“I wonder if you know the pain to want the one thing that you haven’t got?”
~Savage Garden – Mine
Sometimes when there’s something ‘wrong’ with you, others may avoid talking about the parts of their lives that you can’t have. So it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, or jealous or sad, I guess.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – the tiptoe and avoidance around topics. Mostly about the tightrope balance of not wanting people to avoid discussing the topics that are an elephant in your room, and then, not wanting to face up to the elephants in your room when they do come up in discussion. Do you follow? Maybe I am tiptoeing and avoiding being clear. It is hard to explain.
Take my situation. I don’t expect my friends to stop discussing make up or waxing just because I can’t do those things. But I will say that I once got a bit bored when a friend I was out with went on a tangent in the shopping centre, lured by an accented man giving away free facials. I sort of hung around while she got her facial, and he didn’t acknowledge me, at all, because, obviously, I was the girl with the weird red face, clearly unable to use the products.
However, sometimes, and only very rarely, I don’t want to hear how good people have it, when I can’t easily have the same.
When my face is sore, and so infected I can’t look at myself in the mirror I don’t want to hear about peoples’ bad hair days or broken nails or minor pimples (nor do I want to hear about it when I am ‘well’, in fact!). I can’t deal with that trivial crap.
And often I can’t handle hearing about constant success stories of finding love, or even just quick fucks. I recently spent time with an old friend and I got tired, and admittedly a bit sad, about the number of dates she’d been on, and the ease of it all. Man after man, and casually shrugging at the ease of dating.
I think that is what it boils down to. I can’t say it’s jealousy. Nor wallowing in self pity. I know I’ve got it pretty good in my life. It’s more like “I don’t want to know about the ease of it all”.
I think about how easy it would be not to have to worry about what I will wear – not for the fun of fashion that I love so much, but for not having to worry about getting hot or cold or sunburnt or scratched. I once felt the breeze on an un-stockinged leg on a spring day. That feeling was amazing! I wondered what it’d be like to feel that every day. I wonder what it’d be like to wear a dress without having to cover up, not just for a photo on the concrete step, but for a whole night.
I think about how easy it would be to not think about staying over at someone’s house impromptu. Like a one night stand. I did this recently with Bern Morley – not a one night stand in the literal sense, but decided to drink a lot more than anticipated, so I stayed over at her hotel. I had to top up on my vaseline at the 7/11 and source some clean undies and find a facewasher at reception, all because I don’t wake up looking and feeling the same way as I go to sleep. And if I was to have a one night stand – pigs might fly – I’d get all hot and heavy and then have to explain that I wake up looking like Freddy Kruger, post coitus. Awkward.
I think about how easy it would be just to smile at someone in a bar and catch their attention, and have them come over to me and start up a conversation – not because they are curious about the way I look, but because they like the way I look.
I’d been discussing this idea of tiptoeing and avoidance with my good friend Sydney Shop Girl. The sadness and loss she has endured this past year is heartbreaking. She is the most giving, resilient and kind person I know, and it is so difficult for her to comfortably see new life just happening around her, and accept the conversations of how easy things are for other people. My thoughts are with you Sydney Shop Girl, through this difficult time, and beyond.
The things that people do in life – the way they live their lives, the way the world turns, just happens. Births, good health, able bodies, wearing a strapless dress. These things can’t be avoided when you can’t do or have what they can. And no matter how simple they seem, they can often be difficult to deal with. No matter whether tiptoe and avoid the topic for your sake.