I was…and am I huge fan of Sons of Anarchy. I watched the first episode and was hooked right though to the end.
It was a violent TV show. There is no getting away from that. With all the love stories, all the camaraderie…there it was…violence.
It made me wonder. What made me keep watching? Yes the scripts were incredible. The characters mind blowing. The performances…at times there were no words for how good the acting was, but these were violent people living violent lives. So what was it that drew me to this series?
I think I have figured it out.
They did at times what deep, deep inside I wanted to do. We all want to be good. We all to be humane. We all want to take the high road…most of the time.
But there are times when we want to take the other road. We think don’t do it. But…oh my God how we want to. We want to inflect pain. We want to take our pain out on others. We want them to know…what they have done to us.
This violence lies in each of us. Some are just better at controlling it. Thankfully.
But there is always [I think] a moment where we would love to let loose without consequence.
So programmes like this…they let us let go with emotion, they let us revel a little in taking revenge.
It shocks me at times the violence I feel. Have always felt. Have always kept inside. Have never acted on. But it is there…inside.
There was one character I identified with. Gemma. Gemma was a bitch. But she was I who I wanted to be at times. When a boy broke my daughter’s heart or a friend caused my son to lose confidence I wanted to commit violence. I never did. Because that is not who I am. But I wanted to take them apart…piece by tiny piece. I know there is a blackbird perched outside my window often.
Gemma came to a sad end because she did what we do not do. She lost what it was to love, really love and except the consequences, which is what we do. That said…I still understand the violence of her feelings about protecting those she loved.
So many types of love…that’s what makes it so interesting. Here is my version of love…Kiwi style.
There is the love that exists between an animal and a human…one I understand completely. They love you without reservation and with no expectations.
Young love always makes me smile [and yes my smiles always reach my toes], because it is so fresh, so full of promise.
And the love that a teacher has…one that drives them not only to be good at what they do but to pass on what they know…like I said, there are many forms of love.
This is Rob McGregor. Rob is a terrific New Zealand artist, and each year he runs an art retreat where he passes on his knowledge. His wonderful wife Joanne you might remember from my post FOREIGN. Joanne is a filmmaker among other things. Do click on Rob’s name and check out some of his wonderful work.
Just to finish off with one of my favourite dead people…here is a quote that says what love is just perfectly. I’ve made it my personal motto. Maybe I should hang it on the door. What do you think ?
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” ― Marilyn Monroe
Jane Austen begins my favourite book of hers with a universal truth, as she saw it. My universal truth is different. Is it because of the age I live in, or that we are different people? Both truths concern love, traversing eras. My truth is that for real love, a person will wholeheartedly, gladly, give up life.
I came to this truth recalling a conversation with my real love. Real love came at twenty five. Discussing death, incapacitation. I requested should I be capable of thought but unable to process thought through to action, that my love would put me down. Horrified, he said no, he wouldn’t do this. It would be problematical, with prison a possibility.
It became apparent that he did not love me beyond all else. And that is what led me to my truth. Real love would not allow any other possibility.
If you are the intuitive type at all, you have the capacity to work out that I am a bit of an animal person. More than a bit. At present my mortgage bears scars from the vet. Large scars.
I tend to rush the animals to the vet more than I did the kids. Whoa there – let me clarify before you lynch me as a bad parent.
When the kids were little, and unable to verbalise what was wrong, they got rushed to the doctors at a similar rate. Once they could tell me what they were feeling, luckily most of the time, it could be fixed with little home care.
Animals can never tell you what the problem is. So I err on the side of caution, especially if the weekend is approaching. I don’t know about where you live, but in my town, out of hour vet visits can send you bankrupt.
One thing in my favour the last few years is one of the vet nurses happens to be the daughter’s best friend, and an adopted member of our family. This means I can run most queries past her first, and hopefully save myself a bill.
Generally the animals that share my life are healthy, but I have spent more than money at times when they weren’t.
Katie was a pure bred Maltese Terrier who came to live with us when she was only six weeks old. That should have warned me about the breeder, no puppy should be taken that early from their mother, but the breeder was insistent I pick her up.
Even at that young age she captivated our household, the children fighting over who got her for the night. At six weeks that wee girl was already an old soul.
A very gentle old soul. Within months it was obvious that something was wrong. Katie developed a belly like a pot-bellied pig. After a lot of tests she was diagnosed with a tumour on her adrenal gland. Cushing’s Disease.
The vet was astounded – this was something that usually struck when a dog was much older. So the detective in me started researching. That’s when the word started to appear – inbreeding.
Sure enough, it turned out the breeder had mated closely related dogs, and Katie was to suffer for it.
Everyday she had to take pills, and constant checks were made to make sure that she was okay. Her beautiful old soul never seemed to be bothered by any of it; my soul was hanging in ribbons watching her.
Over time most of her hair fell out, and with her belly she wasn’t pretty, but Katie was gorgeous to us. Everyday she would wander the street with me or my daughter, that tiny pink hairless Maltese walked deeper into my heart.
Her time with us was short, barely eighteen months old when the tumour began to take over. It was apparent that life was getting tough for her, she was beginning to have trouble getting around, and have trouble urinating. I knew that I had to let her go. She tripped one day, and broke one of her legs. She was still so tiny, it was impossible to mend it. It was impossible to mend her.
When the vet put her to sleep they didn’t have to shave her leg for the injection. She laid in my arms, snuggled deep against me, her brown eyes focussed on mine. As she drifted away I talked and talked. I told her how different she had made my existence, how much of me she was taking with her. How much of her was embedded into my life.
I didn’t cry for Katie, I cried for me. The pain of letting her go was crippling, and I curled up for days. It was a good thing that the kids were away at the time, for my grief at losing Katie was a selfish thing.
I was angry for the time we had not had. Because to someone, the money was more important than anything else. The breeder had mated her bitch with its father’s brother.
My only comfort was in convincing her that this could no longer take place. She had the dog neutered. No other pup would die early because of her – greed, ignorance, stupidity. Maybe all three.
Technically such a thing is not classed as animal cruelty. Still, there are no other words for it. What I don’t understand and never will – is what thought processes allows a person to cause suffering to any other living creature.
Some is unintentional. I was and still am angry at the breeder, in her case I know it was all about making money. That the cost was losing a beloved member of our family, she didn’t seem to understand the depth of it. It was just an animal after all.
When we have so much to gain from them, our capacity for cruelty is an incomprehensible thing. We all lose because of it. I’ve learnt a great deal from the animals that have shared their lives, and are still sharing, with me. The major lesson they taught me was about capacity. They possess it such large quantities.
We all have it, but as we grow up we tend to let it go. Unless we are lucky enough to be reminded of what capacity really is. It is power. Real power.
Power to be in this moment with complete involvement. To spend time chasing a stalk of grass in circles for the joy of catching it.
That was the lesson I learnt from Katie. She taught me about the capacity to just be, wherever I am, whatever I am doing. That beautiful, hairless, pot-bellied old soul left more than a few pictures behind.
My children fight. They have since before I left the hospital with my son. My daughter was not impressed, when our previously devoted-to-her neighbour, made cute faces and funny noises at the squalling thing in the plexi-glass bed.
He had to be rescued from sailing out into the hospital corridor after she gave his crib a good shove.
He in return has not been entirely blame free from causing a ruckus or two over the years. He knows exactly which word to utter or not , to cause her voice to rise into the ‘stir up the neighbourhood dogs’ range. The most recent altercation occurred during their last Christmas visit.
Daft me – after years of fighting over who did what to the Christmas tree – I imagined I had solved that problem by having the tree all set up before either arrived home.
Not able to let the holiday season pass without a disagreement, they almost came to blows in the kitchen over presents. My snickering away silently became alarm, and developed into threatening to cancel Christmas.
Deeply upset with myself due to having promised that those words would not be uttered this year, off into the bedroom I went, slamming doors and making it generally known that I was displeased with the direction things were going.
So grown up of me. Whatever works I say. Peace was restored, for a while at least.
They don’t watch their words when they fight with each other, or me at times. Usually whatever they think they say.
Be warned though – they also come out fighting if you do or say anything to hurt the other. They are extremely protective of each other from everyone else. This has included me at times, and I bear the scars to prove it.
My son has had to be sat on to hold him back from punching someone who upset his sister. He can also be extremely thoughtful with her. When they were younger we went shopping and she spotted a porcelain doll. It was instant love, but her pocket was a little empty.
With just enough cash in his wallet to cover it, he quietly bought her the doll and handed it over.
Last week when the earthquake hit Christchurch he was sailing around the South Island. The daughter would not be satisfied until she was sure he well away from the area and still in one piece.
For the moment they are at peace.
Now – how many days is it until Christmas is here again?
I’m a mother. For twenty-one years those three words were the first thing I said when asked about myself.
I always followed my name with, ——‘s mother.
With both children out of home now I am concentrating more on myself. But it’s hard.
When someone does something I regard as detrimental to one of my offspring my reaction is still to want to run them over with the car.
When I told my mother-in-law I was pregnant for the first time she smirked. The comment that followed was that I was about to find out what the word worry really meant.
Wise woman my ex mother-in-law.
The thing about your children growing up is that you can’t defend them the way you did when they were little. Band-aids and lollies don’t make things better anymore.
I am also an Australian, but I don’t need to say that. People can hear it the minute I open my mouth.
Not according to Australians however. When I head off over the ditch, the first thing out of their mouths is: “you sound like a bloody Kiwi.”
This makes stepping back harder I think. We’re an outspoken lot.
I am doing what I can. Listening when they ring with a problem. Offering solutions when they ask, and yes I admit it, sometimes when they don’t.
They’re doing well, learning to be adults. Dealing with problems and people in an adult manner.
I’m the one with the problem. Today I had to tell one of them I couldn’t fix something.
That was okay though. What was needed was someone to rant to. I know that they will work this out, but I can hear the stress coming out in the words.
It’s all I can think of.
I want to run out and slap the person causing it.
There are lots of things I should be doing, but I can’t concentrate on anything else.
It made me realise that being a ‘mother’ will always be how I will define myself. Whatever is happening in my life will always be second to that.
Recently someone told me I should put myself first. That it was good for my children. I thought about that for a long time. Are they right?
I don’t know. I do know I’ll never be able to do it.
And this to me is not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that I’m not getting what I want or need.
And I remember something one of the children said to me a while ago. Because they know I put them above all else, the knowing is often enough.
Maybe it’s their security blanket. Which is how I think it should be. We should all have someone to make us feel safe, so we can get on with life without worrying so much about what will happen if things go wrong.
I like to think that it gives them the courage to fail.
When there is no-one there for support – even it is just with words – the fear can stop us from trying.
Which is why I am only lately taking the risks I need to, to be able to call myself a writer and pursue it relentlessly, I didn’t have that feeling.
While I no longer follow my name with the phrase I’m So and So’s mother, and as time goes on I will respond to the question of what do you do, with – I’m a writer, I’ll still hear those three words.
I like to keep up with the headlines. Every the ridiculous ones. An American paper had what I consider a ridiculous one titled: Letting pets sleep next to you can make you ill, experts say.
Now I am not an authority on such things, so I went researching again.
One of the potentially risky effects of this is that you might catch bubonic plaque according to this article.
The plague – really – from sleeping next to your pet ??????
It’s more likely that you’ll get hit by a truck in your backyard.
I sleep with the dog, and two cats. The only problem I have had with doing this is actually having enough room to move around the bed. Which, considering I have a king size bed tells you who has the majority vote in my house.
Growing up both my children slept with animals and I am glad they did. The bond they formed with those animals was deep and both of them possess a caring attitude, and empathy for animals.
Neither caught the plague.
Though they did get measles, chicken pox, the flu, colds, and one had whooping cough. All caught from other people.
Maybe they should put out a warning about letting people sleep in your bed.
Yes – according to the research I did, you can get ringworm, cat scratch fever, real worms, bacterial infections, and rabies.
But you can get ringworm from people.
A cat is more likely to scratch you when it’s awake and angry about something than curled up snug in the bed.
Real worms such as tapeworms you can get from fleas, and I have been in a few houses that had fleas but no dogs or cats.
Recently my vet told me that fleas have likes and dislikes. If they like cats and dogs, they’re unlikely to relish the taste of you apparently.
Bacterial infections – well I got Campylobacter from a chicken sandwich.
Rabies – doesn’t seem to me that the dog is likely to go mad and bite you in bed.
For now at least I shall continue to bunk down with my furry friends – when they move over that is.