2019 started with a hiss and a roar. I wrote 24 knitting patterns in 2 weeks (mental, I know). I read 4 books in the same time frame. I was working on my Masters thesis. I said I would accompany the NZ YSC to London. I ran a holiday programme. Wrote directed and produced 2 shows for children to fundraise for various causes in January. And organised a small army of volunteers for an historic commemoration of the botanical gardens. And I was on 2 local creative committees. And this was all before I started back at work properly.
Then everything snapped. I should have known I was trying to do too much, and I should have anticipated the crash. I just didn’t. And boy, when things crash, they burn. By the end of the month I was sobbing on the floor of the school auditorium during an assembly. Dad had a heart attack. Mum got a terminal cancer diagnosis. I was moved into a non-room to teach. My car broke down. I had issues involving lawyers and bank managers and mismanagement and poor judgement. I was struggling and drowning. And then I got RSI and writers block.
Normally when I need clarity, I write. But for nearly all of 2019, I couldn’t. I had to force myself to write for work. I felt dry and dead inside, and the guilt from not writing just kept burning my soul. I was trapped.
I’m probably still trapped if I were to be completely honest, but in May I heard some words that echoed and reverberated around my head until now. “You can’t breastfeed on the bathroom floor in a pool of tears while writing on a laptop”.
I’m clearly not breastfeeding. My November breakdown cemented this in my soul as I was thrown into a 2 day sobbing streak when the real estate agent put the “For Sale” sign up on our fence early. 2 days mourning the children I never had in the house bought to raise a family.
I’m not breast feeding at all. But, I am writing on my phone. In late November I managed to fight enough of a writers block to post on Instagram. With a few words. That became sentences. Then paragraphs. And by New Year’s Eve, I reached the word limit.
After a year of moonboots and arm braces and broken hearts, I’m clawing back up to the surface. My goal is for balance. I’m looking into a non-creative hobby. I have a great support system. I’ve been doing tours of the night sky, which has filled my heart with appreciation. My house is going to be finished by March, and my current one is sold. I’ve even managed to knit a pair of baby booties for a friends baby shower.
It’s such a long way from where I was. But I’m recovering, and I don’t want to crash again. I’ll try to post the missing patterns, and finish writing the ones that are in their project boxes. Hopefully I’ll have my needles back in hand soon enough, and creativity will flow back into my fingertips in time.
Plenty of great things happened in 2019, and I’m sure I’ll unpack them here in time… it was just an overwhelmingly hard year.
(Oh, by the way, Mum is currently still fighting away and isn’t dead, and Dad is fine, having managed to have his heart attacks in front of cardiac surgeons. Some people get more chances than others)
Here’s one final moment— my husband struggling with his BBQ in the wind. Feels like my metaphor for 2019.