Monday, 7 January 2008

Lady Chatterley's Lover

I've just finished reading DH Lawrence's most controversial book. Synchronous to this, last night I watched The Chatterley Affair on the ABC. It was a fictional account of the court hearing to determine whether or not Lady Chatterley's Lover could be published in England. It was a very clever piece, with the story of the book being played out by two of the jurors. Keith, a working class man, has an affair with Helena, a middle class divorcee. For a couple of weeks they explore the depths of physical sensuality and sexuality, knowing it is something they cannot have perpetually. Keith is married and his wife is pregnant. You get the impression that this is a metamorphosis for Keith. He knows there are things he doesn't know, experiences he hasn't experienced, but doesn't quite know how these might be manifest. Helena is more worldly wise than Keith and, one suspects, has had more experience of the fullness that life has to offer, but knows that it is transient and one must make the most of every opportunity when that fullness of life comes knocking at your door. Their affair lasts only the length of the trial and then Keith goes back to his wife and Helena, we learn, does end up marrying someone else.

For me, Lady Chatterley's Lover was, among other things, a story about two people who did not let the constraints that the circumstance of life had placed them in do exactly that, constrain them so as not to experience all that life has to offer them. To experience all that life was offering them, they had to allow themselves to be the person they were, regardless of the class, time and gender they found themselves in.

I got to thinking about my own life. When I came out as a gay man in my early 30s, many people commented on how brave I was to do such a thing. I guess they thought being married with a child made it that much more a courageous act. I certainly didn't feel brave. For me, it had got to the point where I felt I had no choice but to do this. I had been struggling with this for a while, so long that there was only one option left for me. Yes, I could have gone on as I was, but there would have been a kind of death (not literally) for me that would have meant life would have been a sort of vacuum. I know in reality this didn't have to be the case, but that is how I felt at the time and for a while after. I would have felt much braver coming out at an earlier age, before I had commenced down a path that I felt was expected of me, to have said no to those external (and internalised) expectations and tried being truer to myself, and hence, others.

I would like to live a braver life and be truer to myself, regardless of what others might think.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Sounds of silence

Today I was reminded about how much peripheral noise we put up with in our lives. I work in an old converted church building that has a large air-conditioning unit. It goes on about 8.00am and goes off about 5.30pm, so unless you are there early or late, it is a constant presence and one that is taken for granted. We have been having some problems with it lately (which is not good in high 30's and low 40's Celsius temperatures!). Today it was being worked on and was turned off during the day. It was only when it was off that you realise the level of noise it creates. There was a stillness, even in an office full of workers, when the unit was off.

What else are our senses bombarded with daily that we assimilate into our lives on a sub-conscious level?