Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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Still trucking

Posted by Oli on Wednesday 18th April, 2007

It appears, having just flitted over to the CF Trust’s message boards, and by looking through my inboxes, that I’ve had people rather worried by disappearing from my blog for the last few days.   Oops.

I assure you, everything is fine.  Certainly improving.

To tell the truth (not sure why I needed to add that, since it hardly pays to lie to oneself on your own blog….) I was bumming myself out, which is why I stopped for a bit.

Far from reminding myself to Smile Through It and keep on finding the positives in the darker times of life, I found that every time I started writing a post on the blog in the last few weeks, it’s only been to say either that I feel like cr*p or that nothing’s changed for the better.  Even the times when things had changed for the better, the change seemed so infinitesimal and pathetic that it either wasn’t worth mentioning, or served only to lower my despondency about how I’ve been doing.

It’s been weird to find myself trapped in a vicious circle of negative thought, and not something I’ve been used to in life.  Most times, my dark periods inhabit the odd spell of a week or so before things conspire to kick me up the butt and show me the way to carry on.  This latest down-turn has been different, though.

I don’t know if it’s the increased fear of mortality (or, “Am I gonna kick it?” as I prefer to call it) or the impairment to my quality of life inherent in having sunshine blazing through the windows but not enough energy to leave the apartment and enjoy it, but I’ve been lost in a mire of negativity for the last few weeks from which I seemed to have lost the map that usually provides my guide.

Sure, I’ve had good moments – I’ve managed to share Easter with the families around me, I’ve shared a little laughter with friends, I’ve even managed a trip to Borders (hurrah!), but there has been an overwhelming sense of good, old-fashioned, Dickensian melancholy hanging over me throughout.

It’s not that I entirely lost perspective on the whole thing: last week I was sitting a the funeral of a young girl who’s been an almost constant fixture of my working life for the last six years, since she’s been coming to the MK Youth Theatre sessions since their inception.  Sitting in the packed church among many young people experiencing their first distressing taste of grief, I realised that the very day I hit my lowest point – Sunday 1st April, as documented here previously – her Mum, Dad, younger brother and Grandparents were waking up to a new world without their beloved daughter.  How could I complain about pain in my life when held up against the pain of a parent outliving their child?

I’ve still appreciated each day I’ve been given, but it sticks in my proverbial craw (I’ve never really known what that means, but it seems to fit here, anyway…) that “making the most of it” is limited to sitting in the chair at the bay window using the bright sunlight to read by, as opposed the to dim interior light all through winter.

Finally, though, after weeks of dragging myself through the rough parts of every day and persevering in ways I wasn’t even sure I was capable of, I seem to have made it out the other side.

That’s not to say things are all bright and rosy, but I have at least got the energy to pop over to my ‘rents and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine if I want to, or to sit in the study and surf the ‘net a while without completely exhausting myself and having to collapse into bed.

I’m able finally to contemplate looking at the next issue of CF Talk, which has been sitting unattended on my desk for nearly 2 months now and is in dire need of completion.  I’m able to think about the other writing projects I was looking at before and see if I can rekindle the spark that was there before.  I’m able to focus my mind on something other than how my chest is feeling or whether or not I should stay in bed rather than move to the sofa.

I’ve one more negativity-hurdle to overcome, and that will be over after the weekend.

This Sunday sees the Activ8 Youth Theatre show at MKT take place, an event which was to have been my first opportunity to get stuck in to directing a short piece for the Youth Theatre and to benefit the CF Trust.  If I’m honest, I saw it as something of a swansong with them, acknowledging as I have to the likelihood that my involvement is being compelled by my chest to end.

Rather than a happy ending, though, it’s going to be an extremely tough one to get through.  Not just physically, although I can’t pretend that that’s not going to be a challenge in itself,  but because I’ve ended up having almost nothing to do with the finished product.  Three weeks’ of rehearsal in a 12 week term doesn’t amount to a contribution, in my mind, and the work I had hoped to see up on the stage is now more likely to bring me down than uplift me.

I wanted so much to make this something to remember – an event that showed the Theatre’s support not just for the CF Trust, but for the whole Youth Theatre, and a true showcase of the talent which has been nurtured through Activ8 over the last half a decade.  And don’t get me wrong – it is still very much all of those things.

But it doesn’t feel like it’s anything to do with me.  I feel like a passenger, an outsider, something akin to a “consultant” who’s seen parts of the process leading up to performance and had a little input, but not someone who forms part of the “team” whose talents are being showcased.

I know that people will shout me down and will be quick to try to dissuade all of my fears and make me feel a part of it, but I can’t get passed the fact that I’ve not been there for them or with them for pretty much the entire term.  This is their show and their showcase, and it’s nothing to do with me any more.  That saddens me, and it’s going to be hard, but nothing will stop me being their to support them.

I am trying to keep my air of positivity and move forward from here – and I know I will continue to progress – but I also know that this weekend is going to be a really tough one to get through.

Thanks to everyone for your good vibes, your love and prayers over the last few weeks.  They really do make a difference, and they have helped me enormously.  I shall endeavour to keep up with my more regular out-put of the past, as I will endeavour to keep myself looking up and not down, forward and not back.

Keep on truckin’.


12 Responses to “Still trucking”

  1. Peter said

    Hello Oli

    Its great to hear from you…….it seemed a lot longer than 9 days since your last post.

    I hope things continue to improve for you over the next few weeks

    All the best mate


  2. Mark said

    All the best mate. Nice to hear from you again…so to speak 😉

  3. Al said

    Oli – So good to hear from you!! Peter’s right it seems like it’s been a month!! 🙂

    Don’t worry about this weekend…enjoy it as much as you can!! Remember, in a company, “consultants” are located in the top tier…and they get BIG pay-checks!!!

    Let us know how it goes,

  4. Emmie said

    YAY!!! I’m so glad to hear from you. I don’t know if you got the texts but I was getting a bit worried and had guessed that things were pretty awful for you. I’m relieved that you are not in hospital though. May be that’s one way to get through this crap – however tough the days are keep thinking “but at least I’m not in hospital, at least I’m not enduring hospital food and at least I’m in my own bed” That helps me a lot sometimes anyway, though I’m not trying to teach you to suck eggs LOL! I’m glad you’ve been able to get outside a little, even if its only occasionally at your parents. I find even half an hour out in this beautiful spring weather lifts the spirits a bit.

    Anyway, I’m gonna stop waffling. I’m just glad to hear from you and as you can see from all the supportive messages on the CF message boards, you are one very popular and well-loved guy 😉


  5. Emmie said

    Oh and I meant to say that I totally understand what you said about how low you feel about having been less involved in the production than you would have wanted. But one thing you may have overlooked is that I bet your involvement early on and your general charisma led to a huge amount of the enthusiasm and commitment that has gone into the whole event. And that counts for a massive amount x

  6. Ben said

    Hey Oli,

    Just to say hi, glad to see a post up, and to add that you’re a legend.


  7. Katie said

    Glad to hear that you are feeling a little more positive, and really hope that the weekend is okay for you as well.


  8. Suze said

    May I just add….. remember the reason that the weekend is happening? Because of you and the work that you have done and continue to do. You may not have been with us in person during the rehearsals but goodness your drive and passion and influence has! Activ8 are more fired up about this event than anything that they have done to date. It means something to them – and that something is you! They want to do you proud and show you how much they appreciate all you have done for them over the past 5 years.

    Yes, 5 years old on Sunday and we have been there all the way, supporting and developing the groups – enabling them to take the lead themselves this term. This wouldn’t have been possible without you beside me and I don’t say that lightly. Remember that some of them are moving on, those that joined us on day one. They are going to find Sunday difficult but rewarding as well. You know that this show is going to be extra special and difficult for us both for lots of reasons– it’s been a tough term but lets not dwell on that. Lets take a step back and look at what we’ve done together. I’m bloody proud of us. There’s no-one else that I would rather share Sunday with and it’s not the end of this partnership!

  9. Nicola said


    I’m so glad to see that you are feeling a bit more positive about things,and also finding you have a little more energy.

    Sending positive thoughts for this coming weekend.

    Take Care.

    Nic x.

  10. Jac said

    Glad to hear you are keeping on trucking. One day at a time, and I’m sure you will get back on top again.

    Thanks for all you work CF related work – I look forward to reading the next CF talk issue, but just take your time and don’t overdo it now!

    Keep on keeping on..
    Jac 🙂

  11. Emily said

    You rock mr 🙂 Hope this weekend is going ok, thinking of you x

  12. Jacqui said


    For me, you were the star of this evenings show. Being able to describe the realities of cf, with just enough information to deliver the point. But still very much appropriate for the largely young audience, shows a lot of skill and sensitivity.

    The show was great. Big pat on the back for all involved. x

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