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When the World Was So New and All

The above is a quote from one of Rudyard Kipling’s stories, written, I believe, for his young son. In political outlook and the like, Kipling was actually pretty diametrically opposed to most of the things I most believe in; but the man had some turn-of-phrase. Poems, short stories, nearly everything I’ve ever read by him, I either liked or loved, if not for the sentiments expressed, for the way they were expressed. But more often than not, I love the actual story, as well, because the emotional impact is so high (even when the morality you’re being spoonfed is very much not to ones taste) …but you can’t tell me there’s not a lot to admire, in a lot of the man’s works. Example: I will not be judged for my love of the story Rikki Tikki Tavi, because that mongoose is a BOSS.

The reason I’m quoting the above, however, has to do with the phrase itself, rather than one of Kipling’s stories. In “Just So Stories for Little Children,” the phrase is used to denote a time when everything was unfolding, the laws of nature hadn’t been fully worked out yet, the animals exist but are still finding their feet (paws, tails, the wrinkles in their skin) and thus, things go a bit off-course from time to time, but they work out okay in the end. I always liked the idea of the earth being new, and fresh, and bright; of there being an air of expectation about the world, and a receptiveness to the idea that things might change, eve suddenly, and that’s fine too. I didn’t deal very well with unexpected change, as a child–but I hoped for a time when maybe I would.

That time is upon me now, it seems. At the age of 31, I have finally learned, at least occasionally, that activities can change, or be added, or be taken away, without ruining the construction of the whole (the whole being my life). I have begun several new projects lately, and while they have all been hit and miss, I have both the feeling that there are more hits than misses, AND that the misses are not catastrophic events. When a thing happens that I did not expect, apparently, I can sometimes roll with it, take it as it comes, and carry on, more or less unscathed.

Is this what being an adult is like? Is this feeling that one wrong move will not destroy me… maturity?

I don’t know, but whatever this liberating notion is, I shall cultivate it. For maybe the first time in my existence, I really feel like all of the following is true: I’m not a victim of circumstance, my choices are my own, I have various options to choose from, and whatever happens, no one needs to worry for me, because I’ll be alright in the end. This, chickadees… this is real freedom. Not the freedom that’s just another word for, nothin’ left to lose (thank you, Kris Kristofferson and Janis Joplin) but… freedom that literally means, “I can move around with relative confidence in myself and the world around me.”

In the privacy of my first-ever own home, I started singing the song below over a decade ago, when I left the safety of my mother’s house to make a new life half a world away… and, like a self-fulfilling prophecy you can only mention to yourself, it’s finally started to come true. It *is* like a brave new world (that has such creatures in it–and they are my friends, for the most part!) and I wish to live forever, in this world that is so brave and new and all.

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Stupid Things

Have you ever been really, really glad you did a stupid, seemingly innocuous thing?

I don’t know if everyone is like this, but I know I am; I go through life, trying to make connections, trying to see how the intricacies of cause and effect play out, trying to work out how it all happens (and why, and where it’s going, and what happens next). I have always spent an inordinate amount of my time just thinking, just pondering, just trying to make some sense of life. The things that seem like coincidences–are they, really? The things that seem like they carry so much weight, and have such intrinsic meaning–do they, really? One can never be sure, I suppose… which is why, yes, everyone is probably like this. Everyone, I assume, spends too much of their time trying to make sense of their life, in what can only be a doomed, subjective attempt at objectivity.

So I’ll leave objectivity where it is, for the moment, and return to my original question: have you ever been really, really glad you did a silly, ostensibly meaningless thing?

In April of last year, I sowed a little seed (unintentionally, at least consciously) and made myself memorable (in a way that could’ve been good or bad; however, the ground in which I sowed this seed was distinctly favourable) and lo! I have since reaped many and variable rewards. The tree that has grown out of my little seed is a beautiful thing, it fruits and flowers in a glory of emotion and shared experience, and I am made the better for having it with me. Oh, the poetry that has come from this little seed (both the written, and unwritten, kinds of poetry)–you wouldn’t believe how productive I’ve become, all of a sudden! And–in what’s maybe the most important part of all this–I feel so alive.

I haven’t felt so vital since my introduction to citalopram, all those months ago. I know a lot of words, but… there’s nothing in my vocabulary to express or even describe how it feels to FEEL, really FEEL, again. It seems like such a little thing, such a stupid thing, that I did, and yet, from that… I dunno… Ah. The Proclaimers have said it better than I could: I took a right turning yesterday, is all.

Thank God 🙂

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