Sunday, 20 November 2016

Rewritten


I've been thinking a lot lately about the stories we collect: the defining experiences and the touching moments and the precious memories, and about how sometimes, out of sheer necessity, or out of want for nothing else, we rewrite the narrative of our own lives when we look back on them. We convince ourselves, perhaps, that things were different. That no, we never loved them as ferociously as we thought at the time. That when our most treasured, battered romantic novels, the ones we read in the weeks after, tell us to 'be with the person you'd want to raise your son to be like', it isn't them we think about. It isn't them.

We render beautiful words meaningless, and we shrug at the idea that the air could ever have been heavy with longing for that next perfect sentence. Heavy with belonging. We season their name differently: that name, which was once so sweet, now a bitter taste in our mouths. We tell ourselves that we will be better without them, that we will be an empire, dismissing that we had never felt stronger or more inspired than when they were there stood right next to us. We laugh about all the times they said they might marry us some day. It didn't mean anything. It didn't light the fire that it did. We look straight ahead and say, 'it's no big deal', when it is the deal that changes everything and everyone for the rest of time.

We lose the details of their face, and the noises they made as they fell asleep, and how they smiled into the kiss. We undo them from our skin, like theirs were not the fingertips that once danced a labyrinth of freckles across our backs. That theirs was not the body that took refuge tangled up with ours in the darkness. We shed them, slowly: defining experiences and touching moments and precious memories becoming blurred, less saturated. And we forget. Whether to validate our own choices, or to give us the strength to rise on the days after they have gone, or simply to heal somehow,

we forget. 

And I've been wondering what's sadder: the fact that we have to let go in the first place, or that the letting go becomes the forgetting.

Because I don't wan't to forget.
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Thursday, 3 November 2016

Things I'll teach my daughter

Things I'll teach my daughter

You are you, and you are the only you that the world will ever see, and that's spectacular, really, isn't it? Society will try to convince you otherwise, but you are beautiful, always, regardless. Your body is home. Look after it.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Exercise regularly, moreso for your mind than anything else. It's amazing how the weight of the entire world can lift after shaking your limbs for twenty minutes. Equally, if you need to take a rain check, take a rain check. Being human is not a linear experience: it is messy and imperfect and made of good days and mediocre days and bad days and days when you're just wading through the shit and days that feel like the whole world might have ended. (Side note: it hasn't.) Not every day has to be full or productive. Sometimes, it's just about putting one foot in front of the other, or indeed, laying horizontal with the biggest tub of mint-choc chip ice cream and a good book. All of these days are necessary, and all of these days matter. You just do you.

Catch a sunset whenever you can: there are few things more calming or spectacular than watching the last light of the day bleed across the horizon. Find a perfume, a scent, that you adore. Listen to your favourite song 24 times on repeat, if you want to. Light candles in your room, just because you like the smell of them when you blow them out.

Find joy in the little things: these are the moments that will carry you.

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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

A lesson in courage

(*photo credit to Nattu*)

Her hair, spectacular orange, looked like fire. It was long and wavy and fierce: strands and strands of it, wild and unwashed, sweeping across her forehead and covering the pillow. The irony, I guess, was that there was so much life in it: so much life, and yet she lay, still and frail and confused, savaged by the brain tumour. Dying. 

She was beautiful: big, doe-like eyes that I was sure once sparkled. Soft, round cheeks that weren't always tinted grey. Plump, rosy lips. The kind of woman my Grandma would have described as an english rose. She was beautiful. Beautiful. And broken.

I think about her often because she was only five years older than me, and because she was the first person I'd come across who was dying and looked, well... Like she was dying. There was no hope or vigour, no odds that she was going to surpass, no battle she was going to win.

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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Home


I've always wanted to fill my house with pretty things. The gentle, teasing dance of candlelight. Antique books with cracked spines and yellowing pages, modestly wearing the scars of time. Vibrant, beautiful flowers: ones that fill the whole kitchen with a wild, powdery scent. An ornate, full length mirror in the hallway by the door, because how do you tell if the shoes really go with the outfit otherwise? It was all I considered: when I thought about my 'dream' home. 

Things. 

Except. I know now, for certain, that it is not about things. I've been taught that is never about things. Not the green succulent aesthetic, or whether the plates are clean of last night's velvety chocolate cake (they're not), or if the leather of the sofa is perfectly intact. It isn't about how the morning sun glistens in through that window, or whether there's a doormat featuring a cute, neatly embroidered positive affirmation that has been slowly covered and caressed by autumn leaves and mud. Those things are lovely, yes, 

but they do not make a home.
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Monday, 3 October 2016

About my Grandad


His chicken was always 'too dry', and nobody was allowed to speak during the Countdown ad break so he could crack the teatime teaser. We'd play 'snap' on the regular, and the cards would always end up in the air, caught in the laughter between us, and every six months or so I'd count up his loose change pot and he'd let me keep whatever was in it. He was mischievous, impatient, brash - sometimes insufferable, but he was mine. And I loved him.

He would have been 88 today, and he would have pretended he was 21 again, like he did every year because his jokes never changed, and he probably wouldn't have liked his cake or the soppy card I chose, but wouldn't have minded that we'd filled his fridge with a hearty steak and some chocolate eclairs, because well, what else do you buy the man who has it all? And he would have caught my eye across the room and pulled a silly face and we'd have been happy, I think, just to be with each other.

We always were. 
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