Whimmery. I made that word up. I made it up to try to describe a feeling I have no control over. Fleeting ideas I seize with alacrity. Ludicrous ideas that should never be given head-space. Good ideas abandoned on a whim. Sell the house. Don’t sell the house. Stay safe. Never court danger: there is too much of it in this life. Abandon everything. Run free. Life is too short to shed a tear over smashed enchiladas. All these taglines to a life well-lived feeding my instinctive urge to act not from a place of educated decision, but always on a whim.
It has been a dark weekend for humanity. For the two little boys who stayed upstairs in their pyjamas for the entire weekend, playing Clash of Clans and worrying about the world outside our door. For all of us who sat numb in front of TV screens describing the stuff of nightmares and those of us who stayed up in to the night staring at it like one more horror movie. Paris. I am in Paris with you.
Outside in the lane the rain pounded the pavements and the wind battered the trees. We lay with the bedroom windows open listening to weather and talking war. Our own private war and the one that threatens to consume us all. Wishing we knew more about religion and politics. Debating our future both as a couple and as a society. To move or not to move yet? Holding hands. The dog growling in his sleep, apparently warning us of impending doom. A dark weekend.
Today. The morning started with a glass baking tray shattered all over the kitchen by a naughty dog determined to nab the perfect row of enchiladas I had arranged inside it. This then is what you get when you are too organised: bloody feet and a dog determined to crunch his way through spicy mince, glass and all. Perhaps I should try spooking him with a cucumber in doggy revenge instead of being utterly taken in by dopey, I’m so sorry, eyes? But in the face of tragedy, flippancy and frippery make us uncomfortable and I cannot help treasuring his loyalty more than punishing his misdemeanours. He knows not what he does.
Now: a cup of Karma tea and a pair of socks so threadbare my heel pokes out of the left one. Maybe we are destined to go through periods of threadbare socks? Moments when trivia doesn’t matter until we are once again consumed by the urge to compete among ourselves for status, money and cashmere socks, fresh out the box. Me I lose interest in the pursuit of money. And seek instead, sanctuary from the things that frighten me. From atrocities and a kitchen floor covered in glass. From failure and grief (for grief is now my ever present, quiet friend), to the cost of heating this little house, politics I don’t understand and religion without empathy. Finding comfort in ritual, hugs and soap opera. In putting off now, something I will still not be able to face tomorrow.
Tonight yoga. A quiet, dark room with a woman who wraps us in blankets and applies patchouli to our wrists. An odd room where I barely know myself and life is rid of all else beyond my capacity to achieve balance. This is for now, a once a week endeavor. Balance evades me in all other areas of my life. But yoga too, scares me. For the balance I fail to master. For the stretch that has me aching to collapse into child pose and stay head down reflecting on who I could be if in fact yoga was a daily challenge. For the thoughts that come stroking their way through the silence and whisper, You aren’t good enough. You have too much boobage. Too much bum. Too much potential for whimmery in your head.
The other day a woman came to my house and as she stood contemplating my bedroom and apparently trying to imagine a life spent sitting at my dressing table. she said “You have been happy here haven’t you?”. And I wanted to say oh yes, so very happy. And some nights so very unsure. And I have been angry here. And tender too. I have, because I am human and a house is but a container for all emotion, been sad and content to sit quietly with that sadness. I have been beautiful, joyful, exhausted, inspired, livid and sorely disappointed.
This house has been my castle too. My fort. When the world outside it has been terrifying I have felt safe here. At home we can be who we want to be, nurture our babies and build relationships destined to provide mutual certainty for always. When those who seek to destroy our sanctuary come knocking on our doors, when war raises it’s ugly head so very close to home as it has done in beautiful Paris (I am in Paris with you), we will be their undoing and we will not allow angry, young men to threaten what is most precious to us.
When all is said and done, not yoga, threadbare socks, nor enchiladas matter. Whimmery will not protect us. Only hearts fierce with repulsion will save us from the inevitability of a very different kind of war.