Posted by: Louise | January 31, 2011

the real me

I just want the old Louise back, K said.

This is her, I’m afraid. That person is gone forever. And then I wondered about where she was gone to.

Ah, that Louise. She is in the back of the wardrobe behind the laundry bin, crying. She’s been there over twenty months now. Crawled in there the day her daughter died.

So who then am I? Who is this person writing these words? Who is this woman who gets up of a morning? Opens that wardrobe and takes clothes out? Gets herself and her children dressed? Goes to work? Engages with people on a professional level? Talks to friends and family on topics other than dead babies? Who am I?

And I wondered about the other Louises, lost along the way.

There is one crying on a garden bench. She is only six years old. Her sister has just died and her parents are hiding in doors with their tears. They’ll find her eventually.

There is another one pulling on her clothes and her armour plate of calm to go and have breakfast with the man who just molested her. She’ll sit there with him and his young family, eating her Krispies, wriggling to get comfortable on the cushion of denial. At least when her sister died she didn’t have to pretend.

And there is the athlete, leaving others in her wake as she sprints around the track. She is still there running and running and running. But this woman writing here has left her far behind. I don’t even run in my dreams anymore.

There is the church-goer, the believer, grappling endlessly to make sense of her beliefs in a world that doesn’t fit.

The artist, always the artist, but too terrified of losing her grip on control to allow her art just be.

None of them are gone, I realise as I write. Each of them (and many more besides) are me – this woman who gets dressed each day and ventures out into the world. They are grounded in life, the grit and soil of the everyday, the getting up and getting dressed. There is so much life in between and around these Louises. Time, passing time, in between and around these Louises. Friends, family, love, life. Each of those Louises has put down roots in this gritty life. Each of these experiences, these parts of me, have made me more of who I am today, more sure of who I am today.

That little Louise was found on the garden bench. She was held closely as she cried and then she went up to the woods to build camps with her brothers.

Denial is harder to work with, harder to see. That Louise went to the police station (only three years ago) and reported the man. Nothing has come of it yet. It is an ongoing story.

That part of me in the wardrobe, hiding behind the laundry basket, still needs that space. She’ll be there for a while yet.

In the meantime, life goes on.



  1. Thank you so much for this post. You really have a way with words. Though the specifics of our circumstances are different, you articulate so much of what I have been feeling. I just haven’t known how to say it. So, thank you.

  2. Oh Louise.. thank you so much for sharing so much of your life with us. I find that you have showed more strength and courage just by writing about this here. You are in my thoughts tonight, and I am sending love and light to all of the many faces that you have lived with in your life thus far.

  3. I know just what you mean about all those other me’s. I don’t know where I would want to go back to now, which one. Half of me would love a second chance and half of me only wants to be the person who had Freddie, even if only for a little while.

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