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Keeping Mum


I have thought about Writing this for weeks. I have pushed the words about in my head. Dominoes. Trying to find the right shape.

Often in the past five years, I wanted to Write, wanted to pin an experience to the page. But during that hiatus between leaving the Outpost and returning, too many of the experiences jarred too sharply; I could not gather the words to string coherently, articulately; I could not fashion them so that they did not sound like a rant. Or a whine.

And some things were just too hard to share. Then.

Folding to the floor in a big city supermarket, a tray of eggs still in my hand, felled by the enormity of no job, no home, no income. Blinking back tears in a doctor’s office and trying to explain to a man whose first language was not mine that the despair of all of that – no job, no home, no income – was overwhelming me. Observing the confusion of our rackety life manifest tearfully in little Hat.

I could not create enough distance from those things then to write about them. I could not see clearly enough for I was up so close my focus was skewed. I was afraid to reveal ugly wounds. It’s Easier now; always easier to roll back a sleeve and show a fading scar. It says, ‘I survived’. It no longer says, ‘I hurt’.

So I have thought and thought about writing this. It is not the same kind of pain as I felt then, it is not disorientating in the same way. It does not leave me feeling rudderless. Winded. Its shape is softer, a mellow sadness. Like the last of Autumn.

But I have always written about Mum. I wrote about her Depression. It formed such a huge part of our normalcy, her particular madness, that not to write about it would have been to pretend it was not there, had not described a part of me.

Sometimes to capture the words, to grab them by their heels as they’re about to slip away, and pin them to the page, is to understand a thing better. If I gather them all up and order them into neat ranks will all of this be easier. Easier to cope with. Easier to manage. Easier to live with.


But to do it, I needed to create a little space. Carve a small distance in the hope I can view it more clearly.

In order that I can understand the role, this new role, of trying to keep mum, a little better.

This post first appeared on Reluctant Memsahib | The Diary Of Wife, Mother And, please read the originial post: here

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