On the corner of my street there’s a street lamp shining bright on the intersection of suburban roads. There’s barely a car parked in sight; from the end of my driveway I can count just three. But there under the spotlight, is the corner dairy (a 7-Eleven of sorts), the bus stop and an Indian take-out store. In which the lights are blazing and the door wide open despite being 12 degrees celcius. ‘Well, they’re optimistic,’ I think to myself, my inner monologue dripping with cyncism.
It’s 9.00pm on a Tuesday night and I’m crawling inside to finish a fraction of what needed to get done today and the remnants of a to-do list going back to Friday 2 weeks ago. I’m feeling deflated and empty; I have been for days actually. Everything feels like a fight in which I keep getting ‘No’ for an answer and while I’m not losing – not yet defeated, I’m desperate for a ‘Yes’. For a win, for a step closer to the dream.
I’m close to throwing a tantrum in the face of the Universe. A grown-up one, with big words and everything.
I go out to dinner, to movies, for a wine or three, parties for kids and friends come for dinner and all of it’s good for a moment, until I’m back left with myself. I’d just like a ceasefire in the warzone I’m in, a truce where the Red Cross comes storming in to simply bandage the wounds and nurse me along a little. I’m so hungry for kindness and connection I’m almost like a child who wants to be indulged simply – because I do. I’m close to throwing a tantrum in the face of the Universe. A grown-up one, with big words and everything.
Not for anything trivial like love or biology or even the politics of sexuality and refugees, although I can make a pretty good case there. No, bigger things – like ‘why is meaning so hard to grasp and so much of life filled with meaninglessness’ and ‘why do we live with a sense of displacement and crave belonging’?
I’m almost convinced I could make a winning case to demand answers but the biggest battle I’m fighting is Me. Fighting to let go, to hold on, to give love and stay soft-hearted when I’d rather put up defensive offense. Battling to submit to other people’s methods, to collaborate when I love independence, fighting not to let go of my love of excellence and fighting the urge to say many times over, I call ‘bullshit’.
(I’m sorely tempted to call bullshit on inspirational social media posts, on mindfulness and yoga mantras, especially on religious politics and the politics of religion. I want to remind everyone that you’re just an entertainer on Facebook for an audience you determine and that the strong, independent woman is as much of a Unicorn as winning can be without someone having to lose.)
The biggest battle I’m fighting is Me. To find peace in the midst of ambition, a little give in a world of take.
Most of this could be solved by hibernating for a weekend or three, resting in good company that doesn’t mind taking care of me a little. Strong, capable, independent as I am – I need a little reminder of what it’s like to play. To laugh. To feel good. To feel alive. A gentle reminder that work isn’t everything, even when it seems like it’s the only thing. I probably just need some good sex in good company, with a laugh or two.
And all this probably has nothing to do with the Indian take-out store on the corner.
Except the flashing neon ‘OPEN’ sign now flashes in the front window and sometime in the last week they’ve added twinkling fairy lights. Where the door used to remain closed it’s open to the street and there’s even a sign on the curb of the road. There’s a bus that stops across the road once every 80mins or so, and a tinny house on the opposite corner which is probably mutually beneficial. I’m not sure who they’re hoping will turn up. I’ve lived here five years looking at that same corner, same tinny house, same Indian store and all of sudden they’ve opened the door. The hopeful audacity of it. Open doors, defying belief and daring the neighbourhood to place an order. That if you try, they will come. If you stay open and welcoming, people will turn around and look after you. If you fight just a little more, ‘No’ might turn to ‘Yes’.
It’s easy to turn my cynicism audacious, to make the bullshit calls loud and clear. To turn up the volume on everything but hope. It’s harder to choose a hopeful audacity. A plucky bleeding courage that keeps on playing anyway. A hopeful audacity that compells me to put on my unicorn panties and rise again tomorrow. To keep on battling for a yes.