I'm excited to share today's essay with you because it's one that took me a long time to decipher in my brain. If nothing else, I hope it inspires you to observe something beautiful about your shifting surroundings during this shifting season. Enjoy x
I was reading the other day that when you chop down a tree that is next to another tree, the living tree continues sending nutrients to the roots of the deceased tree — continues watering it as if to hold on. As if to say don’t you dare die on me, we’re in this together, you and me. Trees grieve their fallen. Losing their neighbour hurts.
I think about how often I have been the grieving tree — watering all those who died long ago.
How I’ve remained mentally prioritising people who have long since jumped ship from my life, much less who've spent a second prioritising me since.
How I’ve remained accessible to those who don’t give me the same access in return, much less deserve access at all.
How I’ve remained inquisitive, always a willing participant in making someone else feel seen, much less have any of the same courtesy extended in return.
How I’ve remained accommodating, supple, a financial pushover.
How I’ve squandered my sparkle, been scared into silence.
And for what?
Well that’s just it — I have nothing to show for the effort of all of those things.
And okay, maybe that is the act of grieving. Draining the remnants of what once was — that which now isn’t. Slowly removing the pieces until grief is but a thing to remember rather than a thing to experience.
But I should’ve realised sooner: the dead were never going to water me back.
I made some pretty radical revelations over the course of the summer. Realised I was a willow tree surrounded by a swamp of stumps. Stumps that needed to be ripped out from the roots so I could have my well all to my damned-deserving self.
Because, to quote a tweet I saw recently, I became “mindful of leaving others so full [I myself] become empty.”
Which is not to say I am suddenly cured of considering other people’s sadness at the expense of my own. It's that I realise it is a two-way street in which another person can also *refuse to uphold should they care about me as much as I about them.
*See this really great article on weaponised incompetence.
Or suddenly cured of bowing down in gratitude for the bare minimum — in fact if you ever find me doing so, please shut that shit down and tell me to get up off the floor.
Because I do not wish to kneel at the altar of someone who refuses to get down and pray with me. Not anymore.
This time of year is a sneaky fucker. I’ve never much been invested in it. Have always been quick to associate it with creeping sadness and a desperation to flee it/life until Spring. Neither do I particularly care for Halloween. But I feel this one. I feel all of the Octobers that have been and gone over the years stack up like an undisturbed Jenga tower. They rumble through my body — the girl I have been, the girl I tried not to be. The one I want to hold now, the one who needed holding, then. I drop the pennies that have been hidden in the lining of my jeans.
It’s taken me until now to think about the beginnings and not just the endings. The slippery slopes and the no’s that became lost. The getting so easily swept ups, I couldn't see myself settling for crumbs.
To be observant of the trees.
When my dog starts pulling bark from the roots of the willow outside, I find myself whispering I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
When I brush open my curtains in the morning, I notice the light relaying the leaves in a golden hue until the sun has sufficiently risen — then they return back to dazzling us with the last of their chlorophyll for the year.
When I climb back into bed and I see a slither of light on the wall projecting silhouettes akin to black and white film reels dusted off and played after being long forgotten. How the branches dance like a corps de ballet.
How there are endless trees to admire, to tend to. Trees that need planting, trees that need wrapping up for the winter.
So why am I still out here watering the ones that leave me parched?
As always, I love to hear from you. If you liked today’s newsletter, want to carry on the conversation or have any thoughts or feedback at all, do hit reply. Thanks for reading x