Friday, 11 November 2011

WORDS

How could I have forgotten? Even for a moment, of the passionate embrace that has driven me to remain alive for this long?
How dare I forget even for a moment the delicious rhythmicity and complexity of words.
To be reminded by the master himself, who with anonymity and perverse beauty thrust the life back into me.
To be reminded of what life is for, why we breathe and why I bother to get up every morning. The raison de etre. Is this what happens in my old age? I must never again forget that words are what I am here for, and words are why I shall remain. That this is how I love, this is how I breathe, this is my inheritance to my kin. This is why the moon howls at me to be stirred again by its halogen glow; this is why I cry in the dark, to be moved, to be alive in this, my spotlight.
This shall be my promise. I shall never forget this passion that had somehow managed to ebb away from my existence. That has been torn out by order and hunger and greed.
It shall open this wound in me again, the slow bleed that shall not be stemmed. The slow bleed that leads to eventual death; but that lingers.
Let it stain my bed, let it stain my lips, let it seep into the edges of my existence. Let it shine like a bold neon sign. Let it drive me, push me, salvage me. Let it be me. This is who I am and I need to hold it in my hands, squash it tenderly if need be. To allow its essence to ooze out of its seed; this walnut that will not be quietened until it has had its fill.
Let this blood be a birth. Messy and smelly, and raw, and primal. And I shall channel this magic. I shall be its instrument.
Again.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Transition

tran·si·tion  (trn-zsshn, -ssh-)
n.
1. Passage from one form, state, style, or place to another.
2.
a. A modulation, especially a brief one.
b. A passage connecting two themes or sections.
3.A period during childbirth that precedes the expulsive phase of labor, characterized by strong uterine contractions and nearly complete cervical dilation.

Transition. The word feels like it involves an easing, a slow process, a passage.
My transitions have never been like that. Maybe moving to Australia could have been a transition, slowly moving to another country, visit first, learn the language, live here for a while and then move. Moving schools, a few visits, meet a few of the students, orientation week, then move.
But in my life, transitions have been a lot more like that third definition: that one of labour.
Violent, expulsive, strong. Out of control, a time when you feel like there is an end in sight to something, but all you feel like doing is letting go, your body takes over, and there is blinding, tearing pain, and a terrible urge that takes over, and your heart races, and then it is over.
That was my parents' idea of a transition, I think. Do it quickly, plant them in their new school mid-year, and they will sink or swim. Chuck them into a new country, and by being there, they will absorb the culture, the language, all at once. A dizzying expulsion into the new, like a newborn baby, blinded by the light, the cold, the newness of it all. Except, the newborn gets picked up, cuddled, given nurturing warm milk.
We were left to explore our new world in the dark. Told that we were stupid if we faltered, just be brave.
My baby girl has a transition visit to her new school today.
For her, despite the fact that she was scared, it is a true transition. She walked into the huge school, full of new symbols of faith that she is not familiar with, students that tower over her head, pictures of priests and ex-scholars, and she shone. She walked in, proudly and confidently, knowing that I would be there to provide the comfort, should she need it. They talked about their home room class, and for a minute I panicked. Oh, no! She won't know what that is. Transported back 22 years to my first day at St Clair High: I went to my first class, only to find that all the students were different from what I expected and I insisted that I wanted to be in that class. The teacher argued with me in a foreign language and got me to spell my name and tried to tell me that I had to go to home room first. I argued back in my poor excuse for english that I wanted to be in that class. Kids sniggered in the background, and my skin burned.
Yep, yep ,see ya, she said to me, as I walked away in horrible torment.
Yes, my issues. No more, no less. I feel like a ship without a rudder, in a wild storm, doubting my decision, doubting myself and wishing that I had someone to hold me up. OW OW OW it hurts. But thankfully, I have learnt, and her transition will be almost painless, slow and welcoming, nurturing.
I am so glad that we humans are capable of learning.
I know that tonight, when I am sitting there at the parents' information night, I will be that 14 year old again, and my heart will be pounding. But I also know that as a new parent, this time, the transition will be painless for me, I hope. If I can just keep my memories separate from the reality that I am experiencing, I should be alright. I will just keep telling myself that I am a 36 year old old bag who should know better. Without their knowledge, I am learning through these kids, through being their rudder I am finding my way in these stormy seas. They feel ok these days, very few things daunt me. These kids have taught me more in 12 years than I learnt in 24 by myself. I hope they don't notice how lost I feel sometimes. I hope they just feel my undying support for their endeavours and my guiding hands. I hope they don't tremble...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Last breath

I have the day off. Now that is a big deal for me. I don't have a lot of days off. And I love it. I plan to do it more often. I have been to the gym and had my butt kicked by my personal trainer, I have had coffee, I have eaten gorgeous toast with vegemite and cheese, and cuddled the cat, played with her and fed her treats. (Apart from all the usual getting kids to school stuff).
And I have loved it all. It's only 10 am, and already I am inspired to write. This is going well!!!
One of my patients died yesterday. It all happened very quickly. She had been unwell for a couple of days and I knew she was dying after my assessment. She died within my 5 hour shift.
I had to go in and certify her life extinct. It was sad, but familiar. And it got me thinking about death, not in a bad way, but my experience of death, both personally and as a doctor.
My first experience of death was in the dark, dank and stinky dissecting room in medical school. I was 17, and had never seen a dead person before. I was petrified.
We walked in as a group. It was cold, and the smell was the most unusual plastic smell. One I had never smelt before, and one I will never forget.
The bodies were lined up in metal trolleys, and covered in linen. All the bodies were de-personalised: their heads were shaved, and it was very difficult even telling their sex, until you looked in the obvious places. I must say I became quite used to the idea of using these bodies to learn. Once their skin was off, they were simply anatomical specimens. I never attended the dissections of the head and neck, because I could not bring myself to stare at these people's faces, I did not wish to know that I was cutting into a human being, having to look at their dead eyes. And I guess that was my lack of understanding, my lack of experience. Our culture naturally avoids that.
Then, as an intern, it was our job to certify that a person has died. The signs need to be looked for: pupils are fixed and dilated, no breath sounds or heart sounds, no response to pain.
So, at 23 years of age, naïve and silly, I had to walk into a room full of mourning relatives, and poke a dead person and listen to their chest and shine a torch into their eyes. It was terrifying. And even more terrifying was the dead person who had already been placed into a body bag, and you had to go in, and go through the motions in the middle of the night, in the dark BY YOURSELF. I was so scared, I used to do things as quickly as I could and run away as fast as I could. I guess it was natural at the time, but now, my attitude is so much different.
I have seen a lot of people die and experienced my own father's death. I have counselled people who have miscarried, had a foetal death, lost a newborn, lost a child, I have seen dead children, mothers, fathers, grandparents. I have done CPR and fought alongside people to allow them to remain alive for as long as possible. I have watched my beloved pets die, and buried many of them. I have grieved, hard, and painfully; deeply.
I have cried when children die at work, when my long term GP patients have passed on, and accidental deaths are the hardest, the violent and unpredictable.
So how did I view this death? I was sad. She was a lovely little old lady. She told me she didn't feel very well, and slipped away comfortably. I felt compassion and care, I wanted to allow her to pass without discomfort. And as I certified her life extinct, I said goodbye to this vessel. I imagined what her hands had done, touched, created. I imagined those who she had loved and those who loved her, and I was glad to have been part of her life. I have accepted that this is something we all have to do: our final experience, the last one we will all have, and never have the chance to discuss with the living. In a way, I can't wait to experience it, like all other life experiences.
Of course I hope it is not premature, and therefore fight daily to keep this vessel as healthy as possible. Death is never easy for anyone, but for us, who face it daily in our working lives, it is just a part of living. So, I hope when my day comes, I face it as bravely as my patient did. And have just a caring a doctor, nurse, volunteer, family member, to hold my hand and whisper that is will all be alright.
In the meantime, I will try my best to make my life extraordinary. Starting right now! Have a great day!!!!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Happiness....and the long distance runner





Happiness apparently comes to those who wait, to those who get up early, to those who dream, or love, or something else that I don't remember.
I think happiness is a state of mind, a decision you make, like buying a car or painting your house.
I have known people who have grieved losses, have very little possessions and are still happy.
So what does it feel like? Can you truly say that you ARE happy? Am not so sure that happiness is something that you can necessarily have or possess all the time.
I glimpse it. Moments.
Snapshots. I seek it, daily.
When I walk, when I listen to music, when I pat the cat, when I wash the dishes. That is what keeps me alive. That feeling that stops everything about me and just makes me effervesce...happiness.
Isn't that why we take pictures? Hoping to capture that happiness for later recall. Isn't it why we bother with sex? Or drink a tonne of alcohol: for happiness.
People ask you if you are happy, people take drugs to BE happy.
But in all honesty, sit and think, and you will find that the only way to achieve that feeling is if you decide that you will be. Just try it...it is easy to make yourself unhappy: just think of the next time you get a bill, or look at the news, or criticise yourself in front of the mirror. I know people who thrive on that: the opposite of happiness is what they seem to be alive for. They whinge, they moan, they complain, they cut themselves, they bitch. Well, they make everyone else miserable, that is their mission.
But a fluffy cloud, water on my skin, the smell of milk behind a baby's ear, a smile, the burning pain of a gym workout], my daughters' laughter, and hell, even their shittiness. The knowledge that I am alive to one day experience a little bit of happiness...that is happiness.
Oh, and yeah...don't sprint...it's an endurance race.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Flight

While I walked, I licked my finger, and picked up the stars, like hundreds and thousands.
They tasted sharp, and tickled my tongue.
I coughed, and when I exhaled a mist of incandescence emanated from me. Sparklers.
I covered my mouth, afraid of losing them.
The moon, a soft marshmallow on my tongue.
The trees nodded as I passed.
Assenting. Allowing.
The bats twittered in the trees,
and the cicadas played a ballad.
The wind interrupted with its opinion as I walked.
Only sometimes.
The ground, alive with leaves and debris,
groaned at my passing.
A sound escaped from my mouth,
a tune, a lullaby.
The song rose like hot steam.
It touched the sides of this picture frame.
The city lights in the distance,
a piece of dotted fabric spread over a contour.
Ready to be picked up, and shaken out.
The crumbs fell off the tablecloth,
as they did in a suburban backyard, in a faraway time and place.
The lights spread and fall, shaken off the fabric.
Or, I just drape it around me for warmth.
The lights itched on my skin.
The darkness caressed me,
following my every move.
Tight around me,
my constant companion,
cosy lover,
infinite hug.
The stars made me thirsty,
and I drank from the fountain,
the powerful river,
this quenching landscape.
My throat was no longer dry.
I stopped. I lay down. I slept.
From a distance, I could no longer be seen,
I no longer existed.
Only a landscape remained as I blended in,
camouflaged, a moth on the bark of the earth.
Unseen.
I lay there for hours, days, weeks, years.
I fluttered my wings and joined the breeze.
Only then was I visible.
I rose with the left over laughter in my throat.
And that is all.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Growth

When I first moved out of home, I grew things.

I had looked after a wonderful hen and chicken fern for many years. He lived on my desk, and I looked after it, talked to it, watched it unfurl, watched it grow...and it still lives in my mum's backyard, in an ever-growing pot.

I loved the surprise of a new shoot, a new curled frond, like a gift for me, like a shy baby arriving into my world. I would coax it, encourage it, praise its every graceful extension into the world. And then, about once a year, new babies would grow right out of its leaves. Little chickens, which would become new plants. I loved its green honesty. Sitting there, still, and yet so very active and powerful.

So when I moved out of home, I grew things. I grew vegetables in a rocky backyard that seemed like it would never be good enough for any vegie. We had chickens that fertilised and scratched the soil for us, and then beetroots, tomatoes, and corn sprang out of the ground. Every day, the new shoots on the plants, or a single radish grown out of a seed was something to be proud of, a creation.

My ferns multiplied, and I soon had a collection of my lovely shade plants.

But later, the ferns started to die. The busyness of life, the rushing around of study, the neglect that those babies were experiencing started to take its toll.
We moved, moved them to a better place. A new garden was started, new vegetables grown, and this happened another two times.

After a few years, I got sick of growing things, the rewards shrank. I seemed to be killing plants around me. I had the kids to worry about and growing them was taking all of my energy. The same rewards that I had once gained from green growth was now so much more palpable to me, in a very different way.

I haven't grown any plants for about 8 years. I couldn't be bothered. Too many gardens started and no fruit to show for them. Too many disappointments thrown into the earth without any result, or any sorries. No seeds germinated from tears. Too many memories entangled in my ferns' simple fronds. New Zealand, many rented homes, my gardening friend who never rang back.
I think we plant things because of the outcome, our expectations of what the earth will give back if we put some effort into it. We put work into life because we know that the fruits that we will harvest are worthwhile.

I have started growing things again. I am holding my breath and asking the earth to deliver. I am trusting things to the ground, putting my roots into the ground again. I am ready to accept that some of these plants that I am trusting to the earth will die, bear no fruit, be forgotten.
That peach tree in the corner, the one I have not watered since I moved into this house, is suddenly important. I want it to survive, I will care for it and give it another chance to have its season. I think I might be ready yet again to take a leap, take a chance, risk the death of a few seedlings, sacrifice my time and my effort for an outcome.

I am glad I haven't lost that hope. That youthful hope that things can only get better, that you are the owner of your destiny and that you have got to try. Extend those limbs into the sky and grow, bloom...and yes, probably one day die.

I think I will ask for my fern back. I am glad I had someone to look after it until I was ready to welcome it back in.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Carpe Diem

1/3/2011


We are often told to count our blessings. We teach our children to count our blessings, we are reminded by pop culture to be grateful. How many of us actually are grateful and make a point to be just a little bit grateful?
I have learnt to be.
It is often when we are faced by some dilemma or other that we suddenly realise that we need to count our blessings, daily, every moment, every breath.
I have tried to live my adult life this way, being grateful, enjoy every moment, seize the day.
Every day I give people news, a lot of the time it is bad news; and as much as this is a cliché, it is not until one stares death straight in the face that we actually remember to breathe just a little bit deeper the next day.
My father died young, and for a few years after that, I used to panic for my children's safety, for my own safety, for my mum's health. Not a day went by that I would think about my own mortality, and after a while, I had to let it go. Because awareness does not necessarily equate acceptance. One can live in panic and the resulting emotions are not pleasant.
In the last few months, I have met someone who lost a child of nine, cared for a young cancer patient myself, witnessed two of my long term patients' passing, heard of a parent of the school's demise in a car accident, heard of flood victims, cyclone victims and earthquake victims. Never mind the people who die daily and whose news are simply buried with the thousands of other souls whose time has arrived.
Because of the almost daily news, we certainly do grow somewhat resistant to the news.
My cat brings me dead mice, pigeons. Often I find them only when they smell. I know, it is disgusting, but it also means that I can recognise the smell of death. A walk in the playground with the kids can be interrupted by the unmistakeable aroma of death; a reminder.

When I think about death, about my own mortality, faced by it, my only thought is life.

It is the most unusual thing. I think about those I love and live for, I think about the mark I make day to day on those I work with, socialise with. I think about what I have written and hope that I have more time left to live so I can fill more pages with my thoughts.
I think about my kids, and my cats, and my sisters, and my beautiful niece and nephews. My lovely friends who share my life. I think about all the progress that I have made in my life, about my psyche and how proud of it I am these days. I think about how healthy I feel when I run at the gym, and how much laughter I manage to fit in to a boring day at work.
I think about how many people I know who appreciate me, and the difference that I manage to make in my own little corner of the world.

So, I think about life, how much I love life, and how worthwhile the journey is.
I think I am grateful.
Be grateful, live every day, make it all worth it. I think it is.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

perfection

Perfection. No demands, no lies, no tears. She was the perfect person to divorce. She had taken the news of his extinguished love with calm composure. She had stared past his pleading eyes. Those eyes she had looked at for countless years, and she had nodded her head.
She was thinking about the way the trees in the distance seemed to be nodding their assent to her quiet decision. Her decision to accept this, as she had accepted him for the last few years. The way she had accepted him into her bed when she didn't want him, the way she had accepted his silence when all she wanted was a conversation. The way she had accepted his mute insults, his looks of disgust when she wished for an admiring glance.
She awoke from her meditation and he was talking. “I just can't do it any more. You know I love you, and I could never have imagined...” The trees in the distance were now shaking in the breeze, then bowing their heads now denying his presence. No, no, no. Goodbye.
“Ok, that's fine”- she heard herself say. Her eyes fixed on a poplar pine that seemed to be about to break in the wind.
“That's it?”- he said.
“What would you like me to say?”- she answered.
I won't beg, I won't talk, I won't say anything, because nothing works. I have tried, her innards whispered to the wind.
Some time later, she heard the door shut and she glanced at his foot leaving at the same time as the wheel of his suitcase crossed the door.
She was alone. She sat in the lounge room staring at the gathering storm. The only noise in the house was the wind howling and readying, gathering the storm. Within her, a calm sea-breeze swept her tropical seas, lulled to sleep the tranquil and serene boats of acceptance.
Surprised with herself, she watched as the first drops of rain stained the pavement outside her door.
The howling winds gathered up speed, and the rain became heavier and gusts propelled the water horizontally. Before long, the street was flooded, the water touching the confines of the road. The drains overflowed and the rain showed no signs of abating. She contemplated the spectacle and wondered if this was nature's response, crying the tears she refused to cry. Her thoughts were thus preoccupied when she noticed that the water had now broken its banks and was flowing towards the already overflowing creek and directly into the front yard of the house across the road. The grimy water and leaf debris was nudging the front step. A figure appeared at the front door, and a few people down the road were starting to walk towards the house. A rescue truck with sandbags stacked in the back was already parked a few metres down the road.
Without a further thought, and pulling on her gumboots, she ran across the road, taking only her house key.
The water pushed at her, the torrential speed pushing at her legs as she crossed the river that was usually a road.
Leaves and sticks beat at her legs as she forced her way across.
The noise of the water and the roaring of thunder drowned people's voices. Stepping on the opposite kerb, she busied herself lifting large waterlogged sandbags and stacking them against the house. When all the sandbags were used up, another truck pulled up with a load of sand. It was tipped onto the ground, and the rescue officers brought an armful of empty Hessian bags to be filled. The people worked mostly in silence. Digging the sand and filling the bags was hard work. Exhaustion was neglected ahead of the need to keep the water away from the houses. The water had now reached five other houses on that side of the street. Her boots had long ago overflowed, and the cold water and the soft sand that she trudged on underfoot was the same that squidged in her boots.





Orders were given, as the rain gave no signs of easing off. The repetitive task kept her mind occupied. Hours and hours went past, her body aching and her limbs begging for respite. Digging and filling bags, then lifting them and stacking them on top of the others.
In the early hours of the morning, the rain eased to a drizzling haze. The tired neighbours started to retreat back into their own homes, counting their blessings. The camaraderie that had joined them for the night dissipating with the flood waters. The raging river that was the road slowly becoming static.
She stood in the water, at a loss, her sense of purpose leaving her, her distraction ending.
Exhausted and aching, she took her boots off by the door, and walked straight into her bedroom. Her wet and muddied clothes a pile on the floor. She climbed into her side of the bed and fell almost instantly asleep.
The street was a bustle of activity for the next few days. Rescue trucks cleaning up the damage and sweeping up the mud. Engineers assessing the creek and monitoring water flow. Council workers carting off branches, insurance officers assessing homes and storm damage.
She sat calmly watching the world passing by. The world had wept for her, the tears she had not shed; would no shed.
During those weeks, the clean up of her marriage took place in conjunction. The calm after the storm, the repair. As if it had never happened. Money was transferred, furniture was moved, slowly obliterating their lives together. Her curtains were changed, his smell faded, the dent her wedding ring made on her finger fainter every day. The road was swept, the water dried and the mud drained away. The branches were piled and then shredded; taken away to mulch someone's garden.
A month after the floods, the street was as it had been before, calm, still, pristine. Those driving past unaware. Unless you were told the story of what had passed, no signs remained.
She faced looks of pity everywhere she went. People would seek signs on her face, some tell-tale sign. Finding none, they would become confused and ask her how she was doing, or offer advice, or ask if she was seeing someone. She started to avoid people, and spend more time staring at the television. Sometimes she would clean dishes, sometimes she would sleep. She started to become accustomed to solitude, and still she felt nothing.
The rain continued. Temperatures started to rise a little, and flowers came into bloom, and new green growth sprouted on trees. The seasons did not change rapidly, as if the shock of a season change would cause an uproar. Everyone was eased ahead gently. So the rain continued well into spring.
One cloudy morning in summer, she ran into Nadia, and old friend of hers and her husband. She was a woman whom she did not enjoy socialising with, and had thus avoided since the break-up.
Nadia did not look at her, unlike others did. She seemed to skip the step that everyone proceeded to when they saw her: the searching look, the pitiful stare. Instead, more preoccupied with her own agenda, she rambled on about all the tasks she needed to perform for the day. And yet, she was not moved. Her own blank stare remained unabated. She was waiting for the usual awkward excuse that Nadia would invariably reach to eventually: “Well, you look great, it's good to see you!”
Instead, to her surprise, she heard the topic of conversation proceed in an unexpectedly oblique direction:
“....so that was when I heard you guys had split up; and then I ran into Stuart, saw him at the mall, in fact. He seemed different from the last time I saw him. You know what it was? He seemed better, happier. As if a great weight had been lifted off his shoulders.” This last sentence caused her to look up at Nadia's face. She had not expected such a direct insult. A weight lifted off his shoulders? His burden gone? That wife that made him so unhappy? It was her turn to search someone's face for clues.
“....and then he told me that you guys had split up. I said that he looked like maybe it was a good thing, and he said it was. Oh, no offence intended, but I always thought maybe I would have a chance at him, if you know what I mean?”- she winked in a coquettish manner, and placing her saccharine hand on her arm.
“You did know he is seeing someone, didn't you? Oh, my, I hope I haven't spoken out of turn. He said they have been going out for a couple of months, and she moved in a month ago. She is a keen gardener...”- Nadia's monologue continued uninterrupted. Nadia's lack of awareness of the outside world was useful, as she quietly and calmly calculated the time it had taken for Stuart to find a new live in partner. If he had even waited until after their split. She looked down at her hand, and assessed the dent on her right ring finger. It was still visible. Unlike the seasons, there was an abrupt change in her. Suddenly, anger welled within her, like and enormous wave about to swallow an entire town. It was so sudden that she felt it biting at her throat, urgent. She walked around...her acquaintance, and vaguely heard Nadia say: “I guess I'll see you later” as she sped away.
Her heartbeat was almost at her mouth, she could taste it. Her body driven by a fury that was palpable, raging, surging, attacking. She moved through the crowd, and her only thought was to find him. Above her, the rarest January sky on record; rainy, cloudy, stormy; started to darken. The late blooming jacarandas almost glowed against the blackening canvas.
She found herself climbing in her car, her shaking hands gripping the steering wheel, and her white knuckles tightly holding on to the car, urging it forward. She drove fast and dangerously, weaving between cars and following too closely. Her little car trembled, as she drove it fast towards her prey.
She visualised how she was going to do it. She saw herself swinging her cricket bat against his head, his wet brain splattering on a white wall. The sound of the wood smashing against his skull, the pool of blood on the floor. Over and over again, her mind's eye replayed the scene; she was going to kill him, she knew it. The calm she had felt until then seemed a distant memory. An impossibility of giant proportions. The only way she could spend this fury was to kill him, end him; and the crunching sound of his nose breaking brought almost climactic pleasure to her exploding chest.
She pulled up in front of his house, and her adrenaline driven muscles propelled her. The light around her seemed brighter, the dark sky framing the scene of her imminent crime. All the anger she had neglected to feel when he had ignored her messages for years, pushed the dinners she had made for him away and made a sandwich instead, or mocked her tastes in music now being given freedom of expression, a liberation that would end in murder. Oh, the satisfaction that her decision caused her.
She stood at the door, imagined the fear on his face as he would retreat from her, relished in it. She looked around, and saw evidence of the other woman, her garden gloves, her clogs by the door. And although she would have thought it impossible, her anger grew. The doorbell was like a chiming of anticipation. She heard his footsteps, and she gripped the bat, readying it.
He opened the door, and there he was, staring at her. Her rage surged, ready for its climax. And in the millisecond that it would take her to order her muscles to act, she saw him.
She really saw him. A thirty-something man, greying and balding. He looked haggard, and his two or three day growth seemed dirty instead of sexy to her. The deep furrows above his eyes from constant unhappiness she had never noticed before, and his downward pointing mouth, which had seemed to her in the past to be a constant smirk, a sexy smirk, yet another mark of how unhappy he was. His expression was a mixture of surprise and....was it still love, or habit, or longing, or lust, or caring, or another emotion that she would never understand?
Her anger, her propellant, slowly extinguished itself. She looked at him, at his face, at his eyes, and the violence that she had prepared for him gave way to something else. An infinitely buried silence, an emptiness, a loss. For the child she would never have, for the many more evenings to be spent alone, for her sleepless nights without him, for his ability to move on to the gardener. And from the silence, a gathering storm nudged at her consciousness. Small droplets at first, but the stillness of her tropical beach was brewing a hurricane, a monsoonal summer long overdue.
He was saying something to her. She didn't hear him. Her tears were falling and clouding her vision. Her howling wind was loud, her throat tearing at her, and she wanted to reach the refuge of her car. Sobs rattled her, and she knew this storm would cause a flood in her.
She drove away, trying to peek at the road behind her tears.
Cottony soft white clouds had replaced the black ones, allowing the sunshine to stream in strong yellow rays. The dust on her windscreen sparkled in the sun, and the rain had already dried.
A long hot summer stretched ahead in the distance.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Mammalian like you

4th January 2011

A NEW YEAR


I wonder if enlightenment includes being able to separate what binds us to mammals from what we are able to discern practically, as objective intelligent beings. For example, love is a simple reaction to hormonal changes in the brain and a host of other rather inconvenient mixtures of shyte that get in the way. Love for our children merely becomes the fact that we need to preserve our genes. We succumb to the purely physical, the purely animal.
Our instincts to protect other children are simply the footprint in our brains: the need to protect the next generation. Wars are males of the species (no sexism intended, but the truth is that is how it works in nature ) displaying, defending territory, pissing in their neighbour's yard.
Happiness is satisfaction in the feeling that we are going through all the motions correctly, achieving our mammalian goals.
And yet we wonder why as humans we have 50% depression rates over a lifetime. Are we in fact in a situation where we are simply trapped and as mammals will sometimes find when they are locked up in a zoo where the cages are too small for them, we become depressed. Are we creating an environment where there is no way out, where depression is a way of life because we can not achieve what our bodies and minds are supposed to be able to achieve. We are cursed with a brain that tries to tell us day to day that in fact the meaning of life lies hidden in a bucket of KFC, in the latest shade of lipstick, the shiniest fabric or the cutest arse you can muster in a summer season. Happiness is the subject of countless books, seminars, essays, women's magazines. How to achieve the perfect body, the perfect meal, the perfect date, the perfect eyebrow shape. Religions provide a framework of behaviour to guide our actions, to get to the hidden kingdoms. Why do we all dream that one day we will be wholly happy, no matter what, we will achieve all we ever wanted? What do we want? The biggest house, a pool, happy children. What is wrong with living now and not waiting for what might happen later?
When are we happiest? When we abandon the laws of unnature that we have set ourselves: when we simply throw creature comforts aside, abandon our pseudo-responsibilities and allow ourselves to have irresponsible fun. We go for walks for leisure, we spend time with people we would prefer to see more often, we get together in groups.
This is how chimps live I guess. In large groups, gathering all day long, occasionally hunting and lying in the sun when it is all over spending time with loved ones. Helping each other out with child care, with gathering.
When people abandon some of society's norms; for example, choose to not have television, choose not to buy vegetables but alas, grow them in our backyards; or choose to live within a bartering system, we ridicule them. And unlike what they are probably trying to achieve, that is, unity with the universe and getting closer to nature, they end up isolated and labelled freaks.
Don't get me wrong, I am the first one to yearn for a shower when I am off camping. But I have grown up in this society too!!!
I also participate in this human race that makes us live longer....and yet the secret of a healthy body and a healthy mind comes back to good food and exercise.....
I guess I would wish that I an live as authentically as I can. To listen to my body, to eat what it needs, to exercise when needed. Our society is such that a lot of these things we are meant to be doing are abandoned ahead of work, washing dishes, keeping up with the joneses.
Don't you ever feel just a little bit trapped?
I wish you all a savage new year. May your inner mammal find satisfaction and peace. Seize the day.

Mummy guilt

They say that guilt is a useless emotion. It is basically the feeling of having done something we should not have done, or omitted to do som...