Saturday, June 2, 2012


What is this fomenting rebellion? I feel rebellious about the long term commitments I have made: church and marriage. While I love the people involved, I am sick of the stability, and fed up with being so reliable.

I don’t really know how to live straightforwardly. I spent my childhood and adolescence moving house and mourning the dead; my early twenties grieving new deaths and busting up with people, churches and workplaces; my late twenties and early thirties in a maelstrom of babies and very young children. Now my youngest has started kindergarten, not too many people have died recently, I don’t have to move house and everything feels under control.

It’s way too calm for me.

When everything in my life was falling apart, I needed the institutions of church and marriage; they held me together when nothing else could. I gladly ploughed myself into them, building solid foundations for a life that felt it was based on sand. But now that things have been straightforward for a few years, I find myself bucking at the traces.

I wonder whether bad girls have more fun, and whether the prodigal son had it right by refusing to settle down. There are times I resent being a good mother to my children and a good wife to my husband; I am bewildered that I have so many delightful friends. Where is the chaos, the hatred, the loneliness, the jealousy, the sheer obliterating grief that have been big parts of my life up til now?

This new-found happiness is very even-textured; one might even say it’s boring. I feel like stepping out of line and courting disaster just to see what will happen.

This feeling of wanting to walk to the edge of the precipice, and maybe, just maybe, jump is constant. And yet the reflective part of me knows that what I am feeling comes out of the losses I experienced so young, and which lead me even now to yearn for the known quantities of chaos and grief and blinding rage. Like old friends, I long for them, however unhappy they make me.

But these old friends do me no favours; they suck me dry and leave me hollow. They are not the sort of friends I want anymore; I have chosen life.

So, as dull as it seems, I will hold fast to the commitments which have so fundamentally re-shaped my behaviour; I will continue to write stories of my new friend, surging joy. And if I stick at this long enough, perhaps one day it too will become an old friend, something I am comfortable enough to invite in for a cuppa and a chat about the time when I wasn’t sure if we’d ever get along. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to live without glancing over my shoulder at raw grief and smouldering rage, those friends I have left behind.


  1. I remember you as such a poised, wise, reflective little girl Alison. I guess there was a lot going on I didn't see.

    Perhaps your rebel has expression in your writing?

  2. Hi Jean, Still waters perhaps! and too many deaths - for starters, Barbara, Soula and Roy all hit me hard. alison.

  3. So spare. So beautiful. So thoughtful. So Alison.


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