I thought we’d gotten rid of as much as possible before we moved and during the process of unpacking and organising our new home months ago. However, I went to look for something a few days ago and it never turned up, which made me realise I still have too much stuff.
So this past weekend has involved yet more decluttering and sorting and reorganising. It is getting easier and easier to let things go, and vow to bring less into the house in the future. Thanks to a pair of new-to-us curtains, our sitting room looks and feels cosier, especially with the weather we’ve been having lately. I have a brand new oven to start my Christmas baking in and some tidier kitchen cupboards has reignited my baking interest.
I love stuff. I really do. I want all the things, in every colour possible. I’ve retrained myself to enjoy our home’s deliberately neutral (and ever so slightly boring) palette. It’s restful and kind of ensures everything goes together, which makes me less tempted to feel like I have to buy new curtains and cushions to match every time we change things around a bit.
…I can start getting excited about my favourite time of the year. I love Christmas, and I don’t understand why people complain about All The Fuss. What else would they be doing during the long cold winters we have around here? Nuclear fusion? Establishing a genuine alternative to the current political parties? Writing the book everyone is supposed to have inside him or her? Bah, humbug to that.
I cannot wait to put my tree up. As we’re in a new house this year, with a lot more space to work with, I can indulge my festive feelings a lot more. The fruit for my Christmas cake is marinading in spiced rum and the thoughts of the making of said cake will keep me going during what will be a hellish few days in work.
I love Christmas.
The random fake cow’s head on a building I spotted during a somewhat frantic drive home.
A flurry of snow seen from the fourth floor in work.
The anticipation of a new-to-me Chalet School book arriving on my desk (and the knowledge that I’m not the only adult woman that still loves these books).
The Crown on Netflix.
Playing Christmas songs because I’m an adult woman and I don’t have to justify these choices.
Singing with my choir at a church service, even though I’m a godless heathen.
Emily of New Moon needs to write things out to get them out of her system and make sense of them. I approach things in a similar way (but thankfully those teenage angst filled diaries have long since been disposed of), and no more so than now.
I supposed I need to look a little at me, from my lofty privileged position, before I start understanding how others can ignore sexism, racism, grandiose lies and everything else when casting a vote. I don’t think I voted with all the information available to me in my younger days. I have voted in my own self interest. I have voted for a candidate despite only agreeing with them on a single issue and holding my nose about the rest of their crazy (to me) policies.
I haven’t always thought through the consequences of my voting. I haven’t always been as proactive as I could be. I remember a teacher in school telling us that it is our job as responsible citizens to inform ourselves before we voted. This was before an age when social media was twisting our views inside out and traditional newspapers had to deal with legal threats from candidates running for public office. That’s not really an excuse though. I think deep down we tend to know a candidate’s position, no matter how things might be twisted.
It isn’t comfortable admitting to yourself that you need to do better. That a rant on social media might feel like you’re doing something, but really the only person I’m helping here is myself-helping myself towards a bit more understanding. That can’t be a bad thing, but it does make me feel a little self indulgent.
I don’t even live in America, but I have spent the week stuck in the first stage of grief. Total and utter denial. I switched off the TV before the result was called and went and cried in the shower.
I am an angry white woman. I come from a privileged middle class background. Both of my parents had jobs, both are educated. I grew up in a solidly middle class area and in a very stable family. I faced no financial barriers to attending college and my parents were able to pay for extra classes for me to ensure I would get into my first choice of third level institution. On leaving college, while I struggled a little to find my feet, I was able to secure employment with ease and I’ve never been unemployed since. My parents helped me to buy my first home.
When I met my husband, one of the first things we had in common was our backgrounds. When we got married, we chose and were able to pay for the wedding we wanted. We were able to buy a larger home in an area we wanted to live in. We have incomes that place us in a privileged position relative to the national average. We’ve been able to take holidays, purchase luxury items and have a very good standard of living. We’ve been able to donate to causes that are important to us and can choose to attend marches and rallies knowing that we’ll be safe.
I know I am white. I know I am wealthy. I know I have not struggled against adversity to any great degree. I know it is probably a first world problem to have spent every hour since 7am on Wednesday in a daze, wondering what on earth happened, and how and why it happened. And if I, as a privileged white woman living in an entirely different country to the one that elected a fraud, a sexual predator, a man who mocks disability and thinks building walls are a good idea, I cannot imagine how those who aren’t as privileged as me living in America are faring this week.
I’m trying to figure out how I can use my privilege to bring about change of any kind. When I started my blog, I just wanted to write a bit and have a creative outlet because my paid employment doesn’t really allow for that. Campaigning on repealing the eighth amendment was the start of my wondering if perhaps I need to channel my anger. Because sometimes anger is a good emotion to have, and a necessary one too.
In The Agony and the Extasy, the women of Sex and the City ruminate on being single in their 30s. Well, I turned 35 yesterday and thankfully it was much better than turning 25 a decade ago. I’m not single. I’m far more secure in my opinions and choices, I’m in a completely different job and I’ve gained and lost friends.
I’m not quite sure when you’re supposed to feel like a grown up. I’m trying to remember if I felt like a grown up on my 25th birthday. I remember wearing a black dress and going to a nightclub that didn’t survive the recession. I probably wondering if I was ever going to meet Mr. Right. I remember feeling a little frustrated that many of the people I’d been in college a couple of years earlier were doing a lot better than me in the career stakes. I wasn’t in a particularly challenging job and I don’t think I had a huge amount of interest in it.
I remember going home alone, and I remember feeling down about that. I remember wondering why other people seemed to meet love interests with relative ease and I remember wondering if I was going to be like Carrie Bradshaw, wanting to admit I was lonely but still feeling a bit pathetic on my 35th birthday. I remember thinking life was passing me by, in some ways, and I could be doing a lot more with my time.
I probably wouldn’t listen to my older, and somewhat wiser self, but I’d tell myself to calm down and stop worrying so much. This is advice I could probably give my 45 year old self too, in fairness, in ten years’ time. I’d tell 25 year old me to stop stressing over the choices other people make-some of them make moderately good choices, others have veered widely off course and no one is as happy as you seem to think they are, all the time anyway.
I’d tell myself to be a little more ruthless when necessary and little kinder when you know it’s the better choice. I’d tell myself to enjoy eating whatever you like, because you won’t be able to do that forever. I’d tell myself to listen to the Sunscreen song, and heed the lines about friendships a little more. I’d tell myself that things will work out just fine, and while your definition of ‘fine’ might change, you’ll know that it is fine when you find what it is you weren’t sure you were looking for.
When I was a small child, for some reason I couldn’t get enough of this book about skeletons. I’m fairly sure there’s a cassette of me reciting it somewhere in my parents’ house, which I can probably never listen to again given that the last time I had access to a cassette player was in the tiny purple car I drove about eight years ago. This recording probably violates all sorts of publication laws too, so it won’t be any huge loss to the world of elocution.
I always liked a dark, dark night, and I still do. I don’t mind the clocks changing, or the nights drawing in. I loved the cosy evenings in front of a pretend gas fire in our old house, and once we manage to get around to hanging some curtains and getting some wood for our stove I’ll love them in this house too. Maybe my love for winter is connected to my time of birth, thirty five years ago tomorrow. Maybe it’s also because Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year. Maybe it’s because a dark, dark night reminds me of scary yet safe times in my childhood.