CONTRADICTIONS
Dee Chadwick
17 May 2020
I guess that we are all full of contradictions. Life is full of contradictions. But, is it only me that is more aware of these at present?

WAS I ALWAYS SO CONTRADICTORY?

Maybe I was. I seem to recall being called Contrary Mary at times, though I can’t think of any specific occasion. Generally, I guess I didn’t always like to conform and I stood up, even from an early age, for what I saw as right and was always known to speak out against things I saw as unfair, or out and out wrong. I know that I didn’t like being one of the masses, following sheep-like. Instead, I would dig in those little heels of mine and go my way, so long as it wasn’t harming anyone. At a time when female six formers tended to go to teacher training college if they wanted to teach, I very much chose to go down the path of going to university. My taste in clothes wasn’t usually run of the mill – I was lucky to have a friend who was a dressmaker, so I could design a style that took my fancy in a fabric of my choice. Don’t mention shoes – the more zany the better used to be the rule of thumb.

Maybe, my parents were thinking of the old nursery rhyme – Mary, Mary Quite Contrary. She of the garden with things seemingly in rows. Yes, I have always loved pottering in a garden, but certainly never have and seemingly never will have things in rows. My style is much more haphazard! This is probably why this period of isolation has seen me at long last getting round to begin to make my ‘crazy’ quilt – a type that is no holds barred, rather you go with the flow of where your imagination takes you.

Maybe my leaning towards the contradictory was always just a part of ‘me’, a part that I simply accepted and rarely gave consideration.

My life used to be ruled by my diary and time, especially when I spent said time rushing between schools up in Warrington. I hate to be late and I also don’t like others being late. So I guess I am consistent in this area – it’s not one rule for me and a different one for others. This has always bugged me if there isn’t a valid reason for their lateness, if being late is ‘just a part of who they are’.  I would dash across Warrington, believing that I would have time to eat my sandwich before meeting with teachers to discuss the pupils I was to assess or to teach. Then ... one of the swing bridges across the Manchester Ship Canal would leap into action as I approached. Such happenings became very personal.  Especially if the boat for which the bridge had been swung was only a small one. I was miffed as the thought of another swiftly munched sandwich sprang to the forefront of my mind and all because my route and that of the little boat had clashed.

I strayed – it’s those little boats to blame again!

SOME OF THE MORE OBVIOUS CURRENT CONTRADICTIONS

Now, time has a much more minor role to play in my life. Each day melds into the next. The only specifically fixed marker is Monday morning’s blog and podcast posting. This is important for me, yet the world would not come crashing around my ears if I was to forget.  Seems that I retain a modicum of professionalism in my being.  Hopefully one which will spring back into full working order when I begin to see clients again. My time pendulum – apart from Monday mornings has swung the other way and I now have to leave messages for myself when I am due to make contact with friends via Skype!  Time is no longer my ruler. Yet, on reflection it feels like for ever since I had another person come into my home whilst the realisation that it is Sunday again comes like a bolt out of the swiftly passing blue. How can time be going slowly yet simultaneously going into overdrive? Is it because I have only that single marker? Is it because I am keeping busy as much as I can, so I have achieved a lot whilst simultaneously feeling I have done nothing? Another contradiction there.

I  was chatting with a long-time retired friend. Her marker is Sunday morning when she has to take a once weekly tablet. She has been doing this for some time, but currently is surprised that Sundays come round even more quickly than in her simply retired rather than retired and locked down way of being. So, it’s not only me.

I always used to feel that there was a lack of time, even though largely retired. I looked upon the lock down as a time to catch up, finish off things now that time had become such an open ended concept. Yet, that hasn’t happened. I still have most of the things that I had planned to do lurking in bags, piled in drawers awaiting my attention. Is it just me? Am I procrastinating which I know I can do, or has the current state of being turned down my ‘will-do’ setting even more? I don’t seem to have stopped, but I cannot say specifically what I have achieved. Maybe I should have kept a diary from day one? Bit late now to think of that I guess though I have begun to take photographs of my greenhouse and its contents, my garden, my completed crafting etc  etc. Maybe I should have joined the ranks of those who routinely post facebook pictures of meals – for the days that I have batch cooked to have ready prepared meals  in my freezer in case COVID-19 decides I have become a prime target?

IS IT OUR STATE OF MIND?

At times my mind feels like a total jumble, yet at others it feels empty – devoid of thoughts, plans, memories even. A blank. This switch can take place in a matter of seconds. This morning, I had planned to garden once I had ‘locked and loaded’ this week’s blog. During the time it took to eat breakfast, that plan had melted away taking my get up and go with it. So, a switch to the more sedentary task of writing took place.

 This quick change applies to other aspects of life too. I long for some sound, so I will put the radio on in the kitchen and even the television on in the sitting room so that there is sound in my home apart from the sound of my footsteps and the occasional tinkle of Myschka’s bell. Next minute, I have to switch them off as sound is no longer on my wish list, not even my favourite pieces of music. I need silence. I am happy to accept bird song into my silence, but any passing cars annoy.

It’s the same with people – I will sit and write in my conservatory where I see the occasional passer-by and wave. Then, even these fleeting glimpses become an invasion. An invasion of my sanctuary, my place of safety, so I move to the seat facing away from the lane so that I hear but don’t communicate with people. Yet, I yearn for hugs from friends and to spend quality time with them. I just hope that these contradictions will go away when we are free to mix again – to whatever degree that mixing might be. As for the hugs, I feel that I will have to click my patience into top gear to await them.

I have all the time in the world to relax and would love to. Yet some little being sits on my shoulder and nags me to do things – things that I don’t then recognise as achievements. Oh gosh – how often do the words that I have shared with clients come back to me? Are these words  from that same little being, or is there a different one, maybe resident of my other shoulder, reminding me to be kind to myself.  

NEEDS v WANTS

I sort of get the feeling that this state of not knowing, not fully understanding just what is happening, what will be happening in the near and longer term is affecting both my mind set and how my body is responding. The wants have been set aside and I am focusing  on my needs, so in theory things I guess should be easier. However, that uncertainty – on a personal, friends, country-wide and planet wide basis is leading me to my confusion of just what my mind and my body really do need.  My confusion is leading to my many contradictions.

I – w e - have to remember that we still have choices. If this old world of ours gives us lemons, yes , we  can make lemonade. However, we could also make lemon curd – or even a lemon drizzle cake... if we can manage to get some flour that is.

I want to ‘be doing’, yet I need at times to do sod all apart from binge watch past series, box sets. Putting a positive spin on this – by doing my sod all, I am keeping myself out of the way of the possibility of catching or spreading the virus. So, job’s actually a good one.

My choice is to accept my contradictions for a part of the who I am at present. It’s probably just my way of getting through these weird old days of ours. Days that in themselves are a contradiction as at times, I am happily, contentedly getting on with things and then whoosh – our current reality, our current normal whizzes in to give me a pause for thought. Then on I go ... it’s all that I, and the majority of us can do.

Take care. Keep safe and well.

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