Here’s a heads up:

If you are not living the life you want to live, then it is up to you to change it. No-one will come and help you in the way you think and hope they will. It’s just you. You have a choice in everything, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

My mum died when I was 18. She put a stop to her life. I don’t say “she committed suicide” anymore, it sounds so disconnected from what actually happened, like she committed a crime or something. She had a choice and she made a decision. We all have a choice. I’ve done a lot of work over the years, and I’ve finally arrived at a place where I accept what she did. This place, called Grief, is still pretty gnarled up and ugly. It’s full of sharp edges and dark holes I fall in now and then, but I have found stillness in her suicide. I am still alive and growing and inspired by life and what it all means (I still don’t know). I have taken from my loss a deep interest in people and why we are the way that we are and why we do the things we do.

I spent a long time after my mum’s death blaming everyone and everything for the anger and pain I felt. The knot of loss wove its way around my insides like barbed wire and for years, I dragged my grief around like a wet blanket for all to see, a victim of my circumstance, believing the world owed me something for taking her away.

We are all victims of something. We ruminate and torture ourselves with things that were said or not said, and about what happened or didn’t happen or things that haven’t even happened yet. We react to things like a tightly coiled spring, red-raw from experiences and situations that lie well in the past. And yet most of us allow our past to build our future, like scaffolding, metal pole after metal pole. It’s the reason why you can’t commit to men, because your Dad walked out when you were 5, or you don’t make friends easily, because of that one moment in the playground aged 11, when the popular girls made fun of your glasses. It’s the reason you don’t trust people, because everyone laughed when the guy you had to kiss, during that game of spin the bottle, pulled a face and you wanted the ground to open up and swallow you whole.

It’s the reason we make such meaning out of things: You receive a text message, and they don’t end it with a ‘kiss’, or someone signs their email off to you with ‘regards’, and your immediate thought is, “What did I do?” You see your boss walking towards you in the corridor at work and you say hello to him but he keeps his head down and doesn’t respond. “Oh my god, why did he not say hello? Maybe I’m one of the ones who’ll be made redundant?”

We attach so much meaning to everything, don’t we? But here’s the thing: There’s “what happened” and there’s “my story about what happened”. Assuming these two things to be the same is the source of so much pain and unnecessary conflict in life. Some people just don’t like leaving kisses at the end of text messages, your boss just found out his wife has cancer and didn’t notice you walking towards him in the corridor, Barry in accounts doesn’t think that ‘regards’ sounds rude, because Barry is more interested in getting the email written and sent so he can leave at 5pm, and 14 years ago my mum died.

You’re not 5 anymore. You’re not 11. I am not the 18 year old girl whose mum blew out the candle without even saying goodbye.

You have a choice in everything you do, the decisions you make and how you react to situations. Right this moment, you can take a sledgehammer to the scaffolding that surrounds you, and watch as it falls into its own footprint. A pile of broken promises and nasty stuff that people said and a punch in the face and THAT relationship that crushed you and loss and trauma and anger and resentment.

You don’t need that shit where you are going.

Start calling the shots.

(You can put the sledgehammer down now.)

Tell me, what are you letting go of?


ps: I’ve been busy writing content for a workshop I’ll be hosting in the verrrry near future. If you want to be one of the first people to grab a spot, make you’re signed up to my mailing list (you can do this by scrolling up to the top of this page, there’s a box on the right). I promise I won’t spam you, because yo, spam sucks.