The first stone

 

“Oh heaven, oh heaven, I wake with good intentions. But the day is always just too long”  Emeli Sande

If it weren’t for the fact that I am guilty of almost everything, I would be the most judgemental person on this earth. In this way I can be thankful (almost) for my mischievous nature. Because it gives, at least, some understanding and acceptance of the misdemeanours of others. If I wasn’t such a bitch, this quality would most likely make me a better friend to have.

And just like the song says, with each new dawn I’m at it again, new fuckeries to add to the long list of charges. There’s no solace in the knowledge that at least my sins are not crimes. No. This noteworthy distinction isn’t enough for me to let myself off the hook, and it isn’t for you either. Because I know I’m not alone in this denigration of self. This perpetual dispute over actions and covert intentions resulting in all manner of conclusions but leading invariably to one thing: guilt. When I really think about it, it’s no wonder I am so afraid of nuns.

A new year carries with it more weight than a new day and as such, we find ourselves seeking ways to clean the slate. Sprucing up the self is always the best place to start. I thought about it for too little time whilst in the bath and resolved that I would seek out this self-assurance that at the time seemed such an attractive quality to me. In the time it took to dry my toes, I had changed my mind. Seeing it as an annoying form of arrogance: too restrictive a territory for this turbulent traveller. And the research that it involves would certainly dilute my well-intentioned enthusiasm before I knew it.

Sniffing around the scene idly, surely there was something important I was getting at. A grotty skirting board somewhere that needed a clean. Self-assuredness is great en’all but when we really want to do something, we’ll always find a justification to make it possible…or else spend our days what-iffing. Bringing us back nicely to guilt and regret: the two most popular postcodes for people to reside.

But all things have their place and guilt surely helps us stick to the right track doesn’t it? Or is guilt a smothering straight jacket supressing the life and lust deep within? Either way, you’ll feel it regardless, even when you try not to. And I really envy those self-serving pieces of shit that don’t feel it at all. The ones who will always do what suits them best. They’ve got the right idea. Because as my new favourite Nan told me, “life is such a quick thing. Before you know it there’s no time left at all.This isn’t a revelation of any sort but coming from the nicest and most elderly person I know, it’s a rightful incitement to a little selfishness now and then.

So we move forward, past the wishes and expectations of others and into a new undiscovered realm. Fresh and untarnished by anyone else’s wants, this place is uniquely ours. We are the only dreamers of this particular dream. And it’s everything it should be and more…the sun stings bright happy eyes, playful blinking, lips lifted flirtatiously like the hems of skirts revealing some leg or gums. Frolic and flounce with all the fucking frivolity of a dance thoroughly needed. Exhaling. Muscles slumped, one on top of the other like a bum sits nicely on the heels of your feet. Looking around, like a baby blinking into existence, you see that you’ve achieved more than just the aesthetics of your dreams: in this place of unabashed insistence you realise that you’ve found yourself.

This is where we experience the flipside of guilt. The un-sulky and much more deeply rooted kind. On the verge of liberation from the combined misfortunes and self-inflicted sadness of the past, we notice a fire-exit like a giant green flashing angel. But we realise that by walking through it, we are condoning and accepting the hideous happenings that we have spent our years hating. Because on the verge of acceptance, comes that one last pang. “If I take this final step now, it means I have gained from the severance and loss of a child. It means I have benefitted from the loss of a soul that deserved his life certainly more than I do”. Or at least that’s my deepest fear. And when you see someone, whose womb has seen both life and death, smiling sincerely from the snag of their stubby toes to the flick of their bottom lip, you have to know it doesn’t come without repeated mental punches to the gut.

So we stay on the precipice, looking through the window at a feast we will never enjoy. Hungry, hurting and self-loathing but not entirely unhappy in our darkest of places. Arms folded smugly across my breasts, hair unmanageably long: I watch from the window as children swarm my street on their way to school. Like happy woollen kebabs, padding around blindly with just their noses poking out. Warm necks to the sky as the first of the year’s snow falls. And I can’t help but be softened like butter slip sliding into the pores of my toast.

Letting yourself off the hook isn’t as easy a thing to do as it sounds. But you must because hating hard on the unprejudiced unpredictable strike of lightening that once struck you and invariably despising the crispiness it has left you with is a rash that will prickle over the whole surface of skin. Slowly driving you insane with its itchy creeping demands. Till you’ve scratched and scratched and there’s nothing left but the dabby stickiness of blood and sinew. Boiled blistering skin, parched thin, scarred and weeping, no longer any use to anyone at all.

And maybe that’s what it means to burn in hell.


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The spark that saves

Image result for a spark

It wasn’t just that she nearly killed a grasshopper on her windscreen, it was that I was hellishly miserable. Casual murder everywhere I look. And it’s no wonder I dreamt I was working in the library again. I told my boss that I’d come full circle. A complete back-track to the past. She smiled and showed me a courtyard that hadn’t been there before, a jungle of abandoned bed frames. It’s not just the meat, that I too have started eating, but the newspapers too. The radio interrupting my peaceful cooking time with a forced injection of panic. And why doesn’t the news come with a forewarning. Nudity and extreme language in films aren’t going to affect you as much as the random massacre on a beach full of sunbathers. It affects you deeply. This darkness, like a tumour, spreads until it’s stage-threed every last shred of your happiness, shattering the illusion of safety.

And now I’m blindfolded with the image of a man pointing a gun at a tourist, the image of the grasshopper getting almost crushed to death by the windscreen wiper. All this horror and I can’t bare it.

For all those of you ready to pounce on me that terrorism isn’t quite the same thing as bug death, I’d like to say yes I know. I appreciate that. I’m not comparing the deaths of many to one insect. I’m speaking from the perspective of my own feelings. And now I’m pissed off at all this self editing, too much awareness of my audience and who I could possibly offend with my words.

As with everything, it makes me think of Dylan. How much more I would have feared the world he would have inherited. I’d like to say he’s safe now. But who knows if that’s true. When I buried him my mother in law at the time said something to me which was barely audible. I think it was this: he’s beautiful now. It saddened and angered me all once. Provoked something in me that rebelled against the acceptance and peace she was trying to share with me. But it’s stayed with me, why? Because I think I want the sentiment to be true.

It’s an argument I have constantly with myself but I wonder why people breed when the world is so frighteningly dangerous? But then I see something a friend wrote about his son on social media: ‘what do you want to be when you grow up? A little tiny woman’ and I know why people do it. I suddenly know why they all would given the chance. Why I would if I wasn’t so riddled with indecision and fear. As simple as that. A new life. A little growing person who takes the world outside of itself and reinvents everything. It’s not Disney sentimental, its the spark of something brilliant in a haze of heavy shit.

Why do people hate so much. What is the impetus to kill when our days are numbered anyway. And why is it always the people who have nothing to do with the quarrel that end up losing their lives. Why must we sit in fear of our flesh being penetrated by the bullets of emotion sprayed like tears from dulling eyes? I don’t understand the horror that most have suffered, but I guarantee it’s enough to have ruined them. To have made it seem right to pick up a gun or a bomb or a sword and to lash out at the world, as it has done to them. And who am I to judge when I have never seen war from the wrong side of a TV screen. I feel for them too. I really do. And at the risk of sounding like a fucking idiot, I want the killing to stop. I want the aggrieved to heal, as we are all trying to do. I want armies of compassion to run bravely onto the path of war and disarm and diffuse till everyone realises what a prick they have been. Till every war monger looks themselves in the face and decides there has been enough killing. To see they have made their point loud and clear. On both sides of the fence. From all religions and governments and walks of life. Lets stop fucking killing each and take on the much harder task of doing a little good.