Friday shots: neighbours in the morning

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Most days I rise to the sound of my neighbours. Their voices enter my fading dreams like characters in a story, pulling and pushing me in and out of two worlds.

It is the normal conversations of a morning. Filled with goodmorning greetings, breakfast, laughter and don’t do thats. The exchange of their words bounce off the walls and through the air finding their way down to me. I live on the ground floor. They live above me.

There is something reassuring about mornings where your neighbours’ banter wafts through your concrete walls and interweaves into your day. A reminder that there are so many other people who call this big, wide world home. That I am a sharer of all I have.

Sometimes I bump into them at my door as I leave my house. Grandmother awkwardly giving me way as she pulls the pram her daughter is pushing. The baby inside quiet and peaceful.

I smile. And I want to say no need for the awkwardness. I know what you had for breakfast. But I simply say hello and scurry off into my day carrying little pieces of them with me. Because the truth is they, at some point or another, merge into my world.

 

 

Friday shots: the thing about strangers

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The thing about strangers is that they are strange. In the way strangeness can only be – uncomfortable. The way of crinkled fabric on tender skin  or sawdust on the tongue.

These people we meet and sit together in rooms to do things together we have never done together before. We bump into them on street corners and in alleyways, in coffee shops and hallways of office buildings. We stand next to them in elevators and on escalators, feeling their breath. Smelling them. Every movement they make intensified in our own body.

We grow taut at the intimacy of various coloured bodies that are all around us. We imagine exactly what is not about these bodies precisely because they are separate from us, not our own. It is easy to do that.

I saw a stranger today. As I do every other day.

He crossed the road at just the same time I did. Our feet hitting the white and black lines in the same single moment. The synchronicity of our steps sounded louder than their separateness.

He smiled. I smiled. It was a moment of recognition. I see you. I see you too.

As I walked away I thought only of his smile. The way it tore into my world and made me warm from the inside. I forgot that he was someone I had never met before. A stranger. Instead I fell into his humanness as he and I pulled away from each other.  He was me even as I was him. And there was nothing strange about that. It was familiar. Like coming home.

Because the thing about strangers is that they are us.

Friday shot: Inside of words

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To write or not to write?

That is sometimes the question. The quivering heart that hides behind veils and veils of insecurity about our words. Words are this thing. This thing that forms from the inside of us, taking the shape of us. We breathe into them our very essence. The things that make our skies big and blue and make our world go round.

We each have them, words. For some, they sit in the belly, always coming from that place that has lived through different lifetimes. Oldness stapled to each syllable. For others, words sit just on the surface of the skin, always there, ready waiting, painted in rainbow colours.

There is room for each of us. In these words. In this space. In this world, there is room enough for each of us to occupy in all our unique ways of being.

I can stand next to you and still be beautiful. And you can stand next to me and still be beautiful.

Inside of us are words that can heal, love and pull things close. Inside of words are lives and worlds that are our own. Framed in letters that wrap around the thing we desperately try to say: “love me please.”

Friday shot: tenderness

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The world is at war with itself.

This is the only explanation for the dreadful news coming in day and night.

I never quite know what to do with the events that trickle in from every corner of the world.

I want to find words, sentences that can string meaning together. But there are none.

We are not gods. We are not invincible. Our bodies get mangled. And we die. Yet we live as though this is not true.

My neighbour’s flag flies at half-mast today. For the 27 Australians who died. And for every person on flight MH17.

But then there is Gaza, and Syria and all the nameless nooks and crannies of the earth that are falling apart.

Maybe we are becoming hardened, building sheaths around the things that make us tender. To protect ourselves. To not have to deal with a world that is unfurling at its seams because it just doesn’t seem to stop.

But when we stand afar off and only point with our fingers we cannot know the things that hide behind tears. The things that words cannot express. The things contained in loss and pain. For these things, and for a world that is hurting, we should find some tenderness. These are the things we should take a moment and be silent for.

And hopefully they take us back to the beginning of things: to the understanding that life is a gift, and everyone’s life is precious.

Friday shot: come away with me

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A refuge.

A place to hang up all the ways I try too hard. Where the lines on my forehead give in and rest.

There is a stirring within, yearning and longing for sounds that hum along side the beat of the heart, matching each other in pleasant rhythms.

Where my feet don’t get caught in webs of insecurity and doubts. With the broadness of the way delighting each step.

I want to hold your hand tight in this place. Maybe we can sit on a rock and watch the sunrise in silence, with dawn pouring its gorgeous light on us.

The links I’m searching for are deep – they are multiple forms of surrender. Freedom in all its glittery parts.

I reach out my hand towards the sky and the sea, stretching and stretching to grasp the links. I will pull them back into my body.

And you will be right here next to me, a witness to the transformation that will be my heart.

Come away with me to this place.

Friday shots: mandate

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Don’t break to pieces.

You are stronger when you are whole.

When all the dam walls break and the waters come rushing at you, you will need to be brave. For you.

Because they will not always come. Sometimes they will stand afar off and watch from the comfort of their assumptions. Glances and whispers behind backs.

You need to stand then. You need to strengthen those limbs and plant your feet firmly on the ground.

Don’t shake. You can do it. Puff up your chest like you mean it. You are the door to yourself. You are the place where the buck stops.

Don’t break to pieces, beloved. You are are beautiful when you are whole.

Friday shots: a person

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What makes a person special?

Is it the way the unique molecules collect together to form the individuality?

Or is it the reflection of us in them we see?

Or perhaps the way the person’s life intersects with our own?

If it is anything real, specialness is often unquantifiable. It walks into another’s life and the whole atmosphere reconstructs. And what used to be impossible emerges into the real.

A person can bring you back. Back to the place where you function from the whole. Back to the beginning and the end. Back to God. A person can pull the strings back for you, gathering all the parts of you and handing them back to you. With everything afar and inbetween, the person stays and loves you through the hard bits. The person brings you back.

This, is a special person.

Friday shots: comfort food

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Show up next to me. And love me senseless.

Let me stay in your arms, all the parts of me for all the parts of you. Moulding to you like perfectly sticky chocolate. Rich and decadent.

Your love, it is amazing. A thing of champions. The way it swoops me off my feet and into the very core of you. The way it caresses my skin. It traces my particular lines, defining my edges. I am beautiful. I am me.

Your love, it satisfies the hungry spaces in me, filling all my depths.

Your love, it it is amazing. It nourishes as it soothes.

Your love, it is all I want.

Friday shots: in plain sight

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I want to stand somewhere where you can see me.

Not behind fences or other bodies.

I want to own this face and this skin. It is all me and all I’ve got.

Some people say I’m too fat, too dark, too dumb, too quiet, too much. But people measure things by remote control. They do not take the time to see how the pieces fit. How the beauty is right in the pores of me.

So I want to stand somewhere where you can see me.

I am a work in progress.

I am a work of art.

Friday shots: Maya Angelou

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All the words have been taken. Hung up in gratitude and memory of you.

Emotion captured in perfect prose and rhyme.

There is naught left to say. For a girl like me who starry eyed looks upon those who tread the places you trod. A girl like me who craddles words like jackets in winter. The bread of the earth that fills her belly.

I think of your body now. The one you carried and the one you put down. So much history carved right into the skin, engraved for all to remember, to never forget.

It makes me want to settle closer into my own body. To pick up all the parts of me and lovingly notice them; eyes, legs, hair, hands, fingers…

It makes me want to be a woman…a phenomenal woman.

I hope my work offers, to someone else, the same kind of light that you have given. So they will follow the pulse. And we can keep the chain unbroken.