, dreadfully, contagiously excited.

It’s the place from where we began writing this story of ours, we opened the page atop of a mountain as the sun rose, the most romantic of beginnings. And now we are here, married, with this dream child of ours, set to return. My parents live there, and my sister. They have been far from us for a while, over two years of FaceTime calls and missing and longing, and this reunion for the foreseeable will restore that little piece of me that got on the plane with them way back then.

But we leave behind a lot. A house that will be empty, a skeleton that was once whole, on it’s bones a first family home. We’ve lived here since Eilish was three days old, there are steps that she spent hours perfecting how to climb, walls that she marked and we have now painted clean, a garden in which she pottered and played and lived. We will say goodbye to friends, we leave behind family - Toby’s and mine - that we will see once a year if lucky, perhaps less. This is when my heart beats heavier and faster, when I think about what we are taking Eilish away from.

My heart has been beating like this for a while now, months really, and it’s only lately that it’s begun to slow back down and breathing feels freer and fuller. I don’t know if this was here before, or whether motherhood brought it to the fore, but it’s been hard for a while now. It’s the why to a lot of things. The reason it’s been a little quiet on here, why I’ve been taking steps back from grids and feeds and algorithms. Why I’ve been writing less (the words have been hard, you see), why I’ve been so very tired (the first two weeks of medication are like walking through treacle), why I’ve been protecting myself a lot (the smallest things have felt like the sharpest barbs) .

I’ve had it easier than many, I know this. I went to the doctor, and came out that same day with a diagnosis and a prescription in hand, I was believed. To be believed and heard is a huge privilege.

My breath had been catching at the most inopportune moments, I’d been hiding in bathrooms, and spending days feeling a precise and acute dread, one that was so entirely and intrinsically linked to my own insecurities. I was scrabbling around for an explanation, a reason for it all, and finding that often times it didn’t exist. It just was. This degree of anxiety has felt like the worst kind of battle, the kind that is not only uphill but also in the coldest rain and muddiest trenches. I’m now taking medication, and after a month I almost feel like myself once again. I’ve been afraid to say the word for so long, antidepressants, for fear of what it might mean to me or to others, but they are working and I don’t want to embrace the stigma.

So while we sell and pack and expose the bareness and the bones of this house an item at a time, it feels like I’m beginning to flesh out again. To feel like I can fill my chest deeply once more, to feel the fullness of life and to delight in the tulips on the table and to spend more time playing and laughing and just breathing in that smell of my daughter’s soft neck. Perhaps it’s spring, and the fact that when the weather is warmer everyday feels like a little adventure, or maybe it’s the new start approaching with increasing speed but my goodness this time is a good one. It’s getting lighter and lighter each day.

https://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/
https://www.makebirthbetter.org/