I've been a bit paralysed the past couple of months. I haven't been able to write or be in any way reflective or hopeful, and I didn't think it right to write on here for the sake of things. I felt it would be dishonest. I'm reentering this medium, and starting with a poem. I used to write a lot of poetry, I know a lot of poets get a bad rap "ugh, poets are the absolute worst" -- everyone. Maybe so, but this says what I want to say, succinctly. Well, I'm never succinct, but at least the lines are short. 

For those that I may disappoint

I pray you comprehend

And if you don’t I don’t blame you

There is much at work in this blend

This blend I didn’t ask for,

This blend I didn’t want

This long road back to health

That often feels like hell

And makes me long to be alone

To find peace in solitude and quiet

No more sirens, no more doorbells

No more ring-a-ding of the phone 


I’m not the same, I never will be, I’ll never be that girl

Who loved loud parties and crashing into energy

I’ve changed so much it’s hard to fathom

Where I begin and where I end, I sometimes can't imagine

I've never considered my experience in particular

More important than any other

If anything, it’s taught me that,

Our own pain is our own: didactic visitor

From which growth can only stem

So for those that I may disappoint, I know you know I know 

It’s been a long, tiring 14 months, of this

Of anger, upset, grief, fear and sick

Of laughing, smiles, tight hugs and love

Despite how it’s sucked royal dick


My problem has never been

Not showing up, ever in my life

And in so many instances this year

Not showing up has been rife

Whether in the physical or the mental

I’ve had to take my space

So for those that I may disappoint

Just take it at its face

Even when unfurls a paranoia extreme

That none of you will want me back

Or want to deal with this new incarnation

Of me

And so I scramble to be amongst it 

To play imposter

Before I come to my senses 

And see: it doesn't have to be all picket fences


I do look similar on the face of things

Finally the svelte figure I always longed for

I’d trade it back a thousand times

To not go through it any more 

Sometimes I look in the mirror

And I don’t know who she is

So some days I don't look 

It took me weeks and weeks last year

To even look down at my abdomen

And see where my new scar and staples

Had carefully been drawn in

I didn’t understand it

So I took the course

If I could just get through this pesky old recovery

I'd have no remorse

To get back to life, but what life is that?

Which one do you speak of?

I don’t think we had one on the go

Sure we did, but we were struggling

And the flag was hung at half-mast

The lady wasn’t in: she was mostly stumbling


They told me one, three, eighteen fold

I was given a second chance at life

What is this life you speak of?

It’s pretty dark down here 

Why must the tears be joyful?

When my only constant is fear

And why must I be grateful?

Remind me what I did, again, that makes this such a miracle?


Just let me get back at it

Just let me get right back in

Let me make my plans again

And give me back these years

Give me back the last two years of my

Fancy foot free twenties

I tell myself and tell myself

There is no social clock

But sometimes I can’t help it

To give it plenty stock

And often to be jealous of my peers and elders

Of travel and of gatherings where I'm not included

Of babies, jobs, engagements, weddings and new endeavours

Sickness has necessarily rendered me excluded

From this year that time forgot


Time forgot to tell me that

Half of 28 and all of 29

I’d not only be saying goodbye to you, old self

I’d be saying goodbye to being fine

Fine with my status quo

And fine with who I was

And going along with that old girl

Because it’s what I’d always know

Fine with forgetting intimacy

Was something available, to me

Fine with letting others so often take the reins

And sit back and let it happen

Fine with going through the motions

Fine with my freedom developing into chains

I’m not the same

I’m not the same

Nor would I want to be

But I have to honour my old friend

The Nora I used to be


The girl who lived so many lives

The one who never stopped

The one who wasn’t scared to do much

Of anything

And kept fear sticking pedal to the clutch

To see the world

To never be pinned down

Who kept the fear inside her pocket, and used it as a crutch

She didn't like people seeing her, even for a minute

The one who poured out love so readily

But didn’t like receiving it

The one who loved to party

And smoke cigarettes 

The one who got out amongst it

From an age that makes me blush

The one who learned three, four different languages 

At varying degrees of accomplishment

And dove head first into everything, who loved the rush

The girl who was her mother’s daughter, the girl that nearly killed her

When that girl was born, her milk went bad

Mother should have died, but she lived to tell the tale

But that’s not my tale to tell

And thus began so many years

Of one foot in and one foot out

Of guilt and shame

Undeserved and underserved


This girl was loved so much

But she always had a doubt

That her parents might slip away from her

And leave her on her own

The fear: it always ate at her

To the point where she’d rather be alone

It’s better to be on the run

So no one truly knows you

This girl had love, too much of it

So much it almost wasn’t right

And thus began a dichotomy –

One of darkness and one of light


You can’t have one without the other

We learn so much at night

But long to see the light of day, if we get too lost in night’s cover

“Dark Nora”, they said, when I was only 3

A dark Nora remained and stayed

But the light would always, always break free

The adventure, the excitement of new lands

Of friends gathered up in faraway places

It gripped her in its intoxicating beauty

And never let go her hands


The fear would often creep right in, she didn’t understand

Why so often, she couldn’t sleep at night

She’d see spirits within its magic

She only saw the bad ones, though

She saw it as her plight

And didn’t trust her power

She thought the light was out to get her

And so on and so on and so on she would cower

First she’d sit on the stairs hiding

From very young, and join her parents

For late night tv viewing

Luckily for her, they weren't into chiding  

Later on she'd make her friends stay up with her til first light

She'd rather be on high alert, continue on her fight

Despite her best efforts, the light continued to protect her

She looked away, and looked away

And still the spirits within her stirred


So for those that I may disappoint

Remember I’m still saying

Goodbye and farewell and see you next time

To my best friend and only foe – myself

I have to say goodbye

I loved her and I was


I trusted her completely

Because I knew where she had been

I knew her so well and nobody knew the shoes she wore

Nobody had been where I had been

Eight schools and six odd countries,

I’d made a life in, I chucked myself at its shores

Some unknown force always guarding, standing tall

This girl did dumb, insane, magnificent, atrocious things

She was cool and also fun, a lot of fun, too much sometimes

And she never gave in to the fall

This girl called her parents not once, not twice, but 7 times

Sobbing down the payphone 

I did it again, I fucked it up, I missed my flight,

I need your help, please help me on just one more occasion

They always helped, they always did, they let me grow askew

They understood to fuck things up and let me live with judgement few

They let me be a fuck up

They let me also succeed

Her parents let her do it

Her parents let her go

They weren't the sort to plead

And off she went to live her life

To become older – but not grow

And so these many 14 months

I’ve been saying goodbye to this girl, the one I no longer know


The one I long for, the one I get, the one who knows me best

The new me is raw and forward, and she’s been put to the fucking test

The girl is in me, she’ll always be me, but I’ve got to say goodbye

To my best friend and confidante

I keep saying farewell, with a forlorn sigh 


So to those that I may disappoint in the day-to-day

The ones who may not recognize me

To those who don’t know how to act

Or what to say

Or what I need

Or who I am

Or where I went

Or when I might come back

The ones who might be fed up

Just know that girl you knew, my best friend and confidante

She’s never coming back

I thought she was, I thought she might show up

But she’s not here, she left that day and now I’m here to stay

We’re still the same in spades a plenty

I’m not the one I thought I’d be, I'm also not a liar

I’m not the girl who could continue copacetic

I’m the woman who can walk through fire

I’m not afraid to self protect, and I embrace my quirky tics 

I’m not living according to anyone else’s expectations but my own

My illness has owned me for 14 months and made me

Sit in pain

So now to determine the priority

(Which can't be expedited)


So for those that I may disappoint

Or those who expect more

For those who thought it might go back

To just the status quo

That’s ok because you’re saying goodbye too

That girl you know, the one you loved, the one you nearly lost

The one you helped to stay alive, for more hours and days than they thought poss

Let’s not forget those good times

Let’s not forget the fun

Let’s not forget the laughing, joy, the dancing until 1

(pm the next day)

Despite some dark times too, there was always, always fun


For those that I may disappoint

Please know

I’m disappointed too

I struggle everyday to come to terms

With letting go that girl you knew

And adjust to my new reality

The girl you knew, she’s not here anymore

But the woman is much better

I’m not at full capacity and perhaps in some ways I never will be

Plus, for right now, enlightenment eludes me

I don’t know how to walk through the world 

with ease

Darkness breaks when I wake, and it seems I hang on 

By a tiny morsel of thread

I’m so much like that infant child

Whose mother’s milk went bad

Through no fault of their own

[The tale where the mother had the newborn

Who she couldn’t properly take care for]


You may not recognize me

You may not comprehend

I may retreat from time to time

When I'd have considered that a crime 

I’m getting better and I’m not quite there

Although things are looking up

The beauty is, that girl you knew,

She’s still inside here too

She still has all the many memories to hold onto

She’s saying goodbye, she’s fading back to black

As I enter over stage left

And it’s not as easy as she thought it might be

Mourning is not linear: it doesn’t have a handbook

It doesn’t tell you that you’ll hurt the ones you love

It doesn’t tell you when you’ll stop

It doesn’t tell you how to map it, there is no guide

It doesn’t tell you that it’ll hurt so much

That there is no light, and you forgot how to confide

There is no stopwatch and snapping out of it is not an option


So for those that I may disappoint

Please remember I don’t know me too

The funny thing is, it would be just the same

With liver lost or not

I’m pushing 30 and that’s the one

We know we say goodbye

We say goodbye to reckless promise

And say hello to knowledge

Instilled by time gone by

So don’t forget me yet, and

If I’m not the friend, daughter, cousin, niece, family member

You thought I was

That’s fine

And probably expected

I can’t go back even though I want to sometimes badly

I have to tow a line


So if I don’t pick up the phone

Or smile when I see you

Or if I don’t reply in kind

Or if I’m in a sour mood

Or if I don’t have the time for you

Just know I’m not the same, I’m not the same

And mostly I don’t mean it

I’m not the same and never will be

And I still love you just as much

But I’m getting to love me


And if I send you a needy text

Or seem an insolent teenager

It’s because I’m still holding on,

And trying to navigate this new

I have to pave new road

I’m hoping for the answer

To stop and give me pause

There has to be some sort of cause

And if it smacks me right across the face

I’ll know

But growth doesn’t happen in a moment

It happens in years that time forgot

We'll see, we'll see what happens 

The future is so uncertain

But someone great once said (quite recently)

The amount of uncertainty

You're able to live with

Directly relates to quality

Quality of spirit, of chance and life lived loud

One day we'll know we fought for a worthy cause

And hopefully I’ll do you proud

So I’ll be here, not wallowing

But hopeful

The face of that might not be what we’re used to,

But at least it won’t be hiding

Or running or buried or in any way dishonest


So for those that I may disappoint

Just know it’s not you it’s me

And if you love me you’ll let her go

That girl we used to know

She’s gone and now I’m here

So hopefully you like me

Get comfy because now it’s time

For life abundantly

For joy and laughter, love and light

And pain and sadness and grief and dark

Forgive but don’t forget

And call me on a lark

I'll pick up maybe and we'll toast to the old

And welcome in the new, as things set in more clear

As we say:

Goodbye to all that including, but not limited to, fear