I wrote this to my close friend, Dyane Harwood, a little while ago. We usually cheer one another on (we are both writers and need positive reinforcement regularly) but this ventlike email to her followed my depression episode. It came like a thick fog out of nowhere. It came at the time my family needed a totally sane and organised person to handle our big move to a new town. But I failed.
“I’m writing this because I thought I’d let you know. I dragged myself out
of bed for one reason only. I had to buy nappies for the kids. We ran out last night. So, as I got ready I did some thinking. I miss my brighter, happier, sexier self. I miss eyes on me. I miss being in love with the person in the mirror. I don’t look in the mirror anymore. Some days I don’t bother tweezing. Some days, okay, I don’t even shave anymore.
Motherhood and mental illness has dragged every bit of oomph I had right out of me. How my husband bears it I’ll never know. And I don’t want to know. I’m afraid he’s here out of pity. I pity this woman I have become. I have turned into the woman I never wanted to be: that woman . You know that battered woman who sacrificed herself for all of until she had nothing more to give but bitterness and greyed stretchmarks.
I wish I would just go poof, disappear and start all over again.
Madness has taken my glorious womanhood and turned it into fiery riots
where I die painful, violent deaths every time; where I scream for the
sanctity of others; where burn I for all to see and chant for equality for all.
Madness has taken my beauty and made me fight fiercely for the life of
others. And in itself it’s a kind of it’s beauty, this plight in freedom
I feel a little less negative today but most of these ideas still ring true to me.
Still I realize that there’s more to womanhood than prettiness and romantic lens flares. I’m a mother and a mental health advocate. I guess sometimes I just miss the luminous glow of those burning feminine embers.
Although I am exhausted, and I’d complain about it. I’d still choose both in a heart beat. I was designed to fight the good fight.
You know why?
Because I won’t stay down, unshaven and all.