Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Erebus Syndrome

Don't panic - I only wrote 5 blogs on Myspace, and I'm only going to re-post four of them (slightly adapted) here!

At the Pandemonium show on 6 September…...
.....I watched the preschool children dance, smile, wave, and the lower primary school children smile, laugh, and wave and clap in time with the music. Then there were the older children, the teens, and the adults. The older the person, the more restrained their response.

Littlies express their joy and sadness so joyously and uninhibitedly, while we adults try so hard to restrain ourselves.

I thought of the recent discussion I'd had with someone who said much the same words that I have said many, many times myself: "I shouldn't feel so unhappy because I have so much to be happy about and there are other people who are so much worse off that me."

The guilt for feeling sad makes us feel even sadder, and stops us from showing our misery, makes us pretend all is well, even when we are at our blackest. We present a false face to the world, until finally we either deny our bad feelings so successfully we no longer recognize them – or we explode in some way, our misery, anger, whatever, erupting in a totally inappropriate way.

The problem is that when we successfully deny ourselves expression of our misery, it comes at the price of the experience and expression of joy.

Watch those toddlers: they laugh, cry, dance, sing, clap, scream and totally experience their world. I know that if society is to function reasonably smoothly, we need to be a little restrained about where and when and how we express ourselves – but how did we get to this point where we feel that we aren't allowed to feel or express our sadness, or even our happiness, at all? That although it is regarded as acceptable if toddler gets up and dances joyously at a show, a 15 year old, even a Down's Syndrome 15 year old, is regarded as unacceptable and told to sit down.

Every time we deny ourselves proper expression and acceptance of our misery, we reduce our ability to experience and express joy.

I am so sick of that. It's time I learned to feel and express my misery without guilt, so that I can feel and express my joy too: I want to get up and dance whenever and wherever the music of life takes me.


without knowing exactly what they did
i imagine the scraping
pulling, mopping and discarding
of the remains of what
would have been you

probably they talked of cricket scores
and laughed over the antics
at some party or other
while i lay limp, anaesthetised
legs splayed, covered in blood

later in the day while i wept
for you, for you who would never be,
nurses spoke in horrified whispers
of the two hundred and fifty seven dead
in the ice and snow on Mount Erebus
and told me to be quiet
to stop weeping and to think
of those who had lost real loved ones
not just a foetus
not much more than an embryo

twenty five years on
i listen as mothers fathers sons
daughters brothers sisters
talk of their lost loved ones
of how it's okay now
now they have grieved
and moved on, healed

while a jazz band plays
a woman tells me
of her daughter whose
tenth birthday was spoiled
by the Erebus crash,
who would have been thirty five today
had she not died young

once more i weep silently for you
while smiling in sympathy
making the right noises
at one who seems to have
more right to grieve

once more the tears harden
to cold grey stones
and settle down in
the hollow of my heart


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