Sunday, 24 April 2016

Beautiful

My mom told me, your hair is so nice - i really like the white here...
that is why we need mothers :-)
I am now alcohol and caffeine free for one month! I must say that on especially sunny evenings, it is hard not to wish for a glass of chilled white wine, but then i think, i really love not breathing alcoholic fumes from my nostrils and it also has been ages since i have had these morning wake ups where i feel awful and miserable and down and i need to talk myself round to feeling better. So nope, i can withstand the 5 minute craving.

And i feel great. Why do i need this glass of wine? I loved not drinking in Harapan. I loved not drinking when i was pregnant. And there are a million substitutes for black coffee and tea, so much nicer than black coffee and tea. I have found you can tea just about anything - sage, rosemary, thyme... i have not tried parsley yet... ;-) I am happy, and full of energy and completely content - ok now and then i get pissed of, who doesn't? - but i am myself, and i don't care what anyone else thinks, i am really liking this self.

The days are brighter and linger. Oh it has been such a relief after the last few weeks - MONTHS - of incessant rain.

I have lost loads of weight. From being a 12 going on 14 i am now a 12 going on 10. The first two weeks was amazing, the weight just fell off. My now it is a little slower, but that's ok. I am hoping to get down to the size i should really be - between an 8 and a 10. That is who i really am. Along with the much more sensible diet, there is also the satisfaction that all of this is having a smaller impact on the Earth, AND i am also still cleaning the bathroom and kitchen daily. So it is all GOOD.

It has also been fantastic running everyday. I get up around 5.45 am and go for my twenty minute run. Muscle tone has returned to me. I can now do 40 sit ups without stopping and my fitness levels have exponentially increased - although, they still have a fair way to go. I eventually hope to be able to do 100 sit ups everyday, which is what anyone should be able to do really. ANYONE, not just 21 year old army cadets. While i will never be on Ninja Warrior, that is not what it's about. It is about having a strong centre, literally and metaphorically, it is about enjoying the birdsong in the morning, the sunrises!!! Oh my god, the sunrises! And of course, as i told a friend, even if you achieve nothing for the rest of the day, at least you can say, i did that. I got up at six and went for a run. 

So it is fast looking that I won't be in Singapore this summer because there is a lot to be done this year here. I need to focus on here for the coming year. The house, the garden, the school. So, no holiday in Singapore this year. I am sort of sad because of my friends - not seeing them - but Singapore, i can take it or leave it. I have no love for the place. It is overly materialistic, it is too hot, it is very expensive and rather dull. I know this seems hard to understand - and i am sure when i get there i will find lots of things to do, i always do, but i just cannot relate to it anymore. Or rather, i choose not to relate to it. I am sure that if i was forced to move back there, i would find a way of redeeming my experience in it, but since i am currently not forced to move back there, i can sort of just say, meh.

I don't plan to travel either over the holidays. I mean i LOVE travelling, but it is ok if i don't get to travel. I also LOVE staying in one place and just doing my own thing. Living where i do now, in the 21st century, in Belfast, everything you need to make a comfortable life is found here. The other day i drove around Pooleglass and Twinbrook. These achieved international notoriety momentarily when Rhianna made a video of hers here - We Found Love in a Hopeless Place - or something like that - but driving around there, on a beautiful evening, while i waited for Oisin to finish his breakdancing session in the Hammer Community Centre, which was less than 300 m from the other side of the Peace Line, i thought, these places are actually quite alright. 

They are organised around a series of culdesacs and really they are perfect for community life. I don't know the ins and outs of life there, but you look at all the wasted land surrounding it, the green lawns littered with all sorts, the gardens filled with things that should not be in gardens, and i did think, well, with a bit of TLC and elbow grease this place could look amazing. It has been said that the crisis of our age is a crisis of aesthetics, and this is completely right. If a place looks beautiful and cared for, then it does not matter if it is a little bit worn out. If the feel, the vibrance is working, then it give off a great vibe. Look at Rome for godssake. 

It is not up to me to sort out the vibrance of Pooleglass and Twinbrook, of course. 

In sharp contrast, high in the hills of Colin Glen Forest Park a sizeable community allotment is growing all sorts. When i went there five years ago, there as nothing. We did the Big Garden Birdwatch promotion with the locals there, and the place was virtually scrub. But, now the place is a series of raised beds, little sheds and poly tunnels and herb gardens. It was gorgeous. I hope that it is being looked after. It is too far away though from the local community - you'd want this so that it is easy for people to get to. Right now without wheels it takes a lot to get there. But so far, it is looking pretty great and there even if a wee conference centre where you can have meetings!

So, it has been very interesting having this white hair. I am really loving it. The white hair is me saying, that you know what, i am not 20 or 30 any more and there is no point pretending i am 20 or 30 because what is so good about being younger than you really are. I think that I am determined to act my age - and that means i intend to act in EXACTLY the same way which i have acted my entire life - which is determined by what i believe, what i think and feel, while taking into consideration the world around me. I do not think you can put an age on that, but at the same time, i cannot pretend to NOT have lived the past 45 years. I cannot pretend that i have not had two sons, or several lovers, or had my heartbroken into smithereens, not experienced all the elation i did. I cannot pretend that i have gathered a lifetime of lessons from my stupidity and accumulated from my mistakes. Nor will i pretend that i have not been to all those places i have been to and dived into oceans of ecstasy and bliss. I cannot unsee the many sunrises or the tremendous coastlines. I cannot unread the books i have read, or forget all the mountains and hills i have climbed - literal and metaphorical. I sometimes look at women who, CLEARLY are around the age of 50 or 60 and trying to dress like 30 somethings, and i think, why, why would you do that to yourself, attempt to cling on to the illusion instead of embracing the thing which you have? Joan Collins, for instance.... that wig, that make up, that outfit - you look ridiculous. I look at Jane Goodall and i think, what a beautiful woman, what a role model to follow.

There are somethings that i won't give up though - my running. I won't give that up. My running and my activism. That i will still hold dearly onto because, they are comforts to me. And that's what i think, you want things that you grow comfortable in, grow beautiful into - not things which are burdens that you feel you need to live up to. There is nothing to live up to beyond truth and and goodness and beauty - and of course to bring love to the party - and that is the NICEST part of being the age i am - i can bring this wonderful warmed through quality of love to the party. This quality of love which understands and PREFERS patience. Which can smile kindly at the memory of the hot impulses of passion - that can say, ah that was gooood, but this which i do now, that is wonderful for me now. The love which is able to admire and embrace from a far, rather than to possess and experience. A love where different questions asked are of me. A love which says, it is ok not to have it all. A love which says the most important thing is, really, it is laughter. A love where there is silence. A love which says mistakes can be made and it will be ok. A love that says, what about you? No, really, what about you? Also a love which can say, well, that's ok - i can put that down, i do not have to do everything. It is the love which is steeped in freedom. A different kind of freedom. A freedom where my personal parameters have become wider and wider over the years where it can encompass everything about me. This is what i mean that by taking care of others, you take care of yourself, and vice versa. I am neither martyr nor saint in this scenario, i am free.

And why oh why would i want to pretend that all that experience and wisdom, hard fought and hard won, which can only be done through and with the passage of time, does not exist? Why?

In a life which is fully lived, a life where there are no regrets, only lessons to be learned, there is no shame in growing old. As being born is a privilege we all, as human beings on this earth experience, so too is growing older and older. It is a different kind of power we as women can step into - one which seems to me denied to us. Just as we are told we have to remain prepubescent and shave our body hair, society, especially Western society, insists that we are in some sort of bizarre competition with our daughters and younger sisters. Instead of saying to them, we are here to help you, we behave like the stepmother in Snow White and try to stay young forever. Where is the sense in that? It is a complete denial of the truth. Of love.

SO i never intend to stop being beautiful. Never. That would be a shocking show of ingratitude to the universe. But i will also never bow to the ridiculous conventions of society.  My beauty is the beauty of seaglass. The beauty of a smoothened pebble. The beauty of deltas and ancient mountains covered in forests and shrouded in mist. My beauty is the beauty of sand dunes and beaches. Of timeless sunsets and oak trees. And we know, they can only get more and more beautiful with time, before they slowly, gracefully, and with a selflessness which is the pinnacle of dignity and integrity, pass away into cosmic memory.

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