A Tendency Towards Vibrations
by Jodie Hannis
The house I grew up in was not my home. I’m not sure it was anybody’s. I spent the best part
of my adult life escaping it and then the rest of it orbiting a vacuum of I-didn’t-know-what. When I
finally decided to journey home, it was towards a mystery place, I thought. It was incremental; the
work of reflection, dare I say it - yoga, and a hundred and one other things that were game changers to
me but would be inescapably boring to you. I won’t tell you about my dreams, love, and you don’t tell
me yours, for we’ll only nod along out of politeness to each other.
My journey home is also long winded, either because I had no idea what I was looking for or
because quests of this kind always are, but the harder I looked, the more I recognised it. And god I
hate to say it but I’ve become increasingly convinced that it’s a journey back to myself. It was me as
an attentive friend, something I, for the most part, had not been in the decade previous. It was an eye
towards children on my own, another thing I’d held at a distance out of fear and stubbornness. It was
me becoming calm and present (goddamn you, yoga) which other people in turn found comforting.
They wanted to be around me, give me their love and feel mine in return. And jeez if this didn’t all
feel so familiar after all. My journey home was a return to myself as a child and a teenager, some
sense of self that I didn’t know existed. How odd to find myself as my own anchor, how boring, how
reassuring. How blindingly obvious too, to those not so painfully self-aware. I kind of like the
delicious irony of it, not being completely unburdened of my cruel streak towards myself.
The thing with being one of those statistics, one of those abused and neglected kids, is that
your whole body and everything in it becomes scorched earth. Too hot to touch and too entangled in
everyone else’s shit to feel anything close to North. But in unweaving those threads I see what’s mine
and what isn’t, and I see myself sitting there, alongside it all. She’s adaptable that kid. The ears will
always be too big but there’s heart there too, even if I was too cool for it for a while. I wouldn’t want
to throw her out with the bath water, even if I could. And I feel almost guilty for saying it, but I
wouldn’t change it, you know? All the other stuff. It was a scalding forge but I swear I glint in the
sunlight sometimes. I wouldn’t choose a cooler one.
Did you know that if an anchor is made from steel you have to get your fire up to 1000
degrees Celsius to shape it? I can’t even imagine what that means. How close could you stand before
sweat beaded on your collar bones? Before your eyebrows went for a walk? The biggest anchor in the
world weighs 75 tonnes but that’s only a quarter of what the biggest bell ever made racked up. Why
would humans dwarf this huge practical thing - a literal weathering-the-storm type thing - with this
even huger machine of pure noise? I think our collective weakness must be a tendency towards
vibrations. We’re an incredible species, I often think; we swim pretty well, run pretty well, with small
adaptations we even fly pretty well. But put me, a 30 year old woman in the back of a small car and
shake me around a bit, and I will puke in my own lap. Build a monstrous bell and send it slicing
through the air and a whole city will believe God rings it.
Of course church bells make me think of my mother, who was loud except when she was
silent, and even then she was deafening. She found resonance, you know, like that huge crack of
silence after the final peal. I don’t think our house was her home either, even though she built it. She
just flattened everything in her path, in her scramblings towards herself. Sometimes I wonder if she
ever found home, but I tend to think not. I never saw her do any yoga. I’d say I’ve stopped looking for
her too, apart from in the occasional older woman with short hair, who is too kind for the resemblance
to stick, and so the romance doesn’t either. I’m tending now to look inwards, the thing she could
never do. I read that a yoga pose isn’t supposed to be stillness. It’s a container for your internal
movement, your own vibrating energy. It’s a map not the territory. I think about that a lot, and my
body which isn’t scorched earth anymore. A yoga pose is called an asana which means comfortable
seat. I think I’ve found my armchair, here in the home of myself.