is a joy indeed. Thank you for finding my blog and liking the posts… I even got a wee trophy for having 20 likes. Am feeling silly happy now. Need for fun and sharing – met. 🙂
A photographer once said to me For godssake don’t smile your eyes disappear. He meant well. I guess professional photographers mostly work for people anxious to look a certain way – with big doe eyes, or something.
But though his words were true (and have become more true over time) I didn’t care then and I don’t care now because when I look at my eyes I see something special and amazing, I see a beautiful story that started back and back past my mum past my old granny Vik and through her mum, Anna and then back and back through all the grannys who I never ever met, back to a particular one who was born to a peasant girl in Central Europe somewhere. To the one who gave me my particular eyes.
My story goes that this baby girl (I like to think of the baby as a girl) was fathered by some Mongolian hoardsman who may have ridden through with his mates and destroyed the village and murdered those who didn’t get out of the way and left the rest hungry and hurting and scared.
And so maybe my so-many-greats-ago-granny was going to be abandoned or killed at birth, but instead when she opened her eyes her mother looked into them and despite everything, there was that moment.
Mine is a story of women and girls. Of women of the earth and potatoes and of goose girls and girls who spent their summer days gathering good grass to keep the cow fat and happy through the winter. Of women who grew and soaked and beat the flax to make linen. Of women and little girls who whitewashed their cottage with lime to keep it in good condition year after year over generations. Of women who endured cold and hunger and cruelty, who bore many more children than would survive and who loved them anyway. Their stories aren’t written down with pen and ink, though I know some of them through my old granny Vik who still tells them today. However, they are written in my body, inscribed in my eyes.
It is that these stories I see when I look into my eyes. All those grannys. Some of them are stern and serious. But most of them smile and nod back at me, their eyes disappearing as they do so.
The ground I dig is far away from theirs, but I love it like they did. I love my chooks and the neighbour’s goat too. I like trees and birds and being outside in the fresh air and sunshine and starshine. I love my family, the ones living now and the ones long gone. And I will keep passing our precious smile around for as long as I am able.
Grateful today for all the writing that didn’t make it. Recycled notepads full of scribblings, lists of ideas, of thoughts, of fancies, paper scrunched up and hurled into a dark corner (to become a home for mice – but that’s another story), the half-novel on the lost usb that may be … somewhere?
For me, writing is fishing: a sentence burley cast into an unfathomable murky ocean – every piece that makes it to ‘publish’ preceded by and followed by a dozen or more that sink… then lie as some sort of sediment in the bottom of my mind. Mmmm and hopefully even this is a rich mud that will nurture future seeds…
Loving the messes today.
A little time ago I quit a degree. Not because I don’t value university education – I already have two degrees in education – it’s just that I realised that I want a different kind of education now, and that this kind of education is all around me, not just in the university.
I want to become accomplished at nonviolent communication and I am getting a powerful education in this via an informal online course and weekly calls to my lovely empathy buddy, and by practicing nvc whenever I remember to… I aspire to become self-sufficient in vegetables and am learning why my zucchini flowers fall off and how to grow bigger beetroot and yummier pumpkins from an online guru and through a gardening group.
I learn about growing native trees and bush regeneration by doing it with my bushcare group. I learn about caring for chooks by hopping over the fence and asking my dear neighbour, what’s up with this old girl then? I am becoming a master crocheter by chatting to little old ladies on the train and youtube and Ravelry. And I get awesome professional development from my many generous colleagues at work.
Even better, I learn all sorts of wonderful things about people and humanity and the thousands of meanings of life by just chatting to people who come to the library helpdesk with all their questions, their comments and their stuff.
I am a lifelong learner. Anyone who is curious, a bit of a dreamer and willing to ask questions can join me.
Yeah you hear it all the time – don’t feed the wildlife blah blah blah
well we didn’t listen
and Lizzie – that little water dragon that lives up the block and loves sausages…
she’s a big girl now
she’s bored of sausages
bacon doesn’t tempt her anymore
she likes the look of toes
and she knows where we keep them
we wear our gumboots on the verandah now
seriously, we have to.
Yesterday, I picked up an old notebook to start a post for this blog on the morning train. Sitting on the train, I flipped through the notebook to find some clear space and came across an old ‘to do’ list.
*Sunday – PEM
*Monday – walk
*Tuesday – sprint
*Wednesday – pilates
*Thursday – X
*Friday – skate
*Saturday – walk
I cannot remember what PEM is and I have never attended a Pilates class in my life. But I know that all of my old notebooks will be chockers with these exercise lists – most of which were probably forgotten before I put the pen down… and now I wonder – just what was the purpose of these lists – and what was I communicating to myself?
I suspect something like…
*Sunday – hey you great sloth get up and do some fantastic P-E-M!
*Monday – hello fatso – get moving
*Tuesday – do this and you won’t get oooooold and ugly
*Wednesday – OOoooOOoh…tuckshop arms are on their way
*Thursday – ok, full time work, study, and sole parenting is a bit tiring – rest
*Friday – get out on the rink and burn off some fat – and NO snack bar
*Saturday – get up lazy bones – no work today – no excuses
Sound familiar? Kinda like an episode of Biggest Loser? Today I doubt anyone could get healthy with that crap running around inside.
I also notice that my lists are all pretty old… This is not something I feel the urge to do any more. I think maybe it’s an impact of nonviolent communication – years of practising getting to the heart of feelings and needs rather than being preoccupied with what people might think, with what people might say – getting more and more gentle… some days I can still be a bit rough on myself, but my week is much more likely to sound like this…
*Sunday – Oh! gorgeous morning – how about a cuppa outside in the birdsong?
*Monday – what can I pack for lunch – something yummy and filling…
*Tuesday – oh dear – feeling shitty? Wanna try some gentle yoga?
*Wednesday – to the garden with the birds and the bees!
*Thursday – a walk across the river today…
*Friday – mmm – how about I get off the train a stop early and explore a bit?
*Saturday – hey lovely – do you want to sleep in or get up and wander round the neighbourhood for a bit …
It isn’t perfect, but my head is a much nicer place to be now C:
When my partner and I got back together after years happily apart most of my family had the shits and one of my sisters just dumped me. I kidded myself for a bit that she would get over it and then got mad and sad when she didn’t. And mad at myself for caring about it anyway. And sad with my family because they wanted us to get over it but I didn’t know how. And sometimes scared because I was going to see her at some family thing and when I did see her I always felt like I was going to be sick. This went on for years, about five years actually. And one day after practicing nonviolent communication for quite a while I actually thought to use it and I asked myself – what is it that I want from her anyway? And the answer was so clear and beautiful – love and acceptance and a little fun. And in that very same moment I knew I had all these things already – with my partner and my daughters, with my workmates and with my friends and I just felt all warm and loved up just walking to work in the morning sunshine on a daggy concrete path, with a straggly jasmine vine climbing over a crumbly wall alongside
there is so much that you have missed
each morning the sun still rises to touch the clouds with gold
that place that sells the good kebabs is making real lemonade again
and Sara’s baby girl giggles in her sleep
they say she couldn’t see that anymore she lived in a world with no colour
but last night, in a world bleached by fog I saw
two white foxes in the headlights
how I miss you
one day I accidentally looked at myself in the mirror, naked.
I thought, what would I call myself if there was no such thing as ugly?
— you are fat and old
OK, no fat and no old. Ha ha!
— gross. Your breasts sag so does your tummy and your chin is hairy
well that may be but there is no gross, no hideous, no misshapen and
no unattractive either.
a searching, groping, a casting about
a small space forms, a gap into which other words now tumble…
— strong, resilient, enduring
And a feeling too:
the light is soft, the sky ablaze in the east, sun rising over my sister’s empty house
the neighbour’s roosters are crowing, highway a-humming, small birds whistle
tweet a-twitter peep-peep pittering
a chirup a chirup a chirup
the hens squabble up the hill over breakfast
except for chee chee who grizzles at my feet about the too-cold water
in little groups the rest come join her – ranga2, bonnet, julie2, lovely, dovely, bandit-the-pizzle, and ember
now crowd at my feet whinging for scraps
My feet are damp from the dew and coolish
hands are warm from the coffee cup perched on the table in front of the laptop
The early crows get up and call the rest to murder
the last of the chooks’ breakfast
Soon my sister will be home from night shift. I will get up and make her a cuppa if she drops in
and be careful where I tread.