Monday, May 10, 2010

Dying....but of what?

I've been thinking about dying a lot this week, but nothing to do with cancer. C has been away on a course in Australia. Four courses actually. One each day, 18 holes each. Say no more.

P has slept with me in his absence and three nights ago I woke up to find that she was lying sideways right across the bed with her head on my tummy. I looked down at her straggly hair, bubblegum cheeks and Jolie lips and thought I might just die, right then, of happiness. I'm not prone to emotional waves of such strength, other than righteous anger when some bastard steals my car park space, so I just lay there and tried happiness on for size. I am an extra large. An extra largely happy.

Earlier in the week I'd been worried that I might die of embarrassment. I, rightly or wrongly, threw my name into the hat for the Board of Trustees at the kids' school. I know I'm supposed to be taking on less, and focusing on breathing and sprouts but I thought I could let the universal consciousness decide my fate. If it's meant to be, I'll be elected. If I don't make it, that's a message. Always looking for a sign, me. Or so I thought. Once the election papers were distributed to voters with each candidate's statement attached I realised the enormity of my mistake. Thirteen very capable people are vying for seven spots. Holy shitcakes batman, not only might I not be elected, I might come last. And then I knew that cancer wouldn't kill me; shame, humiliation and embarrassment would get me first.
I've never been prone to embarrassment. Witness my potted history of talent quest entries:

1) Singing "oh I do like to be beside the seaside" and doing a wee dance at the same time at the Raglan camping ground. I suspect I won on the strength of my costume. My brother J had cut up the Sampler Biscuit box we'd got for Christmas, turned it inside out, coloured the dull grey cardboard oceanic blue with his Christmas crayons and made me a top hat.

2) While I'm loathe to mention beauty competitions in the same breath as talent quests, I entered the Junior Miss Raglan the same year. 32 girls paraded around in their bikinis and 10 were recalled for the final. Me and the other 21 who missed the cut couldn't believe that the chubby girl with ringlets won.

3) The following year I entered only the talent section and won hands-down with a barefoot ballet dance and a self-choreographed jazz number to the pop song of the year 'Fame'.
4) I've already told you about the disaster that was my high school talent quest entry. Long skirt, skivvy under a jumper singing (a flattering description of the sound) Tracy Chapman 'Baby can I hold you tonight?'
5) Another year my friend R and I made up a cute rap/dance/singing combo about Jesus. We both now have/had breast cancer. Go figure.
So you'd think that I'd be more than up for some embarrassment.
At law school we studied the issue of consent in sexual offending. A male radiographer had been telling women that he needed to examine their ovaries externally and internally so all the patients merrily said yes. Turns out he was a crazy perv. and the internal exam was something he'd just made up on a lonely Tuesday night and had nothing to do with their condition. Split decision in the appeal court - the sicko got off. "The women consented," the old wig-heads announced from on high. "I bet those law lords would have decided differently if he'd stuck his bloody prodder up their arses" some vulgar feminist in the class yelled out. And then people started staring at me. Turns out, I'd said it. So you'd think that looking pretty foolish in front of my peers wouldn't be a new sensation for me.
Why then the dismay and sense of dread? Am I getting proud in my old age? That can't be true. I still have to talk very sternly to myself to avoid repeats of going to the supermarket in my jammies and slippers.
I like to think it's just evidence of my recovery. It's normal to feel anxious about an election. I've just not felt normal for a while. I haven't trifled with smaller emotions because I've been busy with more pressing life and death issues. Perhaps it's a sign that my perspective is returning. Since I'm no longer concerned about dying, I can concern myself with less important matters like school elections.
Monday is results day. If I'm elected I might kick off the first meeting with a wee song and dance and a sparkly costume and if I come last how about I video the same routine and share it with you all. Proof that when they cut out the cancer they didn't take away my precious capacity to laugh at myself at the same time.


Kyla said...

I hope you've dusted off the sparkly costume, I hear congratulations are in order!

BeJolly said...

Sach: just a passing thought - there's a few (usually lower decile) schools out there that struggle to get enough people on their BoT. Let alone quality Trustees. You have a huge amount to offer....