And people just untie themselves
Uncurling like flowers
If you could just forgive yourself
But still you stumble, feet give away
– Florence + the Machine, ‘Various Storms and Saints’
The irony. I wrote all that stuff about forgiveness, but I completely forgot about forgiving myself. Which is, admittedly, an entirely different and incomparable task.
And I felt really weird about what I’d written, afterwards. I didn’t get any likes on my Facebook post. (A relative asked, I think jokingly, if it was about her. I replied that no, it was not about her, and if anyone else was wondering, it was not about them either. I meant it as a joke too. But now I’m paranoid that all my Facebook friends either think that I hate everyone, or that I made the whole thing up. In reality, probably nobody else is thinking about it at all. Except if they’re reading this, now they are. Great.)
I like the Florence + the Machine lyric from earlier because I frequently feel like I’m unravelling. Like there’s so much going wrong with my body, big things and small, that I can’t hold myself together. But a flower unfurling, letting go of itself, is when it’s most beautiful, when it drinks in the warmth from the sun. Perhaps it’s good for me to be loosening my threads. You don’t grow when you’re comfortable, but at the same time – stretching out seems much more comfortable than tying myself tightly together.
I was talking to my Mum about anger. She says it’s a very helpful emotion, alerting us to something that’s wrong. If you allow yourself to have anger and work out what it’s about, there can be something important there for you to learn. It could be masking another feeling, such as fear. So perhaps I need to unpack why I’ve been so angry with certain people, figure out what I’m really striving for.
If you’ll forgive another arachnid-based example, one day a few months ago I found yet another spider in my room. It was late at night, I was about to go to bed, trying to wind down. I didn’t want to go and disturb my dad, who was probably still working. And I became utterly incensed with rage, that this thing had crept into my bedroom and disrupted my evening, had frightened me and sent all these feelings flooding through me, was going to necessitate me being brave, when all I wanted was to go to bed. I put it out with my new spider-catcher (huge thank you to my Grandma for recommending this to me, it’s really helping). I was shaking and sweating and swearing. It took me ages to get to sleep. I am so fed up of trapping myself in this way. I want to be able to fight what holds me back, to struggle successfully in its grip.
‘You think you have lost your faith, but you have not,’ says the man at the beginning of Florence + the Machine’s video for ‘Delilah’. ‘You have only misplaced your faith. And you can find it where it lies now, deep in your soul, and the way to do that is through the simple process of love. Love yourself. Forgive yourself. You can’t love and forgive other people if you don’t, first of all, love and forgive yourself.’
How would I cope, without art? More specifically, without other people saying something, and me thinking: that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking but not managing to express all this time, and it’s such a relief that somebody else has put it down on paper for me.
What am I forgiving myself for? I might be going to do something terrible, something that I know I’ll really struggle to forgive. I need to be ready, both for doing that and for not doing it. I’ll let you know how it goes.
And what did I have faith in, in the first place? Myself? Others? Or perhaps my faith is so deeply misplaced that I don’t even know what it was all for, anymore.
I’m getting more depressed again. I can feel the bad days stacking up on top of one another. I’m so, so bored of being ill, or being alone with my thoughts. I want to be so busy that I don’t have time to think – though I know that will make me crabby too. And I’ve been thinking about that Florence + the Machine album a lot in recent days because it was first announced exactly two years ago, when I was at my most depressed, and I assumed it would be the soundtrack to my clawing myself out of it. It wasn’t. It’s only now beginning to make sense to me. I’m in the same situation again, but what I’m thinking and what I want has changed utterly. I keep telling myself, cruelly, that nothing has happened. So much has happened. Stuff keeps happening. Stuff will keep happening. No matter how much nothing I do.
I asked my boyfriend the other day what I’m not good at, and he said letting go of things. I felt a little frustrated. Admittedly, I might have managed to forgive some people, but I’ve been like a dog with a bone with this topic. I won’t be letting go, any time soon. Perhaps I can come to forgive myself for that. Especially since I’m meant to be trying out mindfulness, to help with the CFS, and I’m sure those guys have loads to say about forgiveness. I’ll let you know how that goes, too.