A friend I haven’t heard from in a while got in touch today. Our contact is sporadic but consistent. I have loved him in all the ways it’s possible to love someone over the last 21 years. I love him still. He’s had a rough month; a sliver of the hard news, his cat passed away in his arms a few weeks ago.
I once wrote a poem about her. Or about him. Or about us. Whatever it was about, it was called:
His cat is whoring herself
out to anyone
with a warm lap.
She chews on a belt loop
and looks up
when prodded to stop.
She sighs, stands, turns around and
returns to sleep.
It is surreal
or perhaps just
to think that life could be
She wakes again
murmurs and bathes
without leaving my lap.
Circa September 2010
Sleep, baby Piper. You were loved. You will be missed.
A few years ago, I sat down to write a book. And I did it. I wrote “the end” and everything. Now, I am editing that manuscript, my WIP. Which sounds like I’m close to finished. But a terrible truth in writing is that you can finish a draft (or several) and never be finished editing. I could probably drag it out for several more years if I wanted to.
The reason I’m not finished, though, is because the story has changed since I started. As it does. With understanding. Acceptance. Experience. Perspective.
But I’ve set my intentions for 2020. And while I won’t reveal all of them, one of them is to finish finish the book. Finish amending. Finish editing. Finish changing the story. Not because my memory of it won’t continue to shift but because it no longer belongs to me.
As we approach the end of the decade the customary comparisons are surfacing. The way I live my life is completely different. So is the way I love. But the deeper shadow parts of myself still lurk in dark corners, waiting for an opportunity. In 2010, my eating disorder had such a hold over me, the doctors didn’t think I’d see the end of the year, much less the decade. Yet here I am.
I once thought that if I wasn’t different at the end of all this, I wouldn’t be better. And while much has changed in the last ten years, plenty hasn’t. Who I am at my essence is entirely the same. Some days, I’m not sure what that makes me.
It’s impossible to tell by looking at someone how they are feeling. The picture on the left was taken in 2010, eight months into recovery. I had been re-feeding and gained quite a lot of weight, almost 25 pounds. The picture on the right…? March 2019. I weighed quite a bit more than I did in 2010 and had been back in treatment for three months. I’m still in treatment now. Perhaps this fight will always be a work in progress.
But the story of the last ten years no longer lives in me. And next year, ten years after I almost died, I will let it go entirely.
Merry Christmas. It’s 10.30pm and everyone has left. We’ve had G’s family here since 3pm, feasting and drinking. The year is coming to a close and so is another decade. As it does, I’m reflecting on all that has happened in the last ten years and I am overwhelmingly grateful.
I tell you this, not because you asked me what the date is – I’m sure you’re capable of reading a calendar – but because today marks five years since I packed up my VW Golf, drove from Sydney to Gippsland one last time, and moved in with G.
It’s forever and five minutes, all at once. And it always will be.
And time fell away With the sound of each step If the stars align then For us they were meant in the lunar sky
By the time this song was put onto a mix tape for me, Jeff Buckley had already been dead for two years. He was only 30 when, late one night in May 1997, he waded into the Mississippi River and drowned while going for a spontaneous swim. His body was found a few days later, upstream in Memphis.
As 2019 draws to a close, I’ve been watching the rounds of photos comparing people’s current self to their self from the beginning of the decade. In late 2009, I had just turned 31 but was severely entrenched in anorexia and yet to choose recovery. I didn’t believe I’d see the end of year, much less the end of a new decade. By the end of 2010, I was attempting recovery. Cautiously, with only a little hope.
Life has shifted many times over the past 10 years. Many things have changed but unfortunately, some have not. I’m in treatment again and have been for a year. It’s 25 years since Jeff Buckley released this song, a year after I first developed anorexia. But this time, I’m hoping that with the right treatment, I can say the Last Goodbye.
…smoke your little smoke, drink your little drink, and try to make sense of the things that you think…
Spotify has been throwing songs into my daily mixes from the new — well, relatively — (The) National album. Back in 2010, when today’s Music Monday song was released, I tried listening to The National but couldn’t get into them. Their new album, however, features numerous female vocalists, adding layers and a depth to their music that I haven’t noticed in the past. And it’s growing on me.
Even still, any time I hear “The National” mentioned, I cannot help but think of the song by Ben Folds, Nick Hornby and Pomplamoose.
But in the event that you haven’t listened to the new National album either, here’s a trailer for it.
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