Moving Trolley

A moving trolley has broken my camel’s back! Its image will remain though long after I have departed.

 

I am leaving my  relationship because I can no longer endure the shit. The mess, the contagion of stuff that she insists on piling in my space. And yes, it is embarrassing to say that in 2016, the laundry is my space, but it fucking is! I’m the one who tries, against all odds, to keep her house clean. I have tried to overcome the feeling that it isn’t my space and sometimes I have even believed it to be our space. But after the massive argument we had 3 months ago, I realized that I would have to accept the situation as it is, as she would not change, even if it meant losing me. I’not saying that I don’t love her. I do love her, but I, me, the person I am inside, is feeling imprisoned, as if I am in a maze and can’t find my way out.

 

I’ve had to fight for each little bit of garden I’ve created here. We’ve had massive fights over shade umbrellas (the purchase of one). All along I’ve tried to create beauty and sanctuary in this place (her place) and the garden and house is a tribute to my sheer endurance towards this end. But I can’t do it any longer. She just doesn’t ‘get it’. She still thinks that we’re breaking up because I got my knickers in a knot over a trolley she placed in my laundry, when I ‘could’ve just moved it’. It’s true reading Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things, has enlightened me to the ways in which I have been ‘trapped’, ‘imprisoned’, ‘held’ by emotions so basic as ‘I want to have a home where I belong” and “I want to be loved” and “if I leave, I will have nothing”.

 

All my life I have stayed with OTHER PEOPLE because they can offer me one of these things – physical comfort, a kind word, familiarity, financial security. Yes, they give me this, but it also robs me of freedom, authenticity, agency, spontaneity, imagination and manifestation.These are the things which make me who I am. And I’ve stuffed them down and pressed them beneath the mattresses of my relationships. WHY?

 

Because I’m afraid to be alone? I’m afraid of my fear which roils within my gut? I’m afraid of what I might have to say if I tell the truth. The truth about me. I am a witch. I have strength and powers which do not yield to others’ needs, but I have been suppressing these my whole life. Fitting in, being nice, wearing a modest skirt, smiling, laughing, giving my body to others who desire it, buying acceptance, wanting to be liked by my children and behaving acceptably so they will like/love me (this is the one that disgusts me the most). This hasn’t worked. They share deep and bitter resentments about who I am, just like I did with my mother. It was only at the end that I realized I loved her no matter what she had done to me and I wanted to freely give of that love to make her passing easier.

 

But while doing all these acceptable things, my wild spirit has been breaking out where the fabric had worn thin, like a flowered print on a rust coloured dress from long ago. Keeping my baby, fighting against my abusers, imaginings of a different life that I didn’t have the guts to do for myself. But then there was lesbianism and that one truly put me on the graveled road of contempt; my lost school friends don’t know what to make of it, but it was there at the beginning. When I was 14. I always wanted to be with a girl.

 

I have only a brief time left, even if granted the usual span. If I stay, it will kill me to the core. I will be found slumped against the washing machine one day and that will symbolize my life – the one that didn’t get away, despite all her protestations.

 

I must risk being alone. It will do me no good to go sailing into another’s arms just to stop the loneliness. I have to have my own agency. If I want to hammer a nail that isn’t a brass one into my kitchen wall and possibly breaking the plaster doing so, then I will fucking do it. I will not have to ask, time and again, get angry, simmer down again and make up, then perhaps 4 years after I have bought a storage solution for the problem, throw it across the deck in anger (and get blamed for my ‘outrageous’ anger). It is not outrageous. It is not uncalled for. It has been there since the first night. The night I saw what she was capable of, in her own chaotic nest, which she had spent half the night cleaning for my arrival. I said silently,that I would not live with this woman. But I didn’t honour my whisperings; I liked the intimacy, the skin on skin, the ‘I love you’ and I stayed and I stayed. And stayed. And stayed.

 

I could stay longer. It would be so easy. Too easy. I have somewhere to live. The bills paid. I do not have to labour outside the house. Old age can be a nasty place without companionship. In poverty.

 

BUT there is something I have to discover about myself. I cannot do that while still fulfilling the role for which all women are prepared; carer, cleaner, cook, caresser. I must break out of those roles and push, push against the tide that locks me in to that addictive place.

It’s been a while crocodile!

Image

I was searching for a crocodile to match the title, when I found this horrific scene.  Too horrible to see, let alone imagine the pain and fear the little elephant was feeling.  And strangely, this image, is the perfect one for explaining what has kept me away from writing.  I am not a writer without a life.  I have another life which informs my writing and often takes me away from it.  In some ways it surprises me even now, just how much passion I have for animal activism.  I feel it in my bones, but it is not new.  I felt it when I was little, too young to have a say, but I knew that I loved furry animals and knew that they felt pain, like me.  I spend a lot of time and energy writing letters against animal cruelty in countries all over the world.  For this is not something that happens ‘over there’.  It happens in everyone’s backyard (metaphorically).  The factory farming that is the result of greed and profit in our capitalist system has resulted in shocking abuse of the animals that we teach our children to love – and then hide what really happens to them from the farm to the plate.  Humans are basically selfish and care not about other species;  indeed one could say that humans are the most selfish and destructive species on the planet.  As a group, we are responsible for mass extinction, climate change, exploitation and abuse of other species.  We exploit Nature and we do not Nurture the earth which is the essence of all that we are.  What stupidity is that?

I am old now,  on Monday I will be 58 and last night I dreamt of a busload of old women – beautiful women with long white hair and wrinkled faces, smiling and calling out to me.  I knew that I was one of them, not on the bus just yet, but soon.  And it is not something I am fearful of.  It is something that I am coming to.  In time.  In hope.

I cannot save the world in the amount of time I have left on this beautiful planet.  I am feeling a call to go home.  Home to my house in the mountains, on the edge of a rainforest.  There I will write, and care for native animals and curl up by the fire with my dog.  I am lucky.  I have everything I will ever need.  I have much respect for the indigenous peoples of this planet;  those who live with respect for nature.

As humans, we have given our power to corporations, who have no soul, who will exploit us until we are begging them for a little water.  I want to shout to the world – DO SOMETHING!  Stand up for an environmental issue – there are many ways, however small.  Stop using single use plastic (and save sea creatures), stop eating meat (it is cruel and takes enormous amounts of resources to produce), recycle everything (and enjoy it), grow your herbs and veggies, put a water bath out for the birds, buy local.  There is enormous energy and passion and joy in human beings, just as there is great capacity for evil.

There is a story about a man (or woman) who was seen throwing washed-up starfish into the sea.  A person nearby asked, “Why are you doing this?  It will make no difference, there are millions of starfish here”.  The man replies, holding a starfish in his hand, “It has made a difference to this starfish”.

In essence then, everything we do that is positive and joyous and compassionate makes a difference – in the energy that is put out there.  All acts of compassion are meaningful and make a difference.

Oh, for a simple life!

ImageI

simpler life is something I have long aspired to. The addition of the ‘r’ on “simple” implies contrast and comparison.  So, simpler than what? A simpler life to one person might be giving up an addiction, spending more time with their child, getting to bed before midnight.   Life is complex in the 21st century.  We have knowledge with which our ancestors were not burdened.  We see ourselves as individuals.  We constantly reflect on how we’re going, how we compare with other individuals, other nations. The planet seems to be in chaos.  Anxiety is as familiar as breathing.  It is the soundscore of the peak hour traffic, the urgency we feel as soon as  we wake.  Will we be good enough, smart enough, on top of our game today? Sure, life could be simpler if only we could let go. I’ve tried to make my life simpler; given up paid work to concentrate on my writing, eating simple, unprocessed plant foods, walking my dog instead of a mad dash to the gym and doing yoga on my own veranda. After many disasters at trying to grow vegetables, I’ve accepted that perhaps a lemon tree and some indigenous plants that attract bees might be simpler.  And it is.  But I haven’t gone the whole way.  Not yet.  

Without the ‘r’, life might just be simple, without adornment, without frou-frou.  I’m reminded of the Runes stone Perth which says “if need be let go of everything, no exceptions, no exclusions.” It connotes singularity, minimalist effort and uncluttered time and space.  It sings a single note and feels at peace with the world.  No need for struggle.  Let go of expectations and effort.  I’m attracted to simple more and more.  Simpler still has space for complications (my old boss rings and asks me to do another contract when my manuscript is only half done, my partner gets a job far away, I run out of savings).  Simple doesn’t allow for complications because complications are of the mind, not the heart. It may require running away to the hills, but it also may not.  It may require a change.  In me.  Right now, in this moment, being mindful only of what I am doing.  Mindfulness. The Beatles song, “Let It Be” plays in my head.

 

 

Trapped

I am lost in the forest. There is no way out.  Everything conspires to trip me up.  I have not written for two months now.  I am angry and frustrated.  My partner has no job.  We fight about the rats that are living beneath the chipboard kitchen cupboards, hoarding macadamia nuts.  They live well all year round, running along fences in broad daylight.  The holes in the floor have been exposed and sheets of tin nailed over them.  I have spent two days painting 1/2 the walls green like the forest. There seems no way out.  I am addicted to realestate.com, dreaming of other places to live, places where I can find my socks without screaming.  Last week I met with my editor (she’s not really mine, but I paid her money, so I will call her that).  I don’t think she likes my style.  Told me to read other YA novels that are “gritty”.  I did this and was disappointed.  They seem so cliched.  Does she think I want to write like them?  I don’t.  I want to write beautiful lyrical stories that are sometimes tender, often brutal, with sharp edges that draw blood.  I know I have a lot to learn.  I’m not conceited.  I do not know it all.  Is this the point where most writers give up?  Too many other things shooting down the stillness at the centre of writing which I cannot find in this chaos.  I know I must leave the house, but I’m fearful.  It’s cold outside and there are wild beasts who are stalking me.  I want a warm fireside on a mountain to work on making this manuscript a published novel.  Some things will have to be left behind.  Some things, but not the 2inch MS I have in my bag.  Image

Powerful Owls

Unknown-1

At dusk I saw a pair of these beauties, one perched on the school fence, one on the wire above it.  Sitting, watching, powerful, present. I didn’t leave, but stopped and stared them back. A million rats in this town and only two owls.  That night as I slept, I heard them hoot.  Such joy in the city.

Dreams

Image

The days are cooler now, perhaps nearing flawlessness. The air is a chilly greeting when I wake, melting to a warm hug by midday.  Some days I take my dog out before the traffic becomes a car park in our street.  I hate the motorists watching me. They’re bored I know and I’m just there, coming out the white gate of No 31, wrestling with the white dog on the end of a lead.  They’re observing me, and not without judgment. I tell myself I don’t care if they do or they don’t.  It’s my own fault for putting up political slogans on my front fence anyhow.  I don’t do this every morning though.  If I’m lucky enough to be swimming in dreams, then I take it for the gift it is.

This morning I dreamt I was scrambling up white walls, trying to fit my fat (my dream reflects real time, as I have not always been fat) torso through a too small orifice. Two polar bears were trying to attack me.  I realized that I couldn’t hope to win against such predators and so tried a different tack – I hugged the bear and she hugged me back.  When I woke, I took the dream as a message and googled polar bears in dreams.  Quite rare apparently, followed by some poppycock about remaining ‘observant and flexible’.  What does that mean?  I’m just glad it didn’t eat me!

There are some story seeds in my head swirling in a grey updraft right now.  They are insistent on being heard and I’m listening to their din, reassuring them that I will have time for them soon.  After I clean the house, Karcher the tiles, feed the chooks and have a meltdown over living with rats, dogs and untidy partners. One seed has been in hibernation since I was 15 when I ran away from home.

It was quite shocking (and even embarrassing) at the time, both for me, and my parents, but now as a writer, I’m glad I was impetuous, lacked insight and was beguiled and betrayed by my 16 year old boyfriend. I know how it feels and my 15-year-old protagonist may be smarter than I was.  At least after she gains insight.  This can happen in a matter of chapters (after she confronts enumerable obstacles that I put in place for her (never be too kind to your protagonist – rule #232).  She will not have to endure the light years it took me to gain that same insight!