Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lesson 152. Every single day should be your airport.

I often wonder how many litres of tears fall to the ground each day in airports.

It seems to me that the airport is a pivotal place in our lives. It's never visited without purpose, without joy, without sorrow. It watches the vast array of emotions in human beings saying hello and goodbye. It witnesses countless arms being wrapped around in love and endless kisses of excitement and heartache.

If the airport could talk, I think it'd tell us not to wait 'til the airport.

Instead, to live with purpose, to feel deep joy and learn how to deal with great sorrow. To make it count before you get in the car to go. Stop waiting, please stop waiting. Stop telling yourself you'll appreciate the ones you love when the time comes, the time is now. I know I've rambled on about this before but today as I walked away from my incredible sister, it became so evident to me. Every single day should be your airport.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lesson 151. She loves you in her own funny way.

My eldest elf of a sister still makes me hold her hand when we cross the road. We fight on a semi regular basis and butt heads on all things emotional. She's the kind of woman I'd like to grow into.

She's leaving for Durham on Saturday. She's getting on a big ol' plane and leaving the country. She's leaving behind her family, stability, her boyfriend, her job, because she's a brave lass with a heart that has never been enclosed or restricted by relationship nor a sense of safety. I admire her immensely and love her even more for her feeling of freedom and fight against mediocrity.

Like I say, she's still intent on holding my hand when I cross the road. If my elbows are even close to touching down on the table I'll know about it within seconds. And if I make any mildly inappropriate comments I will be immediately shipped back into shape. My sister has always wanted the best for me and although she doesn't show it or say it in such words, I look back on her intricate and mostly irritating instructions with a fondness. I know that she does what she does and says what she says because she loves me, and she's looking out for me.

We had coffee yesterday. It was such a special time. I was reminded of our similarities, mostly the way our heads both go slightly forward when we laugh and the way we over think every situation present in our lives. I suddenly realised just how close I hold Katie to my heart as a sister and a friend. I'm going to miss her a lot, but her leaving has made me realise that the things I battle with her are also the things I love the most. It's a silver lining if ever I saw one.

We all have one of those right. An older family member or friend that puts on the mother goose hat majority of the time. And it's easy to only fight with them instead of recognising what's going on, So don't let it take your big sister skipping the country to make you remember that everyone says I love you in different ways. Whether it's making you hold your hand while you cross the street or sending gushy texts or bringing you flowers when you're ill in bed. She loves you in her own funny way.

Lesson 151. Be the wild wind of change.

The wind is wild outside my window.

Not a gentle rain and wind duo to lull any lonely heart to sweet sleepy surrender. No no, none of that. An angry wind. A wind relentless to the window although it will most likely never see the other side.

I want to be like the wild wind. Although it hardly paints a picturesque delicate scene, it paints one of passion and a raw sense of justice. I think sometimes the most breathtaking of life's blessings are the ones that are abrupt, that are real and raw. It lets out an undeniable battle cry that lets the world know that even though the odds are against it, it will stay by window and sigh with all the force nature instilled in it until I listen up.

Be relentless in your battles for what you believe in. Don't be a quiet wind, a lull in the background easily missed, no no, be the wind that stops the sleep. That awakens those lost in shallow dreams. Be the wild wind of change.

Lesson 150. Listen to yourself.

I'm a classic advice giver. I nod, I smile, tender caress of (insert name here's) arm and tell them that all will be good and well again if they just realise their potential and purpose.

I'm a classic advice ignorer. I nod, I smile, touch (insert name here's) hand on my arm and tell them thank you for shedding light on the topic I've discussed a thousand times over with various bearers of wisdom who seem to tell me the same story, and then I pay for their coffee.

Okay, so it's not deliberate and it's not quite as rude or as obnoxious as I've made it sound. You're guilty too though aren't you chum?

I was having coffee today with a friend and I had to stop myself. We'd both been feeling the same way about our course at University and had discussed with various other friends how we'd been feeling and we're all kind of in the same boat. I was mid sentence exclaiming just how ridiculous these incredibly talented people were for second guessing themselves and they all have different strengths and comparisons just aren't relevant, etc. etc. when my shoulders hunched slightly forwards as if to prompt a little shame. I constantly compare myself to those same people and envy each and every one's strength.

How often do I do that? Probably more times than I can count on my hand. I'll spell off my spiel relatively numbly and go on my merry way.

I'm going to start listening to myself. Save a little time crying, be a little better off. Listen to yourself

Lesson 149. Hold on, we're gonna get through it.

It's safe to say that you and I both are wondering when I'm going to get back on the regular blogging bandwagon. Although playing hard to get has always been my specialty, I do believe that in this instance I've been relatively impossible to get, rather than just teasing you and eventually surrendering to the inevitable-that I would once again be yours like someone who plays the game well would.

I pondered for a moment. I realised that maybe I'm just waiting 'til I feel like I've got the strength to pull wisdom out of these dreary days. Maybe I'm just waiting 'til I've got it together and can pull of a perfectly straight smile without a hint of discontentment or disillusionment. And then I realised that that idea in itself would defeat the purpose of this blog, wouldn't it? I'm far from perfect, I'm overly human. I have my days on top of the world and I have my days on the bottom. I have my moments of indescribable joy and I know the sound of silence and his best friend loneliness. The point of this blog was never to ignore or iron out all the kinks and eliminate all downfalls of this mad ride, the point of the blog was to sightsee, to scream, and to smile together.

I'm a messy creature. Literally and figuratively. It's midnight and I'm sitting on my floor surrounded by clothing and papers that I have no intention of cleaning up in the near future. I have assignments to begin and chores to complete yet I sit, typing to some strangers on the internet. I'm a strange and messy creature but I'm learning to love myself for it.

It's okay that you have bad days. It's more than okay and it's ever so normal to feel alone sometimes. It's even better to be honest.

We're flawed. We're messy. We're broken but we're beautiful. We're made with the strength to stand up again. Our eyes are called to see past our imperfections and believe that what we've been given is unique to only us. It's a wonderful thing to be alive, and it's a wonderful thing to have the chance to change. It's a wonderful thing to realise just how messy and spectacular you are.

The beauty so often lies within what happens when we feel as though we're going nowhere. The beauty is the moment we overcome. It's not always what is immediately given but what we're taught by the hardest seasons that makes us quite so incredible.

So this is take two, welcome back, and in the words of my pal Olly Murs, Hold on, we're gonna get through it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lesson 148. Pay for someone else's coffee.

It's a simple pleasure. One you should indulge in more. 

Pay for someone else's coffee. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lesson 147. Don't point the hypercondriac finger.

I'm not a hypercondriac, said the hypercondriac, right?

But seriously, I'm not. Although I'm pretty sure that majority of the people in my life (excluding my mother, my sister and my flatmates) think that I am. It's what comes with being ill a lot. I've been in bed with belly bugs at least 4 times in counting this year and it's been rather wretched.

Here's what I've learnt from multiple hours staring at the ceiling muttering God take me now in a melodramatic manner (because if he had I wouldn't have been overly impressed on my arrival)

Being sick is not a barrel of laughs. Take it from captain fun times, it's less than enjoyable. Although, I've learnt that sometimes when you're sick, quite magical things can come out of the woodwork. You can realise the depth of someones care for you. For example, my friend Jasmine made me do a little sleepy weep of joy when she dropped off some soup, a teddy called George, and some powerade. My sister Annie brought flowers and sent a link to free download of an excellent album to soothe my feverish head (believe me, it did) and I was awakened to just how precious those things are to me. I learnt that all it takes to feel a little better is someone sitting beside you and saying 'This sucks, I'm here."

Acknowledging that someone is facing trials is like propping up their shoulder, it's telling them that you see what they're fighting and you're fighting too. Don't point the hypercondriac finger.

Lesson 146. Return.

And you thought I wouldn't be back.

Well, it's true that I've been pining over you. I've just been under mountainous papers and strange items of clothing in my bedroom. It's also true that the weather has played his part and I'm not too flash at the moment. But it's true, I'm back.

And so we begin the count up of just how much I owe you, I'm not exactly sure. But this is where it begins and so comes a lesson.

When we've left something too long, we are faced with two choices. Abandon, or return. Abandon is seemingly easier, no strings, no ties, no tears, no fuss, although easy, choosing abandon is a slippery, cowardly slope that is not to be dabbled with. Then we meet return. Return means I'm sorry, I'll try, I'll swallow my pride and pick up the pieces. The harder of the two, but sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same (Am I right The Fray?)


Monday, September 17, 2012

Lesson 145. Kisses every goodbye and I love you's every waking moment.

I had another startling incident on what was the Saturday morn of many revelations.

I was awoken to my flatmate in a state, her Dad had been hospitalised and no one could diagnose him. I had to jump in the car and drive back to Tauranga.

As I drove home I was confronted by a raw realisation. Life can change in an instant. Whether it's an 8am wake up call or clinging for dear life to a cliff, life can take the scariest of terms. I kept squeezing the steering wheel to distract from the tears that were brimming, I'd never quite realised just how quickly time turns. I'd never had quite so much to thank God for than I did in that moment.

That the news for Naomi's Dad hadn't been worse. I wanted to wrap my arms around the ones I love and never let them go. I kind of still want to, so I'm going to try to in a less physical sense.

This state we call living is not permanent. That alone should be cause for kisses every goodbye and I love you's every waking moment. It's not something born of fear, although fear can be a trigger, it's something born of fresh perspective. It's born of a deeper understanding of what really matters.

Start now. Don't wait 'til you're woken by a harsh reality and what ifs rule your wild mind. I challenge you to do the following things today:

1. Tell someone you love them
2. Give someone your seat on the bus
3. Go outside and marvel at the world around you
4. Give a great big bear hug
5. Drop a coin for a stranger to pick up

There's a start. Baby steps. Realise that life is fragile and do something about it. Make right now count, kisses every goodbye and I love you's every waking moment.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lesson 144. You just do.

It was 8am on a Saturday. No one in my life ever tries to communicate with me until at least 10 on my sweet Saturday. No one.

There were four knocks on my door. I rolled over, hoping it was but a dream. Then came four more. Then I awoke to realise that something kind of serious was about to take place- after all, it's 8am on a Saturday and someone is attempting communication. 

My flatmate folded into my arms. Tears told the most of her heart, although she tried to explain what was going on in between gasps for either air or reason. Her Dad had been admitted to hospital, extreme pain, could I please take her home? Of course. So big sister dropped off my trusty jazz, I pulled yesterdays clothes over my head, popped Snoosan and my bible in a bag with a rip in it and off we went. 

Why? Because in times of crisis you just do. I'm not saying apply this to all areas of life because you most certainly shouldn't but when tragedy strikes, you have to trust your gut and just do. Because if someone needs you in a storm of uncertainty you my friend are called to step up and fight for a way out of the rain. In the case of an emergency, you just do. 

Lesson 143. Get over it, get into it.

Broken escalators freak me out. I don't like it when gaps between bricks are out of kilter. I'm OCD about sitting in the same seat at every class and at the dinner table. I can't say rude words or words that have anything to do with reproductive organs.

Oh, sidenote: Hi chum, how are you? Sorry it's been a week. I've been away in the land of due dates, headaches and awful awakenings (All of which I'm about to fill you in on because I've missed you.) Okay diversion done, back to rant about the absurdity of human functions.

I don't cope awfully well with all of the above. I'm ladylike in the worst of ways because I don't posses traits of gracefulness or often tact, so really just ladylike in the way that I enjoy tea cups and can't talk about anything too grotesque. 

I was thinking back to a time in my life I often visit when the present gets a little much. The time I spent in Kenya, Africa. I was faced with many situations where I just had to roll up my sleeves and muck in, I realised that maybe that's what I need to start doing more in general. 

Maybe you do too. Push back your perfect curls and get dirty (not a euphemism) Start learning how to let go of the things that matter less. Don't be afraid to get stuck into something, even if it does make you feel awkward. I'm aiming to get over the fact that someone might sit in my seat so that I can sit beside them and talk to them. I'm trying to get over my broken escalator fear because I really want to get into the supermarket. I'm going to learn how to cope with words that have to do with the reproductive organs because in March I'm going to witness the birth of a best friends beautiful baby boy.

Get over it, get into it. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lesson 142. The truth can heal.

I feel as though a part of me returned tonight that had gone walkabouts with my sanity (though sanity is yet to return, I'll keep you posted on its wherabouts)

My best friend and I had drifted and dropped away all honest communication. We papered over our cracks with niceties and lighthearted conversations. Neither of us willing to acknowledge the rift, we tried to bridge the gap with nothing but flimsy flowery substance.

And then it got too much. So we talked about it, or rather wrote about, then followed with a conversation. And then we found our way back to each other.

We're closer to each other than we've ever been before because we cared enough for one another to speak up instead of letting each other slip away.

I'm determined to do this more often. You might just save a someone. The truth can hurt, but the truth can heal.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lesson 141. Ten truths.

Today I decided to find 10 truths.

10 things that I am sure of. 10 things that I know. 10 things so deeply ingrained with certainty that I can feel them in my bones.

1. God was, is, and will always be enough to get you through.
2. Mistakes will be the makings of your miracles if you let them.
3. It is imperative to have cookie dough in your freezer at all times.
4. Making a sad person laugh will make your heart happy.
5. There's never too much love.
6. Hope. Always hope.
7. Life is constantly beautiful. From the very beginning.
8. Hot water bottles and goodnight kisses from loved ones could make the world a whole lot warmer.
9. I'm in dire need of a hug and some cake ninety percent of my day, 7 days a week.
10. It's more than okay to be crazy.

Find the truths of your heart. Ten truths.

Lesson 140. Admit it, you need someone.

Perilous test results. Dreadful dreadful papers. Oh and how they were placed before my very eyes at approximately 2pm today.

As usual (when things go slightly to extremely pear shaped) I immediately retreated to a haven with never ending tissue supply- the bathroom. I hid in a cubicle, had a little cry, told myself I could do this, took deep breaths, and then took on the world. I returned to my seat red faced and none the better for it, everyone knew I'd shed my share of seeming juvenile tears whilst on my bathroom break. However, both hands beside me knew to squeeze mine and my girls were quick to rest heads of 'I know yours is heavy so lean on mine' on my shoulder. I bit my lip, looked at my dead ringer for a seagull of a lecturer and wiped one stray piece of pity from my cheek.

I went home and sat on my floor and had a further private pity party (Don't ever do this by the way, the reason I started this blog was to stop pitying myself which I have-now) I sobbed and stared at the ceiling and I wept to my mother, then was passed to my sister who told me to do something. She told me to text someone, to see someone, to not be alone when I'm sad.

I struggle to admit when I need someone. I think in all honesty I'd love to be able to carry the burdens of the world and have my life so together that I'm capable of holding the heavy. Truth is, none of us have it all together, we all have our moments on the floor without feeling strong enough to ever sit up again. Truth is, we need each other.

Do you think we were made to walk alone? Nay, quite the opposite. Your hand is meant for reaching for the hand of one in need, your arms to hold them up, your voice to speak words of life and your heart to hear theirs. I discovered this upon swallowing my pride and telling a sweet friend I needed her. Just being with someone, talking to someone, feeling someone beside you in the boat you once thought too tiny to weather the storm makes a difference. Perspective was placed by admitting that I needed someone.

It's okay to not always be okay and it's okay to need someone to walk beside you. There's no shame in living life the way we were intended to, afterall, it was God who first saw that it was not good for man to live alone. Just admit it, you need someone.

Lesson 139. Just wait.

I observed a man at the crossing today. He rubbed his hands together and then on his pale blue baggy jeans, and looked at his watch. His face flushed crimson and his eye gave a little twitch as to show sign of resiliency wearing. He looked at the little red man and considered his options.

He then ran. Only to find that about 10 seconds later, it was safe to go.

This resulted in a slight stumble and an increase of red tinge to his cheeks. Something that could've been easily avoided if only he'd trusted the timing of the lights.

I crossed quite happily and made it to my class on time. 

We're impatient creatures aren't we. We're the man all too eager to get to the other side. We find it so hard to simply trust that the lights will turn when the time is right. Save yourself some sweat, your time will come. Just wait. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lesson 138. Just be there.

I still remember the night before I moved out of home. I tossed and turned in tears and then bunched up my duvet, pillow in one hand and Snoosan in the other and woke my sister. I talked Annie to sleep then lay awake on her floor until thoughts of tomorrow ran my mind ragged and into a state of sleep. I woke, a few times in the night actually, head spinning, heart sinking, scared. I looked up to see my sister asleep and felt better. Not for what she was saying or doing, but because she was being. She was there.

When the going gets tougher, it gets hard to know how to hold the ones you love. Words don't seem enough, nor do acts or attempts at a smile. Sometimes, all that person needs is for you to be there. You don't have to talk, you don't have to have the solution, but just being there can make someone feel like holding on. A simple hand squeeze, a shoulder for a weary head to fall on, eyes that look only with love. Just be there.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lesson 137. Real men cry.

It's certainly a powerful sight. 

Lord Grantham, overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of his love for his broken daughter, demands that she does not marry for the sake of saving the family's name. No no, he insists she must marry a man of great bravery at all costs, for he believes that she deserves better, more than the coward she is marrying in order to bury a late night mistake.

It's certainly a powerful sight.

My Father, not a man of many words. Weeping, throwing his fist in the air and declaring 'That's the stuff! A man after my own heart!' whilst watching this tearjerker of a scene taking place.

I'm proud that my Dad can cry. That he lets it out and rejoices in the happier moments. He's actually better known for the tears that come in moments of pride or unexpected joy, I think that's a beautiful thing. 

Shrug off your staunch and try a tear today. I'm telling you, real men cry. 

Lesson 136. Hang out with Auntie Catherine.

I went to visit my Great Auntie this morning. I arrived promptly to be told by my straight shooter of an elderly relative that I must take her to the bookstore and the supermarket first. We waddled along and weaved in and out of the aisles. We got what we wanted and returned to her house, to sit down and talk.

She made me a coffee and herself a tea and sat on the rose tinted couch across from me. She asked me how I was and told me what she knew. 93 years of wisdom and living a life full of love (a different kind to what we know) were poured into my cup.

She told me of her younger days. When she was my age and she used to wonder if this was to be her life, that she'd rest her weary head on the metal bars in the cowshed and ask herself if this was all she was made for. The boy who proposed when she was 18 and although he was wonderful she couldn't accept because she had other burdens on her heart. He never married. The moment she knew she was meant to travel to India and work with those in need. The moment she discovered unconditional love in the eyes of a diseased baby in Mother Theresa's orphanage in Calcutta. The school she built for those yearning to be educated. Her battles with numerous types cancer that she has overcome. The man who she befriended after he'd done a 10 year stint in prison without asking questions. The fire in her heart to see our nation changed.

Strangely enough, the bit that encouraged me the most was that she too questioned what she was doing.  A literal life changer with so many healed hearts in her sight too once wondered why she was where she was. With all that behind her she can now see that there were dreams beyond her ceilings. There were things for her that she wouldn't have even dared to hope for.

Take heart! There are greater times than now. You were made for bigger things than this. Don't underestimate what lies beyond the cowshed. Oh and do yourself a favour, Hang out with Auntie Catherine.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lesson 135. When it rains, remember home.

The rain hits hard. The window pane withstands without doubt or tremor. I sit. I watch. 
This is home.  

For some reason rain pulls some nostalgic trigger. Every time it rains when I'm away my heart longs to be within these four walls. My roommate feels the same. There's been many a conversation had about how the rain means we need to be home. 

So I'm trying to breathe it in, soak it up, have this moment. This moment where in this wild weather I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. So that when things get tough and I'm not in such a place of warmth or security, I can place my finger on the feeling, I can feel it by way of memory. I can make it through by holding on to home in my heart. 

When the weather tosses you about, close your eyes and think back. Somewhere along the way there's been a moment, even if only a split second where you've felt safe from the way the rain slaps the concrete with such force. Hold onto that safety, know that it exists, and cling on knowing it returns. 

When it rains, remember home. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lesson 135. For Daddy.

I used to sit on my Father's lap every night after dinner. I used to ask him life's most burning questions, like why his face had spiky hairs on it and how come sometimes people leave to be with Jesus instead. And he'd answer with all the wisdom and caution of a man more thought than spoken.

My Dad can fall asleep anywhere. In films, in the car, mid-conversation. We used to have family sleepovers where we'd all drag down mattresses in the lounge and get the giggles when he started snoring. He's strong enough to shut off when he needs to.

Gregory loves to dance. He can't, but he loves it. He bends his knees out of time and his favourite move is holding an imaginary microphone for the person next to him. He knows who he is and he understands joy. 

He has held my tears and my heartache. Lost countless hours of sleep as my sobs from the next room sink in. He has rested his arm around my shoulder and pulled my mother next to us and spoken volumes in silence. My Dad knows how to love without condition and he knows how to fight. Injustice isn't something he lets live in his life. 

There's a lot to learn and a lot to be thankful for within the men who taught us how to ride our bikes. There's a lot to see when looking back over life at the moments we share with the people who care.

Be grateful, be honest, say it out loud. Appreciate your father, or someone who has stood for you. Be brave, be strong, be all that has been instilled in you from conversations on laps and dances at family weddings. For Daddy. 

Lesson 134. Work at the rust.

Grandad and I have started work on my bike. I traded in the cosmetic carrier for a tool box and donned clothes that were once very loved by a less than lady like shadow of mine. 

He handed me the spanner and proceeded to watch my every move with great care. I dissembled the carrier and then the real work began. A certain type of sanding that removes the more superficial marks and causes fingers to turn a rather questionable shade of ash and causes the elbow to ache, followed by semi-toxic rust remover applied by a teeny weeny little brush.

This bike has surely seen many rainy days. It has clearly weathered several storms but still shows signs of damage. It's standing strong but not without scars.

We're like this. We withstand terrible trials and then neglect the signs of scarring, because after all we did make it through. I'm determined that it's worth working on the little rough bits left over because I'm convinced we can not only make it through the fire, we can find ourselves even more refined, even better than before. We can take a look at what we've lost and take heart in what we've learnt.

It's worth dealing with, I promise. It's worth recognising what has hurt and it's worth taking time to heal the wounds.

Please, work at the rust.