There’s a discrepancy between who I was and who I am. A cavern, it feels like some days. Me twelve months ago was partway through a 550 kilometre month-long ride for the Stroke Foundation. Me today jogged through 3km and rode another 5km, then came home and had to recover from not the physical activity but the exhaustion of interacting and leaving the house and tackling the roads and car park and wondering how much I have to talk to the person at the desk in the gym and if I said enough words in the correct order.
It’s funny, this next one:
Me twelve months ago was on the precipice of what would be a year long battle against my mind; me today is on the precipice of coming out the other side. In my head it almost looks like one of the skate bowl things that are at parks and usually surrounded by garbage and lads in caps but not helmets. But it’s a deeper dive down than a skate bowl. It is called a bowl or a ramp? I’m not sure but I think you know what I’m writing about.
I guess the positive thing is that I came out the other side of the dive.
It was touch and go, though. Some days it still is, but as my doctor said a couple of weeks ago, we’re out of the catastrophic period now.
Bush fires are catastrophic. Natural disaster things like flood and famine and drought. How could someone call my mind catastrophic? And then I remember and have to quickly steer myself away from remembering. It’s too soon. Too raw. Too close. An injury that isn’t quite healed enough to start picking at the scab.
A beautiful friend told me this weekend to stop chasing the old me. And she’s right, damn her. It’s off topic, but the first thing I remember about this woman is that when I first met her she talked about her love of shoes, but I really only think I’ve seen her in thongs. Love you, SM.
I thought about the chasing of an old version of yourself, and whether it would be possible, given that “old” suggests that there is an end to I guess phases in our lives. I’ve always thought of life as a cyclical thing, rather than a building block path of growth and change and phases. Maybe both are correct.
My friend is right. I do need to stop comparing everything I do to what the old me did.
But I need to thank her, the old me.
She showed me that I have grit and courage.
And that is what I rely on now, every day.
So I’m not chasing her.
But I’m thankful for the fight she put up in the old phases. Because I needed to know that I have what she had, and I can still use it. And every step is a milestone and every achievement is a victory and yes there are bad days and bad weeks and sleepless nights.
But I remember. I remember lacing up my joggers every morning. And I remember still working out when I was frustrated by the amount of time it was taking. And I remember her courage. And I remember the way she yearned for a better life, a healthier life. And she got it.
So this isn’t a standard throwback photo.
On the left is me. Strong. Brave. Grit. Determination. Stubbornness. Drive. Focus.
On the right is me. Tired. Overwhelmed. Recovering.
I need who I was to help me with who I am. On today’s terms. Not comparatively.