Categories
Life

The Dreamer in Me

It’s a world for thinkers, isn’t it, this one we live in?

A world where everything has a name. A world where everything and everyone has a reason to be. In this thinking dominated world, it’s all about the boxes, isn’t it? You know the ones—you’re hovering over one right this very minute, trying to decide if and how these words will fit into your life. By the end of reading this, you should know which box this little blog post of mine belongs in. And for the real dreamers among you…you knew from the very first sentence. Didn’t you?

I should probably explain this idea of ‘boxes’ from my place in the world as a creative person—a musician, an actor, a writer, a dreamer—because I’m betting there are flocks of my kind out there, who glide along on the surface of life, happy enough to go with the flow, but feeling, somehow, that they are a bit of an imposter in this big old world of thinking and doing.

When I was in my late teens, I looked at the world and I just knew my wide-eyed dreams didn’t quite belong. Every face I passed on the street seemed to live under a blanket of grey, dead eyes going about life like it was just something that must be done, without question, without…colour.  Was this what I had to look forward to? Dreams all wrapped up, locked away behind the curtain of responsibility? Right then and there, in my sparkling seventeen-year old wonderland, I closed my eyes tight and I swore to myself. This will never happen to me.

I’ve thought about that moment so many times over the past fifteen years or so. Because guess what? That promise I made to myself, the one that gifted me a life of floating in the breeze, of spreading my wings wide and flying into the setting sun—I smashed it to pieces. This thinking world smashed it to pieces. Sucked up the dreams. Spat me out on the other side all shiny and nice and ready to please everyone other than the person that mattered most in my life. Me. I know when it happened, too. It was around about the time I joined the work-life crowd when I bundled everything I was into neatly labeled boxes and became a responsible adult. And right before my very eyes—without me even knowing it was happening— my lovely little dream world was trampled flat.

For those of you who’ve come to know me via this blog, or my old one, you might be surprised to hear that my dream world ever went anywhere—since I very definitely have been plonking bits and pieces of it into these little bloggy worlds of mine, for a few years now. But yes. It did go somewhere for a time.

Well! Quite happily, and for no particular reason, it seems like I just might be back. All of me. Because after all these years of thinking that my ‘boxes’ needed to be packed in the same way as everyone else’s boxes…I’ve finally given myself permission to say this:

‘Dear world, I am a dreamer. I always have been, and I always will be. So, you can take your serious thoughts and angry eyes away from me, because giggling and sunshine is just what I do. And I will do my very best never to forget that again.’

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Categories
Life

The Little Blog Of Everything

This is an everything blog.

A little bit of sugar, a little bit of spice.

And, right now—like Forest and his many park-bench dwellers—you (the reader) and me (the writer) just never know what we’re going to get from this place, do we?

But Brooke, I hear you say. You are the writer. Hold the wheel. Steer.

Just take us to a place we know, a place we love.

A place we choose.

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You may have already met the many versions of writerly me—especially if you’ve followed along on my Sunny Mummy journey—and if so, you may be wondering which me will be the captain of this particular ship, at any given blog post.

Will it be the very serious me; the scholar and the thinker, the champion of all things books and arts and creativity?

Will it be the dreamer, the romantic, the philosopher? The Mum?

Or will it be me of the adorably nuts kind; me who wishes the world was made of chocolate, and cherry-red wine, me who thinks she’s way funnier than she actually is. (And yes. The latter is the captain of this particular blog post. Sorry about that.)

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So!

What will the next post be? A photo blog: short, sweet and poignant? Or will it be wordy and slow, important and true?

And deep?

This is my confession.

I don’t know.

All I can say about this little land of words is that it is, and always will be, a place for anyone who finds it, a place for anyone who needs it. A place that changes and moves, because life changes.

Life moves.

And that’s what I want for this space.

Life.

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With this confession lies an apology of the sincerest kind. Sometimes you will be lost here, wishing for direction, wishing for routine wrapped in a neatly labeled box.

This place will give you all of the things, sometimes. And none of them sometimes, too. What exactly it will give you, I can’t be sure.

BUT.

What I can be sure of is this.

My heart lives in this place.

And where my heart lives, I live.

All of me.

And hopefully…

All of you, too.

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Categories
Life

Somewhere Summer

When the leaves start to fall and the sun slides all the way ’round to the other side of the world…

I get a little bit grumpy.

A little bit cooped up.

A little bit sad.

You could say I’m allergic to winter.

I know. Poor me.

Just think of my cold little toes!

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Maybe I just prefer bright.

Colour.

A bit of gold on a cloud.

A bit of glare on a train track.

A bit of peace from the wildlings who leap the couches and roar

And climb me, like the ladder I so clearly am.

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And the gym!

My goodness, they’ll be pleased.

We miss you, they said in summer;

A pointy-fingered email for every time I chose to exercise in the great outdoors…

Instead of on their sweat-crusted cross trainer.

Yes, gym. It’s true.

The grey skies will bring me back to you.

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And don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad.

There’s the wood that crackles in the fire. The quiet moments that dull the adorable LOUD.

And then there’s you.

My friends in the north, peeling off your chunky wool sweaters. Frolicking in the splendor of a sun-lit strip.

I’ll think of you and your sweet, sweet summer and do you know what I’ll do?

I’ll smile. Because at least someone will be sipping Pina Coladas, pool-side.

Even if it won’t be me.

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Categories
Life

The Aching Quiet

The aching quiet.

You’d know it, I’m sure.

The moment something could have been said but wasn’t. The moment silence was filled with a smile, a giggle, a tear.

That’s what I think the aching quiet is.

An ache of the highest happy.

An ache of the deepest sad.

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I’ve met the aching quiet many times in my life.

It’s the glance between would-be lovers in a crowded room; The bashful smiles that live with them for days and weeks and months.

It’s Dad, at the game, when his little girl socks the ball a mile; It’s the face in left-field, who never saw that coming.

It’s the woman who discovers the burger guy’s name and number on her chip bag; It’s how high he flips the patty when she sees it there and smiles.

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If words are what life sounds like… the aching quiet must be how life feels.

The stuff of life that reaches the very bones of us, the yarn that weaves us together and makes us all the same.

The aching quiet, I think, is the pauses between the words. The deeper meaning of what we say.

It might even be a gooey caramel surprise for some. (Uhem, me.)

Yes.

I really do love the aching quiet.

Don’t you?

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Categories
Life

The Value of Kindness

It was all I had ever wanted. A horse. Majestic and lovely, the only dream my little girl heart desired. Every week the library door would slide open and out we’d whistle, me and Mum, our bags heavy with books we could only hope would be as good as their covers. I’d spend a lot of my browsing time at the fiction shelves: love stories, fantasy sagas—anything I connected with in the first paragraph, in the bag it went.

And then there were the horse books. How to look after a horse. How to ride one, love one, train one. Whatever you needed to know about horses, there was a book for it. And I wanted to read it.

 In the bag it went.

What was it that enchanted me so about horses? I had no idea. I was a city girl and had been my whole life. It was only recently we’d moved to a place I considered to be the country—eucalyptus trees, grassy paddocks a plenty— but even that place had too many asphalt roads to really be considered rural.

The only thing I knew about these wonderful creatures was that, however little sense it made to my city girl sensibilities, the very thought of them thrilled me. For whatever reason, I had gravitated toward these kind animals, and I needed to satisfy that pull in some way.

So, I took horse riding lessons. Gone were the books. Now I stood up close to the real thing; scratching the flat of a fuzzy forehead, closing my eyes to the sweet, earthy smell of horse. What if…gosh. Just what if I could own one of these magnificent beasts.

The challenge was set. With superpowers that would melt even the hardest of hearts—or perhaps it was the big blue eyes and gentle head tilt, that did it— I convinced my parents a horse was the perfect pet for me. I would love my horse so dearly, I’d said to them, that any chance of me neglecting the thing would be a non-issue. And if anything, I’d love it too much and they’d never see their beloved daughter again.

After the triumphant ‘yes’ vote, life for me changed dramatically. I felt it the moment she rolled on in: true love, her dapple-grey bottom booming out the back of the float, the first part of her to come into my life…the last part of her to leave it. But I’ll get to that bit a little later. For now, the beautiful dream continues.

It really was love between me and her. She loved me for the potato chips I’d be munching on most days, during my after-school visit. Those greedy wobbling lips of hers, that whiskery chin. The flared nostrils and the wide eyes. All angling for my afternoon snack. Whoever would have thought it: horses and crisps! But yes. It’s true. It’s a thing.

And me…well. I just loved her. So often, I’d be taken by the very odd feeling that, somehow, those big, almond eyes of hers could see into my soul. To me, despite her youth, her eyes told the story of a horse who’d lived a thousand life times. An old soul, if you will.

When winter came, I brushed her thick coat and bundled her into her pretty winter rug. When the need arose I scratched the dry mud off her legs, picked the caked mud out of her hooves—I did everything a responsible horse owner should do and I was proud of it.

Of course, it was when the rains came that the water trough needed cleaning and refiling. The hose didn’t reach; I’d have to use buckets to refill. Bloody hell. As I clomped from tap to trough and back again, rain falling heavily on my driza-bone, I spotted Mum peeking out from behind the curtains, my baby brother snug on her hip. Was that a smile on her distant face? Was this the moment I’d finally risen above my title of pampered princess of the family? Yes. It was. And right there in the pouring rain I celebrated, feeling every bit the accomplished graduate.

Enter the intruders.

The odd little man who owned my baby’s paddock—the very same man who taught me it was possible for one to ‘bleed like nobody’s business’—agisted two more horses on the property. This would change everything.

A fourteen-year-old girl and her Mum would come and look after these horses, ride them, feed them, yell at them…hit them. I was twelve, by then, and very impressionable, as it turned out. Was this the way to treat a horse when they misbehaved? I tried it their way. When my horse misbehaved, I growled at her, just like they did. I did not hit her—that awfulness will never hold a place within me. But more times than I care to remember, I was unkind. Many years later, as an adult, I would remember these moments of unkindness and cringe. George Saunders was spot on when he said, ‘What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.’

This was my failure of kindness. And yes, I regret it, deeply.

My failure of kindness is the broken heart of this story; the one regret that lives on from those precious days with my beautiful girl. She’d always been a little bit naughty but she did not deserve the vicious words my reckless teenage self, delivered her. If only adult me had been there to tap her on the shoulder. To lead her back to those wise almond eyes and show them kindness. Teenage me would never live to regret kindness.

As I slipped further into the surly depths of teenager land, fate stepped in. We would be moving house, no horses allowed. Me and my beloved pony: we were breaking up. And although it pained me to admit it…maybe this was not such a bad thing, after all.

Our last days together were tender and filled with all the pleasures of an unbreakable friendship. It was as if she knew this was it for us, as if she knew that she’d been unkind to me too, and that this was her last chance to leave a warm and lasting impression.

As the float drifted that big, grey bottom away, there were none of the tears I’d expected of a broken heart. Instead, there was relief. No longer would I have the opportunity to hurt my very best friend, no more failures of kindness from me. Only heart smiles and memories of a wise, loving friend who taught me the profound value of kindness.

And the undeniable value of a good bag of chips.

 

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Categories
Life

When You Became the Sun

I promised this virtual space of mine that I’d sprinkle some heart into it, and so grows this poem: planted from a memory, watered with love.

I felt this introduction necessary because I am well aware that grief is an almighty thing, and although this poem is—quite literally— shining with comfort and hope; it also speaks of loss. For those of you whose grief runs deep and new: I give you my blessing to stop reading here.

This poem was inspired by my beautiful Grandmother—a ray of pure sunshine in my life, and in the lives of all those who knew her. She passed away a few years ago, and this story took place on the day of her funeral.

That day, I wanted to believe that she was there with us.

So I believed.

And, every time I see the sun…I still believe.

 

WHEN YOU BECAME THE SUN

 

The day you grew your angel wings,

The sun shone warm and true,

While others saw a shining sun,

I looked, and I saw you.

 

The way the sun fell on my back;

A cape to still the grief,

A ring of gold around the clouds—

it filled me with relief.

 

The tears were wet upon our cheeks,

We thought you’d gone for good,

‘Take heart,’ the sun whispered to me,

‘You’ve all misunderstood.’

 

‘I’ve given her my shine, today,

It’s why she feels so near,

She’s telling you the pain has gone;

She knows that you can hear.’

 

Now every time I see the sun,

I hear your sweet hello,

‘Hello,’ I sing right back to you,

‘I’m glad you didn’t go.’

 

 

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Categories
Life

The Gift of Bother

Last week I was car-less.

Imagine.

A young Mum with things to do. Places to go.

Objects to move from one place to another.

Small children to move from one place…

To another.

What a bother.

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And then it struck me.

These legs of mine, these feet—

What marvellous things they are.

This body: flushed with life; me and the pram

Powering up hills, and down. Getting places

No engine necessary.

What a gift.

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Finding my feet again gifted me other things, too.

Like time.

Time to feel the papery trunks of nature’s watchmen,

Time to see—spindly leaves, dancing about in the open blue. Time to be

Me.

Free.

What a gift.

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But the very best of life on two legs was this:

Extra time with my babies— one and four years old.

Not three minutes together, like the car ride to kinder.

But twenty. Precious. Minutes.

Every day for a week.

All of us wide-eyed, as natures sweetest creations passed us by.

What a gift.

The gift of bother.

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