Solstice reflections

Emotional management, Floristry, Grief

I wish I knew how to live well. By well, I mean with enthusiasm. I am always tired and lacking energy, and I don’t know if that’s a symptom or a cause.
I wish I could see what other people see when they appear so enthusiastic about life, about their families, and their jobs and their every dayness. I know that’s not a word because it comes up with a spell checker line under it but I like it as a word. It conveys what I mean. Dayness meaning waking up and thinking ‘how am I going to get through this one?’
Objectively there is no difference in my day and anyone else’s day. It’s the 21st of December and its going to be the longest day of the year, and some people will be celebrating it in lieu of Christmas which is now only four days away. Temperatures will start to climb again. Holiday catch ups, taking kids swimming, walking the dog.
I wake and think of how I am going to fill the emptiness.
Following my recent flirtation with suicide, this is mostly how I feel. I can, and do, fill the emptiness with a lot of shopping which is why I am busting out the seams of this house. Just this week I have probably spent a thousand dollars on books. This is, even for me, excessive.
They are mostly gardening and art books, although I did buy two much more academic books. They felt like duty purchases. Not quite. I was excited about the one called The Language of Plants but then I started to read it and the academic language made my heart sink.
I keep thinking of ways to represent my emotions around the PhD and academia in paper. That last sentence gave me an idea. A heart chained to an anchor. I really want to do the PhD acronym, permanent head destruction. A model of my head and shoulders in paper mache but with the top not filled in and out of that comes tendrils of shredded paper. I want to do my wrist and the knife.
God my body hurts today. Physio and massage yesterday to help my hip. But I feel like I have been mashed up. I spent most of the last few days on the verge of crying because I was in pain physically and in pain from the pain. I realized that if I feel like this so frequently then the idea of a rural farm based life is a bit ridiculous. I can’t bend well, I can’t really dig. It’s ridiculous to assume that I can farm flowers with these two basic problems. Plus I can’t expose myself to that much sun. So unless there’s a miracle partner out there, business or otherwise, I am sunk.
Oh yeah, that’s right. His name was John.
So this chronic back pain which has been going on now since 2008 kills a long held dream. I can’t have the big country garden and farm that I have wanted all my adult life and I can’t do my fall back position, floristry, either because I can’t stand for great lengths of time. Thank you PhD.
I have been trying to tell people that I have lost a cherished dream and everyone just brushes over it, even those who are usually quite aware and sensitive. I do not seem able to convey to them in a way that they understand just how devastating this is emotionally. How much I feel as if I have been struck by a natural disaster, a cyclone perhaps, or a wildfire. No one perceives this about me though. In an actual cyclone it’s easy to see the trees uprooted and the roofs torn away exposing the delicacy of people’s lives, and as a community we respond. But I look well and healthy and my words do not get through to the few I trust.

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Allergic to work???

Adoption, Cancer, Diabetes, emotions, Family, Uncategorized, Work

I think I am allergic to work.  No, seriously.

I have spent the entire day forcing myself to pay attention, with my eyes skittering off the page like a toddler on too much red cordial.  The trouble is, this is the latest of a long line of jobs I have loathed.  My first job was when I was in high school.  That was decades ago.  I still feel exactly the same about work as I did then.  It’s tedious, exhausting, unrewarding and generally, a crapulous experience.  Hence, my conclusion.  I think I am allergic to work.  We’ve certainly had enough people over the centuries praising it as virtuous, character building,  blah de fucking blah.  But I have to ask myself, are they perhaps not shouting a little too loud?  It certainly seems like it to me.

It’s hard to avoid the modern rhetoric about the importance of work and career.  Indeed, I am conscious of the fact of the ongoing struggle of some women to even be able to participate in the workforce on anything like equal grounds.  I feel churlish about complaining about my lot, which has a window that opens, a door that shuts and plenty of freedom and flexibility.

Not enough freedom and flexibility, however, to be able to run with my essence.  I woke up this morning feeling like shit, and didn’t want to leave the house.  It’s nearly the end of the day, I still feel like shit and I want to be at home.  In bed.  With the cat. Period.  But I am not in any position to honour these feelings, to give them space and work with them.  One of the lessons of that I think we all need to learn is to honour our emotions, however challenging or difficult they are.  I have known too many who haven’t and in the process tend to have had more trouble, both within their own lives and with others, as a result.  Maybe if I’d stayed at home and accepted how I felt, I might have gotten through it quicker, and then when I got to the office, I’d have been ready to actually do some work.  But I’ve not been able to achieve a thing, because the urkness inside still wants its day.  So, end result is that I still feel like shit and I’ve also achieved nothing.

I do have good reason to feel this way.  My mother does indeed have cancer, in addition to heart disease and diabetes.  I’m crapping on the universe for giving me two mothers with cancer to deal with.  Such a lucky little adoptee.  But even despite this profoundly good reason for wanting to crawl under the doona and NOT COME OUT EVER AGAIN, I feel the same about work.  I felt like this before I got the news about my mother.  It has just made me feel my feelings about it even more strongly.

I wonder how many people would genuinely continue to go to their job if they didn’t need the money to pay the bills and feed themselves and their family if they have one?  Would you still do what you do if you didn’t get paid?  My answer is no.

Yet, if you were to consider my CV, you might think that it couldn’t possibly have been all that bad.  Maybe it wasn’t.  I certainly have met lots of kind, intelligent and wonderful people, some of whom have been become treasured friends.  I’ve found that I get to spend perhaps half an hour a day enjoying the company of my colleagues, and the remaining majority of the hours I’m locked to a computer screen.   Some of my work may possibly contribute to making the world a better place.  Emphasis on possibly.  Certainly that was my intent but you have no guarantees.  Did I enjoy the processes of work? No, not really.  Not enough to counter the depression and the exhaustion.  Am I in the wrong job?  Clearly the answer is yes.  What worries me is that there is no right job.  And that I have to show up here, day after day for at least the next two decades.

Oh happy thought.

 

Golden vision

Uncategorized

I am having what could be called a crisis of meaninglessness. Those who have actually had the intestinal fortitude to read philosophy books might term it an ‘existential’ crisis. I prefer crisis of meaninglessness. Truth be told, I’ve been having it for a long time. Growing since my birth, it burst into full flower in early May 2006 when a dear friend died from the cure for her cancer at the premature age of 30. (I miss you Bec).

Hence my choice of rose. This rose is called Golden Vision. She comes from the Alister Clark stable, released in 1922. She is a hybrid gigantea, and like many of his roses, she does a brilliant job of adorning the tennis court fence at Old Parliament House.
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Alister Clark had a clear vision for his rose breeding program. He wanted to breed roses that would thrive in the Australian climate, which is so much more extreme and unpredictable that England and Europe. In this, he was completely out of sync with his times, an odd environmental visionary. At this point in Australian history, we were still in love with the myth of conquering nature. Don’t adapt to where you are, make where you are adapt to you. His roses were an outstanding success, although generations after his death forgot them for a while. Fortunately most of them have been found and are well represented in a number of gardens around the country.

At the moment I am content with contemplating Golden Vision’s loveliness and using her name as a meditative inquiry. There is no doubt though that only the power of a truly robust and adaptable golden vision is going to sustain me in the near and distant future. I can only hope it emerges soon.

Love, Kylie