Sunday, 28 September 2008

Life is Changing

The world is turning upside-down for everyone, not just me. Every time I switch on the television or radio, there is more dire news from the money markets. Russia is turning hard line against the West, oil is running out and the polar ice caps are melting. My panic about having to move house seems pathetic by comparison. I am lucky to have a roof over my head at all.

And yet why is it that I am overwhelmed with fear when I think about our new home? We moved in last week, and in the 10 days or so since I have been a complete basket-case. In struggling to resolve the reason why, I have uncovered a traumatic childhood move from Nottingham to Portsmouth that I had always shrugged off as irrelevant. But now the three-year-old I was then, confused and afraid, has reasserted herself, and I am spending the majority of my time cooing over her, comforting her, soothing and cuddling her. How I wish she'd had what she needed all those years ago, so that I wouldn't have to be struggling with her tantrums and terrors in my 40s. But its too late to cry over spilt milk now. I have to mop up the mess thats left.

Our new home,though, is a surprise. It feels enormous compared with our old house. We can't have a conversation with one another by shouting down the stairs anymore, because the sound won't carry around the corners. We are now situated in the midst of a large agricultural and shooting estate, crammed full of wildlife. We go to bed at night to the hooting of owls, and wake to the rattle of pheasants. We cross a bridge to get home, and glimpse kingfishers, herons and otters. It is a whole new world.

But the real shock for me has come with the understanding that this move has so occupied me for the last nine months, almost, that I have forgotten who I am. I have lost touch with my writing, with my purpose in life. I have become the person who is moving, rather than the writer I was before. Now I need to change myself back. Now I need to rememberthe meaning of my existence. I need to devine my purpose over the screeching terrors of my former three-year-old self, and use it as a way to create the routine and permanency that will comfort and settle her. It feels like an impossible task at some moments. Her reedy little voice wails in my mind, 'What's the point? I hate it! I HATE IT!'

But somehow I must claim my life back. I must reimpose order. I must parent her, and myself. Its a tough job, but someone's got to do it...

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