During childhood there were numerous asthma attacks, bullies, my mother’s death, my step mom’s somewhat peculiar sentiments toward myself and my sister and a constant shyness and fear of people thanks to my crushed self-confidence, but there was also the love of my father, sister and grandparents, as well as other relatives and friends, and there was the sailing boat and France. Later there was my best friend, dancing, cameras and notepads. These were my rocks, my pillars of strength. Of course there were also stories, as nine times out of ten I had my head stuck in a book, but they were a bit less animated (although plenty alive in my imagination). I believe you see the result of all those stories in this blog on a weekly basis – without them it’s unlikely I would have turned to writing in the first place. The fact that I actually work as a writer today still strikes me as fantastical, but it is probably what people would have deemed most likely, as although I dabbled in all fine and performing arts, writing and photography are the ones that seem to possess me and which come together in directing. Stories and creative ideas tend to haunt me, which sometimes make me swear and stomp around in agitation, but I must confess that I have no idea of what life would be like without these passionate ghosts of mine. Empty is the word that springs to mind. As possessed as I may be by my own ideas and as much as I have spent lord knows how many hours in confused fury not understanding how to execute them all, I really, honestly believe my life would be nothing without them and hereby profusely excuse myself for all the times I have sworn over them (if that sentence doesn’t quite add up, don’t worry. I’m inventing my language).
One of my more recent ideas, as of this evening in fact, is the idea that I should write a blog about some of my pillars of support growing up, some of the greatest loves of my life. I had this idea researching an article about France, as I was faced with one of these pillars, namely France itself. My colleague at work last year used to laugh at me as I always switched to a French radio station during hours of stress as I claimed it calmed me down and it probably did. I can feel my blood pressure sink as soon as I hear the familiar and homely sound of French voices and French tunes, especially the older ones. The only thing that potentially raises my blood pressure is French grammar as I find it ridiculously difficult, but it still fails to tarnish a country that was always my second home, my place to return to. Just writing this I’ve already started taking deep breaths and relaxing.
I did not intend to write about France just yet though, as I still have paid articles to finish on the subject. What I intended to do was to talk about the fact that I intend to write about it. About France, my grandparents and sailing. Three very solid pillars in my childhood. Three things that no other influence managed to tarnish. Maybe it’s because my dad has just sold off my grandparents house and apartment in Sweden and although I live in Cape Town I still feel a pang of….of reluctance as I feel like one of my homes have disappeared. Two, if we shall be exact. A big part of my life has been erased. Their time share in Menton was sold already the other year, but luckily I did not invest my love of France into that one flat. My grandparents are, as you can now probably tell, the reason why I ended up loving France in the first place, although my dad has influenced me in that area also, as he picked up on their love (and a few French cheeses whilst at it).
I really missed my grandma the other day. Not her ability to correct my French verbs, although that was useful, but just…her. As I now looked up my eyes ended up on her old sewing kit, which I brought with me to Cape Town. God knows the old metal box has seen better days, but the sense of familiarity of having it around is akin to the feeling of France, the feeling of home. This week she crossed my mind as I was playing with one of my mentorship kiddos, little Mr T, one of the twins. He was in a weird mood and spent all day at crèche as close to me as he could get and at that time he was climbing on the swing/climbing structure and looking at him, the memory of my gran flashed through my mind and I desperately wanted her to see him, to experience the kids that are now such a big part of my life. I know she would have understood and been proud of me. She was always the one that got me, or maybe she made me me. It’s hard to tell which way the story goes. I’m now fighting tears which is the problem about writing about my grandma, because as much as I honor everything she gave me, I still miss her enough to cry a river. Not unlike my best friend, she’s in pretty much everything I do – as in she would have understood my sentiments exactly, but that doesn’t mean I always contemplate it. All the same I believe I need to start remembering her more often and come to terms with it. Not least because it makes me remember why I am loved. It makes me remember my good qualities and that in turn makes me forget to try to impress by being someone I’m not. Something well worth bearing in mind when new in town. You go through endless meetings until you have your support network formed and sometimes I find myself babbling hysterically to someone who couldn’t give two cents.
So ladies and gents, I will present to you a series of blogs about what made me, me. The lovely things that made me, me. I haven’t yet decided all they will entail, but France, my grandparents and sailing are currently topping the list. I have a feeling my best friend, my soul mate (of one degree or another, there are so many confusing soul mate theories out there), will make an appearance. Dance, the theater and filmmaking might also sweep by, with performances from jesters and fools. Cooking, Morocco and naughty magic as well as children in need and Africa (or untamed adventures if you so like) will potentially play various parts too. Let’s call it the passion project.