‘You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star‘, said Nietzche.
Last week, I got on a stage in front of two thousand people and a dinosaur (yes, a dinosaur) and sang my heart out with my rock band at the Natural History Museum in London. Nobody would guess that the girl in the Reiss lace playsuit (yes, I did pull it off) belting out a punked up version of Let it Go was a grieving widow. The four kilograms I lost after my wife killed herself two years ago have nearly come back and the boobs have inflated again. The grief triggered eczema has subsided and the coconut oil makes my skin super smooth. My hair looks shiny again, highlighted with hints of caramel, and doesn’t fall out in clumps. My eyes have their spark and mischief back rather than being deep black pools of despair. The painfully obvious bodily expressions of my grief have all but disappeared. I look like me again.
In fact, I think I might even look better. I feel like a fucking sexy superwoman. Chaos has given birth to a star.
When I was first widowed at the age of twenty-seven, the young widowed community I found myself part of told me to just keep going. Eat, sleep, drink water, breathe. Repeat. They insisted that it would get better. They explained how I’d never be fixed, but that the pain changes form and becomes bearable. I didn’t believe them. I didn’t want to believe them. I did not want to have to wait for the pain to change. I simply did not want to come back to life. I wanted to die of heartbreak, or due to oxygen starvation from wailing so much or dehydration from crying so much.
But lo and behold, the wise words are correct. I clung on. I ate, slept when I could, drank lots of water, took it one day at a time. The pain has changed. I am a new me in my Chapter 2.
Chapter 2 is good and terribly action packed. I haven’t been writing much here as a result. I am also completely lacking in the ridiculous Tinder related dating tales you readers love, and have most certainly come out the other end of the bisexual crisis with Boy Widower. I’m seeing someone and have been for the past three months. She also knows exactly where this blog is so although I have plenty to talk about, I’m sometimes scared to write how I feel. However, I still have that minor grief triggered alcohol issue so thanks to four pints of beer and a cry at the British Film Institute on Friday night, she knows in no uncertain terms that I think she’s wonderful, want to buy puppies (seventeen of them) and to be in an exclusive relationship. Shit. I’m such a drunken over-sharer.
To anybody ‘normal’ dating in their twenties, looking forward to seeing someone you’re dating is probably pretty standard. Waking up excitedly to the vibrate of the iPhone to see if they’ve messaged is pretty normal too. Wanting to treat them and deriving happiness from hearing them laugh – yep that’s normal. The thing is, I never believed I could do normal again as a widowed lesbian. I never thought I’d plant absent minded innocent but affectionate kisses on another woman’s forehead. I never thought I’d be putting thought into the perfect Christmas gift. I never thought I would melt into someone’s arms and feel completely and utterly safe in her embrace whilst watching crappy Saturday morning TV on the sofa. I never thought I’d be so eager to show off someone to friends and family. I never thought anybody could accept me with my scars, let alone admire my strength and want to know more about my late wife. Yet here it is happening.
And let me tell you, that is a total mindfuck. I am happy – the first person I instinctively want to share stories with is my wife. I had a little one-sided chat with her last night, as I often still do. It was weird. Telling your ghost wife that you’re falling for someone else and that you hope she’s ok with it was not on the list of conversations I thought I’d be having before I turned thirty. What’s weird is that I reckon she’s ok with it. But am I? Am I ok being happy?
We’ll see. I’m sure I’ll screw it up soon enough.