“I was waiting for a friend the other night and reading a George Orwell essay about socialism and England”
How are you?
Just so you know, a few things have happened to me recently.
I know, I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath, but then we’ve got to keep moving; something else is using the Internet in ten minutes.
They weren’t super exciting things involving promotions or monkeys or super dramas things like my brother being kidnapped by terrorists and forced at gunpoint to construct a nuclear device. Just some things (one of them was making friends with an amazing Irishman -no, it wasn’t like that- another was walking over a mountain range -yes, it was cool and it does make me a little better than you) that have added up to me being a slightly different me than I was.
What they have wrought, in their little subtle-life-altering-Frankenstein-ie way, is Carlynne 3.1(the birthday came later but we’re pretending it’s all been timed really well).
Carlynne 3.1 doesn’t apologise for herself.
Now- to be clear, this is not in a douchey way. If I tread on your toe or diss your woman I’ll apologise the crap right out of you. Goodness- if I’m playing music too loud on the tram, please tell me! Because that is so impolite and I’m so sorry.
In the past though, some of the stuff I (and I’m sure actually a lot of other schmucks) have been apologizing for and the ways I’ve been sorry are things like this:
Feelings of noticeable discomfort around people who could reasonably be described as ‘Hipsters’ as am convinced that I am not quite as cool (I have too many emotions, and don’t wear t-shirts as nonchalantly), and they will see me as not as good, which they should be spared from, sorry cool people that I’m not cool-
Concern over certain items of clothing accentuating my wobbly arms, wobbly belly, large boobs or big frame and as said accentuation means that people will see them, I feel badly as these wobbly bits are obviously something that no one should be forced to look at I’m sorry world for the bits I will cover them all up for ever-
The certainty that all conversations I engage in are mostly my responsibility and that I need to be the most entertaining/sincere/wise/funny/lighthearted person ever witnessed and when a conversation veers off course or stalls or seems awkward that this is all self’s stinkin fault because of self’s failure to be one or all of the above; sorry chat buddy for not being radiant and wittastic constantly I’m sorry
And so on.
That’s a bit shit.
Carlynne 3.1 doesn’t care. She does not need to be intimidated by anyone, because this is all bullshit. She is a person just like all the other people are and this is ok even when she laughs too loud, or likes a Justin Beiber song, or plays with her iPhone in front of the ones in the great jeans and scraggy hair*.
She has realized that how she appears to passers by, friends and loved ones does not matter, that they will love her anyway if they matter and that she is fabulous and, it turns out, beautiful**. She has never allowed herself to say this aloud before.
Carlynne 3.1 knows that there are at least two parties involved in the conversations she is a part of (save for those she has with herself, and those are another story, for another blog post) and that if things don’t run as perfectly as the script she sees in her head that this is OK too. Also, she refuses to let silences be awkward. They are simply a lack of noise***.
So that’s some stuff.
Let’s move on now, hey?
*Carlynne 3.1 does not wish this post or any comments herein to be seen as an indictment on those of a Hipster persuasion- she has nothing against that lifestyle whatsoever. She has Hipster friends and an argument can easily be made, thanks to the nebulous definition of the Hipster, that she is in fact one herself, from time to time. You know, when the mood arises.
**The secret to this step is not a diet, or a tummy flattening undergarment, or a facelift- it is much simpler. It is deciding to believe it. Voila: Instant confidence. Who knew.
***Seriously the other day I interrupted these two dudes I barely knew as they were very clearly finishing a conversation and smiled benignly at them for around four minutes as they finished talking and prepared to leave the area. They looked politely at me from time to time, wondering why I was watching their boring chit-chat. I was quite comfortable there. Quite comfortable.
As illustrated in a few posts dotted here and there, I’ve been a bit up and down over the last few months. Sure, I came home from the Christmas hols all full of pluck and vim and other sailor-esque, nineteenth century words and was ready to DO THINGS and WIN AT LIFE and BE BEEETTTEEERRRRR. And in a lot of ways, that’s what I’ve done. I’ve been busier but also more organised than ever before, I’ve been exercising in a more frequent semi-regular way, and I’ve been getting stuff done. I’m still loving my job, I rediscovered my passion for my religion: everything’s coming up Carlynne.
But not wholly (don’t worry, this isn’t going to be about how my life is really awesome but there’s this one thing where it’s not and isn’t that just the worst).
There’s a lot been going on for the last month or so, some of it concerning friends, some boys, some concerning situations at work that give me the irates, some concerning being told by lovely people that innocuous things that I do that don’t really define me or even matter are annoying and that leaving me in an emotional black hole because what do I do if someone doesn’t like every part of me etc etc.
It’s all very dramas and probably would make for very boring reading, so to summarise,
busy+stressed = not sleeping = exhausted+emotional.
A lot of sitting and watching Dr Who today helped, but what also assisted was having dinner and wine last night with pals at the boys house, dinner and wine with my housemates and my friend Jess tonight and talking to my mate Oz on the phone for his birthday. I love Oz; he is one of my favourites of the species. As are the housies, the pals and Jessie.
I realised last night as I contemplated the mental health day I was taking on the morrow, that I was feeling a little lonely. This is partially laughable, as I have friends in ridiculous and wanton plenty, thank God.
But it’s also just something that happens, I think, when you’re full up and perhaps not used to being so, and you’re surrounded a lot of the time by lovely people, who, though lovely, are still relatively new to your stuff and you somehow fall a little out of sync with normalcy and spend a lot of time in your own mind, going over the things that people have said are wrong with you over the last little while and remembering all you’ve got to do when you wake up.
So, what’s necessary here is a reminder that there is life abundant outside of my mind, and it’s gorgeous and erratic and brave and some of it is in the voice of my dear friend who turned 32 yesterday, and some is in dinners with beloveds and some is in the lightning that lit the sky and tore it apart tonight.
And I am thankful for these things.
When I turned 30, I had a couple of parties (because that’s my jam) and as indicated in a couple of the posts I’ve self indulgently linked to above, both were populated with insanely wonderful people. I meant to write some of this then, but as I got busy (read distracted) I let my little tribute fall by the wayside. So because tonight I was reminded that my friends are to me like oxygen, here is a little something something that should have been written around four months ago.
I know the greatest people that walk the earth. I have not verified this fact by any mathematical or anthropological study, but feel certain of its truth. This is mainly because for such magnificent people (for instance Caz, fierce and passionate and courageous or Paul, who is funny and loyal) to be placed in such quantities at points around the globe would surely be a statistical impossibility. The people I know (like Adam, who is HILARIOUS and brave and outstandingly loving and supportive of his wife and children) are so much around me, and so much good, that I worry sometimes for their safety. It cannot last, someone being so surrounded by such goodness, surely. The world has taught me that.
Surely such riotously excellent individuals as Kate, and Josh, and the NSP, and Erin and Joe and Jess, all gentle and wise and love to me, SHOULD be spread out. I have too much, I am greedy and spoilt for choice.
I went tonight to celebrate with friends, and they came to me and they talked and laughed and stayed with me and they lifted me and warmed my heart because somehow, for some reason, they love me too, and I hold the unmitigated honour of being associated with them.
So I don’t know the reasons or the statistics, really, or the magic of why I’m loved so, but I will try to retain the sense to revel in it whenever I can.
Ps I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I couldn’t possibly mention all the people I love, it’s too much (just FYI my big brother, little brother, their wives, partners and children are all just IDIOTICALLY, UNNECESSARILY COOL and my mum should win awards). I will rest assured in the fact that as I have no internal monologue, if I love you dearly I will at some point have told you so.
Pps. Just to reiterate, Adam “Beat” Ganglen, yo. Fo sheazy. Top shelf.
This year I’m going to get fit! I know, right?!
Also I’m going to try and be hella creative.
And I’m doing a couple of cool things like blogging for the uni mag and making a monthly soundtrack for my friend Doyle’s life and then writing about it.
Combine all that with a shit-load of excellent people, a trip to Europe and a few ideas up my sleeve for work related projects and I’ve got myself a pretty ok 2012 lined up.
I posted a list a little over a year ago, of things I would attempt to do before I turned the “give up on your teen whims” age of 30. Below are the results. Forgive me.
1. Start dancing lessons– nope. Thought about it a lot, even googled things, but not one. Sigh.
2. Practice self control (particularly as regards eating, spending, wasting and watching)- look. I lost this one for a while. Nearly a year, actually. But, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been controlling my appetite for the junk food, walking to work and walking other places too. This counts. Money I’m still bad at. Sigh.
3. Bake a Pie– HA! Hahahahaha! I baked TWO! In your face 30!!
4. Start learning French– je ne comprends pas? Je suis fatigue. Yes these are phrases from a learn French iPhone app. But, if someone French was to ask me- in English- if I would like more food or the cheque, I could respond with l’addition s’il vous plait. Counts.
5. Save money-…. cough. Oh GOD why am I so crap? In my defense, a lot of stuff came up this year that was somewhat unexpected and further to this, I am really really shit with money. I did buy plane tickets to a whole other country for next year, so I’d better figure it out soon.
Read at least half of the books currently unread on my shelf and do not purchase new ones until that has happened Secure second bookshelf and make every effort to purchase every book I like, love and think possibly looks interesting or pretty to fill said bookshelf (important caveat, books can be purhased for me)– Doneski.
7. Watch less TV –hmmm. Tricky. I did watch less TV shows actually on the TV set. And I was a whole hell of a lot busier than I have ever been before so I’m going to assume this means I had less time to watch stuff and call this a check.
8. Take more chances – why do I do this? Stupid vague and inspirational goals. How is this quantifiable? Well, I talked to boys I liked, I got my hair cut very short on one side, I submitted pieces of writing to the uni mag Farrago, I wrote honestly and sometimes embarrassingly on my blog, overtook large trucks on a highway and allowed myself to be awkwardly auctioned off for charity. Done? Sure.
9. Give one night a week to writing– straight up, didn’t happen. I did write more… This is something I need to get amongst. Onto it, accountability matrix.
10. Walk daily– Yes! …iiin the last two or three weeks. But I did it before I turned so, counts. Ha.
11. Talk less and listen more– I sort of have this covered on account of my job, although it can be startlingly easy to get through a day at the drop in without having a decent convo. I try to make listening a priority (but could still do with some more work on the “I have the attention span of a spaniel and am frequently caught out not actually listening to my friends” front), and I am finding I’m enjoying it more. I still talk a lot, though. A lot, a lot.
12. Be increasingly comfortable around new people– I think that it’s easier to feel other people will think you’re a freak, if you think you’re a freak. And so conversely, if you git on down with your own unparalleled you-ness and how good that is, then you don’t mind other people copping a load of you. You dig? I’m so at the top of my game (still a ways to go before I’m channeling Beyonce style diva confidence (frankly, I think it would make people uncomfortable (just cos, they’re not used to me being a douche(in that way) and it would definitely come out like that))) in terms of liking Carlynne, which is nice. A few things have fallen into place mentally and that’s really helped, and so I think whilst I can still be intimidated when I meet new people, particularly those of the good looking persuasion, mostly I’m of the opinion that if you’re going to assume someone will think something about you, you may as well assume they’ll think you’re a fucking rad-ball. Or something.
13. Sing frequently– oh man. All the time (In my house, obviously (Possibly to the irritation of my housemates (although my latest, Joe (so excellent) sings actually, ALL THE TIME, ALL THE TIME, which is great and means he can’t be angry about mine, which happens significantly less than his))). I also tried to be put on the singy roster at church, which happened once, and was fun. How good are multi brackets.
14. Take more photos– I took so many photos. Ludicrous, annoying amounts. And I stopped doing my photo a day business, but then I missed it so I started again. More on this later.
15. Catch a barramundi– Alas. I caught no fish this year. I did, however, catch several colds, at least one flu, gastro, and several people’s drifts.
16. Do not use cynicism as a crutch– I feel the annoyingly positive side of me has grown in power and fluffiness this year. Perhaps my cynicism was in my hair, and the shorter it gets, the brighter the bright side. Or, I’ve just been a little happier. –side note, Carlynne, the dark side of the split personality that inhabits my frame, wishes you to know that I am still in the possession of a very healthy portion of cynicism. I just don’t choose to assume the worst when I can about things like religion, other people, and where possible, myself. Still working on assumptions about the state of the government, the state of the environment, certain activists I know, and one of my parents. We’re only human.
17. Throw out one thing a month– yes! (does this count if it was done like, in several big piles scattered throughout the year that surely added up to more than 12 things) (I think it does)
18. Buy clothing and footwear only from vintage/recycled shops where possible– eep. Mostly, yes. Totally beautiful dresses, MIND BLOWING jumpers, even perfect jeans (op-shop holy grail). So much purchased from oppies that I had to impose trade embargoes on myself and Savers. There were exceptions, though, which I feel I was mostly driven to by fat days and wedding attendances. I’m sorry. Honestly.
19. Understand what it means to grow up – I believe I covered this in one of a series of self indulgent word vomits.
20. Eat at this allegedly fantastic Japanese place my mate Brad went mental over– Bam. With two days to go- locked down.
21. Make my blog look a bit nicer- woo hoo! I think it does. I don’t know about the blog fanciness, alright? It’s not my bag. But I gave it a red hot go.
22. Judge less– again. Judge less? Less what? Judge who less? It’s such a subjective, cloudy thing. Look, I generally think that if one of us is shit, then we’re all shit. Because you know and I know, all the shitty things we’ve done and are capable of doing, deep down. So, if I get to walk around and not be kicked in the face or spat on or sneered at or sent to prison or whatever, then I don’t think that I want to do those things to other people. I think I put this in because sometimes I can get all neggo about Christians and socialists, and ladies who wear leggings as pants. And I still do, way more often than I should. But I’m trying not to, and I’m thankfully arriving more often at the conclusion that maybe everyone is at least a little broken, and that compassion doesn’t actually cost me anything, and that everyone can do what the hell they like and it’s not up to me to make decisions about their pants (but seriously, leggings are essentially an undergarment, I’m telling you this for your own good).
23. Send more postcards, inc’ to people I don’t know–
I violated several postcards with several cheerful and possibly inane messages several times, then left them to be taken by other folk. Counts.
24. Talk to people I recognise instead of acting like I don’t see them– this has also become easier because of my work, and the fact that I spend a lot of time near where I work. If I see Mr Talks to Himself in the street, or Mrs Smells of Pee, it’s flat out not nice if I pretend I don’t. Plus they’re fun to talk to. And even when they’re not, when I’m tired and I don’t want to “work” it’s easier. I don’t every time, for every person I know, but mostly, and with peeps from other scenes, I say hi.
25. Spend more time chatting with my Grandma– this one is a little rough. She died last month and one of the reasons that is shit for me is because of this list and the fact that I obviously registered a need to do this because maybe she wouldn’t be around forever, and then I didn’t do it. The most I learnt about my Grandma, I think ever, I learnt in the week following her death from talking to my family and watching them bury their mother.
26. Buy film for my polaroid and use it – I tried. It’s sooooo expensive, I just could not justify $40 for like, 8 photos. But, I did buy one of those cool oldie looking plastic cameras and some film to get developed and I will be doing that a lot from now on. Sah Indie.
27. Go out dancing at least once a month– Probs not once a month, but, I have shook what my mama gave me on the dance floor well over 12 times this year at least three different clubs (six or seven times), three houses (three or four times), three different weddings and once, three times in the same weekend.
28. Develop less irritating and useless crushes – don’t even get me started.
29. Attempt to make dolma – just.. just move on.
30. Learn to play that Turin Brakes song/ any song on guitar– what? What do you want from me?! Guh.
31. Figure out how to get around hating on church in general – Bam-a-lam. Covered a little in this entry, and only progressing really. Still a lot about traditional church that doesn’t gel with me, a lot I find extraneous and irrational, but I like mine. Despite the fact that it sort of doesn’t suit me at all. They’re good people, my church.
32. Get to know family I don’t keep in touch with– please to refer to overly long blog post here.
33. Jump out of
a plane bed– done! I’m sometimes a lot better at mornings now. Sort of.
34. Take an interest in the world both around me and across oceans and not hide from the truth of it – this actually really happened. This was the year I took larger interest. Fortunately I know a lot of passionate, intelligent and interested people who help me learn and stay involved. My interest has only so far extended to some ABC watching, some reading of news articles and some protest attending, and what I don’t know about could still fill a lot of scarily large books, but I’m not content to not think about thing any more, despite the fact that it’s a giant cesspool of awfulness and mean people and oil-spills and greed out there (I don’t really believe that. Now more than ever I think, I KNOW there is the capacity for GREAT LOVE within people. Yes).
35. Talk to strangers– like a dinner, baby. Plane guy, Irish guy, old lady on tram 1, Irish guy 2, drunk people on street, drunk guy at pub, guy on tram who looked like a bearded Dylan Moran (Oh Lord), old lady on tram 2, drunk Canadians x 2, tram driver, several ladies in ladies bathrooms (you know how that goes), girls on dance floor, dude on tram 2, many café staff and I’m assuming several retail assistants in several workplaces of theirs.
36. Knit things– two parts of scarvey things later, I’m a knitter again. Getting better too. I want to branch into crocheting now. But I won’t like, make a dramatic list about it or nothing.
37. Be kind – who knows. God I hope so. I feel like I like people a lot, and am fortunate enough to keep on meeting them. It’s often hardest to be kind to yourself and those close to you though, and I’m still working on that.
And this of course is the end. I could ad several things to the list that I did do this year, but it’s late and I have even bored myself.
So the tally stands at:
Carlynne- 27 or 25 or 26.5 or something;
Doing Things-10 or so.
Victory is MIIIIINE.
thanks for listening. I promise I’ll never do this again.
So a couple of weeks ago I got respectably tipsy with a bunch of my cousins in a shed in Port Lincoln. Novelty hats were found and donned, arms were thrown around shoulders and the lyrics to Livin on a Prayer were proudly screamed into Strongbow bottles. We kicked things off quietly, I thought- I certainly had no idea that six hours later I would be swaying gently on the back of a ute as one of my cousins cavorted with a cut out horse- with a glass of wine over lunch and then essentially we didn’t stop.
My family is fun.
Not uncommon, I’m aware, but you see I didn’t know this. Don’t get me wrong, I’d always liked them when we managed to see each other, a couple of us used to live near each other and so were friends when we were younger (six hundredth viewing of Wayne’s World, anyone?), but things change, people grow up and move and mortgage things, or something, and you end up being one of those people who knows she has an extended family, but can let four year periods pass where you don’t see any of them without even thinking about it.
I guess I’d always thought that those immediately around me were my family, that the people that take care of you, that listen to your shitty stories and laugh until they pee a little with you mean more than people who just happen to have similar genes (for additional points, guess who spelt this word like the denim garment on first draft?). An on purpose connection surely means more than an accidental one.
I have, though, on occasion been jealous of those families that dig each other. My mate Amy always sees her cousins when she visits Melbourne and they laugh hysterically and get each other and it baffles me. My old housemate has cousins that are like sisters to her. How does this happen?
Last year, I made a wee note for myself as part of my list of things to do before I was 30, because I saw people like my housemate, and my friend getting on with their fam and it struck me as odd that my family connection for the most part stopped with my mum and brothers. Then of course after I made the list I forgot about it, and like, did things normally (read: in a manner both slovenly and oddly frenetic) and let nearly a year pass without anything happening. Because that’s how I roll, yo.
Then, my Grandma. I hadn’t seen her in a while, and she’d moved back home to Port Lincoln where she used to live, and then in the space of just over a day, she got sick and she died.
It was pretty strange.
(This will sound dumb, which I know is something you’re not used to from me, but I am not the person that this happens to. Which is exactly what I thought back when I was 13 and my Dad moved out or back when I was 19 and my Uncle Rick died. Out of the ordinary, dramatic things don’t happen to me, they happen to People That I Know, Friends of Mine; generally Other People. I did not, and still do not, I think, understand what it means that I no longer have a Grandmother because she stopped being alive. And just as I processed my parents marriage breaking down by confessing it to my school friends in quiet, giggly whispers and imagining the wonderous things my Dad would buy me now we were a “broken home”, I absorbed the reality of my grandmother dying with the quick, no mess no fuss “let’s just get on with it then” manner which I’ve realized is how I do things.)
So one day I’m at work, telling clients not to be racist and then the next I’m in another state, feeling bad that I haven’t cried yet, and then the next I’m chasing bottles of Moscato with bottles of cider and just the worst shot I’ve ever had in my life (sorry Mel) with a bunch of people I barely know.
The whole drunken day was quite the surprise for me, and just beyond surreal at points. My cousins Mel and Catherine were distant memories of mine, two small girls, one blonde, one brunette, filed away from a time when we were all too young to care that the others existed until I entered my uncle’s house and saw them on the couch, looking for all the world like two grown up women.
And they have jobs and opinions and long pretty hair and stuff and I was initially intimidated because the idea still had not occurred to me that maybe, just maybe my family could be one of those ones who enjoy each others company and I of course assumed they’d think I was a douche.
That was before Catherine started pouring me tumblers of wine and I knew we’d all be ok.
And we’re out in the sunshine, them and me and my other cousins Ro and Kelly talking and laughing and drinking and I realize that I like my family. That it’s been hours now since I felt remotely uncomfortable (I was so comfortable that though I paced myself and actually was significantly less drunk than others I could name- I’m looking at you, Ro- I still joined in the loud singing and mad dancing to mid nineties pop BECAUSE THAT’S MY JAM). I realized that my cousins had become my friends, either again, or for the first time.
I realized that I was one of those people.
The Uncles and the Aunts, are all crazy, and a little inappropriate when drunkish (stern looks towards my mum’s brothers). Albie and Helen were effing guns of hosts and I felt loved instantly by all, which surely, is a convenience that you should be able to go to your family for.
So. It’s shit that it took my Grandma dying to bring us all together. It’s shit that she didn’t see us falling about laughing or hear us screaming lyrics raucously from her position inside with the grown ups for she would have loved it.
But this time taught me a number of things, mainly that life can actually, just, end and so now would be the time to love those about you and find the ones that aren’t about you to love, but it also taught me that family is kick ass. The only real thing we all had in common aside from Bon Jovi, was our connection to a lady called Merle Ransome, and though we are not a part of each other by choice, we are a part of each other. And this is a real, solid and wonderful thing.
So a couple of days ago I started hearing nasty little bits floating around about some riots going on in London. The bits multiplied and had baby bits as the rioting spread and worsened until it was all over the papers and everyone I saw (including me) was saying to everyone else “wow, London, ay?” with a shake of the head.
I don’t live in London. I am far far away from the chaos, and most people I know are too, but that hasn’t stopped us reacting. My Facebook newsfeed has been ablaze with people exclaiming, pondering, laughing and generally throwing hands in the air, wondering what has happened to our fellow humans.
I don’t undersand it all. I caught on to the situation late, as is my wont with situations that are in any way important or biggish, and so missed any sort of original happenings or things that could have set it off. I have of course now seen and heard things about the police shooting a man, which is awful in and of itself as I don’t like people getting shot, pretty much full stop, and I’ve heard a bunch about the disenfranchised youth of England being fed the hell up and sort of losing it a bit, but all in all mainly riots, fires, awful, youth, race issues, awful, shit, fires, etc.
I’ve heard stacks of blame and recrimination and calls for vengeance and justice and I’ve heard enough to make me deeply, deeply sad.
But I’ve also heard some other things.
My housemate said to me tonight that she read a story about people hitting the streets of London with brooms to clean up. I was considerably cheered by this. Another friend posted a photo she found somewhere of some lovely people offering the police guarding their street a cup of tea. Naw.
How could I forget? What gets me through the frequent moments of “aaah the world is falling apart and everyone is mean and no one loves anything but themselves and why don’t we all give up” anguish I experience is the knowledge that the jerk-non jerk ratio in my life (considerably higher on the non jerk side) can’t be a singular thing. The jerk-non jerk ratio must be similar all over the world. Which means:
There are good, sensible people in the UK, doing good and sensible things.
For instance, the people behind #riotcleanup. Not only have hundreds of people, brooms proudly aloft, flocked to the streets of London and Manchester to clean up their homes but the riotcleanup tag was the most trended topic in the UK the day of its inception, and the second most trended worldwide. This is wonderful news I think, for the rep of social media. It mean that while Twitter and Facebook etc helped organise the rioters, they also helped organise those that wanted to respond in kindness and practicality, proving once and for all that the interwebs CAN be used for good as well as evil.
I found so many stories all over the place about men and women heartened and inspired by the people cleaning up their streets. Little old ladies cleaning alongside youngins, people travelling for miles to help out. I sat on twitter (I was lured back! the riots got me!) and watched the dozens upon dozens of people per minute posting their support and gratitude for what they’ve called “the real London”.
Something else I stumbled upon is this little gem:
Buy a Bobby a Beer.com What a wonderful way to thank people for doing what is no doubt a ridiculously tiring and difficult job.
Also, this! Operation Cup of Tea, which is also going a little bananas on Twitter, asks people to join them in posting a picture of them having a relaxing cup of tea, instead of rioting. They have nearly 200 000 attending on Facebook, and looking over the hoards of photos of cups of tea and coffee consumed by citizens who would rather sip and smile than rail or accuse is heartening.
Just so you know, I’m not trying to be naive. I know there are deep and abiding evils and injustices in the world and in our systems that hurt, incapacitate and frustrate my fellow citizens. I don’t think rioting and generally going a bit troppo is a helpful solution but I am not cruel or cynical enough to dismiss this mess in its entirety as youthful idiocy. I know that cups of tea and brooms won’t fix what has caused this, and that what is lacking here goes deeper than what a smile can counter.
But I needed to be reminded that London, and the world, hasn’t completely lost its mind. My heart breaks for the UK, and for all other countries experiencing unrest and fear daily. I simply am warmed by the appearance of so many wanting to help, to laugh, to smile, to love and by the knowledge that where these are known, there must be many who are unknown.
The rioters and the press may be louder but my favourite type of revolution has always been a gentle one.
So thanks to you all, and my prayers are with you.
Ps, a couple more examples
what this will look like.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately…
about creativity.About wonderful ideas
and things that people make
I’ve been thinking about exploring.
About finding more trees.
I’ve been thinking about yarn bombing,
about note posting
I love it. I think we were made to make things.
I’ve been thinking about how I, like so many others, want to make things that make people want to make things.
and make them want to laugh
and to sing
and to smile
hear touch pause breathe make
I’ve been thinking.
Just over a year ago I was having a really shit time. To say it was all about a break up would be stretching the truth a little but it certainly started that way, and the wrong, ripping grossness that is that time became snowballed with feelings of dissatisfaction with myself and my life and of horror at years of solitude stretching in front of me like a barren forest path and it ended when I grudgingly woke one day to the thought that perhaps it would be better if I was not alive any more.
I have, fortunately, enough sense inside me and inside my wonderful friends to not let myself have too much headway with thoughts such as this, and it was luckily a momentary thing, but it did shock me a little. More shocking, and more persistent than this, was the realisation that I had forgotten how to like my life.
So I decided I needed to be reminded, and that I was just the person to do that.
I began to take a photo a day, the only rule being it had to be a photo of something that I dug or something I loved or something that made me smile. The results can be viewed here.
365 photos of flowers and skies and streets and trees and friends and strangers later, yesterday I posted the last. The day before I got confused momentarily and thought I had finished already, and was surprised at my feelings of loss. I felt like I was parting with someone I love. Which is a bit stupid when you remember that I’m talking about a photo blog but I’ve grown so used to looking about me wherever I am and writing captions in my mind and falling in love with all the small but wonderful things that are everywhere around me. And I will miss it.
What I guess I wanted to get down here, as well as a huge thank you to the world for its continued brevity and charm, is some sort of notice that it worked. I once again dig my life to the point that it could seem irritating and self indulgent to those around me. I am, and, dear reader I suspect you are, surrounded by, showered in, positively crowded with joy. It is there, small and large, ugly and glorious, magenta and yellow, clouded and bright, foreign and dear. I am not making this up.
Things I didn’t ever get a photo of but wish I could:
My nephew walking or the sound of my nieces voice
The perfect magnolia flower (I know it’s still out there)
A young man helping an older lady with a walker onto a tram
Old men greeting each other in the street with a handshake and a grin
The dude in the popcorn suit who freestyle rapped at me in a bar
Ladies with fairy lights inside the bottom of their delightful, vintage frocks
Any of the life changing, heart aching music that is like oxygen to me daily
Smiles on strangers faces that are oddly familiar to me
The majority of totally awesome sandwiches eaten
The night the moon was apparently really frigging huge, even though I didn’t actually see the biggest part
So many clouds in so many wonderful, decadent skies
The smell of morning
What I’ve learnt:
I have not lost the near hysterical love for clouds I fostered as a child.
I am if anything, a little too blessed.
I am not as gungho about taking photos of strangers as I would have hoped.
Peoples faces are lovely.
Noticing things takes up a good deal of time.
The camera resolution on the iPhone 4 is just so much better than the 3.
Smiling is helpful and just about the easiest thing to do in the world.
Food is totally fucking great, though it’s possible photographing it makes me a wanker…
There is always something.