“I feel brand new.” I said.
It was then that I was struck by something; At what point did I become broken? Or rather, at what point did I start seeing myself as broken? Was it when Mum passed away, or was it the first time she went into hospital? Or was it earlier than that, when my parents split up?
This idea that I am “brand new” again, is meant to invite peace, gratitude and hope. You are a new person now. You’re like a barbie in a box on a shelf. Dazzling and smiling. But plastic and false. Does this phrase just allow us to distance ourselves from our old pain?
People often take comfort from the fact that every 7 years, every cell in our body has been completely replaced. As if we’ll be reborn, this new body will carry us without knowing the reason why certain songs make us cry, or why we can’t go to certain places anymore.
Why do we have this self-imposed idea that throughout our lives we are meant to maintain a perfect, crisp version of ourselves? Like untouched snow, or fresh school shoes that we don’t want to scratch.
It confuses me. “I feel brand new.” It just sounds desperate to me now. Why do we have to hide our suffering?
When you tell someone you are grieving, there’s one of two reactions: people will either jump to tell you their own experiences of grief, without really hearing you, or they are flustered, not knowing what to say. They see you now as a tight rope walker, and at any moment you could fall.
It is so rare to find someone who just listens. Perhaps that’s why we are so intent on reaching a point where we are again, ourselves. A version of us where we don’t make people uncomfortable, or where “they lost …” isn’t attached to our names. A “brand new” version. Evee 2.0, this model comes with a blog and a permanent detachment from her emotions.
Grief feels all encompassing. It is like a god that dictates your day. Hovering over your shoulder, pushing obstacles into your path that seem unconquerable. Maybe it laughs when you think you see your loved ones smile in a stranger’s face. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget who we were before this God of Grief.
And I don’t mean before the death. I mean, who we were before worry, illness, lack of sleep, caring, counting medicines, mental illnesses, etc.
I can’t remember who I was before grief. It’s simple.
Perhaps that’s why I said I felt “brand new”, because although I still grieve and my heart still hurts, I’m moving forward with it. It doesn’t forge my path for me anymore. I don’t let it define me anymore. I am discovering who I am again, but really, maybe it’s who I was all along.
And whilst I am discovering these “brand new” sides of me, I don’t want to be “brand new”. I never want to have that body that Mummy hasn’t hugged, cuddled, kissed or stroked. I would never take away the pain I have felt because my Mum was an incredible woman who I am so proud to know and call my mother.
So forget brand new.
I am not brand new. I am proud of my scars, as cheesy as that is. I don’t want to be Evee 2.0 because I’m not even old enough to have discovered all of Evee 1.0 yet.
If you are my age and have been through something similar, you may find it difficult to relate to people your own age, but you will still find people who you relate to. You are not broken. You are not ‘damaged goods’. Losing someone at a young age makes us feel different. But that’s all it is; we feel different. We aren’t. You are still young; and you can still be young. You will one day laugh so hard that you get stitches, and another day you will cry over the shattering pain you feel. That’s okay.
You’re a person something bad happened to. So, what? You are still you.