I think that at any given moment, I come use whatever book I happen to be reading to compartmentalise, describe and dissect my life. It is as if I am using these books to provide a chapter structure to my own life. Organising my chaos.
I don't think it is coincidence at all that I am currently reading Force of Nature by Jane Harper. The title itself resonates so deeply within the veins of my reality, pumping the life into my days. The past two weekends, Matt and I have completely surrounded ourself with nature, opening ourselves up to the elements. He and I mirror each other in the most unexpectedly astonishing ways, often turning to one another at the very same moment, uttering the very same words, musings and feelings.
We drove almost twelve hundred kilometres a couple of weekends ago, traversing uneven terrain that shifted with every movement the car made. We were both in awe with each and every kilometre that passed beneath the dusty tyres. The landscape continued to change, colours seamlessly appearing and fading, ebbing and flowing. We reached the top of one of the mountains we were driving across and were met with a heavy cloud of mist that cloaked the road ahead of us. It was one of the most ominous sights that he or I had ever seen, and strangely enough - or maybe not - it made both of us very reflective. We both began to take stock of our own lives, both the moments we had shared together as well as the ones that brought us to each other in the first place.
The force of nature indeed.
I maintain that there is no greater pleasure than a slow morning in bed with black coffee. Lately, I have been working six day weeks, which leaves but one, single, solitary, lone morning to spend in bed in the arms of my husband. All that it has meant for me is that for those few hours lately, I have made a conscious effort to be completely present. I have been keenly aware of the way the linen feels against my body, of the warmth of my husband, of the weight of his arm draped over me, the playful scurries of our kitten darting between the rooms of our apartment. Most of all however, I take particular notice of the weather beyond our windows. Every day off, I pray for rain. Every single one.
The Monday just passed, Matt and I woke up slowly, early morning lightning illuminating our bedroom even in the daylight. Thunder rumbled beyond the treetops, lingering, suspended in the air. Pulling the covers tighter around us, the rain began falling as if taking its cue from our actions.
The rain does something to me, something powerful. It rearranges my cells, alters me on a cellular level. I am unsure whether it is simply from the romance of being tucked indoors while sheets of rain fall outside. The storm continued and I perched myself up in bed, leaning against the bedhead as I cracked the spine open of Force of Nature once more. As I knew it was to be the only moment f the week when nothing was demanded or needed of me. I remained keenly aware of what I was feeling. Overwhelming joy. I realised that with Matt, it is the first time I have felt contentment. Not only that, it is the first time I have understood its meaning. Contentment. Because the feeling of being content really is a beautiful blessing, the honour of being wholly happy with one's personal universe.
The rain makes me feel all of this. The force of nature. Somehow is has a way of making you look inwards, ferociously talking stock of all that is awake within you, and all that lays dormant.
The sound of rain.
Gutters awash with torrents of water.
The leaves dancing under the weight of raindrops.
The chilled air that sends goosebumps up the length of your arms.
The elements gift us with sensory experiences that are almost impossible to describe, whose meanings lie within the imagination of those beholding it.
So then what of human nature? That is a different force of nature all together. It is a playful title that Jane Harper has come to - talking about the actual book for a brief moment (which is totally brilliant by the way, and everyone should read it). All Star Wars "use the force" references and puns aside, the forces of an individuals nature directly affects every single facet, decision and experience of their respective lives.
It comes full circle.
As a result of me rediscovering my happiness and being able to relax in the safety and utter bliss of my relationship, I am able to appreciate more of my external world. I am able to admire and involve myself within it.
Use the force..
..of nature. It knows what it's doing.
My husband proposed to me yesterday.
Unexpectedly, casually, romantically.
We were sitting on a rock overlooking the coastline of Bondi Beach, the waves from the horizon crashing violently against the rocks below.
My husband and I have been married for just over a month and a half now, so you can understand why the proposal surprised me.
I have long struggled with understanding what my writing actually is. What is Don't Ask Leah? Who is Don't Ask Leah? What is my angle, what is it that I want to say, what is the theme, who is my audience, what the fuck am I doing? The questions are endless, their unknown answers all but destroying my creativity, my will to write.
When I posed these questions to a dear friend of mine who is also a writer, she responded simply and confidently, "Leah, YOU are the brand. You."
I often find the most wisdom is found in the utmost simplicity.
From hereon in, I am going to run with that. I am going to run with the words off my dear friend and trust that she knows what she is talking about, because I certainly fucking. don't. I am going to run with the notion that I am the brand and that this is simply a platform. a thought catalogue if you will. Don't Ask Leah is somewhere to share stories, stories about how my husband proposed to me on a rock before we went and had big ol' falafel pita pockets, because THAT is the kind of shit we should be talking about and sharing and spreading. Stories of love and spontaneity and positivity and all things fucking delightful in this world.
Don't Ask Leah (Iskander) is back.
Because who doesn't love a love story?
Or a falafel pita pocket? (Seriously, even if you think you don't like falafel pitta pockets, just trust me. Sabbaba on Hall Street in Bondi. Get there.)
It feels good to be home.