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.

 

Advertisements

Finding Hope

A thought has lingered for a day now.

I suspect I will not be rid of it until I write it down, but at the same time, turning these words over won’t make anything other than compost.

As I try to keep up with the wondrous blog posts coming from Nano Poblano (Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo). I read this one by Janelle Weibz.

Now, I have never heard of the series Gundam, but this bit stuck with me:

“…I realize the thing about peace is that it can’t really exist without war, in the same way that light can’t exist without darkness. We had to talk about war to even begin to understand what peace meant, what society looked like or could look like.”

I realised, it wasn’t something I wanted to hear. I started questioning everything. Is the only reason I love is because I know hate?

Now to make another television series analogy, remember Stargate  SG1? And if you remember this, perhaps you remember The Nox?

They were my vision of humanity’s future. A peace loving, kind, anti-war sort of folk. You know, when the human race is ‘older’, maybe we’ll learn from our mistakes, maybe we’ll be these things.

Janelle also said this:

“We are all human; we can’t so easily remove ourselves from our situations, from our affiliations, from our histories and biases and traumas and experiences.”

Perhaps my hope for humanity’s future, is empathy – seeing things from the perspectives of others. Having a broad view.

I don’t know.

I still believe in kindness and I hope I didn’t need to see cruelty to know it.

 


nanopoblano2015darkDay 20 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.

Post Apocalypse

I am easily amused. Most recently I posted a letter, in that old fashioned way that requires a mailman. On the box, under the word ‘Post’, someone had written ‘apocalypse’. I stood with my letter poised at the mouth of the letter box and laughed out loud.

See. Easily amused.

It was 1997 and I’d just emerged from a mathematics exam. I sat on a bench seat and waited for my parents to pick me up. Ten minutes transpired and I moved into the shade, the mid afternoon sun burned at my skin. On the University lawn, a sprinkler snickered its rotation in the background. Thirty minutes transpired. They were never late.

I grabbed the family mobile out of my bag. Yes, the ‘family’ mobile. It WAS 1997. The battery was dead. I looked up to the phone box and stared in amazement as the lawn sprinklers rotated in and out of the semi enclosed area.

I dashed in with my phone card, dialled my parent’s number and said something along the lines of ‘Everything okay? I’ve got to be quick, the sprinkler is on the phone box, hang on, I’ll be back in a second-‘ dashed out while the phone was showered with water.

‘What? The car broke down?’

I listened and nodded.

‘Wait, the sprinkler’s coming back-‘

Ducked out again.

‘You’ll be another half hour? Okay, I’ll be here. Sorry, gotta go.’

 

Have you experienced a moment in time that feels like that should be in a film or sitcom?


nanopoblano2015darkClick 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! I think I’m actually getting the hang of this.

Scent Memory

It’s been a busy week, so I’m using a list-post prompt provided by the wondrous Rarasaur.

“Things I associate with smell”

The smell of freshly mowed grass is summer. It’s backyard cricket, it’s family picnics and barbeques. It’s holidays and weekends. It’s the day after Christmas.

The scent of paper and books and stationary is contentment. Solitude. Joy.

My grandfather’s shed was a mix of oil and turps and solder and saw dust and oil paints and was either cold and damp or hot and humid. It is a difficult scent to explain but when I find a scent like it, it triggers strong memories. Like stamping fake letters with his drill press and posting them, playing games, watching him work, his voice and patience and his desire to teach me about electronics and stuff I was too young to understand.

The smell of hospitals and veterinary clinics and dentists remind me of anxiety and nausea.

The unique scent of those we love is contentment and sanctuary.

Coffee reminds me of yumminess. It is mornings and tiredness but it’s also sitting together and chatting. Of course, it also reminds me of blogging.


nanopoblano2015darkI’m late with my post today, but I have great excuse!

Don’t forget to visit Ra’s small community of Tiny Peppers participating in her version of NaBloPoMo. Click on the icon, and peck a crate to visit a random post.

If I haven’t reached your blog yet – I promise I will!

Lost

While trying to work my way around all the Little Peppers’ blog posts, I found this one at Part-Time Monster. It made me ponder what I have lost and how much there is to lose. Then I felt fortunate that I haven’t lost more. Sometimes we have no control over it and other times, maybe we are careless. I guess it is all relative. Some things I’ll never get back, others, I might yet see again.

Like that gift voucher that expires early December.

I’ve lost both sets of grandparents. Which makes them sound like salt and pepper shakers that I left in a car park somewhere. Lost is a strange euphemism for death. But, while the ache of loss never leaves you, I stopped feeling angry that they died and felt  privileged that I knew them to an age where I was old enough to remember them. Old enough to have meaningful relationships with them. Old enough to understand what it meant to lose them.

I’ve lost a dog and two cats and the tree outside my bedroom window.

I lost Billy Goat Gruff when I was three. I took him as a shopping companion with Mum and he never came home. Strangely, I can’t remember what he looked like but I vividly remember my distress when he went missing.

Every year, we gave up some of our things to charity. Technically, that doesn’t classify as ‘lost’ except, I gave up MonkeyMonkeyMoo and regretted it. My aunt knitted him for me when I was in hospital. I kept other things she knitted that were smaller and easier to store.

I’ve lost friends to nothing more sinister than different paths. I lost a book to one of those friends, but I believe the book is better with her.

I lost my favourite dangly earring one winter.

I lost my purse on Christmas Eve and got it back five days later with everything still in it.

I’m losing hair and skin cells and youth with every passing year.

Hopefully I have lost misconceptions and ignorance and fear.

I’ve lost my internet connection and found nanopoblano2015darkit.

Perhaps I have lost religion but found faith.

Perhaps I have lost my mind but found sanity.

So much to lose, but still so much to find.

Day Five: The Fear of Desperation

nanopoblano2015darkOkay, so it’s NanoPoblano or NaBloPoMo and I’m trying to avoid list-blogs. To that end, I’ve looked to The Daily Post for inspiration and found this topic, ‘Phobia Shmobia’. And really, it’s doesn’t matter what it inspires, does it?

I’ve always found phobias fascinating. My own main phobias include:

Atychiphobia – the fear of failure

Claustrophobia – the fear of enclosed spaces

Arachnophobia – the fear of spiders

Ophidiophobia – the fear of snakes

And some I can’t find a name for, like the fear of awkwardness. Why can’t it be called Awkwardphobia? Why does it have to be something-in-Latin-phobia?

The interesting thing about phobias is, they’re irrational. I have a friend who’s afraid of birds. She will cross the road to avoid walking through a folk of pigeons or seagulls. You couldn’t get her into a henhouse for love nor money. She finds them unpredictable. There’s a part of my brain that laughs with its logic. It asks – what threat do they pose!? Why are they to be feared!? Then, another part of my brain reminds me that fears are irrational. To some, my fear of spiders, snakes, enclosed spaces and failure are as illogical as her fear of birds.

Of course, there are ‘grades’ of everything. My fear of failure is my most debilitating fear. It’s not like I spend my life rigid with the fear of randomly confronting a spider or snake and I am still able to use an elevator without freaking out about the confined space. Logic does save me, most of the time. Things like awkwardness and failure are harder to define, but tangible fears I seem to handle okay. Which can be strange.

For instance, I’m not one to take a roller coaster ride. Not because I can’t, but because of logic. I wonder why people scream when they have some idea of what to expect. Which is hilarious because it makes me sound like no fun at all.

Oh my God, I’m no fun at all!

It’s weird, right? I’M WEIRD!

Firstly, let me clarify – I haven’t been on a OMG roller coaster ride. I live in an area where world-grade rides don’t exist so I (really) don’t know what I’m talking about. I took a local ghost ride once that was so underwhelming my friend beside me screamed just to give the cart behind us some hope.

The question The Daily Post asked was – have I overcome any fears?

Well, I’m blogging daily for the month of November.

As a failure-fearing-monkey, that’s progress.

NaNoProMoDon’tknowBloMoSomethingSomething

There are those of us that have Words. And I do mean Words with a capital, in italics and bold. It’s all words, words, words and they explode out of them in groups of a thousand and they actually contain brilliance that simply lacks a French polish. This is not me.

Words stumble out of me like it’s lunch time and they’re still in their pyjamas. They’re not embarrassed (but they should be) and I’m their mother, trying to make sense of their behaviour all the while feeling responsible for it.

I get caught in words, fixing their hair, adjusting their clothes, match making, trying to build perfection while avoiding clichés. I’m so poorly read I could weep. Yet, I’m not willing to undo that failure with any kind of gusto. If I read four books a year, it’s a Christmas miracle.

If you’re a follower of this blog, it’s well known fact I’m a slow writer and poorly read. For those with Words, it’s difficult to explain that each blog I write takes me hours, the comments I leave on a fellow’s blog can take just as long, compounded by panic – ‘is it offensive?’, ‘could I upset someone?’,  ‘does it convey what I mean?’ and you have no idea how many comments I spend hours on, and then delete.

This is me. Loving Words, while fearing Words.

Words.nanopoblano2015dark

Knowing all this, NaNoWriMo is a dream, NaBloPoMo is a possibility.

I’m going to give that a go.

Please be patient, and don’t shout.

Thank you.

*Cuts NaBloPoMo ribbon*