Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our Judy, Jemser and the Art of Zen

Our Judy hits a significant birthday this month. My inner ‘don’t say that’ alarm has finally started to work – after donkeys’ years of embarrassing people by innocently revealing things which are - to some – private. Now I just stick all those things in my stories/novels and they have to be read to discover what page said revelation is on!

Our Judy is much quieter than me. She is also very beautiful. I was insanely jealous of her when we were growing up. When we were small, people in the neighbourhood would actually stop my mother in the street as we toddled after her and the pram which contained whoeverhappenedtobethebaby that year. They would smile at us all but their glances lingered longer on Judy. ’She’s so cute – you have to enter her into the bonny baby competition!’

So Mam did – she got someone who possessed a camera to come and take our photos and she sent one of Judy off to the ‘Pond’s Cold Cream’ sponsored competition. And our Judy won a prize! Whatever it was or where she was placed in the competition is long lost in the annals of family history but it was official - Judy was (still is) beautiful.

So my jealousy melted away or rather I accepted facts – she was officially beautiful. When we started school I became officially ‘the bright one’; although Judy’s no eejit – in fact academically she always scored higher than me – but I bullshit better! We killed each other until our late teens; hands on hair-pulling, scabbing, kicking physical fights and the incredible bitchiness of teenage girls resulting from the sheer frustration at having to live with each other’s entirely different personalities.

I’m the oldest and bossy with it and Judy baulked at the notion of being told what to do by a sibling who had been left in charge of a household teeming with kids while parents worked. I would get frustrated at having to do ‘everything’ myself because I wanted things to be nice for Mam when she came home. Judy did her chores, but in her own time and her own way. I remember saying to Mam at one stage ‘I envy Judy. She does things becsuse she wants to. I do them because I think I have to.’ So Judy got the Art of Zen long before me – she lived it.

I have been thinking a lot lately about mindfulness, of being aware of living every moment, of simply being in any particular moment, of breathing and being aware that in order to live breathing is all I have to do. Of realising that I am part of something that is infinite and that my role for now in that infinity is breathing in and out of the body that has been assigned to me. Judy lives this – always has. Jemser epitomises it - he’s been telling me it for years but I had to find out for myself and label it in my own way – when I said this to him the other night he laughed and said in his case it could be called ‘mindlessness’.

When Judy and I started getting drunk together in our late teens/early twenties we told each other how much we loved each other despite our differences and things settled down. We found partners, had children around the same time and drift in and out of each other’s lives a few times every year. Judy is still extraordinarily beautiful, she always looked after her skin, she has a calmness about her - but also a fiery streak that can be roused and woe betide the arouser! She is wonderful and I feel very privileged to be her big sister – even though I know I’m ‘not the boss’ of her! Love you Juders!

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