I feel like I am living in a suspension. A particle not dissolved in the solvent. Floating for eternity, going in no particular direction and with no ability to move in one. A tiny blob at the mercy of whatever or whoever is agitating the mixture at their whim. There is a lack of predictability and the movements are sufficient to send me tumbling, as if overpowered by an enormous ocean wave – powerless in its strength and with the feeling of drowning being eminent. I mange to struggle to the surface and gasp for a breath, only for that invisible force to shake the world again and another wave with unfettered force comes crashing over my head.

And then it suddenly calms. Things are unexpectedly still. The sunlight comes spluttering through the clouds for fleeting moments, as they scud across the sky. Even the impatient wind hustling those white fluffs across the breadth and width of the heavens slows. I feel the peace settling around me. I don’t trust it. I daren’t let my guard down. If I stop to let the adrenaline work its way out of my system, I won’t be ready for the next onslaught. I am vigilant – watching, waiting. I cannot take a deep breath. Although I am no longer panting and gasping, I am not relaxed enough for my breaths to be serene. I am afraid of this period of tranquility because I know that if I sink into it and enjoy it, the next bout of being tossed and bruised and kicked back into the uncertainty will hurt even more. I will feel it more deeply as a stark contrast to the calm. Letting go of the adrenaline will mean that my muscles will not be ready to fight or swim or run or flee. It is like letting myself be unprotected by dropping my shields – just too foolish to even consider.

I have been advised by many to just go with the flow. Accept, and move on. Don’t try to swim upstream in the river of life. And I understand that it is hard work to swim against the current, but when there are lock downs and life upheavals, I feel devoid of hope that I can save myself and the children. I am so tired – emotionally and mentally tired. I seem to have spent a lifetime of having to make a plan and make myself malleable so that I can fit into the situation, no matter its size or shape. I want to take a mental break; I want to have a soft place to fall. I want to have someone tell me that it will work out – one way or another – and hold me up, take my weight, carry me, just for a short while, so that I can rest. Instead of having to drag myself out of bed every day and tell myself those things. I am tired. I am tired of having to be strong. There is no time for letting the emotions out – they need to be kept in check. If I start crying and letting them loose, I may break in the flood.

I don’t know which direction to turn in to save the business and my livelihood. It is like being stuck in mud up to my waist. Every step is a tremendous effort and there are days when I manage to take one or two, but the cloying sludge sucks me back, inch by inch by inch, until I am almost back to where I started. It requires me to haul together all my energy and try to take steps again, with the fingers of the situation holding firmly onto my ankles and thighs and stopping me. I am so exhausted from fighting. I want to give up. Sink to the bottom, stare up at the sky until I am covered over and forgotten. The thought of trying different directions is daunting, overwhelming, frightening, intimidating. How do I know it will work? That I am not throwing my all into something else that will never take off and escape the mire. That I have scraped the bottom of the barrel to get every last scrap of fighting spirit, all to no avail. That all I will have left are the holes in my soul, with me being sucked back into the ooze.

I tell myself that I am not the only one affected by this pandemic. I know that others have lives much tougher than mine. I remind myself that I am whining about nothing. If I was my own parent, I would say to me that if I don’t stop weeping and wailing, I’ll get a hiding to give me something worth crying about instead of this pathetic attempt at attention seeking.

So I end up wanting to avoid the world. To envelop myself in fiction – books, movies, TV – anything that is a distraction. I want to be in a ball and not be accountable and responsible for anyone or anything. Whose dumb idea was it to let me be an adult? When did I say that I wanted to be one? I think that is why I have an affinity for the dark. Yes, it has the same colour as my sense of humour and soul, but that aside, it is enveloping. It has midnight black folds of darkness that can hide me. At times it feels like it offers seclusion, where I can’t be found and can curl up in the velvet of night and forget. It is a seductress, beckoning with a proposition that is hard to turn down. The temptation of never-ending dark, of oblivion.

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