reminder to self: what it’s like to be stuck in a low

It’s like this. I have a stone in my shoe. I know its there. It hurts. I know it will need to come out sometime, but not just yet. I can’t stop now in the rain, in the middle of a great sea of people pushing me along, hurrying me. I can’t sit here and remove my shoe, and maybe my stocking too, and be all exposed. No way. I need to find the right space, to be safe.

There is a stone in my shoe. Sometimes I forget that it’s there and I don’t remember why, but I am looking for a safe place, a chair, or a step even, out of the rain, out of this crowd of people pushing at me where did they all come from? Noise is coming out of their mouths, but it does not make sense.

There is a stone in my shoe. I think I have been here before, but the people around me are obscuring my view and they make so much noise, I can’t hear my own thoughts. Am I walking in circles?

My foot hurts. I want to sit down and rest, but I can’t find the right place. I am so tired. I want to tell someone but everyone is pushing me on and on and I don’t know why.

My foot hurts. Is there a stone in my shoe?

things that are sustaining me right now while my Granny is fading and my secondment is is not as fun as i expected

subtitle: reminder to self to keep doing these things 🙂

yoga – Melissa West’s current series is on working with the inner critic

actively engaging with nonviolent communication, reading, doing exercises, writing in my nonviolent communication blog and just feeling my feelings as they occur

allowing myself to really enjoy and appreciate my relationships with my partner and children and to express that to others even when it feels awkward

being creative when and as I feel like it, enjoying having a number of crochet and sewing things on the go and attending to each whenever I feel like it

getting outside for a stroll around the block, or moving my craft stuff into the sunshine and working there

keeping things in order at work with weekly and daily to do lists and if stuff does not get done bumping it to tomorrow and going home on time and not thinking about it even if everyone else works a bit over

feeding the chooks and spending a little time with them

life moving on

My old Granny is fading. She has been in and out of hospital for the past few months with a number of infections, including one in her chest that seems intractable. At one point it seemed she was actively dying, but it does look like we will have her for a little longer, that she can go home again at least for a bit, and enjoy all the attention she is getting from her children, grandkids and great grandkids. (And she is enjoying it too 🙂 )

Gran has started to reminisce. We all love listening to her old stories, but it is a bittersweet thing for her, to remember and to be the only one left. She has outlived all her friends from the old days, her parents, all her siblings, all those connections to Ukraine, to her childhood, her teens, her young adulthood, all gone.

Personally, I am also feeling some emotional impact, apart from the grief about Gran. That is, I keep getting washed over with nostalgia. I look at my young adult daughters and I wonder where my babies, my little ones went. Where is the girl who wrote in grade one I will be a carpenter and build my mum a house and we will all live in it and we will love each other? Where is the four year old who confidently pronounced that we could fix the shower leak with zelly zorclan (Selly’s all seal)? Where did my little miss who perched on the loo with her nose buried in her skirt disappear?

When I was a girl in primary school one of my teachers said to me you won’t believe this but your life will go by in a flash. Make the most of it! He was right. I didn’t believe him and also, here I am, 46 years and two days old, marvelling at it all. How wonderful it has been, how glorious, how hard too, and how blessed I am 🙂

what i get up to when i’m not on facebook

I totally quit my facebook habit in December, and in February reopened it but only check in about once a month. Yes, its inconvenient and I am missing my friend John’s wildlife photos and at least one invitation to something fun, but my everyday life has become so much better… In the morning, I chat to my kids (if they are up), I walk to the train a couple of times a week, and I feel so great not being so exposed to all the sadnessed and badnesses of the world. I get up in the morning happy.

I am also well on the way to fulfilling my dream of sewing my own wardrobe with sustainable/ethically produced fabrics (I only exploit myself and my sister who ‘leant’ me her machine – thanks Cat 🙂 )

Here is my latest dress (and my first selfie). The dresses I will continue with, but maybe not the selfies – I think I sprained a finger… 🙂

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Anticipation – going roller skating tonight

It’s a week night but I am going out after dark! To the skate rink for adults-only skating – Woot!

In a minute I will pop on a pair of stripy socks, grab my skates and dash out the door. At the rink, I will see my friend Emily who encouraged me to give roller derby a try a few years ago. That was fun (and totally worth the final exit price of one busted-but-mostly-recovered-knee). But tonight Emily and I will skate round and practice our backwards crossovers out of the view of the teenaged hockey boys and fall on our bums for sure and have a good laugh. Then we will get up and do it again 🙂

Ah – I can’t wait!

I love Dr Melissa West, yoga teacher

Melissa West is a yoga teacher. I have never met her, but she has hundreds of beautiful yoga videos available on youtube. For free. Her yoga is for real people with real bodies so people like me with a blown knee can do it. And people like me who aren’t skinny all over and smooth bodied and smooth faced can do it too. And if you are a person like me and you do Melissa’s yoga, you will soon know again that your lumps and bumps and squishynesses are perfect and beautiful and as deserving of a nice swimsuit as anyone else’s.

But really Melissa’s yoga is about real life too. Yoga for courage to apply for the job and attend the job interview. Or to ask for help, to acknowledge a mistake. Yoga for grieving – to say goodbye, to feel it, really feel it, and let it be for a bit, or even let it go. Yoga for going inwards and remaining strong when the world shouts that you are too old, too wrinkly, too fat, and not enough of this and this and that. And yoga for having a go, trying your hardest and collapsing in a heap, a giggling heap, laughing your head off as you realise that some big drama in your life is not such a big bloody deal after all. That was my favourite yoga moment.

Or maybe my favourite yoga moment was when I did a twist and grasped my wonky knee and encouraged by Melissa’s philosophy was gentle with it and placed it just so and felt a real rush of love and admiration for my bony old knee and all we have been through together and gave it a little pat – there there old girl. That was nice too.

But maybe the best bit is that it is those moments that keep me coming back – not weight loss, age reversal or the general yogarobics crap. Just me, loving me and loving the body I’m in.

Thank you Melissa West ❤

I love my job

Things are hotting up at work. Semester starts in two weeks and new students are visiting every day to check us out, to collect their writing guides, id cards, to get directions to all over the place (because librarians know everything), to get advice and referrals, or just for a chat with someone friendly.

I love it. I am being paid to be a ‘know-all.’ I am being paid to chat. I am also being paid to teach people who want to know about what I want to teach them, and hang around to say thank you that has made a difference after the lesson.

Sometimes I do wonder whether the risk to take a redundancy from my safe, financially well-rewarded previous position (and my very own door with my name written on it) and start again, at the bottom, in a new field was worth it. Was it worth two years of struggling on low/casual/part-time wages and a two hour and a half commute (each way) for the first 10 months?

Pinch me – it was! 🙂

Queensland election fun

This Saturday I took my almost-90 year old Granny to vote at the state elections. Gran votes for the Liberal Party (the right), which is what any sensible Ukrainian refugee from ‘communisms’ does. I vote for the Greens, which is what any sensible person who wants a healthful planet does. We argue about it a bit, but in the end I am really proud of her for caring enough to vote, and she will forgive me my transgressions because she loves me.

After taking Gran to vote and voting myself, I handed out how-to-vote cards at the local polling booths for the first time. I had a blast. I was the only Green at the gate with three Libs and two Labour supporters. Did we argue and insult one another? No, we did not, we mainly chatted and joked together. When the big party members pushed in and gave their cards out first, I slipped mine on top – hahaha! We included the voters in our banter, I hope they shared our sense of fun. There was a hail storm in the afternoon. We all helped each other move our gear into a sheltered position, and one of the Libs gave me her phone so I could call my partner and ask him to put my car in the shed 🙂

At the end of the day we helped each other pack up our signs and said see you at the Federals (like it is a sporting event or something!)

It’s rare that I would say I’m proud to be Australian, but I certainly am now. How fabulous it is to be able to participate in government with a sense of peace and fun! How fabulous to share a day in the company of people who are passionate about Inala (my electorate), and about the country and the people. And how interesting is the prospect of a hung Parliament – wouldn’t it be marvelous if the parties could get together and work it out like their supporters can… bloody marvelous!

Experiencing the full self expression of others

Central station, waiting for the train home. A young man, a total stranger is looking at me intently, like he has something to say. He takes a gulp of air. Fuck yeah I just voted! Ha! you know what I wrote on the ticket? Fuck you Campbell Newman you fuckin arsehole get fucked! And I numbered every square and put LNP L-A-S-T last! He takes another breath and smiles wide, completely lit up. A brief concern flicks over his face. Oh, you don’t like Newman, do you? ‘Hell no,’ I say. His smile returns, he nods. Yeah fuck, I love voting. I told them LNP pricks they were supporting a bunch of areseholes too! ‘The guys handing out the how-to-vote-cards?’ Yeah – arseholes, I told them! Hey – you know you could go and vote right now – you don’t need to wait till Sat’day!

And now we are both laughing. The middle-aged-librarian-lady and the young-worker-bloke. My train comes. I look at him.

Nah, I’m goin’ to Ipswich.

Thinking about this now, I just feel so proud and excited. Go Ipswich! Go young people! You give me hope and inspiration, you really do 🙂

Full self expression – be careful what you ask for

Last week I was all love and unicorns about setting intentions and how they can unexpectedly manifest themselves. Yesterday, I had that experience when I was looking at potential homes with my partner and full self expression arrived unannounced.

During the week, Dave had painstakingly made a detailed list of ten houses that appeared to fit our exacting criteria, including one that was open on Saturday. So on Saturday morning we ventured out together to do some sticky beaking. The first few houses that we drove past looked pretty good, were located in pleasant streets, and close to transport. We then went to the open house. This house was quite a drive away. I became concerned about the distance from public transport. When we arrived, the house appeared tidy but not particularly inviting. It was placed at the bottom of a valley and surrounded by other homes that looked directly down onto it. The inside was tidy but not at all nice – the carpets did not match, and the bathroom was old and daggy. I did not like that the back deck had not been certified by Council. However, I could see that Dave was becoming very enthusiastic about this beautiful deck and about the awesome solar set up.

As we left I was preparing a ‘diplomatic’ speech in my mind. It went something like, “Oh well, that place was nice, the deck was good and solar is what we need, we will keep it on the list.” But something very different came out of my mouth in a most emphatic tone…

Well, that’s a ‘no!’

For a moment I felt I had been invaded by an alien. And I experienced some confusion. And then Dave and I had a little squabble. And then I offered him genuine appreciation for all his work on making the list. And he graciously accepted. And then we were able to move closer to a shared understanding of what we want in our new home. So it ended very nicely, and he is right now sitting beside me, engrossed in making a new list of houses to look at in a week or two.

And I am now wondering just what life would be like if I said what was on my mind directly instead of beating around the bush, dissembling, distracting and outright lying… Can I be that brave? Can I trust myself to be able to create something new and beautiful in the chaos and discomfort that can arise in the wake of honesty?

I think I might.

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