Have you been to the beach today?
I remind myself every day, that I can control the way I feel.
Nobody else has power over what I keep in mind, so if I want my conscious thoughts to be calm, happy and creative, then my job is to will them to be that way.
At this time of year, it takes extra effort. The 1stweek of December is when Sepsis nearly killed me, 19 years ago, and I’ve been trying to move on from what happened ever since. As the nights draw in, as the cold becomes bitter outside, and as work becomes intense in the rush before Christmas, I sense the pressure building…
Saturday evening. At 5pm, the blinds are already drawn, and there’s the tip tap tapping of winter rain at the windowpanes. I’ve been at work all day in the Call Centre, trying to earn extra pennies to cover the extra end of year costs. I’m missing Leicester City v Spurs tonight because one of my amputated legs is too sore to walk on. It’s a pain.
At a certain point, when things get on top of me, I’ve learned to step back. I retreat a bit, inside of me, I hunker down, and I put up the shutters. Knowing when that point has come, when it’s right to do so, is a skill acquired over many years of trying, trying and trying over and over again.
It’s about accepting one’s limits and taking action. Self-preservation. Sometimes – like tonight, and in a good way, it’s about taking yourself out of the game.
I have a secret little escape route. A fantasy vision of myself, living permanently in the holiday flat we rent on Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, Cornwall. It’s a spacious 1960’s architect designed apartment, with picture windows looking straight out to the sea. The colours are all sea green, shifting from blue to grey, and the sunset is simply stunning. Yellow, gold, bronze in streaks from side to side. The Tate Gallery is a very short walk away, and in my dream, I have a classic silver Mercedes coupe in the car park, underground. My task for the day? To walk along the beach, to the café, and to shoot the sea breeze. I might read a little there, then pop into a few galleries – I might find a quiet corner in town, or take a nap.
Bottom line is, I’m never going to own that apartment. I know that. Or that Merc. But I count myself as a creative person, and since I have a powerful imagination, I use it every day to create a beautiful lifestyle in my mind. Where the furniture is perfect, the music very cool, and the ambiance ever so charming.
I’m severely disabled, but I’m at liberty to do that, to bolster my resilience, and to make myself feel warm inside.
Excuse me whilst I pour myself a glass of wine and settle comfortably in front of my picture window.
The beach really is looking glorious.