Snapshot in Ice

I had a return of the severe pain on Saturday, much to my surprise. I didn’t pass out this time, and didn’t go to hospital but instead managed the pain at home. I’m feeling very tired and weak. I’m sure you probably know that the UK is unusually cold and snowy at the moment and I hope to write something about it soon. But the medication and the tiredness are not helpful for inspiration so I shall share a poem I have posted before. I hope to have something fresh for later in the week.

Snapshot in ice

 

The world is frozen,

Every web edged in ice,

Occupant huddled under leaf

Awaiting a thaw.

Seedheads, candied in frost,

Return to brief flowering,

Coated in fragile crystal

So dense it seems furry.

Ferns are turned to fossils,

Chrysanthemums to pom-poms.

Even the air is frozen,

Full of microscopic ice.

Foghorns call across the miles,

Invisible as owls in the night,

And the sea, oblivious,

Crashes softly on the shore.

Time to Heal?

 

Time to Heal?

I have been a great fan of Terry Pratchett for many years and have been deeply moved by some of his novels. While they are generally hysterically funny, they also contain some quite profound wisdom.

One of my favourites is Masquerade, one of the series of novels written about the witches of the Ramtops, a coven of extraordinary women, lead by the inimitable Granny Weatherwax. Esme Weatherwax is a force of nature, someone you want on your side, and not someone to cross lightly. In Masquerade, she performs a feat of magic, or so people think, by catching a sharp sword in her bare hand without being cut to the bone by it. The following comes from two passages very close to the end of the book; the first she is discussing events with her oldest (and best) friend Gytha(Nanny) Ogg:

‘Everyone was very impressed, I reckon, when you caught that sword in your hand. . .’

Granny sighed. ‘Hah! Yes, I expect they were. They didn’t think clearly, did they? People’re just lazy. They never think: maybe she had something in her hand, a bit of metal or something. They don’t think for a minute it was just a trick. They don’t think there’s always a perfectly good explanation if you look for it. They probably think it was some kind ofmagic.’

‘Yeah, but. . . you didn’t have anything in your hand, did you?’

‘That’s not the point. I might have done.’ Granny looked up and down the square. ‘Besides, you can’t magic iron.

‘That’s very true. Not iron. Now, someone like ole Black Aliss, they

could make their skin tougher than steel. . . but that’s just an ole

legend, I expect. . .’

‘She could do it all right,’ said Granny. ‘But you can’t go round messin’ with cause and effect. That’s what sent her mad, come the finish. She thought she could put herself outside of things like cause and effect.Well, you can’t. You grab a sharp sword by the blade, you get hurt.World’d be a terrible place if people forgot that.’

‘You weren’t hurt.’

‘Not my fault. I didn’t have time.’”

*

 

 

The trees were bare when Granny Weatherwax got back to her cottage.

Twigs and seeds had blown in under the door. Soot had fallen down the chimney. Her home, always somewhat organic, had grown a little closer to its roots in the clay.

There were things to do, so she did them. There were leaves to be swept, and the woodpile to be built up under the eaves. The windsock behind the beehives, tattered by autumn storms, needed to be darned. Hay had to begot in for the goats. Apples had to be stored in the loft. The walls could do with another coat of whitewash.

But there was something that had to be done first. It’d make the other jobs a bit more difficult, but there was no help for that. You couldn’t magic iron. And you couldn’t grab a sword without being hurt. If that wasn’t true, the world’d be all over the place.

Granny made herself some tea, and then boiled up the kettle again. She took a handful of herbs out of a box on the dresser, and dropped them in a bowl with the steaming water. She took a length of clean bandage out of a drawer and set it carefully on the table beside the bowl. She threaded an extremely sharp needle and laid needle and thread beside the bandage.

She scooped a fingerful of greenish ointment out of a small tin, and smeared it on a square of lint.

That seemed to be it.

She sat down, and rested her arm on the table, palm-up.

‘Well,’ she said, to no one in particular, ‘I reckon I’ve got time now.’”

(Masquerade by Terry Pratchett)

How often have we done the same feat but without swords and magic and put off dealing with wounds?

I have.

I do it all the time and one of the reasons is because I lack the skills to mend myself, the way Granny stitches up her own hand without flinching. So the wounds go untreated and they fester until a greater surgery is needed and I need open-hearted surgery.

At the moment I am thinking(and talking about, especially with J) very deeply about a form of healing that does away with so many of the things we think are essential to the healing process, like the line between patient and therapist and the rigid following of guidelines that had become Holy Writ.

I’ll keep you all posted.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance- by Robert M Pirsig(a review of a classic book)

 

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance- by Robert M Pirsig

 This classic icon of twentieth century philosophy is regarded as almost a myth; my daughter’s boyfriend indeed believed it to be an actual urban myth and not an actual book, and I doubt he is alone. First published in 1974, the book has been a corner stone for some of the hippy movement and yet, its subtitle, An Inquiry into Values seems at variance with this. Indeed, one of the central themes of the book, the careful and loving maintenance of motorcycles seems also at variance with the hippy movement too and this is one of the many apparent contradictions this book throws up.

It’s a truly disconcerting book to read, because it fits no genre and it shifts at intervals between both style and format. The book starts simply enough, as an account of a road trip taken across America by the author and his young son Chris, and for a while two friends as well. You get the sense of a fractured relationship between man and boy, in the process of being mended, as well as an uneasy friendship with their two travelling companions John and Sylvia. There is a focus on the minutiae of their daily life, on the mechanics of motorbikes, both of which are at once alien and familiar, that many might find dull or even boring. Persist with them; to some degree these are important background. You’re not reading a simple story.

The narrative shifts to a kind of flashback to a different story, the tale of someone who lost the plot and lost himself in the process. Phaedrus, the man who lost the plot, is central to the whole book, but I shall say no more about him now. It’s best you discover his story for yourself.

The other facet of the book is a kind of overview narration that links together the road-trip with its focus on details and meticulous attention to them with the story of Phaedrus. It’s this aspect of the book that really, really messes with your head. Let me explain.

I was given the book as a Christmas present by my friend J, but like books I know are important, I wanted to read it during a time that gave me both time and context in which to read it. I read extremely fast, but that’s not always a good thing, so I wanted to have an opportunity to read in segments dictated by an external force I had little control over. So I read it during a road trip of my own, this time across France during a work trip in May. This was the same trip that brought back the photograph that rocked my world when I went home, to be seen here. But during the six days I was away, I had a number of times where I did wonder if I might not actually return at all. During the quiet moments during my trip, lying on my hotel bed or sitting somewhere out of the way, in various places like the centre of Caen, in Bayeux, at Disneyland(for about five minutes as I could not concentrate) and most memorably, sitting outside a French hypermarket, I dipped into the book and read.

I sat there, on a marble step, by a display of plants, trying to take in what I had just read. I watched the ants, ferrying food backwards and forwards, and tried to keep my mind from bubbling out of my ears. It felt like an earthquake in my head.

I should talk now about Phaedrus’ knife. It’ll help understand some of the things we talked about.

The application of this knife, the division of the world into parts and the building of this structure, is something everybody does. All the time we are aware of millions of things around us- these changing shapes, these burning hills, the sound of the engine, the feel of the throttle, each rock and weed and fence post and piece of debris beside the road- aware of these things but not really conscious of them unless there is something unusual or unless they reflect something we are predisposed to see, We could not possibly be conscious of these things and remember all of them because our mind would be so full of useless details we would be unable to think. From this awareness we must select and what we select and call consciousness is never the same as the awareness because the process of selection mutates it. We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.

Once we have the handful of sand, the world of which we are conscious a process of discrimination goes to work on it. This is the knife. We divide the sand into parts. This and that. Here and there. Black and white. Now and then. The discrimination is the division of the conscious universe into parts.” (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, p 82)

At this point, or shortly after, I shut the book and stuffed it back into my rucksack and waited till the students came back to meet me. I felt disjointed, and uneasy but in the kind of way that you get when you know you are onto something important but that you need to tread very very carefully. I knew also, don’t ask me how, that my own sanity might well be at risk at this point if I rushed it. These things take time to sink in and you do well not to try and grasp them all in one go. Once, as a student, in a senior common room I had no right to be in but had been invited in by a lecturer in astrophysics, I had Relativity explained to me. For about three minutes, I grasped it but I let it go when I realised I could not hold that concept in my head for long without going slightly mad. I wasn’t ready for it.

So I stepped away that day, because I was working and descending into catatonia was possibly not the best thing I could do at that point. I am still digesting the concepts and the implications of those concepts now. I am no philosopher, in all honesty, but I am a seeker after meaning. This is a book that has given me more tools in my own search for meaning.

And once you get used to the switching focuses on the book, the story itself becomes utterly gripping and strangely moving. You feel for the people(they are not characters, because it’s a true story, in the main) and you hope for them.

I can heartily recommend this book to anyone who wishes to delve deeper into what life is about, but I would also suggest that you give it the time and attention it deserves. It’s not a beach read to entertain you but a book to unsettle and disturb and challenge you.

Are YOU up for the challenge?

 

( for more information about Pirsig and his work, look at  http://www.levity.com/corduroy/pirsig.htm or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_M._Pirsig

The Hero-an analysis

This is an article I posted a good eighteen months ago but bears reposting. I’m too tired and unwell still to write anything new just yet. Hopefully normal service will be resumed next week.

The hero

Once upon a time- that’s how fairytales begin. Or it might begin, in a kingdom far, far away. In days of old when knights were bold… but how old is old in a time when last season’s clothes are absurd antiques and doubts are cast not just on the courage of those bold knights but on everything else as well? The jury is out but the evidence is that they were anything but gentle, and the average modern football hooligan probably has more courtesy and honour. After all, even in today’s allegedly lawless times, it’s not considered honourable or even legal to strike the head from another man’s shoulders. There are some, I admit who practically beg for such treatment but I doubt politicians have ever been popular; the high king’s advisors have ever been known as lickspittles and toadies, and are so today whatever names they bear.

The age of chivalry was in fact a brutal one but pictures are painted and poems penned that portray it in the glowing pink light of artificial nostalgia. But that romantic world has grown brighter than the shadowy one that was real. We don’t want to know about the sweat and the dung, the short brutish nasty lives; we want mysterious ladies in gowns of floating silks. We want a hero whose armour shines and whose sword is never red with the blood of the innocent or of the incidental casualty. We want those rules that can never be kept, to have been kept: a code of impossible honour, a world of justices and joys. And we seek it not in our world now for we know deep down it can never be. So we seek it in the past: an ancient shining past where our dreams might once have been true. Atlantis and Camelot are both children of the same yearning dreams.

There is a Jewish proverb, better a live dog than a dead lion, and it sums up the kind of practicality we have deep down and yet are somehow ashamed of. Running from a defeat is never seen as sensible, practical or even right; we prefer death-or-glory stands to the canny retreat. In cinema, literature and in our view of history, our preference is always for the glorious defeat, the captain going down with the sinking ship, the king dying on a bloody battlefield surrounded by the slaughtered heaps of his faithful bodyguard. We don’t laud those who saw which way the wind was blowing and left before disaster struck; it’s not memorable, it’s not honourable and it certainly isn’t romantic! History and literature are littered with the bodies of lovers who said, “If I can’t have you, then I shall have nothing.” A myriad Miss Havishams wander the corridors of our consciousness, clad in wedding rags and one silk slipper like an elderly Cinderella who never got to go to the ball in the first place. We don’t applaud those who survived, moved on, thrived and found new love. The star-crossed lovers are not Darby and Joan, celebrating sixty years of happy marriage. No, they are the teenage Romeo and Juliet who died at their own hands rather than lose that one bright moment of perfection.

Let’s face it, when it isn’t us, we adore tragedy. I hesitate to say it but that’s why piles of flowers and teddies materialise at the site of an untimely death. That’s why Diana will always hold a place that Camilla never can. Live fast, die young- one way to achieve a kind of cheap immortality. Surviving, moving on, rebuilding simply don’t hold the same glamour. Rags to riches stories only really appeal because secretly we all hope for an equally meteoric fall back to rags. We say. “Oh how nice,” but I’m not sure how often we mean it. There’s almost always a secret shiver of spite and jealousy that quibbles, “Why them? Why not me? I’m as good as they are.” It feels better when we can say from a safe distance from a tragedy, “What a shame! Oh how sad!”

Arthur lies sleeping, our once-and-future king, but we should take great care we never wake him. There’s too much blood-and-guts reality in the true Arthur for us to stomach these days. We’ve grown beyond true monarchy. I’d rather we had our rough approximation of democracy than have the tyranny of the old kings back and tarnish and fray our romantic visions of the past.

But we need heroes- no I shall go further and say we are desperate for heroes. And so we try and create them out of what material we think best: film stars, models, TV celebrities, pop and rock stars, and God forgive us all, footballers. And they fail us and we vilify them for merely being ordinary fallible venial human beings. They disappoint us and yet we create more.

Are there any real heroes left? Any lantern-jawed Lancelots left to charm and enthral us, fallible enough to be likeable but heroic enough to still command our respect and even our love? There are worthy men and women, heroic ones even but they lack that certain something, that magic ingredient that makes them special like Arthur, Gawain, Percival and dear old Lancelot. So I shall have to create my own heroes, spinning them out of my own yearnings and dreams like gold from spun straw. Arthur can live again, a modern Arthur born of this our real world but with some of the glitter and glamour of the Round Table, and his knights and ladies can dance their graceful steps around him. We all need heroes, but these days I prefer to make my own. I’m sorry, but there isn’t a pattern. It isn’t like painting by numbers or knitting. It’s more like freestyle climbing- massive risk taking, surges of adrenaline that might rocket fuel an elephant and the sense when you’ve completed it that you have done something hardly anyone else can do. I admit that failure doesn’t result in a plummet to the death but emotionally it can feel a little like that. And at the end of that creation process, there stands blinking in the sunshine a shiny newborn hero, fresh for a new world but with ancient genes that stretch back into the oldest memory, the oldest stories. We’ve all changed since our first ancestors told tales round the fire at night-so why not the hero too? Because there is something eternal and unchanging about an archetype- the hero simply adapts and grows with the generations but remains in all essentials the dream we all dream: the Hero.

Girl, interrupted

I had a pretty awful weekend and not one I planned either. Early on Saturday morning I woke with very bad pain in my lower abdomen and after taking some tablets, I found I was becoming more unwell and realising that I was going to pass out, woke my husband up. I’m too tired to write much but as a result of the pain, my blood pressure dropped through the floor and I started to lose consciousness. The ambulance came and whisked me away, a lovely paramedic called Steve gave me morphine to try and deal with the pain.

I spent all weekend and yesterday in hospital, but without what I would call proper resolution for the problem. No scans but  those for life-or-death patients are available at that hospital during the weekend so I was kept in till Monday, and even then didn’t get one. There is something fundamentally wrong with a hospital that doesn’t get that people get sick and injured at weekends and make appropriate arrangements.

Hospital is not a good place for a sensitive spirit; noise and lights and constant lack of privacy are only a few of the things that make resting impossible, so I am very glad to get home to rest.

I have had some interesting thoughts, but am still to befuddled to put them down so it may be a week or two before I can write them.

Sea, she

 

 

Sea, she

 

The sea calls me.

Some days I answer,

Worship at the threshold

Like an awed neophyte.

Other days I resist,

Turn around to woods,

Walk away, fingers in ears

Refuse to hear the siren sound.

I return, of course:

Sit on shingle, skim a stone,

Watch the ever-changing moods

Never the same from one day to the next:

Storms and smiles,

Shimmers and shades.

Natural born killer

Provider of plenty

Endless, mysterious,

Yet fluidly simple.

No wonder they refer

To oceans as She!

 

Back from Beyond

After losing so many dear people from my blogroll either to deletion, going silent or being made private, I am delighted to report that my great friend J is back with his blog Journey of Life. He’d been forced to make the blog private for a number of reasons but a change of circumstances and a change of heart has restored his blog to its previous accessibility.

There are a number of dark links still on my blog roll which I will clean up soon, and will be adding a few more too as time goes on. These days I am cautious of adding or deleting for various reasons but a blog roll reflects the changing face of virtual life and I am probably due a makeover soon.

Anyway, go over and say hello if this is a blog that is totally new to you or go and renew friendship if J’s is one of your former stopping places.

I can’t express how pleased I am with this restoration of the lost.

Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves- concerning oracles

 

 

Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves

I have taken the title of this post from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins though the content of the poem is actually not relevant to this post. The photo shows the leaves laid out on my dining room table this afternoon, drying so that they can be used during the prayers at church tomorrow, and because my winter tablecloth also sports leaves as its theme, I took some photos and it set in motion some thoughts.

Recently I had occasion to question whether my life might have taken radically different directions at various critical points and it made me ask why I made certain decisions. It’s seldom easy to see which way you should go when you stand at a crossroads; you often have no idea of where you want to go. Those who have had a game plan all along sometimes find themselves stymied when they find themselves at such points, because not one of the possible directions currently revealed resembles where they thought they wanted to go. For those of us(like me) who bumble along and take what comes, it is just as difficult. I don’t believe that we automatically will get where we were meant to go, but I do feel sure that certain things, certain themes or people or places are part of our life itinerary, and at some stage we meet with them. So you might say any direction will take you where you need to go. I’m not convinced. You’ll never know where the journey you didn’t make would have taken you.

There have been plenty of occasions where I have been given choices to make, many of them in effect Hobson’s choices, and I have found that even after long rational thought and study of the options, I still have no awareness of which is the course I should follow. In many cases, there has been insufficient information to make an informed choice. For example, in deciding which hall of residence I wanted to live at during my first year at university, I read through the brochure, was none the wiser and picked Rathbone Hall solely on the basis that a favourite Sherlock Holmes actor was called Basil Rathbone. It was far from an important decision, but others seemed to regard it as such.

But when it comes to deeper choices, my advice is always to follow what your heart tells you. We all have very fine instincts, usually hidden deep within our civilised souls, and often these still small voices of wisdom are drowned out by rational, logical thought, or by prejudice or other things. I have made certain decisions that to others looked insane. I remember the utter horror of an American student I knew at university when I told her I was getting married six weeks after graduating. At that stage, neither my intended nor I had a job or a home or really anything much, but by the time the wedding day came, he had a decent job, we’d got a home to go to and a future to look forward to. That was 23 years ago.

There are times when even the still small voice cannot help us; it is silent and that silence is deafening. You simply don’t know what to do or where to turn. It’s frightening.

This is where the Sibyl’s Leaves come in.

The Sibyl had a collection of leaves each having a single word or letter written upon it; the leaves were thrown into the air and allowed to land and each leaf with a word on the upside was collected and the Sibyl would read a message through whatever words were there. Of course, no one knows what words were written but you may imagine. As oracles go, it’s not as icky as some; reading entrails has always struck me as rather a strange one, possibly only foretelling a chicken dinner for the priest.

How oracles work is another matter, but my belief is that they do indeed work. Some feel they are a way for the gods, or spirits or angels or whatever to speak to us and still more believe that they work by accessing our deep subconscious by means of archetypical symbols and so on. Personally,I’m working on the assumption that any/all of the above are valid until I get evidence to the contrary. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I’ve worked with Tarot for many years, as well as other oracle systems, both regular ones like runes and other ones that are less well known. I could never get the hang of the I-Ching and gave my set away to a friend; my head became fuzzy and baffled by it. None of these things is really about predicting the future, though sometimes it can seem like it. To some degree this is because a skilled reader of an oracle is accessing a very complex set of probabilities that make picking the winner of the Grand National look like child’s play; there are too many factors at play to really hope for accuracy. It’s about(putting it very simplistically) saying if you do X, then Y will happen, but only if you do Z first. It doesn’t take into account the infinite other factors that are at work.

However using an oracle system for yourself is a very good way of accessing and reawakening your own inner voices of wisdom. Tarot in particular is filled with mystical images and archetypes and with a set that suits your character you can find a great deal of hidden knowledge about your own self that can sometimes make deciding between one path in life and another a great deal simpler.

Of course, you might say you might as well just toss a coin, forgetting that throwing a coin is one of the oldest and simplest oracles in the world. There are times when the logical and rational have nothing more to offer, or their advice is somehow counter to what your instincts tell you.

Trust your instincts; they’ve been getting people out of trouble for a lot longer than Google.

Halcyon Day

 

Halcyon Day

 

Over the last month or so I have set myself a challenge of mapping my mood using a spreadsheet. I take three separate readings morning, noon and night each scored out of twenty, and also comment on any unusual events during the course of that day. The purpose of this is several fold: to try and understand how and why and when my moods change and what(if anything) triggers the changes. I chose twenty as my figure, though usually people mark it out of ten, but I felt twenty gave greater scope for subtlety. Ten is a baseline for normality, neither high nor low, but an acceptable level to live at generally, zero being about as low as a human being gets and twenty being scrape me off the ceiling time. I am also trying to figure out whether there is a bi-polar element to my depression, though should this prove to be the case, I am not sure what if anything I can do about it beyond accept and work with it.

So far I have noticed a number of interesting facts from the data so far collected. First, I noticed quite quickly that my mood starts pretty low every day, generally below the acceptable ten and sometimes climbs over the course of the day quite steeply. I can’t be sure yet with the month of so’s data whether there are consistently any factors that seem to correspond with this climb, but the sharpest spikes so far seem to correspond with a certain kind of event. This sort of event can be summed up as being one in which I am able to express myself: either verbally in the context of intense conversation or by being able to write and express myself in that manner.

A curious thing though, because I discovered also that the scale I have used, 1-20, does not relate to actual happiness. Over the course of the month, I have discovered that this scale I set is utterly two dimensional, in that while it measures a score of the high or lowness of my mood, this is unrelated to any feeling of happiness or anything else. It doesn’t relate to energy levels or of satisfaction or anxiety: just high or low. It pays no attention to my periods of desperate questioning that bring me to emotional breakdown on a fairly regular basis, or of external circumstances, good or bad. In essence, it’s a measure of something I can barely define.

Let me illustrate. During the course of my life, I have had moments where I have been flooded with a bliss that comes out of nowhere and has no particular relationship with whatever is going on in my life at that moment; it’s like having your soul swathed in the softest silk or velvet, balm poured upon your wounds and your heart is held in a loving embrace by something much greater and more wonderful than you ever imagined. I had such a day on Monday. Nothing externally had changed. I still wrestled with the same questions, I still lived the mundane life, I still grieved with those who were hurting. But this velveteen bliss coated my internal consciousness and filled my eyes with a kind of compassion and love and selflessness. The faintest shreds of this remain with me as I write this, as a kind of record. It’s not like being high, or happy, or content or really anything I can suggest as a comparison, and it certainly had nothing at all to do with circumstances either internal or external. It just was. The last time I remember this occurring, was Christmas Eve 2003 and I wrote the following poem to try and record the feeling:

Deep bliss: a feeling of velvet inside,

An inarticulate rightness of being

Brightness of being right

And I cannot tell why or how this feeling comes

A simple certainty that all shall be well,

Now and always.

I cannot capture this feeling, pin down

and dissect it, tear its secrets apart

And reveal a truth I already know.

An image of bright butterflies

the lark rising with its song

A moment of pure knowing

beyond that of the intellect

And I sit here now, passive, creative:

Alive.

 

 

I named this post Halcyon Day because this is what it is. The Halcyon days are the days during winter when the seas miraculously become still and calm for approximately seven days amid the season of storms; the story can be found here  and for me, the kingfisher is a potent symbol of being oneself, and showing your true colours. Even as I write the memory of that feeling slips away, like a dream at dawn, so that only a faint memory remains with me, enough to remind me that it may come again.

You cannot live to pursue bliss, because bliss comes when it wills, not when you will it. You cannot call it to you, or recreate the conditions in which it was born. Like the wind, it blows where it will and is gone. But once you know it exists, you will know its touch when it comes again.

And come it will, I promise you.

Warning!

  The following lines came to me (partially, anyway) yesterday in church. Those of you who notice the first line(and the title) is in homage to Jenny Joseph’s wonderful poem, give yourselves a gold star. This one is for Mark,who asked for something lighter after the somewhat grim offering yesterday. I was wearing more purple than the Bishop yesterday, and it sort of sparked some thoughts. Enjoy, I’m off to Marks and Spencer’s.

Warning

 

When I am bold I shall wear purple

With red satin undies that nobody sees

but make me feel a million dollars

in an inexplicable, sensual way

I shall say what I mean when I speak

and mean what I say, whatever the cost

I shall not waver in my conviction

that I have a right to be here

I shall leave my face unpainted if I want

And not feel bound by convention or habit

To alter my appearance in the slightest

If that is not how I wish to look.

I will wear flatties even if the style gurus say “No!”

because as a work in progress,

I am a being of perpetual motion

and no one can really run in heels.

I will try new things when I find them

even if they make me sick for a week

I will not follow the herd, but

I may accompany then sometimes

For observation and learning

because, you know, sometimes,

it’s nice to be part of a group.

But sometimes, I am far from bold

and I seek to hide my colours amid the beige

and wear underwear the colour of old gum

and say nothing when I should say everything,

shudder at the thought of trying something new

and hide from those who may need me

because to be bold is also to be a target

and a soul gets tired of being hunted.

So I will start small and work towards

an everyday boldness that becomes

a solid purple beacon of light

By buying those red satin undies

for those days when I need to be bold

and daring, from the inside out.