I am as guilty as anyone of looking at people older than me and immediately dismissing them based on my two second assessment of who they are and the life in their years. Now, I too am that dismissed person. I am invisible. Age and size does that. I feel overwhelming grief but in the same breath I also feel incredible gratitude. Not everyone has the privilege of aging.
Young Laura, (the Laura before learning that standing up means getting knocked down and that physical injuries will not hurt as much as emotional injuries) was a true Pollyanna. Glad about everything! Seeing life with potential, and had never come up against anything other than some playground bullying. This Laura grasped the world, shook it and kept everything she loved that fell out.
A lover of live music. A lover of people who never fit in. A lover of literature. A lover of her family and dearest friends. A dreamer. Loyal to a fault. Kind and generous, always. Sixteen and never been kissed almost. It happened around that time. I wonder where he is now. A mix of daring adventures and still fearful of the unknown. A person who would jump on stage with the Priscilla Queen of the Desert Drag Show at Erskineville Pub to win a bet with her mate. A person who would skinny dip in public places (always alone) very late at night. As I write this I am almost trying to convince myself, I am still that same person.
Of course I am that same person, but nobody knows that. Every person over fifty should have a disclaimer they can hand out listing all the cool things they were and are. I am still that cool person. I yearn to skinny dip in public late at night. I yearn for the unconventional. The risks.
There have been moments of such wreckless abandon in my life and I feel so achingly sad that they are now just memories. Sleeping on the beach with school friends. In the middle of summer, but a beach at night is freezing. We were not drunk just young and dumb. Always the one in the mosh pit at all the Ska bands I saw. Kicking it out and stomping. Going to an after party with Aussie Crawl at sixteen. That was an eye opener! Even as I was exploring the edges of my boundaries I stayed true to my values.
I married for the first time at nineteen. Yes I was in love but I was still a child. I had so much to learn about myself. I was not ready to be half of a union. As my half was so pliable and still learning who I was. Once I figured it out, I realised I was not the right half for this union. Thus began seven years of feeling lost. Breaking rules. Drinking too much and too often. Not valuing my body. No honour for myself and no self respect. I thought I was having fun. Yes, at times of course I was. But there was a whole chapter of self loathing in that part of my life. Self loathing in big bold italics. Moving to bigger cities. Each one bigger then the next. Loving each one but never feeling settled.
I really don’t know know who I am trying to convince here. I think, most likely it’s me. I am starting to really look older than I am happy about. I am considering Botox. I know, right! I feel invisible. And here’s the stick; I don’t want to be the centre of attention at all. I just don’t want to be dismissed. I don’t want people to do to me what I have done to others. I am also very uncomfortable and sorry about this. It grates on me so much that I have done this. I have stripped the exciting and colourful moments from people and in my mind they were bland, colourless pawns. Exactly how I feel now.
Of course, I know everyone has excitement in their lives. I am not that egocentric. It’s just I don’t think I ever grew out of that childhood mindset where life for everything and everyone ends the moment it is not in your peripheral vision.
I am really trying to work through a lot of issues in this blog. Maybe too many actually. I don’t understand how a child with so much anxiety (Moi) could do some truly audacious things in her teenage and young adult years and then fucking break so badly that she can’t put herself back together.
I had my hair done on Saturday and I am not at all happy about the result. Why did I not tell them? Why can I complain about the vinegar tits who was the water Nazi in hospital but not about the hair colour I ended up with. It suddenly occurred to me. If I think it’s about social justice, I will speak up. I will stand up for myself or for anyone else. Hair is not social justice. It wasn’t important enough in my personal hierarchy of needs. What a breakthrough moment.
The next step is to decipher what is a mountain and what is a hill. Too often I have chosen to wage a war and die on a hill while never taking on the mountain that was looming in the horizon. The issue is my outrage feels equal and I load up my kit to prepare for Mt Everest even though I am only strolling up a grassy incline.
Picking my battles is definitely a skill that will be worth learning. Knowing when it’s ok to walk away or when it’s worth speaking up could really be an important life changing strength. Freeing up my energy or giving me permission to dare I say it – chill.
© Laura Lewis 2020