Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Courage



Before my book was published, one of my best mates said, “I hope fame won’t change you.” I think we both thought I might get too big for my boots. What neither of us had anticipated was that it has actually taken a crowbar to my confidence. I’m having to pick up the tumbled ego bricks and replace them, one by one. Fill in the cracks with cement that I thought would withstand harder knocks. And then it occurred to me that this isn’t about Discover Cornwall, which I am very proud of - especially after Emma's fabulous review, see right.

This is about my mum, whose body has, over the last few months, disintegrated. She is in constant pain and admitted that, without us (offspring), she would have given up. She is no longer my mum, but a frightened, frail old lady who’s lost her confidence.

I’m fortunate in having two brothers who have been fabulous, and Mum’s illness has at least brought us closer together. But it’s that much more difficult being on my own. I confess I’ve felt emotionally drained recently, even sorry for myself, which is something I try never to do. I’ve cried more in the last few weeks than I have done for years, and my sense of humour has gone on strike.

I watched Victoria Pendleton’s last race yesterday, bawling my eyes out. She is someone I admire immensely – she has worked so hard to get where she is, risking her own career when she fell in love with her coach, and his. But she followed her heart, listened to her instincts, and can now retire – at the top - with an amazing career behind her. And a new life ahead of her.

I looked at her and my heart swelled. What courage, and what an inspiration. She made me think that yes, life is tough, but there are the good bits and they always counterbalance the really difficult bits.

Yesterday I remembered how I felt when I first became a journalist. I couldn’t sleep, and lost weight, worrying about my workload, whether my writing was good enough – all that stuff. My dear husband said, “It’s only work for god’s sake,” – he couldn’t understand my anxieties which made me feel even more alone and useless.

But after a while it settled down. My sense of humour re-emerged, like a myopic mole from a tunnel, blinking and saying, “thank god that’s over.” We all go through times in our life that are incredibly stressful and it takes a while to work out how to deal with it. If nothing else, it’s teaching me that we are all more fragile than we think. And at the same time, stronger.

In my case, I need to grab my courage by the scruff of its neck, entice my sense of humour out of hiding. Yesterday I wrote a ridiculous invoice to a friend which cheered me no end. I went and wept all over another friend and then listened to her problems. Which reminded me how important love and laughter is.

And on that note, think of me in Falmouth Carnival on Saturday, marching along dressed as the Fat Controller (or Thin Controller in my case) with two floats – Thomas the Tank Engine and the Titanic. A little silliness is essential in life. A lot of silliness is even better.

15 comments:

datacreata said...

Its very difficult isn't it being 'creative'. You somehow get your hopes up then some imbecile makes an offhand comment and you feel rubbish. I think also, other than the sad situation with your mum which would try anyone, you are still vulnerable to your loss of Pip. It is still early days, all you can do is go with the flow and know (and believe) that like a Pooh stick thrown one side of a bridge, you and it will emerge the other side. Everyone gets stuck in the 'weedy' part of life, just keep treading water and you'll move again. If I'm talking twaddle, just ignore me!

Flowerpot said...

Dc - I suppose being creative we are more vulnerable but we have a form of expression, which is vital. Thanks for your encouragement - I know I will get through this bit too!

Debs Carr said...

Hugs to you. x

Your posts always inspire me. You write so beautifully.

Flowerpot said...

Oh Debs thanks so much. I was worried it was a really morose, depressing post!

Sally said...

Datacreata has said everything so well - the Pooh stick analogy is perfect and if there's anything I can do to help you come through this difficult patch, do ask.
Lots of love and hugs to you xx

Akelamalu said...

You should believe in yourself more FP, you're a wonderful writer!

ADDY said...

I can empathise, as my 89-year-old mum is showing her age and frailty too. She has scoliosis and bad arthritis in her joints so can barely hobble around at home and never ventures out of the house. Like you, I have also lost my partner. Sometimes it all seems an uphill struggle and at others I'm amazed how well I am coping.

Try to take one day at a time. We can't perform miracles all of the time. Lots of hugs. x

Paula R C Readman said...

What a great piece of writing. It said it all. I'm sorry your Mum is well and I hope she gets better soon.

I'm sure you will find your sense of humour soon. It help know you had one to lose in the first place. Start looking for it where you last had it may help :-)

my very best wishes to you.

Flowerpot said...

Thanks, Paula. Sense of humour re-emerging I'm glad to say. So THAT's where it was!! ( shan't say where, she says, blushing)

Flowerpot said...

Addy - who was it who said old age is not for cissies? Darn right.... Hugs to you, too xx

Flowerpot said...

Oh Ak, thank you! Sometimes self belief gets blown to one side. It's coming back now....

Melissa Marsh said...

I think we all go through lows in life - and they're never fun. But they remind us of how beautiful the ups in life are, and that's what we must cling to. :)

Flowerpot said...

Melissa - you're quite right. The ups are fabulous.

Talli Roland said...

I couldn't agree more on silliness being a vital part of life! No matter how low I am, I can't help but grin at it. Hang in there, Sue! We're all behind you!

Flowerpot said...

Thanks, Talli! Most cheering x