Between looking after my two children, and writing my memoir, inching my way towards completing my PhD, sending out submissions to magazines, managing A Wild and Precious Life, and 50 contributors, teaching, and making new contacts, I seem to have acquired a sore jaw. It happened a few months ago. My jaw seized up and I suddenly found it difficult to eat an apple, then a banana, and then, a few sessions with a cranial osteopath later, I was in the dentist’s chair and she was telling me that the temporomandibular joint had frozen. I was concerned that I was clenching my jaw when asleep; grinding my teeth; not spending enough time relaxing. I do often lie in bed late at night staring at my mobile phone. I decided I had to take myself in hand.
I recently moved from London to Bristol, which is brilliant, and I love it, but I have given up the bike for my car. Mainly because I no longer spend my writing days at the British Library (a perfect 30 minute cycle away from Hackney), and also because I haven’t yet got to grips with the city. But I’ve missed the way London lends itself to cycling and walking. I am also alone with my two children, and their dad is currently living a long way away, so I am very stingy with my time, and though I would love to be out running or hanging out in a swimming pool, I am mostly, when not caring for and feeding my children, at my desk at a computer. So perhaps in all my tweets and advocacy of recovery – I am forgetting about my own simple self-care.
Today, I dropped my car off at the garage for its MOT, and walked back through a small park. I was looking for sticks for my son, who wants to make a bow and arrow. You have to walk slowly to look for sticks and you also have to focus on the ground beneath your feet. As I tested each abandoned branch for its strength, I felt the wind touch me lightly and the sun warm my hair, and I had a stab of nostalgia for the days when my children were younger and I had an excuse to sit around in parks with my best friends. I realised in that moment that recovery looks something like this: It looks like the flicker of white and green against a blue sky; it feels like grass cushioning my head; it sounds like nothing but the rustle of leaves in the wind, and the squeak of grass in my ear, in that moment.
Please help us reach our target so we can publish this very important book, that makes us stop and think about others’ lives, who have not perhaps been as fortunate as us. It is a magnificent testament to their talent and strength https://unbound.com/books/recovery/