The Girl With The Sadness

There was once a girl who had a big stone in her tummy. The stone was Sadness. Sometimes it was hard and heavy and dragged her right down. Other times it was gooey and gravy-like and sloshed around inside making her feel sick. Sometimes it was a coloured silk handkerchief, the sort that magicians use, and she could stuff it into her fist and it would seem to disappear.

She very rarely talked about the Sadness. It was far too big to talk about, and she was certain it would crush her. When she did mention it, she talked in a detached way, as if about someone else’s life. She was very good at putting the Sadness away in a carefully crafted box that locked in several ways. Mostly, this worked very well, and she could experience much joy and happiness elsewhere in her life. But occasionally the box itself turned to gravy, or to stone. Or she pulled at the corner of one of the pretty silk handkerchiefs and the lot of them came streaming out of her closed fist, just like a magician.

The girl could not be a mother in the conventional way. This was the Sadness. The girl had desperately wanted to be a mother her entire life. As a child she cared greatly for her many dolls, and was a proficient nappy changer of her beloved Tiny Tears and later, her Timmy Tears. The girl had always known she would one day be a mother, and she very much looked forward to that day. She’d planned motherhood and dreamed of her future children and excitedly filled her personal library with children’s books in preparation. Peter Rabbit was waiting to be read.

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Hide me in the shadow of your wings

It is a normal day and I feel happy and relaxed. My mind is blank because I’m making a brew. I’m on autopilot. I’m not thinking about anything in particular, I’m not anxious, I’m not on edge. Just stirring. Suddenly the tranquillity of ordinary life is shattered and my shoulders arch up and back. My head seems to retreat into my neck like a turtle. My eyes are wide with fear. Pulse racing, hands sweating, breathing hard. My eyes dart about, my eyebrows furrow. My body has reacted to something and has begun this remarkable and grotesque process that fills me with both adrenaline and fear. This routine happens so quickly that my mind hasn’t caught up with it yet. I’m filled with terror and I’m searching for the source.

It was just the bathroom door slamming in the breeze. But I was ready. I was ready to hit the floor and take cover, or fight or run or…whatever. I was ready for anything. I’ve never felt more ready. And now my mind has caught up and I realise it was just the door and I feel lot of other things as the fear subsides. I feel silly. I feel ashamed. I feel sad. I feel sorry for myself. I feel angry at myself. I sometimes feel angry at the Army too.

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