Catpaws Cafe

Random musings from my virtual fountain pen

Archive for the tag “growing up”

Tug of war

(written 21 September 2012)

Since wordpress keeps removing my formatting, I will type the first line on each ”verse” in caps…

THERE’S A TUG OF WAR going on inside of me

the part that wants prosperity

vs the part that holds fear

Fear of feeling obliged to help

I don’t what to work hard to give it away

to someone I judge irresponsible perhaps.

IN MY HEAD I know I don’t have to.

In my head I know we are both creators.

So this is how I set it up for now.

If I have no money, then

I can’t feel guilty for saying no

when someone asks me for some.

THING IS, it doesn’t work

coz the guilt transforms into guilt for

not having any

not living up to expectations, mine and perceived others

and a hundred little unidentified

illusive fears that sneak around like dust

on stagnant water it festers and hatches like mosquitoes

then one by one they come for me.

NOT HAVING money can’t keep me ”safe”

any more than having money can

but it can keep me in fear – for now.

Fear of not having funds to go and see family,

to be unable to bail us out,

plus all the ones that come from not being

in a network of friends to catch a fall.

TO SOME it is real, to some it is a game

but at times the game does feel ever so real

no matter how much I remind and reassure my self.

When with all the skills we have accumulated between us

we can not find work and funds are low

coins rather than notes.

This is a place of contradictions

the well off live side by side with poverty

sometimes co-existing within the same family.

I am amazed. How do they do it so easefully?

I want to learn!

If you saw your nephews in rags and no shoes

would you not feel some sort of human obligation to help?

Instead get in your fancy car

leaving the aircon on while you go to work.

DO YOU REALLY think your brother/in law

who slaves away for 12 hours or more a day

is not working as hard as you

and deserves a break too?

Am I really the only one who’s head observes these things?

Of course, you are in no way obliged

but if you so easily could

how can you not want to?

I NEED TO LEARN from these people

learn to not feel like I want to help

because I’d want that hand if it were me.

I need to learn to let everyone have their experience

without wanting to change it.

Let the complexities just be what they are.

Respect the choices of others &

get on with my own.

Choose and choose again

choose a different experience to explore for myself

and let everyone else have theirs.

I’m having a hard time viewing poverty as a ”choice”.

IT IS NOT EXCLUSIVE to this place

it’s just that the extremes makes it more apparent.

The have and the have nots.

In England it’s behind closed doors

even if those doors are ever changing doors of a b&b or hostel.

OBLIGATIONS to help…..

It reminds me of other times…

looking after siblings

looking after parent and grand-parents

because it’s what the eldest/youngest/ugliest daughter did.

Love does not come into it.

It’s what you do.

No matter how much you begrudge

a chance at a life of your own

a family or a (”suitable”) job

teaching or nursing .

Through the centuries I hear the echoes

”why do you want to look after other people when

your brothers and sisters need caring for?”

Yeah. A little bit of freedom? Break from the unpaid labour (read slavery)?

An end to a working day rather than 24/7 thankless ”duty”.

WHY DO WE perpetuate the cycle?

Like the crabs in the crab bucket…

grab hold of anyone trying to climb out.

Any branching out

no matter how small

stirs the fears of all the others, whispering:-

Is it so simple as to—

Did I make the right choice?

IN MY MIND I can clearly see

a picture of me and the class of -83.

On one of the facets we’d just got back from a great adventure

a dream we’d nurtured for 2 years before coming to fruition.

In a mere week we’d grown

seen things, experienced so much

and changed irrevocably.

And here we are

asked to step back into the selves we were before.

Go back and fulfill the choices made before.

Before we grew, before we knew our selves

and the facts we now hold in our hands and heart.

I’m sure most didn’t give it much thought

lucky are those who can be content

doing what is expected of them

without questioning.

LIKE A caged bird

had flown around the room

and worry turned into jubilation,

now back in the cage you go.

But I’m different now!

I’ve seen an other world

and you want me to go back and be that small again?

I may not know what I want

but I still would like to reconsider.

Collect a few more facets of life

and my self

before I make my choice.

THE GIRL ON the lawn again;

I’m not sure about this anymore

but what else is there?

She does not want to cause a scene

she does not want to be rude

she does not want to cause trouble

But the question unformed

unasked, unanswered

swirls around like a restless ghost.

It will follow her for years to come

What else is there?

Even when she finds the words,

then she becomes somehow invisible too.

Unsure if anyone can hear her

or if they are just ignoring the question.

Because they don’t know? Don’t comprehend?

She sets out to find her own answers.

IS HAVING a choice

even if it is an illusionary one

a luxury?

A right?

Is this introspection purely an introvert thing?

Or is it an indigo trait?

To see so much, think so much,

contemplate more angles of life

than a team of devils’ advocates?

SO THERE I am again

back outside the school on the lawn

in my dress with daisies on,

wishing I was thinner

with a flat belly and slender legs.

This is where our roads parted for college

where we get to start spending our days

in the company of those who have chosen to study

something we were supposedly interested in

rather than bundled together by age group.

I STILL SEE me on that lawn

the buses in the street

the break from all we’d known up til then.

Knowing there were other choices I’d rather make

but that were not available to me.

And a little voice whispered – unfair… isn’t it?

I hissed at it to shut up.

Keep your head down and get on with it.

Three more years and I’d be free.

Forget it feels like a prison sentence,

just get the darn qualifications

then I can choose where to go

and what to do.

Then I can LEARN TO FLY.

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Dreams and other Worlds

I think my husband probably knows me better than anyone else.  He is my best friend as well as my beloved  and one thing that stood out from the beginning was that I felt completely at ease with him.  I know I described this to my friends  as feeling safe, but time has refined it to at ease.

With him there’s no pretense, I am myself wholly and unreservedly and that was a first in a romantic relationship for me.  My spiritual life, my introverted self and my crazy nutty side are all seen and accepted, as is the dreamer, the writer and the psychic.  The person who starts a lot of projects but finishes few, sometimes because I get bored, other times out of fear of failure.  The woman who talks to discarnates, animals and sometimes even plants but not very many humans.  The one who wants to help so much and cries sometimes because nobody wants what she has to offer.   The me who loves a quiet coffee with the cat upon rising while my body slowly wakes up too…

One (of my two) best friends growing up was Cathie (not her real name).  Our dads were best friends from their school days and about once a month (or sometimes more often) we’d get together for the weekend and a lot of fun was had over the years.  In the summer our families would sometimes go caravanning together for a couple of weeks too.  When we were old enough to write Cathie and I would exchange letters on a weekly basis and when I got a bit older I’d spend a week with their family during the summer holidays.

Cathie was the pretty and popular girl at her school ( a Piscean) while I was the odd one out  at mine; awkward, self-conscious, wise waaaay beyond my years, forever making things and writing.  We both loved reading, horses,  and dancing.  In a sense I recognize the two of us in the girls in the novel Beaches (made into a movie starring Bette Midler) but who was who is debatable!

Then I left home around 16 and for reasons unknown at least to me, we lost contact.  I invited her to come and stay with me in the big city for a weekend, to go shopping and to the cinema etc, but she always declined and stopped writing too.  We met once more, a family get together at their home and had a good time with some of her friends and boyfriend, but the connection between us was no longer there.  Soon the birthday and Xmas cards fizzled out too.

Their whole family was invited to my first wedding in 1995, but only her dad showed.  A few years later I heard via my dad that she was thinking about meeting up for a day in London, but by then I was simply not interested.  If she could not even contact me herself, why should I blow 2 months savings from my underpaid job for a couple of hours?  I declined and told my dad that after over 20 years of nothing she could start by writing (or phone) me herself.  Not a word, which was fine with me.

To me that incident  felt similar to when I first went to college and the in-crowd (who had ignored me for years and never even acknowledged my presence with a simple hello) suddenly wanted to be ‘’friends’’ and come and visit.  They all got politely turned down.  If I wasn’t cool enough to be friends with before, it was certainly not me they were suddenly interested in, just a place to crash for free on their shopping and clubbing outing.  My friends were always welcome.

Then last night, in a different time, world and space… with a different past, we met again for a weekend at some retreat with people we both knew.  We’d just turned 31 and 32 respectively.  I was married to my now husband (who I met when I was 40 btw).  Cathie and I were two of few people who were practically sober.  Some had gone to their chalets/cabanas, others were falling asleep in the common on the rattan sofas and beanbags.  We were sat on the back of her truck (?)  flicking through an old photo album with pictures from our youth, laughing and remembering.  Kodak instamatic days…  Once again we were long lost sisters catching up.  We’d been walking and talking for hours while the others had been larking around.

We picked up drinks and snacks from the open palapa style self serve ’’kitchen’’, and as I looked at the breaded chicken mini burgers,  said out loud that if I wasn’t already a vegetarian, after seeing those I’d probably consider becoming one, and  she laughed and said I was so funny.

She’d picked up her laptop (which was the same as mine but a different colour) and said she just wanted to check coz she’d posted a blog entry earlier on.  I was delighted that she had started writing and looked forward  to reading it.  As we walked up a path towards one of many curious little nooks around the estate to sit down and have our snack, we talked about consciousness and our blogs.  It was a very relaxed and easy conversation, a very joyous feeling of re-discovering who we’d become in the years apart rather than just telling our ‘’stories’’.

That’s when I woke up, still feeling that warm and fuzzy feeling that only a best  friend relationship with an other woman can bring.  Basking in the close feeling of it I kept my eyes closed for a few minutes.

It had felt as real as this life (of course), but in reflection it was interesting to observe the differences  too.  This Cathie had been an inch or two taller than me.  It was peculiar how the elements all came together in one place; the temperate climate, the midnight if not exactly sun so at least far from dark, the past and the present, 3 continents, the gentle supportive atmosphere, my husband and our friends.

It had felt peculiar to experience having a different set of memories and a different past, and how we’d both knew our way around the place we were staying.  Of course, the photo album does not exist in this lifetime, and I don’t know in what language we spoke.

For me, it’s the complete set of memories and a past quite different to my waking one that gives it away that this was no ordinary dream.  Like in a regression or spontaneous download of another incarnation, but with greater freedom to access the information of that other me.  Unusual also in it’s ordinariness perhaps, the absence of bizarre and crazy happenings and the rich sensory feast of real life.

I was not left with any residual desire to contact Cathie, nor any animosity which given the lack of closure I could almost have expected from myself.  I don’t like loose ends but I’ve come to accept them.  Our parts in each others lives had obviously played themselves out, given that it has been almost 30 yrs now of no contact.   Let the past stay in the past rather than try to resuscitate a relationship just because we have ‘’history’’.

It did however highlight how much I would enjoy having a close (female) friend living nearby again.  It’s been almost 5 years since I moved here.

So, whoever you are, wherever you’ve been [raises the iced coffee], cheers and know you are welcome.

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