When I write my blog posts each day, I don’t really think about who – if anyone – reads them. After more than a decade, HouseGoesHome has become a daily habit, like grabbing a strong flat white at my local cafe.
The reality that I don’t acknowledge is that I am writing the digital version of a diary, then leaving it open for everyone to read.
Each day I type about how I feel. If I am happy, I write about it. If I am sad, I write about it. If I am inconsolable, I write about it.
Posting about being happy is pretty standard on social media – it’s a fluffy confection of living-our-best-life moments. Posting that you are struggling is less common.
While I often blog about my lows, it startles me when other people confess on social media they’re not doing so well.
I worry that they should be talking to an actual person about their struggles, which is pretty ironic.
I can’t explain why I’m fine with spilling my own guts, but shocked when other people do it.
Which is a prelude to spilling my guts …
I have been feeling pretty flat since I got back from my holiday to Narooma.
I can’t quite put my finger on why.
The pall descended while I was away. I was convinced that I had failed the youngest by taking her surfboard somewhere without decent waves. I thought I’d disappointed her by going to a sleepy town where the only things to do were go for walks and eat food.
I fretted about how much time she was spending in bed looking at her phone. I decided I was dull company for my sporty 16 year old.
I didn’t feel well either. I was nauseous and headachey and exhausted for the first few days. I think I was just really run down.
By day three I felt a bit more like myself, but still old and wrinkled and fat and flat and a failure.
The negativity clung to me throughout the rest of the holiday and haunted me when we returned to Sydney. It weighed me down and made every step feel arduous.
I know I have been working too hard and not relaxing enough, but I think there is more to it than that.
There is so much unhappiness in the world right now. On the global front there are wars and pandemics and political stoushing. On the home front there are so many people battling mental, emotional and physical issues.
Plus every second person I know seems to have COVID-19 or be struggling to recover from it.
I tend to let everyone else’s pain get inside me – I feel it all and it is overwhelming me.
And then there’s the endless rain. I count on ocean swims to revitalise me, but my summer was stolen by El Nina.
As I sat on the balcony of our hotel room in Narooma, I was spent. I couldn’t even read a book or a magazine, I could barely scroll through social media. I just wanted to sit and stare at the ocean for hours, days, months, years.
I am slowly finding a way back. Every time I laugh I revive a little, like a fiftysomething suburban mum version of Tinker Bell.
I also went for a swim on the weekend and shared a glass of pink wine with DD under the stars. These little things recalibrate me.
I am determined to look after myself better too: more exercise, less chocolate.
I know that a lot of people are feeling pretty wretched right now. The last two years have taken a toll we still haven’t processed.
We are exhausted by the uncertainty and the fear.
When the pandemic struck in early 2020, none of us understood the rollercoaster that lay ahead. We’d never have imagined that the disease would be still finding new ways to attack us more than two years later.
The yearning to run away from it all is strong within me.
I saw a house for sale at Great Mackerel Beach in Pittwater over the weekend. It can only be accessed by boat, which isn’t very practical. The price tag isn’t too practical either – I reckon it will go for more than $3 million (add the stupid price of housing to why everyone is feeling so blah). Oh and then there’s the fact it’s pretty close to the water and low slung … it will probably get submerged by climate change …
But I want to hide there SO BADLY. To sit like I did on the balcony of The Whale Inn in Narooma, and just BE for a while, without doing or thinking.
But that is not possible for a single mum with two teenagers and guttering that needs to be replaced.
So I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and laughing and holding DD and that will need to sustain me for now.
After all, it’s not like I’m being bombed in the Ukraine or battling anything more serious than a middle-aged crisis.
I’ve decided to take the rest of the week off from blogging to ease the daily pressure. But I will be back, because writing in a diary – whether it is private or public – is like a drug.
I read that C.S. Lewis kept a journal after the death of his wife and questioned whether writing about his grief had the unintended effect of aggravating it.
Lewis concluded in his memoir A Grief Observed that he had no choice: “But what am I to do? I must have some drug, and reading isn’t a strong enough drug now. By writing it all down I believe I get a little outside it.”
Song of the day: Roxy Music “Love is the drug”