July 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

All those thoughts of Scotland must have been getting to me because yesterday all I wanted was a walk in the damp July air. In the absence of the Highlands, the tree-lined avenues around the Welsh Assembly had to suffice. The green lushness washed a little of that funk away.

A short playlist (which is coincidentally all Scottish) washed away a little more.


Writing Down the Bones

July 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

“I had a belief in something real below the surface of life or right in the middle of life, but often my own mind kept me asleep or diverted, yet my own mind were also all I had. So I began writing out of them. […] Yet is it good to know about our terrible selves, not laud or criticise them, just acknowledge them. Then, out of this knowledge, we are better equipped to make a choice for beauty, kind consideration, and clear truth. We make this choice with our feet firmly on the ground. We are not running wildly after beauty with fear at our backs”

– Natalie Goldberg.

This book is really something quite special.


July 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

I can’t concentrate today.

There are post-its covering my notebook and desk. Two bulging folders of notes and photocopying and plans and reading in front of me. More reading for fun and for writing inspiration. Self help reading. Knitting. I’m having a classic upswing.

Remembering a few months ago is difficult but I’m acutely aware that I was lost. Entirely. The glorious technicolour of what’s in front of me seems switched on again. But I’m not sure how to manage it. There’s almost too much. The possibility of doing a lot of things inadequately or not at all looms. It’s all classic stuff. The difference with this time is that I am all the more acutely aware of the circularity of it all. That this may well pass. If not to steadier times then to something lower than that. And I can’t bear, right now, to even entertain that thought.

The question I had in mind when I started this thing was ‘how are things going to get better?’ Things already have got better. Some things are finally starting to sink in.

Everyone does it differently.

It’s okay to be how you are.

There is no wrong way to have a body.

Shifts are being made. But it’s all still just enough. Just enough to be not not taking care of myself. Just enough to pull my head above the parapet and gasp for fresh air. Hence the urgency. Hence the panic.

For things to really change, there needs to be more. I’ve done these things before and I’ve fallen down again. It still needs shaking up some more. Without a different kind of challenge, how can you really know what you’re capable of? (I don’t know how much that is exactly, but I suspect it’s more than this.)


July 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

(Today’s post comes as part of the monthly blog series: Discovery Word By Word. This month, posts are collated by Balancing Val and I though I’d give it a shot. And also because I’m a student and I respond well to assignments.)

– – –

Beauty is history. Timeless, unwavering, unable to be eroded. What is beautiful is always so, what tries hard to be beautiful is not. The paradox of trying too hard. The sublime, the tumultuous. Beauty has always been based on perfection that inspires obsession, love, admiration.

Odalisque, Jules Joseph Lefebvre

Yet when I strive for the modern day equivalent (a picture-perfect life of Californian blue skies, healthy salads, effortless adventures and fun) it eludes me. What I see on my screen most days is beautiful. Just as painters used licks of flesh-coloured paint to whitewash female skin into alabaster oblivion, the camera lens and the laptop screen do a lot of the work in the modern world, and chisel the imperfection from real life.

Fortunately¬†or not, my life is full of rough edges. Having spent years trying to chisel them down too, it’s becoming evident that the old ideals of smooth perfection, Renaissance or Californian, have little place in my life. Really, it’s about changing your ideals and ideas. Adventure is not smooth. Adventure is risky and therefore rough around the edges. And you don’t go through it with perfect hair and no love handles. This insistence on smoothness isn’t real and it wasn’t my idea.

There is, however, stillness in beauty. Connection. Acceptance. None of those things need to be any clearer or cleaner than they already are. Beauty is taking what is naked, what is how it is, just as it is.

And rather than looking trying to be a static odalisque, with your back to the world, it’s more likely to look like creased up eyes, out in the daylight, fresh Scottish rain in your hair, and a smile.

Standing Back

July 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had a wonderful weekend. I was in London, with great company, gallivanting about and watching this amazing band. That amazing video, in fact.

There, out of a happy moment, the heat and the noise and the bass so loud it made my throat and belly vibrate, came a wave of aching. The feeling, which I know is a cover story for something more, can only be described as being fat. Too much of me. Excessive amounts of flesh and emotion which I couldn’t erase. In that moment, I felt more intensely claustrophobic in my own skin than I have in a while and, having nowhere to go and nothing to do about it, I just cried.

Which is a less than ideal scenario when you’re out on date night.

Once upon a time, that sickness would have had to become literal. That, for those few minutes, I stuck my ground, stood still and cried, is an achievement for me. But although I feel so very okay for the majority of the time at present, that feeling snuck up on me out of nowhere and crumbled my evening to sand.

When those days come more frequently, the easiest thing to do is to stand back. From everything. From people, places, company. Staying in bed becomes preferable to that little trigger most people call life. I’m clawing back from a few months of intense hiding and being swept away like this is rare now. But it still comes.

On Saturday night was I swept away because I ventured out or because I have been standing back for so long that the intensity just did me in. Those emotions I bundle up into my body and my self-worth took another hit because I stood too close to, well, life.

In the end, we stood back. Outside the inner circle. Far back enough to find cool air and less ear-shattering noise. Our view tempered by the tops of heads. Where people shouted over the delicious music and spilled their drinks on their date. And I wanted so very much to be able to stand, vibrating, in the centre of it all again.

The changing faces of being seen

July 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

All that is seen is not seen.

All that I have shown here can be misinterpreted, read differently, seen as hopeless, rather than a change and a chance. Some people who have seen what I have written here, have mis-seen. Some have wished to not see. Some have seen weakness and flaw rather than strength mustered to try to show and explain and move forward from. Believing a flaw to be an opportunity, some people have  seen a chance to cause further hurt.

In trying to be honest, I have been hurt. In being hurt, I have relapsed.

Yet being seen, truly, flaws and all, is still incredibly important.

It is still important to be seen clearly, even when the problem is hazy because the hiding does not help. (You are only as sick as your secrets.)

It is important for me to be seen because I am sick of being seen unclearly. Because if you see weakness here, you see wrong. Because I know that the worst pain I can feel is my own personal brand of torture. Not yours. And because I’m not prepared to accommodate either of those things any more.


July 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Having said this, I think that:

It might not be ‘enough’ to ‘count’.

Any exercise or healthy eating I do will be read as restriction.

It will be all anyone sees.

That might be all there is.

But there is more, and I will continue to find it until this small part diminishes into a speck in the horizon.

Where Am I?

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