Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Tiny Reflections


[Image: the tiny reflection of a woman can be seen in a mirror leaning against a white wall. Fairy lights hang down and a red covered chair with colourful cushions can be seen.]


Some days I’m not sure who I am. My confidence bottoms out and a state of ennui weaves its way into my heart. 

The directionless nature of Summer is always tough but this year we have reached Autumn with no end in sight. It stretches out longer and longer and my nerves are strung along with it. And I find myself with too much downtime. 

Life retreats to a small space the size of my bedroom, the whir of the air conditioner, and I lie still on top of the covers concentrating on existing. 

My mind runs and I find myself dissecting life and illness and how disability weaves through it all. It took me a long to work out I was disabled. Even longer to say it out loud. “Who was I to say I was disabled?” snarled the voice of my youth. Who was I to believe I was entitled to inhabit that space? 

Who was I?

These days the word disabled falls with ease from my tongue. Well mostly. Every now and then I get one of ‘those’ reactions. It hits me on a down day. Rips the scab off old internal narratives, pokes around in my past and screams denial and disbelief. 

I am forced to re-examine myself and my experience. 

Thankfully reserves built over the years from the support of friends, the warm arms of those closest to me, small, though palpable, changes in the way society views disability and the rising tide of disabled voices, allow me to see that false nature of the dangerous narratives carried by others. 

Each challenge knocks me down, then builds me up. I am stronger each time I raise my voice to challenge them. I re-examine my life, my experiences and myself and say no more. 

I will not listen to the naysayers. 
I will not allow them to go unchallenged. 
I will know myself and say, I am here. 
I am disabled. 
And I am proud.

Michelle


Thursday, 28 February 2019

Tripping the light fantastic

[Image: a black night fills the screen. The only features are a walking stick light, Michelle's red stockinged legs and the hint of hands and the rest of her body.]

Hello. Is anyone still there? I wouldn't be surprised if I am typing into an empty corner of the aether. There's a load of media to consume and a recalcitrant and inconsistent blogger doesn't hold any attraction in the fast-paced onslaught online. But if you've stuck around, big love to you. If there's no one there and I'm chatting to myself that's equally okay. I write to discover myself and the world around me. And that's a worthy enough goal.

It's been a while since I last published a post here on the blog. Life has been busy, Summer the hottest on record (still in the middle of a heatwave even though Autumn technically starts tomorrow), my brain mush.

I've immersed myself in Instagram. Photos seem easier. Ideas and aesthetics conveyed quickly when the words aren't necessarily there for me to access. I published a less polished version of this today over on Instagram. Words came early this morning, while my hair sat askew thanks to a hastily pushed up sleeping mask and the dried remnants of Mestinon drool still covered my lips and cheeks. I've learnt to take them when they come, wherever they come. Will I find my words again when the weather finally turns and the air no longer burns and the last dust and smoke of this Summer's bushfires is finally banished from the house? I'm not sure. I hope so. But until then I'll take the little moments and hold them tight. 

The photo above was taken after a date night. I asked Mr Grumpy to stop on the way home. There's a dirt road tucked away between cow paddocks, where we sat at OMG o'clock and watched the lunar eclipse last year. One of the boons of rural life is that light pollution is greatly lessened, even on the edge of town. So you can muddle your way down an uneven line of dirt under the direction of headlights, turn off the car and take photos with your lit up walkingstick and bright red stockings. Then tuck away the photo until it spurs some cogitations.

*****

Tripping the light fantastic.
My brain at night is not my friend. Insomnia and rumination run rampant. All the things must be dissected at 3am, never 3pm when the sun is shining and the busy murmur of nature sends its soothing tone through my body.

Possums rattle across the roof. The odd moo echos across still paddocks to land softly on my pillow. Creaks and cracks sound as the house releases the breath it has held all day while the oppressive heat of the Summer sun beat down. I focus on tracing the path of the possum as it rattles across the roof. All the internal things create their own rattle and it can become difficult to maintain my focus on the soft patter and loud thumps of landings overhead.
I don’t have this thing called life worked out yet. I push and it pushes back.
I feel the pressure on my brain as I roll over and grab my phone to check the time. I squint and tilt my head in the hope that the light won’t set off my internal wake-up alarm.

3am.
Of course, it is.
I lie back and resettle my eye mask. Release my breath in time with the movement of embracing walls. The possum or perhaps a neighbourhood cat, unsettles a group of minors that reside in our chalk-dry guttering. Their alarmed chirps burst forth and stop almost as suddenly.

Focus on the nightlife. Focus on the natural world that continues on while the human world attempts sleep. Focus on the adventures above my head until that noise cancels out the looped cacophony in within. Focus on the light in the night that quiets my mind. Focus on the light, trip and stumble. Finding my way back, quicker and quicker as breath evens out and head moves to slumber. Borrowing the moonlight to chase away my shadows, until consciousness slips away. Michelle