Flight.

Time. Timetimetimetimetime. Where does it all go? Nowhere, you’re the one going places.

I’ve been off on many tangents lately. Flittering about through fiction, illustration, leopard geckos and past traumas. And I keep coming back to the issue that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to fully indulge myself in the explorations I wish to pursue. Quite often, I stop myself from starting because I know a thread left half-pulled is infinitely less satisfying than one left in the weave.

I suspect I need a radical change. A change more radical than I am probably willing, at this point in….’time’, to make. And so I also suspect that things may be about to get more uncomfortable for me, until I reach the point where I become willing to make it. But I’m holding out hope, still, in this relatively comfortable place, that there is an alternative of inching forward toward the precipice, throwing things over the drop, so that when I get there, and peer over the edge, I will see the landing, and feel reassured that I won’t break my legs. That the change will no longer be so radical that I feel I will need to spontaneously grow wings.

But it would be pretty cool to have wings, I can’t deny that. And the thing is, maybe I have them – maybe I’ve spent these years of life growing them. I don’t know. All I know is I’ve never really flown before. Maybe the only way to find out if you can fly is to fall a great distance, and see if the wind catches in your feathers.

I’ve tried flying a few times before – I didn’t kill myself, but the landings were hairy, and I didn’t arrive at the intended destination. It hasn’t felt fair to take that leap with a five-year-old on my back. Not because I fear he would suffer materially, if things went bad – he’s lucky to have a lot of people looking out for him. But if I land badly, my mind will likely become an inhospitable place for a while, and I probably wouldn’t be able to shield him from that. I would be less pleasant, all my demons made manifest. And it wouldn’t be his fault, and it wouldn’t be his choice.

Oh, but it’s so clear that I’m holding myself back. And I’m not sure there’s a rationalisation that can withstand scrutiny. I’m scared, that’s all.

S Pen

My mobile device of the past three and a half years has been getting a little ornery lately. In its defence, it has been dropped on countless occasions with absolutely no consideration for its wellbeing. But still, the situation was becoming tedious.

I convinced myself to hold off on rectifying things with an impulse purchase until after my birthday, when an anticipated, modest influx of cash will ease the burden.

When it comes to technology, I’m not a frequent updater – too much faff to keep setting things up. But when I do finally get around to making the significant purchase I have most likely not planned for, I must confess to a rather imprudent proclivity to desire the shiniest, sleekest, most impractically optimal piece of equipment I happen to lay my clammy eyes upon.

And, once I set my sights upon a device, I am regrettably unyielding from that point forward. It must be that one now. The one I have decided to love. The one I have committed myself to, come Hell or high water.

SO I’m writing this with my new S pen on my new S22 Ultra. Unnecessary, yes. Overly indulgent, undoubtedly. The day before my birthday, indeed.

Hayley

The only woman I’ve ever really viscerally wanted to be is singer-songwriter, Paramore frontwoman and ‘hair dye tycoon’ Hayley Williams. And that’s not a thing borne out of fandom, especially, though I have come to appreciate her work in recent years. It’s because part of me resonates so keenly with her, in a way I can’t really explain. Part of me believes I could have been her – should have been – if only, if only I hadn’t failed at being, in all the necessary ways.

When I was younger I was downright jealous of her, and I masked it with disdain. But I was the one who was scared to sing. I was the one who was scared to be in community. I was the failure, and I knew I had no right to criticise her, so the disdain ate at me, and wouldn’t let me forget it.

As I grew older and wiser, I let myself admit that I even enjoyed Paramore a bit. But they remained a ‘guilty’ pleasure. I didn’t want anyone to know I listened to them, and any time I did, which wasn’t often, I felt oddly on display. Who can hear this and what must they think!? As if anyone would think anything at all.

Her solo material was what let me reconcile my complicated feelings about her. We have some important similarities. We’ve had some importantly similar experiences in our lives. We have similar faultlines. We’ve learned similar lessons. But through that and despite it, she was able to continue becoming the success that she is and deserves to be. And I…well I never even seemed to begin. I had been holding that against myself, and she, most than most, reminded me.

What were the differences between us that led to our divergent paths through life, even as we traversed similar terrain? How was she able to build and maintain a fulfilling career, while every avenue I even thought of pursuing collapsed around me in short order? Why could she sing and I couldn’t? Why could she integrate and I couldn’t? We were both in pain, so my pain wasn’t the reason. How could she do it, and do it so well, and I couldn’t do it at all?

Well, there are very good explanations, of course. But that’s another tale.

Dull the shine

In the garden centre today I saw they were hiring and I thought ooh, maybe I should apply, maybe they’ll have some hours that fit around my current job but don’t cut into Makaloo time, and I thought about what a nice time I’d surely have working at the garden centre. And then I started working out just how many hours I could squeeze in, and what kind of rota I could accommodate, and how I could rejig my responsibilities to make more space for my imaginary job at the garden centre. I don’t know why I do this. The best object is always the shiny object, apparently. Every emergent possibility is the most compelling. I have more or less learned not to follow the instinct to chase these possibilities, but I still waste an inordinate amount of time excitedly considering them.

Working at the garden centre would absolutely not fit into my life, or take me in any direction I want to go. I’d be stressed out, smothered under a pile of dirty dishes, and I’d spend all the extra money on plants. If I had a few dozen avatars, it might make sense for one of them to work at the garden centre, because I like it there. But I don’t have a few dozen avatars, or even a couple, so I should really fix my gaze on the things I actually want, in this single life that I have the privilege of living. I have three active endeavours right now, and three is altogether too many. I can’t feasibly make it less, but I certainly shouldn’t be trying to make it more.

What must it be like for one’s deires to be immutable?

I can’t say for certain that mine aren’t, actually, it’s just that they are so profuse I routinely forget the order of them.

Strange times

I’ve been skimming the surface of my life again lately. What am I avoiding?

We are living in strange times. It seems trite to say – what part of the modern era hasn’t been strange? But things seem to be getting stranger. Whenever I think about it, I also can’t help but to think about how tiny I am. A speck, floating on the strange breeze which, one day quite soon, might become a strange hurricane. I have no power here.

I know I have power. And I could use my power, in allegiance with others, to potentially enact some kind of response to whatever strange change is rising. But I’m scared that it will catch me unaware. I’m scared that none of us are predicting it accurately. I’m scared there’s just too much to the story, and that even our best minds fall short. I’m scared it’s going to come down to luck, for almost each and every one of us, which way we get cast by the strange wind that’s coming.

So this skimming I’m doing of late; I think I’m putting my head in the sand. Playing video games instead of living my life, because I feel preemptively trapped and disempowered. As I imagine what decisions I may be called to make in future years, I’m playing scenarios out in my head and regularly finding myself in a hypothetical location where acting in accordance with my values risks my personal safety, and I’m wrestling with the fact that I think, as a mother, I would probably surrender my values for my personal safety. And I don’t like that. Not least because I fear preserving my short-term personal safety could come at the cost of my long-term personal safety. The future is a strange, scary knot.

In part I’m getting way ahead of myself. But, in part, too, I feel like I’ve let myself be left behind. Something is going on in the world, bigger than all the things going on, and I don’t understand it. Not even a little bit. And I’ve sensed it coming for years, and I’ve told myself I was being melodramatic. But now it’s still coming, and it’s closer, and I still don’t know what to do with it.

But that’s not a good enough reason to do nothing.