Who am I?

So…

I don’t know where to start this one. But yesterday I was asked who I am. I was floored.

I am Vic.

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But who do I present myself as? For years I’ve been me but maybe not me? Its such a confusing question. Can knowing who I am be the answer? I can’t answer it, partly because its a fluid thing and partly because I just don’t know.

I am Vic. I’m creative, passionate and imaginative.

 

For years I’ve played at being an artist and I did ok at it. I’m creatively inspired by stories true and fictional. I’m passionate about the power of the Arts and working with others. My imagination has taken me on some crazy adventures and projects, all of which I’m proud.

Over the past few years my ability to work effectively has been swallowed up by my physical and mental health. At first I said yes to everything in my excitement to be working in the Arts. I was good at what I did so work came to me and despite the struggle in terms of funding and consistency I was happy. The work grew and my company Wide Eyed Theatre was born. I worked in multiple roles for the company, as a youth worker, sessional lecturing and freelance. All aspects I have loved, and despite being poorly paid, I know along the way I have made a real difference in young people’s lives.

Maintaining this was a struggle and at some point amongst all the anxiety fear, pain and fatigue I stumbled. Something went wrong inside and no matter what I did I just couldn’t keep up or manage everything. Work was so important that the first thing to go was my social life and me time.

I began to reduce my life and cut out the extras that tipped me over the edge. I was stuck in a cycle of working or sick. I gradually got more and more fatigued, I’ve often described it as every day feeling fluey. I’d work then collapse and repeat. I had to take long breaks and nap or I just felt like I’d vomit. Everyday off and every nap carries guilt and I felt lazy and like I’d failed. So I’d go back into it full pelt, desperately not wanting to let people down. It wasn’t working. I began to feel drained creatively too. Partly from not feeding myself imaginatively by slowing down and allowing moments of peace and beauty. And partly because I was giving so much to everyone else and not myself as I was so scared.

So I fought for a diagnosis to understand why I felt the way I do. Why everyday is a struggle and why I let people down. I got used to wearing the label of chronic illness and found it easy to hide behind. In a bad place physically and mentally I also got into a bad place in a relationship and financially.

In 2013 I was diagnosed with Lupus. Since then its bounced around and things have been added and subtracted. I wrote more about the labels here. My current diagnosis stands at

  • ‘Lupus’ like auto immune disease1397203fa8512bc777ae182f1060e702
  • Suspected Behcets Syndrome
  • Joint Hyper-mobility Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Migraine
  • Bipolar
  • Borderline Features
  • Depression and Anxiety

I fought to be recognised as ill and not fobbed off and I feel like a diagnosis means I’m taken seriously and its not in my head. The trouble is that I’ve fought so hard that its consumed me. Lupus and medical took over even back here I was discontent with the Vicki that said ‘Hi I’m Vic I have Lupus’ before anything else.

So when I was asked who I am it jarred and crushed the part of me that has become swallowed by the wolf that is chronic illness. Its my defence mechanism but has made my life so unbearable that I am the wolf.

In 2016 it all imploded and I’ve been left stripped of everything. My mental and physical health is fragile. I’m currently at risk of being made homeless and bankrupt. I’m stepping back from work due to feeling so breakable. I have nothing, yet there is glory in being stripped bare.

Then in this conversation a different suggestion was made. One that may yet have viability. I am still Vic, I have a chronic illness and this is how I manage it. This is how I choose to live with and tame the wolf.

I am Vic. I’m creative, passionate and imaginative. I am fierce and tame wolves.

Hero

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Dear America, thinking about you all tomorrow and your ‘American Dreams’. Keep fighting, I hope the election is better than we can all hope and a little more kindness and a little less judgement is exercised. All of us are fighting the same battle, go vote and make your voice part of your future.
america
Let me go
I don’t wanna be your hero
I don’t wanna be a big man
Just wanna fight with everyone else
Your masquerade
I don’t wanna be a part of your parade
Everyone deserves a chance to
Walk with everyone else
While holding down
A job to keep my girl around
And maybe buy me some new strings
And her a night out on the weekend
And we can whisper things
Secrets from our American dreams
Baby needs some protection
But I’m a kid like everyone else
So let me go
I don’t wanna be your hero
I don’t wanna be a big man
I Just wanna fight like everyone else
Oh
So let me go
I don’t wanna be your hero
I don’t wanna be a big man
I Just wanna fight with everyone else
Your masquerade
I don’t wanna be a part of your parade
Everyone deserves a chance to
Walk with everyone else
Family of the Year

Fight/ Flight

phlegm-fight-or-flightFight me again and I’ll stand once more,

I’ll see the good in your fist and take it again.

What’s another bruise on something already so broken?

I fight the tears that heave out in an ugly mess,

Bubbling with the mew of an animal in a snare.

Take your aim and I’ll defend you rather than myself,

I’ll help you drive the arrow home.

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Take flight, I won’t blame you,

Soar free on your own ego and tell yourself more lies.

Just don’t fly too high because your wings will burn.

I know, my bloody stumps where they were cut remain.

I fight because its all I know,

Just sometimes I want to glide on an upstream,

Feel the joy of the air and dare to be,

But it scares me so much I give in.

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Unable to focus I want to walk and not stop,

To drive into the night to an unknown destination,

To find my wings again and join the stars.

But I’m still here with the broken pieces,

Most of them are not even my own.

I glue the fragments and pieces, I fill the gaps,

It’s never enough.