The equality.

There are rainbows all over the internets and I can’t wipe the smile off my face. Part of the smile comes from the simple happiness radiating from my Facebook — those rainbow profile pics are so fun! Changing my profile pic on Facebook to the transparent rainbow over a pic of me and my husband felt fun and easy to do and a simple way to send a signal and join in the fun. But, the reality of the situation only really sunk in when a friend of mine said,

I wonder if anyone realizes just how much a simple profile picture change means to those of us still hoping for equality. Thank you x

I thought about the people I know who are directly affected by the announcement that the USA Supreme Court declared gay marriage legal across the nation. There are those who are resolute in their decision that marriage is not for them; there are those who have been planning their weddings for a while now, hopeful that their fantasy will become a reality. Many of these people have been together for far longer than any marriages I have seen come and go. I smile as I think about these people, our friends, and realise that it’s not about whether a man should be allowed to marry a man, or a woman a woman — it’s about being two humans, choosing to lean into each other and shape a life, together.

Back in the glory days of a relatively new relationship, my husband and I decided, that marriage was for us. For me, it was an easy yes or no, will we or won’t we—and it was entirely up to us. It was almost automatic. Of course we’ll get married! We belong together! The only things we had to consider were what we were going to wear, what we were going to eat (the most important), and who we were going to invite! Imagine not being allowed to get caught up in the delight of planning a celebration of the love we had grown together! Inconceivable!

So, from where I sit, in my cosy, mundane, beautiful life, I sincerely hope that very soon, my Australian friends who love each other and who want to commit to each other in a legal and formal way, will be free to make that choice. Will they or won’t they? It really doesn’t matter. As long as they can be free to decide for themselves.

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The anger.

Lack of sleep — it sounds so innocuous. How about sleep depravation — sounds a bit dramatic. As parents of two young kids, we hear both of these phrases spoken loudly, with pride, worn like a badge of honour, a competition over who has the worst life right now. Someone complains, someone nods knowingly, both secretly convinced that their own shit is the most annoying, the most exhausting, the most. THE most.

We ache in our heads, our fingertips, our backs and necks. Our eyes rasp under crackling lids, our teeth perched tenderly in tightly-bound jaws. There are snipped orders, snippy responses, half arsed pleas for forgiveness and underneath it all a perverse pleasure, knowing that we are fighting the good fight, being excellent parents, if not excellent partners. All this is based upon how much sleep we are NOT getting. The excellence in partnership awards will be handed out, with little glory, possibly in retrospect, when we realise we have survived. There is pride in knowing we haven’t already killed each other, to be honest. And perhaps, with badges gathering dust and memories fading, we will join the ranks of sympathetic cluckers who really can’t fathom the crushing weight of not being able to simply finish a task soon after starting.

Exhaustion is the thing which provides a framework for the rest of this story to reside in. A story about anger. Fury. Loathing (of self and others). Disbelief. But, the anger — it is a flash. A sickening fire from my belly to my heart, then straight back down again. It putters out. It rears back. It roars in my belly, burbling up from my gut, then my neck and out of my mouth like a long, colourful stream of a magician’s neverending kerchiefs. I haven’t felt such fury since the last time I was shocked to realise that despite my best efforts, somebody dared to be unhappy with me. It is so overwhelming that I can’t sleep. I find myself having fantasy conversations in the shower, imagining how three or four sentences will be heard, listened to and provide the magic little tweak, a creak which will be audible as their brain gets it: what I have offered is not a punishment, but a gift! How can you possibly see it any other way? Sigh. Poor me, right? Poor me. I don’t know the answer. I don’t know how to stop the ongoing diatribe in my head.

Actually, I do know. I know to take long deep breaths and notice those breaths. What they feel like, how they sound, how my nose twitches with the cold intake of breath, how my chest rises. For me, this is the answer. The only way to stop the claptrap in my over-thinking, over-scheming, over-dramatic head. Breathe until you notice a shift. And when it shifts back, breathe again*. And again. Remind myself that I am an adult. And, adults know that there is always an end, a new beginning, a way through the shit into a new moment, a new day and a new angle on a tired old relationship. My GP explained it beautifully the other day: when babies are sick, they don’t know it will end. They just feel miserable. At least as adults, when we feel miserable, we can hold onto the knowledge that at some point, even if that moment is imperceptible, there will come an end.

*May I add, this is really, really hard when you’re angry. 🙂 Much easier when you’re sad.

Then this happened…

The kid just realised he can get himself out of his new bed. I heard a loud crash In the playroom downstairs (not his head) and almost expired with fright. Raced downstairs to big eyes in an angelic head just playing with his trains like it was no biggie. 37 times back in bed, out again, back in bed, out again, etc etc… Many protracted requests for water and offers of medicine cos daddy is sick… The kid has inherited my procrastination gene and his father’s determination to succeed. #wearesoproud #unexpectedlyripsnortinghilarious #tryingnotolaughhurts #alot

On notice.

I remember in primary school, our teacher would test our observation skills. Every morning, we would sit down and she would sweetly and diligently ask us things like “Is our school on ‘Smith Rd’ or ‘Smith’s Rd’? Each morning, our stomachs churned with delight or utter disbelief, dependent on what we had noticed and what we had missed. A blink at just the wrong moment, a miniscule turn of the head at just the right one. Though casual and fun, it was an exercise I took very seriously. If you were observant you were somehow a better person. Such is my personality that I strove to be the best at, of all things, observation. I loved the challenge. And, well, frankly, thank God she took the time to run this ‘test’, because I attribute that early reminder of what we might be missing, to my love for detail and noticing things which would otherwise go unnoticed. I think it’s important in my line of work to notice things. To understand how our minds process visual information and how it affects our communication, our relationships and our ability to get through the day. Imagine if we couldn’t read? Imagine if we didn’t understand the seemingly simple relationships between facial expressions and emotions.

So what the doof* am I getting at?

Well, I just wanted to show you these pretty gates. I want you to notice them and give them some attention. Stop a while and think about the gates. I walk around the neighbourhood, grinding plastic pram wheels on bitumen and concrete, and I notice these poor old gates who at one point were decided upon, chosen, proudly attached to fences. Now they’re mostly rusted — paint peeling and hinges creaking. Do their owners still love them? Are they observed? Or, will they be discarded, like rusty junk to make way for a shiny new rust-free indication of where we all stand in the world? Sigh. I wish I could prop them up in a field somewhere and call it art**. Because not noticing those beautiful gates leaves a little hole in the universe where beautiful mundane things go to fade away and disintegrate.

*Yep. I said ‘doof’. Say it aloud. Go on, say it. ‘Doof’.
**The gates were much more difficult to draw than I expected, which makes me realise how precisely they would have been designed and forged. Were they forged? Kind of like a font? #mindblown