Thursday, November 24, 2016

writing myself out of this mess

I'm not much of a people person, I suppose most people who know me would say. It isn't that I don't enjoy company, even crave it sometimes, it's just that good company seems to be getting harder to find. Everyone is so busy doing whatever it is that keeps them going. I am not burdened by busy-ness, as it happens, but I am doubly burdened by the guilt associated with that and some days I can't keep going no matter how hard I try.
I spend way too much time looking at my newsfeed and seeing a relentless churning mass of things that make me sad, interspersed with the occasional cat video or Dalai Lama quote that makes me smile. I know, and please don't interrupt me with advice because fuck knows that's the other thing my newsfeed is brimful of, that I should put my phone away and go outside. On most days I do. On most days I try to maintain some perspective. I try to focus on all the amazing good in my little part of the world. But some days that little part is bounded on four sides by a fence and surrounded by people who couldn't care less.
I have never felt more in need of a tribe, and never felt that tribe so far away. I know where they are and it is not here. If I go in search of them I will have to take everyone I love, but my greatest fear is that I will have to take myself too.
I was hoping a couple of weeks ago to see Mother Moon and get some answers from her. Turns out she's not a superwoman either, and the clouds were more than a match for her that day. I thought how good it would be, given the election of a moron and the passing of a genius, to have a gathering of people singing, playing music, embracing nature and each other's company and the immense power of the moon. She's seen this shit a million times and she's all over it.
All I really feel capable of doing at the moment is writing. If I could write myself and everyone else a new world that's totally what I would do. It turns out I can't. I just write little bits and pieces of happiness here and there and maybe one day I will have a nice word quilt to throw over our shoulders to keep us warm.
I wrote this today. I really hope you like it.

AT the age of five years, Esmeralda began to collect things. Having no grasp of time’s relentless nature or the span of decades that awaited her, she started keeping little traces of her life in a lidded porcelain box her grandmother had given her. The ballerina painted on the lid was on her tiptoes, arms outstretched in front of her as though to carry all the treasures Esmeralda bestowed into the little box. Soon the treasures – a broken but still spectacular hair clip, two miraculous four-leafed clovers her sister had found, a piece of broken pottery with a blue flower in one corner, several glass beads saved from a broken necklace and a magnificently whole macadamia nut – began to outgrow the ballerina’s box. Despite having just celebrated her sixth birthday, Esmeralda needed a new vessel for her life’s most important articles. Having explored the overflowing plasticware drawer in the kitchen – plenty of boxes but no lids – and searched her sister’s bedroom and her own, Esmeralda could find no vessel as pretty as the ballerina’s box. She resolved to store future treasures in a properly unassuming shoebox, so as to render snooping sisters unaware of the bounty inside. An added bonus was that the ballerina’s box fitted inside the shoebox too, as Esmeralda would have hated to part her treasures from their steadfast, pointy-toed guardian.

In keeping with the nature of things, this first shoebox spawned a multitude. Soon a whole shelf of Esmeralda’s wardrobe had to be cleared to contain all the shoeboxes and all the treasure. Her mother’s protests to dispose of some of this priceless collection were greeted with momentary disbelief followed by outright indignation. Still, as Esmeralda passed her seventh, eighth and ninth birthdays, her collecting of treasures began to slow down. When she reached the milestone of one decade on earth, there were fewer and fewer things to treasure – at least things that could fit inside a shoebox. If she counted her cat Zydeco, her threadbare teddy, her Mum and Dad, her rainbow high-tops, raspberry ice blocks and the jacaranda tree in her backyard, there was more treasure than could ever be contained in a vessel smaller than Esmeralda’s enormous heart. She did not stop treasuring the little things, she only stopped trying to make them her own.