A first

2013-07-10 19.53.24

I’m in Sydney this week. my first visit.

I had tiramisu – a first for me.

I had a full glass of white wine, a first, without feeling as if my world was spinning out of orbit.

I braided my hair red – a very first.

Sydney is beautiful & I was helpless in the face of her charm. I found myself falling into the deep waters of her intrigue & the machines that drive her behind the scenes. & then it hit me, for the first time that I tend to fall in love with things, qualities & the thick hidden bones that even the possessor may be blind to.

It dawned on me that the world I was walking through & the ground I was stepping on was as foreign to me as I was to it. & always will be. Foreign in the way that we will never sit side by side sipping hot chocolates while watching the sunset over Bondi beach on a cold winter day.  Even though the city had lifted her skirt up for me, our relationship was one that will never see the light of day. It was wrought in the deep bowels of the invisible & unknown spaces of our existence. I was prepared to stand on a mountaintop to declare my love but I knew that this love would be unrequited. It would be denied because the city was carrying a thousand other souls on her shoulders and our love was too deep & too intense to go unnoticed. unquestioned. It would be unclothed in every way that would leave me exposed, fragile & vulnerable to all the other souls.

I’ve struggled in the past with the idea that people fear what they do not understand. The logic of it never made sense to me. Most of the things I fear are downright scary…urm…like snakes. I don’t have to understand them to be rid of my terror. But of course I gave them a chance – I grew up surrounded by them so there was no excuse not to be intimate with them.

I know enough about them to know that our chance meetings should be left at that. There will be no bed room or satin sheets involved.

But of course people are not snakes. At least not in that sense of the word.

But there was something magical in the way I was wooed by Sydney. in the way she let me get under her skin & in the process snuck underneath mine. I walked her streets in the midst of her crowds, feeling like one of her children but at the same time separate. Who am I? Am I really like them? Are they really like me? Can they see me? I see them, every single one of them.

There is something exhilarating & exasperating in existing with such a force in the world. in existing within a deepness whose tentacles are lost to you in their beginning or end. perhaps chained to the core of the earth. when your eyes graze the outer edges of the nakedness that people try to hide. when your ears hear the silent moans & cries of the person whose shoulder rubs yours on the bus. when your soul is bruised or caressed by the eyes that hold yours for a fraction of a second more. when the taxi driver moves you that you want to scream for him to stop the car & say;

Here is my shirt. Here, take it. I promise to pray for you. I promise to bless you. Even if it kills me.

But I am just one girl & I can’t save the world. Heck, I can’t even save myself.

As I lose myself in Sydney’s intoxication, I am afraid. really afraid. for the first time. because I know that there is a good chance I was born on the wrong planet. these shoes I bought in the “what is not understood must be feared or rejected” store do not fit my dainty, little feet. I am returning them with no sender’s address.

I was made to capture heartbeats, the moments in between heartbeats & some things human eyes miss. never perfectly, no.  but I show up . even when my small hands are shaking & I feel the confusion in the stares. I am so fully & completely there. here.

As my sore feet kissed the concrete & dusty surfaces of Sydney & I sat underneath a cold, starry sky, gripping my glass of white wine as if it held the contents of my life & as I memorised the masculine lines of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I realised that for people like me to live a peaceful life within this sometimes beautiful, sometimes scorching fire of awareness, we have to fall in love with the way we were made. like really, really fall in love. & for me, this is a first.


2 thoughts on “A first

  1. You said everything that was inbetween. I had the same reaction to Chicago & San Francisco. this instant & yet gradual intoxication with the cities’ pulse that seemed to come speeding through the earth & into my body. like having a personal one-on-one with the core of the city. a living & breathing city. Not so much New York, no, New York was aghast. she repelled me. I think she could see that I meant to uncover her 🙂

    But yes, isn’t it amazing how we find ourselves in these raw, real & naked spaces? sometimes, it’s like holding up a mirror to yourself. afterall, cities are wrought by the very people who live there…so how on earth did they mutate into a life of their own?
    it frightens me.

  2. I am right there with you in Sydney, dear heart. Some of my starkest, most real memories are on her shores and in her arms. For me, it was not so much a love affair as an exertion of my independence, a refusing to cower within my very strong shell. I wanted to know the unknown. I wasn’t afraid to let her give me her best effort to undo me.

    Just last night I was watching a movie in which a major international city was being portrayed. Watching it, I asked out loud, “Why is every major city so bright, so crowded, so dirty?” I was remembering Sydney, at least part of her. Not Bondi Beach, mind you. Not Sydney Opera House. Not even the underground railway. And, certainly not the beautiful gardens and parks along the harbor. They are, in fact, captivating. I, too, fell asleep in her arms there.

    No, I was remembering the heart and core of her. The place where the subways stations drop you off – when you are no longer in the beautiful visitor sections of the city. The hostels and the overnight train rides north when you are truly alone – the places where she abandons you. The places where you must find yourself or be taken under. The places where she would truly like for you to become one with her.

    What a beautiful, real place Sydney is. I cannot deny it. Not unlike New York, Chicago, London, and Amsterdam. But, I will be honest. There are parts of all of these locales that I would like to believe do not exist. It is not that I regret having experienced them. It is that I would like to pretend that I did not find more of myself there than I did.

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