Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Rice Bags

The thing about rice bags (beside being an ever-so-slightly race appropriate metaphor)  is that they're designed to be tough. I mean, these bad boys aren't terribly thick but they have to carry kilos of rice, withstand being lugged and chucked around onto vans, off vans, onto forklifts. Because they're tough, your less well-equipped martial arts schools fill them to the brim and use them to train kids to punch. Rocky used slabs of meat, these kiddie-winks use rice.

The rice, with its sheer numbers, provides a reactionary force to the blow, resistance to whatever circumstantial abuse the bag might be subjected. But the rice has nowhere to go, and eventually the punches take their toll on the bag which has to be replaced before it bursts.

Maybe we're like these bags. Maybe the rice is our history, our abilities, the nitty gritty of life in which we surround ourselves like blankets. Maybe the bags (are they flax? are they plastic?) themselves are the tenacity and natural human resilience on which our race relies. And maybe, sometimes the punches start to take their toll and the bag starts to fray and lose its structural integrity.

You have one of those days. Every passerby seems irrationally filled with resentment. These days start to pile up.
Your friends are distressed. You try to help them, they say you are, but the words sound hollow in your throat. Actions are required, not cliched platitudes.
That job you'd been waiting for and could almost touch with your grasping fingers gets back to you three weeks later to tell you the position is no longer available, not because you're not good enough, but because sometimes life just sucks that way.
You return to the hospital which you thought and hoped you'd left for good just over a year ago. The fear, as if lying in wait, returns. The colour co-ordinated wards and the pictures of pandas, rainbows and dolphins designed to lift spirits do nothing to distract you from the waiting. The pacing. The worrying.
Surrounded by people but still the solitude and darkness flows around you, playfully swiping at your limbs.

8 Response to Rice Bags

2 March 2010 at 22:07

I read the lyrics to this the other day and thought how wonderful they were. And how next time I knew a friend was going through something tough I'd want to speak them those lines. "I will hold on hope and I won't let you choke on that noose around your neck". The latter part is something I try and believe in, too. When I'm having one of "those" days - "I'll find strength in pain and I will change my ways, I'll know my name when it's called again" - I take it to mean that no matter how bad things get, you can always use them to learn from and fuel you to maybe change the way you go about things so maybe things don't have to be like "that". It's inspirational. I hope you're doing okay my friend. Stay strong. Marcus wants you to :)

3 March 2010 at 15:02

Stay strong Stephen! You are an amazing individual and I know you will be resilient through all the punches. Get your boxing gloves on and punch back! Beautiful writing, as always. Thoughtful, profound and eloquent.


Hannah Katy

3 March 2010 at 22:59

The punches do take their toll but the great thing about the bags is that even when you think its at its peak it can still take a lot more punches.
That's how resilient they are.

4 March 2010 at 17:21

I agree with Faker, and if the bag does indeed end up beginning to tear, you can always replace it with a tougher material, a stronger skin. I believe your experiences as of late are making you just a little tougher and forcing you to be a little thrifty in which material you use :) Things will work out, and maybe in a surprising way! The upside to this trying time in your life is that your posts have been awesomely philosophical lately. Very well written, S, as always.

8 March 2010 at 14:24

you have a wonderful style of writing (come to think of it, I can even imagine you writing narrations for great Hollywood movies)

What I love about this post is that everyone can relate to what you're saying. And often, almost everyone will have the spirit to say, you know maybe I'm not ready to be punched out yet. and ya sometimes life just sucks that way :) like they say in 'finding nemo': "just keep swimming, just keep swimming"

10 March 2010 at 18:51

darling, you left me speechless.

11 March 2010 at 04:02

It means a lot to me that you guys don't come after me with pitchforks when I get all emo but still take the time to read my ramblings. Thanks guys :)

22 March 2010 at 08:08

1) I love the Big Fish reference.
2) Love this song. So much.
3) What I love about rice bags--the ones at my house, anyway--is that not only are they resilient and able to withstand so much more than one would ever think they would have to go through, is that it's not just a single bag. There are layers, reinforcements, back-ups, things to help it hold together. It's strong and flexible and able to go through the biggest beating while still fulfilling what it was intended to do.

and i do hope my killing the metaphor did eventually come through as that despite several punches and kicks and blows...you are strong and you withstand and you make it through. And when you feel as though the threads are tearing, there's always family, friends (blogger and in real life), things that will help support you and keep you together :)