I stopped blogging last year, for various reasons.
The main one was that a member of my family became suddenly and seriously ill. They did not want their illness made generally well-known and public. Since this blog at one time had a lot of readers, including people who know, or who know of my family, that meant I could not mention what was happening to my family here.
As I have always been honest and open in my blog, I found that I couldn't write without wanting to mention it, how present it was in my thoughts all the time, how terrifying it was. Writing about politics, or current affairs jarred. My heart and my head was elsewhere.
So I stopped. It was a strange kind of relief to pull down the shutters. When I thought about it, I had noticed a strong urge for increased privacy building up in me, even before the family illness. Writing this blog had started to feel like a chore. I was becoming more and more guarded, holding back more than I shared.
And I realised, that desire to turn inwards and focus on my family, my private life; that was okay, that was me healing. The raw shock, anger, puzzlement, the furious drive to understand, amend, rebuild, which had so animated me, forced those hundreds of thousands of words tumbling out of me, left me too wired to sleep, shaking with tiredness as well as passionate urgency - all that had faded away. I no longer had PTSD. I was out of the tunnel. I gave myself permission to stop, to say no, to close the door and exhale. It felt good.
I remembered the King's Cross United new year blessing, 'I wish you an ordinary year'. I was suddenly jonesing for ordinariness. I went back to work in an office, working nine to six, surrounded by cheerful colleagues, and the old, familiar rhythm of daily office life, getting the bus to work, stopping by the gym on the way home, having a monthly pay packet - all these ordinary things were suddenly wonderful to me.
I found I still cared about the things that I had spent so much time and money campaigning about, fighting for - all those hundreds of hours over several years - but I was no longer willing to spend all my spare time sitting at a computer, writing, or looking through documents, or going out and talking to people about terror, horror, justice, freedom, fear. The cost was too high.
So I stopped being Rachel North, the 7/7 blogger, and I did other things instead. I am glad that I stopped; it was the right time, the right thing for me to do. I am still involved in some campaigning work, but I won't be updating people about it via this website. A few months ago I was about to delete this blog permanently, but thought that I might regret it one day, so I switched it to 'private', with no invited readers instead. Then I started to get some emails from people who thought I had started writing again but deliberately chosen not to invite them to read it. And I realised that just stopping looked a bit rude. Hence today's update.
Thank you to all those who used to read the blog of Rachel from North London.
Thank you for the kindness, the comradeship, the advice, the support, the inspiration, and everything else you so generously shared with me, and my family and friends. There were times when you kept me from going under. The hope you gave me was the antidote to the despair. I was grateful, I always will be grateful.
My family member has their bone marrow transplant booked in next month. If it is successful, they will be cured. There is much to hope for. There is always much to hope for.
If the last few years have taught me anything, they have taught me that.
Over and out.