Tuesday, April 26, 2011

No distance left to run...


I had to pinch the title for this post from the excellent and heart wrenching song by Blur. I have been wanting to write something for a few weeks now, but life seems a little full. On the 16th April Peter and I have been married for six months. I wanted to write something to mark the occasion. You see, being someone who hadn't seen herself getting married, I had wondered if things would seem different. I wrote about this just after the wedding. It's interesting to see how I feel now.

I have to preface this, with the fact that I think it is more about the people involved, rather than the ceremony or 'piece of paper'. However, saying that, I find myself in a relationship unlike anything I have experienced. Peter is still the missing puzzle piece, that I never realised was missing. Together we make sense. And after six months of being married, I have waves of feelings which overwhelm me. It is quite amazing. We are connected and know that whatever life throws at us, we won't let go of each other's hand. We will always work at things and support each other. Six months in, I have to say, being married is so meaningful, and this relationship has a depth that is comforting and scary all at once. But enough gushing, perhaps...

The other reality is that life goes on. Life...full of it's complexities, hardships, inconveniences, ups and downs. And we've both had a fair share of it over the last couple of months. Five months of house hunting ending in another two near misses last weekend. Essays due for uni, lots of crap going on at work and through all this the distance seems harder, as Peter is still working out of Melbourne. And I guess I realised this week that you can't keep running and pushing, or someone will break. For some reason there is a lot of stress going on out there in the world. Many friends I've spoken to are having a hard time. Planetary alignment? La nina? Who knows? Couple this with the combination of natural disasters and people-power coups (or e-revolution as I read it described), you have to think there is something going on this year.

I was sitting here thinking that perhaps it's a sign to get our houses in order. Have an emotional spring-clean and declutter our lives. Perhaps we should all take a moment to be nice to ourselves and others. Stop running...for some times there is no distance left to run. Maybe it's time to stand still. Appreciate the quiet, and rest our souls. If I'm honest, there are moments when the awfulness of how my old relationship ended still rears it's head. The gamut of emotions from guilt to anger creep in the back door of my brain. I hope this will fade in time, but perhaps I will need to go and talk to someone about it. I also think there are times when we put 'stuff' ahead of ourselves. Obligations like study or work can take up a larger space than they should. When the balance is wrong, perhaps it's time to take some time out!

Right now Peter is on a train back to work, and I have a cat on my lap who is snuggling into me, and enjoying gentle hugs and kisses. I know that being married to Peter is a joy, and that life keeps rolling on, for better or worse. I have been pushing things for about two years now, and I think I need to learn to stand still for a moment. Peter and I need to chill, even if it's just for a couple of weeks. And we need to book a holiday and take a proper break. Here is a photo Peter took of us back in the early days. Standing still. Together. I was just thinking of this image and it makes me smile to see it again. Through it all, I have someone I can be completely myself with. Who listens and understands. And I am so glad I am married to him, every single day.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Something missing

I've been tuning in lately for a dose of reality telly. Not your usual fare though. A show on ABC2 called Britain's Missing Top Model. An interesting premise. Can a woman with a disability be a model? What I found when I watched, was that every week it raised so many more questions. I found it very challenging and was left thinking about it for hours afterwards.

I have to put my trashy hand up to being a fan of this format show. Yep - Australia's Next Top Model is a fave of mine. And thanks to digital tv, I'm currently enjoying New Zealand's Next Top Model. It is a bizarre look inside the modeling and fashion industry. And usually it's 16 - 20 year old girls sobbing or being moles to each other. I'll admit these shows have given me an appreciation of the glossy ads I see in my mags. I also watch these shows thinking most of the girls are like another species. Naturally tall, lean and photogenic I feel like I'm watching a show celebrating those girls in high school who seemed to have it all. It also makes me think that youth, and perhaps beauty is wasted on the young.

It is a harsh show. But what we also see is that it is a harsh industry. Enter 8 girls with disabilities. Varied from deafness, missing limbs, acquired brain injury, a genetic hereditary disorder and paraplegia we follow these girls through the similar trials of the regular format show. However, what you find each week is you experience the difficulties each of them has in everyday life. We see the differing attitudes of the girls and also how they see themselves. There was great rumblings from one of the girls (Sophie) stating that in a photo, you can't tell that a deaf girl has a disability. Talk about throwing a hand grenade. But in this context I had to agree with her. The models' mentor asked her if she wanted a different show for all the different disabilities? And he had a point too.

I watched each week as the challenges would favour one disability over the other. How do you do catwalk when you're in a wheelchair? How can you do ads when you can't speak (and prefer sign language). How can you walk in heels when you have a brain injury that means your body wont do what you want it to do? Or how do you keep up with the others if part of your disorder has left you with chronic fatigue? The show's judges said they also wanted someone who could be a role model for the disability community. And when it all came down to choosing between two girls, they chose the person who had the best chance of becoming a model and developing the role model attitude.

This show made me realise how hard life is sometimes. And some people seem to have a harder time than most. It can be difficult enough to live amongst the thin, beautiful girls, but what if you want to compete with them and you were born with part of your arm missing? This show made me see disability in a new perspective. I know many people bagged the show, and I wonder whether it was the fashion industry or disability part they objected to. Perhaps they thought these elements had no place being together. However, it gave me an insight into living with a disability, the breadth of disabilities and the associated issues that come with living in a world designed for able bodies. It also made me realise that I would relish fashion mags that used a variety of models. I would hope that in an industry based on perfection and fantasy, there might be room for reality. Even just a little bit.