Sunday, December 28, 2014

take a load for free

I’m a bit past letters to Santa, and it’s not like anybody really asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, at least not in the way that would imply I might actually get it.

But now, pressure off, reindeers long since disappeared over the horizon, I feel I can honestly tell you. What I really, desperately want, and have wanted for the best part of the year, is not to be given anything. It is to have something, lots of things, taken away. I think my ideal Christmas would not have involved receiving of any kind, just lots of people coming to my house and taking stuff. For nothing. No eBay or Gumtree transactions involved, no money changing hands. Just for Christ’s sake come and take this shit I don’t want or need. It is ballast. The dinner sets that have never, in their entire existence, known the sensation of food. The clothes I haven’t worn since the 90s. The stupid, dusty, unopened, unappreciated books (there are beautiful books that are worth their weight in gold, and then there are pointless bricks of paper that many trees died needlessly for). Take them. I beg of you.

In my wildest dreams I imagine a gigantic skip bin placed in my driveway, where I can throw all the ephemera that haunts me and taunts me and weighs me down. I might even open the windows in the lounge room, the ones with no flyscreens, and fling worthless objects in the direction of the skip bin in hopes they will reach their intended destination. Scratched, chipped plates might even shatter in a highly dramatic fashion on the footpath.

I don’t feel sad about any of this, in fact I’m having a hard time summoning any sentimental feelings at all. I just feel a bit angry, if anything, that my belongings have become such a counterweight to true happiness. That I allowed myself to accumulate so much shit. That I fell into the trap of wanting a bigger house, thinking that would buy me more space, more light, more room to breathe, when in fact all I did was fill it with stuff that slowly but surely robbed me of all those things.

I’ve been fighting the urge all year to just up stumps and go somewhere else. Take the husband, of course, the kids, the dog, one car, a few bags. But no baggage. No mortgage. No endless pursuit of something that’s just not there. But I dare not breathe a word of it. It’s such a big picture that it might just swallow me whole. What I can do is make a plan, smash some plates, offload some ballast. And hire a skip bin.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The circle game

And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down.
We're captive on the carousel of time.
We can't return, we can only look behind from where we came
And go round and round and round in the circle game.

- Joni Mitchell, The Circle Game

Today was my very last playgroup, after roughly eight years and three daughters. I can barely begin to put into words how that makes me feel sad, and a bit scared, and maybe a tiny bit triumphant.

I tried really hard not to think about all those things while I sang Dandelion and blew into her hair - "they pick me up in their dimpled hands, and blow my hair away" - and galloped around holding her hand singing My Donkey Has A Bridle - "if ever I should lose him, it wouldn't be for long" - because I could so easily have cried at the thought of doing all these things - things I have done with three beautiful little girls - for the last time.

So instead I tried to think about the cycles, the seasons, the circular nature of life and the fact that time waits for no man, woman or child. Summer becomes Autumn becomes Winter becomes Spring and while we are there to celebrate each of those moments in time, it makes no sense to cling to them. Life goes on.

So I held my baby's hand, and held myself together, for one last time: "The sun says I glow, the stream says I flow, the breeze says I blow, the wind says I BLOW, the seed says I grow. And we say "I know".