18. Secret Gardens

The sun shines in through the office window. More birds chirp in the garden as the winter sun rises higher in the sky. White snowdrops and cheerful yellow daffodils whisper that winter is fading in the rising light. Pru is downstairs having her hour of lunchtime screen time with her human sisters. Pru is sleeping in later these days and our youngest likes to wake her up when she gets up. Pru rolls over for belly rubs. She stretches and yawns and then is taken downstairs to the garden. I overhear our daughter telling a friend that sausage dogs are the best because they sleep in every morning. I wonder are most dachshunds this lazy? Pru could lay in the sun on the carpet all day. She barks occasionally to make sure I know she’s still there. I pet her and she continues sunning herself. There are no ladies of leisure in this house, but there is certainly of dog of leisure.

Today I go for a walk even though I don’t feel like it. I know the things I need to do to keep my life ballasted. Morning pages, walks and writing. I’ve added breathing to that list. It amazing that I’ve survived 46 years with holding my breath. My husband says I have quite a morning routine and indeed I do.

The day starts at 6am. Like Pru I hate getting up in the morning. I’m not a natural early riser but if I don’t head downstairs with my notebook, pen and cup of tea whatever the day holds will not be handled as well as it could. I question how much one person needs to keep themselves balanced, healthy and not a nervous wreck. As I read more about women like me, I wonder how many women are out there? I have an appointment next week to chat to our GP after my 42/50 on my self assessment test. I wonder what comes next.

I’m beginning to realise that for a very long time my body has been buzzing. Buzzing with a mind that won’t slow down, with fears that swirl in my cold hands and upset stomach. Are there people in the world that don’t wake up feeling a little anxious? I wake up at 3am and my mind tumbles onto the pillow in a knot. What do I do about this or that? How are we doing? Are the girls anxious? Is that my fault?

I’ve learned the only way to quieting those fears is by writing every morning. Writing is a way of holding up a mirror to ourselves. We ask questions of ourselves and of our choices. Do I like this situation? Is that person trustworthy? It is only by knowing ourselves that we can see others for who they are, not who we want them to be. Writing is as scary as looking into the mirror of truth. We write down exactly how we’re really feeling. For women who spend most of their waking lives mirroring others, writing can be a gift. It allows anyone, but specifically women like us, the opportunity to find out exactly what we think about our own lives. It allows us to say with conviction ‘this is right for me, this is wrong.’ We write ourselves into our own lives instead of living blindly in the expectations of someone else’s desires. The blank page is a mirror, it asks us to reflect on our lives and come to a clear and true understanding of ourselves and the world beyond our door. The blank page is intimidating and promising all at once. The page beckons us to step through gates we didn’t know were there to gardens we didn’t know existed. We write ourselves into being, surrendering what has been for the promise of what might be.

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