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I was taking a journey back through the last year by reading my blogs again. I one, I ask the question —

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

before I log off and go to bed, i wanted to write down something that Daniel said to me yesterday.

he said that already he can see me relaxing; that already, I am less angry with the world than I was when I was working at amazon.

It occurred to me that, yes, so I proved I could be a pushy, tough manager in a hot, fast-moving company. But do I REALLY want to be that person for the rest of my life? Is that really part of me, or is it what working forces you to be if you want to survive in that environment?

Well, the answer is not that clear cut. I am, I have discovered, a fairly laid back person who can let some of the smaller punches that life throws out go without too much anguish. That’s something I never did while I was at Amazon, or in my previous life as mum and career person.

I am becoming more sensitive again to other people’s emotions — In order to survive in the hard-bitten world of dotCom, I never realised just how much one had to blank out how your actions might affect others — just how “loud” one had to make oneself, in order to be heard.

Now, I can again hear the nuances of people’s expression, and I do not feel so competitive. I didn’t realise how competitive I was.

But, I still find myself, when driving on these 8-lane town streets, speeding up, trying to get to my destination as quickly as possible, when I have absolutely nowhere to get to in a hurry. Still, I have to consciously say ‘stop it!’ to myself, when I find myself determined to beat that red car that just zoomed round me.

Will I ever be able to lay to rest the ghost of the M25????

However, that time as mum and career mum gave me so much confidence in myself, that it is mixed together with some amount of natural bolshiness. I can’t take any crap now. For better or worse, that is part of me. For example, the other day, I was about to go through a car wash , and stopped to try to unscrew my aerial on my car. I couldn’t get it to move. I noticed some of the garage attendents who were a little ways away from me, nudging themselves and smiling. I stared at them, and mouthed very clearly “fuck off”. I stared belligerently at them, until they sloped off. Now, this isn’t exactly nice, but I stood there, and thought without a moment’s doubt or “feminine worry” — I am not taking this shit from you grease monkeys! You wouldn’t do this to a MAN and I command as much authority, so I won’t accept this!

Somehow, I am so much stronger than before. I have reach a stage where my experiences have melded together into a fusion of my former selves.

It’s great. As a 32-year-old, with so many different experiences under my belt, I feel confident in myself in a way I never have before. I am able to say: this is what I am like. Whereas before, I have always dimly suspected that “I” was simply a reflection of what those people around me wanted of me.

In this peaceful vacuum in which I live (which is slowly starting to fill up with the elements of life), I have been able to just “be”. And then watch which bits of my behaviour actually belong to me, and which were just brought out by circumstance, and by others.

Here’s one thing true about me — I am creative. I am truly grateful for this chance to express myself, via my paintings, writings and poems. But when I look inside to see the deepest me, it’s a picture I see, not words.

Words are conscious constructions, in which I take great delight — I have in the course of my life been Editor and Copy Editor. However, there is a wordless communication in painting that can bypass the conscious educated mind, and speak a language that lives in the belly, in the solar plexus, the deepest sexual urge, a foreign land to the thinking mind. It’s pre-language humanity.

My late-father’s brushes were in some bags I unpacked, and I looked at them and thought “yes — painting”. It was my father’s favourite passtime, my brother was a fine artist too, and I just knew what I wanted to do.

I think this may be the occupation for the rest of my life.

I would love to find a way to meld painting and poetry, because both have a syntax and a web of allusion and reference. They both have a grammar and inflection, and accent and a standard.

The best thing of all is that I no longer approach life in terms of what it can do for me. An experience is just an experience, not a step on a ladder. My painting may just be for this month, I may not wish to paint next year. That’s fine. My pictures will be a memorial of the time that I did paint. And that is quite enough for me.

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