Sunday, 28 November 2010

The Naked Truth

Dishonesty is a way of life. Simple, convenient and awful.
I cannot remember the last time I went a day without wilfully concealing something or misleading someone. Whether this arises from a need to protect myself, to shield others or simply to make life easier, it is something that never ends. While I am far from a pathological liar, I hate that I accept dishonesty as a convenience on a daily basis.

As the first untruth that passes your lips more must follow, to conceal the first foray in to the realm of the not quite true. And by the naively experienced age of 19, you are surrounded by people and circumstances who only know as much of you as you dared to show them at first, and now believe in somebody who doesn't really exist.

From here on out, I want a detox. If I can change my body by controlling my exertion and diet, why can't I take down my fa├žade by controlling what leaves my mouth. I feel false, and I want to be clean again. I know that removing the trace of all lies is impossible, people who have departed will forever believe the stories I spun them years ago. Doubtless I will lie again. But from this moment onward, I am vowing to myself that I will practice truth with my words to the best of my incredibly flawed ability.

Starting here, a few truths, unexpressed or previously twisted, for some clarity at bed time.

1. I am constantly afraid that the fragile balance I have found between home and university will be ended by a disaster at either end.

2. I hate Ricky Gervais. He is an idiot, whether or not I have ever watched The Office.

3. Last week I skipped work to sit alone in the living room eating crackers, my granddad is ill, but I wasn't with him.

4. That I very occasionally look at a facebook profile picture for a couple of minutes and appreciate very good looks whilst contemplating the poor timing of the summer holiday.

5. I exaggerate anecdotes in an attempt to impress teachers.

6. I never read A.J Ayer fro my IB coursework, thanks for the A though!

7. You were number 2 in male influence, but I thought you might be hurt given how bummed you seemed the day before.

8. I am obsessed with certain television shows and cyber stalk my favourite actresses until I move on.

9. I have never been in love, despite having told past boys otherwise.

10. I always hope that the people who occasionally filter in to my blog will read it, then am simultaneously terrified when they do, and relieved when they fail to recognize that they appear more than once.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Life Carries On

Today the ceiling fell in. Again.

I also stewed apples and made pork with apple ginger and shallot compote.

Then I did laundry.

It seems strange to think that for 5 days, your life can stop. Everything which usually spins by so fast, is thrown in to focus in a sickening jolt. The eye of the storm is a strange place to stand, with chaos in every direction, where stillness gives you the time to recognize the many places you can fall down and disappear.

And when the spinning starts, it is almost a blessing to forget the cliff edge for the moments it takes to make a gingerbread man, to iron a shirt or even to try and stop the ceiling falling in.

The forgetting process proves that time stops for no man. Tomorrow doesn't care if its arrival is dreaded, it just keeps ticking on, callous in its refusal to acknowledge even the most beloved in their moment of pain.

Life just carries on.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Bleak House

Yesterday I walked in the valley in the shadow of death. I was afraid.

I came home to escape from the hell-hole my life had become in the last week, and was confronted with a more terrifying reality. What happens, when a part of your framework can no longer stand? The rest tumbles in is what.

I have spent the last two days in and out of a hospital, watching somebody I love more than myself fight his way back from the edge. To see someone so big, and immortal, looking so very small and vulnerable makes everything else meaningless. This is the farce of the hospital. The wards in visiting time are full of people, hiding their pain from their loved ones, to save them pain. The loved ones hide their terror, to help the patient. In the corridors, behind closed curtains, both parties can silently break. The empty sobs of an old man, holding on for his young. The silent tears of a son, wiped away for a brave face to hide the truth which is death. Because there, the only constant companion is death, whether you can escape it, or welcome it as an escape, it is there. And all we can do is push it away for those few minutes, and live that lie.

Even the tiny light of the maternity ward, cannot illuminate the darkness of the crying football team outside intensive care. Through those hospital doors, the immortal, the youthful and the brave, become so many dearly loved pieces in a cruel game of give and take.

Dear God, whatever you are. Please give him back to us.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Small Beauties and Secret Places

Life, for the most part, goes by in shades of grey. Days roll together, not happy or sad, just happening as the things we have to do fill up the hours. But within all this averageness, there lie those things which can make life beautiful. Some of them are planned, holidays, birthdays, the fruition of long laid plans, all of these are wonderful in their place, but nothing compares to the magical moment in which you experience a small beauty.

Dozing off in the sunshine in the library and waking to a sunset, catching leaves as they blow off the trees in the garden, sitting at the piano and picking out a tune. It is these moments that make me so profoundly grateful for the life I am lucky enough to lead.

But when the shine fades, and I'm left without direction, I can run to my secret places. The secret places are not necessarily private, perhaps they even hold little beauty to other people, but they are the places I love. A windy hillside, a bookshop, the end of a garden, the top of the world, or just a bench hidden in the middle of a busy world where I can sit and think, and catch a leaf from the liquid amber above me. And then looking at the leaf burning red in my hand, I remember the beauty in the world, and I can get up, and move on.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Way We Write

Yesterday somebody asked me why I began writing this blog, and I had to think about it. I am not a person who writes with agenda, I do not aspire to be a great writer, I have no expectation that my words will change the course of history, or if they will even make sense to those who stumble upon them. And yet I write.

Some days I write for self discovery, to force me to be cogent in my thoughts. The process of typing arranges whispers of ideas in to a web and holds them for me to better understand. But this is not the reason.

Some days I write for the beauty of words. The structure of a sentence, for the glory of expression. It is on days such as these that I am staggered that there are so many to whom this simple means of expression is denied, and the idea that 200 years ago, I would have been one of them fills me with a sense of how blessed I have been. Worthy though this is, it is still not the reason.

On rare occasions, I write for somebody else. A message in a bottle, with little chance of reaching its intended subject, and a slighter yet chance of being understood, so cryptically do I package it for my own protection. The thought that they may read it, understand it, understand me, is a motivation and a fear. But it is not the reason.

The reason is this. I cannot let my life pass undocumented. One of over 6 billion tiny pieces in an enormous game of win and lose, I am essentially unimportant. I have no idea at what point my life may be ended, but should it be tomorrow, I know I will have lived without having left behind anything which will transcend the memories of those who have known me. This is true of most people who have lived and died on this earth. But I cannot accept this as a certainty. In writing myself, I am putting a little of my life in to the ether, where should I disappear, it will remain. It is likely that that is where this simple memoir of a simple girl will remain, but should chance favour me with just one person reading this in my absence, then for that moment, I will live again, and I will be remembered.

Flesh is transient, but words, especially virtual, indelible and quietly desperate words will linger on. Unnoticed perhaps, but with the hope of one day being uttered again. And this, this sad little truth, is why I write.