• personal,  so that happened

    Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

    Over the past few weeks I have found myself itching to write. I would set aside dates and times with the best of intentions, pencil them into my To Do Lists with a flourish, and then have them unceremoniously hijacked by other, more urgent and pressing matters. And so here we are. Six months into the year and I have a barren landscape of a blog behind me, untended and wild. All that’s missing is literary tumbleweed. It’s been a pretty busy year so far, actually. If I look behind me into that same barren wilderness of non-blogging, there are a few particularly notable bald patches where important events should…

  • personal,  Thoughts on...,  Uncategorized

    “Traditional”

    It’s almost October. You know what that means. It means damp, russet leaves underfoot and a chill in the air like a whisper telling you to make vegetable soup. It means zipping up jackets and debating whether or not you need to wear a beanie. It means gratefully pulling on your Uggs on the way out the door because they have once again become borderline acceptable, like they do every year around the time Starbucks brings out the pumpkin spice latte. It means cold fingers and early dusk and thick, knitted jumpers that feel like inanimate hugs. I like Autumn, and I particularly like October. There is something magical about…

  • Communication,  personal,  relationships

    “Relationships are Hard Work”

    “Relationships are hard work.” How many times would you say you’ve heard that phrase in your life? People say it to each other all the time; over coffee, over cocktails, in the middle of long, exasperated venting sessions and at the end of despairing exclamations. I’ve said it, and I’ve heard it, and every time there’s a nod of understanding and agreement, because it’s just vague enough to sound accurate. Recently though, I’ve come to realise that the phrase isn’t specific enough to be true. It’s a bit like when people say, “Well, sure we fight, but all couples fight.” I always nod. They both sound pretty straightforward, but the…

  • Life Skills Unlocked,  personal,  Uncategorized

    Life Skills Unlocked: Being a Girl

    I can still remember the exact moment when I decided that being a girl was bullshit. I had spent my first few formative years generally unfazed by gender roles. Sure, I had to wear horrendous dresses on special occasions, and that seemed unfair. My brother wore shirts and shorts and ran around like a loon while I wore dresses with collars that could have doubled as bibs and faced instant restrictions. “Don’t sit like that.” “Don’t get dirty.” “No, you can’t climb trees in a dress.” My best friend was a boy we’ll call P, and together we would spend afternoons watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and made dramatic explosion…

  • personal,  Uncategorized

    The Sticking Point

    I don’t know if you have ever heard of the Bodies exhibition.  It is an exhibition of real human bodies – dissected, plastificated – which has been touring the world for years now, and I visited it when it happened to be in Madrid, Spain. It was astonishing; human anatomy as I had never seen it. Maps of blood vessels and arteries, stiffened and displayed between slabs of clear acrylic. Skeletons in motion. Muscles, lungs, and other organs exposed to my curious eyes in a way that seemed slightly indecent. I kept having to remind myself that once upon a time these were people, real people. They had lived and…

  • personal

    Over and Under

    Here is something I’ve noticed lately: When my confidence is up, my clothes change. Not the basic fundamentals – I am still a jeans-and-baggy-jumper girl whatever the weather – but the colours shift alarmingly. The black, navy and grey that dominate my wardrobe in the winter months give way to appallingly eyecatching colours. Suddenly I find baby blue garments nestling conspicuously next to the navy, or a vibrant pink sweater appears, garishly singular amongst all the black. Even though I’m the one who bought them, they still catch me off guard. Most days I see them and quickly slide the hangers over to hide the cocky colours from view. I…

  • personal,  so that happened,  Uncategorized

    Predator and Prey

    David Attenborough’s voice On the vast plains of the Penneys homeware savanna, a small Grant’s Gazelle picks her way past the rows of bed clothes. Distracted by the sight of a particularly fluffy cushion, she pauses in her pursuit of wildly unnecessary purchases. A small movement in her peripheral vision attracts her attention. Suspicion causes her eyes to widen and she freezes, staring blindly across the shelf of vanilla bean tea lights. She can feel something watch her through the tangle of children’s clothes. A moment of utter stillness passes, and reassured by the lack of movement, she continues on, trotting past the scented candles. Out of the corner of…

  • personal,  so that happened

    Neighbourly Concern

    The new neighbour arrived without my noticing. One day the apartment was an empty shell of freshly-applied white paint, and the next a family had moved in. Two tall, slender brunettes and their tiny child now occupied the home where Hank and Daphne had previously lived. They have no names.  If I were to see them on the street I would most likely pass them without recognising them as my neighbours. They don’t have a dog. What they do have is some sort of a cycling obsession. I know this, because the nieghbour man often puts his very expensive-looking bike on a stand on his balcony and cycles for hours.…

  • personal

    Just People

    When you’re a child, everything is very black or white. You’re well-behaved, or you’re bold. You’re bad, or you’re good. The world is arranged into two halves and, with good parenting, you are steered towards the positive. “Yucky” things are smacked out of your hand, and the explanations of the world leave no room for nuance. You’re too young to understand the intricacies and complications of a lifetime. You’re told that bad people are bad, and that’s it. Nobody explains why, or how, or tempers it by telling you that these bad people have good qualities too. Conversely, good people are held up as paragons and then, as you grow,…

  • personal,  Thoughts on...

    Notes From the Country

    I was born in a city. I have always lived in a city. I grew up with a street lamp outside my window and the sound of a train passing by every twenty minutes. I’m used to light, and noise, and shops that are less than five minutes of a walk away. I’m used to lots of people going about their business with earphones in, purposely not making eye contact and completely ignoring the existence of anybody else on the road. So when I take a trip to the countryside, I’m always reminded of the things country people take for granted that are – for me – hugely abnormal. Every…