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The Part of Me that is Always There

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

The Part of Me that is Always There

It is what defines me, the thing that another recognises when I walk into the room. The same thing that I recognise in others who I know. It is a sort of life force.

I, looking from within, do not really know it, but I know it in others I am close to.

It is the shape of a smile, the mannerism I make when I stop to think, when I express a silent question with the raising of an eyebrow or make a sign of indifference with a shoulder shrug.

It is the joy I see in another’s face when they see a thing of beauty, when they stop to pat a dog.

It is the madness of exuberance when a day is wonderful and I stop to smell the flowers.

What do I know about it? I know almost nothing – it just is. It is the part of me that is unable to change, the part that maddens my wife beyond exasperation when it reacts of its own accord to something she says that it does not like.

I suppose it is my unconscious being; some would call it my spirit or soul. Graham Wilson

The Part of Me that is Always There

I carry him with me still.

The thoughts inhabit me as I stroll the shoreline, my gaze sailing across the waves and sand breaking under my feet. Odd that I come here so often, am drawn to this place no matter how many times I’ve been. It’s never new, and yet never old.

These voices whisper to me so subtly I don’t even hear them.

I stop for a time to watch the surfers on the reef break. At this tide and the swell coming in at this angle, the waves always shape the same. I surfed there for years as a kid. If I could still do so now I would. I’d be out there every spare minute.

And yet eventually I move on. Time hasn’t afforded me many spare minutes.

I met him at 23, although it must’ve been only a few weeks before I felt like I’d always known him. We so often forget those awkward beginnings.

His name was Eric and he showed me how to surf. Paddle here, hands here, feet there, balance like this. That’s how you know you’ve been shaped by someone who knows their stuff – it comes to you three times quicker.

I haven’t seen my friend for many years now. His name comes to me less and less. But I know I carry him inside me somewhere, in my blood, because my thoughts have never been the same. Text Matt Jackson

The Part of Me that is Always There

On Christmas Day we go to Dad’s grave - my Mum, brother and sister.

We have a drink of vodka.

We take one shot each, which we drink, and then take another shot, swirl it in our mouths and, together, with some unique timing, spit out our mouthsful of vodka onto the grass that covers him.

He gets four shots each year and the one from me is the part of me that is always there. Jim Piotrowski

The Part of Me that is Always There

I’m not sure where my antagonism to authority stems from but it began early and will likely be buried with me. Somewhat predictably, I have trodden the unproven but fashionable theoretical path that suggests people who have problems with authority, gravitate to work roles characterised with an authoritarian component - subscribing to the notion that, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’

While I established a modicum of success academically at school, my reports clearly reflect a problem with taking orders and discipline in general. Subsequently, my career trajectory began as a teacher – a position generally recognised, in part, as a figure of authority. While I was thought to be a competent teacher, there were not infrequent clashes with the teaching authorities. From there I followed a lifelong career working in 'Corrections', at first supervising adult offenders in the community, then involved in the planning and policy of infrastructure and programs for criminals in prison and, finally, briefing government on correctional issues. All of this involved the use of legitimate authority in an authoritarian milieu. Although well-regarded professionally, again there were notable skirmishes with people in positions to give me orders.

Even in the twilight of my time on earth, I still bristle when anyone in authority tells me what to do. Often, my tendency to retaliate has the potential to backfire, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I wear my anti-authority tendencies as something of a badge of honour. Lawrence Goodstone

Photos credit: Dancing - Javier Allegue Barro; Surfer - Oliver Sjostrom - Beach sunset - Mohamed Nohassi; Graves - Kenny Stier; Captive - Mitch Lensink



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