It’s been some time since I posted and I thought it would be best to let you all know what’s going on, especially in the light of today’s events in Brussels.
I’m going to take a little break from my lovely Bazaar Collective community for a bit. I’ve already told our close team and they’re so sweet and supportive. That’s not to say I’m going to be totally anti-social, I’m still going to see everyone on the ground here in Brussels, but I have less time for organisation get-togethers and less time for creative work at the moment. There is an awful lot going on at home and it’s taking all of my energy just to stay on top of it and stay sane.
This is my garden. It’s all mine. And The Belgian’s, of course. We bought it and will spend the next 20 years paying for it and it’s my small little slice of heaven. Once I get through the next few months, I will lock myself away here for a short while to recover. I am going to garden, cook, eat, read, do some office work in the mornings, some house repair in the afternoons, and not much else besides for just a few months. I hope to burst out the other side full of energy.
I’m writing this today in Brussels, a few hundred metres from the Maelbeek metro station where a suicide bomber just blew up a metro carriage, killing a number of people. This morning three bombs went off at Brussels Airport. Looking out my window, it’s a glorious evening and there are people walking around a sunny park and cars going up and down the street. Those weird Brussels wild parakeets are flirting in and out of the still-bare branches, concentrating on forming their next batch of crazy offspring. If it wasn’t for the sound of the sirens and the constant text messages from my family back home, I would not have the feeling that anything catastrophic had happened in Brussels today. Catastrophic doesn’t even cover it, this changes our lives completely. It changes how we see Brussels, ourselves within the city and our own daily actions. I find it all so elusive. I can’t grasp the events or their consequences. Since November we’ve not only been expecting something like this but I’ve thought about it daily. My new commute involves that same metro line. I think about it constantly and am often anxious when I’m pottering about on the tram or metro. Now that it’s actually happened it doesn’t change anything, only justifies the anxiety somehow.
How do we manage this? I had already stepped a little back from my creative world because of other pressures, but if I step back from the world any further I’ll become a hermit. And this is not the way to deal with this new world we’re in. But how to deal with it? With platitudes and “show them no fear” slogans and pictures of beaches with the words of Paulo Coelho in some godawful font? No thank you, that’s not my style. For the last few years I’ve been dealing with fertility issues. I initially took a step back from the blog and from creative work because I’ve just been so exhausted trying to manage that. It’s three years later and we’ve moved no further on that, so I’m quite destroyed by it all. Around November last year I sat back and said no more for a while. No more drugs, no more tests, no more 7am hospital appointments, no more tears. We’re now about half way through an adoption process that we had started last summer, which would mean a child brought into my life within the next year or so. The idea fills me with equal parts delirious joy and abject fear. I desperately want a child in my life but how do I manage that if events like today become a European norm? I have absolutely no answers. When I was a kid, I thought my parents had all the answers. My Mum gave birth to me when she was 20 years old, 13 years younger than I am right now… Any child arriving in my life now would have every right to expect that I have all the answers but here I am, asking you…
So, excuse me for a while, I’m going to hunker down with The Belgian and create a nest where we can feel safe together and from which we can fly. I’m posting pictures of the renovation process on our old townhouse apartment, which is fun but also total madness. We had no idea what we were getting into! If you’re interested in following that process, please have a look…
Otherwise, give me a while and I’ll be back. Probably unchanged, with as many questions and fewer answers. But hopefully with a little more calm.
PS this is a good piece by Deborah Orr in The Guardian today on Brussels. If the government could see their way clear to sorting out their petty disputes and forming a common ground, we’d be right behind them in support.