- wet bath mats
- wet tissues or paper
- the texture of newspaper
- the smell of toilet paper
- having dough stuck to my hands
- strong perfumes in public
- the last sip of any drink
- chipped or no nail polish nail texture
- public pools
- summer weather and summer clothes and summer shoes
- sticky feet/bare feet on floor
- stickers on anything
- the last bit of glad-wrap/paper towel/toilet paper (the bit which is stuck to the roll)
- dish brushes/sponges
- having anything stuck to my feet
- plastic utensils and cups
- frozen things on my hands/skin
- having any person (other than myself) touch the dry skin on my toes or fingernails
I think we may have an aversion to categorically saying that we do not believe in life after death. I know I do and I know I observe it in the people around me.
It is preferable to remain impartial – ambivalent and answer with ‘you never know’, or ‘maybe’. Usually the question stops here and that is reasonable; none of us really know. I have never had to answer categorically – always a fan of ‘maybes’. When I was asked to raise my hand to categorically indicate my belief, I struggled.
I decided to be brave and say that I did not believe in life after death. I was one of two, in a group of seven people. I wondered about the bravery of that other person; why they decided to go against what our emotionally driven conscience wants to believe. I immediately felt guilty for my answer – like I had spat in the face of everything I cherish in the world. Like I didn’t care for its impermanence. Like I didn’t hope it would survive beyond its physical limitations. But as time passed and I was left alone with my answer, I couldn’t help but feel that it was honest.
I don’t understand the division of my being into two contradictory halves – material and non-material. My whole life rests on a perfect balance; everything within my body working specifically, automatically and intuitively to a precise prescription of balance.
When has my physical form been alone without my spirit? When has my spirit left my physical form? Everything that has happened to me, has happened to me as a whole. My spirit has been constructed through the anatomy of my senses, which allow my perception of the world. Without my senses, I would not have anything to feed my spirit. Without my brain, I could not have created meaning for what my senses gave me – they would be empty happenings.
My senses absorbed the world and passed observation to my brain. My brain interpreted what my senses gave me and found meaning. This meaning created my mind, which had breadth and depth. And then my mind created my spirit. In this way, my spirit is an extension and a by-product of my physicality.
My entire life has been confined to this sack of skin – everything that has happened to me, has somehow remained contained by my physical form. Life is extraordinarily complex, yet even the most intense and difficult things I have felt and experienced have remained within my body. So I ask myself: how does death defy this balance? How does death take away the physical form and leave an illusionary part of who I was intact? How does the mold growing along my spine, not rot my spirit? How does my spirit continue to live and grow without senses to allow anything in?
I am so sad as I write this, because I am enamored by every aspect of life, including the people in my life. Of course I want it all to live forever. I feel an internal tug, saying ‘have hope’, but would I be so sad if there was even a sliver of genuine belief that any of this will go on? I want to live forever with everything I love. I want all of this to have some important meaning that lives on through time and space. I want all of this to be larger than it is. I want all of this to extend itself beyond it physical confines.
But I don’t believe it does.
she now sits at the table with a confident laugh
and a confident posture
and a confident sense of humour
and a confident boyfriend.
she used to sit opposite me at saffron’s fish and chip shop
at the pool and at the beach
at family dinners
at the foot of our shared ambitions
at the beginning of our days
at the end of our days.
i am happy being strangers – it has a warmth and a comfort, existing in the memory of where we’ve been.
but i forgot to remember how long it has been.
i don’t know why i crawled through wet and muddy grass in dry-clean only clothes.
rainy school day in the middle of the beautifully manicured grounds, i was faced down in the grass. blades of grass like razor blades on opened skin, i cried with helplessness and biological turmoil.
escorted by pseudo-caring teachers to the safety of the office and the promise of mum. i lost my way into a garden of many azalea bushes.
wet mulch, wet leaves, wet flowers, wet me.
i took off clothes as a nod to my non-conformity. an audience of five on the edge of the garden. i laid down in wet mulch, wet leaves, wet flowers, wearing only stockings and bra. wet me.
sad me. crying me. screaming me. screaming so that everyone could hear.
why did i do that? and in dry-clean only clothes…!
he entered the garden bed and scooped me up and put me in the car and didn’t say a word and left me and i put the radio on and i kept crying and ‘let it be’ was on the radio and mum drove me home.
and i was fine.
on the 9th, we met in the middle of the street. he had a bouquet of flowers wrapped in purple tissue paper and i had a pretty face, skinny legs and the most adorable ignorance ever.
back home to a warm house on a winter night, a cold, confused family and a big wok of prawn pad thai.
a red candle with an unknown scent burned nostalgically in the middle of the table as i carefully peeled sticky tape from pretty wrapping paper – doc martens, a retro sweater and the white album.
loving eyes blinked back tears, and i decided to be happy that i was living my 15th year, rather than sad about how fast time was passing.
in my bedroom, the cd spun in the pink stereo i had received on that day eleven years prior.
i sang crazily and ironically to ‘birthday’ with every intention of making him cringe. he performed ‘why dont we do it in the road?’ bollywood style, with the same intention.
i went to sleep in my bed and he went to sleep in the guest bed. on the 10th, we went ice skating.
January – my boyfriend went away, lots of elliptical trainer, marina and the diamonds, depression relapse, trying to be vegetarian but sneaking chicken.
February – bun donuts, ed relapse, sickly and hot, being really bad at school, going out with friends, wearing all black, melbourne, fifty shades of grey trilogy.
March – younger-stranger-boy (YSB) shows interest in me, self-hatred/self-harm, shitty counselors who suggest watching comedy as a real solution, wishing everyone loved me.
April – really gothic, badly behaved at school, a lot of writing on walls and throwing tantrums, ignoring my boyfriend, getting a little chubby, always hungry.
May – YSB becomes interesting at the football oval in tight shorts, started wearing glasses for emotional protection, sitting alone in class, heaps of make up.
June – broke up with forever lover, started getting desperate, thought i was in love with everyone, the 1975, writing a lot of songs, eye liner.
July – committed to vegetarian, joined the gym and started caring about my health, vowed to never self harm again, watching movies with YSB, a clockwork orange, train station.
August – never trying and never failing, kinda falling in love, eating sushi, harold and maude, secret suitcase filled with idiot stuff, the blue house in the valley, winter nights and ill-fitting clothes.
September – getting thinner in a good way, getting happier but couldn’t commit, lots of gal pals and nights out to dinner, artpop and bangerz, 100% vegetarian.
October – driving late at night, dating YSB for real, britney spears, prism, hot spring days in the city, buying too many clothes with too little money.
November – planning an idealistic future, nights in syd, wasabi peas and cranberries, low self-esteem narcissist, uncomfortable shoes, cemetery.
December – thought that my life and i were perfect, thought i was going be to okay, thought i could do it, thought i would be successful, planning for the future, became vegan again, really lost and really pretty.
*written on the spot tonight, inspired by annoyance*
“we’re a medical family”
so we talk about arthritis,
we talk about antibiotics, diarrhea, cystitis
about urinary tract infections and back pain,
we talk about diabetes, blood pressure and weight gain.
about sinus infections and tonsils and acne,
warts, constipation, rashes and weak knees,
broken limbs and bumps and melanoma,
fissures and tumors and haematoma.
polyps and flu and blurry vision,
colonoscopy, precautions and kidney aneurysm,
a common cold or headache, nausea, thrombosis,
nothing to hide in our diagnosis.
until we are lazy and never get out of bed,
because for some silly reason we can’t get out of our head.
until we’re forgetting our granddaughter’s name,
because our neurons are tangling inside our brain.
until we are thinning in front of the mirror,
but no slim reflection could make us touch dinner.
until the compulsions have become excessive,
and we know there’s no need but the thought is obsessive.
so here’s to creams and butters and lotions,
to capsules and powders and pills and potions.
so go to the cabinet for symptoms and signs,
but you’ll get over it if it’s just in your mind.