Sometimes, I am catapulted into a space that I thought I had left behind; a space that smells so musty it is oppressive. It is like the lingering scent of moisture, or the pale discolouration of a scar and it makes me feel out of control.
I've been wondering lately … which is not typically a good thing because I can wonder myself into a perpetual state of wondering, causing me to wander and usually get lost. But, I have been wondering if there is such a thing as escaping the broken parts of our past or if it all just gets melted down and made into a cast-iron mould of what could have been, for others to measure you up against.
And maybe, as a result, I'm a little lost.
It is almost as though, we are whole people made up of little holes, like moths on cloth, each hole carefully crafted in us through every painful conversation, every loss, every disappointment. Letting the joy seep out and the cold air in. We've been told to patch up the holes and shut our mouths about it, but I prefer to wonder.
I think the greatest lie ever pronounced is the intolerance to the broken. This squeaky clean—never—suck—and—say—swear—words culture is creating an epidemic of ridiculous expectations and I don't know about you, but I am all for fighting the powers that be on this one.
I'm not going to lie to you, being a human can be a real drag, but it is all that I've got and sometimes, you just have to work with what you have. I don't think anyone escapes the discomforts of life, and it has been my experience that we're all full of holes and if we're not, we're full of something else.
So in honour of embracing the moths, airing out the cupboards and getting rid of the mothballs- they smell weird anyway … here are some of my holes, some of the places where in which I drop the ball …
Skip to the loo
I hate washing my hands after going to the toilet. I know that it is unhygienic not to but the cold water and the soap and the whole process just isn't appealing to me. So, sometimes, I just avoid peeing altogether and when I do, I'm all about the quick rinse, long dry and squirt of hand sanitizer. Judge me if you have to.
This next hole is a gaping one …
I have sung the same song for the last seven years and I still don't really feel like I know it. The grief of losing stills seems to hang over me, making me shiver and sending me to bed at the most inopportune times, like right before I am about to try my hand at being happy again. I know this beast called grief and yet I still have no idea what it looks like.
It comes in different shapes and forms every time and it is still just as perplexing as the day it came to find me. We're both best friends and strangers and it scares me that something can be so familiar and so foreign at the same time. I know that people worry about me and that I probably should be over it already, but I'm not, and that's just how it goes.
Hole in one
And for the third and final hole, I don't think that I am what you would call a Christian. I don't pray all that much, I like to drink beverages of the alcoholic variety and I am a big fan of talking smack. I am repulsed by organised religion, by ideals and expectations of how I should or should not behave and by the idea of an exclusive God that has a plan for my life.
I come from the religion of "be good to people" and "share what you have," from a place that recognises acceptance and belonging and rallies against disempowerment. I am both fierce and gentle and I have fought unrelentingly for my faith in Jesus and paved my own way to him. I am adamant that I won't let others define for me what that has to look like.
I'd like to think, that there is still room for me at the table … and if there isn't, I probably don't want to sit there anyway.
I am full of holes and yet am still whole. Filled with insecurities and exposed bits, I am courageous and real. The stories and battles and pains of life have worn away at the material me, and made me into something more beautiful, more intricate, more gentle.
I am less like denim and more like lace.
I wonder now, if gratitude and courage are the antidotes to this epidemic … that if we can muster the courage to be thankful for who we are, the experiences we've had and make peace with our holes, then maybe we might do the same with others.
Maybe we'd spend less time poking at holes and worrying about how to cover them up, and more time noticing the work in progress that each of us are and perhaps, every so often, stepping back to admiring the lace tapestry of our lives.
That would be nice.
First published July 8, 2014
Gemma Taylor despite constant scorn and painful jokes is proudly from the Waikato; although she is presently living in Auckland with her fingers in many pies. She is inspired by truth, creativity and connection. Gemma writes for buoyancy and hopes to one day live wholly by the ideas that she writes of.
Gemma Taylor's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/gemma-taylor.html