Saturday 19 December 2020

It is not good to embrace pathological mistrust of each other


This is normal. My granddumpling Lilz and me together.

There is a bigger picture.

We must keep this in mind.

Do you remember what was normal for you a short while ago?  Do you remember that we held each others hands, we kissed each other in greeting and when we saw people we loved we hugged them.  It felt good and normal.  When we needed a friend, if we had one, we could go and see that person.  We made plans to go away on holidays to explore, to relax, to experience a different place for a week or so.  Do you remember when it was normal to greet people and smile and do you remember when we could travel the streets on the way to somewhere or other and if there were loads of other people going about their business, we didn't mind?

Do you remember when the things that annoyed or disturbed you were not other people frightening the life out of you by coming too close to you?  And that your home was a place you lived in from where you walked out into that big wide world out there without a second thought?

That is normal.  That was normal.  That is still normal. It is not abnormal.

A while ago, maybe you were too busy and longed to get off the merry go round.  Perhaps the world was a little too crazy and you felt you were caught up in it without being able to get out.  Perhaps, you didn't actually like what you were doing, who you were seeing, who you were.  Maybe you were tired, resentful, stuck and feeling lost.  Or, maybe you were inspired and excited about your future, about what was happening in your life and who you were with.  It might be that things were going well for you after a period of preparation and hard work, it may be that you were excited about a new grandchild coming and planning to go and support and help your own child adjust to being a parent now.  Or, finally, you had found a good and wholesome home for an aged person and you were able to breathe a sigh of relief.  The business of caring and worry was taken care of and now you thought, you can visit your aged person and simply love them.  

Those things are normal.  Whatever your belief in what is happening around you, whatever you are doing or not doing, I want us to remember that what is happening now is not normal.  

It is not good nor usual to live with fear and anger.  We used to know people who lived in fear and anger and we did not want to spend much time with them.  It is exhausting to be them and to be with them.  It is not good to believe we are in danger at all times unless we are in isolation.  Depression and loneliness and fear do not protect us from death.  Nothing protects us from death.  You have one life so live it.  It is not good to allow our minds to be filled with dread and to agree, bit by bit, actually to embrace, pathological mistrust of each other simply existing in the same space as us as if this were going to make us live.  Not even live longer, but actually to live at all. And it is not good for us to carry the burden of belief that we, against our will and all our beliefs in the sanctity of life, will kill anyone who comes near us.  That is not normal and not good.  We are in a double bind.  We need to stay alive at all costs and we must keep each other alive at all costs.  Once we are in this state of mind, it will take a miracle to get us out of it.  The beliefs that put us there do not just evaporate, and though they are new beliefs, they feel real. Very real.  So real that we do not see a time when we will ever think otherwise.  The past is another country.  The future is this, what we are doing now.  And we do not know whether they are true or not, these beliefs, because they feel so real.  

So I am saying do not narrow your focus down to this way you are living now.  Remember what was real all your life up till now.  Don't forget.  Keep it in mind.  If you feel there is nothing you can do about your fear and isolation, if you feel there is a need for you to diminish yourself and all those around you in order to stay alive and - very dangerous thinking - to keep them alive (that is a dreadful burden you should not be carrying.  It makes you very vulnerable to bad thinking) then you have agreed to give away your power.  There seems to be a greater fear of judgement from each other for not being a good and paranoid citizen than from any illness.  It feels real but is it true?  

Christmas is coming.  Perhaps it is with a sigh of relief that we will police each other and not have to spend time with anyone.  Perhaps it is what you wanted all along.  Perhaps it is not and it is breaking your heart.  But rules is rules and if you don't comply not only will you be judged fiercely and cruelly, but you run the risk of being perceived as a serial killer.  It is possible too that your heart is breaking because all you have created has been crushed in the name of this safety and mistrust.  Maybe you are facing a nothing because your business is perceived as dangerous.  So in the name of safety it has to go.  So does your future and so do your friends and family.  The long and the short of it is that you, in order to comply, must cease to exist.  For your own good and that of everyone else.  And then what?  Well, we are to stay at home alone, and all things we would leave our house for are removed. So we stay at home alone and are grateful we are alive.  And then what?

Take back your power.  You have one life.  Decide if this is what you agree to and if you do agree to it, can you see that it is working - how many lives have you saved so far and how many near misses with death have you had and can you tell me just how many people you have lost because of this illness?  I am a grandma and I am not afraid of death.  Or of you.  You can do nothing to me nor I to you by simply breathing.  I am not afraid of the world, of being together of being with my friends and family and I am not afraid of being human.  I am simply not afraid of you.  Isolated and frightened people do not behave very well, and do not think clearly for themselves.  Is this you?  What are you afraid of?  

Love is all.  Self love is also all.  Love and fear are part of our human condition.  If fear wins then what you will do, agree to, and accept in the name of dealing with your fear, will not be Love.  Love is a bigger, wider, brighter, courageous and truth seeking thing.  I choose love. 

This too is normal.  My Christmas party last year with my friends.
 Does this make you feel anxious?

This is not normal.  Does it make you feel relief?  Why? 

Monday 7 December 2020

Never doubt your fairy-ness

I never doubted my fairy-ness

When I was a very little girl, I was convinced I was a fairy.  Looking back, it was really just about me, I did not see fairies, did not talk to them nor think anyone else was a fairy.  I was lost in my own world where I was the fairy, and that was that. 

 I was a solid, food loving fairy with blonde hair that stuck up straight in all directions until my very beautiful mother brushed it down and put pretty ribbons in it. I longed to be a delicate, flimsy wood sprite and thought I should wear my mother's net curtains and that everyone should do as I commanded.  It sounds like a very healthy attitude for a little girl with three little brothers and it did not stop there.  I made my two younger brothers dress up and play fairies and princesses with me as a special treat.  

 I remember longing for twinkles, and glitter, and colour, and long fancy dresses. I wanted feathers, and

gossamer, and frills.  My father who was academic and eccentric, and my mother's older sister Kit, a
My mother and my aunts made me
lovely dresses
brilliant artist herself, would read me fairy tales and fill my imagination with magical stories, show me gorgeous illustrations and let me smell and hold delicate plants and flowers in the garden.  My Aunt Kit had in her flat in Birmingham, rows of coloured glass on the sitting room window sill.  Light would shine through the deep blues, reds, greens and yellows of these glass bottles to create swirling patterns of light and beauty on the walls opposite, sending me into such wonder and joy. I wanted to live in these wonderful colours. Kit could create wonderful murals too, illustrations of fairy tales with castles, princesses, beautiful dresses and fantastical creatures.  They appeared on her walls, and disappeared as she painted over them, and appeared again in another room.  She made dolls clothes out of the remnants of cloth that she used to make her own clothes - fancy, twinkling turquoise materials, pink and yellow patterned cottons, and purple silks.  Kit, my mother and their sister Anne were beautiful, creative, fiery of temper and loved quality in all things.
  All of them made their own clothes.  As a fat funny looking little fairy, I was in awe of these wonderful women and they, and all my uncles, bless them, made such a fuss of me with pretty materials and ribbons and bows.  I must have amused them endlessly with my efforts to be elegant and walk with my head held high wearing as many bits of glittery cloth as I could manage.  I was deadly serious though.  I had standards to keep, and a role to play.  I was a fairy and had work to do.   

 Growing up as a fairy had its drawbacks though.  In the playground one day, when I was about six years old, a group of rather assertive girls told me that only those born in 1959 or 1961 were fairies.  How they knew this never once occurred to me.  All I knew was that I was born in 1960 and by these new rules, I was out.  But! they all said, ask the fairy queen who lives in a tree outside the sports hut.  Maybe she can make you into a fairy like us.  Go, they said, see if Esmerelda will appear to you in the tree.  

 Each lunch break for many weeks, I would stand under the tree asking for Esmerelda to come and make me back into a fairy.  It was lonely and stressful because Esmerelda never once appeared. The other girls would come and giggle, and I became more and more alone and distressed.  Eventually my mother asked me what was making me so quiet and upset.  The girls had made me promise to tell no one, they had made me do a thing called a Vow, which was more than a promise, and would be terrible to break.  But my mother was so kind, and so gentle, that I burst into tears and told her everything.  What had distressed me most was that Esmerelda had never shown herself, even though the other girls, the real fairies as they said, would tell me she had long chats with them all the time.  Oh dear.  I was so upset. 

 My mother hugged me, wiped away my tears, and told me all would be well.  The next day, to my great surprise, all the other girls came to find me to tell me I was a fairy, that Esmeralda said I was the best fairy, and from that playtime onwards, nothing was ever said about it again.  And, they were very nice to me.  I thought it was my fairy credentials that had finally got through to them but I now know that my beautiful Irish mother went into see the teachers and the headmistress and read them the riot act.  She had a fine turn of phrase and was deeply articulate.  I think she spoke to the girls themselves too, in the headmistress’s study.  The upshot was that everyone behaved very well afterwards.  

 I carried on oblivious to all this, back to being a fairy and living my magical life.

 Christmas is coming.  It is a time of lights and festivities, we have a set programme of decorating our houses and businesses, buying in lots of food, trying to see family (and be nice to them) and of course, lots of presents. 

 This year it may not be like this.  We may be alone and afraid.  We may weigh up that we would rather stay alive than hug our relatives.  We may find ourselves relieved that no one will come, and we will go nowhere, we may save money on presents and we may tell ourselves that we don’t want anything anyway because we fear it may kill us.

 Or, we may be happy to see each other, or to see just a chosen few.  Whatever happens, this Christmas is different and we feel we can’t do much about it.  I have been feeling very miserable about it all and thinking that if no one is coming, and nothing much is happening, I may just forgo the tree and the lights.  Why bother, I said to myself.

 And then I found a photo of myself as a child.  Deep in my world as a fairy.  I remembered the happiness of just being, and of never questioning, magic.  Of how I looked for and loved lights, glitter, and loveliness and I thought – of course I must have Christmas!  I must have my tree and decorations and have them for me!  The fairy is still in there, she is still longing to see the pretty things on the tree, the fairy lights in the hallway and the fun of making a special meal on Christmas day.  My fairy has come up from the depths and is taking over.  Make it special!  She says, cover it all in glitter!  Wear your fanciest of clothes!  Put on your jewels and let us have Christmas together!  Let us be magic.

 We will do just that, she and me and anyone else who comes by.

Ready to fly away.

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