There are so many things I’ve thought about blogging about:

-the mum whose son was mocked by parents for dressing as Daphne from Scooby Do for Halloween (although I still say the costume did look very drag-queenish!)

-Erica Jong’s article about motherhood & feminism

-the changing seasons

-my changing roles as Eden starts preschool and I wait for this next one to be born…

… but the one that actually has gotten me to the computer is nostalgia. I may wreak of it, I am experiencing it that strongly. Not necessarily longing for what has been in terms of events (although I’ve done a lot of cool things) but things I have been a part of. Community I have been a part of. And I know how easy it is to idealise such things – believe me, I remember how raw it felt some days. In fact, even in my memories there are so many conflicting emotions. What an age to experience such intensity of relationship! I was only just 17 when I moved in and I had no idea. In fact, I’m not sure i had any idea until years after I left.

 

For those of you who don’t have a clue what I’m on about, I attended this teeny tiny university in Eastern Canada, except it was different then. In a nutshell, a small number of students (always artistic, and eccentric) lived in 2 mansions, studied, ate, lived and traveled together for 4 years and ended up with a Bachelor’s degree of some sort. We spent 2 & 1/2 months camping in Europe and 2 & 1/2 months traveling South East Asia. It was the most intense educational experience I can imagine, but not simply educational in terms of book learning.. Living like that, in that kind of community… was … altering. It changed everything. It coloured everything. It defined parts of me that I can now not explain to people who didn’t go through it.

And a lot of it was beautiful, don’t get me wrong.

But a lot of it, for me, was extremely lonely as well. And leaving was so isolating.

One of the last things I said when I left was “I am so scared of not going to do something sensational”… and that echoes in me some days. It echoes on the days that I wake  up and realise that I live in a little village that a lot of people my age can’t afford to live in, (including me, but that’s another story) and that my life is mostly defined by being mummy. You see, that was one of my biggest fears. And some days I sleep just to ignore it.

I never wanted a big career. I never wanted a lot of money. I just wanted big. I just wanted a lot. I just wanted interesting. And I still do but I forget. I forget what it felt like to feel so much need. And I am so much more content. Phil has helped me learn to let go because I had so much to prove to the world (moving out just after your 17th birthday to a different country does that to you). But I wonder some days how long it will take me to find some of what I gave up in the process. I wonder how much of who he fell in love with was lost when I moved.

But this is getting far more emotional and introspective than I intended. I guess what I intended to say was that I long for things that will never be recreated and yet in some ways still exist. The people I miss are still reachable – and when I do reach them it is a reminder that everything was real. There is so much I don’t need to explain with them, and to them.

and so much I do need to explain to everyone else.

Rules, Roles & Polystyrene.

“There’s an old notion, and I’m beginning to think it’s true, that moral beings can exist only in communities. Perhaps it’s because of the idea that true virtue has nothing to do with rules and everything to do with roles.” (Utopian Dreams, Tobias Jones).

Words like ‘rules’ and ‘roles’ aren’t very welcome these days. He’s a bold man to use them. I don’t know if I agree with his thoughts, but they provoke me. They slightly coincide with discussions I took part in last night based on ‘Nooma’ videos… which provoked a lot of thought about who I am – which is much different than who I think I am. You see, I think that who you are is defined by what you do – far more than what you believe.

I am a typical member of my generation, and I seem to spend so much time making lists & plans… wasting time and hiding from anything of value. Trying to do things I’m passionate about is a risk, and so I’ll often find myself hiding behind meaningless tasks.

Living with people always (i think at least) results in the division, conscious or otherwise, of roles. I do this and you do that. That’s how it works, whether we like it (which I generally don’t) or not. Unfortunately I see no other option but chaos in its place.

Hmmm.

And no,  I’m not actually posting about polystyrene.