I’m a starter, a very enthusiastic starter but I’m not always a completer.
This characteristic increasingly frustrates me the older I grow and the less I seemingly grow UP.
Grown UPs complete things.
In front of me sits a pile of notebooks of various sizes and descriptions. Scattered through my house are more (I know) and I will gather them as I find them.
The name of this blog is a thousand bits of paper. This name is a very literal one.
It refers to thousands of entries in notebooks (digital and paper format).
Frustratingly it also refers to the fact that my notebooks are not complete.
Books should be complete.
My note books are not complete, they are bits of paper – mostly with no connection to what’s within their own pages let alone an entire book.
Some have lots of used pages, some have two here, then a gap and three more and then randomly none at all and some start at both ends and lead nowhere. In some, the writing turns upside down several times throughout. Some have fat chunks of blank space – some not much.
They carry words.
Shopping lists are combined with thought bombs and odd bits of poetry. Some are journal entries and they go back years and years. God knows why I have kept them but I have and I’m unearthing them all through my latest decluttering phase.
I was going to toss them however at the same time I am also becoming aware of my consumption. I am increasingly drawn to minimalism and cutting down on waste.
The sight of all these half used note books therefore annoys me on several levels.
So I decided that I would just write around the stuff that is there and repurpose and complete each old notebook.
When they are full – then I might throw them away but not until they are full.
Which possibly makes no sense.
But there it is.
Everything – every half written page will be sewn shut. Joined like old pattern pieces pulled together to form a finished garment.
It pleases me to do this. More than I ever imagined it would.
Yesterday, I found myself writing a mundane shopping list around my own body measurements (which I had taken before embarking with great enthusiasm on an exercise and diet plan some years ago) I remembered the incident quiet clearly as soon as I saw the measurements.
And that is thing about words.
Like photographs – they capture snippets of thoughts – who we were and how we felt for a tiny slice of time.
Further along the book – yet confusingly previous to that body measurement scribble by almost two years (it was dated in large victorious numerals) I had written the words “doing something you thought you could do if you just tried hard enough = satisfaction – doing something you never thought you could do=euphoria.
Beside these words I had written the example which had bought them to light – running 5 km being a size 10 = satisfaction and then running 15 km and being a size 8 – fistpump!!
I remember that moment too and those words: I remember how it felt to fit into a tiny pair of jeans (for me) and being fit and strong and healthy. I felt the same lift in my heart hat I had felt then and silently high fived that woman of five years ago who had written those words.
I’m not her anymore.
I’ve moved on – I am further down the track with a different set of goals and intentions. Different interests, different body, different cells and experiences.
We let some things slide, don’t give enough effort to them or perhaps they no longer serve or interest us so we let them go.
We take up others.
Constantly scooping up and discarding ever changing, ever growing.
Hopefully wiser but certainly older.
On the small scale and with our everyday filter on it can look a little messy.
Life can be disconcerting, disappointing – misleading.
Sometimes it feels and looks like failure.
I cannot read my own words without inhabiting them. Living and breathing for a butterfly 🦋 beat in that old head space.
And it’s fascinating.
Patterns emerge. Some things reoccur. They are cyclical like personal weather patterns.
Far from being things that come and go they are things which arrive then retreat.
We all have seasons.
Some come around annually, some monthly and some only once every four or five or even ten years. I thought that I never finished things – I see now that I do – some just take a little longer.
And some things change along the way.
Because I had always been more interested in the visual (photography) and didn’t take my notebooks seriously for so long – I had never looked back at them.
They were just vents.
Windows that I threw open when emotion got too much and I wrote it out of my system. Or things I needed to remember like shopping lists. Or numbers or a doodle while I was on the phone and there was a notebook to hand.
Some of it is just rubbish, particularly taken on an individual note by note basis.
Together though they are – at times, fascinating – to me at least.
Life is so fast, so full – sometimes it is only in hindsight that anything ever makes sense – we so rarely look back or we look back in a crooked sort of way.
Words don’t lie the way photos sometimes can.
They can’t be glossed over by a skewed or sentimental memory.
Words are what they are and what they are can be very powerful. In the end – our words are all we ever truly own.
I’m completing circles, even on this blog – I’m completing circles and there is something very satisfying about it.
Header photo: Cania Gorge Qld.