I need to place this post in some kind of context. It was written some days ago when I was feeling angry with the whole of the universe. I hurt, and I just wanted to bleed onto a piece of paper. I talked to a couple of very wise friends about whether to post it (you know who you are – thank you), and they both, independently, said 'why do you want to post it?'
I've been thinking about that. And I think I want to post it to say that this is how I have been feeling, and I know I am allowed to feel like this. And if it's how you feel, then you are allowed to feel like this too. But I am determined. I have made it through bereavement to get here, and no virus is going to stop me now.
In the words of Julian of Norwich, even though it doesn't always feel like it, 'all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.'
It was supposed to be my time.
I worked to support my first husband so that he could achieve his dream of being a freelance music producer. We needed my income to help to buy the equipment, and also to buy food, to pay the mortgage and to feed the cats when he stopped his full time job. But before he became established and started making money, our marriage broke up, at least in part because there was someone he would rather be with. And during all this I got made redundant. But I kept on working.
Tim found me, and picked me up. And I worked to support us, and we developed his bookshop together. It was our investment and our future, and he worked full time and then some, and then some more. But it needed my income as well as his to work, along with some very generous help from his parents, to make it work. He was so desperate for me to know that it wasn't just up to me, that he was doing everything that he could to make it right for us, and that he didn't want to let me down. Then, just as it became successful, and his name known nationally (and internationally), he died. Sometimes I worry that he worked himself to death for me.
So, I worked all hours over the next couple of years to hide from grief, pay off debts and to build up a bit of money.
And then. It was supposed to be my time.
I began the MA in Writing for Performance at Derby University, paid for by selling Tim's stock. I went to university where nobody knew me so that they could know me just as me. Not as a widow, unless I wanted them to know that. Not as my ex-husband's partner. Not as Tim's partner. Not who I had been. But as who I am now.
I got a good grade for my first piece of coursework. I started psychotherapy in Derby to get my head round my grief and my depression. I did contract work so I knew I could have three or four paid days of work a week while I was studying.
I started making contacts with theatres, planning how I could get known to the right people there. Booked solo trips and trips with friends to theatres to get a feel of how plays were written and performed. Saturated myself in audio drama. Started to get a feel of how I could craft my words for stage and radio.
And then it was the coronavirus' time.
I knew alone on a scale that I had never known alone before.
My contract work dissolved, but I wasn't eligible for any of the government hand-outs. All the theatres shut so my planned trips were cancelled. All the scratch nights were cancelled. News started to come in of the smaller theatres that would never open again. The larger theatres that would struggle and only get through once they opened again (if they opened up again) on known writers and known plays. The theatres that would be unlikely to accept an unknown new writer.
The imposter syndrome genie invaded my head, to ask me who I thought I was to consider that I could write well enough to ever be on stage or radio, and to tell me that the coronavirus was the universe's way of telling me that I might as well give in now.
The university closed, though fortunately I had completed almost all my sessions for this academic year. And now I have no idea whether lockdown will be over by the beginning of the next academic year.
And this was supposed to be my time.
Writing short fiction, monologues and plays