I have been having a little think recently about where I want to be.
In all honestly I have struggled to write anything down lately and I can’t put my finger on why, how, or even when it started. You see I have changed since all of this began, quite a lot it seems, and it only really dawned on me more recently when this ‘secret’ diary of mine became nominated for an award. How lovely you might be thinking or what on earth is wrong with her? What an honour for others to recognise your writing and to be shortlisted to represent such an good cause. I thought that too for a while, until I slowly but surely felt a pressure to write instead of feeling the freedom and enjoyment I usually have when jotting down my thoughts.
After the initial elation of being nominated really for anything, the reality began to set in that in order for anyone to actually vote for me, they would have to read what I had written and judge it for themselves. It would also mean that an awful lot more people would be reading my story and my life. My little life.
Another worry I had was that I would not know anyone if I did go to the awards. I had previously met three girls at another event and that was all. This presented me with a few problems because it meant that I would have to overcome anxiety to speak, and not only that but actually explain who I was and the subject of my writing – which is not so easy for me nowadays. And so perhaps it was a combination of these things that made me freeze and no more words came out.
This has happened to me a few times over the months and each time something has happened to shake me out of it. This time it was a short message from another mum who was experiencing some of the same emotions that I had done all that time ago on that One Particular Day when I drove to pick my boy up from school feeling a numbness inside, and once again I was reminded sharply of exactly why I write. And so I kept reminding myself over and over after that message that it was an honour and a privilege to be nominated for such a thing, and that I would be representing all those whom I have come to know that have been face-to-face with the shitty C word. Oh how right Lisa Lynch was.
Having said all of this I still did what I do best, and I pretended that it was not in fact happening (I am pretty good at denial) and sure as you know the days passed and all of a sudden it was the night before the event.
Of course I need not have worried because the girl whom I had arranged to travel with was even nicer than I already imagined that she would be. As we both sat on the train we chatted and the inevitable explanation of who I am came out, and yet I found that her story was equally as tough to tell and she told it without falter or pause for thought. She kindly introduced me to her lovely friends and they welcomed me as the newcomer warmly and openly, much to my relief. Eventually the evening came and I finally decided on an outfit that I didn’t much care for and donned a brave face, hands shaking. The night had arrived and after the meal, the nominations were read out dutifully. In particular when the main award was read out a brief synopsis of each person and their blog story was told, and I felt like mine was a surreal tale about someone else. I didn’t win, but I didn’t need too. All of the right people on the night won for their own reasons, each as important as the other. I knew on that evening that the importance of raising awareness to a room full of parents far outweighed my anxieties. In particular I had the pleasure of meeting a girl called Heidi who has been diagnosed with breast cancer too as a young mother. She won ‘Best Writer’ for her blog Storm In a Tit Cup, writing a darkly humorous account of her own. That girl has lost her baby, gone through treatment, and continued to look after her two young children all in the knowledge that she has stage 4 cancer. It is hard to know what to say when you meet someone as amazing as that, so we decided to dance instead.
Overall it is a good job that I did not win an award in the end, because I would have undoubtedly fallen up or down the steps to the stage or descended into a pool of tears. There was one thing that I wished I had been given the chance to do though, to thank those who have supported me and those who continue to do so. My long suffering husband, my mum and sisters and auntie who all felt my nerves, and the friends who have continued to hold my hand along the way. I am not sure there will ever be enough thanks, but thanks there should be, because it is family and friends who have been there step for step too.
The next day I set off home and I can honestly say that I have never wanted to be at home more in my life. I felt a pull and a need to be with my family – right back where I belong.
You see, I been having a little think recently about where I want to be.
There is no doubt that I have changed, not for better or for worse, but just different that’s all. I still laugh and joke as I always have, but the nerves come a little more easily nowadays, as do the tears. I have decided that I may continue to write this ‘secret diary’ of mine, or that one day I may just stop. For now though I will keep on jotting down all of the things that come along and hope that just one other person will read this and think ‘I am not the only one’ or even that perhaps my children will read this when they are older and remember the day that their mummy came home.
Thanks to Sarah, Julia, Emma, Helen and Heidi