Writing challenge: Starting over

There comes a time when the next step of growth is separation. A time when ties must be severed so that new bonds can be made, and distance is an act of coming home, rather than one of moving away.

In the past I have associated ‘starting over’ with a sense of failure. As if what has gone before did not work, and as such I had to scrap what I was doing to try again. I have used words like ‘uprooted’ and felt literally like a plant torn from the soils that nourished it, adrift, out of my element and with nothing to hold onto or sustain me.

This time around, though, it doesn’t feel like that at all. This time ‘starting over’ bears with it a sense of completion. Of being done with one phase and moving on to the next, like a caterpillar. Or like a flower at its peak, sending out a fragment of itself, containing all the hopes and dreams for continuance, so that life may find a way beyond death.

It is a process imbue with belief. Transition. One promise fulfilled and another one born. A chance to do more. Be more. Extend beyond the initial reach. The best carries over. The sum of all that has been gathered and achieved lives on in new form.

‘Starting over’ then isn’t failure. It is simply the next logical step.

Writing challenge: Starting over

It's okay if you don't fix the world…

“Life is challenge”

Someone once told me that, and explained how it isn’t about achieving things, as much as it is about facing them. Problems do not exist to be solved, but to be faced – the solution leads only to the next hurdle, and achieving it only serves to inspire and motivate in us a WANT to take on more.

At the time I admit I thought it a rather glum and depressing view on the magnificence of Life and Living. A narrowminded and somewhat simplistic attempt at equating hamster wheels and the human condition. And up until recently I don’t mind saying that I have retained that view, and defended it quite vigorously when confronted. After all, why focus on the conflict of the challenge, instead of the guts and glory of persevering and overcoming against the odds!?

The simple answer is… Because, sometimes that isn’t enough. It’s not enough to know that things will be okay eventually when you’re out of steam NOW. That’s the answer he gave me back then… which I blatantly dismissed and have kept dismissing until now, when I am finally faced with something myself that just isn’t worth the crap it is causing.

And then what… ? Saying that something isn’t worth it doesn’t make it go away. Neither does giving up on it. No matter what option you choose… whether to lie down, sob and sulk and cuss life out for being an unfair b**** … or stand up and roar into the wind in furious defiance… or say “sod it all” and run for the hills… life goes on and there’s still choices to be made and consequences to be faced. Tomorrow is still another day and still has to be deal with. Regardless. Inescapably. Annoyingly persistant.

Life is challenge.

So, having realised all this… realised how futile it is to attempt to outrun a problem because it just creates another, I suddenly understood the value of having someone who can just sit by me and let me cry, without trying to fix it for me. Someone with enough compassion to pity me for faltering under the challenges to let me be hurt and frightened and deflated, without feeling like they need to “make it better”.

Do you have any idea how rare it is to find someone in whose embrace you can hide without being told that it will all get better soon?

Life sucks sometimes, and the world is stupid. That’s what I think. And not having to feel guilty or emasculated was such a reprieve. I just needed a break from the storm, a place to bitch and moan about it a bit… and still have it be my own problem afterwards to fix, deal with or run from as I chose – without it getting hijacked by the “it’ll be alright”-crowds.

The world can’t be fixed because it isn’t broken.

I don’t want reassurances or promises that can’t be kept. I just want to be a little mad and think that life is stupid without you going around trying to fix it all the time.


It's okay if you don't fix the world…


Flowers in the sunset
Fond Memories

Time warps our perception of the world. Like old black and white photos slowly taking a sepia tint as exposure and wear leave their marks our memories shift and distort as they fade and remerge continuously from our minds.

Tonight would have been my brother’s birthday – if he’d still been alive. It’s been almost six years now and I have learned to live with not having answers. I have stopped trying to guess at or make sense of the events that led to his death – or the feelings that caused him to seek to end it at his own hand. When I think of him now it is mostly just because he is absent. Missing from the picture I still catch myself thinking he ought to be part of. It is a fleeting memory now. One I do not dwell with or try to hold onto anymore. At least not for very long. There is no sense in arguing with the past.

The present moment on the other hand has no patience for editing or proof-reading. There is no diplomacy in its ruthless honesty or raw vulnerability… and frankly, it doesn’t always leave the best impressions. So, we push it to the back of our minds for a while. Wait for the images to dull and gather a bit of dust to shroud our sensitivity. Who needs all the facts, anyway, right? Later, we bring them back out and look at them again, and if enough time has passed we may start to see something new. Something different and more pleasant – and perhaps most importantly, something less threatening.

Time gives us the ability to refocus, I think, and over time the details lost will be the ones that we don’t want or need to remember. The real question then will be whether we’ve choosen to hold onto the good or the bad, to happy memories or bitterness and regret. Time will feed or free either at our behest. Whatever the case, reality will be lost in favour of an idealised – or demonised – image of the world as we want to remember it. And tonight more than any other night, I am so deeply grateful that despite the tears and the heartache… it is his smile I see and the sound of his voice, chiming in with mine as we sing together that time has helped me to retain.

For all the anger, resentment and devastation I have felt… in my eyes, he IS perfect. Our time together was perfect, and even though it hurts to have lost it… I cherish the images left within me.

Fond memories are flawless.

I can only hope that in the minds of those I cause harm or disappointment time will be as kind to me.