Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Every time you go somewhere you leave somewhere behind

I'm never sure whether I'm one of those people who's naturally adverse to change, or whether I just subconsciously put myself in that box just in case I might be. You know, so if I band myself in with the people who live with their parents their whole lives and something changes and I hate it then it's natural, and if I like it then it's better than expected. You know, setting the bar low to avoid disappointing expectations. Yup, my subconscious is pretty crafty that way! All that's to say that I'm probably better with change than I give myself credit for.Sure, I've never been one of those kids that moved 300 times so their childhood home was a suitcase, but I've experienced my fair share of earth-shattering change, and for the most part I'm pretty adaptable. Not great with change, but not awful. I think it harks back to the fact that whilst your city, home, friends, career etc. might change the day to day busyness of living stays the same. There are still meals to be eaten (and made!!) sleep to be slept and people to get to know. Everything changes but everything stays pretty much the same regardless of your situation (Much to the chagrin of people who take drastic measures only to find themselves in the same situation on the opposite side of the world. This whole musing reminds me a lot of a taster lecture I had at the Birmingham University earlier in the year. We were discussing the poem Musée des Beaux Arts by W H Auden and the lecturer's interpretation really struck me. I liked how he showed the reassurance within the poem (I mean it was written in 1938...). Life altering change (and a story has been continually re-told since Ancient Greece) could be reduced to something inconsequential, at the periphery of everyone else's life. I found it then, and still find it now, incredibly reassuring to put my own struggles into the context of the world at large, and occasionally get so swept up in the mundane acts of living that distract us from getting too caught up in our own heads.

If it wasn't already clear, I've moved halfway across the country. Yup, that's pretty damn far. At first I hated it. I hated introducing myself to a million people everyday and having to constantly summarise my life story. Small things like not seeing my mum's face everyday suddenly became heart-wrenchingly painful. And whilst I felt completely fine whilst talking to people there was a constant feeling at the back of my head like everything was irreparably wrong and nothing would ever be the same again. Not so great. Then, suddenly a flip switched. All at once, I had things to do, and knew people who I could do them with. I realised that studying a niche subject combination means there's a small tight-knit group of you all with astonishingly similar interests, because, well, duh! It's also amazing how quickly a place can begin to feel like home if you have to do the washing up there everyday. And long you can stretch out the preparation for one meal if you try hard enough. Or how easy it is for six people to bond over watching one guy fail to cook a frozen fish fillet (First in an un-pre-heated oven, then the microwave, then a frying pan, all in the space of 10 minutes!)

And all that was to say that it wasn't the going somewhere that was horrible, it was the leaving somewhere behind. But that it's amazing, maybe even scary, how quickly things settled back down. And, hey, I think I might be okay now! :)

Needless to say there has been zero sewing action going on here (Although, by some divine intervention we did manage to transport the sewing machine, all the pattern books and notions and half the stash across the country- Can I get a high five?) I do, however, now have evidence of why it is always important to have a full and varied fabric stash on hand at all times. Say for example you are invited last-minute to a toga party and want to fit in with all the cool classicists  it really helps to have a random 1m length of white viscose jersey hanging around with which to swathe oneself. definitely not the most historically accurate toga of the night, but lets be honest that viscose draped a lot better than the crunchy Primark bedsheets everyone else was using! Sidenote: On the off-chance that you need an impromptu toga you should know that A) it's impossible to tie a toga the same way twice and B) UNDERGARMENTS ARE A MUST!
Blurry toga mirror shot

Musée des Beaux Arts- W H Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

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