We saw Collateral Beauty. The film whisked me back ten years to a hell of a week. Mum had been admitted to hospital in Aberdeen with a DVT. My son had his sixth birthday party. I hadn’t organised a thing for Halloween.
The morning after cobbled together trick or treating, Mum called from hospital and gently explained she had terminal cancer.
The world stopped as grief started.
Who I’d been until then died with her and (slowly, painfully) a new gratitude for life was born. Heather 2.0. An unwanted, bittersweet fresh start.
Read more about #52and40 here.
I’ve never seen a Scottish Autumn and Winter as beautiful, so far, as what 2016’s given.
The beauty in these seasons is going a long, gentle way to keeping breathing through the humanity shitstorm we’ve seen happen around the world this year. It’s easier to believe we’re not all doomed when nature’s on its best behaviour.
As my own shield and sword, I’ve added focus to health and work ethic. These things help my locus of control stay internal so fear doesn’t breed with downtime to create mischief.
Everything else is weather.
More info on #52and40 here.
Internalised misogyny’s kinda like the rat who lived in our back garden. Every now and then it poked its head out of a small hole in the dry stane dyke and scared the living shit out of me (but thrilled the dog).
For soooooooo long I believed the rat was simply a large mouse. Then, faced with faecal evidence to the contrary, I spent some time simply telling myself the rat was a large mouse and willing away memories of the enormo-shits by the bird feed in the shed. Denial can be a really handy part of adjusting to an unpleasant reality, can’t it?
I did not want the rat to be as big a problem as it was – so I simplified it away and mentally minimised it to make it easier to think about. La la la la la la.
Meantime, the rat had babies and I grew unable to continue deluding myself that the big pink semi-ropes intermittently hanging out the wee wall in the garden were anything other than rat tails. Then, the sight of a rat climbing the 7ft clematis trellis turned out to be a moment even Instagram filters & wine couldn’t soften.
We are now minus a shed and a rat colony. We found out the rats were living under the decrepit, old, rotting shed (very low air miles to the bird food) so it was time for the lot to go.
I’ve talked a lot about the rat now and not so much about internalised misogyny, haven’t I? If you’d like to read me talking about internalised misogyny for reals, I’m chuffed as a rat in a slop bucket to say you can do just that on Bella Caledonia this festive season.
Years ago I read that the things we struggle with in other people are usually the things we most need to work on in ourselves.
I think we all have a thing or two that we do which doesn’t serve us well, is easy for others to spot and yet rarely (if ever) bleeps on our own radar.
I spend regular time trying to see what’s in my blind spot. When my mood is balanced and objective, with energy for the exertion of the mental trip, I dare to go there.
Strangers are stranger, in someone else’s city.
The smokey stains that gather on stonework seem darker and the chewing gum stuck to the pavement seems stickier and more defiant, in someone else’s city.
The dirt that collects in dried tide on walls, windows, bus stops and doors seems dingier.
People seem colder, ruder, less helpful, too forward or just never quite right when they’re not your people.
Cities are untrustworthy, frightening and to be hurried through by people who don’t love cities.
Like life, cities live up (and down) to expectations.
We chased the light yesterday, finding it first in Helena Emman’s incredible work from Skye in The Line Gallery at Linlithgow, then leaving it at the Forth.
We stood at Port Edgar, freezing, looking up and out at a world of massive Lego sets, listening to the ba-doom, ba-doom of traffic crossing the joints on the road through the sky above. We said occasional hellos to life-jacketed people from yachts and the distance between Scandinavia and Scotland felt tiny small, in those moments.
Then we drove home, chasing warmth this time.
On a damp, cold morning in February I drove across the ‘burbs of Edinburgh to walk the dog at Portobello. I needed light, air and coffee in my face – nothing unusual there.
Near Cameron Toll, I thought, ‘why not…’, and spontaneously picked up charity hitchhikers. It was a great opportunity to hear a story and throw a positive dice.
The hitch was in aid of The Rock Trust, who are working to prevent youth homelessness.
They’re currently running a smile inducing, affordable and inspiring postcard art auction at Summerhall creative hub.