On this day II

Timehop is an app you plug your social media accounts into and each day it gives you back your posts from that day in the past.

This morning a quote popped up from 7 years ago.


“You cannot live when you are untouchable. Life is vulnerability.” – Édouard Boubat.

What was I doing 7 years ago – or feeling – which made this relevant? I wish I could remember. Is it still relevant now?

For a long time I was a closed book. Often described as or accused of being cold, hard, harsh. Much of this goes back to ancient times. I’ve written much about my Dad and how he impacted my ability to form ‘normal’ relationships. If you don’t feel you cannot be hurt. It took me many years to drop my walls and allow people in. It took me decades to be comfortable with giving someone the keys to my heart. Years to trust someone, to love and be loved in return.

Seven years ago was the first time I was truly happy and comfortable living with someone and loving someone. And trusting them to love me right back. The good and the bad. Sadly I lost that person, but I didn’t lose me.

When Clare died I hurt. It was a physical pain and I despised that feeling as much as I embraced it. That pain meant I felt something. That anguish at loss meant there was hope.

Tennyson said, ‘tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,’ and there is truth in those words which I didn’t want to accept when I loved and lost Clare.

I learned so much from her during our time together. She made me a better person. She taught me to be more accepting of my faults, more accepting of the faults of others. More capable of loving someone and more capable of accepting someone might love me.

Those lessons are as relevant now, seven years later, as they were back then, and perhaps this echo from the past serves as a timely reminder. I’m home with my family. With a woman I love and who inexplicably loves me. Through good times and bad times we have stuck together. There’s been challenges we have overcome and I’m sure there will be many more in the future. I’m not untouchable like I once was. I’m vulnerable and through that vulnerability I’ve found a life worth living. 

Favourite quotes

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Friedrich Nietzsche – Beyond Good and Evil

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

I was going to publish this as is because I was feeling lazy but instead I think I’ll take a few minutes to explain why they resonate with me as they do.

Nietzsche’s quote has been known to me for decades but only recently has its appeal become personal. Doing the job that I do I encounter ‘monsters’ and not just as physical manifestations (violent abusers, hardened criminals) but also in themes across society. An underlying culture of cruelty and indifference applied by ‘the powers’ against the poorest and the most vulnerable. I see evil. I see wickedness. I see exploitation and abuse. I see all of the things which people who are sleeping safely in their beds on a night do not see. My colleagues and I combat these things.

Nietzsche reminds me to temper my response to wickedness and violence. It reminds me that I have to be the ‘good’ vs ‘evil’ and that my methods must remain true. One cannot fight with a monster by becoming the same as the monster. One must be conscious of one’s methodologies in that fight.

Thomas’ quote is clearly referencing death. I have seen death. Too much personally and too much professionally. Every day above ground is a gift. Every new dawn a privilege. This reminds me that old age is not guaranteed and that we don’t all make it that far. It instils in me a desire to fight for every last day, every last breath. Do not go gentle…