Today we are sharing a piece written by a wonderful soul, Lorna Leeson. The piece is entitled, 'The Thing That Nearly Took Me Out'.
You can find Lorna on Twitter: @reallornaleeson and on LinkedIn: Here
Over to Lorna:
The Thing That Nearly Took Me Out
Tell the story of the thing that almost took you out..........
I have a book and a painting that belonged to my Grandpa. The book is his World War 2 memoir. The story of how he met and fell in love with my Grandmother, but also the story of the thing that almost took him out. The war, his depression, his distance from his family. Young, sensitive, scared, in West Africa with the RAF; in many ways safer than his contemporaries but still with things threatening to ‘take him out’ always around the corner.
The painting is of a boat similar to one that almost cost him his life. A reminder I think of the fragility of life, his luck, how he weathered that time, and the familial love he had for the West African who saved him that day. The thing that nearly took him out.
How words and pictures help anchor us. How stories soothe and connect us. Across generations, across continents.
The thing that almost took me out is still here. It sits curled in the corner some days, like a benign, sleeping lion. Others, it prowls the perimeter of my day, circling, keeping me in it’s gaze. I tread carefully, quietly, softer than I want to. And some days, it roars. Fewer days now, but it can still bare teeth.
The thing that almost took me out was sitting curled in the corner for a long while before I first noticed it. But I knew it was there… under my skin I felt it’s tension. And I could sense it circling, stalking. Sometimes, I tried to draw attention to it. But the thing did not want attention. The thing wanted control.
Until it became impossible to ignore and ran rampage through my life. Growling, swiping, snarling. Threatening to rip my limbs from my body and some days leaving me feeling as if it had done just that.
And the thing became quieter. The further I ran, the smaller the thing seemed. But this is just the trick of perspective. The thing was still there. And it was now stalking the perimeter of my life. Pacing. Telling me to keep out.
Running stopped being a viable course of action. You can’t run forever, or you’ll burn out. I had no more running in me, although I’ll admit that there are still days when I look at the horizon and feel the muscles in my feet ready themselves. At some point you need to approach the thing circling the perimeter of your life and look it in the eye. I approached.
I have got to know the thing that almost took me out over the past year or so. Understood it better. Seen the scars that it tends when it’s curled in a corner. Witnessed the fear behind the bared teeth. The pain behind the roar. I’ve sat with it. Curled up with it and our scars. Listened to the pain.
I do not know how long this thing that almost took me out will be here. Maybe always. Maybe just for a season. I do know that it will have left me a different woman to the one who would gingerly step around the sleeping thing.
I’ve looked the snarling, roaring thing with claws that almost took me out dead in the eye. We have understood that neither of us are going without a fight. But that the fight doesn’t have to be between us.
Thank you to Joanna for inviting me to tell the story of the thing that almost took me out. And for being a fellow champion of stories. May you learn to sit quietly with the thing that almost took you out, and live to tell the story.
Thank you so much to Lorna for sharing this piece, proving that her written voice is just as beautiful and moving as her singing voice.
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