Monday, 2 January 2012

'settlement'

This past few days, I have mostly been distracted from writing ... thinking about the idea 'settlement'. 

In her fantastically honest, sometimes brutal but ultimately uplifting book 'Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal', Jeanette Winterson describes how she finds 'settlement' following her search and ultimate reunion with her birth mother. It is less the fact of actually meeting her birth mother and more the understanding she gains from it, most importantly the knowledge that she was always wanted, that is pivotal in Winterson's self acceptance and celebration. Critically, the idea of having found a 'settlement' is most definitely NOT the same as having found a compromise, it is much more dynamic, active, much less conciliatory. 

This struck a chord with me or (in keeping with my writing exercises to challenge all cliches) this detonated neural pathways in my mind previously gridlocked with domestic traffic. It forced me to THINK, to reflects and to reevaluate. As good a topic as any to open my new (year) blog. 

I'm very definitely a glass-half-full woman, often describing myself as having the (proverbial) life of Riley http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-life-of-riley.html I live in a loving and supportive marriage with our teenage son who, despite the occasional lapse, is not the demon the word has come to evoke. We live a relatively quiet but comfortable existence. We keep two cats, a small and very cute dog and four chickens. When I think about this life that I am able to claim as my own I feel very fortunate. It is not the life I thought I might ever actually have, although elements of it are very much fragments of the life I fantasised about as an emerging and somewhat emotionally erratic adult. I think of myself as content, happy, settled. But (and this is the crux of it) I also (usually during hormonally challenged days in the month) wonder if I'm not letting myself off the hook too early. 

I 'used' to be ambitious, I 'used' to feel more vital, I 'used' to have to fight much harder to make it through each day in one piece! It's the 'settled' that's the problem, when we describe ourselves as 'settled' it sounds so 'over', 'done'. Concluded! Whereas understanding we have arrived at a 'settlement' is positive, dynamic even, offering opportunities for the future. Suddenly, I feel energised, empowered, ready!

I very much want to be a writer, that's what all this is about, me (not) writing and I very much hope I can do so from my (mostly clement) 'settlement'.

1 comment:

  1. I understand the difficulty with the 'settled' concept - settlement sounds much more dynamic, I agree. No one likes to be stale. We don't drink stagnant water - why would we create a stagnant life? Good luck with the writing and the blog.

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