Taking care

On any given day, I am probably offering emotional support to at least three different men in different ways.

I don’t begrudge lending people my shoulder, my ear, my arms – not ever. I have a lot to give in that regard and I want to share it (which is why I eventually want to become a therapist).

But sometimes it makes me wonder what these men would do if they didn’t have me; or what men in general would do if the women they rely on for support disappeared.

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Hands

I think a lot about his hands
And how safe they used to seem.

I know they must have been only average;
That they were probably just
Anyone’s well-used gardening hands
Anyone’s precise historian hands
Anyone’s comforting parental hands.

Large, thick-fingered, strong hands
With neat nails and calluses
Occasional plasters and bumpy veins;
Hands that made art and grew plants
Often smudged with paint, ink, dirt.

They pushed me on swings
Dangled me in the sea
Helped me down from trees
And, much later
Drove me home while I cried, drunk.

When I think ‘My father loved me’
I mean that he was able to hold me
And let me go, simultaneously:
The everyday magic of his hands.

#WorldMentalHealthDay

I thought very hard about making a post about this.

There are a lot of things I could talk about – the NHS, how various -isms and mental health intersect, how one day is not enough, how saying ‘just talk’ is not enough – but I decided what I want to do is talk about my experiences with therapy, because I think they are hopeful and if there’s one thing most of us need lately, it’s hope.

Strap in, this is going to be a pretty long one.

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Morning poems

This morning is golden.

After venting all night
The sky smiles on me
And every tree reflects joy.

For this short time, I am truly myself –
Full of peace; alone.

*

This is a grey morning, and the rain is hard;
My eyes are colourless.

Everything in me is slower than usual.
I try to remember blue skies
And cannot.

*

This morning, and the one before
And the one before
Is heavy and unhopeful.

The sun has hidden itself from me
So I surround myself with walls.
It rains indoors.