Sunday, 31 December 2017

A little reflection on 2017

I sit here tonight, the final evening of 2017 alone, with my dog by my side and Ru Paul's drag race on the TV. I had a new blog theme installed today, with a view to get this thing kind of going again, but this blog won't be the same. This time, its purely for me, and anyone thats along for the ride? Well great. 

I've always been one for time by myself. I like time to articulate myself and smoke thoughts through my head. I'm not fussed to sit around a table and throw polite conversation around. I'm an introvert really. Thats something I learnt about myself last year. At the beginning of 2016, after we got married in March, I vowed to try and step over my insecurities. Not to delete them, but just to accept them and try and 'act' more extrovert, which is of course exhausting. I said yes to everything. Night out? Meal over your house? Sure, count me in. I was happy, but I wasn't really me. I'm aware that thats almost an oxymoron, I guess what I mean is that I was happy, but it was exhausting, and who has time for tiredness when you're just as happy at home on the sofa with the dog and a film?

After starting my journey of self improvement in 2016 after our wedding, early 2017 shaped that a little. I broke my ankle in four places in November 2016 messing about in stilettos, and looking back at it it seems simple, but those 6 weeks of non-weight bearing were a huge challenge. I lost my independence completely - My house is an occupational therapists nightmare; with internal steps and a downstairs toilet only, even waking up in the morning and needing the toilet was torture, because my leg was throbbing and I was at risk of losing my dignity. I did, a few times, I'm not ashamed to admit it. It took 15 minutes to get to the toilet in the morning, and then there was getting washed, eating. I have no idea how I managed to get myself to a party on crutches and non-weight bearing, but I did it, and I learnt about my resilience, patience, need for routine, and who I could count on to help in my times of need, or loss of independence. I received pre-prepared meals, cards, little 'jokey' gifts about my accident.  Those 5 months off work shaped my little 'self improvement' saga, and I realised I really need to put myself first a little more.

The images you see above, are from Lake Como and Switzerland, where Dan and I headed for our first year anniversary.  Its funny, the last image looks somber perhaps, but I was the happiest I'd ever been. I had no idea that that single image would represent how I would feel for the rest of then year. Lost, and so alone. 

I hadn't realised at the time, but I had a miscarriage in the hotel. My 'period' came the day we were meant to be heading to Switzerland by car. My period was 3 weeks late, but it isn't usually regular so I forgot about it. I woke up at 4am in agony, felt sick, dizzy, and only a scalding hot bath could soothe the pain. I spent 3 hours in a topped up bath before we headed to breakfast and I was shaking so hard I couldn't even stomach a yoghurt. A couple of heat patches and ibuprofen later, and we were on our way to Switzerland and that was the last of my pain. Weird period, that one. 

It was only when I had a miscarriage in August that I realised that what happened back in March was definitely not a period, because it felt just like this miscarriage. Now, I didn't really have a miscarriage, I had a missed miscarriage and had to be admitted to hospital to basically have a forced miscarriage, or abortion, via pessarys and tablets. We headed to my 12 week scan a little nervous after a false scare of an ectopic pregnancy. That was a scary two week of waiting, but it turned out okay - We saw the heartbeat and we realised this could actually stick. After a year and a half of trying, with my rubbish PCOS, we could actually finally become parents. Except we didn't, because that 12 week scan was bad news. The baby had died at 9weeks and 4 days, and I feel like my life and persona was split in two that day. Life before the miscarriage, and life after. I became two people. It sounds extreme, but it really destroyed me in a way I don't think I'll ever articulate. 

And there aren't any cards or pre-prepared meals for a miscarriage. Nope, nobody wants to talk about it. You've just got to button up.

I've never lost count. Today I would've been 31 weeks and 1 day pregnant. I've tried to lose count, as hard as I try not to despise and dread pregnancy announcements. And I've ovulated but once since that day, so we're back to square one. No amount of 'Theres worse that could've happened, 'It happens,' 'It was just a collection of cells' or 'at least you know you can get pregnant' made this any easier for me. In fact, each time I heard something like that (and those are all things I heard), I retreated further back into the person I was pre 2016-vow. 

I'm ready. I've been saying I'm ready for a few months now but I think I'm getting there. I've been seeing a counsellor and whilst I'm still not mad keen on pretending I love empty conversation around a kitchen table again, I can do it. I'm not depressed, I'm ready to try to be 'Lake Como Sarah' again and thats really something.

From all that happened this year, I'm just glad I started trying to be a better person in 2016. I'd started listening to TED talks; one every single weekday. I've read Brené Brown books, enrolled myself on Leadership courses, and said 'yes' to things I don't usually feel comfortable doing. I'd faced fears. It somehow helped me get through my little crisis, and I guess somewhere deep inside I was and am successful at helping myself out. As Stacey Kramer said, when bad things happen, just consider that it might be a gift.

This year has been astronomically shitty for me, but I'm set up now. I've learnt even more about myself and I can surely take that forward. If anything else, I surely deserve some good stuff next year. Hell yeah, 2018.

I've left you with some images from Lake Como and Switzerland. I was at my happiest. That girl is coming BACK.

Happy new year,
Sarah xx



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