humanism, life

#LoveNotFear

Guns. Bombs. Terror. Murder

The world we live in is now more complicated than ever.

Fear and darkness circling us, begging our attention…tempting us to succumb to the fear and become dark ourselves.

We are fearful because we are fighting and fighting because we are fearful.

The conflicts are complicated and the solution elusive…I don’t have the answers, but I do believe in peace.

So forgive me if I choose to keep it simple.
If I choose to fight the darkness by turning on a light.

To choose not to live in fear.
To choose to believe in love.
Choose to live by love.

To simply choose LOVE

#prayforourworld #lightnotdarkness #LOVENOTFEAR

Advertisements
humanism, life

A million tears

I am sitting in a crowded airport lounge

Crying

.     .     .

I haven’t been moved to pause my busy life long enough to write anything down in a long time…. No poems. No funny anecdotes.

Nothing.

But today I am feeling moved.
Today I am feeling
Today I am crying

The shocking surrealism of finding terror in your own back yard.
The closeness of the fear.
The tears of our usually smiling news readers…

The realisation that no one is immune to pain.

As the long held in tears took over my weary eyes I found myself – most uncharacteristically – not caring who saw. In fact….I wanted someone to see.

I wanted everyone in the airport to see.

Not for pity
Not for sympathy

Simply for humanity

This man sitting oposite me, typing an email…I have never met and probably won’t see ever again.

This group of Asian business men…I don’t understand their conversation or know where they live.

The waitress cleaning up after our mass unrelenting consumption of wine and meals…I don’t know her story either.

But if I saw them crying

…even if I didn’t  know the reason….

I would care

And if someone unknown to all of us walked in with a gun

and stole their stories…

I would care.

If we all suddenly found ourselves clinging to each other as we hung on to our hope, our stories… our lives

we would care

Maybe we should start now…

family, life

Love….of a different kind

An amazing thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been wanting to write it down ever since but wasn’t sure if I should…

Let me start by saying I don’t believe in ghosts. At least…I don’t think I do.

I think I believe in spirits…well…let’s just say I’m getting more used to the idea as I get older

But I DO believe in love

* * *
A text msg to my sister was not answered as fast as usual.
Knowing she was working through some differences with other family members I wondered if I’d said or done something wrong…

Doubt rising, worry filling in the blanks, I feared the worst

The whole day passed and the reply finally came back.
Colder than normal and in a strangers “voice” it confirmed my suspicions.

All night and the next morning I grappled with the most natural of human instincts…fight or run (in other words, hide and avoid dealing with the conflict my brain was inventing)

I knew I needed to call. I knew I’d done nothing wrong.

But I also didn’t know what was going on…all I knew that there was a massive disconnect in my family that I hadn’t been able to fix…and I feared it was about to get worse.

Fear. Worry. Doubt. Pain. Repressed “stuff” (we all have it…)

I felt numb

Then, for some strange reason, driving to work, I saw my Nans face in my mind. The brevity of time spent with her before she passed, did nothing to minimise the love I still felt for her.

Love. Family. Connection. Life

I found myself clinging to this feeling.
I felt my heart grow with a fullness of warmth and light.
I realised then, that all my efforts to stay distant and avoid possible conflict wasn’t actually the answer, but I just couldn’t get past all the negativity that had settled into my bones…

So I sent all that love outwards into the universe and said

“I need your help Nan. Our family needs your help. You’ve done it once before…(I know it was you and Grandad who did it last time!) please help fix our family….”

I arrived at work, went about my day, called my sister, had a really good talk, reconnected, cried a bit, laughed a lot and then went to my dance lesson….filled with a newfound optimism that my family would, in fact, be okay!

* * *

Driving home two hours later I did what I always did while driving…singing along to very loud music I had my very own little in-car party.

Somewhere in between “Livin La Vida Loca” and a Coldplay song I can’t quite remember….

…I saw her

I stopped singing.
Stopped breathing.
I wondered briefly whether I’d been thinking about her without realising it?
(It was like she was there)

Then it hit me.

A smile that came from somewhere surreal, filled my face without effort.

Goosebumps ran up and down my arms, though I was feeling anything but cold…

“Oh…thanks, Nan…” I whispered

crap I say, entertainment, family, humour, life

37 years

…for someone who grew up with teeth that never quite got along with the reluctant smile, feeling inconveniently born into the wrong era, and an absolute love of dancing that persisted beyond (and perhaps in total retaliation to) my circumstances…it’s not surprising really…

…that I absolutely love this song.

The first time I heard it, I fell in love. It simply spoke to me.

“Spinning, laughing, dancing to
her favourite song….
A little girl with nothing wrong
Is all alone…

…crooked little smile on her face
Tells a tale of grace
That’s all her own…

…and she’s all alone…”

Norah Jones – “Seven Years”

* * *

I don’t remember the verandah incident

But my Mum does.

She’s told me the story many times and, although I don’t remember it – except as an anecdote of someone else’s memory – for me, it will always remain a moment in time that is purely and simply…

ME

…she searched high and low for her 4 year old daughter….

Given that this quiet, amiable child was almost never out of sight, that the house sat atop a hill on one of the busiest main roads in Perth (….at the time…you’d skateboard blindfolded down there now) and that she was (oh, Mum, please forgive me…) prone to just a teensy bit of over-protectiveness…it was, to say the least, a frantic search!

When she finally found me, after peering into countless toy boxes, cupboards, lolly jars and other child favoured haunts….she was surprised at what she found.

The front window jimmied open (of course the front door was locked! Did you not just read the paragraph above?!) fly screen pushed out….

Her daughter, tiny, free…totally alone….

…..and perfectly happy!

twirling…
….on
the…

…..front……

verandah…

“What are you doing???” (Only a “scared out of her wits” mother can get away with this tone and still sound completely loving)

“….nothing….”

“Then why on a Gods earth are you outside??!!” (Cars screaming by, brakes screeching, all possible dangers known to man lurking just beyond the verandah…….)

I just wanted to dance”

* * *

The smile’s being straightened
I still like being alone occasionally
My mother doesn’t worry about me (as much) these days…

But I still just want to dance.

(And I’m 37)

So I do

crap I say, life

How dare you call me beautiful!

“…I’m so beautiful!”
“Look, Mummy….I can do it!”
“I did it, all by myself!”
“Oops! Try again….”

Ever notice how little kids talk? The way they so naturally and effortlessly praise themselves…positively affirming their own efforts, appearance and even their failures?

The sheer joy they possess, finding out their own capabilities…learning new things and finding out “who” they are. Pride and self-validation go hand in hand. As they stumble along the path of their tiny little lives, mistakes are simply brushed off, so confident are they in knowing that they can give it another go…and not feel a failure just because they have (technically) failed.

When they look in the mirror, they see perfection. When someone says “what a pretty dress!” Or “aren’t you a good swimmer?” they don’t miss a beat. They don’t have to think, or self analyse, or convince themselves it would be a good idea to agree. They just say “I know…”

I’m so jealous.

I can hardly remember a time when that kind of self love and self-acceptance was the voice I lived with. I am a confident person, I feel good about myself most of the time and I don’t think I’m that unattractive…and yet….there is still that voice….

You’re agreeing, aren’t you?

Yes. It’s an adult curse…we reach a certain age (6, 7, maybe 8, I don’t know) and we just become the most destructive, sadistic bastards you could ever imagine.

“I can do it!” becomes “I can’t/shouldn’t/don’t know how…”

“I did it!” gets felt momentarily, but quickly unravelled by thoughts of “it wasn’t that hard anyway” or “I could have done it better”

“I’m beautiful” turns into “I wish I looked like Miranda Kerr…”

This is crazy!! We actually hate ourselves…

So much so that whenever we are given a genuine compliment, we do our damnedest to convince them that they are wrong!

“Oh, this old thing?? It’s soooo old/only cost $5/makes me look fat”
“Trust me….you wouldn’t say that if you saw me before I’ve had my morning coffee…”
“It’s probably the lighting”

Why do we hate ourselves so much?
Why do we sabotage our own efforts, with critisim, self-doubt and “worse case” predictions?
Why can’t we lovingly talk to ourselves without fear it will make us appear conceited.

Why shouldn’t we feel beautiful…
Why shouldn’t we expect to do well?
And why shouldn’t we feel jump out of our skins happy-proud when we do…

The worst thing is we fill our lives with so many questions…and stop using exclamation marks.

it’s simply not good enough

So….guess what?

“I’M BEAUTIFUL!!!!!
And so are you 😊

… please feel free to agree…

I want so desperately to say

“I know”

20140518-191127-69087161.jpg

family, life, Poetry

The struggle unseen…

I see the struggle everywhere.

Bodies aged and bent, crippled over cane
shuffled steps, shrinking shoulders.

Getting out of cars, an effort in itself. Crossing the street at painful pace.

When a metre is a mile
Understanding is a smile

The rhythm of life around them quietly mocking…

Years of life dragging down weary faces

A lifetime of frowns forged in wrinkled skin
A lifetime of working worn onto hands of grey

When the memory of youth is nothing more than that

When life has been struggle
But life is no more…

And only struggle remains

The elderly wear their age so obviously, that it is hard not to feel compassion. Show tolerance.
Have understanding.

But the weariness carried by some is often invisible.
The struggle of many, more often than not, goes unseen.

Misunderstood.

I want to tell you a story

It’s something which happened to me recently that changed my perspective forever.

I’m in sales. I sell women’s fashion at wholesale and my customers are made up of roughly 70 independent fashion boutiques owned, mostly, by women.

One of my customers is a strange woman. I shouldn’t call her strange. That’s not kind.

The thing is though, there is an aloofness and sense of disorientation that I just can’t quite explain.

She forgets things, needs explanations and reminders of simple things.

It is unnerving at best and downright inconvenient at worst.

She rarely smiles, yet doesn’t seem sad, or angry.

Just……distant

She often comes across as cold and, although I’ve never felt that she doesn’t like me or that’s it’s personal in anyway, I can’t help but feel frustrated by this slow pace, lack of mental clarity and absent….oh, I don’t know. Soul?

I’m sorry to even say that, but as I take great pride in my relationships and consider myself the consummate clichéd “people person”, I have to admit I’ve been questioning to no end just HOW, after two whole years of attempting to build a relationship, this could be all I can get!

I have asked myself, “what am I doing wrong??”

I’ve also questioned, on many occasions, “what on earth is wrong with this lady??”

(Judgement is such a natural state…isn’t it?)

Then one day recently a colleague told me something, the most horrendous of things, and it quite literally stopped me in my tracks.

That customer.
A mother.
A beautiful son the same age as mine.
A simple life on the farm.
A school break a few years ago…
A tractor.
A cord hanging loose from a jumper.
An unimaginable chain of events.
An outcome too awful

In that moment I was unexpectedly, emotionally and abruptly forced to think differently about this woman who in that very moment became anything but a difficult customer.

She simply became a mother who’d lost a child…

I almost cried, imagining her on that day. Picturing her face, feeling her heart stop beating.

In an instant I saw it all…her tears, her fear, her panic, her desperate cries…her slip from reality

I felt her disbelief and anger, felt her life and soul fall away and become separate from her very existence.

I heard her sobbing, her screams, her wails of agony, heard her pleading, her begging, her prayers, her denial, her acceptance and then…….finally……….her numb.

Just NUMB

How could I ever go back to my first impressions of her?

Two minutes of knowing her story, changed two whole years of thinking (ridiculously perhaps) that I could even begin to know the inside, simply because I thought I knew the outside.

….feeling her pain, knowing her truth and finally seeing her in a way I had NEVER done before

I now see this amazing woman exactly as she is.

I see her struggle.

Not the struggle she’s already been through, or the struggle she’s overcome.

But the struggle she’s become…..

And now I understand

crap I say, humour, life

Embracing the new me

I fulfilled a life long dream one week ago today…and in that same moment I embarked on a nightmare I didn’t quite anticipate…

Ever since I’ve been old enough to look in a mirror and form an attachment to the image I see there, I’ve hated my teeth.

They aren’t awful. They aren’t even bad. But I’ve hated them.

Maybe it’s because it’s in my nature to have everything perfect in my life, maybe it’s because I am sick of biting the inside of my cheeks or perhaps I’m just vain…(or maybe it’s because my teeth actually are that bad and I’ve managed to convince myself otherwise…but my subconscious knows the real truth, and secretly booked the appointment)…..who knows?

But whatever they are….or aren’t….

I did it!

At nearly 37 years of age…and with my 16 year old son there to share the experience and sympathise…

I got braces!

I knew it would be painful (people tell you that)
I knew it would be expensive (they tell you that too)
I thought they would look ok (because son and I had googled lots of pictures beforehand!)

And I also “knew”…..deep down….that it would be worth it….eventually

But what I didn’t know was just how badly it would effect me.

At first I thought I was really cool for actually getting it done. Like I’d joined a club!

Then I tried to eat. There is something about the sensation that you are literally eating your own teeth, in public, that very quickly removes all feelings of being “cool”

Then I decided to just suck it up. I went to work the very next day, with lipstick and a very painful “lip closed” smile on, and proceeded to tell my clients, through pink gloss smeared, metal capped, “spring stretched” (yet still noticeably crooked) teeth, self consciously covered by closed lips, just how happy I was to be finally “fixing” my awful teeth.

God I felt like crap…

My son (who’s dealing with it much better than I am…perhaps because he’s surrounded by “metal mouths” at school – or maybe because he simply didn’t inherit the vanity gene – said quite pragmatically to me, while examining his new train tracks in the mirror…”you know what, Mum? Braces look much better on straight teeth”

hmmmm….funny that

Then I got drunk on the Friday night and, while clumsily attempting to apply soggy beeswax to the protruding metal prongs in all 4 corners of my mouth, and while feeling the pain, inconvenience and frustration (all while simultaneously feeling massively sorry for myself) I looked at myself in the mirror….

no makeup
mouth open
bare
exposed
metal
crooked
ugly

and emotionally raw

the wine and the realization hit me…

This is it. For at least 12 months (I’m clinging to the orthodontists diagnosis…it sounds far better than the info they give you to bring home – 18-24 months?? Ummmmm…no thanks!)

THIS IS IT

Like it or not…I will have a mouth filled with wire. I will surrender to the pain, the pressure, the sharp edges scraping my soft cheeks.

And I will accept the ugly new smile, that (ironically) makes me think my old teeth weren’t actually that bad.

I will brush 3 times a day, floss, pick out chunks of food constantly and cut my lips just to smile.

I will feel self conscious. I will cover my mouth when I laugh. I will accept a peck on the cheek (or awkward closed mouth kisses) when I just so desperately want to KISS!!!!

Oh.

Really…?

I cried. (I’m not ashamed to admit it)

I really, REALLY, REALLY cried! Sobbed and shook and felt the most sorry for myself since I can remember!

And then I fell asleep….and woke up to a hangover and crooked teeth covered in wire.

* * * *

At some point the discomfort eased and eating became some kind of normal.

I can talk to people now and not mention it until they say “hey, have you had braces put on?”

I can smile and I can laugh…and I can ignore the scraping of metal with the help of my new friend “beeswax” or, time not allowing, great big doses of “toughen up, Princess”

I think I’ve actually made friends with my braces, as we’ve learned to co-exist, and I know they will eventually leave me in a happier place.

I can honestly say I’ve surrendered some of my vanity too.

I realise that the face you’re given to present to the world is merely that…

A face.

If you can be honest with yourself and your struggles in life, and just keep smiling (somehow!) people will see the real you.

And they will still love you

And at the end of the day that’s what really matters.

* * * *

Oh, the irony….