21 August 2007

patience grasshopper

Lots of random thoughts. I’ve decided to tackle them like I would an Ikea flatpack… laying the pieces out + taking to them with the mental equivalent of an allen key in the hope that they miraculously assemble into something useful + meaningful. The instruction sheet is in engrish + the toolkit is limited to say the least. Wish me luck!

After a period of complete + utter boy-drought + relative singleness-acceptance, the issue seems to be back on the radar like a burning beacon of malcontent. Sometimes it happily fades to the background + then sometimes all conversations revolve around it + it starts to feel like my defining feature. And please know that I recognise the unifying element of “all conversations” as me. Everyone knows how capable I am of banging on about it. Oh look, here I go again.

Everywhere I go, the ugly side of singleness is leering in my face, invading my personal space with overgrown nostril hair + sock-breath. There are so many bad bits + sometimes they hit en masse…
  • Being asked why there’s no man on the scene + what my “plan of attack” is. Like I am some rampant man-chewer.
  • More articles in the paper about plummeting fertility rates + the need to get on and have babies while you still can.
  • Babies everywhere.
  • Cute dads everywhere. With babies.
  • Friends. Having babies. At a rate of knots.
  • Dry-spell desperation.
  • Reaching a point where I seriously consider responding to last-year’s-shag-buddy’s emails.
  • Ogling at the little baby students on campus, like some kind of pervy old trench-coat wearer.
  • Knowing that to them I am the equivalent of some kind of pervy old trench-coat wearer in my attractiveness.
  • Being struck down by a monster coldsore + mega-eczema at the same time + feeling even less attractive than some kind of pervy old trench-coat wearer.
  • Seeing photos of he-who-shall-not-be-named on farcebook, new girlfriend in tow.
  • Finding reassurance in the fact that a bunch of workmen checked me out during this morning’s tea break. (Unobserved by me but duly noted by Carolyn and Jen.)
I could keep going but I won't. The moral of the story is that sometimes it sucks to be single. And I know I'm not the only one who thinks so.
I recently had dinner with a gorgeous girlfriend, one of the gentlest, most genuine people I know. She was feeling blue for a number of reasons, with perhaps the icing on the cake being treated with disrespect by a dirty dog. This is someone who quietly + bravely braces herself when the storms pass through + deals with sand-up-the-nose swell she doesn’t deserve. She wanted someone to listen to her when she expressed the pain that these experiences can bring. Something we all need. To have the IT’S NOT FAIR moment + share that. She said to me (+ this is my usual sloppy, inaccurate paraphrasing) that she longs for the chance to experience an ongoing relationship with a decent fella + to potentially build some kind of shared future. To not be out there on her own struggling with it. All the bloody time. I could hear the pain in her voice + I could feel it too. There was nothing that I could say to shift the experience or make things better. But by listening I could at least help her to feel acknowledged + understood… I hope. Because yes, being single sometimes sucks + we deserve a little understanding around that.
The temptation – as with all of the circumstances that life hands us – is to think that being single makes life suck. I firmly believe that this is not the case, but it’s an easy rut to fall into when I'm feeling sad or have been treated less-than-well. It’s important for me to step back from that + recognise that there is no single (‘scuse the pun) factor that has the power to make my life good or bad. (Okay, so perhaps excluding premature death.) One thing that I do have a real tendency to blame on my singleness is the lack of momentum that I sometimes feel. I often have this sense that my life is not moving in a meaningful direction. And that maybe if I had a partner that would change. I could get on with the serious business of living my life rather than hanging around in limbo. Of course the reality is that there is nothing limbo-like about my life. It’s life – up, down, good, bad, fun, a drudge, whatever it happens to be in any given moment. But in its entirety, golden. I love it. And the irony is that I love it more now than I was ever able to with a partner.
An old friend wrote to me from London a while back + talked about the lack of momentum that she feels at times. For her it has nothing to do with being single - she has a lovely, supportive partner - but with a whole host of other factors which feel outside of her control. Maybe that's the common denominator... a lack of control. And the invevitable clash that occurs when our sense of a god-given right to control + order + choice comes head-to-head with the unavoidable fact that life is largely outside of our control. How do we make sense of this? How do we move past the feeling that life is frequently unfair? How do we enjoy it regardless? I don't know. If I did I'd be writing a best-seller rather than ranting away to myself here. But I think an important element of the answer is PATIENCE. And that, my friends, is where this flat-pack + allen key has lead me.

16 August 2007

reasons why i love holley

1. She is a bonafide sweetheart.

2. I forgot my washing + left it in the machine for 24 hours. When I went back to the scene of the crime the washing was gone. It was dried + folded + put away.

3. I wrote myself a cammomile tea reminder + stuck it on the fridge. When I got home there was a big box of the golden stuff sitting right there on the counter.

4. She is a champion.

08 August 2007

what a drama

My baby sister Bell turned 11 yesterday. We ran through her inventory of presents over the phone, between dinner + cake. I teased her about buying me lunch with her birthday takings. She surprised me by raving about my crafty card, which wouldn’t have made a blip on the radar last year. I got into trouble for mentioning her boyfriend… My boyfriend didn’t buy me a present Claire, cos we broke up. I’m a widow now.

Everything’s so dramatic when you’re 11, + then even more so into your teens. What’s the peak age for drama? It’s gotta be teens I guess, but drama is pretty acceptable into your twenties. Everything is bright + shiny + new. Pain is sharper; love is more acute; passion is all consuming; life is largely undiscovered + confusing in so many ways. There are a thousand unanswered questions to contend with + a thousand pathways to consider traipsing down (+ then maybe back up, + then down again).

31 is not an age for drama. 31 is an age for acceptance + maturity. You’re supposed to have it sorted, in a rational sensible adult kinda way. There’s no expectation that you’ll freeze a friend out cos they pashed your boy, or die if you don’t have the right pair of jeans to wear on the weekend. There’s a distinct lack of drama. There’s little sense of adventure. And oh how boring that can be.

A boring song, currently on high rotation on the J’s, spells out this said same boring topic in a boring but catchy way: And now that she’s older, as the embers of romance fade to mortgages + leccy bills… nobody told her that she'd ever reach the stage where her husband bored her or she lied about her age. (Ahhh... pop wisdom.)

I don’t mean to sound old + jaded... too late, I know... but I am aware of the routineness that can creep into life during an off week. Those days when work is a drag + the thought of plugging away at it foreverafter sends me into mild conniptions. Those days when I could drop dead from the mind-numbing boredom of it all. Boredom + routine I reject you! I say OUT! I don't want to be bored or to see less + less value in things as time goes by. I don't want to surrender my naivety + openness. And I don't want to see it as my lot to do so just cos I'm not young anymore.

I say YES to the newness + mystery that permeated things when I was a kid. I say YES to a genuine passion for my own life that’s not slowly sucked away by the grind of work + chores + day-to-day. I say YES to die-hard romanticism + drama.

But don't worry... I won't dump you for lookin at me funny, or not wearing the right shoes, or not letting me be your farcespace friend.

05 August 2007

this week i ave mostly been...

I’ve been running on an extreme adrenalin buzz for the last month plus, + willing myself to slow down + take a break, to no avail. Wouldn’t you know it, I’m now sick again. Third bloody cold in as many months! If I don’t listen to the body temple she will ground me. Point taken.

So this weekend has been a very low key one involving consistent napping. The refreshing aspect is that I’ve been surrounded by Ethan + Holley goodness. Frequent cups of tea + pieces of vegemite toast, runs to the shop, taking my washing off the line, cooking chicken soup, changing my car battery. (Okay so that last one is above + beyond flatmate duty of care, but how lucky am I to live with a practical + generous bloke!?) It has been a relief not to endure another bout of illness in the isolation cell, drifting into morbid daydreams about who will discover my rotting corpse + how long it will take them. Probably a relief for everyone who usually puts up with it too!

Holley has been staying all week. It was supposed to be a flying visit before her next prac placement in Dubbo but she had an eleventh hour cancellation. So guess what? We have a temporary dream flatmate scenario on our hands. Yep, it’s official, I’m living with two of my favourite peops for the next six weeks. Ethan + I will continue looking for the right permanent person while Hol acts as the best kind of back up. Go the dream team! It’s been great to share a home with two people who I love, respect + get on with! On the flipside, ‘owning’ a dishwasher has not been the dream experience I’d anticipated. You were right (again) Weeze, it hasn’t revolutionised my life. It has left little bits of food all over everything, which isn’t quite what I’d been hoping for. But hey, no squabbles about who does bad washing up as the machine does it for us.

I had an entertaining girls-own-adventure on Thursday night. I’d sworn off the uni’s Winter Garden Party after last year’s, which involved far too much public vomiting + urinating for an old lady like me. But the promise of good company + a boogie to Blue King Brown was too much to resist. The sad news is that we managed to miss BKB… don’t even ask… we’re still living the mishap down. The glad news is that we had a blast anyway. Pulled out some seriously crazy moves to Midnight Juggernauts, unleashed our inner dance divas + acted like serious teenagers. I’m astounded at how little it takes for me to revert to a hormonal 15 year old. Okay, so actually we all know that this is the more constant dimension of my personality, I’ll stop pretending otherwise.

I was determined to enjoy Hol + Sal’s company + leave all thoughts of boys behind, with additional acceptance of the fact that I would probably be the oldest person there. I was dressed accordingly: daggy jeans + t-shirt, hair pulled back, no jewellery, not even lip gloss. But as is so often the case with such extensive disclaimers, it turned out that I was on fire. Two requests for phone numbers within the space of an hour! Maybe I’ve still got it! Yes, they were both misguided drunk 20 year olds, but I'll take what I can get in the flattery stakes. By the end of the night all three of us had picked out boys we liked + as the ugly lights came up Sal sent us on a mission to pursue the leads. “Right, meet you at the bottom of the steps - with boys - in ten! Go!” It was insane. But heaps of fun.

It makes me laugh to contrast this to Tuesday night when the crafty ladies were over. At least as much fun to hang out with Shady, Smokey + Tones, getting creative + philosophising about life, love + relationships. It’s always a major highlight of my month. We got into an interesting d+m about honesty + genuineness. This included one of my wise old lady rants about the importance (for me) of being true to myself but also recognising that I can be a slightly different version of myself in different situations. Hmmm… the 31 year old versus the 15 year old! Doing battle? Or perhaps simply agreeing to share in all the fun to be had!