[Miscellany]

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Defective

I wish I could go back.  Another version of me in the backseat, head resting on burgundy velour, watching the sky change colours out of the car window; a long day disappeared.  Sand in my bathers, salty hair dried in pig-tailed peaks and pointing out each landmark along Punt Rd all the way home.  3KZ playing Tears for Fears on the radio - Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Family intact.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Better Dream

I didn't bother checking the mailbox on the way in to see if the postman had been.  I figure if he had, it was years ago and those bills are probably as forgotten as this blog.  It's possibly quite safe to venture in, and sit amongst the dust bunnies and pontificate, or just reflect.  For a while I tried keeping a paper journal.  I made a deal that every day I would write a page of something.  An A5 page.  As small as the task was, it was still a fruitless exercise.  After a while that stopped and while lots of thoughts kept happening, writing them down was a whole other story. I ebb and flow through my commitment to these kinds of things.  All things, let's face it.  I also tried for a while to write using Facebook.  My commitment there is better, but the reflection of true self is probably more puddle deep than ocean deep.  And you, my little trusty forgotten old friend, have been waiting patiently, as you always do.  Password almost forgotten.  Readership doubtful.  And yet, so inviting.

In any case, I was moved to write.  I'm not sure what form this will take but I suppose it won't be glass half full, if I had to venture a guess.  That's the mood, anyway.

Speaking of Facebook, I was reading an article this evening that popped up out of the blue into my so called news feed.  Mr. Man explains how one phone call saved him from committing suicide.  Well, that peaked my attention as I love a good happy ending.  I don't believe in them for me, of course, but boy do I wish like buggery that it happens for everyone else. It's just all too painful if it doesn't.  Anyway, Mr felt it was time to go.  The teen years weren't too great for him and before he knew it, he was in a depressive spiral that was leading him to "make plans".  I imagined him, for some reason, on a trip to Bunnings.  Not sure what one would find there that would help themselves in such a fashion but I imagine that if there is a place to go to buy what you need Bunnings would be a good place to go.  It's big, they are very helpful and most of their machinery would kill someone if they didn't know how to use it anyway.  Regardless, axe in hand and testing the sharpness of the blade using a single hair plucked from his head (I'm extrapolating here, the article mentioned no such thing) Old Mate received a phone call.  It turns out that his crush, and one true love, was on the other end.  She had felt compelled to call, for some unexplained reason.  And just like that she talked him out of his fatal act.  He hung up the phone and sat down and wrote something lovely.  Those same words that he would use to propose to her 10 years later.  The moral of the story, of course, is don't kill yourself because you don't know what delights await you around the corner.

Nice message.
No really, nice message.

About 3 years ago, give or take a couple of months I came to the same Bunnings related conclusion for myself.  My plan was much, much better though.  I'm not sure how one would go about axe murdering oneself anyway - how dumb, (again, I may have the wrong end of the stick here), but plans are plans.  It's nice to have one.  I had a pretty good one and I rehearsed it all very meticulously in my little old head.  It's one thing to rehearse, it's a completely different thing to enact!  Did I mention that I'm a sucker for a happy ending?  I thought for a moment, in that moment (and in the many moments that followed), of a time that hadn't happened yet... a time a year down the track. Perhaps in a year things would be so vastly different that I would look back and count my lucky stars that the best laid plans weren't carried through.  One year, I said.   These happy ending stories always have a big reason to live, it's just not known yet.  The idea that suicide shouldn't be an option because there are other, better options is a compelling thought to a desperate person.  Living is a better option.  Life may indeed bring happiness and joy and ... maybe something to actually live for.  I gave it a year.
And then another.
And another...

And now it's later.
And things are not better.

I'm a sucker for a happy ending but I'm no fool.  I appreciate brutal honesty more.

I don't look back and think I made the right decision in waiting. I don't think that at all.  I regret waiting.  I regret thinking that there would be a happy ending.  I'm not mad at myself.  I want to hug her, that strange girl-woman who put a bit of faith in the smallest sliver of light in that dark room of hers.  She didn't know that slivers of light for a girl like her were just reflections of herself from a whole generation ago and just a mirage now.  How could she know?  She believes in fucking happy endings, for fucks sake! God love her for trying to live, but it was the wrong decision.  That article, and all the ones like it, the 'wait it out' articles... I'm not sure how real they are.  Where are the articles about people regretting not pulling the plug?  Surely these exist too.

Those happy endings don't come to everyone.  There's something more certain than happy endings and that's gut feeling.
I regret not doing it.
I regret it really consciously every time I think of it.  But I have to be honest, in this little safe space that no one visits anymore, I don't think I can go through with my plan.  Or maybe my plan isn't good enough.

I don't believe in happy endings for me.
I do believe in having better plans that you won't back out of though.
I must keep believing in that.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Beads

My grandmother had a string of rosary beads.

They were made of small round pearl-sized black onyx, held together with links of what looked like silver but was probably an alloy of some kind.  I would sit at her feet with my head on her knee and watch her rolling those beads between the thumb and forefinger of her papery, wrinkled hands while she prayed each night.

Fascinated by all questions without answers(as I am now), I remember asking her what a rosary necklace was for.  To pray, she said.  It brings you closer to God. I didn’t really know much about God, beyond Sunday school communion sessions with naughty boys who would throw spitballs and play kiss chasey at “recess” or that place, church, that we were forced to attend and spent a good deal of time trying not to laugh and then being spanked later because of it.  God was a man on a throne with a white beard and sandals (probably) and maybe he was a bit kind sometimes and patted you on the head with a ghost-like hand you never felt or sometimes would punish you if you did something bad like eat the Nutella right out of the jar and then smooth the remaining goo up the sides so that, from the outside anyway, it looked like you hadn’t touched it… The fact that one could be closer to Him with a single string of rosary beads spiked my curiosity to no end.  It seemed too good to be true.

Planning to harness this power for myself, I asked how to use a rosary necklace.  She told me that you start at the beginning and work your way around to the end; each bead holding a prayer you must say with your heart.  The thing is, I couldn't see where the end was.  All the beads looked the same to me, endlessly going round and round and round as necklaces do. I knew how to say prayers.  I knew them in three languages; one I never even understood!  And I knew how to really mean it too. I knew how to make wishes and have hopes and give my heart fully; because I had been doing that my whole life; even if my life was only 8 years young by this stage.  Sometimes I wish I had never learned how to do that – give the heart.  I still haven’t seen what kind of good that brings.  I suppose nothing you do brings good or bad.  I’ve seen that with my own eyes, in fact.  I know that to be true.  There is no plan or rhyme… Heart or no heart; prayer or no prayer; beads or no beads.  Things just happen; it shouldn’t work like that but it just does.  Out of all the faiths I'd had challenged this is the one this year that has had the greatest impact.

My grandmother explained that you may indeed say the same prayer for each bead, but when I saw her mouthing the words in a whispered Italian that I could barely understand I noticed that her prayers were different.  Not all, but some.  I said the ones I knew with her sometimes, mumbling myself into a deep meditative trance where the words didn’t even matter anymore and the room disappeared from all around me and God wasn’t even there and all I could feel was my head on her knee vibrating with each word and nothing else.  She’d keep going until her voice was hoarse and broken and there was nothing left to whisper and prayers were done and the beads were gone.  It always made me so curious, how she knew she’d gotten to the end. I wonder why I never asked.


I tiptoed into her room many times when she wasn’t there and picked up those beads, watching them intently, wishing their secret power to be bestowed onto me, not even knowing what that secret power could be.  A conversation with God, maybe?  What would I even ask?  So in awe was I of something I couldn’t even see… a possibility, a hope.  I don’t even know.  I tried to sit there and pray, like my grandmother did but never got past the first or second bead.  It was too hard. I didn’t feel that sense of reverence or meditation I felt with my head on her knee. I wanted so badly to believe, but couldn’t…  In the end, I put them back, disappointed that their power would not ever be something I could behold.

She kept up the prayers until she died. I didn’t always sit and listen, by this stage I had episodes of Charles in Charge to watch on the tele or net balls to shoot in my backyard.  Summers were long and hot and there were endless seas to sail and adventures to undertake. Sometimes I would listen though, noting when she stopped.  Always at the end, whatever that means. Sometimes though, she would stop suddenly, I’m tired, she’d say slowly – but she wasn’t talking about sleepiness. There are many kinds of tired, and this kind was the tired that meant that the soul, or whatever it is that exists beyond neurons firing (if anything), was ready to go.

When I was 24 and my grandmother had been gone for over half my life I visited Vatican City, in the heart of Rome.  By this stage I knew that God was not a man in a throne or anything at all really.  Sitting and praying at my grandmother’s knee was a dusty memory well and truly hazed by nostalgia by then.  In fact praying at all was not something I ever contemplated. By the time I set foot in the Sistine Chapel I had seen a million churches, pondered my way though a hundred galleries and walked across cobblestones older than a thousand Melbournes.  I was hoping to see something as nice as Notre Dame there.  I only really had one objective here and that was to buy a set of rosary beads.  Not for me though. I don’t think that any amount holy water (and trust me, there’s been a lot of it in my life) could have prepared me for the supreme calm and beauty I felt in that space. It was a holy moment, even if God or my grandmother wasn’t involved.
 
I separated myself from my companions and walked for a while staring at the magnificence that was truly the greatest piece of wall-graffiti I have ever seen.  Perhaps I’m understating it a little.  It is beyond amazing and even if you don’t believe and I’m by no means an advocate of doing so but I defy you not to be humbled by such a space of tribute, despite all the money and the pain and the cruelty that went into it.  For the first time in a long time, and not since may I add, at 24 and exhausted beyond belief after missing the world’s most packed train and arguing with a taxi driver and waiting in the Universe's longest line on the first day of trade after the New Year in Italy, I started praying.  I don’t even know why.  The words came back as if from a 16 year old memory lapse and I walked in silent contemplation saying the words that I thought I had forgotten a long time ago. I guess you don’t really ever forget your foundations, even if you don’t believe in them anymore.

And I guess, like knowing when to stop all things, I just knew when to stop praying.  The words ended and it was over.  I went and bought the rosary beads and just sat for a while and stared and wondered.  Sometimes you just know when things should end.  They end at the end.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dead

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Inside every one of us beats a little heart.  It pumps blood around the body.
Ba boom.
Ba boom.
It’s just a little thing.  The size of a fist or palm but it does an important job.
Inside that heart are lots of fleshy things; like ventricles and aortas and bits of bloody membrane.
And cells.
Inside those cells there’s all this other stuff I learned about in Biology, back in high school but don’t care too much about now.
It’s not important anyway.
The Doctors that look inside the heart never talk about the important bits, like feelings and love.
It’s like those things are not medical enough, so they don’t get included in those expensive textbooks or serious Doctor/Patient conversations about heart disease.
But those feelings are as real as the mitochondrion, aren’t they?
Perhaps a microscope powerful enough to see feelings hasn’t been invented yet.
But they are there.
You don’t need a microscope to feel the feelings.
You just feel them.
That’s how I know they are really there.
That’s how I know they are as real as the right coronary artery.
You feel them; as real as a heart beat.
Ba Boom.
Sometimes the heart dies.
I know this because my father’s heart died and then he died too.
The Doctors said it might be genetics or a high cholesterol diet will do it and no exercise and if someone takes a gun and shoots you right in it…
Well, that’ll kill the heart dead and then you die too.
Because the human can’t live without a heart, you see.
It’s very important.
It’s essential.
There are lots of ways to kill a heart though.
You can squish the feelings right out of there.
You can take an emotional hook and just pull all the good things out of someone else’s heart and then you can do what you want with it.
I know that can happen.
It can even happen with your friends.
That’s why you have to be extra, extra careful with feelings.
You won’t find this in a textbook.
It might not even be on Google.  I don’t know.
But it’s like we’re all Doctors doing operations on each other.
We should be taking a Hippocratic oath – but one about looking after each other's feelings.
Some people do terrible things to others by accident and other people still, will take a lot of pleasure in making sure that your feelings are good and hurt.
Or not care too much because they believe for every life there must be a death, or they have a misconception that they are justified above all others, even if it’s you, or me or whomever.
They are not very nice people.
But it doesn’t matter.
The point is…
There are many ways to kill a heart
And just because I am still here doesn’t mean I didn’t already die.




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Truth

My crisis of faith wasn't a crisis at all.  There is no crisis when truth is uncovered.  It just is.  I think truth comes into your world and that's the end of it.  Regardless of whether your truth be spiritual or scientific; it still brings about an enlightenment.  Your truth is enlightening to you.  I am philosophical enough to know that there is my truth, your truth and *the* truth. However *the* truth isn't ever going to matter anywhere but in the court of law. Even then what point is *the* truth when there is no way of ever proving it either way?  Does it even exist anywhere but in one's own heart?  That's hardly scientific but perhaps empirical knowledge is the key to understanding, here.

I used to believe in God but now I do not.  I used to believe that when humans die they stay with us as spirit.  That notion has helped me get through a lot.  It's helped me get through my father's death.  It helped me make sense of a world turned upside down to still feel him there with me - to talk to him when there was no one else to talk to and to feel comforted by the notion that someone still had my back, even if they weren't human at all.  It helped me to think (know!) that there was life after death, even if I didn't believe in God... or heaven or even if I didn't follow a dogmatic approach to things...and even if I was morally and intellectually opposed to anything religious.  It didn't matter to me that it was confusing that God was dead but my dad had somehow lived on.  My truth didn't have to make sense.  The truth doesn't have to make sense for it to be real.  Those kinds of details really don't matter when you are grieving.  They really don't matter even if you aren't grieving to be completely honest.  Don't judge until you have been there at age 16.

I'm not quite sure how truth came in or how I got enlightened but however it happened, it happened and here I am; embracing truth.. as I have done before, albeit from a different vantage point.  I don't know if it is *the* truth, but it's enough.  I can't say it's a *better* place to be but whether the truth of my past was truer than the truth that exists now is irrelevant.  In the end what it presently true is essentially more true that what was true before just because it's true now, to me.  Right?

So as I approach the 20th anniversary of the death of an important man, that wasn't really all that important to anyone else but me and the few people who loved him, I'm reflecting a lot on humans and death and decay.  I'm reflecting on the truth of humankind. I'm reflecting on how one little human being can explode all over the place just by disappearing and how the domino effect of that is greater than anyone can ever understand and how unimportant that is at the same time to anyone else and anything else going on in the world.

I'm looking at the truth and the truth is that there is absolutely nothing more than what your eyes see now.  There is carbon and worms and stardust.  And if you happen to die and don't exist anymore then did you ever?  I mean you were here, there's the photo that proves it, there's the headstone and there's the memory of you.  All these things fade however - even the headstone.  Things that humans build when they are alive decay unbelievably quickly when you take away the human element from them.  Buildings deteriorate, friendships are lost, love is gone and there is nothing left once you take the human bit away.

And what of that exactly? Sure there are the trinkets left behind; cufflinks or faded smiling photographs or that one little gift left in the form of interlocking silver hearts I wear sometimes as a pendant. These are the tributes one has of a person and we wear them and look at them to remind us or to grip on to because the essence of the real them does not exist anymore. They are a tribute but what are we tributing exactly?  Ghosts don't exist, spirits don't inhabit, memories fade and love is lost.  All these tangible and intangible things that we hold on to so tightly eventually fade as if they never existed in the first place and after all is said and done and the dust has settled again and the last paper decays and the memory dies with the last person well what of that existence?  It ceases to exist completely like it never did. What is left?  I suppose there is the empty seashell; the meaningless chaos of tragedy and near-misses.  There's that.

And what to make of 20 years that has gotten a lot harder in the last year, harder than it ever has been before?  What do I make of you now, Dad?  Did you ever exist and does it matter?  Is the sum of you encapsulated in the trinkets left behind when you left? Is it the nostalgia of you, the not-quite memories of something that is basically an untruth that has been manipulated by time and my memories of the way you might have been.  And when that smashed up memory of you dies or fades then do you die again, or is that your one true death?   What is the sum of 20 years?  Is it just time?  Is it just emotion?  What are you?  Where are you?  Who are you?  ...Who am I?

How can I miss the ghost of somebody that doesn't exist anymore so, so much?

But I do, I really do miss you.  I miss almost everything about you and that's the honest truth.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mantra

I have this mantra that gets me through the tougher times of my day.  All times are tough, actually, but there are some moments where I am physically crippled with emotional pain so bad I can barely breathe.  Not everyone has the pleasure of knowing what that is like but if you do... I'm so unbelievably sorry.  I don't wish it upon anybody.   Anyway the mantra goes; ears, head, eyes, heart.  I touch those parts of my body while I recite it and I do that until I can breathe normally or until the noise in my head eases and I can function again.   It's a reminder of the things I do have in spite of having very little by way of worth when it comes to anyone else.

Ears; because all the beauty I have in the world comes from music.  I am humbled by my ability to hear.  I am grateful for that, which I think of as a gift  If I had to pick one thing - that would be the thing.  Hearing music is my thing.  It's the best thing I have.  It's a friend.  It's a companion.  It's everything.  It's often the absolute only thing.  I don't even have the words that could begin to express how amazing it is for me to hear music.  If music is just a casual acquaintance for you then you won't get this - you have other good things.  For me, music is the good thing.

Head; because of my ability to imagine the best world.  I have no doubt there are many people that can do what I do with a seed and turn it into a complete world inside my head but I'm exceptionally good at it.  I've met a few people who have to do that.  It's something that broken people have to do in order to survive. Sometimes you have to create your own world in order to survive the real world.  It's always a bit of a disappointment when you realise it's not real but I have lived so many almosts inside my imagination. It's awesome what I can create in there. I'm happy I can do that.  I don't even know what I would do without that ability.

Eyes; because I see truth.  I'm good at realising truths. And yes they hurt like hell.  My truths are messy, horrible, terrible truths but they are real.  Not that I necessarily always want to embrace real, but it's necessary for me not to kid myself.  There are no safety nets where I reside and so it's best to know exactly what the truth is at all times.  I see truths and that's important.  But also I recite eyes because I see beauty in things that are overlooked by other people.  This doesn't mean that others are kinder or nicer or afford me opportunities that I wouldn't otherwise have but seeing beauty in chaos is something I do because I think inherently I'm a pretty okay person.  I look beyond measures of beauty or talent.  I see something within.  I take the time to wonder about others.  I take the time to awe about the world.  I see lots of beauty around me.  It makes me a good person to have at your back.   It doesn't mean that others go out of their way to see beauty in me or the things I do but I do see those things.  It's not enough but it's a good thing to be.

Heart; because I have one.  Because I love.  I love with my whole heart.  I do that.  I do that to my detriment but despite the ongoing pain it brings it's better that being cold hearted.  Loving with your heart does not bring you love, though.  This I know to be a truth. But it's still an amazing thing to do.  Everyone deserves lovely things thought about them and everyone deserves love. If you are in my life, I've thought lovely things about you.  I think it makes a difference.  I really do.  I can feel my heart.  It reminds me I'm human.  This year I've discovered that there are people that can turn their heart off and be completely cold. I'm not one of those people.  I don't even want to be.  I want to be someone who loves.  It's something I can give and it's humane of me.  It kills me but it's what we are here to do, us humans.

Ears, Head, Eyes, Heart.
That's my mantra.
It doesn't bring me good things, but it reminds me that I can create my own little spark of something good in the chaos.


Monday, August 25, 2014

The Insurance Policy.

I'm doing it tough.  I'm doing it more than tough.  I'm barely breathing on the inside - though I keep taking those pesky breaths of real oxygen on the outside.  I don't see this as an achievement or an accomplishment. I see it as a cowardly act, to keep breathing in and out.  Cowardly, because it's easy.  I mean, of COURSE it's not easy at all. It's excruciating.  I mean that physically too.  Some days it physically hurts to keep breathing in and out.  I don't know why I keep doing it.  I am a useless apparatus.  A defective robot left on the conveyor belt.  The accidental and excess dot that people unknowingly add to the end of an ellipsis.  But easy, because it means changing nothing. How does one stop breathing anyway?  Do you just hold your breath?  I don't even know.  Easier not to think and just keep doing it.

I have an insurance policy.  49 of them. I counted.  It's there, just in case.  I think about it a lot.  I think about the trapdoor in the sun.  I think about how if things could be better they would be.  They just would be.  Even the changes I make and those have been significant haven't brought dividends at all.  I wonder how is it that I even got here.  Alice followed the rabbit but I don't remember following anything at all.  I just got here - this realisation, this excruciating, horrible, terrible space where everything about me is completely wrong.  It's not a new space.  It's the realisation of what was always there.

This is it.  Deal with it.  This is the best it will ever be.  You can only depend on yourself.  You are useless.  If you were something, you'd be it. You are nothing.

And I am. I know.

This is the playlist on repeat in my brain.  It's the playlist that even on shuffle makes complete sense.  It's proven and researched and even experts agree.  It's just true.

Of course on the outside. I get up. I smile.  I go to work. I crack jokes.  I cope, amazingly.  Horribly, with a sledgehammer to my heart and head and body every time I take a step but I'm sure it doesn't matter.  I cope, even when I say I don't.  I am ignored even when I tell my colleagues that I am not coping.

But I have an insurance policy.  49 of them.


Friday, July 04, 2014

And The Tree Was Happy



One of the best books I know is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  I read it each year to the class; sometimes numerous times, I give it away as a present to new parents, I talk about it often, I think about it even more.  It’s one of those powerful books with an influential message about being selfless.  In this era where narcissism is so central to our lives it’s more of an important message now than ever before.  I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately; about narcissism and how it has now become a human ‘value’ to put oneself first.  Now, I think that putting oneself first is the only way that someone can get ahead in this world, don’t get me wrong; you need to look out for yourself.  But I think this is true as a product of the way we live now rather than because it should be something we hold fast to as a good value for humanity.  Over the past few years I’ve seen the old mantra of ‘don’t’ let others dictate who you are’ turn into ‘never mind other people, just do what is right for you’ (or even, ‘don’t let others hold you back’). Seems like a subtle and positive shift but I’ve been wondering whether it really is.  The former is about empowering yourself the latter is about stepping on others to get to where you need to be. I’ve amplified that, of course to make a point.  They are both about empowerment, but the latter is empowerment without considering the needs of anyone else, and sometimes at the expense of others too.
That seems right though, doesn’t it?  One shouldn’t think of others, one should only consider oneself when making any decision shouldn’t they?  What about your children, your parents, your partner, your family?  Are they a consideration or should they be?  I’m guessing if you have them your children come first. What about other people’s children?  No, too removed…  So what about when people don’t treat your children nicely… I mean if you don’t treat others with fundamental consideration then why should they consider you and yours?  They won’t.  Never mind other people, just do what’s right for you.  They’ll not mind you, you’ll not mind them and together we can all look out for ourselves.  It’s a dog-eat-dog world.
I’ve been thinking a lot about being selfless or selfish; giving and receiving.  They are fundamental to the human condition and there’s a big question mark that hangs in the air right now over my head about how we all fit together when it comes to giving and receiving. Sure, I do it – we all do.  Everyone gives.  Everyone receives.  It’s a fundamental part of being human to give to others.  What I never really contemplated though was that there are different ways that people give.  It’s in the capacity of the person doing the giving that brings about the difference and I think somehow they are related to those so-called positive mantras we keep telling ourselves – ‘don’t let others hold you back’ and ‘never mind other people, just do what is right for you’.   People give to the extent they believe in this.  It doesn’t make either type of giving any less important or positive but there are subtle differences.  There are other types of giving but I’ve narrowed it down to two that I see most commonly:
The Giving Gesture
Giving in Absentia: The Giving Tree
Perhaps there are better names for this.  I don’t know.  I just made that shit up on the spot because that’s how things happen in my brain.
The Giving Gesture
This is the most common type of giving. It’s a present, an invite, a phone call, a random text, a donation, a helping hand, an offer, cooking a meal for someone, etc.  It’s straightforward and everyone knows where they stand. It’s basically a grand gesture and that gesture says:  I’m thinking of you.  I care about you.  I want you to know that I’m here; right now, I’m here.  It makes someone else feel good and it makes the giver feel good too, because they are giving something tangible – an experience or a *something* that one can reference later; “remember that time we…”, “you know that time when I helped you…”
This type of giving is important because on the one hand it gives that person in need something tangible and on the other hand The Giver can put a time limit on it. It saves The Giver from being drained and also gives them something tangible to take away from the experience too: This is what I’m willing to give you.  I will give you this now.  See this thing, this thing is tangible and it’s for you and we can both share it.  There’s a lot of happiness involved in this type of giving because it’s visible.  One can always refer back to it.  One is usually celebrated for doing it and the person receiving knows who to thank and what to thank them for.  It will make someone’s day!  They will remember it.  It’s a lovely thing to do and people who do it a lot are thought of as lovely people.  Everybody wins.  It’s the Facebook of giving.  Everyone sees it… it’s on the wall.  It works well with our new positive mantra –Never mind others, just do what is right for you.  This type of giving allows you to give on your terms.  This is right for me right now and so therefore I’ll do it. If it wasn’t convenient, I wouldn’t do it but that's okay because it's giving you something you need.
Everyone does this type of giving.  Even Mother Teresa did it.
Giving In Absentia: The Giving Tree
Why absentia?   How can you give while absent?  Well you can’t, not really – but the absence is not absence of being there, it’s the absence of ego involved.  Ego is the thing that causes us to think of ourselves.  Of course, as we’ve established, in order to get anywhere in life you must think of yourself first but when it comes to giving it’s possible to do this without ego and still not be degraded by the act giving.  This kind of giving isn’t quite as visible as The Gesture, nor can you always reflect on something tangible afterwards.  It can be difficult to accommodate someone else and let’s face it, it’s usually without reward.  The person receiving might not even know they are being given something!  The gesture, if there is one, usually goes unnoticed.
An example of this might be bringing up someone’s name in a positive way in a conversation where they might not even be present because you know that doing so will shine a light on them in a positive way and may bring about a good thing for them (perhaps talking up a co-worker to the boss or helping to enable a someone else’s friendship to grow even if you may not even be part of it).  Maybe it’s being there for someone; listening whenever you are needed and being totally on call, anytime.  It might be offering to be there to sit with them when you know they might be alone, even if you didn’t feel like being social or you are missing out on something.  Maybe it’s letting someone else know that your mutual friend needs TLC even though that means that they get the TLC and you don’t.  Or maybe the giving might take the form of letting someone take your place in something, thereby enabling them to step forward and shine for a while even if it means that the focus is off you. It might even be a loving thought you have towards someone – a hope for them that is really beyond a fleeting thought but a truly intentioned moment devoted totally to them. This type of giving is not about a shared reward.  It’s totally about the other person and probably, no one will remember who did the giving or even know… but if they do know they’ll never forget, trust me.
This type of giving doesn’t fit with the positive mantra but one doesn’t have to be degraded in order to do it either.  I think that’s what’s so difficult about this type of giving.  We’re so obsessed with building ourselves up that we’ve forgotten that once we’re all built it’s just superficial.  So you flirted with his girlfriend to get a wife but your friend is gone – who cares, they weren’t a real friend anyway if they stand in your way… and you took an opportunity you saw was for someone else because it’s cut throat out there, if you didn't do it someone else would have - look out for you, that's important... and now you earn more but your co-workers can see how you got there, and phew, thank goodness you removed yourself from the situation where you were being drained by someone because their problems make you feel bad and you don’t want that, no matter how temporary.  You've saved yourself from that little 'I don't feel good right now so I'm not going to do it' moment that we all kid ourselves isn't part of being human but actually is.  You’ve done all that and you have fulfilled your mantra – never mind others, just do what is right for you.  And so, now what?  Nice Empire you have there.  The way we're going everyone will have that same empire.
In the book, the tree gives unconditionally.  It makes her happy, you see, to give to someone something they need to help them be better. Perhaps it is appropriate for Silverstein to have made such a selfless being a tree rather than a human. It’s difficult to give to someone else in a way that helps them without giving you accolades.  It’s even more difficult to think of someone else before yourself.  You’d think that the tree would be degraded… but she isn’t.  By the end, although the boy will never fully understand the extent to which he has been helped by the tree and that tree; having given almost everything she can to the boy she loves, they are still both fulfilled in their own way.  I always wonder at the end about how love is fuel for the best things and ego and narcissism isn’t.  I wonder about the people I know who are like that.  I wonder about narcissism and how it fuels ego and how is it that we have made it such a positive mantra to push someone aside and step in their place, calling it self-fulfilment or strength of character and positive self-image.  I wonder about where we are going with this.  I wonder where we will end up.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can be a better giver and indeed who are the people who have given me the things that have truly helped me in my life.  I’m thinking about The Giving Tree.  I think you should read it.  Really read it.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Words

I've been thinking a lot about words lately.

That saying; sticks and stones...What a dirty little lie that is. Try all your might with that sword or stick or whatever it is that people use and brandish so violently to get at someone, it's actually the word that will penetrate to the core every time. Anyone who has ever been any bloody good with them will know that. Anyone who has ever watched a face crumple or light up from things said will understand completely when I say that a word will go anywhere and everywhere because it really does. It's the word that will remain after all those walls have crumbled and cities have disappeared into the sands. The monument ceases to exist without them. The word is the last breath. It is the very last thing that you will ever do and be…even after the sword goes in for the kill.

I found myself, the other night night in a meeting where words were the topic: my words to be exact.

I wrote some, you see. Teachers tend to at this time of year; we write lots of them. Almost 10,000 in fact, twice a year. I counted. Mostly written under duress, sometimes while cradling wine and often after many sleepless nights in a row. Some teachers will agonise over them, unable to scrape together the right ones that will make sense and do the child justice and other teachers write them easily and with flair, the words almost dancing out from their fingertips and dying to get onto the page. Some will be boring and uninspiring and others will make you smile or laugh out loud or bring about the one thing that all humans must have; connection and recognition. I've read them all and it's a privilege to do so. Even the bad ones teach me something about myself.

For me, I admire the ones that are truly beautiful. I'm in awe of those who can use them to delight others and I really *am* delighted by the clever ones, the kind ones (especially the kind ones) and the ones I rarely hear are the most coveted of all. I love putting them to good use and sometimes I labour over them, trying to find the right ones to say or write and berate myself because I can't find the ones that fill the gap or hate myself because I used the wrong ones. I know that they can sometimes be inadequate and more often than not I am inadequate in the way I use them. Often, I am at a loss for the right ones, or misuse the ones I have at my fingertips, or misconstrue those said to me and had mine misunderstood by others.

I recognise all too well that a gap exists between the word and the subject though. The space can be infinitely huge with the word not quite ever being able to do the subject justice. How wrong to misrepresent what you mean in your heart with what comes out of your mouth. Sometimes I wish there were no words. Sometimes I wish I could just walk up to someone and place my forehead against theirs and somehow they would understand, not in their head but in their heart. Yes, words are everything and yet they are so fallible but there is no escaping them. Mostly, I long to say the important ones but I just can't... for some reason I feel that saying them will create a new reality that will change everything. It will. It does. It's amazing to think that telling someone something will change their reality forever and yours. Good or bad, words are absolutely powerful. I think you can create someone's whole world with a few choice words. You can also destroy someone. I've done both and I've had both done to me, many times over and many more times will come, I'm sure. Both these things are happening to me simultaneously right now actually. I don't know if this is the same for everyone.

Even the absence of them will create a catastrophe. After all, did you ever really believe that choosing to omit words would mean they wouldn’t be heard? Mostly those ones just echo louder in our thoughts (more words) or are whispered in actions one chooses to enact but not express. In this case sometimes those words are twisted and broken and may be pieced together wrongly but still they are there and will create a reality that, intended or not, truly exists. Insincerity: the same.

So back to the meeting... There we are, adjacent; parent and teacher - leaning in toward each other (as I tend to do), when the topic of words came up. I bring it up, as a matter of fact: Did you get a chance to read the report (duh, of course! But, sometimes they don't)? Do you have any questions about anything I wrote? I've asked this question roughly 300 times over the years …but this time the parent cried.

She was grateful for the fundamental human thing I did through my words and that was to recognise something beautiful within another human. I wasn't amazed that my words could do that but I was humbled and emotional alongside that parent. She thanked me as I have thanked others for their words in the past and we talked at length about why it was so important for those words to be written.

Later that same night, in another meeting I was insulted by some words hurled at me via a different source. To be honest, at first I wasn't, but a day later I have to admit that the sword would have been an easier wound to heal than this one. Words remain. Worlds have been created. Another reality was built ...or torn down and rebuilt, whichever. Both, probably.

Words, I'm thinking about them a lot.  I'm thinking about the words that exist in silence and I'm thinking about the words that will never be said.  I have spent a whole lifetime in the wonderment of words and their meaning and the way that they can change a reality.  I wonder how they are yet to change mine.

I am wondering.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

You

I'm looking at you and I'm wondering how you slipped through the cracks.  I'm wondering how you can cope at * years old; daily, with what most people never know until they're an adult. It's a horrible realisation to know that adults can and will let you down.  Just to know this is a slap in the face.  To expect it as normal is debilitating to the human soul.  To know it as your reality is beyond words.

You deal with it daily though and don't think I don't know how you cope.  Oh, I know.  I see it every day.  I see it in the way you move in your seat.  I see it in the words you ignore - those both harsh and full of praise.  I notice the way you lash out when others wrong you; desperately trying to cling to that part of you that is still a little hopeful and protect it.  I understand the parallel universe you've created to exist alongside this real one and I also know that reality is a dicey concept right now anyway.  I know you slip in and out as you need to.  I know how protective you are of the world you've created and I know why.  I know how comforting that world is.  I know how essential it is.  I know you need it.  I think you're amazing for having concocted this space for yourself.  You've shown at * what most adults never have to do - that is to completely protect yourself from all sides; from all attacks; from everything.  It's unfair that you have to and they never do.  Most will never, ever, EVER understand because they never, ever, EVER had to deal.  Lucky them.  They'll be the people who will tell you to look on the bright side.  Nice.

You haven't learnt yet how to ask why and when you do that will be yet another hard pill to swallow because there won't be an answer that won't come pointing back at you; yet another little something to deal with.  I understand from that look you give me that you are completely resigned to this way of being.  This is your reality and mate, you are doing a magnificent job of using absolutely every resource you have to survive it.  And you are surviving but it won't help you in this reality; the reality that isn't all that dicey for everybody else.  In this reality you are barely treading water; slowly sinking into quicksand; gasping for Ventolin; sawing logs with a butter knife. I recognise this.

I think about you a lot.  I think about you when everyone else is long gone.  I think about you when I should be thinking about myself but I have no answers.  I don't want to be yet another adult who fails you; like all of us have done so far.  As I sit here for yet another night at my desk with my head in my hands, trying desperately to make a bridge between us that won't fall down, I know that I have failed you too.   I see the you, who you really are and I admire that person and can't think of a more imaginative, clever, resourceful kid and on top of all of that I completely understand.  I do.  I guess that's what makes it harder but in the end, despite all of this I'm just another adult and just another person who will fail you in the end and it's killing me.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Love Letter To You

Here's my love letter to you.

Dear Girl,

You are not in my class anymore but you visit me daily and you give me a hug.  That hug is the only regular human contact I have.  It's the most amazing thing in my day.  It's the most incredible thing I have - this tangible piece of loveliness that comes with a beaming smile that is all for me.  It is my only Technicolor moment amongst the dull monochrome that is every other breathing moment at the moment.

Somehow you don't see what other people must see in me - which is a broken person or an unworthy person.  You see through into the soul of me and for that 10 seconds I feel almost whole.  It is by far the best thing in my day.  You are by far the only person in my life who seeks me out for the sole purpose of you finding delight in seeing me.  You walk in.  You say hello.  You grin your wide grin and you give me a hug.

You are 9 years old and you have no idea just how important you are but you are very important.

I'm humbled.

Thank you.

M.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Truth

The other day I was driving down one of our particularly busy stretches of ribbon in this fair city and saw an old comic book store I used to frequent a lot when I was just a mere child of 20.  I remember her, that girl.  I remember her wonder at the world.  I remember her optimism that life would somehow work out, even if it wasn't working out right then.  I remember her.  She was ready for things to happen.  She really thought they would.

Today I decided to go into the store.  It had changed since I had been there last, of course.  The face was the same but the internal layout was completely different.  Gone were the little nooks I used to hide and read comics in.  Gone was the dirty, musky smell.  Things felt new and strange and unfamiliar.  Things change, I know.  I'm not that girl anymore and that store isn't that store anymore.  I looked but they didn't have the range of comics I was hoping for. I could barely find anything.  I was disoriented and lost and craving knowing how to go about things without a map like I used to be able to do.

I can never go back to her; that girl; there is no map that can take me back there and there is no compass that will help me navigate my way back into her head.  She is so long gone that I can barely even touch her with my thoughts.  My link to her is tenuous and strained with longing to go back but you can never go back.  I'd love to get in the DeLorean and work things out but I can't.  I don't have her optimism that things will somehow be okay anymore, I miss that.  I don't have her wonder at the world and that is something I crave too.  I don't have her youth and vitality nor her ability to manifest.  I know too many depressing answers about how things work for me.  Not for everyone but yes, for me.  I know that there is nothing holding me up or believe that there is any kind of safety net I can access.  There is no "there-there, it'll be okay".  None of that exists.  I know that there is no one to help navigate my path.  I don't trust that I can do it alone and in fact I know I can't.  I don't even want to navigate.  Nothing seems to have a point, especially me and I hate this clarity with every sense of myself.  I don't even know where it came from but it feels like I just woke up one morning and realised an irreparable truth.  I had a stupid, fucking a-ha moment that I wish I could give back to the ether.

I don't hate the actual truth of it though. Truth, at least gives me a compass point from which to reference myself.  At the moment I'm pointing at royally fucked, aimless, loner, weirdo but at least I know.  It's my powerlessness in the face of truth that I hate.  I've fought too many battles in my day to day existence to be powerful enough to fight any more.   I'm exhausted.  I'm over fighting for normal human everyday things and there is such truth in that, it's scary.


I tried to meet that 20 year old child today in that store but I couldn't.  I looked for her in amongst the crisp trade paperbacks and Wrestlemania figurines but she was nowhere to be seen.  She's lost.  I'm lost.  I left the store feeling like I had severed a tie forever.  Another link gone.  I'm going through them at an alarming rate.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Unrequited

The last time my heart broke I put myself in bed whenever I wasn't at work.  I cried into my pillow and hugged myself, feeling every inch of that sucker punch in every single cell.  It took me a good year of feeling like a zombie and started a spiral downwards that I never quite recovered from.  I never fully came back.  I told myself that I could never do that to myself again.

This time, before it happened I reminded myself of what it felt like.  I came to the conclusion that I was above all that now that I was older and wiser.

I'm not above it.

I didn't know that it could feel worse.  I didn't know I would be sobbing on the floor unable to get up.  I didn't know being ignored could feel so terrible.  I didn't know I could physically feel like someone was clawing at my heart and tearing it to shreds.  I didn't know that my words would never be able to encompass the depth of pain I feel.

I didn't know that just because it was unrequited that it would hurt even more.  I don't understand how.

It does.
It hurts like a motherfucker.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The point is...

I'm going to level with you;  I'm not doing too well.
I feel like I'm on the precipice of a nervous breakdown though I'm too aware of how unable I am to have one to actually ever let it happen.  Who would be there to pick up the pieces exactly should that happen?  I don't have the luxury of letting myself completely break down and decompose like I want to.  I resent that too, by the way.

The past year has been excruciating.  I'm now at the stage where I don't even look forward to weekends.  I don't even look forward to the long night ahead after work finishes.  What do people do with those hours exactly?  How are they filled?  I see them all before me and just get exhausted by the daunting task of navigating their emptiness.  I drive home, late with my fingers gripping the wheel and my stomach churning with pain the closer I get to my house.  I often take the long way home - sometimes driving close to 2 hours to postpone the inevitable nothingness that follows when I am here.

"What is the point of me?" is a question I ask of myself daily.  More than daily; perhaps closer to hourly.  It's a valid question.  What is the point of me?  I can see that I get up every morning, I pay my taxes, I work in a job that is giving back to the community, I love those around me, I am kind and giving (well, mostly), I am a good friend and a human that aims not to harm others but there is nothing there that actually has a point.  There is nothing there that makes being me actually worthwhile.  I'm not saying that I'm going to disappear any time soon - remember, who would be there to pick up the pieces and all that?  No, it's just - what is the point of all this emptiness?  I'm sick of sailing these seas.  I'm sick of being me.  I'm sick of getting up and paying my taxes and being a productive member of society.  I don't have the things that basic humans need - connection, hugs and love and so what is the point of me?  I keep asking - like as if I expect a disembodied voice to boom back an answer that makes sense.

But there is no disembodied voice.  There is no answer.  There is only that emptiness, stretching out before me tauntingly.

MVOR thinks this is productive of me; to be feeling so raw.  This rawness is new.  It's the repressed me that is now surfacing, that has to surface in order for me to peel it away and expose the new, I suppose.  But maybe not.  Maybe it's just me winding down, coming to terms with my supreme insignificance and a dawning of many more years of chaos and myself spiraling in a downward direction.

I wish I could say that I was having a moment of feeling sorry for myself but I'm honestly not.  I'm grateful for every wretched breath I draw.  I'm amazed by my ability to imagine beautiful things, always.  I'm inspired by the beauty I am able to find in every chaotic moment.  I recognise my unique qualities in seeing things that others don't and in surviving what others couldn't even imagine.  There is nobody I know that could handle the daily circumstances that I do and I wouldn't wish it on anyone either.  I'm amazing and all that.  I know.

But it's not enough for me to see what the point of all that is.  What is the point of me?  It's a question I'll keep asking until my voice grows hoarse and every silent beat that follows after sends me hurtling further and further into space away from everything and everyone.

What is the fucking point of me?

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Monday, February 24, 2014

What I Saw When I Was Looking

It's not often I'm in church, but today was a special occasion and I found myself there, sitting somewhere in the back with a good vantage point to people-watch.  A woman comes in and sits in a church pew by herself.  In only a few moments she is flicking her way through the prayer book and looking around nervously.  Mass starts and a little while later a tall, distinguished looking man comes in herding his two young daughters right next to the woman.

They are sitting there together now; woman, eldest daughter, youngest daughter, man - like a row of perfect dolls all together on the shelf. Her face lights up in recognition as she greets her eldest daughter and lifts her onto her lap kissing her numerous times with enthusiasm.  Soon, the woman starts doting - she is petting her child's arm, she is fixing her hair clip, she is kissing her, she is stroking her cheek.  The woman; mother, is in love.  I can tell by her gentleness and her caring and the way she touches her daughter but the smile that comes from within says it all.  I can feel the love from three rows behind and 7 seats to the right.

I can only assume the tall, bespectacled man is her husband.  He is attentive only to the sermon and priest.  He watches the altar with seriousness and absolute absorption; occasionally scratching at his shirt or fiddling with his watch.  I continue watching the woman though as she is a much more interesting subject.  I keep noticing that every so often she will look up at her husband and smile.  It's the same smile she gives her daughter but even more powerful, if possible.  She is absolutely besotted with this man; that forwards-starer.  She looks at him sideways, then she fixes her daughter's hair, then she looks at him again and grins and then looks down and immediately back up again and beams at him.  It's a smile that lights up the room, to use a cliché.  She flutters her eyelashes but she is not trying to flirt.  She blinks at him.  She stares.  She sighs. But he stares straight ahead at the altar, oblivious to her and oblivious to everything except the priest's ramblings.

After a while I stop watching them, finding more interesting subjects elsewhere but about halfway through the mass I glance back and notice that the woman has shuffled over sideways and planted herself next to her husband.  The kids are now both to her left.  He is relaxed, I can tell by the way he sits and she is leaning slightly into him, almost draped over him; as draped as you can get in church on a Sunday anyway.  They are clearly together.  They are clearly comfortable and loving towards each other.

I wonder how long they have been together.  The eldest looks about 4 years old.  It must be years.  But for all the years they have behind them and those yet still to come he will never know just how longingly and lovingly she looks at him when he's not paying attention.  Rather, to qualify he will never know just how besotted she was with him on Sunday 23rd February 2014.  Never!  I wonder a lot about the things we never see in those around us and those we take for granted because of assumption.  I wonder about all those unsaid moments and those things we never notice because we're too enthralled with other rambling ideas.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Displaced Person

When summer break began so did my spiral into delinquency.   I've become a serial graffitist; I graffiti comics on the walls of public restrooms.  I've been posting my scribblings on my IG account and by all accounts it's the first time in a long while that I've felt truly excited and inspired by something I've created.

I told MVOR about my new project after reminiscing about an old book I read as a teenager.   The book; Displaced Person by Lee Harding is the story about a boy who slowly started losing grip with reality to the point where he completely disappears from view and ceases to exist to all the people that once knew him in his life.  At first he finds it hard to get people's attention, then his parents start ignoring him and soon he slips through a crack in reality to find himself in a grey world where he can't engage at all with the life he once knew and wondering whether he was going mad or if this was some cruel joke being played on him by God.

MVOR was interested in the tale I told and immediately drew parallels between by own life of feeling invisible, undervalued and insignificant and the life of this fictional boy who was going through a displacement.

Then I told her about the graffiti.

Surprisingly, MVOR applauded me on this.  I was expecting her to question my reasons for doing so and to caution me against defacing public property but she didn't.  She laughed; of course you are doing this!  You are putting your hand up in the only way you know how.  You are making your mark.  You are asking people to see you, to notice you, to understand you.  You are reaching out and leaving a legacy.  You are validating yourself as a person worthy of being noticed.

Oh... well.  In that case...


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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Everybody Hurts, Sometimes.

I didn't intend on the hiatus.  No, really I didn't.  All I can think of by way of explanation is that it became hard to breathe again.  Not that I need an explanation of course, except perhaps to myself.

The beginning of October saw the 19th anniversary of my father's death.  It was the hardest milestone to live through that I can remember. Some years go by with barely a thought but last year was different.  I felt his absence, almost as badly as I felt it 19 years ago. I felt it in every pore and every thought.  I felt it with a deep, intense sadness that sticks around even today. I wish I could let it go.  I feel that by hanging on to it, I'm hanging on to his ghost somehow and stopping him somehow from finding peace.  It makes me feel even worse as I try to extract myself and to loosen this grip that seems to be so strong around him.

The thing is, I don't remember much about him; I've lived more than half of my life without him and time only ever moves forwards, not backwards.  I will never know more than what I know now and what does a 16 year old know about her father anyway?  I have been thinking a lot about the things I missed out on though and the things I learnt too early but wished I hadn't.  Things like; men leave.  I know it's not a truth, but it is my truth and it's something I learnt the hard way.  That notion has shaped my adulthood.  I can't change it.  I can't take it back.  I can't bring back the lost years either.  Time is difficult to deal with and though I am conscious of the ridiculousness of some of the notions I have they are also not without basis and therefore all the more difficult to let go.

I'm not even sure why, but I've thought about my father every day for the past 3 months since the anniversary of this death.  I've thought about the funny things he would say, or his smile or his advice... none of it is real.  It's all nostalgia - memories changed and I'm sure some made up completely.  The dead take on a ripe glow; all the past mistakes forgotten.  You forget the things you hated and you revere the things you loved until they become an object of only love.  It's not real and it's unfair for those left behind but this is what happens. Meanwhile, I didn't know grief could still feel this bad but it does.  It feels awful.  I wish I could go back for one last hug.  A real one.  It feels like a long, long time since I had a real hug from someone who really loved me.

I suppose the other reason I've been absent is the perpetual elephant in the room An awakening of sorts for me.  But what an awakening - every piece of my heart sings or sinks at any given moment.  On the one hand it's lovely to wake up to it but on the other hand - tear my heart out why dontcha?  I'd forgotten about this part... I'm reminded of John Hughes' movie 16 Candles.  The dad gives a newly 16 year old Molly Ringwald some fatherly advice:

Sam: "I know, but it hurts..."
Sam's Dad: "Thats why they call them crushes, if they were easy they'd call 'em something else."

And so from someone who lost their father at 16 and who never had the chance to have a bit of fatherly advice; thanks John Hughes.  I get it.  It hurts.  Everything at the moment hurts.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Title Required...

There haven't been many term breaks when I feel unable to function but these school holidays have me at a loss.  I'm walking through molasses and I can't explain why.  There is seemingly no rhyme or reason... except of course there is. There is nothing without reason.  I don't and can't believe that chaos theory is a complete explanation of why things are or how they came to be.  The problem is of course, that I'm avoiding that rhyme or reason.

I'm not exactly missing the everyday slog of being at work and yet I find myself as a ship without an anchor without it.  I know I have to write that pesky resume.  I know I have to go through that pile of work.  I know there are so many things I want and need to do but I can't seem to be motivated enough to do any of them, including writing.  Though, funnily enough I've been drawing...

MVOR said that I need to go on a journey and have a holiday.  I owe it to myself to have a break and to have nice things to look forward to.  Before this term break started I was motivated to do just that but as soon as the bell rang on Friday afternoon last week something within me changed.  It was that simple.  One second I was ready to take on the world and the next, I wasn't.  Every day since then has felt like I've run a marathon before I open my eyes each morning.  And every night has felt like the longest night that I've ever lived.

This feeling of frustration and angst at my life is a new feeling.  I think before, I was resigned and numb about the status quo but now I am struggling with a sense of needing more from my life than daydreams.  I can't quite seem to get it together to make that happen though.

Anyway, the other day I found myself in a record store when this song by The Chills came over the loud speakers.  I felt an immediate sense of nostalgia for things that never were.  I stood there for a while, with Kate Bush's The Kick Inside firmly in hand and remembered a life I never lived.  It was kind of surreal to say the least and I'm sure I'm not quite explaining this out of body experience right but ... I guess you had to be there (in my head).   If I were 10 years older I think this would have been a firm favourite of mine "back in the day" however as it stands, I heard it for the first time  a few days ago and have played it every day since then.  It's a great song... a bit depressing but it suits the current mood.

Pink Frost - The Chills

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Let's Stay Together

I gave away my wedding song to a girl I work with.  She is getting married in a week and I'm not invited to the wedding.  She's not my friend, just simply a colleague. The fact that I even *had* a wedding song is laughable but goes back to what I said about hope I guess.

I have to admit that I hesitated a little before handing it over.  There was a part of me that clutched to to the song like a symbol of every possibility that ever existed to me and even as I told her I could feel my grip tighten on it and heart clench around it, trying to hold it close.  Somehow though, it had to be done, I don't even know why.  By handing it over was I wiping my hands clean of a part of my past that I had treated like a crutch or was it about letting go of dreams and giving up? I still don't know what the answer to that is but all I do know is that before I had enough time to weigh up the pros and cons of being so forthcoming it was already out there.

There was a moment before I told her the song that I knew she would love it.  I could see her in my mind's eye, smiling up at her groom and I knew that this, and I'm thinking of my last post here, would be my little inconsequential nothing that I would impart to her that would turn into something in her world.  Everybody comes into your life for a reason folk.  I believe that.  Even in the blog world.

The only thing is, is that it's not just a little inconsequential nothing is it?  Maybe it is... I don't know.  Maybe all things are for letting go.  I have to trust that this was always hers to begin with and not mine to hold on to.  I'll get mine one day too... whatever "mine" ends up being, I truly don't know what form that will take - bag lady, crazy cat lady, authoress, teacher extraordinaire, housewife, bon vivant...another song.  I trust that it whatever it is "it" will be the right thing for me.

I have to, don't I?

Let's Stay Together - Al Green


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Sunday, September 08, 2013

Through the Darkness and the Light

Something has awakened in me this Spring, along with the blossoms.  It's an emotion, a frustration, an anger, love, a lust for life to take over and a feeling of inevitability that change will happen. 

There is a part of me that walks alongside me, behind me, above me, ahead.  My higher self I suppose.  I can see her silver rope in hand, attached through and inside me, pulling at the chord, she's running ahead, skipping forwards, pirouetting through the air, dancing a wild dervish while the physical me plods behind.  Higher self is quite a force, trust me.  She is beckoning me forwards through the wasted nights, wasted years, wasted life and showing me a future without despair.

I have waited for the epiphany.  I have searched for the synchronicity and explored all connections.  I've been misguided and walked down the wrong path many times but I've come to the realisation that sometimes people come into your life for one reason only.  You may share a joke.  Feel a connection.  See a spark.  Light a candle.  Carry a flame.  Are best friends.  But maybe that friendship of love or lust isn't why they are important.  That connection whatever it is isn't the important one at all. The important bit is the sentence they utter offhandedly one day.  The song you hear on their ipod when you borrow it.  The t-shirt they wear with that slogan.  The tweet you read by accident.  Whatever.  That little chaotic accident ..or twist of fate pushes you forwards and before you know it you're tumbling off the edge and into your future.  They will never know and never need to know that that their inconsequential little nothing turned into something marvelous inside you.

You came into my life to lead me here.

Despair - Yeah Yeah Yeahs



Seasons change, emotions change, the government changes, the waves roll in and out.
Good and bad, it's all change.
Everything has its day... and so will I.

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Monday, September 02, 2013

Pontoon

Sometimes my conversations with MVOR are inconsequential, they float away into the atmosphere as soon as I leave the comfort of that cosy little room.  Other times the conversation has stayed with me dancing on my shoulder and poking me with a pitchfork like a little devil so I never forget.

The Archetypes conversation we had last week has lingered around me and refusing to leave.

Like all our conversations, this started somewhere rather remote and eventually meandered in that same way it usually does, past the inadequacies of my upbringing and taking a right through my lack of self esteem and stumbling somewhere near the babbling brook of discontent until we reached the fairytale discussion.

If you think about it, we are all in our consciousness and at the very core a collection of archetypes.  That is how our point of reference for ourselves and the way in which we size up and identify each other.  Every story has its wicked witch, its naive traveler, a caregiver, a Prince.  There are those that look one way and act another like our friend The Beast and there are those that without doubt are exactly who they appear to be, like Snow White.  Love it or hate it archetypes are important to us.  How else would you know what I meant by Perfect Mother unless you already had an idea in your mind of what that would entail?  Even if your own Mother wasn't perfect at all, you would still have a projected ideal in your mind of what she should have been.

The fairytale discussion began with an unflattering description of someone in my life as the wicked witch from Hansel and Gretel.  MVOR agreed that this sounded consistent with my observations about her in previous discussions and so if that was true when who was I?

As the leading lady in my own sorrowful story you'd think that this would be an easy question to answer but I couldn't reconcile myself as a Red Riding Hood, Snow White or Belle.  There is no heroine for me to project forward.  MVOR heard my silence, as she often does... and in her perceptive way eventually prompted;  I thought that would be obvious.  Aren't you Cinderella?  She gave a multitude of good reasons why I should be.

I considered it for a long while but ultimately had to disagree.

I couldn't be Cinderella because Cinderella, like all leading heroines, is a character laden with hope and possibility.  You go into reading her story knowing that she will prevail.  Despite her lowly and doomed status as a servant to her Stepmother and horrid Stepsisters, success is still a certainty for her, like it is for all heroines.  I can't say that anything is a positive certainty for me.  The jury is still out on whether I will turn these lemons into lemonade or even if I will manage to maintain this exhausting balancing act of my life that can at best be described as a "status quo".  No, though I may indeed be in the soot and cinders, sleeping with the outcasts and edging my way along the fringes like our old friend Cinderella I'm not quite as entitled as she to a happy ending.  Who is to say I am?  What's the guarantee?  Not everyone ends up with love, family, money, security, health or self actualisation.  In fact, not even having one of them is a certainty.

MVOR explained that our archetypes and internal schemas are part of the image we have of ourselves and that which we project outwards.  Is it indeed a self fulfilling prophesy to see oneself in a certain light and to project that outwards, therefore inviting others to see us thus?  And so what do you do if your internal archetype is not positive or constructive?  Well this is a question for the ages.  I'm told it can change with a lot of perseverance and adjustments to our internal narrative.

So if my archetypal fairytale character is not Cindy, then what do you suppose I said?
----

I bought an album the other day for the first time in a loooooong time.  I don't tend to buy albums anymore.  I buy songs. I suppose we all do that now.  But this one... this one I bought.  I seem to be listening to this song a lot.  It takes me somewhere otherworldly.  Exactly what I need.

Pontoon - Emma Louise









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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fake Project/Real Project

I spent a long time this weekend organising my teacher resources.  I have literally thousands of dollars worth of literature and resources that just sits there taking up space and gathering dust.  Anyway after many frustrating hours of putting bits of paper into plastic pockets and then into folders the room is looking a lot neater.  I sat back tonight and surveyed my efforts and waiting for the feeling of satisfaction and euphoria to overtake me as you'd expect it would after a big clean up moment like this, but that feeling never came.  As a matter of fact I don't feel any sense of satisfaction in my clean up of the room at all.  Despite two Ikea bags full of of things I've thrown out and 2 bags I've redirect to other areas of the house I feel like the room is still frustratingly exactly as it was.

I've rearranged, I've thrown out the excess rubbish and clutter but I haven't really sorted through my shit.  Do I truly need that folder full of activities about healthy eating from 2005 that I inherited from another teacher and have never used?  Why should I keep that book about using computer activities with Grade 2-6 that I haven't opened?  For that matter should I keep any of the books whose spine still isn't even cracked?  Why do I need any of those things and why do I have them in the first place?  If I had to be objective I could probably fit all the things I need onto one shelf.  Instead I have 2, plus the 2 at school, plus the 7 car loads in storage...and more.

I seem to do this every time I attempt to clean.  I sort through my things, make it all look neat and never really evaluate or get rid of the things I really need to.  The excess history I've accumulated on these shelves of mine that I've refused to throw out have created blockage for the potential of new things coming in.  I can't fit anything else in if I don't get rid of the stale stuff that is there.  Sure, I can create a more efficient filing system or invest in a larger space, deeper shelves and generally manage the resources I have more effectively but that's not what I really want to do.

What I really want to do is preserve the essential pieces of my past that I can't move forward without and get rid of all the excess shit that clogs all that awesome stuff from coming in.

Easy.


Meanwhile on the musical landscape, this little gem has joyously been swimming around my head for the past week.  If everyone has a theme song and I think they do, this one is mine...for this month anyway.

Left of Centre - Suzanne Vega




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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Let's Get Cynical.

I'm an idealist.
I wouldn't recommended it.

I work with a lot of children who are idealists.  In fact I'd go so far to say that most (all?) children are idealists.  They sense the unfairness in things and voice them as if they are entitled to fairness.  Of course fair in a child's eye is always a little skewed but the ideal there is a good one.  Fairs fair and everyone should be treated equally.

A while ago I was complaining to a friend about something in the school system being not fair (not "that's sooo unfair" but as in, "this is not a fair way to do things").  She turned to me and said 'yes, but tell me one thing in life that is fair? You shouldn't expect fairness because nothing is fair'. I've thought about that a lot since she said it and it INFURIATES me that it's ...absolutely true.  Despite laws, morals, ideals and bad joo joo fairness doesn't really get a look in.  Any law has a loophole, morals are subjective, ideals are well intentioned but don't involve money so noone cares and bad joo joo never tends to get the bad guys anyway.

The problem for me is that idealism in my view basically follows an ideal of everything being fair for everyone.  Justice for one and all.

But is that reality?
Is anything truly balanced on the scale of life?

Sure, what goes up must come down but do good deeds beget good responses and does thinking positive bring positive results?  What about that karma then?  Do bad deeds bring bad results?  Does  an evil act bring adequate judgement? 

I remember being at uni and being *extremely* idealistic about life and how people should be.  I had it all worked out.  All the rich share their wealth which would feed the poor.   People should just love rather than hate which would end all hate crimes and war.  No one need die of a curable disease because all diseases would be curable with money being no object to fund endless medical research.  No need to worry about the environment with it being universally acknowledged that all electricity companies insist on renewable energy usage - free for all.  No petrol wars with us all driving water fueled cars etc.  It could be so easy.

It's not.

At some point reality does a big old conga line through the idealism love fest and you are left with only one defense -  Cynicism.    Cynicism is subversion of mainstream ideas through ridicule because you generally distrust the motivations of people or organisations.  At the heart Cynics are so distrustful because they have seen a better way of life ripped apart unnecessarily usually due to a compromise in ideals. 
I graduated to cynicism years ago and from my own experience I can confirm that beneath the ridicule beats the raw heart of a die-hard idealist.  I've added to my list of things that would make our world better and it keeps getting longer every week.  But I do wonder if I am the only one.   No one talks about being an idealist anymore (or a cynic for that matter).
Is idealism a misguided blip that a select few encounter on the way to adulthood or are all humans at one point idealists?
Are all idealists destined to become cynics?

Who the hell is an idealist supposed to vote for?

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