(I'm not a musician.) I was taught as a child that I must not 'blow my own trumpet' as in talking about myself – especially not to say anything good about myself. I was also taught that much of what I could say about myself was nonsense and I needn't expect anyone to believe it. If I myself believed it, I must be insane. If not, I was obviously a liar. Telling my story, therefore, became a very confronting task. I am now in my late seventies, as I begin this blog, and it is only a preparation – things I write on the way to writing the memoir. Nevertheless, everything posted here is copyright and must not be reproduced without written permission from the author (usually me).

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Getting Back to Normal

Return Journey?

'How was it, coming back
after hard adventures, 
to normal?'
                     I've never 
known normal. My path leads 
ever on; a wild track.

Normal: conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected; the usual, typical, or expected state or condition.

As I said in the beginning, my life has never seemed to me to be what most people regard as normal, even though it has included the usual common human experiences – childhood, family, schooling, community, work and play, falling in love, marriage, parenthood, illness and accident, dealing with money, the death of loved ones.... 

I cherish the ordinary and simple aspects of life, but for most of my life I felt that any appearance of normality about me was just that, an appearance. In the course of my therapy, describing my lifelong feeling of not fitting in, I told the Doc that, from my schooldays on, I had always felt as if everyone else was in on some secret that no-one was telling me. He said, 'Yes, there was something they all knew and you didn't. It's called acting naturally.'

I was far too anxious and self-conscious to know how to do that. My Mum was anxiety-ridden and phobic. I know she didn't mean to pass those things on to me; she just meant to keep me safe. But she did pass them on. When I got to High School it was a bit better, I found other misfits to make friends with – non-sporty book-lovers like myself. 

At University it was even more so; and choosing to work in libraries pretty much guaranteed that I would be among kindred spirits. But as a young mother in the suburbs mixing with others, I often felt out of step. I was never all that competent in the kitchen; I didn't quite get my clothes right for social occasions. Or so it seemed to me, though I have to say no-one else was making me feel unaccepted. 

The big thing was going public as a poet, which quite soon led to my involvement in the Melbourne Branch of the Poets Union of Australia, and my participation in poetry readings. I vividly recall the first one I went to. 'All those people running around with their folders of poetry under their arms,' I said afterwards, 'just as if it was normal.'

And perhaps that's it. Maybe there's not just one 'normal' but different kinds for different people. Among the poets, I finally found my kind of normal. I fitted right in. Poets are a diverse lot; it isn't a matter of conformity. We are a group that regards individual differences as perfectly fine. At the same time, our shared preoccupation means that we are a coherent group: a tribe.

Later I found other tribes: the mystics, the healers, and finally – after Andrew and I moved from Melbourne to the Mount Warning Caldera where I still live – the witches and Pagans. Andrew was very accepting of this development. I wasn't thinking of myself as a witch at the time that my younger son was drugged and robbed on his first visit to Bali. But just after we heard this news, I happened to be reading a women's magazine with a section in which a 'good witch' shared spells. There was one for retrieving lost property. I looked at it and realised we had the ingredients in the house. I stood up, saying, 'I'm just going to do a spell' – a thing I had never said before. Andrew said 'Oh, O.K.' and returned to reading his newspaper. I thought that was a wonderful attitude! After that beginning, things progressed rapidly. Andrew soon joined me on the Pagan path, with which he too was very much in sympathy.

No, the spell didn't result in the retrieval of my son's precious computer. But there was a result. I had been in the habit of talking to the Archangels. After I did the spell, I heard a voice in my head, which I knew by the energy to be one of them, saying, 'Rosemary, we wish to speak with you.' I was very taken aback, but tried to keep my composure. As I felt particularly close to Gabriel at that time, and Gabriel's direction is the West, I turned to the West and asked out loud, 'What do you wish to say?' I heard, in tones that were reassuringly emphatic: 'He is well. Have no fear.' This of course addressed my main concern. I would have been glad for my son to get his property back, but mainly I had become afraid for his safety.

I have since heard the energy of the Archangels described as being at once full of enormous strength and huge peace. That was exactly how their energy felt to me on that occasion.

Now, having found my congenial place in the world, among congenial people – and with advancing age – I am at ease with myself, and therefore with others. It's ironic. Now that I don't give much of a damn what anyone thinks of me, I find that I am widely liked and accepted. And I can 'act naturally' without even thinking about it, because (I have discovered) that just means being me.