How do you see me, brothers? In what role do I stand before you, arms out, eyes lifted higher into yours, legs akimbo as I straddle the two lands? Dakini, cailleach? Mole of blindness? Brighid of the middle aspect?
What, sisters, do you hold out to me on the mirror plates that you tease me with, not high enough and obscurely, so that I can’t quite glimpse the fullness of the light shining onto my my face?
In your words from afar you call out my Courage in setting out on my life as a singular being.
Yet do you not see the tremor of my writing, fighting hand? The collapse of my script? The haze the mist behind my hearing, the fog before my vision? The neurological Lyme-scale?
Friends, it hasn’t always been thus. I have spent my life crawling from the bottom of an ink-dark sea; piercing the sky for beakfuls of bay leaves; falling back into the scriffly arms of the Bear with No Face; and picking at the scabs of bark on my lover’s clock.
And have felt my toes’ expanding stride on the fine fescue and the four-leafed clover; smelled upwards into gilly-flower and hazel catkin; grasped the strong place between the ears of White Wolf; and tunnelled beneath the drip of moss-water and mycelium into the realms of playful Horse and stay-at-home Pheasant.
Where on Monday night’s drum journey I found You, kindly waiting at Wolf’s side, inclining your head toward me, shyly rolling “Don’t be silly!” and “Come now!” off your Gaelic tongue.
And then subdued and safe, sure and softly spoken, You followed me out of the enchantment in which the Fae had enthralled You, where I’d seen You a year ago. And we came up homewards together, back through the bulk of Oak, into the body of Lust-for-Life, be-longing into an ambiguous freedom that would neither stifle nor overwhelm, and that might barely satisfy…
© Copyright Kathy Labrum McVittie 4 March 2022 All rights reserved
(With free-flowing pencil dancing, complete any, all, or none of the following, letting the right-hand-side of your brain take the lead into intuition and in-voice. Let mystery and magic take over; let rip the Muse:
Today I find myself as a …
Today I think I represent a …
Today I believe that I am a …
Today I imagine myself as a …
Today i envision my role as a ….
Today I welcome myself home as a …
Today I am, simply, …
Today it’s sufficient for me to …
Today my experience tells me that …
Today my joy leads me to …
Today I am glad of this …
A long time ago at what was then known as Hatfield Girls’ Grammar (now Bishop’s Hatfield) School I sat an entrance examination for admission to Cambridge University, UK. My college of choice (New Hall, now called Murray Edwards College – why all this name changing?) selected its candidates on the basis of their essay-writing skills.
That was how I wished to be judged (back in the days when Going to the Judgement Seat didn’t seem optional).
One of the essay topics that I chose went something like this:
‘Describe all the roles that you occupy in society.’
Looking back, I think that was designed to showcase the abilities of girls/women hoping to study Social and Political Sciences, which I most certainly wasn’t. But we were encouraged to answer three questions, and as a biologist I had already answered the mandatory Natural Sciences question (I’ll tell you about that another time), so off I went, scrawling and scribbling, locked away in the Stationery Cupboaard of my tiny state school as the sole candidate for Oxbridge that year.
What would I have written? I can just recall that I included these, in what was tantamount to being my first cv, curriculum vitae, “little wheel of life”:
Myself as daughter, youngest sister of four, grand-daughter. Scholar, student, candidate? Sunday School pupil. Trumpet and piano player. Friend, confidante to my loyal bestie? Girlfriend (barely – I was a late starter). Voter (just)? And (this was the very early 1970s) by now perhaps I was hesitantly writing “woman”. Probably not yet thinking to add “poet, writer”, although I was already writing prolifically, had written a SF book called ‘The Red Eye’ when I was ten .
Yet almost certainly I did remember to speak of “citizen of the world”, because there was already something of the internationalist about me (my two grandmothers had emigrated in their old age, one to my Labrum aunt in Canada, one to my Nickless uncles in Auckland, New Zealand). And – in anticipation of my nascent relationship with deep green ecology – I may have put “living organism”, although likely I had saved that for elsewhere on the examination paper.
Golden Threadwork of Role-playing
What would you have written? As a teenager? During your middle years? Have a go now. ‘Describe all the roles that you occupy in society.’
Here’s the quasi-symmetrical pattern of my then-life-roles (abbreviated), from when I first set up writingpresence.com in 2016. Do you want to play with something similar? You have full licence to enter the realms of fantasy, myth, fiction, so you could do it from those perspectives.
And now as a special favour I am asking you to leave me a comment or message with just a single word (or a quiver of arrow-words) for what role(s) I have in your busy (or dizzy, or frizzy) life at the moment.
Here are some that have been suggested to me recently in my work/play/life roles.
life-celebrant / crone / verbalous friend (thank you HG!) / energiser / wounded healer / soul-carer / kindred / alchemist / intuitive / envisioner / edge-walker / clowness / unfolder / networker / elegist
Come, help me build up my portfolio and perhaps I can help you build up yours.
Appreciation practice (in the time honoured way)
Today I am grateful for: