Thinking about how we survive life’s slings and arrows. Also how we cope with success and achievement. All those things, in my life at least, involve a cup of tea. Or perhaps coffee, but tea seems to possess the power of panacea and celebration both. Coffee is the workhorse, tea is the reward.
I am in the process of getting ready to self-publish my autobiography, and most of it has been sitting in my files for a few years, for I am pretty sure, since I lack celebrity status, that no one will feel the need to peruse the hundreds of pages involved. Kim Kardashian I am not, nor do I own a football team.
However, some of those who know me well have urged me to get it out there for people to read. I had to laugh when one of them explained, ‘It’s important that other women can see what not to do.’ I loved that. Such honesty. But a life lived fully is going to have its mistakes.
Fortunate are those who start life out with good mentoring. Nothing along life’s pathway can replace such a rare gift. Most people just get out there, having achieved adulthood of some sort, and start stumbling forward.
No one can accuse me of failing to stumble forward.
Then I read of two different blog writers who had published their autobiography on their blogs, only to end up in jail because many years ago they’d done something illegal, and had obviously failed to understand the error of their ways either at the time or long afterward, when they cheerfully set out to tell the world what they did ten or so years ago.
They were suddenly assigned a new number, different from their Social Security number and different from any of the other ‘number’ type of ID’s we carry around. This time, they were assigned a number to do with their forensic photo and their prison time.
I have to carefully examine my story before I publish it, to ensure I don’t get any more numbers added to the already burdensome heap of self-numbers I must keep on hand at all times.
But tea played a huge part throughout all of the events of my life, copious amounts of tea, for my mother came from the Yukon, from a perilously poor family who carefully kept all their teabags so they could hang them all with clothespins from the line outside to dry. Dried out teabags, if dried in any amount of sunshine, are apparently almost good as new.
Her dad was a trapper. With a large number of offspring, which spelled bad news for everything in the Yukon with fur on its back.
Where was I? Oh yes, Tea.
I remember signing the adoption papers to give away my first baby girl. I was pregnant and was partnered with a habitual criminal alcoholic lunatic who could not support anything heavier than a case of beer. I saw no way forward for me or for her, and made the decision to give her up for adoption because of my partner and because of my mother, who told me once in carefully delivered oratory tones, “Never Have Children.”
The words rang in my ears till I was about to find out what it meant to be a mother. Years after she had long forgotten giving me that bitter advice, she reaped the harvest when she turned up at my door with a lovely baby carriage and was met with my expression of horror and dismay. There would be no baby for the baby carriage.
At that point I had no feelings about motherhood. Where feelings should have been there was a barren sheet of ice, left over from a desperate childhood.
But lo and behold, I was unprepared for the legions of Angels that surrounded my heart when I woke up from a deep sleep after the laborious Giving of Birth, and realized I had a BABY!! MY BABY!! And I asked the nurse where was my baby? All my energy centers had awakened to this wondrous new day!
She stood looking at me with great pity and explained that I had signed the papers that day. The baby was already assigned to a family. Not to me.
I wept a storm as I was faced with one of the first fruits of bad decision making in my stumble forward into adulthood. Unbearable grief, discovering the cruel insanity of human society and its attitudes, rules and laws.
And also the reality of having to find a way to feed and care for a child in a world fixed entirely upon money.
There was lots of tea involved in all that. Tea saved me. As my mother had managed through a lifetime of endless nightmare by drinking tea, I followed suit.
The kettle was always on in my home, and still is.
At the grand old age of almost 75, what have I learned? I have to think about that.
Perhaps I will read through the documentation of a life of gargantuan struggle, and at the end of each chapter, make a list of how I could have made better decisions than the ones I made. In the light of hindsight, which is the most wonderful and all-revealing type of sight we possess.
Fortunately, I believe in reincarnation so I have many more lifetimes to look forward to, in which I can once again turn to that panacea for all ills, Tea. And perhaps as my lifetimes go on and my wisdom increases, sometimes that hot cup of tea will be poured to celebrate wonderful things happening in my life. That life.
Or, possibly, since I am still standing, who knows?
I may yet pour a cup of tea to celebrate wondrous events happening in this life even. One thing I have learned, anything can happen at any time.
Just ask the people of Syria. They, also, drink tea, though apparently it’s a different flavor.
But we know, where there’s life, there’s hope. And I am, indeed, full of hope with every new day.