Thursday, September 16, 2010

Growing pains

Occasionally we all have those days or sometimes weeks when we feel a little uncomfortable and overwhelmed; and it isn't instantly clear why. Those days when its best to stop and remember where everything sits in perspective; although, having already lost composure and now unable to remember quite where all of the normally functional little pieces fit, more often than not, is because they no longer do. Somehow without noticing, they've changed shape and evolved; so in fact it's no longer re-placing the pieces back to where they used to fit, but redesigning the slightly different shaped pieces to fit more comfortably into something new. More commonly, this is known as CHANGE... and there's still something about change that occasionally troubles me. I enjoy the idea of change, in processing the fresh and new, or reinventing the tired old, but change isn't always expected or predictable. Occasionally it may offer subtle signs or prompts in the peripheral before it rouses its sly little eyes to the window sill to catch us unaware, regardless of the fact we were uncomfortably trying to ignore it and see whether it might go away. But, when finally we acknowledge and accept it, its already happening; and it wasn't really all that terrifying after all.

I now know personally that those slight discomforts, that feel oddly familiar, but equally new and unrecognisable, are the growing pains of change.

So after a week of growing pains, and unhelpfully not being all that honest with myself in recognising their presence; I hit that wall. Although, having a little more familiarity with my wall and being much better at negotiating tall buildings these days, I've come to realise that its the final obstacle to conquer in each little chapter of my life. That is, before finding that the wall is actually more like a door, but seeing that everything is slightly distorted and out of perspective, I was unaware it was there to direct me, not to be obstructive. Then waking yesterday, I sensed an interesting hint of significance in the air, everything about it felt clarifying.. A day of growing I would say metaphorically speaking, yet from the moment I woke my entire day was filled with the refreshing presence of growth; and I partly have Spring to thank for that.

I have to quietly admit a small unnecessary addition to the discomfort of these growing pains was caused by my school books need for attention, but as did the abundance of fruit in my kitchen. So I went about this remarkably pleasant day, attempting to do both. Unfortunately the sun streaming through my kitchen windows and the baskets full of colour on the table, left my books feeling a little neglected. But the inspiration was far better suited to the concocting of flavours, and the coinciding wofting of aromas that sifted out from every open window to catch upon each softly floating breeze; than spent nuzzled amongst that very academic style 'black-on-white' of book pages.

So to make the most of not just the day but all of the apples, pears, and citrus fruit I had, my resourceful enthusiasm became;

Cinnamon and star anise stewed apple;

 A rather wholesome pear and apple cake;

A marvelous batch of marmalade;

 in the most sticky shade of orange;

.. And a particularly inexpensive lunch; one of the first picked nearly entirely from my garden, tossed together with a few wild leaves from the rivers side, and a few lonely leaves from the sprouting red cabbage heart in the side of my compost; which proved equally inspiring. Also having discovering that my home-made sourdough, fried with olive oil, thyme, and sea salt never seems to go wrong with anything (and everything), it has now become rather deliciously routine.

And to see all that I had accomplished by the end of the day (reading aside), with little expense other than my time, that was more spent pensively in the calming clarity of my kitchen, I re-found my perspective. 

So from beginning,

To end,

.. with every beautiful spring delight that surrounded me in between, yesterday was much clearer than had been the last few days before it; And everywhere I turn everything is finding space to stretch out and grow; and with my appropriately self-diagnosed growing pains, clearly that was me included.

However, now having acknowledged and accepted the latest inevitable path of change, the next part is what I enjoy most; the knowing that I've got unexplored places ahead to discover. I often hear stories from friends of their intrepid journeys to far away places, whilst I've never left the shores of the island on which I was born. Yet no less exciting by any means do I find my journey and my exploration of the great unknown. So once again I pack my bag, slightly more well equipped than before, to face the challenges and enjoy the experiences on the next chapter of my journey.

By the way; Thanks again growth and change, you sometimes make me a little weak at the knees, but I'm actually rather fond of you. x

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

how do we become..

The unexpected discovery of a pregnancy in your teens; is one of those moments that you look back on and try hard not to recall every daunting and terrifying thought swimming about in the ocean of inexperience. Although initially for me it resembled more of a generally positive.. okay naive daze, than would have otherwise been expected. The first utter-trembling-fear moment in my eighteen-year-old vulnerability came with my weeping on the telephone to my mother, a few hours of sleep after the arrival of my little man... Those tears that came with guilt, the guilt that came from my immense dislike upon first meeting; for the large, swollen, purple, loudly crying child that was my own.

Mind you; with some wise and encouraging motherly words my nervousness calmed; and as of our second meeting later that morning, we began our remarkable journey of friendship.

The earlier years were spent learning and categorizing the interesting and unusual new sounds, sights, and smells. Days were filled with excitement; feeding routines; hilarity; curiosity; anxiety; and the occasional panic. However at the time, all I was simply attempting to manage was the general day-to-day of life. Firstly understanding my responsibilities, then trying my youthful-best to be that responsible.

The whole situation wasn't thoroughly ideal, yet neither was it a complete disaster. His mother found work in administration, while I leaned to administer first aid; accompanied by fatherly affection. Though most importantly; I taught myself to cook. But as is entirely possible as a teenage parent, and as is often the case; that door of accepting ones consequences swings both ways.

Unfortunately my modest attempt at ill prepared parenting was then later coupled with anxious relationship uncertainty. It became our relationship that needed first aid, although I was not qualified; nor could I fix it when I couldn't yet comprehend its brokenness. After a further few years slightly more turbulent than the first, our household three; then became two. It would be an understatement to say I was devastated, but in the year that followed, for reasons I wont elaborate on here, this upheaval became the long awaited catalyst I needed to define me. In many ways it shaped the first few steps of a major overhaul of my life, of the principals by which I lived, and of my uncompromisable priorities and values. What also came to my attention; was that which ever direction I wanted to take my life, I needed to understand it fully; and live it purposefully. For where ever it was I was going, there was a little pair of feet always closely following my lead. I occasionally forgot in that transition period in my life how firmly footed my little man was in his role in our friendship; but he clearly is and always will be his fathers son...

Having experienced heartache and betrayal, you realize how it can change you; it gives definition to those corners deep in the darkness. Although, to accept that loss of innocence and to allow yourself to grow in it, as opposed to being forever burdened by resentment, eventually allows for a reviving sense of freedom.
Like a child learning to ride a bike, with that life affirming sense of accomplishment, peddling solo with the wind on their face; its like that very first feeling of being free..

And Freedom is unmistakable when it's found...

... sometimes freedom even evokes courage.

Courage you didn't know existed before, until you were brave enough to take risks and create your own opportunities. Of course gently helping hands along the way can buffer the edges a little; soften the blow of complete disaster; or reassure you that tomorrow will be different from today. But time really does heal. It heals cuts; and scrapes; and bumps; and bruises.. and it even heals broken hearts; for bigger, better, and brighter things to come, that yesterday you wouldn't have ever imagined. x