The Sweet Comfort of My Left Foot

It’s been a weird year. I suppose I’m not really ready to talk about it, which is why I’ve been kind of quiet around here. There’s so much to share, and yet there’s a little hesitation on my part. It’s not because I don’t want to share or that I feel it’s inappropriate. I don’t believe in inappropriate topics. It’s just been a weird year.

It’s already May and the only progress I’ve really made is in a direction that I was supposed to move away from. Basically: instead of sticking around South Africa this year and doing a bit of  local travelling, I’ve instead planned a trip to Turkey. None of the other stuff I had planned is getting anywhere. Like how I planned to read more. Or how I planned to blog more. Or actually learn how to use my camera better. Although to be fair I promised myself that from here on out I will not be doing “new year’s resolutions” so much as just all year resolutions. So I shall give myself a break on the things I haven’t gotten to yet.

I did discover something new about myself though. Apparently my left foot is a little kinder to me than I had noticed before. Yes. That’s right. I just said that crazy thing. But I discovered this year that in times of distress, quite out of nowhere, that my left foot likes to tenderly rub itself against my right foot in a sort of soothing manner. When my anxiety is flying high, my left foot likes to tap against my right ankle. My brain likes to abuse me with all sorts of dodgy little anecdotes, and my gut likes to churn for no reason. My heart likes to start racing as if I’m being chased. And then there’s that knot of fear that likes to churn my stomach when I am completely safe.

And so, my  left foot has taken it upon itself to offer up comfort. And, if I do admit myself, it kind of works. I cannot for the life of me figure out when it started. I don’t know why it started now. But as I lay here in my bed the other night, feeling a little wrecked and tender, knowing that no person was capable of offering me comfort in that moment, I couldn’t help but feel grateful to the little rhythmic tapping that once again proved to be both soothing and sedative.

So thank you, Left Foot, for knowing what I needed even though I didn’t. I am grateful to you.

The Potential for Extraordinary Never Dies: Not Really a Valentine’s Post

Every morning I check the “On This Day” feature on Facebook. Perhaps that’s a little narcissistic. I don’t know. What I do know is that it helps with my capacity for nostalgia.

You see, I sometimes worry that I am incapable of nostalgia. You know how most people say that childhood is the best time of your life? Or how people get really bittersweet when they hear a song from their past? Or when old friends get to chatting about “the good ol’ days” and then they get a bit morose about it?

That doesn’t happen to me.

Songs that I used to listen to in high school irritate me. They feel more like a jab of holy-crap-how-did-we-listen-to-this-rubbish. I don’t look back on too much of my life with longing. I don’t miss things very much. Sometimes I miss my grandfather, though even then I have to admit I am probably more “too much” for him these days than I was when he was alive. Would we even get along now?

Anyway, I check my On This Day feature every morning, and I delete all the things that have no nostalgic value. Sometimes I smile at what is left over.

This morning I flicked through my nostalgia timeline and it was filled with Instagram images from my trip to India (I’m sort of sorry about that by the way – in the moment I didn’t realise I was posting so many!) and I couldn’t help but smile at the memories, even though they barely feel like memories so much as just things that happened the other day. We spent Valentine’s Day at the Taj Mahal last year. It felt nice to be able to say that, I must admit. But I also admit it was quite nice to scroll down further and get to the year where the husband and I spent all day posting Doctor Who valentines on each other’s Facebook walls. That made me smile too. Maybe that means my nostalgia isn’t broken?

I sort of thought to myself: won’t it be nice in about ten years time when every day my On This Day timeline is filled with at least one magical thing that happened in the past? And wouldn’t that be such a lovely reminder that good things kind of do happen all the time?

Yes. Of course we fill our timelines with dreadful things too (they’re totally delete-able online though!) but those good things can be so powerful. From silly things like mentioning that you baked a great batch of cupcakes to that time your kids did something really sweet.

Social media is seen as such a skewed picture of life, and perhaps it is, but I cannot help but be grateful for the reminders of celebrated little things, because they remind me that little things are always around the corner. I tend to get so stuck in the now. Caught up in an extra bad instance of anxiety, or being overwhelmed by the trials of a loved one. Those sorts of things take dominance so often.

And yet my cat is cute as hell when she sleeps. And my husband sometimes brings me a choccie from the shops. And sometimes I take a hundred pictures during a walk in the park.

So today I am thinking about the potential for extraordinary. It is always there. Overshadowed sometimes by my own potential for dread. But it is there. And for that I choose to be grateful.

You Are Art

It’s mid-January already.You’ve probably been told that more than once in the last couple of days. Mid-January. Mid-January surely means that the scars of getting through the holidays should be fading by now. Are they?

When you’re The Mom Friend to a whole gaggle of people, this can be the time of year that you playing psychiatrist becomes quite the juggling act. Tensions don’t run quite as mildly as folks on Facebook would have us all believe. Super silly happy family! Look at us all. We love each other. We eat in peace once we have said our prayers. We look like an idealistic painting. Painted by fairies who bathe in the spittle of unicorns.

So it is at this time of year that I tend to contemplate what it means to be the outsider. What it means to be the black sheep of the family. What it means to be the misplaced loner who feels rather alien when it comes to family life. I consider them more at this time of year, not only because I feel them in a small way myself, but because I watch how this familial disconnect keeps happening to people I love. I see how the disapproval directed at them by close friends and family members – gathered together in the name of supposedly the most sacred of holidays for the Christian faith – breaks them into smaller pieces than they deserve to be broken into.

And all I can think is this: You are art.

Because maybe that is the answer. Maybe you are art. We have been told over and over that art seeks to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. And if we are to believe this statement – a statement that I personally hold to be an exceptional truth – then perhaps we are art. Perhaps we disturb the comfortable with our very beings. We may not be a provocative painting or a sculpture that begs questions, but I cannot help but believe that we are a disturbance in the very face of picturesque suburbia, or whatever your familial equivalent of that might be.

Our hair isn’t right.

We’ve dressed too shabbily.

We should really lose weight. Or gain weight.

That’s not polite conversation, we should stop bringing it up.

Have you tried a different shade of lipstick?

What are you doing with your life?

You’re not getting any younger, you know.

All the questions and the criticisms boil down to basically one thing: Why are you this way when you should be that way?

And maybe the answer is that you are art. You are a disturbance in the life of the comfortable. And you know what, my friend? That is such a beautiful thing. I am sorry that this is a hard time of year, one that brings judgements and accusations and  crippling self-doubt.

But you are art.

It hurts and it is a heavy burden.

But you are art.

You are a thorn in the side of those who are incapable of seeking to understand.

But you are art.

You are the most glorious of comforts.

You are the colour against a grey background.

You are dessert for breakfast.

You are art.

Finally, Nadine!

Hello and welcome to Nadine Rose Larter – the url I should probably have been using this whole time. I do particularly love January and the hopefulness it incites (in me at least). This year I have made the decision to split my travel writings and my more personal writings (although let’s face it – probably those travel writings will still indulge in the personal from time to time) and I’ve moved all my non-travel-related musings over here. So welcome. Or something. This is already getting awkward…

The point is… I’m blogging under my own name now. So that one day if I actually ever finish writing the ten or so WIPs that I have going, I’ll totally have somewhere to share the news.

In the meantime I’ll just keep writing my nonsense!