I notice from the layers of dust on my five year diary that I have entered nothing since May 27th. Prior to that date, the pages are loaded with scribblings and moans and poor-little-mees. Well, not all of it can fall into those categories to be honest. There is some good useable stuff there, some well compiled sentences, some nuggets of brilliance if any of that can be said to fit between those skinny lines that really only offer sufficient space to write something like Got up at 11, whence the writer falls off the edge and onto the table top. I have cheated, naturally, because I write loosely and with a pronounced forward slant like a woman marching into her future taking up all available space. It’s how I like it, striding out alone and making conscious contact with the ground and the sky simultaneously, and affording no room for anyone to overtake or to pass by on the other side.
So, I think to myself, I really should return to my daily scribbles, as of yore. When I re-visit old books, not diaries as I never did do diaries, I wonder when, and even if I ever wrote such things down. I am less organised on setting down a date, merely opening the page to find a clear one and stabbing down the thoughts as if joining the dots on something I couldn’t work out before. I pull out a favoured guide book from my bathroom library and leaf through the wisdoms. The book, Women who run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes has been my friend for many years. I notice the many hi-lighted passages to which my eye is quickly drawn. The author built her book on story-telling, the handing down of ancient stories and the wisdoms contained within, the guidelines for life. Her target audience, although not exclusively, is women. Women tell the stories to their daughters and grand-daughters and the cycle continues. Endless circles over endless time. And, as in all wisdoms of any use, the guidance is for any generation, anywhere. How can this be when life has changed so dramatically in such a short space of time? I remember when the first black and white television appeared. I remember no mobile phones, no internet, no huge corporations gifting us instant communication anywhere in the world. I remember car windows that wound up and down with little handles. I remember when clocks ran out of tick after 8 days and shops closed at lunch and on Sundays. But real wisdom, that understanding of who we really are and were and always will be deep inside, what strings us together or tears us apart, remains as it always did.
This is not to say that men don’t tell stories. Of course many of them do and many of them are deeply connected with learning about the intricacies of relationships and life and I take off my hat to them all. But, in my experience, it is women who are wired for such things and it is in this wiring we can find ourselves all ‘given out’ and, as a result, starving. I know so many women who ask ‘what happened?’ They started to give and kept giving and now wonder when someone will give to them.
I have an answer.
Well, not quite nobody. Perhaps I should have written Nobody Else, because that is more like the truth. But if it is me who should give to me, then would someone please tell me how to do that beyond a mad night out with the girls, followed by frightful hangover or a shopping spree for a new frock or bra or nickers from some brightly lit lingerie chain with ‘Sensitive Fitting Assistants’? In other words, hollow victories with an unpleasant aftertaste, like an empty purse or a day on codeine and burgers.
Clarissa P.E. maintains we should create our way through the disappointment. She says, if you want to write, write. If you want to dance, get on with it. If you sing, then why aren’t you singing now? If you act, join a group. In other words, stop whining and take action. Yes, yes, you’re fed up, angry, overworked and unappreciated, but who isn’t? It is what we do with those feelings that makes the difference, not that we never have them in the first place, were born into a different family, had a better job, kinder bosses, different mates. We can still feel the feelings, allow them accept them but we must take action to move forward.
Or, we can die wishing we were someone else, somewhere else, richer, slimmer, prettier, more talented.
As always, I write my blogs to myself, hoping someone else finds themselves in there somewhere. This is more for me than any of you. So, if I am planning to whoop my own ass and get going with something creative then I will put myself back between the lines, taking up all the space. Unless, of course, I sense someone making the same big step, baby step, first step and then I will pull in my loops and shorten my tees and maybe we can run together with those wild wolves and howl at the moon as she lights our way.