4 January 2018

The Biggest Doll








I was sitting on the back door step as the clock neared midnight on the last day of 2017.  Both children were out so it was just me and my cup of tea.  For the very first time in my 46 years on earth, I was to greet the new year alone.

With hindsight, my word for 2017 should have been 'acceptance'.  I had no choice but to accept the huge changes in my life.  I had very little say in any of them.  I spent so much of the year reeling, hurting and panicking.  Clinging on by my bloody fingertips.  I felt tiny, worthless and frightened in a vast, unkind new world.

A few months ago, my counsellor handed me an unpainted Russian Doll.  It was a polished pale wood and felt so beautifully cool and smooth to touch.  I traced its curves with my fingers.  She sat silently as I untwisted and opened it to reveal the smaller doll inside.  I repeated the process until I had six dolls in decreasing sizes, laid neatly out in front of me.  She then asked which doll was me.  Without even thinking, I pointed to the second largest.  "If that one's you" she said, "who is the biggest doll?".  Through rasping sobs I replied, "I don't know anymore."

Of course, to some of you, that whole exercise will sound like psychobabble.  For me though, it was one of the most significant moments of 2017.

You see, it was then I realised that I had to become my own biggest doll.  The master of my own destiny.  The key holder of my own happiness.  The one in charge.  The boss.  It wasn't a vacancy for someone else to fill.  Or the responsibility of anyone else.  I had to assume the role, once and for all.  Hmm, not easy when you doubt even your own name.

Since then, slowly, and mostly without even knowing it, I have been battling forward, getting stronger and building a new world for myself.  I have learnt to allow myself those times when I am overcome with fear or loneliness.  When all I want to do is curl up in a foetal ball and cry about how unfair it all feels.  Or when I want to smash things and scream at the top of my lungs "I can't do this on my own!".  Or when I literally ache to have someone put their arms around me and tell me that everything will be ok.  That I will be ok.

Those times pass and I carry on, always moving forward.

So sitting on the doorstep, I reflected on 2017.  Rather than wallow in the fact that I was alone, I concentrated on what I'd achieved ...

And there, in that moment, to the backdrop of squeals and bangs of fireworks heralding the new year, I quietly, and without pomp and ceremony, accepted the role of being my own biggest doll.  And it felt good.  And empowering.

2018, rather than being the year in which I celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary, will be the year that I am granted a divorce.  It will also be the year that the ripples of my growth will be felt and the year my voice is heard again.

Oh yes, and my word for 2018?  Strength.

***

I can't describe how your response to my last post affected me.  I must admit, I did run and hide for a while because I felt completely overwhelmed.  If I'm brutally honest, at the time, I don't think I was convinced I was worthy enough of your kindness.  Every single comment felt like an outstretched hand of compassion, empathy and support.  Thank you.  Thank you so very, very much.  I wish you were here; I'd give you the biggest hug.

Really crap things can suddenly happen in life, to any single one of us.  I think the important thing is to be defined not by them but by how we deal with them.  We also mustn't forget that really wonderful things can suddenly happen too.  And that's pretty damned exciting.

1. Hampstead Ditsy mug from Cath Kidston (sadly no longer available).  2. Snowflake Cookie Yankee Candle.  3. Long rose quartz/crescent moon pendant necklace, handmade by me.  4. Moon Deck affirmation cards from Jo, The Moon Journal, totally enabled by Emma, www.potterandbloom.com.  5. Brainless knitting using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino Tonals in shade 'Rose', available in my Etsy shop.

I have a bit of blog spring cleaning to do around these parts but I'll be back again soon, I promise.

xxx

57 comments:

  1. H..........you are so lovely..............and sooooooo well deserved of every single bit of love, kindness and compassion that your readers give to you.

    ‘Strength’ is a good word for 2018. My word for 2018 is ‘match’. I’m going to match every bad day, decision, and experience with a good and positive one. I started doing it last year and realised how much it helped me to keep a balance when all I could see was what was going wrong at times.

    Hopefully, the wonderful and exciting in 2018 will start to outweigh the heaviness you feel. Be gentle on yourself........and remember how amazing we all think you are. We really do.

    Much love

    V xxxxxx

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  2. Sending you a big hug and hoping the very best for you in 2018 x

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  3. Dear Heather,
    it's always lovely to hear from you. No need hiding, we're here to help you up, to give you the hug you need, and your worth all the love that reaches you, cause you're a real wonderful and lovable person and you've shared so much love with us, it's just fair you get some in return!
    A real big hug! Take care,
    Marjan
    xoxoxo

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  4. 'Strength' is a wonderful word :-). I hope your 2018 is infinitely better than 2017 was. I'm sure there will still be crappy times but your strength will carry you through. (And to be very trivial, your photos are lovely!)

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  5. May 2018 be the year you truly feel blessed and that those happy and really wonderful things do suddenly happen. May the gold begin to glint amongst the ashes...for there in the fire it is truly refined.xx

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  6. Out of the darkness into the light lovely Heather.You are on your way back and we are all behind you routing for you.I wish you a very happy New Year and hope it’s a very good one....no a fantastic one.Im looking forward to seeing more PINK my favourite colour.big hugs.xxxxx

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  7. It's so lovely to see another post from you.
    Happy New Year to you lovely girl, you are the biggest, sweetest, pink-est doll.

    Hugs
    Sandra xx

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  8. It's so lovely to see things move around here again! All in lovely shades of pink too - so nurturing. It sounds as though you're really making progress (even though it doesn't feel like it all the time). I love your pink mug and the lovely homemade crescent moon pendant with the rose quartz.

    Wishing you a new year of new-found strength and wonderful new discoveries which will take you on new roads and journeys - there's so much to see and learn when we let go!

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  9. Strength is a good word, so happy to hear from you, big hugs

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  10. Hi Heather, it's great to see another post from you and to hear that things are on the up. When I was struggling with depression and anxiety a few years ago, a lovely friend bought me some Russian dolls too. I just love how they neatly fit together to form a whole and i think of them as representing the many parts to a persons personality, creativity, strength, knowledge. At my worst the biggest doll represented anxiety and fear and the smallest one confidence.It has turned around now and my smallest doll is now anxiety and fear, I don't know if it will ever go away completely but it's definitely not the biggest doll anymore. My biggest doll is now creativity, with my second biggest, positivity. Here's to 2018 and you becoming the biggest doll full of all the things that represent the true you. Go grab 2018 by the horns and know that you are always worthy.

    Karen X X

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  11. You sound like you are rising from the ashes of last year. Yes, a lovely new Phoenix. Happy New Year. Your strength is amazing.

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  12. Oh so good to hear from you dearest H. Starnge too, as I was thinking of you just the other day. Actually, I think of you quite often, so maybe not so strange. I hope your two are doing ok and you are hanging, somehow, in there! You rock, always!

    S x

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  13. Fabulous to hear you sounding so upbeat and positive. You go girl!! (And more blogs posts... please :))

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  14. So happy to see you back, You’ll do it. You’ve got through last year and now is your time to shine. Your knitting looks lovely and neat. I am determined to learn sock knitting this year. Spring will soon be with us and you’ll be back taking shots of your painted toes in flip flops again. I wish you health and happiness this year, You deserve it all and we will be here whenever you feel the need to express yourself. Stand tall and be proud. X

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  15. You go girl!!!

    You are stronger than you realise! I love the positivity at the end of this post! I wish you a wonderful 2018, with you discovering just how strong you are! You have SO many friends and supporters on here!

    Sending virtual {{hugs}}
    Debbie x

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  16. Glad you are back. Strength is a good word for 2018 !
    I hope this will be a good year for you !

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  17. I'm so happy to read your positive and hopeful words! I'm wishing you all the best for 2018 anD, as you say, the best will come from yourself. Evelyne

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  18. I shall follow your example. Strength will be my word as well. You see, 2018 will be tough for me since, for the first time, I am facing an empty nest. Both children will have flown away when my son boards a plane to fly to his new job in California next week and my daughter goes back to college. I miss them. Not so much the adults they are today. We will stay in close touch and see them regularly. But I miss having my children, the younger versions, under my wing. So, thank you Heather, for the warm hug that extends beyond the pond that is between our homes. I feel your love AND your strength. 💟Carol

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  19. Hurrah for you! Wishing only the best in 2018 for you! Transformation is my word! Sheliah

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  20. I have always loved your blog and am so happy you are now blogging again after all you and your family have been through.Look forward,forward,forward.You are a Strong Woman and deserve only Happiness and Good Fortune,it will come.Sincere Wishes for 2018 and the years to come.Huge Huggles xxxxx

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  21. You have been so strong to get this far and it is heartening to read about the lights at the end of the dark tunnel you have been stuck in. Life can be hard, oh so hard!I think you are awesome, honestly I do. Wishing you well on your continued journey into the future - that bright and happy place where all is well. May 2018 shine a torch to show you the way. All the best, and much happiness and joy to be yours wherever you can find them :)

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  22. How brave you are. How strong you are. You need to be as kind and gentle and nurturing with yourself now as you are with your children.
    This was once me, a lifetime ago.
    May 2018 bring hope and with it see you flourish. Pamela x

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  23. How brave you are. How strong you are. You need to be as kind and gentle and nurturing with yourself now as you are with your children.
    This was once me, a lifetime ago.
    May 2018 bring hope and with it see you flourish. Pamela x

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  24. How wonderful to hear how you have survived and are now healing. I agree with all the other lovely comments. You are amazing, you are valued, you are still you. This year you will thrive and find yourself doing things you never expected. You will become even more you, an even better version. Take small steps and enjoy the journey.

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  25. So lovely to hear from you. It sounds like you had a good new years eve, time to reflect on what you've achieved. It's a great deal. How is the Cath Kidston job going? Hopefully 2018 will be a great one for you. Good to see you looking forward, taking charge and choosing to be positive. I think you are a very strong and brave person, it is so easy to give up and you've pushed through for you and your children. Good on you!

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  26. What a great word for 2018, I look forward to seeing you go from strength to strength xxxxx

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  27. I have battled depression for 20 years. Thank God for my quiet place and my journals. I wish you a peaceful, calm, happy 2018. I do know that times get better. God bless you. If I could hug you, I would. I have been through the empty nest,too. 😂

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  28. What a treat to see your post in my inbox today. Welcome back. :-)

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  29. So lovely to have you back - I have missed your blog posts - beautiful pictures and inspiring words. Keep on keeping on - I have sign in my kitchen “Happiness is a inside job” - so true but you can do it��❤️
    Emma xx

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  30. I'm with you my lovely. 2017 was a turning point in my life too. A grief that will take forever to heal after losing my Mother. The breakdown of your marriage is like a bereavement, compounded by all the other things that bombarded you throughout the year. Because of that you will never be the same again, but the 'new you' will be a better version; promise! So happy to hear from you H. Oodles of positivity coming your way from me to you. P.S. You write so beautifully x

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  31. Hi Heather, welcome back ! I haven't replied to you before but love your blog and I have been missing your posts ... I am glad you are feeling better and thanks for giving me hope since I seem to be going down a similar road and your feelings reflect my own. I hope 2018 is a great year for you ! :-)

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    1. Never lose hope my lovely. It's an acronym for Hold On, Pain Ends. And it does, I promise. xx

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  32. Strength and inner strength for 2018.
    xx

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  33. I found you shortly before you had to take a break. So pleased to see you back. Onwards and upwards - at YOUR pace. Much love to you x

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  34. Thank you for sharing such meaningful reflections, wishing you happiness and strength in the year ahead x

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  35. Hello lovely one. You popped into my head today and I headed here to check on you. Oh if only I could come and hold your hand and listen to you and drink tea and eat cake with you. I love that last paragraph and how true that we never know what lovely things might be right around the corner too. Wishing so many lovely things around your corners in 2018.

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  36. Here's to a very strong 2018. One day at a time. Every day your friends are there for you xx

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  37. Sending you a great big hug. I hope 2018 treats you in a way you deserve. Xxx

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  38. came to your blog post purely by chance when searching for the maker of one of the first littleboxofcrochet boxes which sadly I missed as I didnt find LBC til later. so moved by what you wrote there ..circumstances obviously different but so much of that is what I feel too and I have that same task of empowering myself which is a bit daunting to say the least. but thank you for those words...and on the crochet front do you still have the pattern from the LBC box with the coloured wrist warmers ?!!

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    1. Hi Doreen. Thank you so much for your comment. Do email me via pinkmilk71@outlook.com and I'll see if I can help re the LBOC cuff pattern. x

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  39. Oh my gosh! I'm so happy to see a post from you!! 💕 Sending you big hugs. 😊 I hope & pray you continue on this road to recovery. I think you must be very strong. 💕 Such lovely photos, as always, in this post. I do hope you continue to blog.

    Love, Michelle 🍓

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  40. I too found myself beginning a new year on my own, but in different circumstances. My husband died at the end of November 2017 (after a brief but brutal illness). What has touched me is how much of your writing resonates with me - I can identify with all that you say. I suppose it boils down to 'grief' - for the life & love we had and have lost, & the heartache & struggle in finding a new way forward. My chosen word for 2018 is 'hope', because without it I don't think I'd survive. I wish you so much joy & happiness in 2018 - I really hope it is a kind year to us all. Much love, Pat XXX

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    1. Oh Pat. I'm so terribly sorry. I hope 2018 is a gentle one and offers you reasons to smile. xx

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  41. Hello my lovely, I’ve just discovered your back on here....I’m So very pleased. Also just discovered your Etsy store and am about to purchase some new hooks :-). I loved reading your blogs and looking at your beautiful pictures. I am in awe of how honest you are and I take my imaginary hat off to you. Are you back on Instagram? I loved looking at your little squares. Take care my lovely and look forward to chatting to you soon xxxx

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  42. Lovely to see a post from you. Strength is a perfect word for 2018. Take care.

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  43. Você é linda,muitos beijinhos força

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  44. Hello, just popped in on an impulse, so glad I did, lovely to know your back posting. I used to love reading your posts and looking at all the lovely things you made. You sound so much more positive now, keep your chin up my lovely, there IS light at the end of the tunnel, AND better things to come. I know, ive been there myself and life is now wonderful. Sending you the biggest hug x

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  45. Oh Heather. I randomly popped over here tonight to see if you'd blogged and found and read your last two posts. I'm sorry that you had to go through that but do you realise how strongly and resiliently your voice comes through? It's full of love and hope - and, yes, sadness and regret too - but there is so much good stuff out there for you. Much love to you. Incidentally, since you told us that your shop had closed, I find myself thinking about you quite often, hoping you're ok. I think you will be. Xxxx

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  46. I just found your blog, via my very favorite blogger, Sedef.
    I saw Pink Milk and I love Pink Milk
    I just read several of your posts. I never knew you Heather,but I understand your pain.
    Please know that I am praying for you, your kiddos, and your life ahead.
    You have a strong supporter in Northern Virginia. Don't let go. YOu have a pile of people who truly love you.

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  47. Good to see you are coming back! You're such a inspiring crafter! Hope everything goes ok, in your time :) a big hug from Brazil.

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  48. Hi. So happy to read this post from you. Strength is a perfect word. I went through the same thing two years ago when my husband of 28 years moved out while I was out for just 2hours. Just a small note against the kettle. I've not seen or heard from him since. Two years on my life is better than before. I have realised strengths I didn't know I possessed and life is great. I'm sure you will find the same. You go girl!!. Looking forward to your posts and will you be on instagram?

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  49. "We don't even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome." -- Isabel Allende

    I wish you peace, comfort, and new joys in 2018.

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  50. "We don't even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome." -- Isabel Allende

    I wish you peace, comfort, and new joys in 2018.

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  51. Heather, I have had a similar year, with similar circumstances and similar reactions. I can totally and utterly relate. Totally and utterly. I am still trying to find myself, my strength and my way, so I'm following your blog in hopes that your path will inspire and inform mine.
    Only best, bright wishes to you as you continue 2018 (for now, we are well into it, aren't we?!) and I truly hope that it all gets much, much better for you.

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  52. lovely Heather i was just going through my very old emails when i saw a sweet message from you. This prompted me to think that i haven't been on the blog scene, well for a few years now. So much has been happening with my life and likewise i see you have been going through a tough time too. Life picks you up a throws you around till your head spins and leaves you wondering what??? why?? and how we wish things would be different. Ive always been a happy go lucky person but i must say the uncertainty thats been in my mind has been really unsettling. You, me and everyone else are strong loving people that just happen to loose our way. 2018 seems to be a new start for you to start becoming strong again, i just wish i could tell myself that... much love to you and the kids xxx Helen x

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  53. Like many of your fans I just popped over to see if you had been able to face blogging again and I'm so happy to see that you are back, just as inspiring as ever. The freshness and beauty of your photographic art just glows off the page. They are such lovely images of meditation for spring or new life and new beginnings. I hope that seeing all the loveliness that you create and send out into the world will help you not only to take on the biggest doll for yourself, but to clothe her with your true beauty as well. Thank you so much for coming back. May this year be filled with all the love, support and kindness that you need to heal and strengthen, and may many doors open wide for you. You have been missed.

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  54. Heather, I love your blog. It brings me peace to look at it. I come often just to browse it. I so want to see England. Don't think you are alone, we are out here waiting for your posts.

    Thank you,
    Cindy Huxtable

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Anyone ever told you that you're a peach? xx

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