Lisa Birch

Sep 19, 2017

4 min read

To hell and back.

It’s interesting what you think you want to remember. I saw this on my Facebook ‘On This Day’ feed:

I’m sick of rising from falls, I want the silver spoon instead of the short end of the stick.

At that stage, I had probably failed my final placement, and I didn’t actually want to write about it.

I was sick of it being given the wooden spoon. I felt like some people had it good for no apparent reason, and my life seemed to go from bad to worse, also for no apparent reason. In some ways, I still think that. I think we can be undeserving of great things, and undeserving of bad things, but, it’s just life.

Even though failing placement was one of the worst things that happened to me, I have been up against much bigger challenges since then.

I have bloody good grace under fire, and you’ll know that if you’ve spent time with me in that awful place.

This image also came up on Facebook a few weeks ago, and posted a couple of years after my failure. Again, I was going through some really tough breaks.

And you know what?

I’ve done it again, and again, and again.

And, well, mostly alone.

Stuffing up the big stuff is a lonely place to be. And I have good people by my side, but I certainly have a whole load of baggage that I’d never disclose online, or in real life, most of the time. I have feelings and rage and complete fury at a number of situations, most of which are out of my hands. What can you share, if what’s hurting you isn’t your own story? Pretty much nothing. So I haven’t. I’ve dodged questions, bullets, I’ve even applied my flawed psychological techniques to coping with the bad stuff. It doesn’t always work.

I feel like I have been through all the angsty teenage stuff as a twenty something. And now, as a thirty something, I still don’t know people who have their shit together.

Anyway. The hard stuff keeps getting harder.

I thought break ups were hard.

I thought being bullied was hard.

I thought moving out of home was hard.

I thought dealing with my car accident was hard.

I thought breaking off an engagement was hard.

I thought leaving a job you love, to do a job you’re not sure about was hard.

I thought losing people you love was hard.

I thought breaking off friendships was hard.

I thought moving house was hard, being cheated on was hard and having six years of your life stolen by someone breaking in and taking your laptop was hard. And this happened to me, pretty much all at once.

All that stuff feels so long ago that it doesn’t seem as hard. But now I’m older, a lot of my problems have been other people’s and how to deal with them. And, when I posted that little image, about already being through hell, I thought it was true. But, I can tell you now, that I keep running back for more. No one lives forever, people you love let you down, you can lose your career in as many years as it took you to earn your degree, you can let down people you love, you can give into habits and addictions, you can be some fucking lonely, and so needing of space at the same time that it’s damn near impossible to function.

I’ve never been one to know what to do.

I’m indecisive, I always have been. When I was a kid, and something would go horribly wrong, my parents would do this thing where they would go off and talk, and then one of them would come back and say, ‘here’s what we’re going to do.’ And then, whatever the plan was, we’d do it because that’s just what my family is like.

I don’t have the answers, and sometimes I’m a little sick of being strong all the time. And I don’t mean strong as in a scary fat lady who says what’s what and leaves it at that (I have never wanted to be a bossy fat lady, but there are a LOT of us around, and sometimes I am her, and still hate it at the same time). I’m tired of always doing what I say. The sameness. The determination. The taking it on the chin. The listening to people sprout utter rubbish. Being quiet is strong, and sometimes I’m sick of it. But then, I explode, completely losing my shit, everyone stares at me like I’m a moron, and then I spend months feeling rubbish about it.

None of the hard stuff gets easier. It just gets different. And, silver spoon, sometimes I have seen more of you than I’d expect. You’re not a bad thing to own.

But wooden spoons can which biscuit dough into submission, stir soup pots and make excellent drumsticks for pots and pans. Maybe I won’t be in such a hurry to give mine away anytime soon.