Monday, October 22, 2012

In the unravelling of things once woven so tight,
is drawn straight through the heart.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Repeat after me: Chicken liberation stories do not an essay make

There's one thing I know for a fact. When I stuff up, oh ye gods, do I stuff up - Big time.

We had to do some writing in school. The topic was that keeping animals in cages is cruel. It was supposed to be an essay.. I say 'supposed to be' because that fact only occurred to me after I handed in my personal chicken experience story.

Instead of a serious essay on the right or wrongs of caged animals, I wrote all about my real life rehabilitation of four battery hens.

Ah yes, you might cringe now, but it only gets worse...

Whilst everyone else was scribbling away about the pros and cons, legalities and moral bankruptcy of keeping live animals caged up, I was waxing lyrical about my four hens and how they faced life's challenges outside the battery cages they were imprisoned in.

I even spent a few minutes wondering if I should give the reader their real names or just replace them with pseudonyms eg: chicken 1, chicken 2 etc..  At last (mercifully), I realised that I should keep it more professional and not name them at all.

Yep.. Cringe away.

I was just getting to the point in my writing about having to teach an anonymous Henny Penny to perch (these birds had NO chicken skills what-so-ever, because they'd never set claw on soil before) when the teacher announces there's only five minutes left for editing...

editing?? good god... how about a total rewrite?

I'm sure my teacher's going to think I've been smoking weed, or dropping acid, or drinking red wine out of bottles in plain paper bags during my break...

Well, on the up-side (yes I'm optimistic enough to try and find an up-side) I suppose I'm a pretty unique individual. My writing is at 3rd grade level, but it's unique.

I sometimes (OK I admit.. often..) wonder why my brain is being so uncooperative in my adult life. Is it all the years I've spent out of school (29)? So many precious synapses lost to alcohol consumption? Is it the migraine preventer medication that leaves my brain a forgetful mash? Is it just that I'm not that smart? Is it that I just don't know what they want from me (besides a tear jerking chicken story)?

Maybe it's all that.. and more.

It's hard not to be harsh on yourself when you've stuffed up so bad - but as Deb pointed out, I learned a lesson about what I should have done. I should've written an argument featuring both sides of animal treatment and kept my own chickens out of it.

Ah well. As I carry on in my job of making other people feel good about their own stuff ups in life, I'll try to remember that I'm a unique soul with a different way of looking at things...

And then I'll keep it all inside and definitely not write about it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My goals for today:

Keep calm. Keep breathing. Do not give into the urge to run around in a tizzy. Try to explain to others that you are actually remaining calm, because these people have never seen you in a real tizzy.

Smile when after 10 minutes of patiently explaining to the lady at the counter what you are there for, you are mistaken for the student's mother - not the student herself. Smile also when you're told that "you could do maths if you tried harder/if it was presented in a different way/even after 29 years of not using it/if "I" taught you how.. Because really what they are saying is -- even though I don't know you from Larry, I can tell at a glance that you could do maths because I can.

That last one really got me, I mean what sort of logic is that? It goes along the same lines as, "Hey if I can do a triple bypass operation, so can you - here's the scalpel." Seriously.

Smile when you're told that no one knows anything about anything. After all - why should they? They only work at the Senior** College! I think about the ironic fact that I could find out Port Kembla's postcode for someone filling out a form on the same side of the counter as me, but the people in charge on the other side have no idea I am an enrolled student; even after I've told them what I wanted to know five times, they still think I am my own mother -or maybe the lady from Centrelink who wants to get pregnant teens back to school. They even go through the Centrelink proposal with me, while I look for the hidden candid camera and tell them I'm a student. Seriously.

Calm blue oceans. Cloudless blue skies. Birds flying into a sunset. Gentle rain on mountain slopes.

'It'll be fine,' I tell myself. 'This is just all happening for some obscure and yet necessary reason that hasn't been made clear to me.'

And with that I drove home in the rain.  'Cloudless blue skies,' my arse.

** I have now come to understand that the term "Senior" is applied randomly and loosely. From what I can glean, a senior at this particular college is actually a person aged in their late teens. Old ladies like myself are automatically assumed to be the mothers of those "seniors" and not students themselves.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

OK, so lately I've been doing that thing that I always do i.e. spending my time doing the one-woman internal debate routine. I swear if there was ever a medal awarded for the most internally undecided, it would go to me.

No one or nothing I know of can beat me in... well, beating myself up.

I have insides the consistency of jelly. I quiver and shake and fall into a gelatinous mess debating with myself about the pros and cons of anything I decide to do.

So you can see that the decision I've made to return to school has given me a major case of internal debating Olympics. Complete with Greek wrestling and ego archery.

One minute I'm 'out there' doing something brave, taking on school subjects that I would never in my right mind have ever contemplated doing back when I was actually at school,  mainly because I'd considered them totally light-weight.

Art? C'mon. Music? Pfft. Give me a break.

I was all about history and science and solid things.. factual things. Not rhythm and blues and weary looking boots..

All this internal too-ing and fro-ing is, of course, a field day for my inner naysayer. "How will you ever get a proper ATAR with those subjects?" She moans.. "You can't even play a musical instrument more complex than a comb and paper kazoo.. and as for art... dot -to dot ain't gonna cut it."

So I sat down and politely asked the nay-sayer to shut up for a minute while I quizzed myself about what the hell I was doing, because I never met anyone that could tell themselves how much they apparently can't do, as I can.

So what if I chose badly? I like music. I like listening to it. I respond to it. I can't play an instrument, but I can sing - quite well too for someone who's never had a lesson and was never encouraged to use a natural gift. I like art. I see things in paintings, I like how the artist transfers thoughts and feelings to another medium. I can't paint, or draw, or do anything arty. But I can appreciate it like mad.

And if I've made a huge mistake, I'll swap subjects. 

This line of logic shuts Ms Naysayer up for a bit. I can see her raise an eyebrow before she slinks off to think up another line of attack. 

Following my heart instead of my head has never been easy for me, and yet I think that my heart feels a wisdom that my head can never connect to. My mind is too busy thinking whilst my heart just knows what it knows.

And all the times I've followed my heart, I've been happy. Even if I stuffed up. Even if it led me to ruin. I sang all the way there and afterwards I called the disaster a lesson in life. Head talk always got me to a different place. I might have been secure. I might have been sensible, but I was restless and forever thinking about what could have been...

So I'll stick to music and art... and Ms Naysayer can just stick her kazoo where the sun don't shine.

That'll get us both singing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I'm returning to studies.

That doesn't sound that bad, does it? But I'm wary, leery and feeling nervous when I think about it all. The essays, the paying attention, the writing notes, the studying for all those different subjects...


I'm only doing a limited ATAR. I'm smart. I've got life experience. I'm mature (oh, how that hurt to type) and I have wisdom.

I'm up to this.

Plus, my back's to the wall. Which is usually incentive enough for anyone.

On the positive side, I'm actually old enough now that I don't care about doing well; life's kind of beaten out the competitive thing in me. I just want to pass and that's as high as my goal post is currently set.

It's been YEARS since I last did the formal schooling thing.  28 of them to be precise. It'll be 29 by the time I roll up on my first day.

That's a bit daunting... But...

What's life without risk? What good comes of living by the things you think you can't do?

Not much good at all... and total stagnation.

So I signed up. I chose electives - English, Family and Community Studies, Visual Arts, Music and... more English.

Now I have a timetable just like the one I burnt back in 1983.

But maybe this time I'll not give it all up so easily.