Morning Pages


Welcome once again to my morning pages: the occasional, unedited spilling of my morning mind on to the screen. Approximately seven hundred and fifty words of stream of consciousness, transparent writing inspired by Julia Cameron. So you can dig a little deeper in my head. For my eyes only, for no doubt I will say too much. And for those of anyone who cares to set their own minds straight in the morning time, by feeling inspired to do the same…

It was an unusual Friday. I sat amongst a group of women I do not know and listened to them pour out torrid tales of their relationships with their children. I told of how the night before Finley had had to sit me down and ask me to close my eyes and focus on something ice cold because I had worked myself into quite the most silly, hot frenzy and the sweat was dripping of me as I tore around the house in search of a charger he had previously insisted he could not live without.

I told them how instantly calm I became as I listened to his little voice trying to hypnotise me back to normality and I thanked heaven for him over and over again as slowly but surely I cooled down in both body and spirit. I told them that on other days his voice drives me to distraction. How sometimes I found his repetitive tales of WWE and the war between the Super Heroes utterly boring and that I would rather be writing. And they said that saying such things about our own were utterly taboo and I had broken that taboo and I felt both vilified and ashamed. All too often I find myself at odds with other women. Saying what shouldn’t be said. Daring them to dig a little deeper and not feeling mollified by surface truths.

I think I might be hard to be around. I cannot let things go. I cannot listen without asking questions. Without bating women with my own quiet fury. The day before I sat with a women who pursed her lips as my friend and I talked about  trashy Tv. She did not, she said, understand how we ever found time to switch the box on. And for a moment I bit my tongue until she who will not be silenced (my inner bitch),  challenged her to say exactly what it was she did each evening, once the kids were in bed and the dinner dishes done. Her answer? She irons. As if none of us had to do the same chores that she did. As if there was something morally superior about doing housework when there is life to be lived and bad TV to watch!

I wanted to scream. I felt violent with it. But of course I didn’t. I nibbled on a tiny square of Millionaires Shortbread and watched her depriving herself of yet more pleasure and became detached from that violence. Able to see that she was sad. That her iron was a weapon she used in the constant battle between herselves.  For someone so enamoured with housework, I tolerate talk of it over teacups astonishingly badly.

Does one then become less tolerant as the years go by? More willing to call nonsense on the kind of inane conversation women are so prone to having? And yet at the same time as being utterly bored by the conversation, able with laser sharp vision, to see through it? To see the war behind the words and be needled by the truths women who guard their sadness so carefully are unable to speak? Who am I to expect every last woman I meet to tell me who she really is?  When will I understand that some truths are not meant to be stirred into teacups like so many sugar cubes?

Perhaps I will never understand it. There is so much in this life that I am surprised to realise that I have not yet learned at the grand old age of forty-two. Last night I watched a three hour long dance show in a stiflingly hot auditorium, mesmerised by little ballerinas in white corsets flapping feathers and floating ribbon behind them as they flew across the stage. One by one each dance closed in darkness until another opened in a flash of lights and pyrotechnics and suddenly I was fifteen again dancing on the stage at Southport Theatre, beaming at the audience as I tap-danced in a shining turquoise leotard.  I was her again. I still am. It feels like yesterday. I am horrified by how fast the years go by: how much damage time imposes on our bodies, because for sure my body isn’t as flexible as it was, my movement not quite as fluid. My mind not quite as free.

Won’t somebody turn back time please? I want to be fifteen again.

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8 comments on “Morning Pages

  1. Heather F on said:

    YFor a long time I was very open and truthful about my thoughts and feelings around others, friends and strangers alike. When I noticed their responses, I realized that maybe I was oversharing to an audience who was not ready for such open honesty. It made me a bit sad that around other women who weren’t ready to lift their veil of perfection that I was being judged for admitting openly that I was just human. I had hoped for more support from other women, as I would support them. Your honesty is refreshing and welcome. Thank you for being so real, Alison.

  2. Dawn Gilmore on said:

    Frankly, I can’t believe that any mother at any point in history never felt as you did regarding the chatter of children. It’s only human IMO.

  3. Karla Neese on said:

    And this is why, after all these years, I still adore you so. There are so many more of us who aren’t “normal” than there are of those who are sad because they force themselves into a box. My family has a happier mom/wife because I don’t iron at night but instead sit and watch trashy tv with them. I have finally learned after such a very long time that I’d rather be alone the majority of the time than have to try and compete and fight for some semblance of friendship with women who can’t accept me as I am. You’re our “abnormal” ring leader my dear but you do not walk alone.

  4. Antonella on said:

    As I get older I have less and less tolerance for people who are not “true”. As in, why should I spend time with someone i cannot open up to? I totally get it…
    🙂

    btw For someone so constantly mindful of her feelings, thoughts etc, as you, a dose of trash is useful in order to not explode! No shame in it!

  5. I’m Anna.
    I watch telly.
    I eat cake.
    I don’t iron.
    I love my boys to bits but my goodness the 8 yo can talk about buses. And I really can’t tolerate football talk at breakfast when I’m trying to get myself and 4 kids ready and out of the house.

    I wonder if being less tolerant of other people’s nonsense is the definition of getting older.

  6. CynthiaJo on said:

    My oldest son can go on and on about video games and such. DRIVES me BoNkErS! It’s like he has no life of his own and must talk about all the things “he did” on his video game. Like it’s real. I tell him all the time to turn it off and live his own life. Wonder if he will ever do just that?!
    And as for women being real with each other, my nephew’s wife always talks about how her mother in law (my sister) always has a home cooked meal on the table. I can tell she doesn’t feel confident and that her own mother never taught her how to cook. So I have assured my niece that my sister didn’t know how to cook when they first got married and that my brother in law did all the cooking because he didn’t like her cooking. LOL I also told her that truthfully my sister uses a lot of canned and frozen foods to make her “masterpieces” so they aren’t truly “from scratch”. I wish my sister wouldn’t try to put on this perfect persona and try teaching her daughter-in-law how to put together a few meals. As it is, I guess I will do just that. Maybe she will get jealous and decide to do her duty to her daughter-in-law.

    • CynthiaJo my eldest does that too! He talks about his bus and his flat in San Francisco (we live in Norfolk!) and where he’s been driving his truck. His teacher said his geography is amazing, I was too embarrassed to tell him why! He says he’ll live his own life when he’s a bus driver for real :s

  7. I am a young 71, I laugh, drink wine and make fun of women you described here. Boring. Be you! a great, smart women!