Reality Anonymous

The me you read here, is the real me.

While this is my anonymous space, I’m sure that if someone from my real world found this blog, they would recognise me.

I have a friend (also happens to be my cousin), who knows I’m here. My online friends know I’m here.

That’s it.

Sometimes I’m more me here as I share my struggles with anxiety disorder, my thoughts, quaint anecdotes, hopes and fears.

Sometimes I’m less me here as I have to contain those conversations to keep my reality anonymous.

I want to write about events in my life. I toy with changing names but still it feels too close to my heart. It feels so transparent that anyone could deduce who I spoke of. So I keep quiet. Remain vague. Deflect certain topics. Stay hidden.

Then I wonder if I’m protecting myself from strangers or people who know my reality.

Still. That’s a whole other tangent. And it’s not to imply I’d start to speak ill of people if I dropped my guard, only that sometimes I envy those who show themselves wholly with grace, kindness and confidence.

Sometimes I wish that could be me.


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Day #25

Tourist Eyes

Travel is a curious thing.

We returned two weeks ago, and the first thing people ask is “What were the highlights?” or “What was your favourite part?” or “What were your top five places?”

It’s a difficult thing to measure. I loved meeting up with my international friends and family which is a whole different kind of wonderful to seeing megalithic monuments, and a different again to visiting a castle. These things can’t be compared. Why can’t it all be amazing?

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Castle Howard, Yorkshire, UK

Even things that one might consider to be poor experiences had nothing poor about them. Not serious stuff, but conversations with unusual strangers, or odd service at a pub or a quirk with your accommodation. These things add humour and texture to your experience. It’s makes your experience more meaningful, more memorable.

More amazing.

Similarly, every place has its sadness. People who were homeless, the odd filthy, graffitted street, places you wouldn’t wander alone at night, abandoned houses falling into ruin.  They are small observations between all the wonder of travel.

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This house at Ballyvaughan, Ireland had a brand new letter box on its gate.

Returning home, its like your ‘normal world’ has been highlighted. The local birdsong, the smell of eucalyptus, the blue mountains – everything is amplified.

This does not make or imply that one is better than the other. Only that, when separated from home, you’re able to view it more objectively.

With tourist eyes.

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Please hold…

Not that you’ll notice the difference but I’ll be travelling for SIX WHOLE WEEKS! I’m not as organised as last time, so I haven’t scheduled any posts while I’m away.

Be well everyone. I’ll looking forward to blogging on my return.

In the meantime, please hold…

 

Follow the Green Rabbit

I’ve been blogging for three years and in that time, I’ve never found a gravatar image. I always intended to find an image for my WordPress self, I’ve contemplated using my Twitter avatar but that never seemed right.

I’ve thought about using this little guy:

Walle

He represents a lot of who I am and I almost share his name. But, you know. Copyright. As connected as I feel to WALL-E, the image was not my own.
Then, Ra and I had this conversation:

Conversation

Of course, she thought of it because it was such a Wallyish thing to think. But I had not seen the bunny and pink was not my colour.

Ra had seen him though. When she found him, she sent him to me – rendered in both pink and green. He was mine if I wanted him.

It was love at first sight.

My husband said he was my bunatar.

He left the room and came back a moment later. ‘You should call him Pat’

‘Get it? Pat Bunatar’

The green bunnyI love him, Ra. Thank you.

 

Extra Ordinary

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Find the ‘extra’…

I don’t own a single album of David Bowie, so the devastation I felt upon his passing seemed disproportional. A similar dichotomy happened only days later, with Alan Rickman.

Extraordinary strangers. People who I’ve glimpsed through the world’s eye with their extraordinary talents, while they undoubtedly continued with their ordinary lives, viewing themselves as unremarkable and simply creating, working and living.

I’m drawn to this humbleness. Not those who bask in their success but wonder at it, are confused by it and possibly curse the attention it brings.

I follow The Bloggess. I cannot claim to know her but she gives so much of herself on her blog and in her books that it is difficult to not feel connected. She wrote this post about David Bowie and Alan Rickman (among others) which I marvelled at not simply because I felt exactly the same but because she does not see herself among them. She is among them. She is extraordinary.

She’ll never read this.

Wil Wheaton and Anne Wheaton are extraordinary. They are good people and I would happily say I adore them. I feel delighted that they share their lives on social media because they make me laugh but they’ve dealt with enough nonsense for Wil (at one time or other) to post instructions on how to be respectful, and for Anne to quit twitter. Just before she quit, I sent her a direct message.

Twitter comment

She didn’t read it.

If she did, it didn’t make any difference – I didn’t expect it would. I am one of hundreds upon thousands of people waving my arms around her.

She’ll never read this either.

These are five people who have touched my life without their knowledge, be it by their humour or sensibilities or genius or grace, or they’ve simply shared a part of their life. There are many others. Writers, artists, creators, comedians – people I’ve found on Twitter or Instagram or WordPress or TED talks. Often not famous. There’s a part of me that believes if the world were smaller, we’d be friends. With some, I already am.

I am thankful for these connections – however large and worldly, or small and obscure.

Extraordinary strangers. Those who are likely think of themselves as quite ordinary but are remarkable. Not necessarily in a Bowie way, or a Rickman way, but in their own way.

And if you’re sitting there reading this thinking I’m not talking about you. Why not? Life is extraordinary . The mechanics of a purring cat. The brain. An opening flower.

Ordinary and extraordinary are not mutually exclusive.

The only thing that limits us is our perception.

Cross Your Heart

We visited Ireland two years ago and it felt like home.

I could say it was my Irish ancestry, but my last ancestor set foot in Ireland four generations ago – it’s not like I have relatives beckoning me back. I could say it was my vague Catholic upbringing, but it seems I only attended church (and Sunday School) to please my grandmother and The Church because my mother had to prove she’d denounced Protestantism. Pretty much like my Protestant grandmother did in the previous generation.

Hypocrisy aside. I’m getting off track.

Australia is home too, but Ireland resonated with me in a way I cannot easily explain.

As readers here probably know, I’m not especially religious, in that, I no-longer attend church. And while religion plays a part here, this post is mostly about people. Random people who briefly shared a moment of their lives with us when we visited Ireland.

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The Rock of Cashel

In Kilkenny, I followed an older woman down the street carrying two grocery bags, one in each hand. As she walked, she shifted the groceries from her right hand to her left. She crossed herself and returned the bag to her right hand. We’d walked past a church.

I don’t know why I loved this so much. It was so real and honest and an action I’d never witnessed outside of church.

I have always loved churches. They’re like buildings of made of peace. History has shown us, of course, religion has caused much conflict. But churches for me are sanctuary, bundled by walls and pews. I’ve always found them to be peaceful, beautiful places.

I lingered around the entrance of a church in Wexford and wondered if I should enter – could I take photos? A woman bustled up beside me. She dabbed her hand into the font at the entrance, crossed herself and went in. I followed her. She lit a candle and rested it, flickering amongst the others. She said a prayer.

I crept around to the aisle of the church – my camera a heavy thought at my side. I marvelled at the windows and the architecture. With old habits I crossed myself and took a pew and noticed others already had – their heads lowered in thought, or prayer.

I mentally confirmed with myself it wasn’t Sunday.

Then I had another thought: People are actually using this church.

It made me feel so areligious. Australia is so full of empty churches.

I sat there. I took a moment.

I didn’t take any photos.

While in Wexford, we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast. It was unlike any other B&B we’d stayed in, simply because the owners had made little attempt to separate their business from their house. Essentially, we were boarding. We’d had an awkward introduction because minutes before we’d arrived, our host had received unexpected guests looking for a bed. We were ushered to our room, which wasn’t quite ready.

‘Weren’t you arriving on the 4 o’clock ferry?’

The next morning, our host was calmer, but frustrated because the other guests had decided to sleep in for breakfast. Which was a shame, because it was delicious.

We returned to the B&B after a day’s touristing, but struggled to get a park. Once inside, our host had prepared some salmon for us. She knew Seamus, who knew Peter, who knew a fisherman. She asked about my Irish roots and the places we’d been in the day, adding comments like, ‘you would have seen Eamon’  or ‘you must eat at Patrick’s’. Our host was a living street directory.

There was a knock at the door.

Our host’s neighbour’s neighbour greeted her. ‘Oh, I’ve just come from Siόbhan’s, I don’t know if there’s more I can do.’

They entered the kitchen and my husband and I were sitting there, munching on salmon. Introductions were made, but their conversation continued.

‘I’ve just taken around a casserole.’

‘I went around and did the dishes.’

‘You’re a good woman, Caitriόna.’

An elderly woman in the street had passed away. Everyone knew her. She had five children and several more grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The street was in mourning and a funeral procession was expected in the coming hours.

‘Will you go?’

‘Probably,’ our host nodded, ‘You?’

‘I don’t know, I don’t like an open coffin…’

Conversation circled like this for a while. Talk of life and death and family. We asked questions which were answered honestly.

The sense of community was overwhelming.


We saw many wondrous things during our travels through the UK and Ireland.
These unexpected and beautiful moments were among my favourites.

Do you have an unexpected, wondrous moment to share?

Off the Back of NaBloPoMo

Or as we Tiny Peppers like to call it, Nano Poblano.

Or, as I’ve been calling it lately (today), NaNo Problemo.

So, Day 30. Here I am, I took you on. I won. The only day-fail coming off the back of an ice skating accident and taking my friend to Emergency. Friday the 13th and all. But I caught you up.

IN YOUR FACE, November. IN. YOUR. FACE.

*ahem*

So, where am I at? What will this mean? Has it changed my life?

Meh. Huh? Maybe.

Time will tell. Today, I feel I will blog more often, which honestly, is a stupid thing to say because blogging more often than I did before NoBloPoMo won’t exactly be a stretch. But, irrespective of whether I do or don’t – I know I can. I’ve blogged every day for a month. WOOT! Two years ago I didn’t think I’d ever do that, the very thought would have made me vomit.

Not literally. Obviously.

I’ve been forced to rein in my self editor (who’s normally brutal). And I’ve been posting with mistakes. I been posting without twenty-million re-reads. Without relying on my husband’s proof-reading.

Congratulations to those who took on NaBloPoMo and/or Nano Poblano and won. And congratulation to those who gave NaBloPoMo and/or Nano Poblano a go. There are no losers. You’re all amazing.

And I wish to thank you. All those people who’ve found me here during my thirty day blogging frenzy with special thanks to those who’ve taken the time to leave a comment. I have found new friends here.

And thank you, Ra. You have no idea how much awesome you make.