When I was a kid, I used to marvel at the fact my Dad’s entire existence fitted into a wardrobe. Even then I was fairly sure my toys and numerous dungarees <shudder!> wouldn’t fit. With age it’s one of those things I’ve come to idolise as I constantly look to minimise. Visiting a friend’s house recently, it stressed me out looking at the state of their fridge door, packed full of post-it notes, post-cards and magnets. It was chaos! Let alone their spare room which was, and is, chock full with cardboard boxes and crap ‘they need’. It gave me night-terrors.
My parents never set out to teach simplicity, it just seemed to seep through. I just don’t like having ‘stuff’. Other aspects include championing the underdog and ceaseless compassion, a love of travel and fondness of America from living in DC and San Francisco. All of course guided by my mother’s endless patience and fortitude. My mother also had an ability to manhandle ceramic dishes glistening red-hot with her bare-hands, dispatch large spiders with the same iron-maws, and persist (and persists in persisting) in remembering every little detail of everything that ever happened in her or my father’s life at any point in time. Unfortunately, none of these qualities were passed on in the genes, as my disastrous spider-handling, hot-pot-juggling, memory-miracle circus would attest.
I was fortunate to have pretty good parents. This regardless of my Dad registering my birth date incorrectly at school, causing an argument - I was five years old, and stubborn as an ox, seemingly. And despite my Dad insisting I’d never learn anything from his DIY misadventures, I clearly did, endowing me with the ability to swear like a sailor in spite of my tender years, causing other kids to constantly threaten to grass. For the first six months I thought ‘amtellin’ was my gang-name. Frothing at the slightest inconvenience to my hectic play-school lifestyle, ‘Jesus Fuc*ing Christ!’ I would declare. ‘My birthday is not the fu&*ing twelfth, Mrs Jones!’
It makes me proud to remember my parents’ work with Amnesty International in providing free-holidays for refugees, and working with the Children’s Country Holiday Fund, a now defunct charity giving children a break from city living in London to instead escape to the countryside of Wales. We weren’t a wealthy family, but in comparison we had everything. It was a humbling experience. My parents changed lives by doing the simple things: offering what they could to help others. ‘Never underestimate the fragility of human beings’ I can hear my parents say, usually when I was raving about some complete arse-hat. Maybe someone else simply forgot my birth date too?
Watching This Week: this week I discovered (she’s been around for years!) Brené Brown’s TED Talk on Vulnerability and Tim Ferris’ podcast interview with her too. Stirring stuff!
Audiobook: The Experts Guide to Sleeping Well by Chris Idzikowski, basically telling me I’m doing everything wrong.
Take care of yourself,
Writing and writing...