Saturday, 22 October 2016

secret: 20 thoughts collected from the year I was 30 (or, Some Things I Know To Be True)

1. Social media is not the one way
to my soul, nor the way to make me
pay attention
nor the way to make me love you.
If you are not there on some sort of
How are we to meet?
How am I to know?
Social media is a tightrope.

2. A person does not have to be a gender.
Sometimes I am tired
Sometimes I am not a woman or a man
Sometimes I am a Helen & that is all.
It follows that there are some people who are perpetually tired in this one way; the Patriarchy is a big nuisance forever
A person does not have to be a man or a woman all the time (nor straight, gay, queer, more).
That is fine with me.

3. There is not much that cannot be soothed by any or all of these things:

  • Licks from puppies
  • A hot drink you can warm your hands with
  • Putting things in the places they go
  • A full night of good sleep
  • Being in a bookshop or a library
  • Days with no plans in them.

4. Love is a mystery
I definitely believe in it, but romantic love mystifies me. It is my way to want to pin it down and have a definition to refer everything to, but it's ridiculous and won't stay still. I don't get it. I don't get how you're all doing it. I'm bewildered.

5. I am pretty fucking great.
I have spent a lot of time rebounding from all the things other people think. I've tried very hard to keep them happy; to mimic their ways, which is almost the best way to give them what they want from me.
I have curbed my instinct and my words and my actions to fit into things. I have felt guilty or fake or like a liar for saying I think one way and knowing that isn't always true. I have chosen not to do things because I will probably do them wrong and then people will have opinions about that and I will need to address the opinions of me like that's my job.
It's not my job and it's none of my fucking business what you think of me. Go for it and leave me out of it.
I am pretty fucking great just like this and I love my mistakes and it's fun when I'm doing things differently from how you'd like me to. Please, when you feel compelled to give me guidance disguised as kindness, know that I sincerely to the very bottom of my heart am just not really listening.

6. I don't owe time or smiles or gratitude.
When you are kind and generous and friendly with me that is just lovely, and thank you.
I don't have to do things I don't want to do anymore. The best bit is this means that if I'm smiling at you I really mean it and if I'm where you are I want to see you for reals and you don't have to play a guilty game of obligation with me, which leaves you time for more activities.

7. I remember when you let me down. It doesn't mean that our friendship is broken, because I'm an adult that can like you in spite of your flaws. I just didn't forget.
I didn't forget all the times I let you down, either (the ones I know about, anyhow). To err is human, etc.

8. Most motivational quotes are true.
But this doesn't stop me from cringing.

My favourite motivational quote is from Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood and it goes
"When you are in the middle of a story it isn't a story a all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It's only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it to yourself or to someone else."

This is life and this is definitely my life. I guess maybe it's not your average motivational quote, but it sure as fuck motivates me.

9. Sometimes it is easier to spend time with new friends who are right there than to keep up with old ones who are far away.
Once I love you, I really love you, which means that when I can't see you whenever I want, my heart is broken.
I basically need to forget you exist just so I am able to function, unless I'm visiting your neighbourhood.
[I love you faraways so much, and think about you all the damned time]

10. The thing that makes me tough, strong and the actual best:
My brothers - by sheer virtue of their own awesomeness. We reflect this awesomeness in each other ad infinitum. All other relationships of my life are based on a version of this. They have taught me fierce loyalty, the fine art of cutting the shit and saying the truth, the importance of a shot of Campari before any party, and that the power in just knowing that someone has your back helps you to move fucking mountains. People are jealous of us and look, we know it.
What you suspect to be the case is true: even on our bad days, we are actually a little bit better than everyone else. We're not sorry about that. Try asking water not to be wet, or scotch not to be delicious.

11. Look, it is a definite waste of your time to care about how fat you look in your pants, but we all sometimes think about it, even the most kickass feminist of us.
It's ok to have a lapse and think that silly nonsense thought.
I shake away the thought like it's a little spider on my arm and do not beat myself up about fat, pants or thinking thoughts.

12. A lesson for humans:
You can't assume anything about anyone by looking at them.
Don't think a fat person is unhealthy
you are not a doctor
if you are a doctor, you still cannot tell by looking.
Don't think Aboriginal men are bad dads
stow your cartoon drawing pencil
Don't think a trans person has to "pass" as any gender
you can see my earlier thoughts on gender
and probably also fuck off
Don't think a woman deserves sexual, verbal or emotional abuse
for making a mistake
for having an opinion
for running for president
for wearing any particular clothes combination
for not taking your advice
for drinking too much
for making eye contact
I'm bored of this list already

13. Early marks are way better when you're an adult.

14. Sure, drinking is probably a thing I should feel guilty about
but I do not

  1. alcohol is delicious 
  2. soon, you are a bit more funny and charismatic than previously thought
  3. you make new friendships that are very important 
  4. intolerable people are either a) easier to ignore or b) weirdly tolerable now
  5. you can sing and dance better
  6. alcohol is still delicious

15. Some times I put things off for ages that turn out to be great, and my favourites:

  • learning to drive a manual car
  • downloading and listening to podcasts
  • buying a house
  • becoming vegan

16. There are some people who just remind you of who you are
You wander through many other places and try on other hats
And your paths cross again, and
Of course! There you are! Your self was there the whole damn time!

17. Layers upon layers of blankets
are the only way for me to fall asleep
like a pressure on my heart
will keep it in my chest
and I can rest
safe, without worry.

18. Layers upon layers of paper
are the only way for me to feel at peace
stacks of books and notepads
to ease the aching of my heart
so I can breathe
safe, without worry.

19. Mornings are probably the weirdest
of all the regular struggles of my life,
because when I get up and do things early
My day is better
My outlook is better
My breakfast is better
I have time for 2 coffees.
Bed is a great and tempestuous love of my life
It is so warm and comfy
and often, after
a whole night of treating me badly
I crawl in
hoping the next time will be different.

20. I don't know a lot about much, but I do know that having a place to belong in is saving my life. My garden grows roses, and I collect them to display in a bowl by my bed like trophies. I am making a good life for myself, and there are roses in it.