14 October 2014


I associate both teetering and tottering with tightropes and circuses.

I know it is just likely me but word association is a personal thing at times – not just some psycho babble testing.

I can think what I want.

Whenever I want.

And I do.

When my son Tom was little his best mate was a kid called Will - short for William. Will was Australian born but his parents and older siblings were from South Africa. They were the white variety but thankfully not of Boer extraction. They were not racists or bigots either and were very nice people.

Wills mother Sharon was particularly pleasant. She was a little off centre and was forever dashing off to yoga and meditation centres and had a delightful way of sort of hopping around on the spot whenever she spoke.

She reminded me a bit of a sparrow actually.

Hop hop hopping before trying to fly away.

My family used to have a crack at me whenever Will’s mum and dad came over to our house - as I tended to slip into my Seth Efrican accent. I didn't really mean to. It was just one of those things that I still do but only amongst Seth Efricans.

I have no idea why.

The Seth Efrican accent is more annoying and grating than the New Zealand accent.

Both are an abomination.

Tom and Will were very close and were full of mischief and fun. They used to have a thing for climbing. They climbed trees at first when they were quite little – then later buildings and towers. They didn’t mind challenging authority either and grew up getting into trouble at both school and later with the authorities. It was just boy stuff really and even though I had to pretend to be concerned and upset I didn’t actually mind all that much. I quite like kids that express themselves and I for one don’t accept things for the way they are.

Rebellion is not necessarily a bad thing – as long as no one gets hurt.

We should all of us challenge everything.

It is the way that things get changed.

Of course when Tom and Will got suspended and expelled a few times from school I was a bit worried where that might lead - but that too worked itself out.

Stuff usually does.

When we teeter we inevitably find balance. We find a way to stand up – even if we are sometime supported.

We often need to be supported.

It is what love and respect is all about.

When the boys grew through their teens they went through various fashion and attitude shifts. Their Goth one was particularly amusing – all dressed in black and wearing dark make-up with bleak attitudes to match. I used to hang shit on them about it – and they got suitably Goth morose about which only amused me more.

I wouldn't let them play their Goth music very loud only because I didn't like it.

I like most music - but have a preference for stuff you can dance to.

I am old school in that regard.

Will and Tom and some of their Goth mates would come around to our place and sit on our roof smoking joints and drinking beers and watching the world go by. I used to come home from work and occasionally sit up there with them.

We chatted away about the world and life and some surprisingly intellectual philosophical shit.

These kids had a slightly different view of the world but they were smart. They had opinions and they weren’t afraid to voice them.

I liked that a lot.

I also learned a very long time before I became a parent never to judge a book by its cover. My parents taught me that.

There are bits of them in me.

That old chestnut of a cliché stands very true and my kids - and my son Tom and his left-of-centre-friends taught me a lot on this front.

You can learn a lot from your children if you let them in and listen.

I learn from them all the time.

Just because you see the world in a tinted and tilted way it doesn't mean you have to slide down either.

You really don’t.

Who we are is not what we wear but it is the essence of our being. It is the regard we hold for others. It is kindness and benevolence. It is other far more defining and relevant characteristics that we need to embrace in order to be.

Tom and Will went through a full on piercing stage as well – with all manner of foreign objects protruding their bodies. Will went particularly berserk on those ear-stretching things - and I used to tell him he reminded me of the African natives who started such a trend centuries ago. I wasn’t at all surprised that Will knew all about the tribe and the history. He read a lot of books and we used to talk literature all the time. The piercing and the tattooing didn't bother me in the slightest although I think that Sharon - the sparrowy hopping mother of Will - got a little concerned.

Art is art and the kids’ bodies are their own.

Why the hell should we all look the same anyway?

Where is the fun in that?

Will always wanted to be in circus. I remember him telling me this when he was only twelve or thirteen. It wasn’t one of those I-want-to-run-away-to-the-circus scenarios. He wanted to perform on the trapeze. He wanted to juggle and eat fire and get into cages with lions and tigers.

He was always juggling stuff around at our place. I remember being entranced as he juggled a trio of kittens once – never dropping them at all and being oh so gentle.

It was excellent.

Will’s Seth Efrican parents were very supportive of all their kids and they encouraged all of their children to follow their dreams.

We should all do this.

I think so anyway.

For some reason I never fully understood, Will and Tom had an ‘incident’ and all of a sudden they were no longer were best mates. I remember Tom being quite upset but he didn't want to talk about it so I never pushed.

I do remember hearing a couple of years ago that Will had gone on to a circus college and he was indeed living his dream.

When I heard that news I laughed out loud in delight.

He is a performer now in a quite famous Australian circus that tours the world. He juggles and does amazing trapeze acts and I hope that I can one day go and see him.

Tom and he are friends again but they don’t see each other all that much. We all grow apart from people we were close to when we were young. Tom told me that Will went through quite a troubled period of self doubt and anguish - then he announced to the world some years back that he was gay.

It sort of all made sense to me.

Poor Will was teetering and tottering about his own sexuality and I am so glad that he discovered and decided who he was and that he had found his happiness.

People’s sexuality is no-ones business but their own and I hope that he was never bullied or hassled just because he was gay. That would have been sad and if I had known I would have intervened and told him to be who he was and that to me he was and always will be a fine young man.

My own Tom still teeters and totters a bit as he tries to find his own place in the universe.

Who doesn't actually?

I sway and totter myself all the time.

Life is a tough journey sometimes and there are always ups and downs. I have learned that we need to move with whatever is thrown up at us and be as accepting and as tolerant as we can of others.

Kindness and empathy and just trying to do what is decent and right are the key to everything. Special moments and experiences come along sometimes and we need to snatch them when we can.

Teetering and tottering is all a part of this.

We will sometimes fall off and fall down – it is the nature of life and growing and being - but the most important thing of all is to just dust ourselves off and get back up again.

We will teeter again

Then we fall and we stand

Balance will be restored and everything will usually work itself out.

It is Yin

It is Yang

It is the way things are.

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