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Let everything happen to you; beauty and terror

I watched the film Jojo Rabbit this week (I would highly recommend it!) and there is a part where the characters share part of a poem by Rilke called ‘Go to the limits of your longings’. Here is the verse.

Let everything happen to you; beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Rainer Maria Rilke

It really struck me. It actually brought a tear to my eye. I am having a hard time at the minute. I am still in a lot of pain and still waiting for a CT scan. I am scared that the surgery hasn’t worked. I am scared that I will never live a pain free life and I am so, so tired.

Tough times

I also have lost work, my radio show is on hold for the foreseeable future. I left my main job in January, I think I was just so fed up and scared of letting my team down as I knew I was having yet another surgery. I was having issues with a manager and just felt so down about myself and my job. The job I was meant to start in April has faded away due to corona and now I have no work and I just don’t know what I’m doing with my life.

I feel like someone has a voodoo doll of me. I keep trying so hard to overcome problems but every time I bat one away, another problem replaces it. It has been nearly 7 years since my first surgery. I thought it was going to solve all my health issues, and in many ways my ostomy did. It rid me of the symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis that had ruined my life for years. But unfortunately for me, it also brought a new set of problems.

It is getting to me. My surgery recovery ran straight into corona lockdown and so it feels like I haven’t really been out or done anything since January. And now I live in constant fear that my hernia is back or that there are further complications. I am still taking pain killers every day, I am in so much pain and it is getting me down.

I just feel like I have lost all confidence. I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what I am or where my place in the world is. I feel so lost and adrift. It is scary, I can feel myself slipping backwards into that pit of despair. I am struggling to pull myself out of bed. Partly due to the pain, but also mentally. I have very little to actually get up for. No work, no social life, no certainty in anything.

Quotes

And then this quote. “Let everything happen to you; beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

It reminded me of another saying; “everything will be ok in the end, if it’s not ok, then it’s not the end”.

We have little control of some things in our lives, there are certain things that will happen to us that are completely beyond our control. And the only option we have is to let everything happen to you, to say yes to the opportunities that come to us. Some of those things will be beautiful, some will fill us with terror. All we can do is keep going.

No feeling is final

No feeling is final. This is such an important thing to remember. I had something happen this week. I was really embarrassed. I was called out on my reaction to something and it made me feel really stupid. In that moment, I felt so humiliated, my face was burning, I felt sick and silly. It felt HUGE. Like I wouldn’t get over it. It made me want to hide away. In reality, once I spoke to someone about it, it lost it’s power and I was reminded that my feelings were valid. That heavy weight of embarrassment lifted and drifted away, leaving me with an insight into the situation and myself.

Feelings are so powerful, whether positive or negative, they can be totally overwhelming. But no feeling is final. We just need to accept them in the moment, enjoy them or learn from them and move onto the next situation.

“Let everything happen to you; beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

Things may be overwhelming and difficult right now, but all I can do is to carry on living. Let everything happen to me, accept that things have and will continue to happen that I cannot control. And for all those things that bring me terror, I also have so much beauty in my life. It sometimes is really tough to find the silver linings when life feels shit. But they are there. In your friends, your family, the people you love.

Out of whack

My life is out of whack right now. No job, poor health, lockdown weirdness. I feel the nag of negativity. But lockdown has also meant that I have had 5 months of proper recovery after my surgery. My husband hasn’t been able to work either and we have had so much time together, proper quality time at home. We are getting the jobs down that maybe would have taken us a long time to get around to. I have the kids at home and I have the most wonderful friends. Even if we can’t see each other in real life, they are there. I am reading a lot, watching films and TV and I am doing a lot of art projects that make me happy.

And this whole experience has also made me and the husband reconsider what it is we want from life. What is missing from our lives and where we want to go. And we have both made a very big decision. But more about that in another blog!

Peace and love

Sam xx

Lockdown poetry – It has taken a pandemic

BBC Radio Sheffield got in touch to ask if I would write a poem for one of their shows. They were inspired by the Bard of Barnsley Ian McMillan who has been appointed Barnsley’s Poet In Lockdown. Barnsley Museums and Hear My Voice Barnsley have been working with Ian who has been sharing his lockdown poetry.

My confidence has taken a knock recently but I wanted to give it a shot. So here is my lockdown poetry named It has taken a pandemic. Enjoy.

Peace and love

Sam xx

Charly Cox – Validate Me at Off the Shelf festival

On 10th October, I was honoured to interview Charly Cox in front of a live audience for Off the Shelf festival in Sheffield. She is a poet whose work has inspired many on instagram and through her books.

Text: Hello my name is Charly Cox and I am code dependent. Will you please, please validate me?

Charly Cox

“Charly Cox’s writing focuses on destigmatising mental health and young women surviving the modern world. she must be mad was the best-selling poetry debut of 2018. Her latest Validate Me explores the havoc the digital hemisphere plays on relationships and mental health and how a life lived online is both liberating and screwing us all up. Funny, heartbreaking and achingly relatable, Charly’s writing has the power to make us all feel less alone.”

Charly Cox poet and Sam Cleasby presenter for Off the Shelf festival Sheffield

Though I interview people every week on my BBC Sheffield radio show, it was a very different beast to do it live on a stage in front of an audience. But I absolutely loved it. Charly Cox was such a great guest and was generous in her answers and in giving a lot of herself. It was an absolute pleasure to chat with her. She also read some of her poetry for the audience and hearing it read out loud was just beautiful.

Charly Cox poet and Sam Cleasby presenter for Off the Shelf festival Sheffield

Validate Me

You can find Charly’s book Validate Me here, it is a collection of poetry that is so relatable to women living in a modern, social media obsessed world.

“This is an account of a life lived online. Swiping for approval. Scrolling for gratification. Searching for connection. From the glow of a screen in the middle of the night, to the harsh glare of the hospital waiting room, Validate Me is a raw and honest look at the highs and the lows of a digital life. The new voice of a generation, Charly’s words have the power to make us all feel less alone.”

Head over and follow Charly on instagram today. You can find out more about events and talks I am part of here.

Peace and Love

Sam xx

Ulcerative Colitis and Stoma poetry

 

There was a pain inside me, it couldn’t be cured or healed

It ate away at the person I was, taking my time and my energy

It pulled me into the smallest room in the house and held me prisoner

The pills to fix were a poison, they give with one hand but take with the other

When even the soldiers no longer fight for you

The time comes, they will take the pain away

Remove the offending item, halt the bleeding, stop the war

My life changed at the hands of another

Suddenly there is light, there is a glimmer of joy

a feeling warms slowly, a hesitant smile plays on my lips

the battle is over, though there is still work that needs to be done

the person I thought had gone, was only hiding

She returns.

 

Sam Cleasby