My daughter and I have recently returned to the homeland after a trip to Eurodisney.
She, light of spirit. Me, light of wallet.
And of weight, given the amount of time I spent on various squatters, home and abroad, in a state of abject angst.
Everything represented a challenge to me, from the boarding of the Eurostar (now my only remaining route off the Island as flying, ferry boats and the front-crawl are out), to dining out.
Being on the Metro felt akin to being buried alive. I feared intruders in the night in our tiny, ground floor apartment. And those irritating little hairdryer-powered scooters they all skitter about on over there were like swarms of hornets out to get me and my child at every corner.
Fortunately we were in the care of an understanding and endlessly patient friend, who organised and ushered us around like a small but highly troublesome school party, and dealt with my sudden gush of tears on the RER with a deft wipe of a tissue and a rousing chorus of ‘It’s A Small World’.
And of course, being in Paris itself was a challenge. Mark lived there, studied there, flounced around its trottoirs wearing turtle-neck jumpers and smoking Gauloises with well-rehearsed Gallic insouciance. We loved, Paris, He and I, almost as much as we loved our Geordie homeland.
Time away is becoming more and more difficult since Mark’s death. Crushing transportation fears aside, the truth is, I simply don’t want to go anywhere. Coming home, to our little village, I feel a weight lift in my heart. It cocoons us, this place, and increasingly, I don’t want to leave it.
“You’ve got some help, mate,” my friend told me as we bade farewell at the end of our Small World weekender. “You’ve always been anxious, but it has reached a new level.”
The world has indeed become smaller. But at this rate, I’m worried it’ll soon end at my front door.
16 thoughts on “It’s A Small (Small, Small, Small) World”
You’re doing just what you need to do – attend to your doorstep and stay feeling as safe as you can. It makes perfect sense to me and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Your little village sounds like a dream and I bet these days, even more so. Sit tight. The world will still be there when you are ready.
that’s a lovely thought actually – that the world will be there when I’m ready. Feels like a hope-filled statement. the village is definitely a haven pf safety and security at the moment. thanks for reading and commenting Tricia. x
Good on you then for facing your fears and actually going. You may be anxious but you’re also incredibly strong and the fact that you’re getting out there despite your worries only goes to prove it. Lots of love. X
Thanks Jean …you know me, i love something to worry about…but your words are lovely. xx
I always follow the blog and have commented previously but this one struck a cord. I, as I get older feel less needy to leave the confines of my work place city life coupled with my semi rural neighborhood living where I seem to have everything I need. I am an anxious person on general but still love holidays but can see my world getting smaller all the time. Maybe yours isnt getting smaller because mark is not here, maybe because it would have done anyway? Just a thought. X
hi there lynn. thanks for sticking with me and commenting here. i too have always been anxious in general, but it seems to have gone into overdrive in recent months. i always liked to think of myself as the intrepid explorer, but perhaps the reality is that i’m a homebird…. love to you in your rural haven! x
I agree with Jean. Going abroad and being solely responsible for a small (prob v excitable I’m guessing!) person is a hard task, as I’ve found. Add in to it the memories, which are ALWAYS difficult to face and it sounds like you’ve done well. I’m guessing you did all this for your daughter (unless you were dead keen to put on some daft ears and stand in queues?!) in which case I’m sure when she’s old enough she’ll thank you for this huge act of motherly love so give yourself a well deserved pat on the back. I’m at a similar stage to you (time wise) and I absolutely feel that holidays is one of the biggest challenges I’m struggling with right now. I want to go, but I don’t. I want self catering, just me and kids, but I don’t want to have to cook, I don’t want to go with others, I don’t want loads of happy families about, but I don’t want us to be on our own. Holidays are something to be endured for the kids I’ll be lucky (and extremely happy) if I get much enjoyment in amongst the anxiety of getting from A-B and in between. You feel like this now but another few months you might feel just like venturing out of your village again for a trip somewhere.
thats interesting actually zoe; you’re right, the concept of a holiday has been totally redefined since mark’s death. feels like, as you say, something to be endured rather than enjoyed. given the option, i wouldn’t go at all. but we do it, for the kids…thanks for the affirming message. you have ‘got’ me completely. x
I think it will only end at your door if you let it and i’m glad to see you are putting up a fight so it doesn’t. Very brave of you to go face your fears rather than let them imprison you.
But pace yourself!
hi there dyrham, thanks for reading and for the supportive comment. i don’t feel terribly brave, but i will continue to face the fears…thanks again. x
Eurodisney is no mean feat! Anxiety is a total bitch, and one which people looking in from the outside find it impossible to understand, I have found. No idea if it will offer you anything useful, but I am hoping that a book I bought, on a whim, yesterday, may help me with my lifelong anxiety issues – Asperger Syndrome and Anxiety by Nick Dubin. Don’t let the Aspergers aspect put you off, so far it seems to me to be the most understanding (and therefore potentially useful) book I’ve read on anxiety. Lots of love xx
hey there. you’re right, in terms of sheer ‘putting yourself through holiday hell’, eurodisney is up there! i too have always suffered anxiety, it has reared it’s debilitating, ugly head big time over recent months, so i am grateful for your book recommendation and would be interested in whethr you feel it has helped after you have read it. much love. x
Oh Lucie well done You are so brave. It so challenging out there. I’m so glad you wrote this as Chelsea and I are going away in June to a small village in Corfu called arillas. It’s somewhere we went as a family for many years and have made many friends. We went there just before he was sick knowing it would probably be our last holiday together. Anyway Chelsea has decided. We just do it. ‘Rip the plaster off’. Seemed like a good idea the night we booked it. Now the time is getting nearer I’m not so sure. Part of me wants too yet part of me is saying why put yourself thro this, but I know if I don’t I’ll always be thinking I wish I had. Love an hugs xx
eek. that is a BIG thing to do Lynne, and i think you’re the one who is incredibly brave. but the good thing is, you are doung it. no doubt it will be a mixture of comfort and pain while you are there, but good on your daughter for booking it. prepare for emotional rollercoaster and you may just find it’s not as bad as you thought….big hugs. xxx
I, too, have a general feeling of anxiety about life in general, especially now that I am a widow. The world is a risky and unpredictable place and bad things happen “out there” to good people. I knew this, of course, before my husband died but back then he was looking out for me, he would do everything in his power to protect me, and if and when anything bad happened we could and would face it together. And therefore I felt safe. Now I don’t. Even with family and friends, there is no one person anymore who has my back, no-one with whom to strategize/discuss/plan/take precautions to help ward off evil or fight evil when it arrives. I am alone now. In searching for “safe” there is the inclination to not venture far from home, to not even venture out the door except when necessary, to stay in familiar surroundings. This brings a certain amount of comfort. But I have come to believe it is false comfort to a certain degree, because the reality is that life is risky and unpredictable anywhere, even within the confines of one’s own home. After all, that is where my husband died, unexpectedly and quickly, from a heart attack on the living room floor. One minute he was alive and well, and then he was not.
There is an older American television series called “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”. In Season Six, in an episode entitled “Point Blank”, Dr. Quinn is unexpectedly shot. Though she recovers physically, she develops agoraphobia. She comes to realize, however, that bad things can happen at home too and she eventually learns to venture out into the world again. I found this episode to be sensitive and inspiring. The message I took from it is that as long as I don’t foolishly place myself at risk, I am not much more vulnerable than I have ever been. And though there is no need to be an intrepid explorer, it is okay to participate in the world at large.
I hope that you find the courage to continue participating in the world at large.
What a lovely, supportive and thoughtful message. Thank you. I am very similar to what you describe – anxiety has augmented since becoming a widow, and despite the fact that Mark died at my Mother’s house, I still feel safer indoors, in the village, than anywhere else. It is totally irrational, yet somehow impossible to rationalise! The world feels rocky, unstable, liable to come falling round my ears at any given moment. I fear that I am transferring this fear onto my daughter too – I find myself watching her like a hawk, risk assessing any behaviours or actions. Heartening to know I’m not alone though. Many thanks again.