and we danced…

Today is a bit special. Even after a night of slumber-party-parent-duty for my daughter and her crew of friends. They’ve all got the day off school today because of her school’s centenary celebrations.  So we thought we’d celebrate the school’s birthday and our girl’s. So slumber partying was in order for last night and a beach ride today! This is the beach.

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And this where I have chosen to sit and do some writing.

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It’s stunning.  Early Autumn here, so not hot, but not cold. A little zephyr of a breeze. A coffee has been drunk, a pastry has been eaten.  The surfers are out in the waves and the girls are all back in the saddle, the place they love best, riding along a beach on our wild West Coast. This country is so breathtaking.  I hope they will hold this beauty in their hearts forever and never stay away for too long.

So many of the younger generation fly to bigger shores when they finish school.  It’s almost a rite of passage here in the antipodes.  Back to the ‘motherland’, or across to the Americas.  Over to where the action is and far, far away from all this natural splendour. I hope that each one of these girls carries a bank of beautiful memories like the ones they are creating today.  Carries them like homing beacons to bring them back to us when they are far away.

I’ve been thinking a lot more about those future days, when they are all grown up. I can see it emerging in my girl; the woman she will become. She and her friends sang with gusto, all the way out to the coast this morning.  Full of exuberance, they sang of a kind of love they are yet to experience. And I looked at their beautiful, shiny faces in the rear vision mirror.  Beautiful creatures. They don’t know yet, but they will.  Not so far from now.

We turned the music up, and together in the cocoon of our big warm car, we danced in our seats, be-boppin babies.  The old girl, the young girls. Full of happy hopes and wonderings. Full of a love of our own.  Love for life, for our beautiful country, for horses and sea air and the waves on the ocean.

It made me think of this song, from back when I was a young thing myself. My brother gave me a copy of The Hooters on cassette. Remember All You Zombies? That was them, too. I really loved that tape.

This the them.  And We Danced.

And we danced like the waves on the ocean romanced
We were liars in love and we danced
Swept away for a moment by chance
And we danced and danced and danced…

(ha!  love the eighties, not the mullets!)

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She’s Around Me Now

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Today is a James Taylor kind of day… I listen to his music and I am transported to the me I was, ten years ago.
I remember singing quietly to the moon, from the porch outside my friends’ flat.  On weekends our soirees would always make their way to James Taylor time.  Happy and drunk, we’d affectionately sway to the mellifluous tones of the legend himself.  And I would sing to the moon and to myself.  Sing from a place inside myself and feel whole and deeply content.

I found out after some weeks of singing to the moon that it was in fact, a streetlight.  But I digress.

Do you ever feel detached from yourself?
Like you know that somewhere out there is the person you are meant to be, but you are not being her, because life gets in the way?  You just trudge through the endless tasks that must be done, not with joy, but with grim acceptance.  It just is this way and that is all there is to it.  Dreaming about that life is the provincial domain of the young, before the realisation that everything declines.  All things eventually fall.  It’s hard to access who you really are when you are under the weight of a realisation like that.  It  can be a bit depressing.

I’ve been doing a writing course, and I am loving it.  Finally something that really works my way.  I’m here, tucked up in bed, looking out at the day.  I can work horizontally.  The kids are all at school and the first thing on my agenda is doing my course.  And today, the assignment was to make a podcast for our peers. (That’s a voice recording that you can put onto your blog… do you readers want me to literally talk to you?). Doing that got me thinking about my authentic ‘voice’.

I’ve been using it a lot this week, flexing my two dimensional vocal chords in the Chronic Ills of Rach.  I like having a voice.  And a platform to shout it from; thanks for joining me here!  I love that you want to read my stuff, it’s motivational.  And it’s been a revelation to me.

It’s so easy to feel isolated and misunderstood when you don’t use your voice.
You know, the voice of that self, the authentic, inside you.
The voice you whisper within yourself when you are too afraid to bring the words out.  Afraid they will be made small.  Ignored.  Misinterpreted.  Judged.
The voice that plays phrases on a loop, knowing they deserve to be spun into a real story.

The voice of who you really are.

I am trying to invite that voice out into the open.  Give it room to say what it needs to say and be the real me.  It’s quite scary. Stop!  Go!  No!  I’ve copped some flak since I started using my inner-me-voice.  Some people are horrified.  Maybe they have never met the no-holds-barred-rach before, or they have and they find her unseemly.  For some people, my kind of writing will never feel right.

But I feel like I felt the first time I ever went topless in public.  Don’t be too horrified, I am a risk-averse girl. No one could actually see! It was night and I was facing away from the partygoers, but I was high up on a promontory, looking over the city lights.  I was taken by this need to be bare.  And I did it.  Bare naked breasts to the wind.  It was glorious!  I felt free that night. Me. Under the darkening blanket of sky.  And I feel free now, writing my words out and sending them, naked into the world.

For me; doing normal things is an exercise in persistent determination. I am teeth-grindingly frustrated about things that wouldn’t have been spared a moment’s thought before.  I spend my impoverished energies on things you might think small, like wiping the breakfast away from the bench.  And I rest until I can do the next thing.  I must pace, conserve, plan and push through. Feeling fine is a far distant echo of life before.  I don’t remember the last time I said with honesty that I feel fine.   It would be a strange and beautiful sensation to be clear headed, to not feel the ache of exhaustion, to stop the sweeping tides of dizziness that slide across my world.

But my soul.  That feels fine.  Sublimely fine.  I am here in my room, high on a cyber promontory.
Bare naked soul to the wind.  Because she’s back, that inner Rach; she’s around me now.

Every now and then the things I lean on
lose their meaning

and I find myself careening,
to places where I should not let me go.

She has the power to go
where no one else can find me
and to silently remind me

of the happiness and the good times that I know,
and then I just got to go, then.

It isn’t what she’s got to say
but how she thinks and where she’s been.

To me, the words are nice,
the way they sound.

I like to hear them best that way,
it doesn’t much matter what they mean.

she says them mostly just to calm me down

And I feel fine anytime she’s around me now,
she’s around me now almost all the time.

And if I’m well
you can tell that she’s been with me now.

She’s been with me now
quite a long, long time
and I feel fine.

James Taylor:  Something in the way she moves.
(But it is better to listen, because he has the sweetest sounds).