Saturday, 25 March 2017

As If One Voice, Mine, Suddenly Cried Out In Terror And Was Suddenly Silent

Totally shattered. Glands swelling up again, pointing out to me my own frailty and pumping another curiously macabre hormonal selection into flesh and mind.  Tonight I am both exhausted and unstable and I watch, wondering whether my current fall from stability will land me on cushions or in a state in which my every vision on closing my eyes is the cutting of my own skin to bring order into the chaos.  Could I request cushions please?

I know at these times to be gentle with myself.  To tell myself that it's okay to feel this way and that when all is said and done it isn't my fault.  I tell myself that this too will pass.  I tell myself of the saint who said that "all will be well" and then remember she wasn't talking about anything like this or anything that has much to do with my life at all.  Or your life.

And yet, it has been a good day.  I couldn't do much this morning and knew I had to conserve my energy.  This afternoon I was able to be out and took part in an artistic workshop at Baltic 39 - a gallery and studio space in Newcastle that's kind of a side-arm of The Baltic gallery in Gateshead.  From there I headed over to another city centre building and took part in a drama workshop that was full of smiles.

Exhaustion is the price.  It's a price worth paying.

Arriving slightly early for the first workshop I was able to sit alone.  For just a couple of minutes.  During those moments I wrote a few lines on my phone.

Empty gallery
We'll gather here today
To explore voices:

Our own, each other's.
Ask what the devil it means
To sound as free gods.

I sit full of fear
Art must flow from my scared voice
And I don't know how.

Empty pages hang
Among boxes, paints, bare brushes.
Just potentials now.

Art did flow.  Of a kind.  I confess I was left at the end staring at the gallery wall we'd all made our marks on.  And I was as confused and bemused by the result as I ever have been at The Baltic.  It's the first time I've been part of a small group faced with a blank gallery wall that needs to have art added to it.  Not just a blank sheet of paper to be filled with words or with pen and paint marks.  But a whole damn wall.

What I know is that in that situation my voice was not free.  It was trapped and imprisoned and broken.  Any more broken and I would have needed to use a text to speech app.  I would have become a woman with an electronic voice.  A woman too with an Australian accent because it sounds more natural than the English one the app uses. 

Moving to the second workshop and my voice was free.  It is interesting what a change of space can do to a voice.

Tomorrow I will need my voice again.  And I will need it to be free.  I am speaking publicly.  For five minutes.  Roughly.  On a subject of my choice.  Each month at the Sunday Assembly there is a section called "X is doing their best."  This month I volunteered.  I'm not doing anything spectacular.  We've heard some spectacular stories.  But I am doing my best.  Aren't we all?

I wrote a talk but it was twice the length it should have been.  I wrote another.  It's only slightly long.  This will be the first time I've spoken publicly on a Sunday since I was a Christian preacher.  I had to stop that (I was forced) when I came out, "in case anyone is ever worried" about me being transgender.  At the Sunday Assembly nobody will be worried by that.  If if, by chance, someone was worried, well they would just have to get over it wouldn't they?!  Nobody there would ever, ever be stopped from anything on the grounds of gender, sexuality, race, disability or anything else.

Tomorrow I mention my "plan without a plan."  Speaking tomorrow is in itself part of that plan.  It's one more little leap into freedom and my future.

But for tonight I am shattered and very unstable on my brain.  For tonight I will drink tea and then curl up with a blanket and the comfort of several soft toys.

For tonight I must be content to be rather than to do.  And that is fine.

Finally for tonight there are these few lines, written before I wrote the first sentence of this post.  I had a whole story in my mind related to this.  But these six lines are what stand.

Walking barefoot along a perfect sand shore
Each granule reflecting elements of sunlight
My left foot found the one jagged stone.
With the piercing of my skin I understood
That there can be no utopia
Even in the most vivid tranquility.

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