On Monday, I got home from work and promptly burst into tears. Big, heaving, heavy sobs, tears pouring down my face, leaving me unable to catch my breath.
I cried for so many things. For angry comments aimed at me. For my friend leaving for a new job. For news which should have been good, but which really left me panicked. For everything that has happened this year, and the year before. For Christmas, for my family, for friends, for feeling lost.
After a while, I stopped. I picked myself up, I made myself supper, and I carried on.
Last night, I met my friend L to talk about something that happened to me seven years ago. And of course, we started by talking about everything that has happened to each of us recently. In fact, she greeted me with "Alice, it sounds like you've had a really, really heavy few months". And I filled her in, and she filled me in, and we talked about mutual friends and families and health and happiness, and laughing, I told her that in fact, it isn't just a couple of months or years of chaos- in fact, I think this is just my life.
And I asked her Is this what life is? Periods of chaos and crap and everything being really dreadful, punctuated with little happy times?
Of course, I accepted that some of those happy times are longer than others, and of course, you could argue the opposite- that life is periods of happiness punctuated with little moments of chaos and crap. But I think accepting that things just kind of are like this, and that that is okay, makes things a little easier to deal with.
This morning, I text M to wish him a Happy Christmas. He's heading home today. No one deserves a peaceful Christmas more than he does, and I needed him to know that I was thinking of him and wishing him well. And the fact that he replied within moments, and told me to have a great Christmas, and suggested a catch up in the new year... it made me feel more peaceful. It made it easier to accept things the way they are.
Because maybe life is just constant chaos punctuated by little moments of happiness. And maybe that's hard, and horrible, and difficult to accept. But maybe when you do accept it, you realise that it isn't altogether a bad thing. That maybe rolling withe the punches, rather than letting them knock you flat, is the only way any of us can get through the day to day. That happiness isn't something we should perpetually feel. That heartbreaks happen, and everyone leaves, and things are so so tough. But that these things make us stronger, and braver, and harder, yes- but also softer to those experiencing the things we've gone through.
Because that's all any of us want, isn't it? To know we aren't the only ones feeling what we feel?
So yes. I'm feeling exhausted, and hardened, and battered and bruised and strong and weak and like there's actually a gaping hole at the bottom of my sternum... but there's a growing sense of peace within me too.