I’m finally, really awake

I’ve arrived in Whyalla. I’m missing my love, I have a poem called The Voice by Hardy in my mind…

Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me…

I’ll be gone for 10 days, the longest we’ve been apart since we first met. I packed a grounding kit to share with others as needed during the hearing voices training and mental health conference. It has items for taste (gummy bears. , salt and vinegar crackers), smell (perfumes, essential oils, hand cream, facial tonor), sight (colourful silicon balls, bracelets) , sound (shells that chime together, a bracelet of bells, a toy car that winds up), and many textures for touch, as well children’s toys, cuddly animals, puppets, fiddles, textured books, and colouring in pictures and crayons, pencils, and textas.

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I’ve found my room in the student dorm, it’s stormy and solitary, just the way I like it. I’ve showered and eaten a little and made my bed.

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I guess that’s the funny thing about having been homeless, it’s so easy for me to feel at home here. I need so little. I’m so proud of myself for making it here, alone and a long way from home. A few years ago I could not have managed this emotionally. Now look at me – so connected to such a big tribe, and so free.

I have bookings for talks coming out of my ears. Everything is taking off. I’ve brought the network postcards with to share – there are new newsletters full of information and links out for both of them now:

HVNSA
The DI

I’m meeting with brilliant, passionate, inspired people who are desperately interested in human rights and social activism and full of amazing information and contacts. My mind is so clear and so full of ideas I’ve given up trying to write them all down. I can’t even talk fast enough to keep up. I’m just trusting that’s is going into the memory somewhere, and that the interested bits will get triggered and brought to mind again as they need. My brain whirls, I’m just along for the ride.

Everything is connected, everything means something, every person fascinates me. The colours are richer, the sky, the sky, it’s like I’ve never seen it before in my life. It’s so utterly beautiful. For days now I find myself just marvelling at it when I drive. The colours! The depth! The brilliance of it, a kind of sublime majesty that takes my breath away… I’ve been asleep all my life, and I’ve known it. And now I’ve woken up. I’m awake. I’m alive, and I know it. I’m outside my culture. I’ve broken the programming. I’ve torn the fences out of my mind. I’m running free, breathing free air, seeing in colour again.

I have never valued my life so highly, been so careful. I am so aware of my vulnerability, how naked I feel on the road with the huge trucks passing me. This could all end today. But, oh, how blessed am I, to have reached this place! All my life I’ve been trying to wake up, fighting to reach the surface. And I would too, for a little hour here or there, at 3am. I didn’t even know it was possible to be awake like this in the daytime, to see the sky as it really is, all those colours to fall into, so utterly vast and uniquely arranged with cloud each day. I didn’t know life could be like this.

I’m awake. And I’m in danger of becoming insufferable. My mind soars and I miss the nuances of relationship I’m usually so attuned to. I struggle to show down my speech instead of interrupting. I dominate, without meaning to. I dazzle and overwhelm people so they walk away dazed, thrilled, but bewildered, their thoughts in disarray, no clear idea of anything I said. I’ve never in my life had to figure out how to be gentle with hurting people when I myself am not hurting. I’ve always been right alongside them in the pit. I’m fumbling. I’m alienating, accidentally.

Rose keeps my heart safe. She whispers my mortality. She’s developing signs for me – the gentle hand flutter that reminds me I’ve sped my pace of speech up so fast no one can follow me. Sometimes that makes me cry. I’ve so much passion is bursting out of me and I’m having to learn to hold it back most times. She coaxes and forgives and holds the string of my kite, keeping me linked to the earth.

All my friends do, with their grace for my bumbling enthusiasm, my awkward passion, my startling health. I’m giddy with flight and I can’t help but lift off at every opportunity, never mind that my wings don’t fit the room and I’m knocking everything over and beating them in their faces and about their ears. I’m blessed by such friends. I’d be insufferable without them. I’ve very much offended several lately, quite by accident, and I’m glad they’ve put up with my inexperience, explained their position, allowed me grace to undo my folly. These are the roots that hold me to the earth, that give me strength and feed me on black soil and cold water.

So this is what it is to be really alive. It’s worth everything I have ever experienced, every hour of suffering. Every night of screaming until my throat was hoarse. The hundred thousand billion tears I’ve wept. I’m finally awake.

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