As I walk to work in the mornings my hair is wrapped in a ponytail, my work boots on and my fingertips between the pages of a book. The last few years have darted me with knives, tearing my confidence like skin from my flesh. You cannot can see my wounds, yet still I feel like I am glowing with malaise. I am uncomfortable, uncertain, I feel un-pretty and it shows.
Dazed and distracted as I often am, I always notice the blind man at the bus stop. He will know when the bus is coming because he will know the sound. He will call out ‘what number is this?’ and I will say ’12’ or ’63’. He will wish the driver good morning and take a seat. And I can’t help but be nearly moved to tears by his powerful sense of trust. His knowing that the bus will come, the seat will be there, and when he calls, even whispers into the air, he will be met with a response.
I have a student who glows when we talk Science, so we’ve been studying the Universe. We learned that the sun is large enough to hold thousands of earths, that we only see seasons because earth sits ever so slightly at an angle (the reason we have dusk and dawn). That there is one day in the year when this rule does not apply, from Albania to Fiji to Zanzibar, day is equal to night, the hours of daylight and darkness are balanced, the Equinox.
It is mystifying to me how earth spirals around the sun passing planets that are millions of kilometres away. How we sit in an endless system of stars that have distances between them millions of times greater than the distance between the planets, and this is just our galaxy. How the distance from one galaxy to another we suspect is millions of times more than the distance between stars. How my students, living what they love, have brought me into new worlds, and things once laced in mystery, that never interested me, today make me feel complete:
Cycles, sequences, how numbers coincide with nature. Seashells and sunflowers spiral perfectly like the tips of our fingers. How a tiny prick from a pin, in a little black box we made, can project images when we allow light into the darkness, creating classically beautiful black and white photos. The light spectrum, parallels and prisms in physics. How an electromagnetic wave of light when shone through a glass prism reveals the colours of each chakra, and God, dropping rainbows to hint to us the magnitude of all that is beyond what our eyes can see. I am in awe. In awe of how my student and I have been studying women throughout history. How the alchemy of the prism is that it clarifies the light that shines through it. Like women do. Like light, healing moves in waves. And women heal the earth, and men, by seducing them to their senses. And healers are nearly always wounded. I am reminded of this when I read my book ‘Pussy’. Reminded that although we are entangled in a crippling system of patriarchy, it is choking itself to death, I am in awe of the serendipity and synchronicity between pussy and the folds of a fragrant flower that blooms into sweet medicinal nectar. It is all too much and not enough and my mind is just twisted.
I feel as though I am in a waiting room, sitting aching and anchorless at the edges of my past, knowing full well that the messy middle is where I meet all the other broken people, they hold my hands and pull me gently into myself, into the dust covered corners of my mind to conquer the mountains that sit there, only then can I step into a life of beauty too intricate to have been designed all by myself. Because they know too, that not having can give you so much, and not getting can teach you even more. But God, it feels like I am burning. It feels like I am sat still in this in-between place, fire raging from the sweet crack between my heart and stomach, burning through me as if I am a city filled with second and third chances, sin filled pages flying through the air. And I take it. I sit with snatched breath, still as I burn.
But this in-between place feels like a meeting place. A place of mesmerising paradox. This place where science and spirit, physics and magic meet, where I am both teacher and student. This dark vacuum between who I am and who I know I can be, but from which I see, very slowly, that each detailed desire of my heart is crystallised. How silly I have been to try to predict what is going to happen, to try to comprehend something so tantalisingly vast. And the blind man doesn’t even try to, he just trusts.
Slowly I am seeing the synergy between my self-esteem and confidence. Self-esteem is a seed that dwells within, it grows with my radical commitment to health, healing and hope. It is the birthplace of confidence and there is no true confidence without trust. What is confidence anyway, when it is skin and not flesh?
I do not agree with the sentiment that women must be shiny. That we must perform the function of drawing in the world with our shoes and skirts and other little things that adorn our body. A dazzle may catch your attention but radiance is a holy encounter. It will cause a deep rupture from your core. It will disorient you, anger you, unearth you, and should you surrender, it will rebirth you. Beauty transcends and has nothing to do with symmetry or ratio’s. And if I had to choose on any day, I would choose being a prism over being gold.