I often have need to go back and read what has already been written, to know myself again. Life, in all its humdrum ways – the livelihood vs. the career, the grind vs. the mind – too often makes for a harlequin tapestry of discomfort, wherein I am lost at frayed corners and stretched too thin across time. I’m sure plenty of you know what I am talking about. Bilbo Baggins said it far better than I could, anyway.
Listening to Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis/Vaughan Williams (Eugene Ormandy & Philadelphia Orchestra), this synaesthetic mind is at once jarred with the striations of strings, and soothed by the feather-touch of woodwind. It is a favourite piece of mine. At once achingly bitter and fiercely sweet, it is the knowledge of Pain in accidentally biting the inside of your cheek; finding a rawness of blood so rich in sensation, never to be forgotten or wanted again…
Yet you can’t help sticking your tongue back inside the wound, to know that ecstasy. To live, to feel.
This is my Everyday. Experiencing such highs and lows of mood, it’s almost unbearable to be awake. But I would take it all – this sudden loneliness (this harsh aversion to company) this slalom-run of I Want and Can’t Have vs. (Would I cause such Grief)? – over the flatline that was my existence before. Those planed, silken-grey years … all colours muted, all ruffles smoothed away, with excuse after excuse. Such pleading of reluctance, such Oh, I am ill, so can’t go through with such-and-such. It’s too much, for little me.
No. Not there again. Nowadays, I clamp down on the bit and pull hard, for this is life as I choose it to be – my burdens, my joys, and ultimately, my choices. Back then, I would always fall back on someone else’s opinion. In hospital, I would look for approval from the staff before taking a bite of what was put in front of me; at home, I would consult my mother before daring to defy the anorexia-bitch, in plonking myself down for a (momentary) rest. My own opinions and choices didn’t count, since they could only ever be delusional, and wrong.
(I was a lazy fucker, right? So why should I deserve respite?)
It was this way, long before anorexia. At once defiantly craving individuality, and desperately afraid of not fitting in, I somehow conveyed myself along a middle-ground for years. It was easier in childhood, when only the approval of my family mattered – they were the stable foundation, after all. Until it all split down the middle with my parents’ divorce, and some sentiments were made known which threw me into such confusion, I couldn’t open my mouth to ask – Why?
When you think you have known someone as Fact, the universe is inverted when it turns out that they were a Fiction of your ideal.
It is easier not to probe certain wounds; I prefer to divert attention from worries of my own, onto somebody else’s. Whatever is troubling me will even itself out on its own (most of the time.) It’s like the cat-walking-on-a-fence thing; if I don’t concentrate too hard, I won’t fall off. So I don’t weigh myself now, and try not to count calories; most of the old routines have fallen away, quite without my knowledge. There are simply too many other things to think about, which is faintly funny – my mother always said it would be so.
Distraction has always been key, whether through education, writing, origami, or the often-futile pursuit of one doomed infatuation/love after another.
Until something strikes you behind the eyes – makes your mind pale with the fear of loss – you don’t realize what it could mean to your soul. What it might mean for your future, such as it is. I don’t plan things anymore. Nothing beyond a week. To have lived, to have survived this long, is precious enough in the newfound folds of life, where I find so many interesting things, once hidden away across the world. Infatuation begins with a glance, turns to a darkened eye, to a mind dialled down on details –
To wondering what comes next. When the moment has passed, and you realize that actually, it was never only infatuation in the first place.
And the very real terror of this, of knowing that you can never be the same again; that the story has changed, the narrative rewritten to accommodate a fresh twist. When you’re left staring into the water that runs a hell of a lot deeper than first supposed, when you’d dipped in a toe and felt the most gorgeous shiver through the mind.
But it wouldn’t end there. And with it comes the responsibility of knowing what will happen when you throw yourself in –
Because I don’t do anything by halves. Anorexia was not the only conduit for a monochrome soul, for a love of extremes – of pushing myself to the last count of breathlessness, when it seems that the pain will be too much –
So it goes. The moods are my way of saying, Hey. I’m alive – as you are, in me.
I have had a tumultuous relationship with the weather from day one. Being an outdoors-person, I won’t be found hiding indoors when the sky dials down – indeed, there is a thrill to be had in facing off with those nimbus, with a savage mood of my own; to crouch and wait, to hold my breath and my silence, until the break –
But these moods never last long, for all that the weather is as playful a beast as I am. When the world is tearing itself apart – as it seems to be ever more so these days – it will watch with me as the Way of Things goes drifting into the drain, with the petrol rainbows.
We are all of us racing to earth with the world and the sky in our arms, at times of love and loss. It is only when “normality” returns that we shake the droplets from our hair and our lashes, look around and give a rueful little laugh, embarrassed and relieved at once. It is always funny to watch people try to rationalize what they have seen, what has been and gone, in the flare of a lightning strike –
A jolt to the senses –
A crash of the mind –
A head, lowered to the pillow of grass, eyes flickering out and soul wandering away, as though it had dropped something from its pocket and would spend the rest of Eternity trying to find that glint again.
The weather draws me out when I would only hide away, as the world runs on, indifferent as and to the stars, which are shaped and reformed and called Our Own. It is the green-black clouds, the swirling of silt; heart-heavy in the eye of the storm, where we find our silence.
And, walking the lamplight haven with boots that are falling apart, a head glossy and dark as a beetle’s back, I am almost-alone and wary, caught up in the language of the wind that rattles the teeth of the trees overhead. The hazy orange glow stitched about each lamp’s face, is a halo of men and a world of tomorrows.
But those stars, they have other plans.
The cathedral draws me out too, in dust and tears. My head will come undone, spooling out across the floor with all I hold dear; pockets that are often overstuffed are finally turned inside-out, to be picked through and sorted to some semblance of sanity.
Staring into the gypsy-scarf swirl of oil and birdshit on the black-gold water, I am ancient and newborn, in a park full of walls and babies.
I will sit with my back to the wall, up in this eyrie heart, to watch the dark freckles of rain and that strange light seeping in through the glass. An iron-tang smile will find my lips.
And the Little Black Kitten? Oh, he knows the weather all too well, that one; curled about my feet, with a raised brow and a loving gaze.