Monday, March 25, 2013

Damage

There has been so much happening over the the last few weeks that I cannot write about. Although I may appear to be a bit of an open book, there is quite a lot of stuff that I just won't write about, more that it is too pain for those around me and it's not mine to write about.

And this is fair. I don't want to bring some things out in the open.

These things are not mine to put out there.

But here is what I can put out there. I was talking to Teddie this afternoon about it. I like her take on it.

"Writing is like therapy for you."
"Yes."
"And you want to write about the hurt."
"Yes."
"Well write what you can - even in writing around what you were seeing and feeling, you'll get what you need out of it. Save the rest to be amalgamated into your novel at some point."

Wise words from Teddie.

So last weekend I flew up to Canberra for the Toulouse Lautrec exhibition at the National Gallery

I flew up to Canberra on the Saturday morning, came back Sunday afternoon and have a long period of catharisis ever since.

During the 30 hours I had in our country's capital, I got an insight into so elements of life, my family and myself that a 45 minute flight shouldn't give you - but it did.

Coming from the Philip Larkin school of child rearing, some of what I was witnessing was very difficult. The lines of "This be the Verse" rang out in my head.

Philip Larkin - This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn

By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.

It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

This describes much of what I was seeing - and much of what I was feeling over the weekend. I'm pretty sure that Toulouse Lautrec would have felt the same, as he sat among the brothels of Montmartre, up to his eyeballs in absinthe, penning a half naked prostitute as she woke. The coastal shelf of unhappiness disguised as a bohemian life.

It always gets me that these buttoned up Englishmen can access such emotions - the Audens and Larkins and    CS Lewis's and Eliots - men of letters, dry toast and cups of tea, who write about life better than thousands before them, moving people - where do they learn this?

I can't go into details, other than I was being cut to the quick by what I was witnessing.

It's not mine to share.

However, I did get some joy out of the weekend , spending a delightful morning with my dear old aunt.

My mum's sister is 85-years-old. She's also one of my favourite people on the planet. I remember growing up often wishing that she was my mother. I think it was the kindnesses she afforded me when I was growing up. That, and I was made to feel welcome in her large family - to which I still feel today, the honorary sixth child.

My aunt has been dealing with a lot of late - chemotherapy for one, although thankfully the cancer treatment has been successful in slowing down the disease, as well as furnishing her with curly hair for the first time in her life. She was in great form. I'll admit that at her advanced age she's been ravaged by all the trappings of old age - she now walks with a stick or a walking frame. She's not a fast walker, but she is stable on her feet. Her mind, however, is all there. She's sharp - which is great to see, doing the crossword daily and reading to make sure her mind stays sharp.

We had a lovely morning together, but leaving was a little bittersweet. Getting old is horrible. Knowing that my aunt may not have all that much time left on the earth is terribly confronting. I didn't really want to say goodbye.

It's not something that I want to think about.

And now I'm back home. Three days left at my current job, three weeks of well deserved holiday and then back to the joys of hunting for work.

The last bit is rather confronting as well - more confronting that I let people think. But I will be fine.

Quoting Josephine Hart. I'll be good. Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.

I just wish I didn't have to see some people so being deeply damaged over that weekend.

1 comment:

Kath Lockett said...

Yep, I found myself nodding too. I'm only a partially-open book in the blogging world, as injustices and cruelties aren't necessarily just mine to rant about, or share, or put out there. It can be frustrating at times, but when you - yes you, Pandora - look back on the past couple of months and what's ahead, you should feel very proud of yourself.