Archive for the ‘Thinkings’ Category

When things were blue

Way back when I was in Barcelona in April last year I suffered from a serious bout of home sickness and loneliness. My tour had ended four days earlier, I had spent the previous three wandering to places I had visited with the tour and wanted a better look at. That morning though I woke up and suddenly really didn’t want to struggle though that day.

I really struggled with not being able to communicate with others properly. To understand and be understood. I had just past 2 weeks of misunderstandings and apologetic smiles, I’d had enough. I guilted myself out of bed (you’re in Barcelona! get your ass out of bed), narrowly got in for last servings of breaky at the hotel. Moped along the Moll d’Espanya and around Bari Gothic feeling entirely miserable. Miserable that I couldn’t speak, miserable that I was alone, miserable that I was miserable, ad infiatum…

My last few days there were a compete sook fest. Here’s a photo of me at a cafe in Port Vell looking like a prize emo.

Self portrait at Starbucks, Port Vell

I wandered around that beautiful city in a complete daze.

And at the airport, I was relieved. I was going home. This horrible feeling in my head would have no reason to be there and I could go back to normal.

29 hours of transit later and I feel worse. Much worse. And everything hung on me, everything made me feel worse. The customs men told me off for the undeclared half of a mars bar in my carry on (the other half was eaten in Singapore). My parents mucked up the time my plane landed so there was no one to pick me up. My room had been packed up and prettified for the impending house sale. Phil was away in South America and I felt like I had no home any more.

So, I spent  a good 2 days in bed. Even if I wanted to be awake I couldn’t be. Turns out I get terrible jetlag.

I think the biggest thing about this very short phase was how much I didn’t want anyone to know about it. Even afterwards, I was complely convinced of two things; that talking about it would make it ‘real’ and a problem, and that people would look down on me for being depressed. I mean really, what did I have to be sad about – I was on holiday, in Barcelona and I’d just bought 3 pairs of awesome shoes.

It was embarrassing.
I mean, there are folks out there who don’t  even know how to spell Barcelona.

I didn’t talk to anyone about it, just slept, ate and floated around my house. Went to work and floated around there too.

Then one morning I went for a run.

The sun wasn’t up yet, the sky was clear – I could see the stars. I ran along the beach and the bay was glassy, there was no wind, no chill in the air. It was my first run since coming back.

I absolutely glided along the pavement, I may as well have had wings. And when I got back home, I was sweaty and tired but my funk had gone.

Just like that.

• • •

This post was originally inspired by the Plinky Prompt “If you could get any tattoo for just a week, what would it be?”. At around this time I was reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. The story has a small tangent about a Jewish folk tale . The crux of which is the the question “What object can make a joyous man miserable, but a miserable man joyous…” and the answer “A ring with the engraving ‘gam zeh yaavor 'This too shall pass'‘ (This too shall pass)”. The phrase became a bit of a mantra for me at this time. The tattoo would be the previously mentioned Hebrew phrase around the base of my right hand index finger.

I once had to eat 7/11 sandwiches for a week because I spent too much money on pens.

I’ve met a few with this affliction. Those who step into office supply shops and suddenly flush with an excitement most reserve for the bedroom. Those who actually care very very much about which pen the write with, those who can debate lined over grid paper. Those who can quite happily drop $20 on a pack of pens from Japan because no one can quite make the ink flow smoothly like the Japanese.

I’ve shared these urges with the general public and am usually faced with a mix of disbelief and suggestions I see someone. But we all have our things that others find odd, like stamp collecting or being a Skunk enthusiast.

What brought this on was a visit to a local art supply shop. I didn’t need anything in particular but I went in anyway.

I caught myself with my hand on a Moleskine gridded reporters notebook. I didn’t actually need it, the first draft of this post is written in something almost exactly like it with three quarters of its pages free.

In this wide world there are many things that can corrupt the brain. There are people who snort stuff, drink stuff and take stuff. Then there are those who get their highs from new pens and paper.

Why do I have these raging notebook urges? What was wrong with my brain? Something that a few shared and the rest thought was insane.

I have always been this way. At age 4 mum only had to provide me with a packet of pencils and a new colouring book and I would sit there and fill the lot in. At 7 while my little brother got matchbox cars, I was quite happy with a set of unicorn shaped erasers. At 12 I made my own tiny envelopes and letter heads to send tiny letters to my tiny friends. And at 23 I’m reaching for a blank notebook I can barely afford and have no great need for.

I think I, and those like me see something that others see in things like children, race cars and Ikea. We have experienced it, the magic of a design so comfortable on the paper it was created on, it may as well have always been that way. Or a piece so perfectly written that even your messy handwriting can’t detract from it and may even enhance it’s charm.

Its about potential. All those empty sheets of paper, all those unused pens full of virginal ink, all that potential to create something great.

We’ve felt the joy of those materials, those humble little pens, help us create something we feel is great. And that is a great joy, one that urges us into art stores, lifts our hands and compels us to reach for things we don’t need and can barely afford but in which we see so much potential.

On Mommy Blogs

I have to say I am the least maternal person you may ever meet. Someone once handed me a child and I just held it there at arms length hanging from its armpits. It looked at me, and I at it and we mutually agreed that neither of us was enjoying ourselves. I think they’re unnecessarily loud and that they smell, I know that anything under 7 years old feels this way about me too. I have no problem with this.

The reasons I read most blogs are exceedingly simple; I am a web designer – I read web design blogs or I am a mac user – I read mac blogs. Im sure most folk function this way. However, a few months ago while trying to tame my RSS feeds I stumbled onto a surprising trend in my reading habits; I read a lot of blogs by women with children. Being the self confessed non maternal child hater I am, this intrigued me.

So I asked – “Self, whats going on?” and the brain committee huddled and came back with some possible answers;

  • Some suppressed urge in my subconscious to breed?
  • Embers of maternal instinct beginning to glow?
  • Recent alien abduction?

I pondered on this for a week or so then was confronted by a child in a store, a little girl. I think to most people she was cute, skipping up and down the aisles singing. Her fair hair was in pig tails and curled into little ringlets.

Actually in all honesty I had completely ignored her to better focus on which brand of moisturiser I was going to inflict on my face, until she face-planted right in front of me. I didn’t see the start of the fall but I saw the end, her tiny hand trying to keep her face from being smooshed by the carpet. I can still see it in slow motion. She had started crying before the rest of her had hit the ground.

And yes, I was shocked and concerned as I would be by any living thing in pain. But I just awkwardly stood there and stared at this poor kid, my mouth slightly agape with a really dopey look on my face, there was no urge what so ever to go hug, assist or even enquire.

Eventually mum was alerted to its offspring’s plight by the sobbing. And the noise was over soon after that. But before it was all over my brain had managed to cross reference this event with something it had been working on earlier. If I had a heads up display it would have appeared like this.

[Low to absent maternal instinct – CONFIRMED]

And then I was back on the question.

I looked to my RSS feeds and saw another trend; I read very few blogs written by my own demographic (female, unmarried, no children, 18 – 25). The ones I do read I find mildly unsatisfying compared with the ‘mommy blogs’.

Unsatisfying? They seem just a little bit vacuous, I didn’t care quite as much, “the characters weren’t resonating with me”.

Then, after reading Dooce’s post about being molested by television and being referred to as a “Mommy Blogger”. I was inspired. One line got me good;

“Because even though some people use that label to belittle the fact that there are women out there writing about their experiences as mothers…”

And she’s right, whoever came up with that label wasn’t talking nice. They were all “not real bloggers – mommy bloggers” then they slapped their high horse on the bum to gallop away into the sunset.

And I got it. The cowboy had it wrong, Mommy Blogs are up there with the best kind (the ad revenue alone proves that).

Having a child had richened their point of view making them much more interesting writers, it wasn’t just about them any more, or just about their children. I like the way the mothers openly and frankly share their troubles and issues and how even if you don’t have a kid there are basics there anyone can relate to. I like it that they admit that having children isn’t at all like pooping rainbows that society does tell lies for procreation. I like the networks they make to help each other. Their lives have so much more meaning than the 23 year old web designer that writes about having problems dressing herself in the morning (taking about self here). It’s just a better read.

I do have to say that the blogs I read don’t always exclusively talk about their children and I don’t personally consider them strictly ‘Mommy Blogs’, to me they’re just about lives. Lives sharing and reaching out.

Stop wasting your time here and go read some;

A little thing

It’s a beautiful Sunday in Melbourne, it’s cold and raining, my cat has placed herself squarely over one of our heater vent and much to everyone else’s dismay, Im still in my pajamas.

When asked why this was, I simply replied; “Its Sunday”.

Upon saying this a planet must of aligned somewhere in the universe because my brother turned to me and in a rare show of sibling support, agreed “She’s got a point.” My father however was not amused (did anyone see the Dr Who with Queen Victoria in it?)…

It’s taken me a while but I think I’ve arrived a a very special, very simple way of thinking; That something good doesn’t need a song and dance, doesn’t begin with someone releasing a hundred doves into the sky and doesn’t end with a crescendo. Good things are small little moments that are often passed by in the search for such fanfare.

Staying in my Pajamas till 5 o’clock in the afternoon (or evening) on a Sunday is one such thing. It’s not something that I do every Sunday, or even every second Sunday. But there are days like today where the whole world just wants you to stop and curl up in front of the teevee with your pajamas and doona.

There is a simple method for determining if in fact today is that day.

  1. Did your pet dog/cat/child completely melt your heart with its cuteness when you got out of bed?
    My charming cat this morning caught me coming back from the bathroom and decided she would spend the rest of the morning being cute beside me while I browsed the internetweb in bed.
  2. Did your mum/dad/flatmate/sweetheart make you your favorite thing for breakfast?
    Mine did. I didn’t even need to ask.
  3. Did your usually abrasive brother/sister/flatmate/cat become human long enough to allow you to spend an hour or so with your favorite computer game on their computer?
    Mine did. But I think he owed me.
  4. Did you realise you had recorded versions of a favorite teevee show waiting for you to snuggle up on the couch with a doona and watch?
    I sure did.

Yes, today has been a very special day in which all of the required factors were just right. The weird thing is that I think it came at the exact right moment, any sooner and I wouldn’t have appreciated it, any later and I may have exploded and painted some poor persons room with my guts.

I guess that that would be number five.

  1. Do you need it so bad you may pop?

I was going to make some sweeping generalised statement about the whole world being a better place if everyone smelled the daisies, but it wouldn’t be, and some places don’t have daisies. However MY world is a better place, thats enough right now.