Age 24

At the beginning of twenty eighteen, I used a jigsaw metaphor to describe how complete and incomplete I felt. Upon reading this, my Mother said, ‘You know you never find all of the pieces of the jigsaw, right?’ I rolled my eyes, said ‘I know’ when really I was adamant it wasn’t true at all.

She wasn’t doubting me. She was teaching me a lesson in the gentle way she always has. She hints at the truth and gives me the space and time to find out for myself.

I’m twenty five this year and feel more undone than I have ever been. I wish I could say ‘And that’s okay’ but I would be lying. This year has been uncomfortable and there have been many tears. Normally, I try to be poetic; make these yearly round ups a thing of beauty and reflection. This year is different.

I would like to be honest and tell you a story.

There is a woman who has blue eyes (grey when she’s tired), red hair and dimples when she smiles. She has jittery hands, acne scars and depression. She believes anyone can be anything they want to be if they believe and work hard. Her favourite words are percolate and hope. Percolate for the way it sounds and hope for the way it feels. She mothers a cat whose character makes her worry about what her parenting skills would do to a child. She loves fiercely and is much softer than you would think.

She saw in the New Year (last year) with her best friend and spent much of Spring and Summer by the sea. Both best friend and the sea help her feel the same; safe. Both remind her there is strength in beginning again and mastering patterns which reveal the very best of yourself.

She fell in love with the sky – its sunlight and clouds. Her favourite time is when it is pink, blue, grey and gold. She smiles because it is endless and so much bigger than her. She doesn’t mind being reminded she is small because she carries the weight of a world on her shoulders and forgets she doesn’t need to do any of this alone.

On her birthday she was surprised twice with a cake and candles. It was a surprise because she has a bad habit of forgetting she is loved. She is realising she is not the only one who has the tendency to feel this way. Even though talking about mental health in real life seems to be an AA meeting no one turns up to.

She has decided to turn up; to be a voice. A voice of hope, love, pain and experience. She does not pretend to know it all but she does know too many struggle in silence, and that breaks her heart.

She has been incredibly lucky. In the second half of the year, she discovered therapy which works and a support network of beautiful friends – in many ways, they are the same thing. She is grateful she has access to medication and kindness.

For over a year she has felt love like Spring sunshine. It is warm but safe and soft. Even if it disappears behind a cloud, she can always feel it right there on her skin and in her smile. She has been taught how to love and trust in a way that helps her realise her own worth.

And at the end of it all, she is still breathing despite the way she broke her own heart. She is healing. She has been given another year to show the world just how much she has learnt. This is not the end. It is the beginning.


Age 22

Age 23

© Kristiana Reed 2019

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