Mirrors, Google Maps, and other agents of Satan

jeppe-hein-mirror-labyrinth-2006-2008-metal-frame-high-polished-steel-super-mirror-aluminium-zinc-coated-metal-240-units-each-240-x-15-5-x-3-7-cm-installation-view-at-krauss-residence-new-york-2

Well hello there fellow air breathers. Yes, I am aware it’s been a while since I’ve shown this blog any love, but really who’s paying any attention. Essentially this blog is a place where I can process my internal dialogue, this is all well and good when said dialogue is focused on chocolate, Benedict Cumberbatch’s chin or whimsical artwork of narwhals. Don’t tell me narwhals aren’t freaking awesome, because they are. So is Benedict. I love you Benedict.

But what of my dialogue of late? It hasn’t been happy, whimsical or even diverted by a certain intellectually stimulating chin. It’s been dark, and sad, and angry, and quite frankly more than a little bit lost. This has been frightening, not because it’s not ok to be sad, but rather because I couldn’t climb out again, at some points I didn’t even want to.

There’s a certain duality that exists inside of me. There’s the part that hungers for rationality, for stability and rightness, for all things to simply be a balance of light and shade. Then there’s this other side that’s forced itself into a dominant position. This part of me that is destructive, impatient, selfish and with little compassion.

There’s a constant battle with a nameless anxiety that sits in the centre of my chest and steals my breath. I know what is inside. It is dark and it’s not worthy of love, praise or even acceptance. All of this exists together at the same time inside of me. a swirling vortex of desolation and hope both warring for real estate in my mind.

It’s exhausting.

I’m exhausted.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can still laugh. In fact this war inside me has made for some pretty hilarious circumstances. For example, just the other day I was getting ready for a road trip. I knew that I was in for a few hours in the car on my own so I thought I would use the time to try and reconnect with God. Well done me. So, I selected the Hillsong United playlist on Pandora and set off. I was super pleased when the first song that popped up was Oceans. Great song. Then, the Google Maps lady starts giving me directions on how to get out of my own driveway. My switch flipped, and I started swearing at the map lady. Now, just take a moment to consider the irony. I am full-rage swearing at a disembodied navigator because I want to sing to Jesus. It’s official, I am insane.

But am I? Am I really? Or am I simply exhibiting the symptoms of a deeper problem. There is darkness inside of me I know that it’s there and I know I can’t fix it. However, rather than fixing my eyes upon the ONLY one who can (Jesus – for those playing along at home).  I have been surrounded with mirrors, mirrors that reflect all the beauty and promise around me, yet the moment I try to go through them into what they portray, all I see is myself. My flaws, my failures, just me. And then I think that the real reason I can’t possibly do, or achieve, or have anything that is good is because of me. That by simply existing I disqualify myself from life.

But thats not right is it. Because Im not seeing truth, I’m seeing a reflection of the truth. A simulacra. A cheap souvenir shop reproduction of a priceless gift. A gift that I have already received. It is already mine through Jesus and the life he gave me.

And so onward I say, beyond the mirrors. Into the greatness of today, and the promise of tomorrow. Because that is what I choose. To see above. To see with a clarity that can only come from the One who made me. My friends, hope and peace are very grand companions, I encourage you to never take them for granted.

imagessigh…

He Totally Gets Me.

I never really had a school leavers ‘yearbook’ experience. To be honest, I don’t even know if the high school I graduated from did the whole portrait/quote for posterity thing! All I know is, I was so glad to sit that last exam that I never even went back for final assembly.

But, what if I had had to choose a quote to put alongside my picture for all of time? What would I have chosen? Well, let’s be real here – this is me we are talking about after all. I probably would have left it till the absolute last minute – madly run to the library, (remembering that I graduated high school in 1996 so any available internet was just a black hole of  lame emails sent to the person on the other side of the computer lab) I would have selected a random work by The Bard or Tennesee Williams, picked a pretty line that I felt would make me appear artistic and intellectual – insert dramatic hair toss.  Yes, say hello to my 17 year old self, I was a frighteningly  vapid creature. I could have at least quoted Joey Tribbiani or Kramer like any other self respecting adolescent of the 90’s!

Thankfully none of the above happened. There is no picture. I have no quote.

What about now though? Now I have 18 years more life experience. I have studied (no seriously, I have) I have married, I’m a mother and a wife. I’ve travelled.  I have read and mostly understood great works of literature – I can reference Dante, Dostoevski, and Stephanie Meyer. I can single handedly circumnavigate Pinterest! My quotation options are truly epic.

So what will it be? What words will I choose? Will I lean toward the hipster or the Inspirational? I can feel you holding your breath with anticipation.

Oh The Places You’ll Go.”

Dr Suess.

Thats right folks I went right back to Kindergarten, but, not to be ironic. It just  makes a poetic kind of sense, a book that was read to me before I could even read, would come full circle to become a part of how I choose to define myself.

Dr Suess though… I mean, the Guy just gets me!

This quote isn’t about the 5 words it’s made up of, It’s about the book as a whole. It is not a book about travel or climbing the corporate ladder, nor is it about any external experience I have, might or will have in the future. This book represents my many internal journeys; the fearless invincible beginnings, the slow descents, the unexpected crashes. It charts the vast desolation of being lost within and the eventual triumph of clawing my way out once more.

This book is real.

And that bit about waiting! GENIUS!

If you have never read it, then today is a great day for you! In fact i will even attach an awesome reading of the book by the amazing John Lithgow.

Be inspired people! Congratulations! Today is your day!

xoxo Amelia

 

 

Day 9: A Letter to Someone I Wish I Could Meet

Dear Mr Heston Blumenthal,

I just have to put it out there right at the start. In my book you are sautéed  in superlatives, caramelized in compliments and flambéed in flattery – in short I think you’re just dandy!

As far as calling myself a die hard fan – well, if I’m honest I don’t think I’ve ever been ‘die hard’ over anything, except maybe Kevin Bacon in Flatliners, but that was when I was 10 so I don’t think it counts. I’m not the type to line up for hours to get a book signed (sorry), nor will I stake out your hotel so I can steal a toilet roll from your room (reassuring). What I am, is an avid admirer of Heston’s Feasts.

The first episode I saw was your Victorian Feast – Drink Me Potion = GENIUS! I was riveted, but it wasn’t just the concept of bringing history into the present, or  your outrageous use of ingredients – a cows head? Seriously? No, what captured me was you, it was your unbridled enthusiasm for your vision, it was the joy you exuded when your imagination and your vocation collided. I believe in that episode you stated “I cannot resist the challenge of turning a fictional drink into reality”; I get that, I get how it feels when an idea takes hold of you. Suddenly it’s like there’s a map inside your head and you know it’s going to lead you somewhere really cool. Only no one else can see it, they can’t feel the anticipation that bubbles inside of you, they don’t understand that compulsion to jump in head first and see where the adventure takes you. They can’t always understand the fact that it’s not about getting it right, it’s about discovering what will come out of the quest, to get it right!

That’s how I feel about writing. I get an idea, an imagination, or a  thought, it’s ethereal, a possibility; but once I begin to tell the story, thats when the lightning strikes! Pathways open up inside my brain – choices, hidden doorways, chance meetings, a man with a wooden leg! I don’t know what’s going to happen next until I write it, and if I don’t like it I erase, delete, cross it out!

I was in England recently, I studied at Oxford University’s Creative Writing Summer Program (awesome huh?). Knowing how much I loved your show, some very special people booked me a table at your Hinds Head Pub as a surprise farewell gift. I caught the train from London, and then a taxi to Bray (excellent directions on your website -thank you). The whole experience was like a story. I was alone so it was a little bit scary, but I savored each moment: the journey, meeting your lovely staff, feeling like a bit of a loser sitting all alone in a crowded pub. Oh but the food! It was un-be-lieve-able! I felt like I was in a dream, a part of something that happens to other people, but not to me!

I guess what I’m trying to tell you, is that you’ve helped me to search out a bigger life, to embrace the joy in everything I do, and to just get out there and do something! I like to think that just a little bit of ‘Heston’ has come back with me.

So, thanks for being super – and as is inscribed on just about everything in England “Keep Calm & Carry On”.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sincerely,

Your non-stalkerish fan xo

Day 8: A Letter to Someone Going Through The Worst of Times

To my Dear Friend,

I know it hurts right now. I know that it feels like every breath is hard work, but you’re strong, the spark inside you has not gone out – no one has the power to do that to you, you need to remember that. The hard part about what you are going through is that to look at you, no one would know that you are hurting. No one can see the wounds you are trying so hard to keep hidden, except those of us you trust enough to let behind the walls. I cannot tell you how proud I am that you let us in, that you have asked for help instead of trying to cope alone. No one should have to go through this alone.

I want you to know that there is a way through this, that God does have you in His hand and He will see you through. I can’t give you the answers I know you want, I don’t think anyone can, but those questions will cripple you if you let them. They will keep you tied to the past, they’ll keep your eyes upon all of the things you have no power to change.

Sometimes things happen to us, things we don’t have a say in, circumstances can blindside us and all of a sudden we find ourselves stripped to the core of who we are, raw and bleeding. In that moment, when you look around yourself and feel like there is nothing left, it’s then you need to remember that you always have the gift that God gave to every human being. Something that no one can ever take from you.

Choice.

Only you can choose where you let your thoughts go – upon the trauma and injustice or upon the possibilities in your future. Only you can choose who you surround yourself with – those who support and uplift you or those who feed your misery and keep you trapped. Only you have the choice to keep walking forward or to surrender to despair and drift away, lost in the void of your pain.

Think about it, sure the choice to move forward is difficult, but it’s yours. Think about how empowering that is! Let that power infuse you, let it pour liquid steel through your spine. You have got power, you can fight, you can win. 

It doesn’t mean that there wont be awful days, but what quest doesn’t have it’s challenges. There might be deserts (not desserts :p) but there will also be unexpected streams hidden in those barren places. They will sustain you, and see you through to the next resting place.

You can beat this. I know it, I see the warrior within you. You are a fighter.

Most of all, you are not alone.

All my love xxoo

*Thanks Zaldy for letting me use your amazing picture!

Sorry

I know, it’s been forever since I posted anything. To be perfectly honest it’s been forever since I’ve written anything!

The only way I can explain it is; that for a while there, all the joy and love got sucked out of even the idea of writing! There were a whole lot of factors involved, but I will make you a list of my feelings so you get an idea of where my head was at when it came to writing anything these last few months.

Overwhelmed, Doubting, Lost, Guilty, Undermined, Frustrated, Disappointed, Useless,

Bound, Failure, Past, Tired, SPENT!

Does that help? Don’t fret though, I neatly compartmentalised these darker feelings and they only remained attached to my writing. As to the rest of my life; it’s been going along nicely, just minus a few thousand words.

So who am I apologising to? Those of you who have ever landed here by accident, glanced at a post here and there. To you who have encouraged me with your comments, and have felt a connection to what I write. To my friends who ask me why I haven’t written anything lately. To my family who have been patient and protective of me. To myself.

When it comes to putting words on a page, it is an extension of my heart. I write what I feel, what I see, what I hope and dream. This writing isn’t malleable, it’s not domesticated or house trained! One day the words will paint a beautiful forest cathedral of the most violent pink blossom, the next they will lift the heart of a treasured friend.

I lost that, I forgot the love and excitement that blooms inside of me when I begin to write. The childlike wonder I feel when my imagination takes me off the path of what is known and unveils what is hidden, and magical and impossible!

I found it again! That vibrancy of capturing what only I can imagine, the courage to defeat my inner foe, the knowledge that who I am is exactly who I am meant to be.

So, I’m sorry I got lost there for a while. But I am back now, and I am bubbling with things to share.

The Morning Dance.

* I know I’m cheating but here is another piece from my uni workshop.

Side by side they stand in companionable silence, the smell of fresh sawdust hangs in the air. Busily their hands dance over the serpentine length of the freshly pressed sausage.

Outside is pre-dawn stillness; that breath the world takes before launching into it’s vital morning song, all the more beautiful in our quaint country street. This shop represents not just an occupation but a livelihood, a partnership and a family. The carcasses hanging stiff upon the steel hooks mean life and a future for my sister and I, tucked warm and safe up in our beds.

My dad cheekily bumps my mum with his hip. She responds in kind with a playful “oi”, never once breaking stride as she continues to link the days sausages. Loop and twist, loop and twist the dance goes on; though their fingers have turned a petrified purple. Loop and twist, loop and twist in mundane elegance; though their knuckles ache with the cold. Loop and twist, loop and twist; side by side they dance in our little shop on Station Street.

* This is based on a memory I have of my parents when I was a child. It was lovely to revisit it with the eyes of an adult, coloured by the wistfulness of nostalgia. Ah life as the butchers daughter! Now all of these years later I am proud to say that Mum and Dad are still dancing side by side through life. Just not with the sausages…

One of my Favourite Places…

The following is a short piece I wrote for one of my workshops at uni..

It’s my favourite, it has a physical effect on me. When I’m there nothing else matters. Like opening the window to a world I have spent my whole life searching for. My heart thuds as everything settles into its perfect position. I am whole, I am remade, I am discovered again. There is no beginning or end to the fathomless wonder that engulfs me where I stand. I have pushed open the door and fallen into peace, joy and love with a single step. I know it is a place sacred to me and only seen as through a dark reflection to others. This is my special dimension; where time and space conspire to let me slip away. I am lost, I am found, in the beauteous smile of my baby boy.

* This was a stream of consciousness writing exercise. We had to write about one of our favourite places continuously for 7 minutes. In this exercise you must not stop writing at all, you have to write whatever comes into your head without pausing to edit. I enjoy this exercise because I never know what will come out!

Previous Older Entries