solo in sydney

August 29, 2013, 12:22 am
Filed under: dear diary


Someone on Twitter kindly asked if I was okay, as I’d been packing for over a week.

That was February 2011, and this is my very belated response.

The truth is, I barely remember this time period. I couldn’t tell you how many weeks I was “packing” for, but I can tell you that it involved buying boxes in a burst of then-uncharacteristic strength and determination, assembling them with the greatest of care, making sure every piece of packing tape was perfectly aligned and cut perfectly square, and then delicately taking the tape off and flattening the boxes again. Over and over.

At some stage, I managed to take down all my artwork off the walls, my posters and prints and photographs. I hesitated at “our” wall clock, then added it to my small box of possessions. The walls were as blank and soulless as I felt.

There was a lot of standing, empty and confused. A lot of distant stares. The occasional dose of sitting, aimless and lost, with no sense of relaxation.

Just paralysis.

I’m not sure if I slept.

I was completely numb.

I was overwhelmed, and my response was to stand perfectly still, possibly hoping it would sort itself out around me.

To some extent, this is eventually what happened. I can’t say if it was days or weeks, or possibly even months, but J had put his foot down and he wanted me out. I didn’t blame him for it then and I can’t blame him for it now. I can’t imagine I was much more than a poorly dressed impersonation of the painted white statue performers who frequent Circular Quay, their blank facades completely impervious to the ebb and flow of life around them. Just with more cardboard boxes.

In a rare spark of intuition, the one person who had any notion of what was going on finally realised that I couldn’t leave J on my own. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, it was that I was physically and mentally incapable.

Reinforcements were called in. My mother flew from interstate and packed up my belongings for days on end. I can’t remember what I did, or what I said. Apparently staring was my forte; sometimes I’d sit, occasionally I’d stand. That was as much as I was capable of at the time, I guess. Everything I know from this time is a second-hand account, as my mother has retold it, only once and with tears in her eyes. I can’t bear to ask her again.

J wasn’t there. I’m not sure where he went, but as soon as the “reinforcements” arrived, he was gone. It was better that way for everyone, and I’m grateful to him for that.

Memories of my mother arriving, packing my belongings, and coaxing me to the airport are as if I was watching the scene from the bottom of the ocean. In the dark.

Roughly 2.5 years later, I can look back, however vaguely, and be grateful that I left. I got on the plane and I haven’t been back.

The fact that I couldn’t do it own my own, likely wouldn’t have done it on my own, still provides me with a sizable dose of pain and shame.

There are two distinct memories I have from that time, however. In a time period that is so murky, I can’t distinguish between days and months, there are two crystal clear memories that remind me now that I was still in there at the time. Somewhere, unfathomably deep below the surface, struggling for air and sunlight and blue skies.

They’re not dramatic or world-changing, but they hurt to remember, let alone put into words.

I hope I can do them justice soon.

Lastly, I can’t finish this update without a sincere, bottom-of-the-ocean heartfelt debt of gratitude to the VF members who have emailed, commented and Tweeted their messages of support, strength and hope over the last few years.

Thank you. It means more to me than you can know.


7 Comments so far
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I’m so sorry to hear what you’ve been through and I hope that you’ve come out the other side feeling better. There is no shame in asking for or needed help when life gets so tough we can’t function anymore. I think it happens to everyone at some point in their life. I’m a Voguette too so I hope we will see you back on the forums sometime soon. I’d love to hear what you’re up to now. Take care xx

Comment by Clancy

Thank you Clancy, I’m feeling much better but there’s still a long way to go. One day at a time :)

Comment by soloinsydney

Hello! It was with great hope that I held on to your RSS feed through the death of Google Reader and many culls of the blogs I read. I’m a VF member too and always hoped and wondered that you’d come through the other side.
And you have!
What a fantastic mother you have who could recognise what you were going through and help you out. Its hard to know when to intervene, and even with family, when do you know that its time to step in?
Its really great to have you back :-)
*hugs* from all the ladies at Vogue (I dont often speak for others but in this case I think its warranted).

Comment by Esz (@kittysdrawings)

Thank you so much Esz, I really am incredibly lucky that I had both a sister and a mother who were there for me when I needed them most. I can’t even fathom where I would be without them.

And now that I’ve also (belated) realised how much support I’ve received from the Vogue community, I’m exceptionally grateful for that as well.

I can only hope my story, and the support I’ve received from some unexpected corners, can inspire others to keep their head above water on the most difficult of days.

Comment by soloinsydney

[…] the midst of Packing, I have two distinct memories that fit into this curious latter […]

Pingback by Ticking Clocks and Quiet Goodbyes | solo in sydney

I am thrilled that you are ok and thank you for your lovely emails.

When I left my 1st marriage my Mum and sister helped me pack up too and to be honest I can’t remember the details. I think when a relationship ends you are kind of in shock.

Glad you are rebuilding. xxxxx

Comment by Faux Fuchsia

I definitely think shock is a huge factor, though I never would have thought or even considered that at the time. I was just so very numb that nothing really registered. Not even days or nights or sleep.

Comment by soloinsydney

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