We used to start our Christmas shopping
on the September long weekend we get here.
Until the year we stood at the mirror in the hall
and I said ‘they could share a room, anyway.’
Until the year the midwives had said ‘a line is a line is a line,’
then the bleeding started.
Until the year we had been a tiny little bit pregnant
so we went to Holy Island
now we weren’t pregnant at all, you took the toddler for a walk
so I could sit on a dune and cry.
Until the year we were pregnant again by October.
Every September weekend, I remember
the tiny little bit of pregnant I was,
over that long weekend: the anniversary of you,
you tiny little bit that never came to anything.
We never start our Christmas shopping in September.
My favourite thing about 2019 so far is being a fancy Poet-in-Residence.
And, as poet-in-residence of Lanterne Rouge, I would like to invite you all to a night of spoken word, tea, coffee and cake on Saturday 18th May, 7:30pm at the Lanterne Rouge, Gifford. The folks over at Listen Softly have very kindly lent me their brand, and a co-host for the evening, and Cameron has very kindly lent me his café!
We’ll be hearing from young and old(er) poets ranging from 11 years old to 85. Claire Askew, Mary Johnston, Hannah McCooke and Nicki Birrell. There are also three open mic spots: sign up on the night to be in with a chance of reading yourself!
It would be amazing to get a good turnout, so please share this with any friends that might like to come along. See you there?
You know when you think you just have a bit of a weird habit and then, 40 years later, you find out it’s a recognised syndrome?
I’m not going to talk about it in detail, but if you want to look it up, it’s called excoriation disorder. And I’ve not been diagnosed with it officially, it would be classed as ‘mild’ I think. There’s a test to do with ‘interfering with your daily life,’ and I don’t think I’m there, most days (thank goodness!).
What’s interesting is to observe my reaction to this new knowledge. I’ve been under a bit of stress these last few months and I’m adding in these behaviours as evidence of how I’ve been feeling. I’m using some of the advice online to manage the symptoms. But they haven’t stopped.
Knowledge is not always power.
I may speak in the tongues of yoga and of cycling for miles, but if I still love food, I will become neither svelte nor sinuous. And if I have fast days, or avoid dairy or meat, or if I have all faith, and chunter on about my heart health and how weight is just a number, but still love food, I am not, and will never be thin. If I give away all my Dairy Milks, and hand over my cola bottles, I may kid myself on I’m being ‘good,’ but if I still love food, I gain, um, everything …
Food is patient; food is kind; food does not insist on its own way; it is not as irritable or resentful as I am about societal beauty standards; it rejoices in my ‘wrong’doings.
It rejoices … in my fat rolls.
Scraping the car in the morning, I was reminded of how much it reminds me of sitting in the freezing cold watching my Dad do the same thing.
How pleasing it was to watch him methodically remove the sugary coating from the windows so we could see out again, the fan blowing so loud we couldn’t hear ourselves think.
Now I have to sort my own car out.
But: I have a car.
I live somewhere with crisp frosty mornings, beautiful clear skies.
I got a new scraper the other day and it’s a good one.
I have my fans going full blast so when I’m ready to drive the car won’t be as cold.
I have excellent, thick waterproof gloves.
And unlike my youngest, I can reach the middle of the windscreen.
Just a tinylife job that brings joy!
At the close of my sixth decade, I’m too old to play games. Acceptance is the easier option, and more likely to yield success.
I accept the signs of a life lived in a perfectly serviceable body. Once, I played the game. Girls manipulated their appearance to win the man, the money and the desirable life, though the odds were against us and the prizes were overstated.
And even in the unfeasibly smooth face of the septuagenarian celebrity, the pursuit of youth is a game not worth playing. Good luck to those women, but for me, commodification in the guise of empowerment and visibility of the older woman is too high a stake.
I’m out of the game. I won’t buy the miracle cream and I’ve embarked on my last diet. Because, I’m relieved to report, being older suits me.
December again, and lots of us are in the middle of an insane whirl of activities that come with having school-aged children: nativity-lyrics-tickets this, shopping-bankruptcy that, tinsel-candy-cane this, special-magical-day-out that.
The pressure to remain joyful is intense: and the calendar looks like a story that’s been edited by three different people in four colours of pen. Of course we want to spend time with friends and family, find perfect gifts, wrap them beautifully, reach out to old friends with a card.
But please do remember to look after yourselves too.
And for those of you who won’t be as busy, for whatever reason, special tiny hugs to you. Yuletide can be difficult in lots of ways.
I wish you all a joyful and peaceful festive season. Looking forward to 2019 and more tinylife adventures.
tinylife will be back mid-January.