The first post is always the hardest. Sometimes I want to skip it and get straight to the middle where you already know who I am and how I got here and I don’t have to pour my joys and devastations at your feet to pick over. It’s confronting because you are forced to explain who you are and half the time I have no idea who I am. I’m nearly 35 and I’m still figuring that out.
When we meet people we offer them a collection of words that we think defines us, “I’m a swim instructor,” they might say. “I’m a nurse.” “I’m a recruiter.” “I’m in retail.” But that isn’t who we are, not really. That’s our job. And even when your job is a passion, a calling, it still isn’t really who you are. People are in the details. When I fell in love I fell for a million reasons but one was that he paid attention to the details, asking and then remembering how I took my tea before he had even made me one cup. In the details is that someone loves peonies the best, or that they’re scared of storms or that their favourite place in the world is their grandparents farm where they spent summers when they were young. Those are the details that make us who we are.
I am a lover of details, the woman who will drive past a broken house every day for a week, taking a route I don’t usually take simply because I am fascinated by the leaves on the leaning porch and the way the door stands open like the owners went out one day and simply never came home. I am the person who photographed peeling paint and drunken fences and crumbling brick walls. I am the woman who bought her first house because the bed was built into an old Queenslander and someone had carved the words ‘Cat Here’ into a wooden beam so high you would need a ladder to have done it and I spent hours trying to decide what they meant.
The details. They’re everything.
And so I am not going to tell you who I am immediately because over time we will come to know each other as we move from topic to topic like a good conversation. Instead I’m going to tell you three details. That I cannot leave a copy of Angela’s Ashes in any second hand bookstore, I buy them all and hand them to friends and relatives and insist it’s the best book. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve bought over the years.
I’m going to tell you that I learnt to spin because when I learnt to knit it wasn’t enough. I have always needed to know exactly how something is done. I needed to know how to spin the yarn. And after that I needed to know how to process the raw fleece myself so that I could know that I could take a fleece directly from a sheep or alpacas back and complete every step to turn it into a garment.
I will tell you that I woke up one morning and realised I was broken. I was so broken I didn’t know how to fix myself. I didn’t know if you could go to an ER and let them know you were broken inside, but I felt that if you could – I would definitely need to do that. I would have words drift through my head when I thought of myself, ‘fragile’, ‘delicate’, ‘ruined’. I was both horrified and fascinated by how destroyed I was. It was like the time my house burnt down and I walked through it, mortified by blackened onions on a bench and the warped dishwasher and at the same time I couldn’t help but stare at the wreckage. I fingered my own wounds and scars and marvelled at what had happened seemingly without me even noticing. Long days of therapy, of breathing, of one day at a time. Rebirth is so painful. That first breath of fresh oxygen rips through your lungs and tears at you. And now I collect the details of me. Gathering them up and studying each one to rediscover who I am.
This is what I offer you.