Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Little, A Letter To My Fourteen Year Old Self.

Little One,
 (I know you don't think you're little, in any sense, but you are oh so small and fragile),
I know you're not happy right now. That's OK, things are bad. In lots of ways.
You're looking in the mirror, and you don't like what you see. Your body's changing, it's soft in all the wrong places, it jiggles when you move. Disgusting- you think.
Your face is puffy. Your skin's too red. In the winter you get facial eczema. Redder. Flaky. Sore.
Your hair is limp, and that henna experiment went badly wrong.
Your eyes are too close together, your nose dominates your face, someone told you once that you have thin lips. You're short. Your teeth are crooked.
You try so hard but you're never dressed right.
And what's worse- you think you're forgettable. You think that if you just up and vanished, not one person would notice. You think that if people see you at all, they probably don't like you.

If you talked about any of this (and to who?) it would become realer than real.
So you keep quiet.
You like the way it feels when you don't eat. Like your body's floating.
You like the attention you get when you pick at your dinner.
You like how easily the lie slips from your lips "not hungry". It's powerful, keeping this thing for yourself.

You don't like the way it feels when you give in, and eat a family sized bag of chips.
Eating and panicking and on the verge of tears.
 In your room. In the dark. Secret.
You tell yourself, that because you're not thin, and you don't throw up, you don't have a problem.

Here are the things, you and I, we, know now:
- We were beautiful then. We are beautiful now, even on the days we don't feel it.
- Curves are awesome. They're sexy as all hell.
- Food is good. You're a great cook. Few things give you as much pleasure as putting together a meal and sitting down to eat it.
- Food is also necessary. Without it, your body won't work.
- It's not about how much you weigh. It's about how you feel.
- There are people who love you. So much.
- There are people who's hearts would break if they read this. They'd probably be pretty pissed off as well, but again, because they loved, and continue to love you.
- 8 years from now, you will not only be able to buy an ice cream without feeling hot and cold all over, and wanting to die- you'll walk through the center of the CBD, past skinny girls in suits and yummy mummies out for their mid-day-pushing-double-strollers-not-even-out-of-breath-what-baby-body-run. You'll stroll though the city center eating it.
It'll taste like fresh raspberries, and cream, and pride.

Monday, March 26, 2012

About Me Now.

I am in a new home! Everything is changing.
But it's all pretty good.
I think this is what I would write in "about me" if I felt like changing it-

My name is Bethany but that's too biblical for my liking. So I'm a Beth.
I have a cat named Molly and a human named Jude.
 I love them both equally, in different ways. But Molly appeared first.
I'm 22 at the moment, but I seem to grow quickly.
During the week I live in Newtown, Wellington, in a big beautiful room with wooden floors and a skylight. I spend most of my time at uni or the library. I grow herbs on my windowsill. I walk fast, because everyone walks fast here. I sit in cafes and worry about the scruffiness of my shoes.
At the end of the week I go home to an undisclosed rural location. I'm greeted at the door of an 19th century cottage, by a very big dog who tries to lick my skin off. More casually by our cats, they like to pretend that they hadn't really noticed my absence, "Oh, you, did you go somewhere?".
And I'm wrapped up by a woman who despite my insanities, inconsistencies, and a propensity to use up all the hot water, still seems to love me.
I am suddenly a We.
We spend Friday nights at "The Club". Meat raffles and beer and sensible clothing.
I'm learning to play pool.
Sometimes I sink a ball, it's very exciting.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

First Day.
Wellington. Observing this city I've called my home and will again.
The waterfront is crowded, warm, bustling. Filled with people skiving off work, stretching their lunch hour to the limit.
People watching.
There is a woman. She calls loudly to an acquaintance, too loudly.
She is walking backwards now. Tilting her head up to the sky, stretching her arms back.
Performing. For who?
For her friend? He isn't watching.
An audience of strangers, filled with their own concerns?
Someone she loved once, briefly?
In moments like these she half-thinks he might pass by. And he must see how good she is, how alive she is without him.
She acts exuberance well. I wonder if she knows that she is acting at all.

There is a man sitting next to me. Close enough to see what I am writing but not read it.
Small spidery marks.
He sat down quite close to me, and pulled out a book.
I don't know that I could enjoy a book, so close to stranger.
In a minute I will get up and head for the concrete steps that I like, close to the water.

A man came to me once there. He said that it was getting late, that it would begin to be dark soon.
He said that I should go home and keep safe.
He said that he had 12 pretty daughters like me at home.
He said that once he was chased by a seagull.
He said that God talks to him, but the world thinks he's crazy.
He said, who needs a belt anyway, when you've got a bit of rope.
I thanked him and finished writing a letter that I would take home and forget to send.
Until it was too late, and had lost any meaning it had in the first place.