Something that has been on my mind a lot. The love and care I have for others that are special to me. My version that is not fickle. How easy it is to make an assumption. To look at me and make a judgement. I have spent two years in a world that has dictated so much for me. I can’t run or hide from these things in the way others do. It’s a part of me. How I was brought up and what matters to me in this real world. I can’t live a life not giving a shit beyond me. My heart sits squarely at the core of who I am. What a complicated place that is. It’s so easy to judge what isn’t understood. I’ve never wished to hurt anyone in my life. Being as human as they come. My life not being the be all and end all. Sometimes some things are just more important than me. There are people who would understand that and those that would not. But life has a way of testing you at some point. Never have I felt the importance in providing safety and security than I did this summer. Feelings and choices that felt complicated by so much. But now I would say don’t judge me on what you have never lived or understand, I know who I am and who I have always been and how I feel. Choices that represent a version of real against my dreamy hopes. But it feels good in knowing that I’m a really decent person in this world which feels like a good place to get to.
I love a films. New ones and old ones alike and sometimes watching them again in new moments. Sometimes by chance, sometimes because I really love them and sometimes because I don’t remember but something about it calls out to me to watch. As though it wishes to share something with me that I need to feel. I’ve had that feeling quite a few times especially recently.
On my girl’s birthday it was the new Bond Film. “A Time to Die”. My girl loves Daniel Craig and I have loved Bond films ever since I was a girl. Glamorous locations around the world, action, adventure and beautiful women in gorgeous dresses. Casino Royale is my favourite, Daniel Craig my favourite Bond and Vespa my favourite Bond Girl. That’s the shell I would like to have been given in this life, if I could have chosen. But I wasn’t and yet what sits inside is way more beautiful because it will stand the test of time. I’ve heard bad reviews but for me it had everything required. I’m not sure what they were missing? And I think the memories of past, and endings, and time and death, couldn’t have provided a more relevant cocktail on such a significant day.
And then me and my girl watched Chocolat as we finished eating her chocolate fudge birthday cake the next day. (Something so simple making me really happy) Chocolat is another favourite of mine. Takes me places in thinking about who I could be against who I should be. The pleasures and indulgences of life and the joy that comes in sharing. It makes it feel so easy, but life continues after the end credits. And yet, in that part that came before those closing credits I found myself wondering and imagining what it would be like to be part of such a simple warm and welcoming version of a party that just feels so accepting. With food and music and a freeness of spirit. Where everyone is welcome in all their unique and individual ways. It shouldn’t feel so hard to find and yet I struggle to find it. A fickle crowd that I struggle to even want to be part of. The crowd that decide whether you are in or out. I’ve always been a warm and friendly and caring and loving person but that doesn’t really cut it in the big wide world. Feeling so lucky in my close friendships, so lucky, especially because I struggle to connect beyond that now. While I was taking care of people life moved on, people changed and I was left behind. And that feels hard because I’ve never really fitted with the whole “cool vibe” or those superficial circles where everyone fits. I’m just me. Doing my own thing in my own way. Trying to look out for my girl and my mum. Always since a kid looking out for anyone who struggled or was left out. I can’t do that version where “we are all in it together”. They weren’t in it with me other than those special few who looked out for me all the way along.
It feels like you are only really welcome beyond, if you have something they want or need. Where you provide something that fits with the party. If not you may as well stay at home. You don’t have the right vibe in the world that has changed and you’re no longer part of. That feeling of belonging feels ever harder to come by unless I change myself into a different version. And that feels sad that I’m not enough if I just come as I am. The person who always cared and was always kind but has no place in this new and improved version filled with all the better people who have so much more to offer. It can feel very disappointing and disheartening to feel what is really valued in this world. Makes me feel stupid for caring so much. Even though I’m not stupid. Never have been. I’m just a real person with real thoughts and feelings.
I feel like I want to try but I felt the negative effects of not fitting. Not sure I want to put myself through another version of that now. A massive loss of trust in learning how other people and the crowd works. But I know I would still like to be part of something beyond my own small world. Maybe it isn’t possible or maybe it will be somewhere?
Everything feels more disposable from where I’m looking. Whereas the things and people I love most have been around for ages. A depth of feeling growing and constantly evolving. I can’t can’t grab hold of the version that shouts next, next, next. It would just feel like I was on repeat.
But I still love the idea of being at that end party in all its old style spring time easy breezy and down to earth sophistication. I would feel so happy in that. Is it just an unreal version that doesn’t exist? Although I guess I’ve had that. at different times, in different ways. I miss it and struggle to really see and feel that version now. That end party in Chocolat was magical! Everyone was included. Everyone!!! How amazing is that!
But I was reminded of a version as me and my girl walked through Petticoat Lane Market on Sunday morning And really feeling those good vibes that I’m talking about and really matter to me. That market that has changed very little through my adult life. Always had a diverse mix of stallholders but with a commonality of friendly, down to earth that came with a little light hearted banter that made us feel part of it as opposed to the butt of their jokes. The stuff I really warm to because it feels more real. And because it doesn’t differentiate. You’re just part of it without having to be anything other than yourself. And realising that my girl felt the same as we bypassed Spitalfields because the Lane had provided us with exactly the sane feeling and everything we wanted and needed. I know I’ll be attending that party a little more. I always liked it there. Maybe because I never had the money to keep up with the crazy rich kids who can go anywhere they want. I’d rather to there.
But it felt good to be able to share all those simple pleasures with her. Her happiness growing a little more again each day. It will take time but I have all the time in the world for her. She is moving forward and growing and that does make me really happy.
The film that actually inspired me to write was Million Dollar Baby. Another boxing film but a different version to Cinderella Man which is another favourite of mine. But this one not being so memorable to me from when I first saw it. Maybe I just wasn’t ready for it back then. I’m not even a girl who enjoys watching boxing. Although as a kid I did always like the crazy world of wrestling. Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks on a Saturday afternoon. “Easy Easy Easy”
I guess I am drawn to these films more because of the cultural connection. Boxing traditionally had always been the sport of the lower class that I cane from and feel more comfortable in. It represents so much for me than a sport where two people knock seven bells out of each other. It’s about the stuff that sits inside a person. The stuff you can’t see. That isn’t visible in that way we define in other cultural categories. And you have to have lived it to really know it. The subtleties of how it looks and what the differences are. All the colours and shades that live in that. A version that can definitely be seen and felt by me in actions. In boxing it takes a lot of bravery to put yourself in the ring in the first place. Not to mention all the hard work and dedication required to get there. And a real discipline and care. So much care that gives everything of who you are and what you have. And then that thing. That spark, that passion, that fire. That sits inside where no one can see it but keeps it driving. That fighting spirit. That heart!
“Some people say the most important thing a fighter can have is heart. Show me a fighter who is nothing but heart and I’ll show you a man waiting for a beating”
I’ve felt that beating I thought. Had the shit kicked out of me at different times but never more so than in the last couple of years. This film touched me so much this time round. Maybe you have to really know what it is to fight to get close to it. Connection is everything.
Hilary swank playing Maggie. A girl from nothing with real fight! Remember her?! Packs a punch! And Clint Eastwood providing a bit of old fashioned grit. And Morgan Freeman who only has to speak to make me swoon. If I were looking for an older man he would be it. There is just a warmth and beauty that oozes out of him. A massive favourite of mine.
“ I don’t train girls” Frankie said.
I was left thinking so much as I just paused the film for a moment to make a cuppa as lightly on my feet I gave a couple of jabs and a right uppercut to my girls birthday balloon as I passed. Caught a glimpse of a few faces that I would have liked to have knocked out through the years. Even though I couldn’t be bothered now. Who were they anyways. Some privileged types that felt like they owned it all. And wanted things how they wanted it, and had the power to make that happen. But in the end it was their loss too. Perhaps with a little more compassion kindness and understanding we could have found a version that allowed us to find more beyond our own worlds. Instead it left me confirming those original perceptions. Those small versions having the ability to corrupt a wider version. Why would I believe it any different beyond. Confirmed and reconfirmed in each version. Perhaps that is just how it is.
But as I watched the film I felt my own fighting girl who came from nothing but has lived a life full of so much. A real life full of love. And for a moment I connected and felt good in that. It felt something good to connect to. And it continued rising as the story played out despite knowing how it ends. Phrase after phrase that resonated with me in ways that only I understand.
“The magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you”.
I felt it impacting on me so deeply as I watched her confidence and excitement grow. Seeing the difference it made to her in someone’s true care and belief in her. Sometimes you need that. I need that. And the difference again in those who didn’t. Two worlds colliding. I know how that feels. How quickly on either side you can be brought down to a place where you question whether you have what it takes. Caught somewhere in the middle. Not fitting here nor there. But fitting with myself in who I am even if I don’t know who I now wish to be.
For all those special people I love…
Mo Cuishle… My darling my Blood