Treasures.

Before there was all of this and things were hard. Before I moved through life tactically and knew about pressure.

There was a large, clunky dress-up trunk, at the back of the sun-soaked kindergarten room.

It had dents in it.

Dents made from my young teacher I now suppose.

As she pulled and pushed it to do something amazingly romantic perhaps – fleeing a Budapest bedsit in the middle of the night, where a lover slept soundly.

Catching a plane, then a train to a dusty country town for a new start. A chance to disappear into something other than herself. Resting it down gently, filled with old costumes, in the midst of my class-roomed world.

 I remember the buttery warmth across the mostly brown room, like yesterday. The trunk itself was often covered with cushions and pillows and packed up tight, which made it always seem even more of a treasure trove; a mystical box that my little hands itched to dive into at all times. When all tasks were done and colours were kept in between lines, Miss Eveleigh gave me the nod I needed.

Silent indications that it was finally time for me to carefully – almost reverently, make my way to that box before anyone else thought twice about it.

A chance to disappear into something other than me.

Children around me picked up fireman hats and stethoscopes, teachers glasses and astronaut suits.

Maybe I should have to.

Instead, I reached like always for the thick, heavy faded wedding gown and fell into it. Dancing around in complete bliss.

I remember it was so scratchy on my skin and so billowy and so big, it was hard to walk in a straight line without stumbling over.

I always picked up a doll; my baby – and felt that was that; ambition recognised. The dress, the kid. I had it all. This was where things were going. Children around me pretending to be surgeons and pilots.

Perhaps I should have to.

Then maybe right now I would be able to breathe in. To not feel the weight of the pressure of a clock booming in my head. To not feel my next birthday approaching like a roaring jumbo jet inbound from Budapest. In the middle of the night, my body dented from pushing and pulling it all around to get where I need to be.

I am running out of time, I can feel myself drowning in layers and layers of white lace and billowy fabric, clutching on to imaginary babies for dear life.

To discover you only have a finite time to turn make-believe real; a hard punch to not fall down in a heap from. To realise it may not happen, makes me wish I never wanted it at all. In my head, I now have 2 years left. 2 years to find the treasure, the trunk and pull all I want from it.

What an unrealistic time frame I have managed to set myself.

What a time for wishing I could easily disappear into something other than this.

Why am I suddenly a 37-year-old pirate digging for treasure?

Em

xoxo

Hands.

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They came in their droves.

In the early morning light we watch as they march across grass, soaked with dew.

Inside, tired eyes try focusing on the procession as it moves towards them swiftly.

A cavalcade of skirts and lipstick, children under feet and Tupperware of every shape and size.

Behind them a sweet, sticky motley waft of perfume floats.

An army of beautiful and strong hands.

In the kitchen, as the sun now makes the darkest corners of the house bright.

They arrive.

Stirring and sorting and cutting and packing with one hand, while the other manages to make its way to the hurt, cushioning the blow. Caressing the broken hearts lying in a bewildered heap around them.

Women in times of grief are completely remarkable to me.

They work quickly; softly. Knowing what needs to be done so their fallen one can focus on breathing in and out…putting one step in front of the other as she tries to remember which way is up and which way is down.

Meals are made, a year’s worth. Cups of tea flow all day. Beds get made and children doused in sunscreen. The world is told to stop for just a moment ..the school bells, the bills and the well wishes..all told to leave her alone, so she can roll up into a ball, all carried out like a moving silent picture, faded so beautifully into the background of her grief, so as not to disrupt her while she does.

I have been lucky enough in my life to be surrounded by such women.

Grandmothers, aunts, cousins, sisters, good friends of my sisters and my own friends, community, neighbors. And of course my mother, so strong.

I see what they are capable of and the strength they often hide, behind pretty smiles and soirees in skirts that swish.

I have watched as their hands turn from caressing a sick child’s head so lovingly, to the resilient blow of an axe swinging down hard to make fire.

Such a force to be reckoned with when one of their own, needs a soft place to fall. And here I sit, watching it all with complete awe as they do this for my sister now as she sits, mourning her husband in shock.

My own circle of incredible females recently showed me how blissful it is, when you do reach a certain lovely age and finally make lifelong connections that uplift you, sustain you, protect and comfort you. A weekend spent with them still has me feeling warm from the tips of my toes.

A faded blue beach house in the middle of trees and vines, not really even noticeable from the road. Filled with such kindness and beauty and goodness and tragic sing-a-longs and sugar plums and chocolate and bras flung in unison – their loveliness shooting out of each of them  and bouncing all around me as they danced, laughed, cooked and lazily afternoon-ed, filling me completely with what I needed to keep going – and they didn’t even know it.

Despite all the shitty and yucky things a girl can do to the other; twisting a knife, cutting a string, giving you a knot in your tummy. There is another kind of girl that doesn’t get as much notice.

The one who makes sure you have the right underwear on and enough tissues in your bag before a funeral.

The one who sits with you for hours in a dimly lit corner of a cafe, as you giggle and cry tears over soft tea light candles and a ruby red bottle, about marriage and loss and babies and work and trying to keep up with it all.

They are there for you with a handful of frozen dinners for your freezer and hot water bottle when you are at your lowest.

And they are there to give you the biggest, sorest belly laugh you have ever had in your life – the kind where you touch your ribs the next day and they hurt.

As I sit here at my sisters now, and watch as her circle talk and laugh and love in the kitchen, so relaxed by the sun as it streams it’s golden warmth across their faces, their shapes..very aware though they are also ready to pounce, to strike, to protect with venom if anyone dares to compromise any of it.

This choreographed dance never lasts for longer than it should – something else they are skilled at.

As the sun fades and lights are turned on to diminish the haze, they ensure those that are hurting have a household running smoothly, before they march out again across the now dry lawn, the heady mix of vanilla and jasmine trailing behind them.

So much focus on ugly things in this world, yet in this gold-flecked kitchen, I was surrounded by something so magnificent in its simpleness and truth.

A sisterhood. An understanding without words of what needs to be done when a sister has fallen.

Many hands knowing instinctively what to do, making light work.

Em xoxo

Eyes blue.

We lost my Brother in Law this week, suddenly and cruelly. He has left behind my sister Lisa, together 17 years; and his daughter Maggie and son Sam. I dedicate this to him; Our Boo Boo. 

 

You had kind eyes when you walked through our door.
Kind and blue.
My first memory of you.
She walked behind you with a smile on her face that never really left her.
A summer cotton dress, in a hue that matched your eyes.
I have known that smile since I can remember, she lived for complete excitement and joy always, so when she smiled we knew she was in the midst of it all.
Connected already. Fingers entwined as she led you up the driveway.
Floating on a high of new love and young adoration.

The car had pulled up and we raced around nervously trying to get a peek of you through the upstairs curtains.
She was ours and we loved her deeply so it was a big thing for mum and dad to give you hugs and warm handshakes and yank you into our door, our hearts and our family.
With no escape and no choice in it at all.
She was ours and now you were too.

All it took was the bag of fresh prawns you held out to mum and a beer with dad on the back veranda.
All it took was to tell me ‘nice dress’ and to call Trish the thing she hated most, Patty – you were the only one who could call her that and it has since always stuck, like you have to us.
All it took was a promise of friendship to our brother.
And you were ours.
You loved her and we loved you for it.

Always a sparkle in your eye, a guitar ready to strum and a joke ready to go.
You made friends wherever you went easily and you always lit up a room with your stories.
Life tumbled you around for sure. But she always jumped on your back and held on tight to tumble through it all with you.
Together. Fingers and now lives entwined.
The years went on and we all grew closer, through Christmases and pool swims, births of your beautiful daughter and then son. Birthdays and holidays to our second home, Yamba. Sitting around the outdoor table, always with some fresh prawns to be had and always your guitar and songs drifting through the house.
‘Hey Em’, followed quickly by a joke. A lame one, but we could not help but smile. You told me my car was called Elvis, because it had so many hits. The joy you brought us, even from a lame joke, we now ache for.

What do we do without you now Boozy? The house is so quiet and still.
We comfort ourselves by thinking of those jokes and the music and those blue eyes I guess, and being grateful of the memories we now clutch onto, like gold.
As Lisa and Maggie and Sam tumble around in it all and try to find their way, we will all – her sisters, her mother, family and friends near and far, clutch on to them and hold on tight to tumble through it all with them. And sometimes someone will even pick up your guitar, music filling the house again ..and for but a moment we will forget and think that it is you.
With a strum and lame joke to tell and those kind eyes; kind and blue.

Push.

There is beauty lurking in strange places.

Between the dark cracks if you look hard like I do.

I love that feeling you get when you catch it, even more than finding beauty in something obvious.

Like a sunbeam caught in a glass jar. Snatched.

Observing something awkward, deceptively ugly. The immense beauty of the moment bubbles; surfaces and washes over. I could immerse myself in that feeling forever and a day.

I used to feel like a strange, little oddball as I secretly stole beauty and loveliness from something not so nice. Almost like a show just for me that no one else could see.

To stand on my tippy-toes and peak through the back fence when I was so small and watch out for much prettier things than the old drunk man next door, moonshine flowing whenever the moon was shining.

The dirt road and the train tracks and the cows mooing back at me. To find the little purple flowers shooting up from the gold hay. To see the crotchety drunk man’s wife patting his hand as they sat on the porch together, listening to music and remembering a time before there were broken, empty bottles at their feet.

To see a chime catching in the sunlight by a window even but for a moment, while yelling and hissing and hurting falls down around you.

A warm smile between the bleach and the tubes and machines and the dying of a cold grey hospital room.

I find it odd that I see these little tiny things, in moments when I shouldn’t. I also find myself looking around at everyone else to see if they see it too, excited by the notion that they must have caught at least a glimpse.

I can’t help but notice the way my husband’s eyes have flecks of green amidst the blue when he is exasperated by me. The way he has a teeny, tiny triangle-shaped wrinkle on his forehead when he is angry. It makes me want nothing more than to kiss it a thousand times over.

The plump, wrinkled lady with silvery hair, on a thick November day at the beach. Slipping and sliding all over a paddle-board to some may be funny; bulbous, and ugly. To me though it is pure poetry. Her sparkling eyes and her confidence as she decides to choose fun over vanity and learn a new trick. Steadying herself, soft tanned skin showing many years of salt and sand. Pulling herself through the crisp, cool water. Waves sparkling like her eyes in the glow of the sluggish, low afternoon sun. So much beauty in that laugh as she slaps down in the water. Complete delight and oblivion.

I have watched so much gorgeous, soft light cast across an autumn afternoon; Even more beautiful though as it lingers over a movie screen, whilst a frantic protagonist is in the midst of love leaving. Who fights and claws to stop it all falling to the ground. Doing and saying anything to not leave this space in time without her. Yanking and pulling at her as she stands rigid and numb and completely spent. With nothing left to give. That moment – so devastating to them; completely takes my breath away. And I don’t really understand why.

So here I find myself, sitting. Sunlight through the window; my husband’s wrinkled brow and flecks beside me, he is concentrating, I am not.

I see nothing beautiful in this moment and it is the most important moment for it to be.

I search for it, easily distracted by my hunt as I completely tune out to what the nurse is detailing in a monotone voice. Anything pretty and magical on the walls? On the desk? In the diagrams, she is flicking through? Only more monotone and grey. And fear.

I cannot muster any kind of romance or dreaminess from the blood tests and the injections and the uncertainty. I don’t even like the air in the room. It is like I am on a conveyor belt, a doll missing a part and I am being pushed along with different hands seeing if they can fix me in time before it is all too late and I get shoved onto the heap.

We are then pushed into another room. This time it is painted a depressing yellow – I never knew until now, how depressing yellow can be. Here surrounded by buttercup, more ugly information is fed to us both. My husband and his flecks nodding and asking all the right things as I dart my eyes around this new space. Nothing to savour here either. Robotic empathy and a nervous tick, is all I see.

Until we are pushed back out again and I close the car door with a thud and remember what we are doing this all for.

Until my husband’s hand takes mine. This is why we are together. Because he knows I long for beauty in between the cracks and he shows it to me. Pulling me along until I get to where I long to be.

As corny as it sounds, it always seems to work.

Em xoxo

Vanishing Shapes.

Dusk. It always knocks me.

Neon painted. Pinks, yellows and tangerines, sinking ever so slowly down the sky’s page. Purple stormy puffs like a Dr Seuss book.

A time of day when faced with all of it. The colour, the heat and the shapes. Bigger than big, larger than large. No avoiding it.

When I was a little girl, dusk meant home time. It meant the day was done.

Darkness creeping in bit by bit and always a race to make it in time before it swallowed everything up. If I was on the other side of the village where I grew up, with my tomboy hands all scruffy and sore from fixing my bike chain over and over again trying to keep up with the kids I had decided to adventure with that day. I would look around and realise in an instant it was time to head home. The sun that had been so strong and willful, forcing us all to perch our bikes under a tree at every chance – was now slowly easing off and taking with it all of the day that was. Along the old train tracks I would ride, willing my legs to move faster past the giant coal mounds, before a train roared past.

Dusk brings it all back to me, the race home. Feeling like you are on the edge of the universe and overwhelmed by the size of the sky, fleeing to beat the darkness trickling its way through the village’s pebbled streets. Home to a warm bath and soft sheets.

Feeling so minuscule back here on Earth amongst cicadas and wafts of jasmine.

When the distance between all of it and I, feels like the distance between the shapes that have long vanished, melted, disappeared from my fingertips too; into nothing. Impossible to reach. No matter how much I want to stretch up and pull them all back down to me. Faces and memories, warmth and love. Whispers and shouts, pep talks, letters, advice and doors slamming. Soft soothing words. All vanished – faded, melted away.

I now clutch on to people tighter upon dusk, I hold onto hands just a little bit longer.

I count my years all the way up and I take a long time to do it. One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. It goes too fast no matter how much I stall.

For a while now I have been vanishing myself – shedding all the bad, shitty stuff anyway. Falling away, disappearing as it should. I feel finally ready to let everything drop, including my concrete shoulders.

The offer of something lighter.

Shapes Vanishing.

I feel like dusk itself, melting down the page.

Making way for stars to shine.

Dropped shoulders and dusk time tangerine.

Em xoxo

The Swim.

It is all so crisp and blue.

All so concrete too.

Maybe it is from the hit of chlorine I take as I inflate my lungs until they hurt. The chemicals stinging my nostrils making everything seem clear and hazy all at the same time.

The perfect rectangle azure water hits the eyes first. So beautifully wavy and sparkly against the thick, black lines at the bottom; a permanent reminder that there is a certain way to do things. No room for chlorinated chaos.

Lifeguards lean lazily against the railing around the main pool. Casually discussing the cricket and keeping a relaxed eye across the dots bobbing up and down in the water; only stopping occasionally to shout at children dive bombing each other like little, slippery tornados; lemmings in navy blue swimsuits, toppling in one after the other squealing in delight. Scrambling to race up the pool steps to do it all again.

Behind all the commotion, I squint my eyes towards the turquoise cement rows of steps, stacked at the long side of the main pool. Paint chipped from years of wear and tear as sunbathers lazily lay across them, arms folded against faces to dull the sun’s glare. Waiting until enough beads of perspiration have dropped to warrant heading back into the relief of the water.

Lifeless dewy, brown bodies zig-zagging in a pattern across the tired rows, with their towels and bags and children climbing all over them, sticky from whatever cold canteen treat they were able to be bribed with.

Certain parts of the paint are chipped worse than others – revealing layers upon layers of older paint; a kaleidoscope of colours who had their time in the hot sun before the turquoise. I long for just a moment to rip it all back and see what once was.

It is amusing to me that I had the compulsion to, considering what I was also hoping to do here – rip it all back and see what I once was.

I drop my gear on one of the steps and head for the relief of cool water. Laying my head back and springing myself off the side of the pool, I lock in on the colorful bunting flags flapping and snapping above me. Focusing on them suspended; swaying in the air, brings a quite peace despite all of the yells and the splashes and the muffled radio. It all becomes white noise as I focus on the flags and start to move faster.

This place, this lane, is everything right now. I set myself into a familiar rhythm and kick my legs furiously. Clasping; hugging the kickboard against my body as my torso moves from one side to the next. My legs ache and burn, screaming at me to stop. But I don’t. Kicking all of the anger out, kicking all of the hurt as I try in vain to keep up with the golden, tanned swimmer in the lane next to me. Muscles strong and angular as the sun flicks across the beads of water forming on his back. It hurts. It hurts to see what I long to be, to think about it too much – water weighing me and my lack of muscles down. Weighed down by the enormity of it all. The enormity of what I have become, not really sure how I managed to blink and then be here.

I make it to the end for what feels like the hundredth time and turn over onto my front, letting go of the old faded yellow board as I do.Wondering how many hopes and dreams have wrapped themselves tightly around it’s middle throughout the years. Break ups, fights, miscarriages, weight loss wins and wedding gowns to fit into to. I am sure it has felt it all tightly grasping at it – scratching it’s buoyant soft rubber, as pieces fall away.

I feel incredible but vulnerable; helpless but determined. Wishing I could just keep up with everyone else. Tired of the bullshit, tired of not being where I long to be no matter how hard I work for it or how much I want it. Despite all of this, I never feel more in control, more competent and more alive than thrashing steadily up and down the lane.

The self talk and the pressure trying it’s best to derail me.

When I was young this was so easy, up and down and back again I would surge. Over and over and over again. Today though it reflects my weakness, my years, my weight, back at me and I have nowhere to hide.

As I swim my mind constantly works as hard as my body does. Nowhere to hide from my thoughts either in here.

Remembering as I keep an eye on the second hand quickening my pace, of how I was once so light and carefree and unchipped. I want that back, I want that back so badly it drowns me. Everyone; everyone my whole life wanting and longing for me to be more which meant to be less.

I feel I fail them all, every single day.

It is an enormous pressure on my lungs as I try to focus on the black lines beneath me. I don’t get sad now though, I get angry, focused – like a fire being stoked. Lane number 5 in the sparkly sun is where magic is happening. I can feel it.

From my toes to my fingertips it feels electric. This is where I have come to let everything bob up and down around me. This is where I am going to be folding it all back layer by layer for good.

I take over two of the swimmers in the other lanes now and there is no stopping me. Despite the burn and the hurt stuck in a lump in my throat. Then suddenly I stop the ferocity and simply float.

An elderly man 3 lanes across, he pulls himself out of the water and slowly moves his way over to the lifeguards; joining in the cricket chatter as he dries himself off, he is here every day too. I am in awe he had the strength to reach up to the silver rounded railings on the side of the pool and hurl himself upward, let alone swim with the gusto he does.

He feels the magic too.

Biding my time and enjoying the bliss filled moment, the colourful flags fluttering above me. It is different this time.  I am doing it all for me. This is happening. The pressure is getting kicked and thrashed out of me. Everyday I deflate it a little bit more. It is only a matter of time now. I am less on the inside, yet more full..waiting now for the rest of me to catch up.

As I walk from lane 5 to my towel crumpled between two brown, perfectly sculpted bodies, I catch a glimpse at my much paler skin in a windows reflection. I decide this time though, to sway the less of me in front of them all with a smile.

Watch out everyone, I think to myself.

Stella’s got her groove back.

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Love Em xx

Sometimes.

Naughty child stands in the corner

Sometimes, I wish I could be better.

I long to be.

I wish I was like everyone else.

I want to be good. But sometimes I am just not.

I wish whenever someone tiptoes up to me to tell me I am a good person, I don’t immediately think, Oops…I hope they don’t work it out.
I hope no one can see that I am a fraud, a jinx, a silly little imp inside, with games to play and responsibilities to dodge.

That sometimes I like to just flit about town with a wink and a smile and see what the day brings.

With bad thoughts in my head.. just as many as good.

To cartwheel my way around a sunny town; jazz music all day, tap shoes and strawberries. Clicking and flicking my jumping jacks as I go.

Sticking my tongue out at anyone who tries to stop me with the irksome irritation of their judgement.

They, with their perfect prams and clothes and ability to handle all their daily tasks with intent and dedication.

Them, with their folded washing, perfectly decorated nurseries and gourmet moroccan whatever in a big pot on their table.

I wish I could do it all.

I wish when the washing needs to be folded, the moroccan thingamy needs to be spiced, my mind wants to do it all and do it with ease – instead of wishing it was under the table hiding until it all goes away.

I wish I was good, better, stronger and my brain did what it was supposed to, even if just sometimes.

I wish it wasn’t hard for my head to make me do the things I need to, but it is.

Sometimes I am so weak it feels like I am gurgling down a drain…a sugary sweet treat sometimes seems so impossible for me to turn away from, I do always. But it is gurgly and whirly and hard.

It doesn’t seem to be for my sister. She sometimes eats something sweet and says…”eeeeew yuck, too sweet”.

I watch and think, if that was me I would have inhaled it all in one swoop.

Instead though,  I screw up my nose and say “ewwww” just as loudly. What a fraud.

You are beautiful inside and out – that’s what you hear all the time.

I am not so beautiful though.

I think bad thoughts and blow secret, bad wishes about people who irk and jerk me.

People who have what I don’t. A click of the finger and down a deep dark well they fall. Splash.

Sometimes.

I lower my head thinking of all the bad things I have called people sometimes when they have hurt me, and sometimes when they haven’t.

Around and around in my head all the little bad thoughts jingle and jangle – phooey to you, you big ugly poo.

Do they know that sometimes I am late, because I am no good at working out how long it takes to not be late?

Do they know that sometimes deep down I don’t want to be there on time anyway…that I wish I wasn’t there at all. Oops.

Sometimes it kills me, slays me, debilitates me to put food on the table and love on the plate.

I would rather smash all of the plates, especially the pretty ones.

Watch them as they crash and bash down on the floorboards, then chop up an eggplant and sip my wine.

Oh how I wish I was as good as some, pure as gold.

That I didn’t vent everything out of my head about this person and that; and what she said and what he did to me with every chance I get.

I wish I would just smile and say that she is so lovely and he is so kind and has lovely eyes and leave it at that.

No tit for tat.

No pulling it all out of my head into the world like a desperate clown grabbing a hanky from his pocket and it just keeps coming and coming and coming.

I wish I could get away with all the things that I imagine I do.
Like when I put on a hat.  People would say “oooh you are SO a hat person, it suits you, it becomes you, how lovely you are”.

I wish I could think to myself, yes you are so lovely. Clever you.

“Thank you I will take 3”.

Why can’t I be the girl running past so angular and tall, as I walk…whipping my ponytail this way and that as I glide past, bouncing and breathing and aching and winning.
Instead I am grumbling and cloudy and angry and I want to trip her as she drifts past in a puff of perfume and sweat. Smiling as she stumbles and face plants the mud. Fist pumping the air as I step over her and start running.

Sometimes I tell people I love them and want to see more of them – but secretly I don’t.

Sometimes I wish everyone would just go away.

I wish I could be better.. nicer inside. Goal oriented. Like a honey bee buzzing from one task to the next.

When I pick up my love’s shoes…why is it sometimes that instead of handing them to him, I want to hurl them at him yelling and screaming about everything that is wrong in the world and it’s because of people like him who can’t put their shoes away. Laces and heels flying through the air.

People tell me I am beautiful inside and out. That is nice of them isn’t it. But I am not.

I hope they don’t figure it out. I can sometimes scheme and scream and stamp and pout, shaking everything about.

Cake or chocolate ..or French toast drunk on sticky syrup – up to its eyeballs in frenchy goodness under a Sunday umbrella. I really wish I didn’t want to dive head first in it all and leave all my cloudy troubles behind. Rubbing the syrup from one spot to the next in gooey ooey rapture. I never do of course – appearances. What would people say..what would people think of me.
Bad things – because that’s what they do, they judge.

I know this because sometimes I hold the gavel and I point it around at everyone in my view.

Most of all, sometimes…I wish when I cut in half a piece of watermelon, or pour 2 pretty pastel, thick and cold banana smoothies – that I didn’t secretly always take the better, bigger half.

Sometimes.

Not always though.

Sometimes I am just me, beautiful on the inside and apparently the out.

For at least another 28 days anyway..

Love Em.

xoxo

Death and Picnics.

For Rachel, Julie (the ones I belly laugh with always) and my other dear loves.

Ever so delicate, complex and tricky, yet so surprisingly strong when it matters – giant steel beams under the arch of a bridge, supporting millions of cars and buses and trucks and ex-boyfriends and bad hair days; unhappy careers and motherhood guilt; fears and depression. Death and picnics and everything in between.

Messy and magic and connected, forever connected.

Time stopping still sometimes for languid, late afternoon conversations; speeding on through like a freight train at others, turning crushes and high heels and favourite songs into wrinkles, prams, washing and knowledge. So much wisdom bursting out of us, together..always together.

The complexities of the female friendship.

Nothing has ever given me so much angst, so much confusion, so much comfort.

A completely intricate connection, a long beam of light flicking and snapping – that we try our hardest to hold on to, never really understanding the rules and navigation. Never knowing the course and the words and the speed in which some things must happen.

Never knowing if up is down and down is up.

It’s a tricky thing to be a girl.

It’s an even trickier thing to love one.

Sometimes a girl; a friend, can sucker punch you. Deciding to play with you, toy with you and spin you around. Sometimes they don’t even mean to. Nobody is perfect and everybody is flawed, in wisdom.

Sometimes though to be friends with a girl you can’t work out if it is a game you need to be better at; if you should speak, yell and point until you turn purple. Or bottle everything up inside and smile as you pour another glass, simply smile and decide to choose the battles – from heels and prams to battles so swiftly.

So many girls and their smiles.

Smiles all around a table. A table that is always set so pretty and polite. Smiles that hide it all. The hurt, the egos and jealousy. The anger and resentment and fear and constant questioning of connections. So worried, about pleasing the smiles and what drink to order next, as you pour another glass.

Then there are the real smiles. Smiles that turn into belly laughs.

Belly laughs that have your sides splitting and your head hurting and your breath lost. Lost in a moment of loveliness, feeling truly alive and happy with blood pumping and sunbeams shooting out of you.

Glowing in the warmth of a female friendship and all of its beautiful fractured intentions.

Glowing because in that moment, the smiles hide nothing but more smiles.

With such complexity, there is simplicity too. Turning up when it matters. Birthdays, and I do’s, gatherings and merry moments. Truly wonderful snippets of love to share. 

Beaming and loving and sharing and dancing and fairy lights, always wrapping it up in a blanket of fairy lights.

Showing up for the heartache and misery too, when you are needed as a lighthouse keeper the most.

It all goes by in the blink of an eye, and so to hold another’s hand as you jump into it all, is simply magical.

Singing as loudly as you can. All piled into a car on a road trip with no destination.

Squealing as you step off,  jumping into the water together, sailing through the air before you hit the surface.

Squeezing a hand as tight as you can, as your whole body aches in grief.

Swooping in, to pick someone up from the floor because their whole world is topsy-turvy and they don’t know day from night. Growling at whoever dares try to hurt them while so vulnerable.

Water fights, cocktail mixes, walking a scorching summer time path with bare feet. Sunning bodies on beaches, all golden and warm and loved.

So many sides to spin around, never knowing what you might get.

A click of the shoe and a beat of the heart, constantly moving together between life and laughs and death and picnics.

Standing still on top of it all looking up and wishing on stars that you had the power to make it all better, to give what was needed and not to ever make things worse than they are.

To not ever fuck up. To not ever wish bad things in anger. To only want what they want.

If I fall to pieces, I know it will be many soft, loving hands with rings and bracelets who rest on me first and stand me back up.

Girlfriends, female friendships. So terribly complicated, tricky and delicate.

Hot chocolate with 3 marshmallows and a Ryan Gosling movie, though, usually does the trick.

So does scoffing at a complete shit, who tries to hurt any of them.

Love Em xx

Cocoon

emotional-baggageToday.

It feels like a spectacular floaty, peach cobbled dress, with oodles of shoulder draping; breezy wings to billow behind as I descend down a long staircase.
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It feels like I can do it all with a wink and a smile.

Like that sun is hung just for me to warm the top of my head and the roses of my cheeks.

I have never, ever felt as good about being me as I do right this moment, and to think it is only going to get better the more baggage I hurl out of the window, smashing it onto the tar – clothes flying out everywhere in a trail behind me as I go.

 

It has nothing to do with any tedious daily events, or who I am in the company of; what I am supposed to have reproduced by now or where I lay my head.

It has everything to do though with waking up from a long, long slumber. Opening my eyes and seeing how strong I am and how easy I can be where I need to be. Slipping my toes from the comforting hammock that held me and my worry, my sadness, my fears down onto the cold floor.
Cocooned for so long; wrapped up in a sea-weedy, salty ocean of blankets and comfort and warmth as I thrashed around kicking and fighting it all endlessly – before finding myself giving in.

Flopping as I floated and bobbed along on top of it all, lifelessly. Curling up at the end of a hard day of dealing with what I had become. Pathetically submissive; submersive. To be suffocated by all of it for so long, years and years in fact. So completely exhausting all of my bones and my aching tired muscles. Knowing that what I was immersed in, was an overwhelming and heavy feeling of being totally out of control and totally unable to dig myself out of the giant hole I had fallen down.
I have been so miserable – deeply miserable, for so long.
And I did not even know it.
I didn’t know you could still laugh, and buy raspberry tea and pick apples and wash your hair with pretty shampoo and be so completely miserable.
I didn’t know people saw me so much worse than I ever saw myself.

I didn’t know you could wear a fancy dress and dance under the lights and not realise you were still invisible.

I was only miserable within myself, about myself – everything external was just dandy, delightful, dreamy. Inside though it was concrete – heavy, sad concrete that weighed me down for a long time. I had put on the brave face, the lipstick, the clothes for so long I started to believe that I was just fine. Then I rubbed my lipstick off, smudgy and thick and I instead hid myself from everyone. I tricked myself. So much so, I didn’t even know I was playing hide and seek. Saying no to anything that involved people showing up as assessors, of the damage I had done to myself.

It hurt my shoulders the most; the weight of the failure; the weight of the complex intricate things that made me; and the weight of…the weight. It was all about the way I held my weight – tied it down under a microscope and focused on it forever and a day.

It all was about the way I held my failings –  forever and a day. Holding myself down against my will. Exhausting.

For the first time ever I have reached a point where I have fought myself and won; I have put myself first and it has worked. I have been able to see my way out of an impossible situation. I have found my old self again and at the same twirly, giddy moment I have found a new me I have not met before. Whenever I said ‘oh no I cannot face you with this face,’ I meant I could not face me.

I always thought I was an outsider – my whole life. Never fitting in, never truly belonging, always watching from the sidelines wanting desperately to be wanted, for someone to hoist me up on a pedestal even but for a moment.

I know now how brilliant and bright and god damn good I am.

I am not a stretch and pulled cartoon. I am a Matisse, a Klimt a sparkly Van Gogh!

I have peachy, billowy chiffon all around me. Life couldn’t be any better.

A B-52 Bomber, dumping the bags and crap and the weight as I fly.

I am the lightest I have ever been.

No need for a cocoon today.

Em xx

The sum of my parts.

I sometimes feel like I go to bed at night and sorry comes with me, a soft whisper ready to exhale from the day that was. My shoulders can feel so tense from all the sorrys I have inside of me as I climb into bed.

As I close my eyes, it is there with my pillow, my glass of water, my alarm clock, my love; sorry for all that happened in my day and all that didn’t. It is a dull, quiet ache – so much so I don’t even notice it most of the time. As sure as I know my name though, I know it is there.

Do women all come packaged this way? Apologising for the voice they have and the physical space they dare to take up? Or is it just me?

For as long as I can remember it has been this way and it sticks to you once you let it in. A tricky, sticky caper to try to unhook your way out of. 

Conversations beginning with regret.

I come with ideas and notions pre-empting them all with the sticky caper stuff oozing out of my skin, my bones, my tongue. When someone shows me their faults and flaws and bumps and bruises, I always have a sorry prepared to show them it is me that must be in the wrong and not possibly them.

The word sorry not existing for them, how strange.

If I didn’t have a sorry to say…then I think I may crumble, erode completely like sandstone; or melt or wither or simply fade away. Poof just like that, gone.

I feel forever sorry for my voice, thoughts and decisions, but I also apologise silently for the atoms, the specks, the space I take up. I crumple my shoulders like tired, battered wings and curl myself up in a ball as I float through life. Trying not to be in anyone’s way, trying not to be noticed. In mirrors, in waiting rooms, on boats and on footpaths; people thinking about me a certain way, judging me. Deciding that they know me and all my flaws just by looking at me. I am sorry.

I am sorry, I am sorry.

If I had the time I am sure I could feel apologetic for every single cell of my body. Sorry my lips are not puffy and pouty. Sorry my bumps and curves always come along with me.

Sorry my legs are my legs.

Sorry my fingernails never really grow before I chew them off. Sorry my hair seems to only reach a certain length before fracturing; lifeless. Sorry for the days I decide to not wear makeup.

Most of all I am sorry I keep failing everybody’s hopes and expectations of me..my hopes and expectations of me.

All of the sorrys within me does not equal sadness and weeping and woe is me moments, doom and gloom. I can often feel sorry and be joyous – laughing and dancing and loving and wishing.

I know I shouldn’t be sorry for any of it, none of us should, so why am I?

An orange, freckled lady in my office with her permed hair and gold rimmed glasses keeps clicking her tongue and telling me ‘not to start my sentences with a sorry, dear’.

So why do I? How come she knows and I don’t?

There are plenty of memory sorrys deep down inside of me too that I know I shouldn’t have given so readily, at the time.

Things that I should never have apologised for but did, and then swept up, collected like bruised apples in my basket. Apologies not to another – but up to wherever whispers go; in my movements, in the breaths I exhaled. I was very sorry when I was 10 and a jolt of shock slammed my body like concrete. My skins first reaction was to expel an ‘I am sorry’ into the world.

Sorry should not have been coming from me and my space that day, in no way.

Sorry should not have followed me out of that house, and onto my bike.

Sorry should not have been whirling and spitting around in my head, in time with the colourful beads on my bike’s wheels as I peddled and peddled and peddled along the dirt road as fast as I could ..where sorry and I catapulted ourselves back home to safety, away from the house down the road where sorry should have been, but wasn’t. Where I should not have been but was.

I am sorry for something that happened just as jolting – but a numb slow jolt kind of way when I was 24 and all I could do was push sorry around in my body for days after. Thinking it was all my fault and how sorry I was. The sorrys and the shame and the faces and the hands and hurt and music and the people who were my friends but weren’t my friends…. all at the bottom of a wine bottle.

I am only just now working out I say sorry far too much, the god damn sum of my parts should not equal a sorry. Not then and not now.

 

Love Em xx