Paint Brush

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This weekend was mostly spent painting my son’s room. I always think of painting a room as not a big deal and then when I actually do it I remember how much work it is. It is a smallish room but painting light over dark requires extra attention and two coats. His room has three windows and a closet which also required painting and so the cutting-in work and taping was labor intensive even before the paint tins were opened.

As I painted, especially when I was using the roller, and watching the tiny white speckles land on the back of my hand I thought about my dad. I have such vivid pictures in my head of him painting. How he would hold the roller, the angle he would position his wrist at and the way he would have his tally ho self-rolled ciggie hanging from the corner of his mouth as he worked.

He actually used to gently flip the ash of his smoke into a pocket in his overalls. I recall the paint clinging to his thinning hair, the feel of his overalls stiff with enamel and his work shoes, worn and splattered with white.

I recall the car rides, feeling hot and nauseous breathing in turpentine fumes and tobacco smoke.

I remember how he could “walk” the ladder. He would literally stand on top of the ladder, a leg on each side and make the ladder “walk” to the place he needed to be to paint the next section.

He held the paint brush a certain way and when he painted he would glide the brush up and down, his wrist leading the way. I was always fascinated by the look of his hand when it held a brush. He had strong and agile hands.

He was a master paperer. It was amazing to watch him paste a long strip of wall paper, fold it upon itself, climb up on a plank and stick it onto a wall, matching the design and smoothing it out flawlessly.

I was thinking today about how tired his body must have been from this work and how on some of those long days alone with his brushes and rollers and thoughts he probably wished he was doing something else, somewhere else.

I also recall the sense of pride he took in his work and how he always did his very best for all his customers. Some of the customers contracted him for years and years because he was the best in the business.

He was the best because he cared. I’m not a painter and decorator but I do take pride in what I do and I do care. I guess I got that from my dad. My dad used to decorate our rooms when we were kids. They were always lovely. Today I felt proud to be able to do this for my son.

April 10,  2016

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Tough Mother F

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The older and wiser I get the more I realize the truth. We don’t have to be pretty or beautiful. We have to be tough mother fuckers to get by in this world.
We have to be resilient and smart and creative and somehow keep some passion for something alive in us as we travel through this quagmire.
When I was young I wasted so much time feeling worth less than I should have because I didn’t look “like the pretty, hot girls”.
What a fucking waste of time and energy.
While beauty can open doors, often they are at doorways I wouldn’t want to walk through.
I got where I am today because I’m a tough mother fucker.Smart, hard working, creative and resilient. 
I can honestly say that I was never pretty. But fuck pretty. I’m something altogether more than that.

 

Sunday September 18, 2016

 

Sadness

november-12-hannahs-camera-028Joy fills you up inside at your center and makes you feel like floating and flying and exploding with warmth and love and laughter.

Sadness permeates every single cell, settles into your bones and creates pain that radiates through and all around you.

I am thinking about the physical structure of emotions, and how they manifest themselves in our bodies.

Joy is often so fleeting.

Sadness on the other hand tends to linger and take over in a quiet, sneaky way.

Sometimes it’s a complete take over. 

The world just looks sad in every way when every cell is drenched in it’s gray.
Sunday September 18, 2016

I’m Still There

I’m yearning for my home country more now than ever.

I miss the smell of the eucalypts, the searing heat of summer and seeing the air quiver violently over the almost molten asphalt.

How the horizon shimmers through the windscreen on those hot country roads, driving to visit my Aunt and Uncle out west. Splattered bugs on the glass. Peering through dust and streaks as I drive. Sometimes driving through the night, Darkness pushed back by the headlights. High beams on and off. Roos scattering out of the way just in the nick of time.

Ghostly white gums lining the way under a velvet, star sprinkled blanket of a sky.

Out in Orange, eating cherries and watermelon and drinking cold beer in December. Feet in a bucket of cold water. The kind of heat that can kill you if you aren’t careful.

The gusty Wollongong wind that hits you like a physical force while walking to the local shops, in the winter time. Gray days. Howling winds beating against the screens. Beating against the gutters, threatening the roof top. It cuts right through whatever you have on for protection. Your coat is a joke. You can lean into that force and it will hold you up steady. You can feel it in your bones, that chill. Then when you are out of it, it rings in your ears for a while. Through the window you see the white billowy clouds overhead and the bright blue sky. You see leaves scattering about on the concrete, swirling in circular motion. It’s wild outside.

Inside the house feels still, a sanctuary and you love being alive now warm and sipping tea away from the grasp of that gale. The air is still in your nostrils and lungs from before, so cold and clear.

Watching those summer storm clouds roll in over the rainforested hills of Murwillumbah. Dark and heavy. The electricity in the air making the hairs on my arms stand up. Making me feel like jittering and squealing at once like a child, the energy in the space vibrating through me and all around me.

And the rain. Torrential. Hitting the corrugated iron hard and making a sound that can only be Australia. The smell of wet earth and the steam coming off the foot path. The grass a shade deeper now, and soaking in places. Tiny snails hang off long stems sprouting from the cracks in the driveway. Rain drops like crystals cling to the blades.

The way the Pacific shore feels and smells. Old seaweed. Shellfish drying out in the sun. The Sydney sandstone gold and gray lattice, a work of art framed with coastal scrub speckled with wattle and bottlebrush and lantana.

The way that the sun burns. The heat beats down on you and you squint at the sun. Covered with freckles, I am damaged by years in that sun. Skin unprotected, exposed and vulnerable. Skin wrinkled and scarred. The sun damaged me but those days were free. Those days I was free.

The kookaburras laugh and the cockatoos screech. The color. Wings and voices up against the wide, sapphire sky.

The dark, brutal history. The pain that exists there today. Maybe I could do something.  Maybe I could change something. Maybe I could make a difference in my home country, a place that exists inside my frame, my heart and mind and spirit.

Maybe I could return and find me waiting there, waiting all along. Maybe I never left. Maybe I’ll never leave. Maybe I’m still there.

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