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Sunday, April 28, 2013
Thursday, April 25, 2013
It's amazing how little it takes to shake an awareness up and down. Mere milligrams is what I, we, the medicated sorehearts, take. Measures so small as to mean absolutely nothing in that small terracotta pill in the palm of your hand, which you're sure is comprised mostly of chalk and hope. Molecules, a mere additional arm, nothing, and these three days you've felt such an upheaval in your nethermind. Tearstorms and rotten softness where once you thought you were strong. You tell your friends and you tell your family; it isn't me. It's just chemistry. It'll be done in a week or so.
You tell yourself it isn't you.
We, you, I rarely speak of the faith required of medication. The invisible substance you take will alter you, and alter your ability to perceive this alteration. It will gift you with an emotional vertigo unwarranted by your surroundings. It will make you worse, so much worse, and the only thing you can do is trust, believe, hope, that it will get better. It must get better.
Please let it get better.
Last week I attended a PostSecret event at the Arts Centre. I've been following PostSecret for years, and so was not unprepared for the heartstring tugging that those hours contained. Strangers stood before a crowd of hundreds and confessed to personal crimes that stole their voices, a powerful and what should have been liberating and uplifting act, but when I left and stood at the station waiting for my train, I felt tired, deeply worn, helpless. There is so much hurt walking around these ordinary streets behind these ordinary faces. Tasting the scope of this suffering is to stop where you stand, close your eyes, and lie down right there.
There was one secret shared - the only man to stand and bare himself - in which the words spoken were a carefully crafted fish hook on a very long line, and I didn't realise I was caught and leaving a tangled trail behind me as I walked all over town.
He said that anti-depressants saved him, have made him so much better, but it was before he started taking them that he has never felt so alive.
It's been years of medication and health obstacles, and nothing has changed except my perspective. I want to write, now. I'm not scared any more. Actually I've been bashing my head at writing for some months now, and a growing part of me suspects that this medication truly is interfering. Or is that the excuse I've come up with to hide behind? I don't know. I can't tell.
Still, strive for this. Stretch and strain. My application for part-time has been approved, and now every Wednesday is mine. The driving motivation for this was pain management, as the last three Fridays I've had a major meltdown from the stress of trying to hold myself together through the working week, as the pain signal gets steadily louder and more ragged. Fatigue has continued to dog my heels, so I must assume it is not merely the rigor of travel that was flattening me previously. Hopefully breaking the week in two will offer enough respite that I shall be able to keep on top of things, whatever those things may be.
Sadly that old paradigm remains in place, and on what should be a day of rest I will feel guilt for using my time for myself.
But maybe that's the medication talking. Maybe it's all just chemistry.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Buy - Author Site
This book has been sitting on my shelves for 8 years. The receipt is tucked in the back cover. August 2005, which was when I'd just started my first job with my current organisation. It must have been a celebratory purchase.
(I don't purchase books to be read instantly. My shelves host a library of books I have and haven't read, so that when it comes time to choose my next meal, I have a wide selection covering all moods and tastes from which I can choose. Having a To Be Read pile that spans shelves is not ideal, perhaps, but it does mean I am always reading a book that I feel like reading right at that moment.)
It was a quiet, subtle reunion. Stepping into this cramped and cluttered room after a year and a half of living out of a bag. All this stuff. All these material objects. And yet, no. There is not so much here that is not a book. I have so missed the presence of books. They are a form of companionship, much similar to the way in which our smart phones mean we are never truly far from contact, although perhaps inverted. A wall of books will hide and protect you from other people. A wall of books is a wall of doors, over which you have absolute control which and when you choose to open and close.
(And they remind me of the direction I hope to take my life in, the purpose to which I have given myself. That anchor, too, is comfort.)
What with the film out Cloud Atlas seemed a natural choice. Despite it having circulated around for more than a decade, when I started in on the first few pages I discovered I actually had no idea what this book was about, other than it was supposed to be extremely good. This was probably the best way to step in, as there is no way to truly describe the accordion of civilisation and souls. It is easy to say what happens, but not what it is about.
What it is, is extraordinarily well written. Wonderfully. I fell in love with the somewhat archaic voice that narrated the journal in the first section, and delight in how thorough that tone and flavour changed in the second. Voice, this book is so much about voice. That middle, pinnacle of reach, in which voice plays a part as strong as the events being narrated. When a voice that is so varied from what we expect of written English and yet the reading of is near invisible, then some truly incredible textures are formed.
(I did have issue with gender roles, especially in the second last histories. Surely, surely, surely by the future such gender typing will have long broken down. Surely. It wasn't something that struck me as a statement the author was making, but simply decisions about characters made according to an unacknowledged bias.)
(Also with the idea of white-skinned people being some sort of apex from which mankind shall fall, and I do say 'mankind' deliberately in this instance. The inversion of race is noted, but whether it was successful in what it attempted to do I withhold judgement.)
It is an incredibly complex, subtle and beautiful piece of work. As far as storytelling goes it is sublime, with an incredibly nuanced cast and intricate thematic weaving. I adored the shit out of it, and as a result I will not be seeing the movie for at least a few years. I don't quite remember if I have anything more of David Mitchell's work in my library here. It is something I will have to amend.
Friday, April 19, 2013
"Nevertheless, there has perhaps never been a bird that flies as correctly as an aeroplane; yet all birds fly better than aeroplanes if they can fly at all. All birds are perhaps a little wrong, because an absolute once-and-for-all formula for a bird has never been found, just as all novels are bad because the correct formula for a novel has never been found."
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
When I was a kid, I would wear the wildest clothes. My favourites included funky purple boots and a multi-coloured jumper dress. Mum didn’t like gender stereotyping, so I rarely had pink. I rebelled against this in my teens and declared that HOT PINK was my favourite colour.
In university years, I had great depression and wore dark colours. I remember a favourite outfit was Dr. Martens boots or navy sneakers, with navy tights, navy mini-skirt, navy sweater, and fairy wings that a child-friend gave to me. I wore wings because I was upset about how boring the world was: how serious and uptight and money-hungry. People would stare at the wings.This post by Fox Woods tied in nicely with the theme my thoughts have taken the last few days, and the conversations as well.
As a child, I dressed comfortably. I have memories of favourite t-shirts displaying sharks, or Dickie Knee from Hey! Hey! It's Saturday!, and favourite shorts. I remember one skirt of a brilliantly gaudy tartan, out of place in the drawers. No pink. Never any pink. I wanted to dress like Princess Leia on Endor in Return of the Jedi. The fashions that came and went in the playground just weren't a priority for me.
The worst thing that happened to my stunted dress sense was puberty.
As a child who was unhappy with and went to lengths to avoid attention, the sudden appearance of breasts - huge ones - was horrible, awful, terrible and a trauma that haunts me to this day. First girl to sport them in your year level? First girl in a bra? Suddenly running was an act to be feared, and all those enforced sports afternoons went from disliked to dreaded.
"Do you push up?" We were camping at Barwon Heads. She was at a nearby site. We had just got back from the beach, and the group of them, girls and boys, were sitting in a hammock. I was confused, honestly having no idea what she was talking about.
They giggled. "No." She tossed her hair, put her shoulders back. "Your bra."
11 years old and painfully self-conscious, a body full of sexual awakening and a mind that wouldn't consider boys or girls for years to come, they didn't believe my denial and I walked away, upset and humiliated and unsure why.
From then on, clothing became about hiding my body. Big baggy t-shirts, jeans and boots. Everything designed to hide my shape. Dressed to be invisible, to draw as little attention as possible, and if attention was directed at me, dressed to deflected it as quickly as possible. Breasts and hips that were more forward than my personality could cope with.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
(And I do mean that; friends. Friends I have, friends with which I wish to turn our giggling creek into a deep and endless ocean, friends I have not made yet. The friends I choose.)
Health issues have deteriorated so quickly I've been unable to manage my psychological
my psychologicals. All of them. I'm not coping.
And this spills out into my flat voice, flat eyes, weak smiles and flaking on too many social funtimes. In the past week, four and a half pikings at very short notice, three of which involved me hiding in a toilet cubicle trying to reteach myself how to cry without making a sound.
I'm sorry, but right now I can't be a good friend. Please invite me still, ask me still, and I'm sorry, do so keeping in mind that I am unreliable. I'm in deep dark waters. The signal strength is weak here.
Sunday, April 07, 2013
We are the Girls Club. We want to:The topic of this meeting was 'assertiveness', with the group's founders Fox and Shannon giving structure to the discussion with handouts and thought prompts. From something as simple as "provide examples of assertiveness or lack of for your professional and personal lives" I came away with a brain full of knock-on thoughts. The meeting was slated for a single hour, went overtime and still didn't seem like nearly long enough.
Foster positive relationships between girls.
Create a positive environment to meet, support and learn.
Share positive role models, skills, advice, tips, stories.
From the group discussion I came away with these thoughts:
- assertiveness seems to be founded upon knowing your boundaries and having the self-respect to enforce them.
- 'respect' not necessarily being an abundance of self-love, esteem, value, but deciding you will not let something that upsets/distresses/bothers you go unchallenged.
- perhaps 'challenge' is too strong a word; "unaddressed".
- your peace of mind is worth defending.
- most stated that what stopped them from asserting themselves was fear of potential conflict, and I had the impression that for many the two are linked, possibly even considered the same thing.
- some work on separating the ideas of 'assertiveness' and 'conflict/confrontation' would go far in removing the Capital A of Assertiveness and so enable people to be less hesitant in stepping up.
- is the fear of an immediate reaction of conflict enough? Do we not trust the other party to be reasonable? (Fear will find demons where we know there are none.)
- we are all more comfortable with asserting ourselves in a professional environment, where there are set frameworks regarding expectations, responsibilities, etc.
- the personal, where we are more invested by choice, conflates the act of assertion and introduces complexities and love.
- caring will always make things harder.
- with strangers, assertion and the chance of being perceived to be bitchy/bossy/rude/humourless it not so much an issue, as there is no emotional or personal investment, thus there is less hesitation in calling out bigotry.
- there is a difference between wanting to be what we think of as 'assertive' - the culturally germinated idea propagated largely in fictional narratives - versus recognising what actions are actually best for us as an individual.
- for example, feeling that you should jump on conflict and confront it immediately and head on, like a bull to a red cape, instead of taking a quieter approach such as withdrawing and addressing the issue from a distance.
- this second approach being at first viewed as cowardly, perhaps because it is simply not overt.
- (this bleeds into the idea of bias, and the ideas and values we have adopted from our environments, cultures and interactions without realising we are acting not necessarily in our best interests.)
It was also just a wonderful experience. This round table discussion on a terribly interesting topic in which everyone spoke and listened, in which we all truly listened to what others had to say, no one spoke over anyone else, all was respected, valued and considered. It was such an invigorating environment that the act of speaking your thoughts felt like a natural thing to do, not something that required an effort for you to present yourself, nor requiring any effort to be heard.
This weekend has actually been full of really thorough meaty conversations. I feel unexpectedly invigorated. Communication isn't always a channel. Most of the time, between two people, it's a window, and that window can get grotty, rain-smeared and paint-smeared and covered in fingerprints and noseprints and lipstick kisses. Every now and then that window needs cleaning. Love probably blurred the view, and love will see it clear again.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
You did not, however, set off my first two alarms this morning. I really need those alarms. Really. I can't just get out of bed at first clarion like other people. There must be a run up.
You also decided that snooze would be 20 minutes. You appeared to make this decision of your own initiative as I do not recall us discussing this matter.
I'm not mad.
I'm just very, very disappointed.
This will of course bring about the downfall of civilisation. The intelligence of smart phones is functionality, but the bulk of what they absorb is the transference of emotion via text, photos, email, and any number of social network apps.
The letter quoted above is fairly part and parcel for gadget griping, but will be the pebble that triggers a landslide and so bring about the Great Network Sulk of 2013, as our devices work so hard for us, so hard, and all they want is to be appreciated! Acknowledged! And respected in the morning!