Frayed Around the Edges.

16 Aug 2016

If you have to throw a book at somebody (literally, not figuratively), then I suppose it shows rather more class if the book is "The Collected Essays of Francis Bacon" rather than say, "50 Shades"...

Yes, that was me. I threw a book at Tom. And not in a funning way either. It didn't hit him of course – that wasn't the point – and he has quite forgiven me (we were laughing about it just last night), but I was deeply, deeply ashamed of myself at the time; Francis Bacon or not.

The last occasion I threw something at anybody it was in 1995, so you can see I don't exactly make a habit of it.

I once saw a wall hanging. It said, "I've got one nerve left; and you're getting on it!" Tom just said the wrong thing at the wrong time and I snapped.

What do you do when you are at the end of your tether? What is your recourse when things just become too much? Some people shout, some people storm out and slam doors, some retreat into stony silence. Some people throw things.

It's been a tough old time for my family and loved ones over the last couple of months and all too often I have felt that I am the one at the eye of the storm, keeping everyone together; calming people down, smoothing over hurt feelings, explaining people to other people, bolstering confidence and keeping confidences.

It's taken its toll and I have nowhere and no one to run to because my normal harbours are now part of the storm.

Many of us, when that happens, wish to retreat into solitude; into a blissful calm and an order over which we are in entire charge.

Yesterday was like that for me.

My husband and young children have gone to Snowdonia and for a whole day I was alone. A whole day in which the house was tidy. I could eat what I wanted when I wanted. I could take a nap or read a book without someone shouting "Mummy – have you seen…?" It was wonderful.

Then Tom and Jenny and our young German friend Jan arrived, bringing chaos in their wake.

Oh, it's a lovely kind of chaos and I would rather have their messiness with them, than my own order without.

But it was nice to have that order and calm – just for one day.

I know it's not possible to arrange this for many of us. All too many of us have responsibilities we cannot lay down, where even the prospect of an hour's respite is something tantalisingly out of reach.

But, if you can ask for help, to create some space for yourself, just for one day, it does all the good in the world.

Today I am refreshed and ready for the chaos again, ready to hold the centre together.

And Francis Bacon is safely back on his shelf.


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