The scariest, most terrifying thing I have ever done was agreeing to meet a person I met online who lived on the opposite side of the world. And knowing that it would be so difficult, so paralysing because of the nervous fear and hope and anticipation and awkward and surreality, we had agreed to start with the small, simple action of taking each other’s hand. Somehow I overcame that paralysis and a moment later, my clammy, sweaty hand was clasped in his clammy, sweaty hand.
That was 18 years ago. I was 17. Some time in the last year, the part of my life before he took my hand became shorter than the part of my life since that moment. And that feels good.
The other afternoon, Abigail and I were going to the park and at the end of the road near our house, there were a group of children playing on the road. They were completely oblivious and didn’t get out of the way until the car was almost right up to them. (I was going plenty slow so I didn’t hit them.) As they took their time getting out of the way I made some rude comments about it being a road, for cars, and how they shouldn’t be there.
Abigail said, “They don’t care.”
And I said, “Well, their parents should!”
“That’s what I mean,” she said. “Their parents don’t care if they play on the road.”
I’ve had this anecdote related to me a couple of times. My dad was a police officer. Apparently if he ever pulled over families in cars and the children weren’t wearing seat belts, instead of just telling the adults off and fining them, he took a somewhat different approach, which was probably quite effective but also probably not very officially approved of.
It would begin with an enquiry to the family about whether or not these parents loved their children. Invariably they confirmed that of course they loved their children, only for him to then challenge the logic of parents who claim to love their children but in fact do not care enough to take the simple measure of making sure they wear their seatbelts so as to reduce the risk to them in case of an accident.
It’s not really an argument that you can come up with a good response to; and much more effective than simply issuing a fine is knowing that every time in the future that you allow your kids to go without a seatbelt, they are going to be thinking about the day that a police man – a trustworthy authority figure – told them that you didn’t love them enough to do something for them that could be the difference between life and death.
Perhaps those kids playing on the road just need a police person to come and ask their parents why they want their children to be hit by a car. Because surely if they didn’t want that to happen, they wouldn’t allow their children to use the road as a recreational facility.
i’m feeling a little… tight in the chest this morning. anxious, i guess. scared. hopeless. the usual.
i don’t know if it’s me… actually, it is me, but what i mean is i don’t know if it’s part of me inherently or if it’s behaviour that was conditioned into me after years of being told and shown when i was young.. that everything i do is wrong and everything wrong is my fault. and i do try really hard to remind myself that it isn’t true but sometimes the devil voice is a bit louder than the angel voice. and that’s when i feel a desperate need for your voice.. your actions that are louder than words, louder than all the other voices. your hands and your lips and your other parts, telling me with every touch and every groan that i’m not wrong and that i am worthy. and i can believe you because i trust you and i believe, inside me, deeper than the parts of me that are affected by the bumps and challenges of life and the complexities of neurotransmitters and hormones.. i believe that you could only touch me and love me like you do if i was something wonderful. and because you do touch me and love me i believe it, a little bit. enough to smooth over those bumps and balance the chemicals in my brain and my body, for a while, at least.
sometimes. or maybe a lot of times.. i am my own worst enemy. or maybe all the times. because what is wrong with me is what makes it so very hard to ask for what i need. on a good day, i can do that.. show you, tell you, that i want – need – to be joined to you, to show you that i think you’re amazing and beautiful and strong and brave and gentle and loving and hope that you feel that and know it, and know that i will feel that back from you. and that helps to keep me having more good days, it keeps me steady and i take less steps backwards than i do forwards. but on a bad day, when i have struggled and fought with my own mind about doing the things i must do, when i am tired at the end of a day and so exhausted from the battle.. when i most need you to hold me and remind and reassure me that you are with me, part of me, always ready to catch me if i stumble.. i have no energy left to tell you that i am stumbling.
i didnt actually mean for this to be depressing. i wanted you to know that.. that while i am having a bad head day, i keep trying because of you. because i want to be better for you, because you show me that i am worth it. and i am so grateful and thankful for you, even when i really don’t understand sometimes how you can put up with a person as flawed and broken as me. i hope that when i am the real me, not pulled down by my demons; when i am silly and hippy and witty and flirty and optimistic and naive.. i hope that i show you strongly and loudly enough how much i love you and how happy i am to share my life with you. how important you are. my air, my water, my sunlight, my daniel.
i got another tattoo today. i have been thinking about it for a while, but it took this long to get around to getting it done for a couple of reasons. first, coz it just diid. and also because daniel and i had a bit of a difference of opinion as to my punctuation ;P he was, of course, wrong. i also wanted him to like the font i chose for the text and all of the previous ones i’d shown him didn’t tickle his fancy much.
he doesn’t like intentional ignorance of conventions such as capital letters. in certain situations, i do, and actually think it looks nicer with all lowercase. he claimed that since my intended tattoo was a ‘sentence’, it should have a capital letter. i countered this by saying that it wasn’t a sentence as such, more a floating fragment that was not part of any formal block of prose and therefore not subject to the standard rules. i think he still believes that he is right, but once i found a font that he didn’t mind, he was willing to overlook my flagrant disregard of proper punctuation. (i don’t have a full stop, either!)
this tattoo is, in a way, a lot more personal to me than the first. the first one is basically just a celtic type design that i really liked. and there is a meaning to it but the meaning that i see in it is not necessarily what the design traditionally represents and not necessarily what the person who published the tattoo flash intended it to mean either. i see it as representing the cycle of existence, the interconnectedness of everything and everyone. i saw a quote once but i can’t seem to find out where it originated, it simply said everything is connected to everything else.
jeg elsker dig is danish. there are lots of pages on the internet listing how to say it in lots and lots of languages: je t’aime, ti amo, ich liebe dich, ik hou van jou… i love you. obviously my choice is primarily because daniel is danish, but that is not all there is to it. i very much wanted something that represented him and our children but i am not into name tattoos. some people get birthdates, or co-ordinates, but to do that for each of them would start to get bigger than i wanted. i had already decided that so i was balanced, this one should be on the inside of my right ankle, since the first one is on the inside of the left wrist.
so in trying to figure out what to do, i came back to why i wanted to have something representing them on my body. (something other than the stretch marks, anyway :P) because i love them and they are what is most important in my life. and what simpler way to represent that than simply saying ‘i love you’? but it still wasn’t quite right, because anyone can say that and read it and it is meant to be something specific to those people, and that’s how i came upon having it done in danish. also i want it to be a little bit mysterious and magical.. and there are not a lot of people around here who can read danish.
being danish is part of daniel. not only was he born there but he comes from a culture with a long and rich history that has influenced many aspects of our modern world. despite their generally inaccurate and highly cliched reputation, viking explorers went further than anyone else in the same era and that is to be admired. my children are a part of that heritage, having inherited it from daniel. i may share the same name but it is not part of my blood in the same way that it is part of theirs.. but now it is, in a little way, a part of my body.
it sort of relates back to the way i see my first tattoo. not only do i love daniel, stephanie, abigail and kristian but i love all that came before them and all that will follow after them, because it is all part of .. everything, just as i am. i like that it is both a simple statement about my favourite people and a more profound statement about how i see us all as being part of something bigger.