December 10, 2012

sitting in the kitchen while Pauline puts eyes onto gingerbread bunnies. I’m slathering mine in chocolate and dipping it in tea; the rejects, the leftovers, the little old too-overbaked, too-underformed. I’m really tired. Can you tell? I’m really tired.

I’m in Christchurch. I don’t know why. I was at church this evening and every time someone asked why are you down here? my answer became vaguer and more apologetic and more awkward and I felt more and more ridiculous. I came to visit friends. I have a friend’s wedding in Nelson and I haven’t been to Christchurch in two years and I kept saying I’d visit and I wanted to see people and what did I expect? What was I expecting? What was I thinking?

I asked myself this on the plane. I asked myself this when I was packing. I asked myself this the night before last, sitting in bed and watching the week unroll. This evening was the worst; churchtime, with the most people I used to know, and everyone changed, and me changed, and relationships all shifted and widened and I’m tired and don’t really have the words for it anymore but it was the worst and I’m already bad with churches as it is and I was scared. Walking there I was nervous and once inside, I found the inside of my head was all jumbled with thoughts and fear of what people would think and I have less ability to cope with people than before, and I was scared.

I considered, briefly, leaving, but I’m a big girl now and so I gripped my invisible knives and found some comfort there. And when my brain started churning wrong I shrugged it away and reconcentrated. And I looked at myself gripping my mental knives and was surprised that I’d need them, that I needed them there where I was supposed to be at home but I knew how much I’d changed and I thought, what did I expect?

That things would be the same? That I could just walk straight back into community as if I fit? This is not my community and I might’ve been able to slot myself into places like this before when I was a different person, but now I don’t have that blind extroversion, that boundless energy. I was tired and it takes a conscious effort for me now to be so engaged and engaging, so people-friendly, particularly with people I’m not very familiar with anymore. And I feel as if, when I booked this ticket all the way back in October, I was hoping to find- what I’d found here before. That same sense of community I knew here, once, that same sense of belonging that happened when I was mad and desperate and had no spare space to think and lived right to the edges of myself, feeling everything, assuming completely the generosity of people, unthinkingly ignorant as a child.

I don’t think I’m that person anymore, or at least I try very hard not to be. And I can see that the community itself has changed with time and shifting relationships and different stages of life and all those things that happen when you leave university and enter the working world, en masse. The old sense of belonging doesn’t exist and I knew it coming up to this holiday; I knew it weeks before I started to pack and I wondered what I’d done. And I’m really tired and it’s really hard to think through things properly without leaving important things out when I’m like this. I should leave it all until tomorrow.


some things were still the same, and some things still felt familiar; cautiously so, like resting on it might break it if I leaned too hard. Erin on one side of me and Craig on the other; their playfulness and generosity of heart, the same easy way of being, their friendliness. pens and doodling on bulletins and knees and arms and sly jokes. It was easy with them; I felt less like I had to try, like I could slot better back into what had been there. Pauline is the same. Rachel is the same. Thank God for Pauline. thank God for friendship that lasts.


headlong and mad. there are days when I feel like I just manage to keep from making a complete fool of myself, like I’m dancing on knives and one wrong step will plunge me into ruin. When trying to talk to people is like trying too hard to smile, and the smile comes out a little forced and you know they can see it stick at the corners. When trying to keep conversation afloat is like trying not to drown and answering questions about what you’re doing at the moment makes you realise how lost you are and how lame you sound. how in-between.

only thing to do with those moments is to plunge headlong through, shrug it all off and keep moving.


(can’t catch me I’m the)

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