Transition Girl

Why transition girl?... Best answered by a quote from the Iliad....."The soul was not made to dwell in a thing; and when forced to it, there is no part of that soul but suffers violence."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Utopia - a good place.

It is not a physical place. I have spent so much of my life looking for it. While I will always continue to have my breath taken away by the beautiful places that I have seen, there is more to utopia than melting into those spectacular spaces.

It could be a mental place, perhaps the space where the things that have made me sad no longer exist.

Things that I have said and done. As a thirteen year old, telling a boy who I did not like in school to have a rotten Christmas, the immoral turpitude in my unwavering voice – I still think now how cruel I could be. Cruel that I still am.

Things that have been said and done to me. A partner saying he did not know me and believing he never did in the ten years he persevered with me, in that moment before walking out the door forever – perhaps the most disappointing words ever uttered within my earshot. Cruel that he was.

Is utopia a state of mind?

I have been contemplating (perhaps bogged down in a quagmire might be a more apt explanation) over the last few weeks what can only be described as a series of philosophical questions about what makes me human and fallible.

If I have a bad day, the reality is I cannot pretend to be happy. Try as I might. For people to ask and expect me to find alternative ways (besides withdrawing, not chatting much, or being more blunt than usual) to “deal with it” so that they can remain in denial seems a little unfair to me. The last thing I need when I am not in a happy place is to face pressure from my peers to be a “shiny happy person”. Yet it seems so difficult to ask those peers to respect my desire to walk away occasionally when I feel my own well being is being detrimentally affected. And they say ignorance is bliss.

I pretend that using cognitive behaviour tools like the power of positive thinking will make a difference to what floats around inside my head and most days I get away with the subterfuge – the appearance that I am content with my lot. All that effort is exhausting.

What is natural happiness anyway? Is happiness a pursuit, a choice or something that just happens? Arguably, a lack of choice can be deemed to be a form of happiness. I have actually heard it described as synthetic happiness. But I think “making believe” that you are happy with your lot in life if you have limited choices is self-delusion.

Alcohol induced happiness (which could also be described as synthetic) may be another form of self delusion but can be irresistible for some and, quite frankly, whether it's real or not - elation felt in the moment could be described as happiness.

I don't accept that dissolute restiveness will necessarily allow me to experience some level of euphoria. Although I accept that being out of control can make me feel unhappy afterwards sometimes. People are more prone to melancholy and depression when they lack control.

Yet I actually feel more content when I am surprised and when those surprises are things totally outside my control - when I do not have to make any decisions at all or someone else makes the decisions for me. Maybe some measure of going with the flow - irrespective of the degree of control or choice - makes me feel content because it is easy.

Utopia - the place that cannot be.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


a poem i wrote in the early 2000s for which i have never been able to settle on an appropriate title...

A festering wound
that never heals.
Not even a scar
will form to hide
the damage.

Constantly washing it
with anaesthetic
in a futile effort
to numb the pain.

One tiny prod
an agonising ache
ripples over
and through flesh.
Wave after wave.

Leeches to drain
the free-flowing bleed
would be welcome relief.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

spring rain and dust

He talked about "letting the dust settle as he listened to the hard rain on his roof". If the rain is symbolic of things in our lives that poke and prod us to reflect, to act, to embrace change, and the settling dust is symbolic of taking pause, then it is reasonable to suggest the phrase is a metaphor that describes the desirability of pacing life to a slower beat.

The bands of rain clouds and stormy weather today has reminded me of possibly the most subtle rejection I ever experienced (some time ago now). It was the last sentence in an email that followed several paragraphs describing how he felt. He had been disconnected over the preceding few months, well before he met me, and being with anyone right now (read: me) risked becoming an emotional rollercoaster for him. I feel like I have heard this speech before. Though I admired that he chose a highly figurative phrase to appeal to my visual mind and, in doing so, hit his mark with missile precision.

That the last phrase he used reminded me of a comforting notion softened the blow. One of my favourite smells in the whole wide world is the aroma of the first drops of rain on a dry earth. It spores droplets of dust that are somehow wet and dry at the same time. The infusion of dust and water is strangely soothing for me. It is probably a throwback to my childhood but I have no conscious memory of why. It could be what drives my urge to venture out into the rain as the heavens open up and kick around in the dust of the earth every time it rains. I do not like watching dust settle. Never have.

I know it is a good dormant memory. It sleeps in a cocoon, wrapped in darkness - hidden by shadows of larger memories that dominate the spaces inside my mind.

It is strange how we link moments and feelings through some secret combination of our senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Every moment has a unique combination - a subliminal code that transcends rational thought. Our bodies register that code in the moment and then years pass before similar combinations trigger memories of that original moment.

Some moments are locked away in a memory vault, referred to only when certain triggers decipher the combination. Other moments stay within our conscious mind and we are constantly reminded by every day events.

When we know what those triggers are, we can avoid them if we choose to; but if we don’t know them, it is almost a curse that bad memories dart into the forefront of our minds.

At its simplest, a single sense can have meaning in terms of a particular feeling. For example, every time I smell frangipani, I recall Signora Bianca who lived on our street when I was a child. And how the smell of a certain aftershave somehow makes me feel safe (even if it is a complete stranger who has washed themselves in it). And how the taste of chamomile tea soothes me not necessarily through its medicinal qualities but because it’s what my mother gave me to drink whenever I could not sleep.

I also seem to have gotten into a habit of tagging moments with music. Somehow that extra dimension helps me to map what otherwise seem like random events. In some respects, the music I choose to tag my moments form a pattern in themselves.

Let me reveal a marker … “I can’t help myself; when I feel this way, I wanna be someone else. When I get this feeling, it gets in my system; I can’t put the brakes on” (excerpt from Can’t Help Myself – Icehouse). It’s the marker I associate with one crazy summer in my teenage years. But that’s a story for another day.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Queen of Cups

“Queen of Cups: A woman capable of deep romantic love. A passionate woman in the creative arts. A woman who leads first with her heart and then her head. Love for one's mate and children. Sense of protectiveness for friends and loved ones. Dedication. A woman in search of a long-term commitment. An attractive woman. Creative arts and alchemy. A loyal woman on your side.”

My profile includes a daily tarot card. Mostly I include it because I like the pictures on the cards. And each day, there is a new picture. Today the picture resonated for me, having spent the week in quiet conversation with a new person in my life, someone struggling with abandonment baggage. That person wonders if they can ever trust someone unequivocally as I realise that trust is ultimately about faith. And this week long conversation makes me reflect.

My own life has been marked by some clear extremes. I let go of the first so-called love of my life because I believed I was killing him. I was let go by my second love because he believed he was killing me. Strike one: behaviour typified by excess. Strike two: suffocatingly stifled walking ghost. The pendulum swings from one extreme to another. I wonder if it will ever stop swinging. Maybe when that clock chimes for a third time, it might actually stop ticking.

I use the phrase “love” loosely. It is hard to imagine that, for someone who coasts through life, love is something such a person can feel. I am not really sure I have ever been excessively passionate about anything - certainly not to the point of being obsessive-compulsive about it. Yet somehow I believe I might only experience true passion if I am so obsessed by one single thing (or person) that everything else is utterly eclipsed and nothing else has any meaning.

Perhaps such an extreme is impossible anyway. Undoubtedly it is ludicrous to believe passion needs to be that intense to be real. Do I need to give myself completely (in respect of that one thing or person) to feel passion?

There must be a spectrum, surely? I know I am divorcing the concepts of passion and lust in defining this spectrum. These concepts do not seem to equate in my mind. I have unquestionably experienced the latter. But I am not sure I have ever truly experienced the former. There are times when I do not seem to care enough about anything to be consumed with craze.

I am reminded of the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. Soren talked a lot about the life style of hedonists and their lack of connection with family. He said if everything just is, without purpose of relation, then despair takes hold. It is not difficult to understand the imperative to disconnect. It is a form of self-preservation, a form of self-defence. No one can hurt you if you keep everyone a safe distance away. But is that really a way to live your life?

I realise that I have never really given away too much of myself to anyone. Does anyone really know me? I doubt that anyone gives much away of themselves and, to the extent people have a level of self-awareness that they can describe who they really are, I do not think I am unique in reserved behaviour regarding revealing my nature. We are all politicians. We are all wannabe diplomats.

The second love of my life suggested this was so at the end of our ten-year relationship. How you can be with someone for that long and have that person make the accusation that they never really knew you? Who was I for twelve years? Did I put the real me on a shelf for a long sleep? Was the real me taking a holiday? A part of what he said rang true. I spent twelve years in a cage trying to be something I was not and it is not much of a stretch to recognise that, in doing so, he might never have seen the real me.

But I am not that woman now. Today I am the Queen of Cups. And I can look to the future with hope.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


No note today per se, just sharing a poem I wrote about seven years ago. It is called Afterburn.

The flick of a switch.
Random and unexpected.
Sadness engulfs me towards the end
of what seemed on the surface
to be a pleasant enough evening.
Maybe just not ready for it –
the idle banter;
the flutter of eyelashes;
pushing the flirting overdrive.

Suddenly need comforting.
What is wrong with this picture?
I should be over the grief.
Subtle reminders
leave me cold and lifeless.

I am torn between seeking comfort
with a friend I trust
or riding the grief alone.
He is there
and seems willing
to let me depend on him.

The flick of a switch.
Accidental and sudden.
The moment I hold his hand
our fingers intertwine.

A snapshot moment of intimacy.

I do not mean to make anything of it
but his warmth washes over me.
Tenderness in his strong arms,
hands stroking to soothe me
and drive away my sadness.

The flick of a switch.
Casual and bewildering.
In an instant I need to feel his skin.
It is a different feeling to wanting him.
It is like a natural extension
of comfort that I crave.

Will it serve that purpose?
It is a fine line between wanting
and needing this intimacy.

The moment comes and goes.

The flick of a switch.
Inspired yet unsatisfied.
We are back in a world of normal.
I am relaxed that moments like these
should have no regret in them.

And I wish that
the afterburn of my grief
is not what drove the moment.