Believing

Two days ago, I began a whole different post.

It was about failure and resolutions for a year we’ve now lost. Failed resolutions. I didn’t intend to fail, but then, I didn’t make any real effort to win so technically, failure was assured. Actually, that’s not even technical, that’s logical and I cannot (or should not) lament something I chose.

After Nano Poblemo, I said I would blog more. I haven’t, yet, and I’m not sure why I feel guilty about it. It’s crazy because I’m creating failures for myself.

So, it seems that this post too, is about failure.

It is.

And it isn’t.

Nano Poblano was a resolution. Not one timed with the New Year but one that came at the eleventh hour on the last day of October. I’d procrastinated. I’d thought about it for days previously before I finally committed to it. And then I did it – I blogged everyday for a month.

I won.

I set myself some resolutions for 2015. None of them were unreasonable or unrealistic but I didn’t take them on. I wondered how they were any different from my Nano Poblano challenge.

They weren’t different. Except, there was this little part of my brain that believed I could write a blog post everyday.

I believed.

This post was going to be about lots of things. Instead of resolutions, I’m going to focus on believing.

Happy New Year, my friends.

Whatever you do in 2016, be your best.

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Truth of Lies

I’m feeling pensive.

As Nano Poblano draws to a close, I find myself looking back.  I used to write blogs and not post them. With Nano Poblano (or NaBloPoMo), I found myself ignoring my normal blog-filters and I wondered if there was one post which should have stayed in drafts. Sticks and Stones.

Over the last month, it was my most ‘silent’ post. Being the self-deprecating, panicking sort, I wondered if it was okay. I am alone in these thoughts? Did I offend people? Was I wrong to mention how I managed bullying at school? I don’t know.

This made me think about truth and lies and how sometimes they’re black and white and other times they’re grey.

In my post, the technique I used to survive bullying at school I related to an Aesop’s Fable. I went with the flow, I acted like I didn’t care, I played situations down. I acted like they didn’t happen.

I handle adult life in a similar way. I play the game. So long as I maintain my moral compass, I tend to be what people want me to be. It’s only when things I vehemently believe in are challenged and when that affects me, do I stand my ground. Everything else, I let go.

I play the game. A friend of mine says it’s not an honest game. I’m lying. By ignoring things that upset me, I’m pretending to be something I’m not.

She right, you know. It is dishonest in its own way.

But I’m me when it matters.

If you know me well, I’m me when I’m with you.

That’s the truth.


nanopoblano2015darkDay 28 of Nano Poblano!

[That’s Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo]

Two days left!!!!

 

Memory

It’s Day 25 of Nano Poblano (Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo) and I’ve drawn a blank. Fortunately Ra kindly left a prompt page for such occasions. Although they are list-prompts, I aimed to find one that inspired a non-list post.

“Things I have memorised”

I did drama at school and frequently joined school productions. I always felt safer playing someone else.

My school at one time, participated in a local drama competition. It was a big thing, and boy, did we rehearse. We rehearsed so much that one day, when one of the cast members was off sick, our drama teacher asked if anyone else could say the lines. We all raised our hands. We all knew the entire script. We recited it in unison, our teacher’s mouth dropped open before she said, ‘alright then!’

I wonder sometimes, if I’d still remember. If someone read me a line, I would remember the next?

I still remember some poetry. I gave up drama for more ‘sensible’ career choices but decided to memorise a few poems. The most impressive, was this one:

From Ulysses
Alfred Lord Tennyson
…Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

This is an excerpt, but I learnt the whole poem off by heart. Poetry played a huge part in my life at the time I decided to commit this to memory. The film, Dead Poets’ Society aided this – the main character reciting these very lines.

*Sigh*

O Captain! My Captain.

Also from my poetry days, and possibly from my badly rhymed poetry days, I became very adept with rhyme. If I had to rhyme ‘board’ for a poem, I could run through the alphabet (including nonsensical words) until I found something that might work. Aord, board, cord, dord, eord, ford, gord, hoard, iord, jord, kord, lord…

I studied piano as a child. It could not be said I was good, but I was diligent. Being as slow at reading sheet music as I was with the written word, I survived by memorising it. I called it hand-memory. Through dogged repetition, I remembered where my hands had to be to play the relevant notes. Of course, any mistakes would break the memory, I’d lose my place in the music and I’d panic beyond recovery. I still remember many of them, but I don’t practise much these day and my hands forget.

I’d describe the study of language here in Australia as lazy. My school experience isn’t perhaps the best example, but without commitment, the best you’ll come away with is the ability to count to ten in French, Japanese and German with ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ and ‘my name is …’ thrown into the equation. I still remember most of this.

What have you memorised?


nanopoblano2015darkDay 25 of Nano Poblano! That is, Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo.

We’re posting everyday in the month of November!

When I say ‘we’ I mean these awesome folk.

Sticks and Stones

I was always good at Playing the Game.

That’s what my mother called it. The art of moving among people, saying what needed to be said without being angry or offensive. I internalised emotions. I diffused situations with humour. I remained silent if necessary.

I recognised this at an early age.  I noticed some classmates lacked it. My own brother lacked it. Although he was older than me, there were times I came to his defence. Ever the diplomat, me.

One of my favourite of Aesop ‘s fables was The Oak and the Reeds. It’s not as well known as some of them, but it resonated with me. The tale of the old tree than grew with the reeds beside the river. The tree was proud of its strength and size but a great gust of wind tore up the oak from the ground.

The tree wept.

“I don’t understand it. How can something as frail and slender as a reed escape the anger of the wind, while a strong tree has been torn up by its roots?”

The reeds explain the moral of the story.

“Sometimes in  order to survive, it is better to give way.”

And this is how I played the game. I stuck to my opinions when they truly mattered and let everything else go. I decided who I respected and who I didn’t – and as to the latter – if I didn’t respect you, why would I about care what you said or thought?

I was so lucky to believe this. To believe this so strongly I left school without enemies and a small group of friends who stood with me.

Though, we are never unbroken.

My insecurities lie in my capabilities. My ability to write, for one. I suffer from anxiety and have developed a habit of surpressing how I feel. Sometimes, I surpress too much.

As an adult looking back, those who ‘broke’ me were adults and/or people I respected.

But.

But the beauty of being an adult is when looking back you realise we are all victims of our lives. We all (mostly) do not intend to sabotage the lives of others but do what we think is best at the time. Then to compound this there are personalities and how two people can take the same experience and interpret it a very different way.

Of course, bullies do intend to sabotage lives, they’ll probably never realise how much. They’ll probably never realise how broken they are themselves.

I was bullied at school but I was always lucky to be a reed.


So, I’ve just come from Ra, and she wrote this. It’s a whole heap of awesome, but this clip triggered these memories.


nanopoblano2015darkDay 24 of Nano Poblano! That is, Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo.

We’re posting everyday in the month of November!

When I say ‘we’ I mean these awesome folk.

 

Songs Without Music

I started writing poetry before I wrote it down. They were songs without music that I’d made up and they were relevant to me. I didn’t know it was poetry until school gave it a name.

My writing began with poetry – but you woudn’t know it here.

In hindsight, I see now that poetry was the coping mechanism of my youth. It helped me process heartache and conflicts within myself and sometimes within the world. As I began to feel more conrol over my life, poetry writing dwindled.

Lapse

I don’t write poetry much

Anymore.

A lapse in concentration

Or something

More permanent.

Ideas struggle to be polished.

Come like the rain and never go.

And I fear –

Go the like the rain and never come.

I was nineteen. Beside this poem in my scrap book, I wrote ‘Is this even a poem? I don’t even know what it means.’ I wrote two poems after it and nothing since. Well, nothing finished.

Eventually I realised, I was perhaps mourning the loss of something I no longer needed. However, some of my favourite poems I wrote in those last few years. Like this one.

Nothingness

Nothing is

     The empty inside a jar,

The answer

     To a rhetorical question,

The sound

     Of silence in a vacant room,

The light

     At the entrance of a tunnel.

Nothing is

     The hue opposing white,

The expression

     On a blank face,

The difference

     Between two things identical,

The impression

     That nothing is.


nanopoblano2015darkDay 23 of Nano Poblano! That is, Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo.

We’re posting everyday in the month of November!

When I say ‘we’ I mean these awesome folk.

Tainted Goods

I haven’t watched the news for a couple of days now. It quite honestly makes me want to vomit, so to actually experience or live near or to  know people experiencing these current horrors  – I’m sure I cannot even comprehend. My thoughts are with you all.

And in my normal, thankfully mundane Sunday morning – I went to the market and I bought a badly battered picture. I love pictures, especially if they’re original works by a no-name hobbyist who was just making do with what they had at hand. This was a watercolour, a naively drawn picture of what was perhaps the artist’s family home. Given the title of the picture and the European look of the building, it appeared to be German or Austrian in origin.

The glass was broken, the picture itself looked to be mounted in recycled cardboard while the frame was much older, its contents secured with handmade nails. This frame was over 100 years old, its wooden core decorated in gold painted plaster. A chunk of the plaster finish was missing and I intended to replace it.

I’ve spoken before about the history of objects. That I love the little hints an object offers of its past life. I think that’s why I have a particular affinity for these old pictures. Often they are dated and signed, they often have a personal touch, there are sometimes pictures behind the pictures as the frames are reused over time.

I’ve been saving old objects for years and uncovering their secrets. It’s part of the joy.

Today’s discovery was this: A print of Hitler.

The previous owner had recycled a print of Hitler, flipped it over and used it to mount their art. So, while it was a print of Hitler, it was cut-up print. They had to cut it in half to fit into this frame. The lower half was clearly used as a cutting board to create the window in the top half – and in doing so, removing his eyes.

The whole thing left me feeling cold. And with more questions than answers.

Did the artist once worship Hitler and own a life size portrait in their house? Did they simply hang it to appease those who would otherwise question their loyalty. Did they intentionally deface his picture and hide it behind another? How did it get to Australia?

And there are other questions. Do I put the cut-up print back? Do I preserve this picture’s past like I would any other?

It’s an uncomfortable discovery at any time. Right now, while the world seems more at odds with itself than ever, I look at this print, and look at the news and I wonder if we’re learning.


nanopoblano2015dark

Click on the link to visit the team of Tiny Peppers. It’s Rarasaur’s version of NaBloPoMo and it’s called Nano Poblano.  Or, as I’ve been calling it lately Nano Problano.

We’re blogging every day in the month of November!

WHAT’S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN?

Maybe it’s a strange mantra. I kind of fancy one that’s more about love or creativity but this one speaks to me. It’s been my survival mechanism for many years now.

The important thing is, it mustn’t be misconstrued. I’m not asking myself to imagine the worst things that can possibly happen in any given situation. I’m not wondering if the legs will fall off my chair or my house will fall down or I’ll be abducted by a squirrel with a limp. It sounds like a drastic question, but what it actually offers me is perspective.

I procrastinate. More than I’d like, and probably more than is ‘normal’. I’m procrastinating about writing this blog post. I’ve had the title and the first line written for two weeks. But like anything I undertake have to fight the naysayers in my head. They’re telling me I suck and that this blog post is so badly written I’ll be judged ad infinitum by all who visit here. So I ask myself, what IS the worst that could happen?

I might suck.

I might be judged for it.

And the next question is the important one.

Does that matter?

*posts blog*