Carving out time for myself

My whole life, I feel like I’m caging myself.

Watching what I say.
Being careful to be soft, quiet and pleasing.
Being what everyone needs me to be so much I forget who I actually am.
I am so locked into being ‘liked’ that I spend my life – my whole life – playing whatever role is needed and losing any authenticity I used to have when I was little.

So I always say “yes”

I say “sure” when inside I’m dying. I say “of course” when really, I’d like to say no.

I let people use and abuse me so they ‘like’ me and most of them don’t even care about me.

Photo by Julia Volk

But sometimes…just SOMETIMES I do what I want.

Sometimes I go to the beach on my own and watch the waves. I love being by the sea more than anything.

Sometimes I take myself to a movie. I go ALONE so that I don’t have to look after anyone. (Just lately, I’ve found an amazing ‘movie buddy’ to go with. Cat is warm, sweet, caring and understands that I just want to go to the movie, watch it and go home. So that’s what we do. I treasure our movie dates).

I love days at home on my own where I can read, watch movies, colour in, potter about. I used to love being in the garden, watching things grown and feeling so blessed to be part of the process by watering and weeding, fertilising and shaping…I just haven’t the last few months so the garden is mess of weeds. Dammit.

But it’s already Wednesday and I still haven’t rested. I haven’t coloured in. I haven’t rested. I haven’t read a book or had a nap. I’ve just been crying or raging or scared out of my wits.

The Doctor gave me a BAR OF GOLD with that week’s medical certificate on Monday afternoon. I had it in writing that it’s okay to rest this week.

But here I am on a Wednesday night, heart racing. Worrying. Stressing. Crying. Shaking. Blogging.

I would have been much worse if I’d stuck to the things I’d agreed to go to today.

This morning, I travelled out to Freo to meet with George. (I’ll blog about THAT another time…but let’s just say things didn’t go down very well. I’ve lost George).

Earlier in the week, I’d agreed to have lunch with my parents and last night I got a text from a beloved friend Kim that she’d won two movie tickets to a Marathon movie (it’s supposed to be really funny and sweet) and wanted to take me.

So of course, me being me – I said Yes. To everything.

Coming back on the train from losing George today – someone I’ve held close to my heart and trusted with my very life for over 3 years, I just cried. It was as if he’d died and suddenly been taken from me. But worse this time because death hadn’t taken George – he’d just flat out rejected me. That seemed harder to cope with. More personal. It hurt so much.

I felt as if I was a balloon and someone had just popped me.

I was so empty and so deflated.

If I don’t have George to talk to about going nuts…what is my life???

I just wanted to disappear.

I wanted to catch the train to a station with a high bridge and just jump off.

Alun’s tear-stained face flashed up in my mind.

I can’t do that to him.

But what DO I do? I am so freaking tired. I am so tired my bones ache.

I don’t want to go to lunch with my parents. I don’t want to go out tonight to a movie.

I would give everything I have to just go home. 

I could picture home in my mind’s eye…the peaceful haven Alun had made our bedroom into. I could picture my favourite pyjamas. The ones I’d taken off hours earlier and hung on the end of the bed rails on my side. Striped “drop crotch” (gangsta) pants with an oversized jumper. They bring me so much comfort.

I just wanted to go home, put my pjs on and go to bed.

But my parents…they will be in another country soon. I need to see them while I still can.

And Kim…she is so loving, sweet and kind. She reached out to me with what she knows is my favourite thing to do (movies) and I couldn’t let her down.

It’s so much easier for me to say YES and endure than it is to be honest and say “I just can’t this time, I’m sorry”

I looked at the time on my phone…almost noon.

It’s half way through the day and half way through my “week off” and I still haven’t rested.

My stress and anxiety crept up about 100 notches. I’m running out of time.

Today I’d need to see my parents – in whatever form that presented (how many beers would Dad have had before I turned up?) and I needed to go home and tidy the house so that when Alun got home and I was still in the movie with Kim, it would be all neat and welcoming for him. I needed to ‘give out’ so that Kim would know how much I loved and appreciated her friendship.

I can rest on Thursday.


Because Friday – ALL DAY – would be taken up with a day-long Dentist appointment (which I’m still terrified of) and Saturday and Sunday would be a blur of “recovery”

So my WEEK off…had turned into a DAY off.

This was not going to be enough. Not by half.

So I took a HUGE risk.

I texted my parents “I’m so sorry, I’m feeling really rough and can’t make it to lunch today. I love you both xx”

and hit ‘send’.

1 down, 2 to go.

I messaged Kim that I was really, really struggling. I had called Lifeline earlier because I wanted to kill myself and I needed help. They helped, praise God. I told that to Kim who immediately texted back and understood why I couldn’t make it to the movies.

1 to go.

I rang the Dentist.

“Sorry but I have to reschedule my appointment on Friday…I’m uh…I’m not well enough to go” I told the receptionist.

“No worries, do you want to pick a date now or will you call once you’re better?” she asked. I could hear other phones ringing in the background and clients asking for her attention. I know exactly what that’s like.

“I’ll call again next week. Thank you”


The weight that came off my shoulders was so real, I felt it. It was like someone took a backpack of bricks away.


Now instead of ONE day off. I have 4.

This gives me a running shot at being a lot better by Monday and going back into work with some semblance of strength.

It gives me 4 days of rest.

I went home after texting everyone and I put my pyjamas on.

So good.

I climbed into our unmade bed and tucked all the pillows around me like a soft fortress and pulled our thick doona over it all.


I slept for 4 hours straight. I only woke when Alun called, stressed out of his mind as I hadn’t heard or answered his text.

“Gorg…you ok?” he was breathless. My poor guy. I am ruining him.

“I will be” I yawned into the phone.

And now that I have FOUR days off instead of ONE…I think it’s a good start.

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