Conspicuous playlists and things I shouldn’t see

When I was a kid, I used to spend a lot of time thinking about wishes. Like the working class youngun I was, I fantasised about what I would do if I won the lottery, and I also whiled away hours constructing the perfect wishes that, should they come true, would fulfill all my heart’s desires.

I’m a lot more suspicious of the concept of wishes these days. I’m too acquainted with complexity to want to risk taking such responsibility for my life. There are many things that I want, that I believe would give me the life of my dreams, but I know I don’t know the full ramifications of them manifesting in my life. So I prefer to keep things vague. Focus on who I want to be, and how I want to feel, and let life fill in the blanks. It’s not that I won’t pursue what I desire, but if somebody was to give me the power to click my fingers, I’m not sure I would take it. I still find myself pondering what I would do if granted a wish, but it’s more out of trepidation – I do not want to be tricked by a wily jinn.

I happened upon one of those pretty social media quotes that people like to post the other day. Something about being tired of being strong, and wanting to just have what you wanted. I don’t recall exactly. And I can sympathise with that. But I read it and I thought nah, I’m not tired of being strong. It kind of surprised me, to be honest. There are significant parts of my daily existence that you’d think I’d be over by now, yet it turns out I’m happy to keep grinding away with them if they’re making me better.

But the Universe has been playing a little game with me recently. Bizarre synchronicities compounding to propel me down a path and make the past feel altogether more present. It has been raising infuriating questions that I have no way of answering for myself. And it reminded me, there is still one area where I’m tired of being strong. Still one area where it strains me to bear the burden of not having what I want. And that strain has made me strong; incredibly capable of bearing other burdens and barely even noticing. But I am tired. And I would like to have what I want now. I have one wish.

Answers.

I don’t want to intepret the symbols anymore, I just want you to speak to me.

The call

I’ve been writing a story since I was sixteen. It started out as one thing and evolved into many other things. The world unfolded itself to me; the characters revealed their intentions; their actions shocked, disappointed and delighted me. The story has taken up space in me this whole time, existed within me, in some sense complete and yet still unrealised. I’ve been scared to look at it, honestly, because I felt incapable of finishing it. I expected it to leave me at some point, and find a home somewhere else. But I’m starting to believe only I can tell this story, and that’s why it’s still here, waiting for me to breathe more life into it.

I took the plunge and looked at it today. And then I spent the entire day engulfed in this world that revealed itself to me, over years, bit by bit, word by word. And I realised I’m already at least sixty thousand words deep, though not even close to the end of the story. It’s probably more like eighty thousand. Hand-fucking-written. And I’m invested in these people living in my story. I know them. And I want to see how it all turns out. And it’s not enough to think about it. I have to write it.

I typed up about five thousand words today, and edited the existing twenty. And I’ve read through everything I’ve written, and thrilled myself at what exists there. It’s getting late, but I’d like to keep going.

The idea of spending ten hour days immersed in this world of my creating is really fucking nice. I don’t think there are many other things I’d like to spend ten hours doing. I’ve been flip-flopping incessantly for the past couple of months, trying to decide what to do with myself, unable to commit to the fact that what I really want to do is fucking write all day. Because it sounds too fucking nice. I have a huge problem with even the idea of permitting myself such an indulgent career. So I’ve been faffing around trying to find a compromise-job that I can bear the thought of for even the short-term. It’s not even about whether it’s ‘realistic’ to make a living as a writer. Whether I’m good enough. Whether I could do it. For some reason I’ve made it about whether it’s moral. Because I’d be having too nice a time. Who the fuck am I to enjoy my fucking life?

What the fuck is wrong with me?

I probably could have written it by now if I’d stopped fucking about.

Unavoidable things

Does Yve shit in the woods?

Just fucking barely.

After I dropped Makaloo off at school this morning, I returned to my car and was immediately met with a disturbing sensation. My bowels required evacuation. And urgently. I was planning to head over to the cafe at a nearby country park to do a bit of typy-typy. Could I make it there? Well, it was either that or shit all over my fucking heated seat, so I guessed I’d have to.

It was an eight minute drive of putting more faith in sphincter muscles than I was remotely comfortable with and, even once I parked, I wasn’t convinced I could make the thirty or so metres I would be required to perambulate to reach the toilet .

I made it to the main doors, but then…crisis struck. The building was closed. There was only one option left. I dashed back to the car, grabbed a packet of baby wipes, then doubled back so I could slip round the side of the closed visitor centre, the situation in my GI tract growing ever more desperate. There were dog walkers to one side and the car park to the other. I was surrounded. I stalked further and further into the nettles and brambles, hoping to reach a sanctuary far from where any sane people would dare to tread. There was no time to think. No time to strategise. I was running on instinct, adrenaline and primal necessity.

Finally I reached a ditch, hidden from the passers-by the best I could tell, and far enough from the beaten track that the discovery of my deposit wouldn’t be inevitable. It was over in seconds, but I remained in my squatted position, hind-quarters exposed, for a minute or two at least, awash with the kind of relief that reminds you how trivial most of your worries are. During that time my gaze landed serenely upon the long, dark windows of the visitor centre. A clear line of sight. Anyone in there could have witnessed the entire thing. And to my back, I realised, the car park still but metres away, the tree cover sparser than I had imagined. A driver pulling into any one of those bays would have come by a harrowing eyeful.

I didn’t care. I could have been encircled by a mob of jeering spectators at that point. This was bigger than pride or self-respect. This was a matter of simple biology.

Once I’d dealt with the aftermath as best I could, I bushwhacked my way back out of the greenery, not back the way I’d come but pressing on until I emerged further along the mainstream route. I’d simply been taking a detour, nothing suspicious about it. And then I kept walking, wanting to put both spacial and temporal distance between myself and recent events.

While I was walking, I found myself repeatedly amused by the idea of a dog unearthing the poorly concealed prize, and returning to its owners smeared in my disgrace. Under many other circumstances this kind of thought would have me feeling terribly ashamed for being such a disgusting inconvenience. How dare I be so irresponsible? But in this instance, there was just nothing that could have been done. I did my very best with the situation I was presented with. If events had unsavoury implications for other parties in the future, well, shit happens.

Forty-five minutes later, I was returning to my car when I heard a couple on the other side of the trees trying to call their dog out of the undergrowth…

Sifting sharp pieces

Something I have realised I need to do some serious work on right now is owning my mistakes, missteps and failures more authentically.

I instinctively absorb blame whenever a situation doesn’t go as I’d like. Because of this, and because of the story that blame creates in me, I will ruminate over how to make it better, and how to be better, endlessly, if the wiser part of myself doesn’t intervene. But I am also so cripplingly ashamed of being at fault that I dare not speak it. I want to fix the problem, fix myself, and never make the same mistake again, so I can move on and never have to look at how wrong, and thus unloveable, I was in that moment.

This creates a strange dichotomy whereby my inner world is swirling with blame and shame and deep remorse, usually far outweighing the requirements for the situation, while my outer facade dances around the admission of guilt, and clings to all the reasons why it both wasn’t so bad and wasn’t all my fault. I’m suffering enough, I don’t need you to add to it.

And that’s entirely right; I don’t. But what I’m learning that I do need is a space to openly admit the exact boundaries of my failings; to examine them with considerate and compassionate eyes, and to find validation that they don’t in fact make me the terrible monster my shame would gleefully tarnish me as.

There aren’t many people in the world, I don’t believe, who can hold space for that kind of deconstruction of events, particularly in the throes of conflict, so it’s not that I should try to do this the in the raw, unfolding moment. But I’d probably be better served removing myself before I start to hear the defensive claims of victimhood or rationalisation gush from my lips. Take a breath, take a step back, save it for later. Save it for a space where I can tip all the failings onto the floor, and sift through for the pieces that are mine.

And then fucking loudly announce to the world which pieces are mine, and revel in the freedom of the proclamation.

Lay me down

Lately, I have been waking up in the middle of the night, because my brain has decided that that is a good time to worry about all the things I’ve said and done the previous day, and how I shouldn’t have said or done them, or should have said and done them differently.

That’s not a usual thing for me to do. And it’s really not helping my already precarious sleeping situation.

But it might make sense. My son started school part-time this week, and thus I’ve been spending a lot of time driving around and whiling away aimless, unproductive hours here and there in between my childcare duties. I’ve also spent a lot more time than usual with his dad, with whom I have a festering wound of a relationship, to be quite frank about it. And on top of that (or, more likely, because of it) I’m feeling an increasing pressure to conform to societies expectations; get a respectable full-time job and a home closer to the city. Be more like Daddy.

But I’m not like Daddy.

And I don’t want to be like Daddy. I want to be like Me. The full and glorious, spectacular Me that Daddy never really understood. There’s a lot of noise and distraction in my head right now, and I probably just have to ride out the turbulence. But I’d be doing everyone a disservice if I caved now. Yeah, I want some of the things that Daddy has. And, yeah, I fucking resent him for having them and that’s an issue I’ll just have to keep working on. But compromising myself to try to get them isn’t going to lead me anywhere good.

And it certainly isn’t modelling the values I want to nurture in my son. He doesn’t want me to be like Daddy either; he wants me to be like Me. He might even need me to be like Me, so that he can learn it’s entirely acceptable to be exactly whoever He is.

I need to get real here. I need to be able to withstand the dissonance I’m experiencing right now. Because this is my life. It isn’t anybody else’s. I have the privilege and responsibility of making my decisions. Past traumas, criticism, external judgements, self-doubt; I need to stop paying attention to them. I need to stop giving them power.

My goal has never been a comfortable life. My goal has been an extraordinary one. And every time I bail out and choose comfort, because I’m too scared that the people who say what I should want is a comfortable life are right, I’m failing myself. I can’t keep failing myself. I only get one shot at this. And I’m a fucking good shooter. Why would I shoot for a team other than my own?