‘Les Mis’ and the Night Tigers

‘Les Miserables’ is among my favourite books of all time, and it is also one of my favourite musicals. 

I saw a fabulous production of ‘Les Mis’ last night at the theatre in Warrnambool. 

My major achievement for the evening was not singing along out loud— which took more self-discipline than you might ever realise. 

I was moved to tears by the emotion and beauty of the performances, but also— as always— by the power of the lyrics. 

There are many moments and several songs in the show that I love, but my absolute favourite lines are sung by Fantine: 

“But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder…”

‘I Dreamed a Dream’


Those words are so profound.I find them powerful because I know that whatever it is that a person struggles with – pain, grief, depression, anxiety, worry… those tigers visit more often at night, and stay for longer, than they ever do during daylight hours. 

One of the reasons I began taking my writing more seriously a number of years ago was because I found it an excellent way of dealing with my night tigers and answering their voices with my own.  

That’s why many of my poems deal with themes of  mental health, pain, depression, grief, and resilience. Its also why I insist that writing is the most effective therapy I have ever had. It hasn’t cured me or solved my problems, but it has certainly helped to heal me and enable me to deal with the challenges I face in life in a much healthier way. 

Those tigers still come at night, but they have discovered that I, too, can roar. 

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Late night confession: I’m broken.

Pain is a lonely place to live in.
It’s an insular, remote little world all your own.

It’s isolating because it makes you feel like nobody really understands except someone who experiences the same kind of pain you do… and even then, you don’t want to burden them with your pain because theirs is enough to bear.
It’s not about martyrdom.
It’s about realising how fragile even the strongest, funniest, most courageous person can be.

I usually don’t write about my pain because that enables it to take power over my thoughts to a greater extent than I am comfortable with.
Besides, I don’t want to be the whiny person that nobody likes.
Even when I am alone, there’s something within me that wants to say that I am okay, that I will get through it, that I can handle it.

Yet I know that isn’t always true.
Sometimes I am just broken and, quite honestly, I don’t know how to not be broken anymore.

I so wish things were different.
I wish I could move the way I used to.
I wish I could fall asleep as easily as my husband does.
I wish I could wake up refreshed each morning.
I wish my spine was not so fragile. I would love to go boxing and punch my frustrations out on a leather bag, or run until I was exhausted in a good way, or smash a ball around the squash court.
I wish I could hold a baby for longer than a few minutes without aching.

I wish I didn’t feel so sorry for myself.
I wish I could sleep.

Three sleeps!

As children, we learn to count down to big events such as Christmas, birthdays, holidays or family events in terms of “how many sleeps” until the day in question.
I am still a kid about Christmas and birthdays. I love the worship aspects of Christmas but I also love the tinsel, the lights, the tree, the decorations, the songs, Carols by Candlelight, the giving of gifts and the celebrations with family and friends.

My problem right now is that I have been telling people with great excitement all day that “it’s three sleeps!”… And it’s 1.45am and I can’t sleep. Wide, wide awake. Yippee.

Oh, the irony.

Can we just have Christmas now?

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