Sunday, July 8

survival of the weakest

I didn’t know what to write for some time. I didn’t feel like documenting the hardness of the day to day survival...everyone knows that sometimes dull and endless rhythm of getting through one tough day, sleeping, and then repeating again and again. Actual laughter, the suffocating and nearly wetting the floor variety, which is so common for me, was stifled, smothered and replaced with a similar yet opposite emotion requiring tissues. Survival of the weakest; this best describes this period of time. But this weakling did survive and two things were literally god-sends to make a weary soul smile.


One was a lady at my exercise class. She stands out from the all the rest – she isn’t attired in Lululemon and Nike lyrca, with bleached blonde hair and make-up like most of the Ivanhoe women. She wears daggy ¾ length pants, with a sloppy t-shirt, her black hair in a girl-like bob. I’ve no idea how old she is, I never can gauge age very well with Asians, but perhaps she is late 40’s. She stands out not just in attire, but in ability. She is so very uncoordinated, always executing the aerobic moves slightly behind the rest, in the most hunched over and jumbled manner – often completely lost in fact. I glance over at her, and see her face filled with the most irresistible smile I have ever witnessed. There is no shame at struggling with the choreography; there is just pure joy of moving to upbeat music and learning new things. I cannot possibly contain my smile when I witness hers because it bubbles up inside me. The faster the steps and the more dance-like, the more her beautiful face beams and she sometimes giggles like a little girl. Meanwhile everyone else has their “I’m concentrating really hard, don’t look at my sweat, I’m a cool person” contortions plastered across their faces. Intent on perfectifying their ‘hot’ bodies they are nothing on this most precious lady. I wonder why she comes to the gym every day, is it for the joy of it or is she unwell too? I feel privileged to be in her classes, because she is like sunshine pouring into my lounge in the morning or a drink of tea at the end of a long day. 

The second thing helping me survive was the ball of fluff which now resides in our small top-storey flat. He pees, and poos, and cries like a true baby, all of which are excessively wearying. But his reaction to me in the morning is enough to wipe away the memory of the hard work he sometimes is...Ben takes him out of den and he looks around to see me lying in bed. Immediately he wriggles violently in Ben’s arms, and so Ben plonks him on the bed to say hello to me. His tail wags exuberantly, and he is a ball of excited joy as he licks my face over and over, apparently delighted to see me. Why does he love me so much? Me, who often feels like such a nuisance or failure for lying on the couch endlessly and ‘achieving’ nothing. Wolfgang doesn’t care a scrap for those things, he cares that I cuddle him and nurture him. He is my most forgiving friend, and never has anyone been so delighted to greet me. Unconditional great love is the gift he gives me, and so every day begins with a smile.

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