I'm sick in bed today. It's weird; although I don't enjoy being sick, I've always loved the excuse to stay in bed and do nothing, yet this feels weird and I can't enjoy it. I suppose I still haven't gotten used to all of the things about myself that have changed since I had a baby. Even though she is out walking with her Dad, happy as Larry, I feel as if I should be doing something for Maybellene, or else tackling the considerable list of things to do that require two hands, like sorting out the clothes room, or at least mopping/scrubbing the floor around her high-chair. I feel as if I am shirking, which is partly why I am here - so I feel as if I am doing something. It seems the guilt of parenthood is more varied than I had thought.
I've been avoiding the local news, tv and online, to preserve my spirit, and in protest of its ridiculous bias and failure to perform its role as fourth estate. The Moment Of Truth event just before the election made me so, so angry at our journalists, and how much they let us down, and so frustrated with the media outlets making them this way. However, while waiting for something to load, I clicked on Stuff this morning, and found this piece about a state house area in Hamilton, and some of the people who live there. It's not the best writing - some of the descriptions are excessive and verge on patronising, but I realise that many people are so hardened towards people living in poverty that to elicit any compassion or empathy, this level of detail is necessary, and that makes me sad and it makes me angry. When I first read it there were no comments; they've since begun to roll in and, unsurprisingly, the majority are judgemental, cruel, and untrue. I try not to read the comments on these articles, but sometimes the bad neighbourhood of my mind gets the better of me. I wish I hadn't read them. I don't need a reminder that people are mean; the evidence is everywhere.
I feel weak enough that if I linger on this too long, I could end up really low, so I'll move on. Today is the National Day of Action Against the TPPA, with marches happening all over the country. Ours starts at 1pm, and although Vincent is adamant I'm not well enough to go, I haven't entirely given up hope of making it there. I don't know if it's to do with feeling like I'm more or less on the bench, or wanting to do everything I possibly can to make the world better because she's in it, but since M has been on the scene, it's been even more important to me to get involved in the things I believe in, if only at a most basic level of signing a petition, or putting my name to a letter pre-written by Amnesty International (two this morning). As well as the floor scrubbing and clothes-room tidying, there is so much to do when there is a baby in your life; so much self-improvement that needed addressing yesterday, and so many things in the world to attend to which you thought you had longer to get to. I thought I had a head-start; I have nieces, but I barely got going, and as quickly as one thing is achieved, another pops up. There really isn't time to be sick; not only in a personal sense, but in a universal one too.
Complete subject change, before I start back down that winding road. A month or so ago, I read The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, and I thought it was marvellous, and found it so affecting. I'm still not sure why it got me quite so much; because I have sisters, because I am a mother, because I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian church, because we lived in fear of my Father, but it did, and will stay with me. I need to know more about the political histories of African countries like the Congo, and America's sinister role in tearing them apart. Anyway, some parts that stood out to me:
I knew it was only the shadow and the angle of the sun, but still it's frightening when things you love appear suddenly changed from what you have always known.
Hunger of the body is different from the shallow, daily hunger of the belly. Those who have known this kind of hunger cannot entirely love, ever again, those who have not.
The death of something living is the price of our own survival, and we pay it over and over again. We have no choice. It is the one solemn promise every life on earth is bound to keep.
For women like me, it seems, it's not ours to take charge of beginnings and endings.
To live is to be marked.
We would rather be just like us, and have that be all right.
Conceding to be in my right mind.
To live is to change, to die one hundred deaths.
Just when I start to become jaded to life as it is, I'll suddenly wake up in a fever, look out at the world, and gasp at how much has gone wrong that I need to fix.
Only by life's best things are your children protected.
Not a thing stands still but sticks on the mud.
In spite of myself I have loved the world a little, and may lose it.
The power is in the balance: we are our injuries, as much as we are our successes.
But look at old women and bear in mind we are another country.
I would like to be a writer like Barbara Kingsolver; everything she writes has layers and layers of meaning, and such beauty.
I keep watching this video, which Lorde released yesterday to accompany the song she wrote for the Mockingjay soundtrack (which she also put together, while touring America. Youth is not wasted on that youth.). I don't know why I feel as if I have to offer some criticism of the song, like I have to prove I'm not completely one-eyed when it comes to Lorde, but I do, so - it sounds like a song written for a movie. However, that's not necessarily a criticism; Talk Show Host was written specifically for Romeo and Juliet, sounds like it, and is brilliant. I love how this begins and ends, and I love the styling of the video; the costumes, the mise en scène... And I love her dancing. She's so great.
I should nap if I'm going to have any show of convincing Vincent I can go marching. My dreams last night were bad; I was always at some kind of disadvantage, and vulnerable, and when I awoke, I felt terrible - head throbbing, dry and hot with fever onset, and with a strange kind of fever possession, which pulled me out of bed and to the kitchen to drink glass after glass of water, in a strange kind of fear. Vincent once told me about a boy from his primary school with epilepsy, who would calmly remove his shoes and set them neatly beside him when he could feel a fit coming on. When I woke up this morning, I felt like I was taking off my shoes.