31 July 2012

My first and last word of advice on love

Love is a topic I prefer to steer clear of. I like making it, feeling it, having it in my life. At a push, I'd call it a gift from the universe; one that becomes smeary with scrutiny, to the point of disappearing altogether (at least until you look away, and then there it is again - sweetly bothering your peripheral vision). You're not meant to question it - you just enjoy it for as long as it stays.

Given that I've never found cause to examine love, then, it's no wonder I've developed few techniques for tending it. Someone is forever saying that love is hard work - that it won't always come easily, and so you need to work at love. I picture myself prodding a slumbering cupid with the butt-end of its archery bow. "Come on now, Cupid," I'd say. "Time to get back to work." I don't know how you work on love, or coax it into action if it decides to take a sabbatical of indeterminate length.

In recent months, though, I am learning (or maybe discovering) how to maintain that hottest and most volatile of gardens. The old adage would have us believe that love is like an eternally hungry hearth fire. If it exposes the glowing embers of its empty belly, throw on another log - easy peasy. Prod Cupid in the arse with a hot poker now and again and you're laughing all the way to the sperm bank or something. But to what does the metaphor (mixed or otherwise) actually portend?

It's only by taking note of what I'm doing in these earlier stages that I've discovered my slight misreading of the tale. Do you want to know how? It's not earth-shattering.

The way to keep love motivated is to keep working for it, rather than on it or (heaven forbid) against it. It might be more helpful to think of love as a small child. Anything you do now that could hurt its feelings, or fill it with anxiety or sadness, will come back to haunt you when you need it to do its homework or tidy its room. But as long as you ensure that you are acting in love's best interest, it not only does your bidding - it thrives. It sticks around, because it likes your company. And it's really that simple.

Anyway, I'm not here to disrupt your day or tell you what to do. It's just that these lessons are hard-won for someone like me. I've had to learn them alone, and for the most part through the distorted lens of anger. Where that anger came from is something I'm sick to the teeth of talking about, and I'm not even sure I'd like it to remain attached to my narrative. In fact. Why don't we just…

There, that's better.

13 July 2012

Leaf drop

Dear Diary,

Life is going too fast for me to process. I’m afraid that when I look up finally, I will be old. On the one hand, it’s exhilarating, and not as stressful as when I used to wonder what it was I was meant to be doing; when all I had was handfuls of time to make the moments I’d just spent amount to something meaningful. 

I want to do some fairly meaningless things now, for rather a long time. I think that’s called ‘holiday’.

I no longer wish for time to write here. I no longer wish to write. I wish that frightened me but it doesn’t. I wish the self was as reliable as birch bark, blanching in the sun but always shedding layers to expose fresh familiarity.

When I was small, I used to lie beneath the neighbours’ birch tree in summer. The neighbours are long gone and the tree was cut down and I moved away, but I remember how its leaves stirred the air above my face. That moment is happening forever inside me, like all of them. I have to believe that this is still enough to constitute a self; that this is more birch than air.


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