Humility and Humiliation

Today was definitely the latter.

Well meaning people who have no clue, causing situations and hurt that they don’t even realise and cannot comprehend. Poor management and organisation, which creates impossible situations, that hurt people. Idle promises but guaranteed with no follow through. “the practice manager will call you, yes I can see it’s urgent, promise…” and once again, unsurprisingly, no call. Can’t access the system, get an appointment, order meds, nothing. Punishment for deigning to change an F to an M on a system.

I don’t exist to the NHS today. I don’t matter. Essential medications impossible to access because your bureaucracy says currently that I simply don’t exist. Good job I’m not sick. Bad joke. I’m on three daily life saving medications for heart, lungs, pancreas; it’s a bit important, it certainly does matter.

I go for my ‘booster’ shot for C19. People asking disrespectful and dangerous (not to mention illegal) questions in a public space, where answers can literally put me in danger. My own fear of eyes, judging, disapproving, condemning, threatening… and potential repercussions. Heart in my mouth once again, knowing how impossible the situation is. I’ve no power, no rights, just do as you’re told. I was never much good at that.

So I’m meek, quiet, apologetic, fawning and explaining, patiently. That’s a lie that feels hateful and humiliating, so I stand up straight, talk clearly aloud, explain just why this is invasive, illegal and dangerous for me. Blank stares. No understanding. No comprehension. Meaningless apologies whilst forcing me into a round hole when I’m clearly a very square peg.

Sitting in the time out line, waiting to be allowed to leave. Can’t wait to escape the site of my familiar mortification. Happened with both other jabs in February and May. Head hung, mood low, heart heavy. White hot flares of anger at that once again, I’m in this place of impossible existence. This is why so many transgender folk don’t make it. Literally die. The ‘no way out’ scenario. The ‘I can’t do this anymore’ reality. The ‘I can’t take this anymore’.

Some might say I’ve created this situation myself. Chosen this. I know that I don’t have a choice, it’s not a choice. It’s who I am. It’s either this, or an unbearable life pretending I’m someone I’m not until I die.

Damn you society for making people believe everything is simple and binary; yes or no, black or white, gay or straight, man or woman, able or disabled. Don’t you know yet that the rainbow of the human race is SO much more complex and beautiful than that?

No, you don’t. So you force people into boxes they don’t belong, force them to face up to your parochial, patriarchal rules, even when those rules are so very clearly broken.

I’m just me. I just want a quiet life. I’m sorry the me that I am causes you to examine your boxes, scratching your heads, bewildered. Actually I’m not sorry at all. I wish the boxes were all torn up and thrown away and we began to recognise that those boxes are limiting to all of us, every one of us. That we need a new system, an open, creative, beautiful system that suits the myriad of variations of humans. Not just the one binary ‘normal’, that simply isn’t, for so many of us.

So many of us have to face this, day in and day out. So much pain. So much humiliation. When all we really want is to live our lives quietly, with humility and love, kindness and fun, growth and happiness. Without hate and violence, without fear and objectification, without having to face these outdated, outmoded, unwarranted binary boxes that this systemic, structural, bullshit society imposes upon us all.

I am a man. Yes, I happen to be a transgender man. But even though I’ve filled in every humanly possible box ever for you, cow towing to your systems, doing everything that is required of me simply to exist… your systems are still broken, and I’m still humiliated and put in literal danger, time after time after time.

Look at me. Imagine me walking into the women’s ward for a scan that can easily be done in the ordinary scan department. Imagine the look on the receptionist’s face. Imagine how that felt to experience. Imagine how it felt to be told another time you couldn’t be on the women’s ward (which would be wrong anyway) because you still have a penis; literally getting my transness arse backwards. Imagine another time having trans clearly written in thick red marker on your hospital file, ‘so people don’t make mistakes’, for anyone to see (who has no reason to).

Imagine not going to the doctors, or hospital, avoiding them at all costs, rather than subject yourself to either transphobia or trans-ineptness that is nothing less than humiliating and always potentially dangerous. Imagine being sick and not asking for help, to avoid this.

I had covid19 back in March 2019. It was bad, I have COPD and my breathing was awful. My beloveds were fearful. But I avoided going into hospital, simply because I knew in my weakened state, I couldn’t fight it.

Imagine being punched walking across a Tesco carpark simply because of who you are.

Imagine being spat at in a public toilet, and feeling grateful it wasn’t something worse.

Imagine receiving derogatory pejoratives in public.

That’s what it’s like to be transgender in this current societal set up.

I just want to live freely the way I wish to, and to be fully, unashamedly, unapologetically me.

Isn’t that what we all want, ultimately? Is that really so very wrong?

No. The system is.

© DK Green 25/11/21

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Space and Time

Finally, a little space appears for my writer to creep out from the undergrowth and breathe into life once more. What luxury. What freedom. No desire as yet to return to ‘the book’, only to unleash the skittering deliciousness of words and feelings upon the page again.

It’s cold today, that crisp blue skied chill that means Winter is coming; and yet with this slow recovery of illness I’m both frozen and glistening with sweat, unshaven, unkempt and just a little shaky. Yet my hands, quivering with the unexpected physical exertion of writing (yes really), seem like eager children grasping at crayons, exuberant with the joy of splashing colour on walls once more.

Odd to have a feeling of being so alive, ignited, excited, whilst feeling my body contracted, withdrawn, slightly sullen even. What is that energy all about?

Grief. Illness. Fatigue. Age. A mind and body sore from all it’s suffered. Two close deaths recently. Long Covid for eighteen months, plus a random flu to knock my inexorably slowly recovering body back on it’s heels again. My body offering a feeling of winding down, slowing. But I’m only fifty-four! I should be vital, energetic, enthusiastic still, sucking the very marrow from the bone of life and relishing filling the days with adventure and joy. Taking moments after moments of joy with my grown children, my grandchildren, family, my beloveds and my friends. I miss them. All.

Yet I crave peace, presently. A slowing down. A letting go of all the hustle and bustle. I crave, and am taking, solitude. They worry, all those who care, yet I worry equally they’ll all feel neglected. And they do.

I’ve done enough. I am enough. I deserve to rest.

Perhaps I did too much, so what I actually need is a rest ‘for now’. Perhaps a gentler time, restorative, less demanding. Maybe when the Spring returns I’ll unfurl, breathe in deeply, and allow the beauty of gentler shifts to ‘more’ of what I wish the garden of my life to look like, alongside ‘less’ of the things we feel we ‘must’. New, different, joyful and peaceful, rather than frenetic and busy, hard and too much. I most assuredly like the sound of that.

But for now, I choose to ‘furl’, rather than unfurl. I choose to draw in, like the energy of Autumn drifting towards Winter, to close down, quieten, settle in. I find myself withdrawing naturally from the busy-ness of life, from all the doing, chasing, achieving and solving. I find myself drawing inwards, more dwelling within my own mind, my own heart.

I like it in here. It’s quiet. Peaceful. My own mind and heart wants to snuggle quietly, alone, with itself. My life is blessed and beautiful, I am surrounded by loved ones, those I take care of and those who gladly take care of me. My life is awash with people both professional and personal.

A few times per year I take a few days off to myself, off grid, away from the world and from people, often for just three days and two nights, but it’s generally plenty enough to sustain me. Time to be with just me. That’s what this feels like, only more so somehow, deeper. Shaded by gradients, inch by inch, mouthful by small, slow mouthful, taking just a little more of me and my life back, for myself. For me.

Selfish is not a dirty word. Self-care the buzzword. I just want self. For now. For me.

I need space, and time, and rest.

Shake the tree Rachel says to me, and see what falls. I hope the vista when I unfurl is still just as beautiful and blessed as it already is.

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Alternative Healing Conference

I participated in a 13min panel Q&A on shamanism for this Alternative Healing Conference. There are many speakers, and it’s free access for 3 days! Enjoy.

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A Wraparound Blanket of Words

Sometimes words are jarring, incongruous, out of place.

Sometimes I yearn for silence, space, peace.

Sometimes the words in my head go around and around like a rickety old washing machine, interminable, vacuous, meaningless and vague. Even within the silence of temporary peace, my head can reverberate in irritating, pinchy cycles that don’t seem to want to let go their tenuous yet vicelike grip.

Sometimes words want to escape my throat, visceral, plaintive, desperate to be expressed.

Sometimes, once in a miracle while, words can wrap themselves around me like a hug, or a soft, silken blanket. I can slide in between them, snuggling down, allowing them to caress me from head to toe.

I love words. Language.

Speech, story, song.

Connection, creation, love.

Erotic, gentle touch, smooth yet sticky, whispered entrapments like syrup.

Passionate pleas and protesting devotions, pleading whimpers and gasps of release and relief.

Touch that plunders senses, renders breathing absent, or belaboured.

Touch that tickles, not uncomfortably but invitingly so, the hairs on our bodies also responding, mimicking the breath.

Long drawn out sighs, long drawn out stroking.

Rapid breathless gasps, rapid breathless pleasure.

The softest teasing, inviting, inciting, exciting whispers of touch.

The finest hairs, featherlight touch, breath, exhales.

Goosebumps, mind-bending bodily experiences, existential, flooding potential.

Colours brighten, all senses acutely hyper-aware, the light even holds a different quality.

The magical bubble, within which life ‘out there’ fades from view, and life ‘in here’ becomes the centre of the universal experience.

I am me. I am beyond me, inside, outside, above and all around me. I am we.

We are all.

The miracle, magical, once in awhile.

I truly love words.

Especially when utterly wordless.

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The Body Keeps the Score

The body keeps the score. It’s a truth in itself, and it’s also the title of an excellent therapeutic book by Bessel Van der Kolk.

Because the body really does hold, cumulatively, the sum of our experiences. I’m currently talking about this as an ongoing practice, a thing to be aware of always, what is your body trying to communicate to you. So in particular I look now (that the longer term work on early trauma for me is predominantly done) at more recent happenings, what you’ve just been through, and how your body absolutely will let you know what’s going on. Longer term yes indeed, the body holds and shows all our past traumas, abuses, struggles and hard times. But today I’m talking about how responsive I’ve become in knowing my body, and what’s happening therein. Mostly.

So I awoke today with a tummy ache, mild cramps, and the requirement to sit terribly boringly on the loo. Unfortunately being diabetic and on various medications, this is not terribly unusual, so I wasn’t particularly disturbed and just went about my day (zoom tutorial, client, etc).

Then it came near to time for my ‘Wild Write Wednesdays’ writers group. However, shortly beforehand the cramps had increased hugely, and my goodness I felt awful. Sure enough, at the time I should have been signing into the group, I found myself instead moaning unpleasantly and decidedly stuck on the loo.

Being as usual in my head I was mildly irritated at the inconvenience of my bodily timing, not wanting to be late or appear rude with lateness, and musing why I’d avoided eating all day instinctively (though also jolly glad of it).

One of the wonderful things about this writing group is that we actually take time to check in with our body, to feel into it, see what it’s telling us, or calling our attention to. We take time to stretch, curl up, walk around, shake off, or whatever we feel it needs; before we even begin to write. Eva (who holds the group) began her usual invitational to do so… and the words ‘feel into your body’ simply reminded me to drop out of ‘head’ and into ‘body’ and take a good look at what was going on.

It was SO CLEAR, so ludicrously simple, that I felt a bit silly really for being so in head that I’d not recognised it sooner. So grateful for that writing space for this, and so much more.

The past few days, few weeks really, have held an added stressor for me. A trans masc leather community I’d mostly enjoyed for over a year, throughout the pandemic, had become problematic.

Apparently even trans men aren’t allergic or immune to toxic masculinity… and that had become quite saddening for me, being in a zoom space and feeling once again silenced by that. I’m not exactly a fly on the wall myself, anyone who knows me knows I’m not backwards in coming forwards. However bigger, brasher, louder voices simply took over, taking up all the space (#because that’s what ‘real men’ do, right? Ugh.) and there was no longer any room in the space for any other voices to be heard. Quite the contrary, I and many others were dismissed, ignored, spoken over etc. It felt just like the experience of being (perceived as) a woman in a man’s space all over again, having to fight to be heard, listened to, rather than being dismissed, talked over, ridiculed and ignored. It was making me really sad.

Then this past week or so a new topic had come up, around non-binary folk. The ‘key players’ in the group, despite paying lip service to supporting non-binary folk, were actually getting more and more ‘biological determinism’, basically using the same scripts as trans-exclusionary folk, that fundamentally for them what mattered was what was in their pants, or what they were assigned at birth i.e. how they were socialised. I was gutted. Disappointed, profoundly, that in a group of marginalised trans folk, who knew what it was like to have your gender dismissed, ridiculed and determined by others… were doing precisely the same thing to non-binary folk. Enforcing a binary concept onto them, just as has been done to us for so long.

It was a horrible experience. The group owner, together with one AFAB non-binary person, basically buckled down hard, insisting their point of view was correct, and at first merely ignoring the few of us who were trying hard to address this, then arguing, and eventually simply dismissing and stating their biological essentialism as simple fact, rather than allowing any space for nuance.

During this process I watched as it become a genuinely bullying culture. I had private messages from people thanking us for speaking up, because they dare not. I had one even message that they’d been ‘trying to find a way to leave’ …which says more than anyone needs to know enough about the culture within the group itself.

I was gutted. I left, resigned formally from my leadership team role of the group (which was in fact itself a mythical farce, as only particular voices were ever acknowledge), and so I quit the group.

So as of yesterday, it was all over. Bar the inevitable laughter and bitching behind our backs (others left too due to this stuff, and the behaviour of the actual group heads itself towards us), which will doubtless continue… but I’m out, can’t see it any longer, and certainly don’t need to know, or waste my energy thinking further about it. It’s firmly and unequivocally behind me. I’m only saddened for those left behind in an echo chamber that leaves no room for growth or nuance.

So of COURSE today was all about my body evacuating, dumping all the shit (quite literally) and letting go of all the unpleasantness that it had been uncomfortably, tensely, swallowing and holding tightly for many days.

Yes indeed, the body keeps the score, and sometimes it lets us know in no uncertain terms, what exactly it needs. Give it love, be compassionate with your body. It loves you, and it’s trying to tell you something.

I needed to let it all go. As the cool kids say “bye felicia”.

Guess what? Tummy pains are all gone, because I listened to my body… and I let it all go. 😊

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Annual Circle

Annual shamanic self development circle working with me, stars Sunday! Join us.

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Tail End Repercussions of a Pandemic

Where am I today? Languishing.

There was a wonderful piece written by Adam Grant all about it[i] and I know it resonated for many. Languishing. Not quite depression, but also not quite ok. Low motivation and energy, lethargy, just ‘not quite ok’ but also ‘can’t quite put my finger on it’.

So yes, I’m fine. But I’m also just sort of, on some level, kinda not ok. I’m tired, so very tired all the time. I’m working probably only a little more than usual, but it just feels so very much more. I’m finding other commitments, usually healthy, harmless and engaging, involve more mental/emotional labour, it’s just more like more work. Everything feels a little like work.

Yes of course I’m missing people, achingly so regarding some, yet I don’t seem to have the wherewithal to do much about it. I’m missing fun, travel, adventure… and yet the same, can’t seem to find the motivation to do diddly about that either. It’s really rather rubbish!

I’d really welcome a few days of nothing, rest, recuperation, restorative laziness… but would it actually restore? Or is this deeper than that, the cumulative result of a very tough year (for all), a collective global lived through trauma, a shift in reality, an unexpected massive change in life that we’re all still living through in many ways. Not knowing whether a genuine return to the old version of ‘normal’ is ever going to quite happen. Wondering what changes might stay. Pondering what is possible to retrieve.

Throw in some real world worries like a loved one with a worrying injury, another loved one with dreadful chronic health issues (etc) and bob’s your uncle, I feel what can only really be described as ‘splat’. It’s like my resources, my resilience, my gung ho, can do it all, usual self somehow drifted off into the sunset and I can’t seem to locate him.

I know I am actually ok. My health is manageably good, my home and relationships, my family and friends, my work… all pretty good. But yes… languishing is definitely very much a thing.

I’m grateful for my home (my very safe, loving, gilded cage), my return to better health, my loved ones of all kinds. I don’t have to fight for food or shelter, or money. I’m blessed to bits.

So frankly sod off languishing, you’re a rubbish companion.


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Thoughts on Life

Breathe deep, be with your body. Pay attention to it, hold it, feel into it, what aches, what hurts, and learn what feels good. Flex and stretch it, roll and sensualise it, touch and love it. Don’t shy away from it, don’t dislike it, don’t pick fault with it; it is you. It is the vessel carrying you through this life, for better or for worse. If you think you like who you are, yet dislike your body, you don’t really love you just yet. Love it for its marks, shapes, colours, age, and its curvy or pointy bits, its extra or lack of bits. Trust it. Hold it and allow it to be held. Have pride it in, it is yours, it gives you life and means you are alive, and it is that which allows you to live and love. Heart, mind, body. Change what you can and need to, accept that which you cannot. As it should be, it already is. Love it anyway.

Walk, dance, and move more. Allow every bone and muscle to feel every movement, move it all, keep it alive, flowing, going. Without health, without the physical ability to do all the things you wish to do, life merely gets tougher. If it is already restricted, do all that you can to allow it movement, flow, life. Love it anyway.

Love your mind. No matter what abilities or skills, or what lack or challenges, it too is how you navigate life, relationships, learning, passing on your knowledge, work and play. Utilise it, refresh it, help those grey cells of your mind thrive and live by always feeding it more. Always allow it time to rest and play too. If your mind is a challenge for you (or others), be that by mental health, neurodiversity, lack of education, intellectual or academic ability, use what you have, learn what you can, let it thrive in environments of exploration and learning. Love it anyway.

Nurture and nourish your heart. Feel every feeling, great and awful. Allow yourself, give yourself permission, you are entitled to all of them. We’re systemically, socially and culturally trained to swallow or repress, ignore or deny them. Don’t do that. Those same feelings will arise time and again until you truly allow yourself to feel them, spend the energy of them, so that they may pass. Roll the taste of them around on your tongue, in your mouth, in your body. Where does that hurt? Where does that enliven or excite? Let the tears flow, let the laughter ring out loudly, let freedom and truth guide your emotions so that you are, wholly you, heart open and honest, deep and shallow, let all of the truth of your feelings be alive. If your heart is weary or sore, forgive it, it’s all we really have to guide us through life and learn the heart lessons from. Love it anyway.

Seek adventure and experience, suck the very marrow from the bone[1] of this thing we call life. No regrets, only experiences and memories, both wonderful and awful. Travel, meet new people, seek out lives other than your own to learn from, other cultures, races, languages. Do all the things you wanted to do as a child in life, whatever those things may once have been. Learn to live again, and to drink deeply from this life we are given. If you have restrictions or limitations; do what you can, when you can, how you can. Live life as much as you can so that the only things you ever have to regret are the things you haven’t done, not the things you have. Good times and bad, love life’s experiences anyway.

Make connections. Don’t be an island, except from time to time as is useful to you, to go within and love oneself, to breathe and be a human being, rather than a human doing* (we’ll talk more of this). Meet people, make new friends, talk to passing acquaintances and learn about them, we can all learn so much from others. Love freely and openly, even knowing sometimes that your love may not be returned, and appreciate those who love you, even when you cannot in return. You will not be liked by everyone, and you will not like everyone, that is a simple fact of life; we are all different people with differing beliefs, values, opinions; it matters not. Interacting with others is what matters, the connections, the intimacy, the web of beings we share our lives and this planet with. Love and connect anyway.

Explore spirituality, openly and freely. Make your own choices, whatever you choose to believe, it is your choice, nobody else’s. Whether you choose a religion, a spirituality, or prefer currently proven facts, science, or indeed both (also a choice). Whether you choose to disbelieve in any form spirituality and simply choose another way for your own moral compass, or find in nature itself your source of solace, that too is your choice; it matters not. What matters is that it is indeed your own choice entirely, and that as such you respect anyone else’s right to choose for themselves, and their own choices. Explore for yourself anyway.

Nurture and nourish one another. Do not harm, diminish or belittle each other. Thrive together, do not divide and wither apart. ‘Everyone is entitled to their own opinion’ is one truth, yet it is often misused. So do take time to consider; and if your opinion harms another, either rethink it, or keep it to yourself. Diversity and difference is what makes us human, do more to welcome, be tolerant and inquiring instead, make allowances and have understanding; and do less harm because of it. Love one another anyway.

Be kind. So much of life and the world would be more beautiful, if we were all simply kinder to each other. Be thoughtful, considerate and acknowledging of one another. Witness each other in all our differences, and be respectful of other beings also going about the business of living their lives. Be compassionate to those less fortunate than yourself. Be passionate in elevating others, by which actions in turn you too shall be elevated. Be loving, as when someone appears to deserve it the least, is probably when they need it the most[2].

Speak less, listen more.

Think less upon how much you know, and more upon how much more there is to learn.

All we have is time, spend it wisely.

See me, hear me, feel me[3]. So much deep internal pain is caused and created by not being seen, heard or felt by others. Not only should you endeavour to see, hear and feel others for them, but it’s vital that you see, hear and feel you, for yourself. Look in the mirror and really learn to appreciate you, for none can do that better for you than yourself, nobody can do that for you. Bear witness to others, and to yourself. Feel seen, heard and felt first, last and always, by yourself. Have gratitude for those in your life who do see, hear and feel you. For all your growth, foibles and mistakes, habits, strengths and weaknesses; see, hear and feel you anyway.

There is so much in our lives and in the wider world that can feel hard, horrid or difficult sometimes. Remember always that life is also a blessing and filled with so much more beauty to find, too. We can always find it, if we take a breath and look around, no matter how difficult the path. Walk in beauty anyway.

Love DK Green, 13th January 2021

[1] First heard spoken by Barbara Carrellas

[2] First heard spoken by Tracie Wayling (old Swedish proverb)

[3] Song lyric from Tommy, The Musical

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Spring, after the long Winter of C19

I’d like to write about how the sun feels resting lightly upon my face, after a year of being mostly cooped up within four walls (as we all were/are in this strange, plague-ridden time) and how the warmth reaches deep into my flesh and bones, touches my spirit and ignites a fresh, slow burning light. How the view from my windows, particularly the rear ones of our home, have given me succour during this time, to see and imagine the taste of freedom, like through a prison window. Except of course ours is a very gilded cage, and we share it together. Home.

The wide expanse of sky is currently a paint box gradient of blues with a few scattered rows of clouds like puffed up sentinels. The trees within and beyond the garden, leafless still yet towering, tall, stretching up their fingertips to the heavens with the tiniest buds appearing at those tips as reward. The birds flitting hither and thither, busying themselves collecting nesting materials; they remind me of dogs with sticks too big for their tiny bodies.

The dining table is resplendent with floral arrangements currently, two bouquets from loved ones for different reasons, and the scent pervades the house. Freesia, lily, so intense that I can still smell it at the far end of the house in my office. The colours and scents of them this morning stretched my lips wide in smiles, as if depicting a promise of Spring to come. The sun is keeping that promise today, welcoming us outdoors, even before we quite can, not safely just yet. Soon though… soon the flowers and air and world will welcome us back outside.

Vaccinations are progressing at speed, over half the UK adult population now. Soon it’ll be safer. We can return to our lives, release the hard pressed pause button, re-join our loved ones for those long awaited and desperately yearned for hugs and laughter once more.

Life without hugs, adventure, fun and laughter tastes decidedly bland. How fortunate are we who had that and will have it once again.

A year is a long time when you’re living it. Years pass in the blink of an eye; adulthood, children, grandchildren… and yet this one year has felt longer than many previous ones. So full of sadness, longing and missing, feeling trapped and fearfully hidden away, and for far too many, grieving and loss. It has indeed had that feel of Winter, the hunkering down and keeping warm, the comforts of warmth and the quiet of less busy-ness, the food and television, the phone calls instead of days out. The waiting for it to be over and for the sun to shine and the warmth to play and dance again.

Winter is passing us by at last, fading into a new Spring, a new hope, out of the depths of the great Winter of coronavirus, years 2020 and well into 2021.

How was your Winter? What are you most looking forward to in our Summer ahead? For me it’s about the holding of loved ones, the hugs, the cuddles and the touch. Wrapping my arms around those I love with all my heart, after a year of withdrawal, furtive conversations held stood apart, the joining of skin to skin again rather than the physically imposed divide of social distancing. Two metres is a world apart from the ones you love. Also for me is the yearning for travel and adventures again, the life beyond our own knowledge and experience, the holidays and trips abroad to see life through new eyes once more.

I’m aware of my enormous privilege. I have loved ones to return to and I can. I can travel. I know many have lost so much, or didn’t even have those things before this year-long Winter. So many have lost loved ones to this virus. So many have lost jobs and income, homes and relationships. So many will simply be wandering life as if in a post-apocalypse, picking up the pieces where they can, trying to rebuild from less than before, or nothing.

I wonder how the homeless fared. I wonder how poverty affected the weight and suffering of this hard year. I wonder how many people will have their own variation of war stories to tell their own grandchildren when they ask… what did you do during Covid19 granddad, or what was it like grandma? People will laugh and be baffled by the toilet roll fiasco. People will wonder what it could feel like to be separated from loved ones for a whole year, like wartime stories of children being sent away.

We were safe. We were home. We kept ourselves safe. But we did fear for our lives from time to time, just for the simple act of going to the shop to buy a loaf of bread.

It’s not actually war time for us… but it is for some in other parts of the world. For others, deprivation, poverty and geographical location, politics and societal systems will have all played a part in how people have had to endure this past year, and indeed, for some, it will continue for even longer, for them. For others, this was their last year on earth.

We are the lucky ones.

But fuck, that was damn hard, even so.

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Writing for it’s own pleasure

Would I like some cheese with that whine? Yes, yes indeed I would.

I have so many ‘tasks’ to complete, professional, business, necessary and important tasks, even one quite urgent. But I’m snuggled on my sofa, it’s my day off, I’m wrapped in my big ole gifted merino wool cardigan, toes tucked in under a fluffy blanket in my slippers, curled up into the sofa and definitely feeling the call for a bit of self-love, gentleness, and even playfulness.

So I came to my writing circle with a particular urgent task in mind as my intention (with an actual deadline). I looked at my own book, begun and part written, still sat awaiting my further attention. I looked at the group work ‘essays’ I wrote last week, knowing that I really do need to get that out into the world too.

But all I want to do is breathe, flex, spin words like wool and play with them, toy with them, roll them around in my mouth like fascinating and delicious flavours to explore. I’m feeling playful.

So what should I free-fall write about I ask myself? Because of course, falling free into the void feels terrifying and wonderful, but surely I ‘must have’ (should, could, ought) some idea, right? Then again, is that really how truly playing with words like paint on an artist’s palette should work?

This space, this ‘Wild Write Wednesdays’ group of open hearts, really gets my juices flowing creatively. It is literally the only space in my life at present where I get to enjoy and employ my artistry, my creativity, my joy; and there is decidedly not enough of that in my life at present. It’s always on my day off, thankfully, where I can relax and indulge myself a little. Yet today was actually more work; a supervisee session followed by a research interview! So is it any wonder that I don’t want to work, I just want to play.

I watch them, as I write here. I separate the screen into two halves; one, my writing and the other, their faces on a zoom screen that is the group ‘home’. In the sharing there is often one or two themes running and today was no different, many of us feeling the pull of obligations versus the joy of this, our creative space. I see pondering, busy-ness, lost in thought, contemplation and distraction. It’s a wholesome space filled with bright spirits, and its beautiful to write within this holding by our esteemed host and each other.

So what am I doing? Letting words fall freely from my fingertips without concern about ‘sense’ or ‘structure’ or ‘meaning’… living my own lessons of being a human being, rather than a human doing. Yum. It’s delicious. To do a thing simply for the love and enjoyment of it, rather than for some higher purpose or some productivity aim. Lush!

I’m actually simply really enjoying indulging myself in warmth, cosiness, comfort and rest. Relaxing, stretching, flexing and sighing, deeply content. Brief moments of tenderness towards myself. Heartbeats, breath, a pause, a smile. The space between the words perhaps.  

If I weren’t keeping company I’d probably simply lay down on these cushions and allow myself to dose, float off softly to some distant dreams, a smile tickling the corners of my mouth.

Heartbeat and breath, that’s what it all comes down to. We’re (I’m) so busy doing, doing, doing. It’s really considered a luxury and a self-indulgence to simply rest. Isn’t that the most bizarre thing?

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