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."

Saturday, December 30, 2017

a distant sun

Without fail, I change my bedsheets on New Years Eve, whether they need changing or not. Clean from a warm shower, and slipping into fresh pyjamas and linen with the scent of lavender on my pillow seems to me to be a perfect way to end each year. There's also a ripe symbolism to it. An early night, ear plugs in if there's a party near by (which of course there always is given the occasion), a good night's sleep alone wrapped cocoon tight in a cotton shroud, and then waking up to a whole new year fresh with possibility.

It's been a few years since I celebrated the actual start of the year in the company of others. Last year the celebration was over a lunch at the farm of an old family friend before I hopped on a plane at a very quiet airport well into the evening and returned home in time to hear the party next door counting down the seconds to herald in the new year as I crawled into bed with no time to spare. The year before I ignored several invitations because I still felt down about my mother's passing earlier that year. I think the last house 'party' I hosted was when my housemate was still in the country and the half a dozen close friends who still resided nearby joined us for a dinner and to shout from the rooftop deck at the storm lightning that shared the sky with the fireworks that night. My favourite housemate and several of my closest friends moved away the following year and the prospect of them ever returning diminishes by the day.

Before then, I attended every shape of new year's celebration including house parties hosted by vibrant IT software folk that lasted for days, party 'events' filled with a sea of colourful frocks, exposed flesh random hook-ups, copious amounts of booze and queues to the bathrooms that seemed to stretch for miles, B&B places or campsites with smaller groups in remote locations where stories were shared either playing Scrabble or next to a purpose built fire on the beach. They all had something to offer both in terms of creative inspiration as well as flashes of life and intimacy.

No matter what shape or size these occasions have taken, I cannot shake that feeling of remoteness inside of me. Surrounded by people, yet alone or lonely (I am unsure there's a difference), perhaps we've all felt that at some time in our lives. For me, it feels like a permanent state, as if my mind resides on a distant sun in another universe but my body is here and I'm waiting for the light and warmth that should belong to me to reach it. I hope that some heat will make me whole one day even though it has such a long way to travel. Assuming it is not a black-hole dead star and no light will ever escape it. And, in the meantime, I am destined to constantly shake half frozen from the icy coldness that emanates from my core. I confess at work that my voicemail message often gets confused for a robot but people could be forgiven for wondering what I am.

I've had hermit leanings most of my life. It's hard to know whether my passion for writing sparked first as a 12 year old came before this or whether because of this disposition. And it's fair to say that I have really thrown myself into the long stretches of isolated writing time much more in the last few years to escape the world. Since that damned pancreatic tumor nearly killed me in 2013, I should have embraced life more but I went the other way and retreated into my shell. Mum's sudden passing from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and my subsequent MS diagnosis probably didn't help but I can only use these events as excuses because I know I am who I am and these events do no more than shape me at the margins.

The latter perhaps more so given I've been on the Wahl's Protocol all of the last year and it has proven to be remarkable in keeping me physically the healthiest I've been in decades. I would say it's forced me to give up a lot more - it's harder to have fun with friends if you cannot enjoy the small pleasures in life like a huge bowl of gluten rich pasta and several glasses of wine - though a part of me sometimes wonders if I was slipping away before I had to give up gluten, refined sugar, diary, and so many other things and spent my evenings meditating alone rather than in the company of others. Buddhism should be easier to embrace now that I've had a practice run of adjusting to abstinence on so many levels.

The last few days have been a case in point. Other than a couple of conversations with my younger brother, I have shut myself away from the world for this stretch of time to write. It's been peppered with an occasional walk and a bit of movie watching (and binging viewing a TV show called Chasing Life - yes I appreciate the irony in this choice) but mostly I've been at my computer tapping away on the key board in a frenzy of flowing story telling as I shape the third draft of my latest manuscript. Uninterrupted and procrastination aside, I realised that this is what brings me satisfaction, what makes me content. It's been the thing that stops me from checking the expiration date on my stockpile of sleeping pills. Break the glass in case of an emergency. Do not use it to colour the warm bath water red. While I haven't needed to take any pills all year - I have been sleeping so well - I am struggling with the notion that I'm walking with my eyes closed as a fringe dweller who stopped embracing life a long time ago and the reason I'm resting easy is because I am a ghost - already dead. I half expect to float away some times, dissipating as a dispersing fog forgotten.

I found creative voice in my poetry as well as the long-form novel writing this year past. It was a good year in that sense. I found myself miles away from any real connection remembering that what comes out of friendships is what is put into them. It was a bad year in that sense.

I promised to myself that I would spend a year picking a weekly activity from the Broadsheet Melbourne website and get out more. Is this a resolution? I hope not. There's not a soul to share with. Not a soul to laugh with. That's a line from one of the first poems I wrote in my early teens. It seems not much has changed in the intervening years, in between the ebb and flow of the occasional snapshot moments of intimacy between the quiet silences. Sleeping in a crisp clean bed that is not a coffin.

Friday, December 08, 2017

tangent world

people around me are talking
debating impacts of nuclear testing
this is serious stuff
but all I'm thinking
as they speak
is Sponge Bob
and that annoying conspiracy theory
a megaphone-loud shouting thought
crashing in a wave of white water
eddy swirling conceptions
the Bikini Atoll tests thinly veiled
radiated freaks reside below remnants
of a mushroom cloud.

she's got that look again
the voice seems distant
we've lost her for a while
another spray of words
not a whisper
yet miles away
I wonder
can I keep it together
concentrate and listen
hear the scaffolding structures
logically constructed
around me.

how did I find myself
in tangent world again?
if my head were a perfect circle
perhaps the lines inside it
would stay corralled
instead they shoot outwards
porcupine needles
puncturing through the perimeter
those random thoughts expressed
air pressure released.

my mind is lighter
and an idea set free
swimming untamed
among the others
bearing no resemblance to anything
spoken out loud before it
incongruous fodder for disarray
thrashing everything in its path.