Thursday, May 22, 2014

Finding the funny again


I used to write a lot more humorous stuff. My old blog, Mummy Mayhem, was filled with stories of parenting-gone-wrong, light-hearted, giggle-worthy stuff.

I haven't felt much like writing that stuff lately. I know what I write now is almost too serious. It's not the stuff people really want to read from me, because I was the one who wrote the funny stuff, you know? At the moment, writing the funny stuff feels ... forced. It's just not me at the moment. (Then again, I never did start this site for anyone else other than me. This is my space, and I'll continue to use it how I see fit.) Nevertheless, even though being funny is a big part of my life - I'm always the joker - I can't seem to get motivated to write funny.

I think it has something to do with Dad's death last year. The first six months after he died, it felt like I was living under a huge fog. I just felt so sad. To be honest, it was an unexpected sadness in a way, because it's not like Dad was fit and healthy and in his forties when he died last year. He was in his mid-eighties and crippled by dementia, just getting by day to day. But he'd lived a full life for almost all of those years before his dementia took over for the last few.

I guess I wrestle almost daily with the guilt that for a good portion of the latter years of my dad's life, I lived on the other side of the country and saw him just occasionally. As I wrote in my last post, there are days I feel like I've robbed my parents of another daughter ('another daughter' meaning in addition to my sister, Valda, who died in 1971). I know my parents supported - fully - my decision to move to Sydney back in December 1995 with Mr A, and recognised how happy I became living here. However, I also know, being a parent myself, that not having your children around would be difficult. So unimaginably difficult, but it's how life goes. Both of my parents left their hometowns to live in Perth many moons ago, so they got it/get it.

After the six month mark following Dad's death, I felt the fog begin to lift a bit. Certainly, now, the sadness is not as present as it was. It will always be there, of course, but at least now I can go days and days - sometimes weeks - before feeling low. Certain situations trigger the sadness: A friend's father experiencing a similar health situation my dad did in his last couple of years of life; a sad television show. Like Offspring. I watched that show for the first time the other night and decided, although very good, I couldn't watch it ever again. It was too sad watching a wife trying to live her life now that her husband is dead. That longing just to see him one more time ...

But it's getting better. It is. I'm feeling uplifted more days than not now, so I know my heart is mending. It will never forget, but it is mending.

The funny will return some day. Soon, I hope.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Back in time


Over Easter, Mr A, the boys and I headed back to Perth to visit our family and friends (both Mr A and I are originally from there). I knew, from the outset, it was going to be quite the emotional journey. I haven't been back to Perth since Dad's funeral and I was very anxious about seeing my mum. Driving to see her for the first time, I burst in to tears. I guess I didn't know what to expect but in the end it turned out fine. (However, saying goodbye at the end of our trip was awful. Just awful. But this is how it goes now.)

I also had the strangest dreams there, recalling people I hadn't thought about in years. Many were from my high school days - people I was never actually close to or even friends with. I spent ten nights in Perth tossing and turning, waking and dozing - my mind swirling with memories.

Memory overload.

As I always do when I head back, I caught up with the few friends I keep in touch with from high school (the ones I'm actually close to)! It's always easy, relaxed and fun. I love seeing how their lives have moved forward, how much their kids have grown. When I'm there, I always realise just how much I miss their friendship. They know me. Really know me, like only old friends can.

The great thing about having history with people is not only that they know you so well, but you share a past with them. Most of the time, that's a good thing. Sometimes it's not. Some memories from my life in Perth I'd rather forget. Not because they're 'bad' memories, per se, (although there's a few of those too), but recalling them reminds me of how different I was back then. I'm not completely removed from who I was in high school - I still muck around and make jokes and fail to focus for long periods of time on anything that slightly resembles 'work'! - but essentially, I've changed. Matured. Grown.

You see, when I head back, I feel as though I'm revisiting my high school days. I'm not just traveling the width of the country, I'm going back in time.

Like many others I know, I didn't hate high school; in fact, there were parts of it I just loved. I didn't have a particularly bad time there, but I was a kid and I made mistakes and choices I wouldn't make today. When I get together with my friends we reminisce etc, which can be lovely, but also a reminder of the awkward, insecure teenager I was.

It's interesting - I've been discussing this with my dear Perth friend, T, since returning to Sydney, and she said she always saw me as confident and outgoing. To some degree, I think I was those things, but underneath I had many insecurities, like many teenagers do. In fact, it was only after I moved to Sydney that I finally became the confident, independent, happy person I perhaps seemed to be in high school. When I head back to Perth, I feel almost as if the old Jodie returns.

Being away from my mum and my sister, especially, and essentially robbing them of another daughter/sister (it's not even close to being as awful as losing a child to a car accident like my sister, Valda, was, but you know what I'm getting at) is not something that makes me even the slightest bit happy. In fact, there's a lot of guilt, sadness and regret that goes with that at times. But for some reason, living in Sydney really suits me, personally.

My Mum saw the change in me when she visited Sydney for the first time back in 2000 when Mr A and I were married. We were walking around Watson's Bay one sunny, January afternoon and she said, 'Living in Sydney really suits you, Jodie. You seem happier here.'

It's true. I am. 

I think it's because I really grew up here. As in, made the transition finally from a girl to a woman. Perth will always have a special place in my heart - I have many great memories from growing up there. Great, great memories. I'll never stop going back, but when I get back to Sydney I feel like me again.

And that can only be a good thing.