The picture outside the frame

December 27th, 2007

There’s always a mental shift for me on my way to Wagga, and then again on my way home. It’s almost like a mini mental metamorphosis that takes place in the 5 hours between leaving Sydney and when I cross the Murrumbidgee near Gundagai. And I can’t really accurately describe WHAT it is – it’s more subtle than that. It’s more about mentally padding myself against the bombardment of my past, and then on the way home shedding all that padding so I can walk more easily as myself.

There are some things you can just never pad against or shed, though. If you’re known to someone or a group of people long enough, there are invariably things about you that they’ll take as given, regardless of how much you change and/or grow as a person. Like being a tom boy. I was never really a girly girl, but honestly, I think it had less to do with being a tom boy than it did with the whole competitive riding thing. It’s somewhat difficult to wear frocks and care about the state of your hair when you’re astride a horse and/or mucking out stables the majority of the day. But people assume things I guess. For the last few years (yep, I’m not talking about a short period of time here), every time someone from my family sees me in a skirt, I get the whole ‘oh my god, Karen is wearing a SKIRT’ thing. It’s like those years of non-skirt wearing have completely obliterated any part of their brain that can possibly comprehend it could happen.

And there’s also the whole assuming you’re still the same person you were when you were 16 thing. I mean, I appreciate every single thing I got for Christmas. It’s not really about gifts and the idea that someone put thought into what I’d like means a lot. But at times I feel like sending out a memo – U2 do not rule my universe any more. Also, there are only so many framed U2 posters and memorabilia one girl can take, year after year. Perhaps it’s my fault for being so hard to buy for. Which apparently I am.

Also, since I was 16, I’ve found out there’s a whoooole rainbow of wonderful colours out there. I still love the colour yellow, really, but I don’t need every cushion, towel, rug etc. in my house to BE yellow.

You can’t really explain these things to the people you love though, can you. Not without someone’s feelings getting hurt. They have a snapshot of you, right before the time that you stopped being primarily the daughter and the granddaughter and the sister and started becoming yourself. And because of that I guess I will continue to store and/or rotate those U2 pictures/calendars/wall hangings.

And I will also continue to be unerringly grateful for the people I have in my life who understand me as I am. And keep up with me as I grow and change – not inherently, but subtly. Because if you’re not changing, then you’re not learning. And it’s an honest to god tragedy I think to go through your life not learning.


3 Responses to “The picture outside the frame”

  1. Marmalade on December 30, 2007 4:47 pm

    Yeah, I got that one too on Xmas Day: ‘Oh my God, Rhys is wearing a skirt.’

    Actually, scratch that, I couldn’t get away with a skirt on Xmas Day – don’t those things fall down when you undo the button to shovel in a third helping of trifle? Think I’ll stick with jeans.

    As for presents, become ‘difficult to buy for’. You do this by saying, ‘I don’t know what I want for Xmas/ I have everything I want/ etc.’ until about a week beforehand. Then, when everyone is panic-stricken and trampling shopping centres with the rest of the herd, give them a list of the sweet things you want but are too tight to buy yourself. Remember to feign disappointment with the whole process.

    It makes looking delighted on Xmas morning very easy (certainly easier than the time my evil grandma gave me a collection of rocks she had found – bear in mind I was ten and wanted Transformers or Atari or some cool shit – because she wanted me to be a geologist.

    She was lucky not to get one through the rear window of her car. My uncle still calls me ‘The Little Rockhound’.

  2. Al on January 2, 2008 12:16 pm

    ok man :( i’ll never buy you anything yellow ever again, but it’s not my fault you moved into a yellow house on 1 yellow st west yellowville, new south yellow now is it :(

    ps. the picture i drew you was on YOUR yellow post it notes btw. :D

  3. Karen on January 2, 2008 8:49 pm

    What you need, Mr Rhys Marmalade, is a draw string skirt. Those things can take everything you throw at them. Also, a sarong can work just as well. And a guy can get away with a sarong. Almost.

    I think there’s merit to your idea. One sister, the crazy one, just gave up on the whole charade and called me to see what I wanted. This is why I am in proud possession of all seasons of Six Feet Under (which is possibly a bit over the top for a gift, but totally AWESOME all the same).

    And I do believe rocks might be the saddest Christmas present I ever heard of. Presumably you’re not a geologist.

    And Al – my Post It notes are NOT yellow :) They’re kinda a limey green. I think. And the picture was lovely. I’m sure I don’t yay that much in real life though.

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