Dear 33

looking-glass-721

Dear 33,

I will start with a need, a need so strong it is pressing against my ribs and the only thing keeping me upright in this moment. I need you to hold me. To hold me so tight it doesn’t matter if I won’t be able to breathe. Reach your hand from the future and grab me. Clasp your fingers with mine. Intertwined and sacred. Trace this moment and outline it, for I cannot make sense of this path. This part of our life is called uncertain.

Remember that childhood knowing that sat so dominantly in the chest? That we were somehow meant for great things? I think I remain unconvinced. The dots should have aligned by now and our empire taking shape. But instead we went walking through deserts, barefoot on the blistering hot sand. We climbed in and out of trenches. This has been no straight path. Nothing at all like the flower garden trails I imagined as a girl. The pictures in my head were crystal clear and full of vibrant colour as I skipped through girlhood and through that long, dry grass that covered miles of space behind the house. My body was 6 years old but my soul was ancient.

33, beloved, I know where I’ve come from, how far and deep that place is, and so forgive me for the doubts now. It’s just that…it’s just that nobody said how hard it would be, how scary it would seem to put one foot in front of the other on a road less travelled. A path everyone secretly and publicly thinks you shouldn’t be taking. Certain roads should only be taken by certain people – this is actually a rule in this world. Nobody will own to it but nobody has to because everybody knows that is the way it is.

I know you think this is a load of crap and that is why I love you. Why I need you. You are a woman with the wind beneath your sails. Your eyes are grown and wise. You see life’s beauty and her sorrow and you find a place for both. You are a celebrator of life, the drumbeat that vibrates at the core of her.

I need your courage and strength more than ever. That little girl skipping in the long, dry grass with an old soul keeps calling out to me. The dreams we had then cemented in ink and yet I feel so far from them now, so far from the sap that energised them and sweetened them.

This is a hard job – expressing what many are afraid to acknowledge as being their very own thoughts, echoing the cries of other people’s hearts, reflecting them back to themselves. Sometimes I want to tell you that we should have picked an easier job but I know we didn’t choose this work. It came imprinted on the heart that beats in the chest. The same heart that beat in our 6 year old self.

And what is more beautiful than words? Words have the power to bind wounds, to nurse the place where it is broken and to heal the things that need to be healed. Words give wings to fly. They pour courage into our hearts and hope into our laps. And when we extend our words into action, they literally save us. What higher power is there?

“In the beginning was it not only the WORD and from the WORD worlds born?”

Clasp your hands with me, dear 33 and remind me of the sacredness of this work. Remind me that the art itself is bigger than my doubts. If you say it I will keep showing up on the page. I will keep showing up to work. Until one day I morph into you, and you into me. I will become you. You who are full of grace and wisdom. And even when you cry and are pierced with sadness, you keep walking. You get what this is all about. It is not about building castles and altars to oneself. It is about service, about faith and about love. Man can never reward you for these beautiful things.

So clasp your hands with mine and walk me though this. I need you so.

 

Yours forever,

32.

The weapon we all wield

Sword_by_stefanmarius

I fell in love with him because of his voice.

It seemed to sit on air like velvet. And the moment it touched my skin, I would melt. A deep rumble of undulating rhythms that always went down my spine. I was a different person around him. I was putty in his hands.

But more than his voice, it was his words.

The syllables that tumbled out of his sweet mouth, falling over each other. The letters that formed words. He made love to each, with his deep voice. I could listen to him all day.

But my journey with words did not begin with him. It began in a house. A pan bricked house in a farming village not far from the centre of the earth.

When the skies were bluer than blue and the grass sang beneath the feet, I was the girl who thought words could save lives. That words could change the world.

There were no dolls at my house when I was growing up. We could not afford them. So I spent most of my time frolicking with pencils and blank pages. I imagined the world at the tip of my pencil, and when it touched the page, bliss was my home. I found freedom. I found solace and hope for my small, tender heart. The page could take me. It could hold me. All of me. There was no getting to know one another better first. We went right into the thick of it all. I didn’t have to explain why my eyes were big and round with wonder. Or why my heart felt like God had poured a thousand other souls into it. To hold and to carry. These were mysteries the page was willing to accept. The page said, welcome home darling, welcome home.

And so I scribbled all over. My letters, small and unpractised, but alive and breathing, tracing canvases of paths only hearts could follow. Words etched onto paper became my first love. I learned respect for them. Even as a five year old, I knew that words written could not be unwritten. If you used a pencil, you could erase them, but there were always those marks that remained. The ones you could eloquently trace through again, the words indented into the page. If you used a pen, you could only scratch the words by crossing them out with your ink. That was usually messy.

As I grew older, I learned that spoken words were like that too. Often they could not be taken back into your mouth. Your tongue could not take what had been uttered back into its fold.

I learned that words were powerful beyond my wildest imagination. People used them to win votes, to persuade others, to incite hate, to break hearts, to soothe a bleeding soul, to build another being, to encourage, to show love. I had been wielding a weapon right in the palm of my hands and I had not known it.

Words are powerful.

We know this and yet I don’t believe we truly understand it. Words can pierce the soul of another human being. And they can cut. They are spiritual even as they are physical. Tactile and visceral. We dish them out in the manner they sit within us. They reveal the things that brew internally. They mirror the secret corners of our minds.

Words…whether we hear them verbally or in our heads, shape the humans we are. And the humans we become. There is still time to be beautiful with our words. To love others with them. To offer grace and receive it in return. Let’s start with the simplest:

Hello

Thank you

Tell me

I will listen

I understand

Me, too

Maybe words have not been all that important to you but realise that they are an indispensable element of what makes this world what it is. At the core of some of the mess and misunderstanding that reins in our street corners and houses; behind some of the anger and pain, and even sitting at the centre of some of the beauty and hope, are words spoken and those withheld. I hope we understand that one day.

As for me, I want to lie naked with my words. I want to live with them. Open them up, a treasure chest. I want to dine with them, complete with elegance and checked table cloths. I want to make love to words. Everyday of my life. Because words…words can save lives. They saved mine.