Not knowing which direction to go to get from A to B and back to A again was infuriating, scary and bewildering because this was my capital. The city that as a child I’d been brought to on numerous occasions for visits to the zoo or to shop at Christmas in around its centre. This city which I as a parent had brought my own children now scared me shitless, reduced me a once confident woman into a quivering wreck.
How was I to know that visiting the city was very different from starting a fresh new life there? What possessed me a country mug or a culchie to move to our capital at the most insecure time of my life? Why of all the jobs I’d applied for did I get accepted for this job in our capital city when the biggest town I’d ever lived in would just about fill one small corner of this daunting city. Holy Mother of God what exactly possessed me to believe I a lover of the country side would survive in a concrete jungle and be contented to cycle to Bushy park or the Phoenix park to see the deer make their dawn crossing in majestic splendour. Me who had lived on the outskirts of a village in what some would call a bush now well planted in Dublin in an apartment on the second floor with no garden to sit in during the summer.
Me who had lived on the outskirts of a village in what some would call a bush now well planted in Dublin in an apartment on the second floor with no garden to sit in during the summer. An apartment with a row of steep steps up to the front door which was yellow like Big Bird out of Sesame Street. These same steps became my garden on sunny days because I lacked the courage to go further than my work place which was the local shop.
Where were my peace and quiet gone in this mayhem of traffic, alarms and calls? From dawn to dusk or beyond the city didn’t sleep but then again at times nor did I. Wondering how to get from A to B and then beyond B but eventually back to A without getting lost. Yes lost in my capital which remained a serious mystery to me.
My capital nearly got the better of me and I almost left after a few weeks but my job held me so I stayed. Only venturing out that gate in front of the yellow door to go to work. My world was small, crushing me daily, sucking the life out of me as I was scared to venture further in case I got lost and had to ask a stranger for directions from beyond B back to A.
Who would have thought that I struggled with this fear from October until January? But I drove around the city in my tiny car never asking for directions, relying on my book of Dublin maps. I and my red car managed to get to the other side of my capital daily through the Phoenix park in the snow and back to A again. But this was all in my insulated little world of metal. It wasn’t truly being out in the city. But being out on foot would mean meeting people face to face, dealing with loud noises or invasion of my personal space. All too much for me to be dealing with alone but there was no one to walk with me, no one to understand the aftermath of my trauma which I had dealt with by attending counselling at the Rape Crisis centre.
My capital scared me shitless and I being me was going to conquer this fear by making a life for myself in this city which was the other side of the Richter scales when making comparisons to the small village I lived in and it. This daunting capital where others found freedom, I found imprisonment. My home became one prison while the walk to and from my other prison was my exercise area. This exercise area expanded when I purchased my bicycle and some freedom.
The city that scared me became a different place as I zipped around it early on Sunday mornings, meeting night clubbers going home as I cycled to forget the misery of what was now my existence. I wasn’t living so it was just an existence on the fringes of everyday life because most of my interactions were superficial, There were very few occasions for focused interaction but by God, there was plenty of time for unfocused interactions. Meeting strangers on the street, scared to even say Hello but wanting to say hello because this was an inbred form of politeness and I am a good girl who uses her manners. But fear kept my mouth stitched tight for a long time and only then did I interact with those whom I met daily on my exercise route or in that second prison.
Our capital confused me because at times it was heartless while at other times it was the best warmest place to be. How could I feel at home in a hot to cold back to hot running place? This capital where I had to be content with parks instead of a garden to plant, dig or lie in. This place where married people pretended to be single to get closer. But as big as this scary place is it’s too damn small to have affairs in so put back on your wedding rings and go back home to love your wives. Oh, I yearned for fields of peace and quiet without all this confusion of infidelity. Clapping happy people praying on a Sunday but by Monday creeping around again. This capital is small when your unfaithful but huge when you’re a scared culchie from the country who wants nothing more but to make a new life, so put back on your wedding ring and go home to love your wife.
Beyond the pale is calling, beckoning to me with sweet promises of fields, mountains and rivers: Freedom in other words. freedom from the confinements of those prisons which were part of my life, both necessary to survive. One to live in and the other to work in. The rolling mountains are now my exercise yard with its strong winds clearing my mind of all unnecessary clutter which drags a person down. Cycling along the boreens knowing when I venture up to our capital it won’t be as a nieve scared shitless culchie but as a confident bubbling culchie who knows exactly where she’s is going to in life.
Cycling along the boreens knowing when I venture up to our capital it won’t be as a nieve scared shitless culchie but as a confident bubbling culchie who knows exactly where she’s is going to in life. Experience changes a person and teaches them more lessons than any university can. But that change has to be constructive or else it will be as destructive as Trump on twitter.
Dublin Yes Dublin I miss and love you and as we parted on good terms we can possibly be together sometime but for now, a day at a time is all I need to saunter up Grafton street or in around Moore street which is ever changing.