When you are only one thing – Anna Spargo-Ryan

When you are only one thing

When you are only one thing

We each comprise many things: we are people, first, and then perhaps we are people who stand in courtrooms or people who find gum behind chairs or people who carry children on their backs or people who stand in wind tunnels. Perhaps we are people who pluck kittens out of drainpipes, or people who put kittens into drainpipes, and perhaps we are people who sit alone in a room, or people who look into the room.

I comprise many things: I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, a lover, a friend. I am someone who writes sentences for the joy of it, and someone who sits close to the fire, and someone who will cook all day long, and someone who sits under trees, and someone who opens doors for other people, and someone who watches TV in bed, and someone who eats the last biscuit (and all the other biscuits), and someone who sneezes. And I am someone who reads on rainy days, and someone who does scratchies with her dad, and someone who is short on patience, and someone who wears black, and someone who leaves her shoes in the kitchen. And I am someone who buys fresh flowers, and someone who has a lasagne recipe, and someone who calls her nanna, and someone who has never finished university, and someone with horrible toenails, and someone who thinks deeply about the absurdity of breathing,



I am only one thing.


In the supermarket when everyone is staring and the room is spinning and the ground, the ground? who knows, it is somewhere far below me or maybe next to me, or possibly a tedious manifestation — I am only one thing.

In the midnight when the house is asleep and infinity is looming and the sounds crash into me, like I’m wearing an ear horn and they are shouting into it with a megaphone and I am having every thought I’ve ever had all at once, I am only one thing.

In the crackling instant between being okay and being completely and in all ways not okay, in that very spitting moment when the air smelled strange just for a fraction of a second and that was all it took to cross the threshold into being only one thing …

… the important part is not the one thing, you see.

It is the sometimes.

I am those other things too.

We each comprise many things: we are people with sweaty hands or people with tight chests or people with a rope around their windpipe or people who cannot even grab the world well enough to find the direction of the surface but we are not defined by our fear and we are not defined by our fear and we are



by fear.

Tara Moss’s book, The Fictional Woman, is many things too, but you’ll have to read it to know.

  • Kate

    June 11, 2014 at 2:52 pm Reply

    I know another thing you are – a beautiful writer.

  • JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)

    June 11, 2014 at 7:00 pm Reply

    I am a person who inhales and holds my breath when I read your writing, and then exhaling when finished, finding that I am a changed person. Your honesty, your bravery and the way your eloquent words make the world a better place is inspiring Anna xx

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      June 18, 2014 at 1:36 pm Reply

      This is just so lovely Jodi. Thank you for always being so tremendously kind! x

  • Lara @ This Charming Mum

    June 11, 2014 at 11:08 pm Reply

    I love that I can feel the tightness and the eyes watching and the deafening silences as I read this. Wonderful writing Anna. Perfect.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      June 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm Reply

      Thanks so much Lara. It’s both awful and heartening to know that others can relate, that we’re not completely isolated.

  • Helen K

    June 12, 2014 at 10:50 pm Reply

    Again nailed it Anna. So true – and keep remembering, you are so many things. More than you can imagine.

  • Chantell@MissUnderstood

    June 21, 2014 at 11:57 pm Reply

    I have only recently come across your blog, and I feel compelled to tell you how inspiring I find your writing. You have an amazing ability to portray through words exactly what an experience feels like ~ this post left me full of emotion because I have been there too…I have struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life, and I know all too well how awful it can feel…Thankyou for sharing so openly and authentically your experiences. Much respect to you ♥

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      June 22, 2014 at 12:33 pm Reply

      How lovely of you to say, Chantell. Thanks so much for visiting, and for your kind words.

  • Emily

    June 29, 2014 at 10:11 pm Reply

    I read this post earlier in the month, and didn’t know what to comment with. I still don’t, but don’t feel that I can leave without typing something. Anything. I’ve never felt anything like that, the one thing. Your words are beautiful enough to get me almost there, but I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand – I’m sorry that that’s your experience. Sometimes. And I thank you for sharing. x

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      July 2, 2014 at 9:11 pm Reply

      Thanks so much Em, and for reading. It’s nice to float around in the cosmos with others. xx

  • Maxabella

    July 5, 2014 at 10:39 am Reply

    That was a heart stopper, Anna. x

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    December 4, 2014 at 5:11 pm Reply
  • Kyle Cogan

    December 11, 2014 at 9:45 am Reply

    I just stumbled across your blogs a week ago or so sometimes reading about anxiety and depression can give one who hasn’t much of a clue about it a little more insight because to someone like myself who i admit is probably very ignorant and maybe also inexperienced with how to deal with such things it’s hard to know what to say to somebody or what to do This particular post left me a little confused but it leaves me with one thing to say that is always acknowledged. We are only one thing. We are all human and we all have our fair share of issues we have to try our best to deal with. As i’ve learnt there’s no such thing as a person having no inner demons. We all have our own demons but it’s what we do to deal with them that is vastly different some people will deal with their demons with support while others refuse to deal with them and either take the easy way out or it takes a lot of prompting for them to admit that they need help as hard as it is to do.

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