The strangest feeling

Last week I kept getting baby thoughts in my head, a miracle birth much like the one many were to celebrate later that week, which followed a day later by an old friend announcing the birth of her daughter after years of health issues. I was genuinely overjoyed as know how far she has come to get where she is now, achieving many things that to me still seem and are impossible for different reasons. The smile on my face however was not to last as I received a message on Facebook to tell me news of a girl I was at school with twenty years ago, she had overosed and taken her own life. Both people knew each other but one had been an off and on friend for over twenty five years and the other had been one of the bullies that reduced me to tears and suicidal thoughts throughout my teens. I felt numb. As someone that writes and campaigns for an end to the stigma on mental health as well as being naturally empathetic, I wondered what had happened to the girl I had known and had she secret torment that had no voice. It was not a sign of weakness or selfishness to take her own life,  as when the rocking chair at the edge of the cliff breaks, it takes a very strong person to fling on, I have been there and it is not a pretty view or one I ever wish to see again.

I scanned my year photographs from high school that I intended to burn years ago and sent them to the girl that told me the news. I saw people’s faces and names I had not seen in twenty years trickle down my Facebook news feed as comments came in on pictures she and others posted. I could not bring myself to ‘like’ anything as was like being back in the playground with her usual French taunt in my ringing in my ears. Was I being selfish? Feeling that my pain was important as they were my experiences and memories of this girl, but ultimately felt they should be secondary to her friends and family dealing with the aftermath of suicide. It all left me with the strangest of feelings; nothing in life can prepare you for it and know what is right or wrong to feel or say. It comes at a time when I am considering setting up an organisation to support, spread awareness and educate on invisible illness such as depression to fibromylagia and endometriosis as feel along with my writing I need to take it to the next level but uncertain what way just yet. Perhaps her death shows how much pain we carry with us; we may have nobody to share it with or know where to turn. Just remember dear reader someone does care and will listen without judgement, never ever give up and always rember my mantra, believe it again. 

© Fi S. J. Brown

R*A*I*N*

When the world feels claustrophobically overwhelming, trying to be gentle with ourselves can be the last thing on our minds. That is when we need to stop, look at the sky, catching the RAIN falling in our hands and remember the following:
 
R – Relax, take that time out away from what is hurting us, even if it is a five-ten minute tea or coffee break. With every sip think of a beach and feel the grains of sand under our feet that at times may feel like quicksand dragging us down but keep walking on and let the sea’s rhythm match our heart.
 
A – Accept that this moment maybe feeling like it may be the end, there is nowhere to go or friends to turn to; but there are, just stop on the beach and listen out for the birds singing as they are nature’s messengers carrying messages filled with love, peace, hope and light from friends near and far.
 
I – Investigate the forest that lies up from the beach. At first it can seem like we have got ourselves lost but to move forward we need to clear the trees that block our path; cut from the root so remove the source of the pain. There maybe false starts to dead ends while doing this but it happens to us all.
 
N – Nothing lasts forever, so when we see daylight as the forest clears and the storm ends pick up the red shoes that sit at the side of the river and dance. Then take the first step on the stepping stones on the river and follow whether they lead but do not look back as cannot ever be changed.
 
© Fi S. J. Brown

Don’t give up

When we tire of this world,
With our vision slowly going.
The darkness seeps through,
Starts with a trickle to a roar.
Staggering through woods,
Painted black with our fears.

Insomnia learns our name,
Whispering taunts and jeers.
Waterfalls flow eye to cheek,
With an indeterminate pitch.
Gasping for air but choking,
Falling faster than a bullet.

Lying scattered in 100 pieces,
Like a puzzle with no box lid.
There’s a white flag to reach,
And stop the black dog’s barks.
But we must not try wave it yet.
Our final chapter lies unwritten.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Letter to self

Dear Fiona (aged 22 and 3/4s),
I am writing to you from fourteen years in your future and have managed to scrape through to 36.75, sometimes you’ll wonder how but have learnt to focus on the present not past to pains that still scar but are covered in patches sewn by the love of friendship and think of the future but only see a cold and dark tunnel.

You are coming to the end of your time living in Aberdeen, having studied for a degree and a masters, but not sure what direction you want to go next. Well here’s a spoiler, you have another masters and PhD to go but they’re not listening to your inner voice, which you only learn with hindsight and life experience.

A freak that is the love child of Frankenstein and the Hunchback of Notre Dame is how you feel, right? Wrong, by my time you have grown to accept and appreciate who you are. No you haven’t resorted to drastic measures to change every iota of yourself as per those nightmaresque dreams you always have.

The reason for this letter is to say, you’re doing just fine. Yes, the way your life goes is not like others but that’s why life’s journey is unique and special, we can empathise and understand that of others but only we know our path. And yes it does hurt, do cry but do also try to focus on the positives that are part of that journey.

As to where you’re going to be at the age that I am now? Lets just say frustration on some things never change, no matter what we do these seem set to plague us but some will change. No matter how they seem today, like the newspapers that are tomorrows fish and chip wrappers, let them fade with the sun setting.

One final thing thing, you’re a strong woman that keeps going longer than any Duracell bunny ever could. So dry those tears that fall, not hard with your hand, but with a tissue and let yourself feel them like drops on a drum for they’re the rhythm of your heart and soul. And don’t give up, believe it again, carry on forwards.

Love Fi (aged 36.75) xx

Pick a path

Life is full of twists and turns, no entries and false starts, with the path we take truly unique guided by own senses, fate and destiny. However, joining us on the path are friends, loved ones and family, each one in our lives for a reason (good and bad). Remember it is not a race but the journey that matters. Equally, if all seems lost today, overgrown with weeds or pitch black, the clearing may come tomorrow, so don’t give up and believe it again.

© Fi S. J. Brown 
   

My story

Why are those things you admire most in others the hardest to find within yourself?
No matter matter how hard I try I am destined to be the one left unsold on the shelf.

I’m tired of endless searching high and low for what seems to be hidden from sight,
My place is stood shadows not to be hogging front of stage under a big spotlight.

For my expectations of life are not all that great with no dreams fame and fortune,
But a simple life with a job, dog and house by the sea with less tears and misfortune.

I watched the others flying, rising and soaring far and wide in the sunrise at dawn,
Perhaps I am meant to fly at night with the moon when the world is full of yawn?

For now I need to keep believing it again repeating the words that they taught,
And I’ll have to keep being patient, waiting a bit more and finalised my story’s plot.

© Fi S. J. Brown

The Phoenix’s Story

In my hands lies the shattered remains of a vase,
Each piece pierced my skin to reveal a red blaze.
My tears fall to try put the fire but it is now a river,
Which sends my legs and arms into a deep shiver.
The fragments I cradle like a sick child needing aid,
As I fall to my knees all around me begins to fade.
Like a tree in the forest nobody hears the sound,
Of having a breakdown when lost but not found.

I wake with no sign of the vase pieces to be seen,
No scars or cuts showed where they’d once been.
Starting to rock in the position of a newborn baby,
I cry out for help from the walls in a muted plea.
I feel like a rock that has fallen down from a cliff,
Pushed over the edge after yet another miff.
As I move I realise I am the vase that shattered,
I wish I’d not been born a of glass but like a bird.

How do you mend a broken glass I ask of myself,
I have nothing left to read on the old bookshelf.
Stumbling to my feet I decide maybe once more,
The phoenix within me then rises so I can soar.
I laugh as I feel the wings that I never knew I had,
I will cope now with whatever in life makes me sad.
Three words I write on my left wrist to remember,
“Believe it again” they say and be my life’s anchor.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Phoenix vase

 

The Storm

Surviving the storms of life can take a lot out of us. For it is not the escaping tunnels that have to be dug but our inner strength and resources. When suddenly one day a storm stops, we find ourselves in an empty street, but uncertain if this just another quick break from the rain before it starts again and need to find shelter quickly or it is truly over. Equally, we are uncertain how we survived the storm, questioning and analysing it in our minds, and all we can see is rubble on the street from a past to which we cannot ever return. The only thing certain is that the storm has made us who we are now and lays the foundations of tomorrow, like the clouds now breaking in the sky above to shine light in the path we must now go. We must remember like all things in life, the storms do pass, even when right now it feels like we’re sheltering from one thunderstorm after another. Do not give up, try chasing rainbows and believe it again.