Firstly thankyou so much for all our kind words and encouragement. I didn't cry writing my first post but I cried with every text or message I got from you guys telling me you cried reading it. They say if you can count your real friends on one hand you're lucky so I consider myself blessed that I need a whole load of hands to count mine.
I've done a lot of crying and endless hours of sobbing over the last year and I still cry a lot. Music is tough. I still find it challenging like that new Beyonce song where she pretends she's still with Jay Z and everything's rosy. That's an awesome song and it makes me cry. They're turning into happy tears though, tears of hope, relief and pride that I'm making it through all this. I've learned tears are good. I always prided myself on being teflon tough, able for anything (outwardly anyway) but tears wash out those emotions held back with the dam of your ego.
I guess when you start an epic story that ends with a death you can’t really leave it there. I was dipping my toe in the ocean of putting it out there. I’m a bit more acclimatized now so this is what happened next….
They say you shouldn’t make any rash decisions in the immediate period following a bereavement. Following the rules has never been my forte – I do what I want not necessarily what’s best for me, yep nod your head, you know me. In the immediate few days following what happened my brain went into “everything’s ok, business as usual, everything ok, everything ok, calm, calm, everything ok, I've got this, let’s get shit done" overdrive. It was all I could do to survive because the alternative was sitting in the vacuous space of my life where he used to belong, whispers of what was supposed to be perishing on ice cold air. I took two weeks out of work and started back again throwing myself into my new job. I was able to do this because I was watching my life from the side wings, someone else in the lead role and it certainly wasn’t me. Apparently your brain does this to keep you going until you can come to terms with something this horrific. Everyone kept saying how strong I was. I didn’t know what that meant because I felt like an amoeba on autopilot. I felt so self conscious and weird because I was acutely aware that a lot of people didn't now what to say, how to deal with me, what to do and I was aware that I was making people feel awkward and uncomfortable. It was horrible.
So much has happened that I thought I'd break it down into chunks. Usually I'd put it on a spreadsheet but that's not really appropriate in this situation:
June 2015 to September 2015 - Automation (Brixton)
My amazing mother pictured above came over and stepped in on behalf of my brain to automate my everything those few weeks, doing my washing, making my calls, answering my calls(I think she and everyone else kind of enjoyed this because she got to hang with my friends and they were guaranteed someone who picked up as opposed to usual), getring me out to work, feeding me 450 calorie shakes because I had stopped eating. She set up her little production line knocking out my existence from my flat in Brixton. She took the place in my bed so that emptiness didn’t consume me. I knew I had to leave my flat because every nook and cranny echoed memories of what once was. A flat that was once a home, a nest, a place of refuge now a post apocalyptic nightmare of deafening nothingness. PTSD grabbed me in a choke hold dragging me repeatedly into that fateful morning. It was my own personal groundhog day with no Billy Murray to make it ok.
I took Xanax for a month to help me sleep and booze fuzzed up the sharp edges of my pain, helping me consume calories and temporarily escape the most devastating situation I thought I would never experience. All this time I was aware that I was going through a process, a waiting game, with no way to skip the queue, nobody to barge out of the way. I had no control and I had to learn to live with that only in this situation I was no high achiever.
September 2015 to January 2016 – Saints (Clapton and Walthamstow)
I had to leave the flat so I rented it out and when I was able to live without my automation I moved in with my best friend and ex-business partner Kath. Growing up catholic we always prayed to Saints, people that watch out for us and guard over us in times of need. Well I was lucky that my saints were all around me, people who stepped in as my intercessors, bargaining with the will of the world to get me out of a situation I didn’t deserve. I packed up all my stuff and put it into storage and with one suitcase and a few things I moved into the living room of Kath’s tiny one bed flat in Clapton where I lived for three months on a fold out bed with a little rail and three plastic Ikea tubs for my stuff. It was cosy - Kath, Christian, myself and their staffie Pepper who snuggled her concrete chunk of a body each night to the place where my mum had been stationed. I just couldn't be alone and that little dog stayed by my side the whole time being my silent pal talking to me with backwards glances and shaking with emotion echoing how I felt. These months were a blur, I don't really know what happened but broadly speaking I was working in my new job in press and marketing for a street food joint, eating like a queen, drinking craft beer and practicing yoga. At times I felt like nothing had happened like I couldn’t believe how ok I was, like I was just getting on with things, laughing, being my usual self. This I later found out was a period of shock but it lasted for a long time.
Kath and I - in Vegas which was ages ago but the picture is a bit more exciting than Clapton. I have almost zero pictures from these few months.
Winter closed in and London did too. My job went full time, I interviewed for it and won it so I was looking at heading up press and marketing for a start-up food venture. A week after I accepted the job I FREAKED OUT so in the scheme of not making any big life changes I decided to jack in the job, go to Dublin for Christmas followed by India for New Year and would spend January there to train as a yoga teacher. After this I had no plan, maybe Burma, China, wherever anywhere really just not here. Looking back though here was not a physical location, it was inside my mind and wherever I was running to it was following me. I couldn't escape it.
So that was it, I packed up London, said my goodbyes and arrived in Dublin at the start of December ready to start the next phase of my life in a new place, with new skills and new adventures.
I got a call mid December from a producer friend who was starting a creative agency in London. We had spoken long before everything happened as I was interested in directing, I got a taste for it with Ish and had wanted to give it a go. They needed someone to develop a pitch for a new client. Murphy’s law just as I'd decided to leave London…… It felt like the city wasn’t ready to let me go so like a bad boyfriend that says “sorry it’ll be different this time let’s give it another try” I crumbled and decided to give it another shot cosying-up to the idea of my return. I mean, yoga teaching could wait but this sounded pretty exciting so I decided I'd put finding myself on hold. Well to be honest I just found myself super quick, or so I thought. I booked to go to India on the 28th of December with a return date three weeks into January.
An Epic Story Part III coming next week.
This is just such a big story and it's kind of exhasting telling it's feeling cathartic getting it out, I didn't think it would be long so thanks for sticking with me.