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Walking away.

The knowledge that they’re gone. And it’s your fault.

The understanding that they’re not just gone from you, but happy to leave. To know that your time spent together eventually became the symbol of a springboard, you; the starting blocks of a headlong sprint. Away. As fast as possible.

To know your shared memories will be dismissed like lint dusted from the shoulder of a new cardigan. Neither cherished, nor hated. Just brushed away.

You did this. You didn’t mean to, but you did.

Please come back.

Please?

But vulnerability now looks desperate. Words of love are caught and lost on the wind. Pleas are stomach aches. Apologies are handed back; too late. Too little. Too much.

This too, shall not pass, but form the quiet dust on luggage best left packed up, added to the attic pile of unresolveds and might-have-beens and goodbyes with doors left yet still ajar.

To know they’re gone, with a smile on their lips, and relief on their minds.

And to know: you did this.

Woolf, on writing

 virginia-woolf
“… there is the dictionary; there at our disposal are some half-a-million words all in alphabetical order. But can we use them? No, because words do not live in dictionaries, they live in the mind. Look once more at the dictionary. There beyond a doubt lie plays more splendid than Antony and Cleopatra; poems lovelier than the Ode to a Nightingale; novels beside which Pride and Prejudice or David Copperfield are the crude bunglings of amateurs. It is only a question of finding the right words and putting them in the right order. But we cannot do it because they do not live in dictionaries; they live in the mind.”
-Virginia Woolf, taken from the only recording of her voice, a BBC radio broadcast from April 29th, 1937.
 
This reminds me of the saying of Michelangelo when he stated “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
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Shameful

shameI went to the gym today to see what kind of prices they had. I was introduced to a well-meaning man who appeared to have a vested interest in enrolling me. However, his methods were singularly geared towards making me feel inadequate. It could be argued that I am sensitive about my body – that much is true. Nevertheless his comments were harsh, focusing on my ‘average’ body fat ratio (“Tell me, what kind of man do you want to be? Average?”) and reflecting on some perceived failure in my remarkably Spartan diet (“There must be something… pizza on the weekend? Coffee? With half & half? Well there’s your problem…”).

I felt broken down afterwards, yet left feeling a strong incentive towards ‘changing myself’ because I essentially suck, and accepting that the only place I could repair these issues was in that furnace of strutting and posturing and flexing that seems to have less to do with physical fitness and more to do with social signalling. This felt like a mixed benefit. Would it get me in the gym? Probably. Would it be fun? Likely not in the slightest.

I get his technique. It makes sense, and I am familiar with the boot-camp style of knock ’em down and build ’em up. Find a weakness and then sell the means to resolve this weakness. Even now I find myself squeezing my body to seek out some perceived flabbiness or lack of toning. This is the modus operandi of the average advertising campaign and I’m extremely aware of the shit they try to pull.

This to me appears to be entirely the wrong way to motivate others or oneself. Start with shame and you end up with a carrot-on-a-stick motivator. Additionally, all templates of shame are rooted in the child parts of ourselves, and it’s important to ask, how would we talk to a child that we wished to encourage to some form of change? As summed up nicely on a random gym’s website I found:

Think of yourself as a child, perhaps one of your own kids, who is looking to you for help getting into shape. How would you talk to them? Would you say to them “You’re fat and weak and pathetic!” and then encourage them to head off to the gym with that message bouncing around in their head? No, you’d be supportive, encouraging and positive: “You can do this!”, “Showing up is half the battle!” or “Hang in there – it gets easier!”

Self-confidence is hard to sell to, so salespeople don’t like it very much. Yet, a healthy self-esteem provides the best middleperson with which to have a relationship with ourselves. It’s the broker that helps us negotiate necessary change. If we damage that by constantly feeling inadequate, then we’ll never be content with the progress we make and never truly learn to enjoy the benefits we work so hard to achieve.

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Pressure

Pollanassa_waterfall_MullinavatSometimes you don’t realize how many feelings you lock away inside until the right stimuli (a song, a few words, a movie scene) comes along and teases them out of you, and sometimes the dam breaks.

Sometimes you live with the pressure for so long it just becomes normal. And sometimes when you start crying, you can’t stop.

Before the Anaesthetic, or A Real Fright

By John Betjeman

Intolerably sad, profound
St. Giles’s bells are ringing round,
They bring the slanting summer rain
To tap the chestnut boughs again
Whose shadowy cave of rainy leaves
The gusty belfry-song receives.
Intolerably sad and true,
Victorian red and jewel blue,
The mellow bells are ringing round
And charge the evening light with sound,
And I look motionless from bed
On heavy trees and purple red
And hear the midland bricks and tiles
Throw back the bells of stone St. Giles,
Bells, ancient now as castle walls,
Now hard and new as pitchpine stalls,
Now full with help from ages past,
Now dull with death and hell at last.
Swing up! and give me hope of life,
Swing down! and plunge the surgeon’s knife.
I, breathing for a moment, see
Death wing himself away from me
And think, as on this bed I lie,
Is it extinction when I die?

I move my limbs and use my sight;
Not yet, thank God, not yet the Night.
Oh better far those echoing hells
Half-threaten’d in the pealing bells
Than that this ” I ” should cease to be
Come quickly, Lord, come quick to me.
St. Giles’s bells are asking now
“And hast thou known the Lord, hast thou? ”
St. Giles’s bells, they richly ring
“And was that Lord our Christ the King? ”
St. Giles’s bells they hear me call
I never knew the lord at all
Oh not in me your Saviour dwells
You ancient, rich St. Giles’s bells.
Illuminated missals — spires —
Wide screens and decorated quires —
All these I loved, and on my knees
I thanked myself for knowing these
And watched the morning sunlight pass
Through richly stained Victorian glass
And in the colour-shafted air
I, kneeling, thought the Lord was there.
Now, lying in the gathering mist
I know that Lord did not exist;
Now, lest this “I ” should cease to be,
Come, real Lord, come quick to me.
With every gust the chestnut sighs,
With every breath, a mortal dies;
The man who smiled alone, alone,
And went his journey on his own
With ” Will you give my wife this letter,

In case, of course, I don’t get better? ”
Waits for his coffin lid to close
On waxen head and yellow toes.
Almighty Saviour, had I Faith
There’d be no fight with kindly Death.
Intolerably long and deep
St. Giles’s bells swing on in sleep:
“But still you go from here alone ”
Say all the bells about the Throne.

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