Updated: Oct 29, 2019
I spent five months in plaster and broke six bones. I went back to college. I gave up dairy and healed my agonising periods. I officially asked people to stop sending me work messages on Facebook messenger. I worried about Brexit. Not a little nervousness, but This Is It worry. We’re fucked worry. I graduated to being a “woman” and resented the word “division”. I went on approximately 30 first dates. I gathered my things and walked out on a Nazi. I joined a team of strong women nurturing young talent from my local area. I shouted at Donald Trump. I was ostracised by a group. A one night stand turned into the best of friends. I shot an exploded circus. I got called judgemental. I disapproved. I realised why we hold onto the negative things more than the positive (if you want to know, invite me for tea and I’ll tell you). I wrote. I woke up to a slap in the face and realised a frog had jumped on me. I laughed until my belly hurt and tears streamed down my face more times than I can remember. I swam in the love of my friends and used your glories and achievements as life buoys. I swam in the ocean. I took photographs of pregnant acrobats. I wished my photography did better. I wished for better. I had my very first exhibition. I wasn’t allowed to invite anyone and no one bought a thing. I stood there on my own for a while feeling empty elation until a certain man of magic from ScotLAnd rocked on up and saved my heart. I had my heart broken by a friend and had by boundaries railroaded so hard I built them back stronger whilst looking them in the eye. I danced with my niece. I became a triple aunty. I smashed a melon to make a mate smile. I broke up a fight. I started an argument about an injustice I would not less pass and poison. I frolicked in the snow. With my broken limbs. Yeah. I’m wild like that (also, it was a bit like icing them). I went camping in a storm. I bloody loved the heatwave. I don’t know what you lot were complaining about; apart from the obviousness that the planet is burning. I noted how street harassment and public groping ramped up when I had a black eye and a broken arm. I cycled past some nuclear weapons. I helped launch a film. I answered questions. I was held up at knife point. I was rescued by children. I wasn’t sure if I should go to a funeral. I did. And caught someone as they were falling. I got more funding declinations than I have ever had in the rest of my life: it seems everyone is #metoo unless that involves action. I got angry. I was tricked by Richard Branson. Knowingly. And still felt deceived. I grew a different kind of love. A fresh flavour of old traditions. I watched some young people bloom. I sold my Nan’s clothes for survival. I filled my bath with toys to go around the world. I missed the birdies. I cooked 30 people dinner and 7 came. I got my Mum’s old Polaroid working. I walked past a hair dressers who could see I was scared and they took me in, straightened me up and sent me on my way walking talk to an apology. I got destroyed by my Mum’s birthday. Because it would never be her birthday again. I made peace with the most painful story of my life which has not involved death. I got a second chance. I was apologised to. I was held. I was healed. I was forgiven. I was allowed to rest. I allowed myself to push open a door that said “What if?”. And What if I loved myself as much as I love you? And what if I love myself as much as I love you lot? And what if I forgive myself as much as I forgive him? And who am I without this wait? And who am I without this weight? And who am I without my story? What does my structure look like without these attachments I have carved and craved and cleaved? I had my heart smashed to tiny hopeless dreams, fed off optimism but starved of oxygen, again, by the love of my life, my soul mate, the one I have known for lifetimes and the one I know truly, that for us, there is no happy ending, and this time our goodbye means goodbye. We had peace, we walked that path and he took my hand, but that does not mean we are travelling to the same place. Or that peace looks the same to us. I learnt that sometimes you cannot paint a new dawn if you’re only looking in monochrome. I learnt how healing apologies you never allowed yourself are. I started writing poetry again, after a long ago desecration had stolen my words. I learnt that my weight does not dictate my value or my worthiness or my right to love and safety. Of course I knew this already. Of course I did. I didn’t. Not honestly. I realised it crushes my life force when it is sunny and people don’t open the curtains. I wondered where we would be now had my baby lived. I danced. My god, I danced. In the streets, at festivals, in the gym, through carnival, with my girls, with strangers, I danced and I danced. I laughed. I loved my friends so much my heart could explode every damn day. I got recruited by a magazine. I couldn’t find my Nan, and when I did, I dropped to my knees like an orphan and wept for centuries. I was scooped up by a woman with my Mum’s voice. I lost a friend who had just drawn a new map to a new world. I lost a friend who had just screwed up her old map and didn’t have time to write her new script. I passed my driving test. I was told I was too fat to fuck. On a date. I realised that funerals can be both deeply joyful and deeply tragic and somehow that can reflect the person. I nearly lost a friend, and loved and laughed her back to health. I put the ashes where they should be. I got envious of my friends who have families and partners and children and stability. I roamed the world and lay in fields and read books and swam in rivers and had lie ins sometimes. I wondered if I’m too old to stop being Peter Pan now. I had the courage to ask people if they wanted to do photoshoots with me. I realised it may always be this tough to put food on my table. Maybe the break is never going to come. I realised that even when I can’t always put food on the table I can always rustle up a feast for friends. There’s a lesson in that. I studied the idea what my thoughts create my feelings and I can create my thoughts. I acknowledged that my worth is not based on how many people I “help”. I defied the cult of “Too busy”. I commited to Be More Ricketts. I chanted Nam Myoho Renge Kyo till my soul felt peace and my dreams knitted themselves into something I could wear with pride. I hoped. I dreamed. I loved.