There goes a saying older than time itself, that the grass is always greener on the other side.
As I lie here, white sand between my toes, sun beaming down on my already bronzed yet freckly back and the delightful sound of children playing in the city beach waters, it is difficult to think of this place as anything other than the greener side.
But in actual fact, the grass is anything but greener out here in Brisbane in both the metaphorical and factual sense; the sun bakes the green grass to the point where it becomes a parched sparse of nothingness, golden in colour yet in no other sense of the word. The harsh bristles, along with the dreaded ‘bindis’ (spikes that get stuck in your skin) pierce into the bottom of your feet and the creatures that live amongst it leave you with disgusting red sores and an itchiness that never leaves.
I realise, that when people talk about the grass being greener, they do not necessarily mean the actual grass, but for me, the greenness of the grass is what I am most missing about home. To me the greenness of the grass is more the support network I have surrounding me, wrapping love and warmth around me, like the softest, most comforting blanket on an icy winter’s morning. The greenness of the grass is the rolling hills of normality; the cushioning pastures to lay your head, the contrasting green hilltops next to the soothing deep blue sea.
During my recovery from Encephalitis, I really struggled with this concept. I was told time and time again to try to not compare pre-encephalitis life with post-encephalitis life, because I should try to see it as a new chapter and try to move on. That, I have found, is easier said than done.
Imagine a life where all your achievements, struggles, comradeships, even your own sense of being, are taken away from you and you were told to start again, from scratch. This may be not too difficult if you could actually start again, from the day you were welcomed into the world. But when you are in your twenties, and everyone you know has twenty more years on you, you cannot help but to compare your progress with your peers, and it is beyond disheartening to say the least.
I suppose I have had to come to terms with the fact that I am no longer in the ‘recovery stage’. Seven years have passed since the day I started my journey to find myself again, and yet I am now at the juncture where I have reached a lull. My fatigue has not improved in years, my word finding is still terrible and my emotional responses to situations are little better than that of a twelve year old (if that).
For someone who has always been such a perfectionist, it is difficult to come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to reach my full potential. My Dad once said something that really hit home, and something that I will carry with me like a heavy weight around my neck for all the years to come.
“If there was a part time role of only a few hours a week for any job in the world you would easily be able to do it, you could even be the prime minister”
Now I realise, especially at this current time with all the Brexit issues plaguing the country, being prime minister would most probably be the most stress inducing job in the whole entire world, but you get his jist. What he was saying is that although I still have the ability to succeed in what I do, I do not have the stamina. My fatigue and inability to deal with change stops me in my tracks. You’d think after spending fourteen weeks in a coma that I would have slept for more than enough hours to never sleep again, but unfortunately, with brain injuries that is just not how it works.
Of course, the grass not being greener does not necessarily mean that Australia is not an absolutely beautiful place. Living in Brisbane for the past few months has been extremely tough and yet exceptionally picturesque.
I am desperately trying to find the greenness out here, branching out to meet new people, sowing seeds of new relationships and desperately hoping that one day they will germinate and blossom into the green, green grass I am missing from home.
And whilst the actual grass may not be greener, I am going to try my best to not worry about the colour of the grass anymore. It may never be greener than the rolling hills of Devon, but maybe the golden grass along with the white sandy beaches of Australia is just as good.
With the girls I am hoping will help me find the green or goldeness of Australia