- randomly placed park benches
- old signs that have been left to age
- views from train windows
- unexpected parks and open green spaces
- eating until you are full
- saying hello to people while out walking
- children singing
- seagulls waiting patiently for chips
- pets’ happiness when seeing you again
- pets waiting patiently for their dinner
- cool breezes
- easy conversations
- a cold drink when you really need one
- afternoon sun
- waving from the train
- cities at night
- driving through farmland
- comfortable pants
- conformity is unifying and unavoidable
- you are solely responsible for who you are and how you behave
- wanting to look nice is not a weakness
- clapping is encouraging and an appropriate way of saying thank you when you can’t use words
- smiling and saying hello to strangers is a good thing to do
- you don’t need diagnoses to validate or make sense of or affirm feelings or traits
- death is a very practical and thriving business and is not at all romantic
- it is important to listen to people and engage fully with them when communicating
- being highly organised and making plans is crucial
10. nobody is not annoying
11. being and doing average is enough
12. time goes quickly
there are so many different types of waiting.
even when it doesn’t seem like waiting, it is waiting.
- sitting on a train waiting
- driving in your car waiting
- cooking waiting
- washing the dishes waiting
- aeroplane waiting
- formal waiting room waiting
- applying eye cream waiting
- treadmil waiting
- test result waiting
- phone ringing waiting
- weekend waiting
- summer waiting
- winter waiting
- knowing they’re about to leave waiting
- hoping someone better comes along waiting
- listening to a song waiting
- staying awake waiting
- going to sleep waiting
- living waiting
- dying waiting
- 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.