My Feet Back On The Ground

“It’s not the load that breaks you down - it’s the way you carry it.”

— Lena Horne

There is no other way to put it; it's been an absolute bugger of a few days. Moving sucks. It sucks like a sucky thing that has been sucking sour stuff and is feeling really sucky.

In other words, it sucks a lot.

I have just worked out that this is Move Number 32 or something ridiculous. How on earth did that happen? More to the point, how did I collect so much china along the way? I have had to come to the realisation that I don't just have a shoe issue, I also have a kitchenware issue. And a bed linen issue. 

At least when people stay over they will have nice sheets.

I have also had to come to a rather more serious realisation.

I am not very good at asking for help. I'm very, very good at telling other people what they should do and bossing them around - but when I need help myself?

Absolutely rubbish.

But lately - well, I have had to change that behaviour. Because I have needed help, and I have needed it quite badly. I have needed emotional support. I have needed to be able to talk things through. I've needed pure physical support in terms of moving heavy stuff. And as difficult as it has been for the proudest woman in the world to ask for said assistance - once I managed to ungraciously start to open up, then I realised it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.

Because when it comes down to it, if you are incredibly fortunate, as I know I am, you will have people who are always willing to assist.

I am massively grateful for the realisation - at 41 mind you - that to ask for a hand is not weakness.

I am even more grateful for those people who without fanfare or the need for recognition or reward have helped me.

Thank you.

Now back to the boxes. And possibly - well, possibly a garage sale.

Not Waving, But Drowning

Inigo Montoya: I donna suppose you could speed things up?
Man in Black: If you’re in such a hurry, you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find something useful to do.
Inigo Montoya: I could do that. I have some rope up here, but I do not think you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you.
Man in Black: That does put a damper on our relationship.

— The Princess Bride

This may seem initially like a very depressing post, and nothing at all to do with gratitude, or even shoes for that matter (and when shoes aren't helping it means it's a bloody great beast of a black dog kind of day). And you would be right in some ways. It isn't a happy, marshmallow-filled, fluffy bunny kind of entry. But that's OK. Because sometimes, life just isn't like that - which is one of the reasons why I write about shoes some of the time (see Heel Thyself for background on that one).

I have been having what I tend to term a Long Dark Teatime of The Soul, or as I also call it, A Need To Give Myself A Good Slap Around The Head And Sort Myself Out. I am aware that the latter is not a technical psychiatric or psychological term, and quite possibly is actually frowned upon in said circles, but it tends to work for me most of the time. And one of the ways I deliver said Slap is to write down what is wrong - and also what is right. Having now done that, things are seeming to make a lot more sense.

Nobody can be happy one hundred percent of the time. That would make them robots. But sometimes - well, sometimes the happiness quotient slips below the acceptable mark to a point where it's hard to get the energy to come back to the median point on the table. And this is where the Slap is so important - and also hard to deliver when one is physically and emotionally tired.

Please be aware that I don't go around physically hitting myself in the head - I may be depressed but I am not masochistic (those who have witnessed me wearing shoes that are vastly uncomfortable but incredibly gorgeous please hold their tongues. Oh - I just mentioned shoes - see, writing things down does help!).

What I am talking about with the Slap is recognising that something is wrong; that you are perhaps caught in the UnderToad of Life and are being swept out from the shore. That the frantic hand gestures are not a sign of buggerising around in the waves and having a good time but are actually a gesture for help.

This is where the gratitude comes in. And it takes two forms.

I am grateful that I have incredible people around me who both are close enough and intuitive enough to recognise when I am in fact flailing and coughing up salt water. They are supportive and empathetic without being sooky-la-la (which they know I can't stand above all else) and they reach out to grab me without my having to reach for them first. They are all incredibly busy people - some in massively stressful situations or even outright dangerous occupations - but they support me, and in the right way. And secondly - I am grateful to myself. Which sounds supremely egotistical I know; but once upon a time I would not have had the strength to admit I was going under the water; and would instead have just let it take me out to sea and ended up who knows where for who knows how long.

So you see, this is about gratitude. As it turned out, it was also a little bit about shoes.

Mostly though, it's about not going under.

Because the School of the Slap doesn't believe in that.