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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Rachael Phillips and the Tactical Withdrawl

I’m no good at properly chilling out on days off. For me a day off is packed with all the stuff I don’t have time to do during the rest of the week. I can’t sit still. I do stuff. Lots of stuff. My inability to wholeheartedly take part in inertia drives my husband crazy, as he is a master of intentional slothfulness.

But after a particularly busy, stressful and demanding period at work, I decided to appease the growing number of friends who were suggesting I take time out, and I booked myself a 24 hour tactical withdrawal.

We don’t use the term ‘retreat’ in the Army. A retreat is something you do when you’re being driven backwards by the enemy. A tactical withdrawal is something you do on your own terms so that you’re in a better position to assess the situation. Semantics? Or a frame of mind? Actually when thinking of it like this, perhaps what I’d booked was more like a retreat, as I wouldn’t have ordinarily opted for this on my terms! And I did rather feel like I was being driven there.

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