Is Not Broken

“And what is good, Phaedrus,

And what is not good…

Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?”

 

tap drips cropped

(source)

that which is good –

which has always been good –

drips still –

is not broken

The Human Way

Do you know the good when you see good

And feel it, it scent it, sense it,

Recognised by actions, words

Someone well-intentioned.

Do you forgive when somehow form

Is broken, errors made

Or jump for joy at fortune’s chance

To jeer at mistakes done or said.

Do you know good and still know good

When erring treads their path

Recognise that we all fail, forgive

Or do you laugh,

Remark or feel that, justified,

You have cause for glee,

Dismiss that person callously,

It could be you or me.

Do you know good and know that good

Sometimes makes mistakes

But, in withal, throughout it all

Good still stands up straight

And nothing changes what we’ve done,

Or said or thought when wrong

But knowing that it’s understood

Helps us keep on going.

Do you do good, strive for good

Most times and most days,

Then, rest assured, when good is flawed

That’s the human way.

Do you know growth and know that goodness

While for good will yearn

Without mistakes and learning curves

We would never learn.

Trust Held

I almost lost my seventeen year old daughter at the weekend. I let her go to a music festival, trusting in her judgement and in others. Part of that trust was misplaced. She made a huge error of judgement, did something incredibly stupid and ended up in intensive care on a ventilator. No drugs were involved. Except alcohol is very much a drug.

Behaving irresponsibly with it is something probably many of us have done. I know I have. We experiment, we find our limits.

I let a girl – a really good and sensible girl – a really inexperienced girl – go off for a long weekend, out of my reach, out of my jurisdiction, out of my hands.

She failed her own test. Tested her own limits. Stopped breathing.

Her friends, others there – young people – young people who so often get a bad rap – seventeen and eighteen year olds – saved her life with their quick actions. They, the medics there, the staff in the hospital she was taken to – all of them – in the hands of god – returned my girl to me.

She’s fine now, home. She’s shaken, she’s weepy, she’s in some disbelief.

Chris Nelson put life in context for me today. My trust is very much shaken. But also, weirdly, very much reinforced in others.

My daughter, my whole family, owe a huge debt of gratitude to every single hand that reached out and put love and care into action. I can’t ever begin to repay them. I can hardly bear to think of the consequences had they not. But I can’t stop thinking of them.

At least one person lost their life at that festival. How many more ended up in hospital I don’t know. From speaking to the nursing staff and others there I know that two hospitals admitted people – both young and old – with various injuries and complications arising from drugs, weather, conditions at the site, violence.

Eighty thousand people with access to almost unlimited freedoms gives license to act stupidly, irresponsibly, dangerously.

One mother, allowing her seventeen year old to participate in what I never felt quite right about, going against my own judgement, facilitated what occurred.

I’ve made some dumb decisions in my life – like mother like daughter? I’ve been incredibly lucky that none of those decisions have resulted in near death. This was not one of them.

How do I ever trust myself again to…. just how do I ever trust myself again?

One of the reasons I think I have always trusted, despite it sometimes being misplaced, is the belief in inherent goodness in people. Yes, sometimes, I’ll be wrong. But a lot of times, most of times, I won’t.

Rachel fucked up big time. She knows that. She’s learned something it can take a lifetime to learn – that life is precious and we can’t afford to play roulette with it.

I’ve learned that my faith in people is not misplaced. That there will always be people who rise to occasions, go above and beyond, because they’re good people. There are far more of those about I believe than the, admittedly, many who don’t.

I hope Chris won’t mind me quoting part of his poem here, the first post I read today, something I needed badly to hear, the post that prompted this post of mine. I didn’t want to share my stupidity, my daughter’s, our pain, our naivete, but maybe sharing it will help us and others. Chris’s words certainly helped me.

‘With head high

Stepping out into day’s silent arms

Trusting that the wire will hold…

…As you raise your head once more

And look towards the skies.’

Life is trust. To live is to trust. We hope, we pray, we fail, we fall, we rise. We go on. Trusting, because what else can we do?

My trust, overall, was not misplaced.

My belief in others, in love and goodness, in the hand of god in my life was, in fact, reinforced. Mercifully and with thankfulness that will last my lifetime.

I asked my daughter’s permission before posting this because it is not my wish to humiliate her or to cause her more pain. But, what happened at the weekend, how many people were involved in saving my girl, how much I appreciate the NHS, how grateful we all are for the final result and the care shown, is a testament to love and trust in action. My thanks to Rachel for allowing this. Our whole family’s eternal thanks to each and every one. My trust is held.

May Music, Day 16 – Don’t cry out loud…

…or in company.

I’ve cried for any number of reasons. Even at an advert one time. But, I don’t typically cry at sad. Unless it’s real life. And I don’t like crying in front of people. A quiet weep or a rollicking good muscle-jerking flood both have their places in my life. But, preferably, on my own.

In fact, I get quite annoyed with anything that seems contrived to make me want to cry. Like that bloody movie, ‘The Champ’!  I hated that! The whole thing was designed to play on emotions.

Like watching those shows that reunite long lost relatives. Why make a show out of it? Just do it for folk, if you’re gonna do it. No, they have to bring on the violins and tug at people’s mushy bits. That bugs me. Don’t mess with my emotions.

I’m more likely to cry at things that make me happy when it comes to movies and songs.

Not when ET died. But when the flowers blossomed again and I knew he was alive even before I knew he was alive!

Like watching ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’. Not because of the music played but because anything that makes me feel all squishy inside at the inherent goodness in people makes me weak at the waterworks.

So, a song that I cried at? Which is what Twindaddy is asking as question 16 for day 16 of his 25 days of music challenge. I’m drained with this, btw, just in case you’re interested.

The last one I can think of, I’ve cried at every time I’ve heard it. It’s the last scene and song of ‘Les Mis.’. Fecking sobbed my eyes out. Right enough, I did that for most of the movie but hey ho.

The first time I saw it I was with my two eldest daughters at the cinema. Poor Mary-Kate was inconsolable. Claire was all, Wtf! And I had a raging headache by the end of it from trying to suppress the tears that were blurring my vision most of the way through it and certainly by the end. Streams escaped and I had to stifle sobs, trying not to draw attention to myself. I hate crying in public.

We had to go and drown our sorrows over dinner that night. Laughing soon rectified the headache and any desire to cry. Especially since said eldest daughter ribbed and ridiculed the whole movie. I won’t go into details on Claire’s brand of humour but we all felt much better after a few wines and laughs. Tears then too. Of a different variety. And I love crying with tears of laughter.

The last scene was, well I better not tell you what happens, in case there are still some people who have yet to see it.

!!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!! Do not watch this if you haven’t seen the movie!

I’m greetin’ just watching and listening to it for the umpteenth time. Happy and sad and fabulous to the Fth degree. Sniff…

Shug’s not looking too well in this. But what a marvellous job he and all the other actors did.

So, if I want a wee greet….it happens!…I watch this movie. Because, of course, I bought it to ensure that I could have the viewing pleasure all over again and, locked in splendid isolation with a box of Kleenex, I enjoyed a major wailng session…..guaranteed snotters and puddles. I like that sometimes. It’s a wummin thing. Or maybe just a me and Mary-Kate thing ‘cos she does that too. 🙂

Cereals And Solitary Pleasures

Ok so, Pete made a comment on one of my posts  about the ‘fact’ that Mr. Kellogg had apparently invented corn flakes while trying to discover a cure for masturbation for the inmates in a sanatorium.

I just had to check the facts on that. Wikipedia might not always be up to scratch but it seemed to be true. What I read in the rest of the info has prompted this post. I wanted to entitle it ‘Wankers’ but felt sure that some people might be put off reading thinking it was another political rant!

So here goes nothing.

I did a post a wee while ago referring to the fact that I don’t find discussing sexuality easy. Especially in public. Blame my mum.

It doesn’t take away from the fact that I admire those who can. It doesn’t take away from the fact that I am a sexual being. A sensual woman, I like to think. Despite the fact that my own mum had issues discussing, overtly, anything of a sexual nature. Blame her mum.

In later years, my mum would discuss pretty much anything with the adult me. Sometimes embarrassingly so. But I always remember one of her ‘talks’ as she tried to explain a few facts to me.

It kind of went like this.

‘You know how some men like steak and some prefer chicken for dinner?’

‘Umm, yes.’ (Mama, have you lost your mind?)

‘Well some men like to lick the plate.’

Now this analogy took a few seconds to hit home with me. And then, wham!

WTF! My mum was attempting to discuss oral sex with me. I was in my late teens as I recollect. You can imagine the thoughts conjured up about my parents then. Yeuch! I guess she figured I was mature enough to realise that what two consenting adults did in their own time was not my business. I was. I still am.

In my early teens I had gone to confession and told the priest that I had investigated ‘down there’. Yup, I did. I was under the impression that if I died before I confessed God would ask me about my ‘sins’ in front of everyone in heaven. And what a red neck that would be. Better just get rid of it now. So to speak.

And the priest’s answer? ‘Were you on your own?’ Seriously. I was shocked. I thought I had discovered something that only I knew about and it turns out people did these things together and it had a name. He did commend me on such a frank confession which I was quite chuffed about!

There is a point to my embarrassing disclosure. You might not be embarrassed but I am. But I figure the truth is out there. And maybe it’s time we acknowledged a few home truths.

Like, for example, that girls do have that little hooded area of orgasmic pleasure that they are aware of and, if lucky, some man will one day be aware of too and act on a couple of instructions. It may be a penile stub in comparison to the ‘magnificence’ of the erect penis – all 12 inches worth, according to some men.

Both appendages are there. Belonging to the individual. To them. No other.

Reminds me of when my husband looked in the rear view mirror of our car a long many a year ago and commented to one of the kids for the umpteenth time, ‘Stop picking your nose.’

Her babyish answer of, ‘My nose’, soon shut him up. Touche.

Mr Kellogg (1852-1943) had some rather strange and worrying practices. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Harvey_Kellogg

Here’s an excerpt (from Mr Kellogg’s own book) in case you don’t follow links.

A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed.

further

a method of treatment [to prevent masturbation] … and we have employed it with entire satisfaction. It consists in the application of one or more silver sutures in such a way as to prevent erection. The prepuce, or foreskin, is drawn forward over the glans, and the needle to which the wire is attached is passed through from one side to the other. After drawing the wire through, the ends are twisted together, and cut off close. It is now impossible for an erection to occur, and the slight irritation thus produced acts as a most powerful means of overcoming the disposition to resort to the practice

and

In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid (phenol) to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement.

He also recommended, to prevent children from this “solitary vice”, bandaging or tying their hands, covering their genitals with patented cages and electrical shock.[7]

In his Ladies’ Guide in Health and Disease, for nymphomania, he recommended

Cool sitz baths; the cool enema; a spare diet; the application of blisters and other irritants to the sensitive parts of the sexual organs, the removal of the clitoris and nymphae…

 

 

 

Some cultures still carry out female circumcision. And sew up the vaginal opening, allowing only for menstrual flow.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/jul/25/female-circumcision-children-british-law

At what point in history did it become the case that our preoccupation with sex reduced it to something so abhorrent that remedial measures should be taken to ensure minimum pleasure? And control?

Excerpts from the article, in case you don’t link.

Cleanliness, neatness of appearance and the increased sexual pleasure for the man are all motivations for the practice. But the desire to conform to tradition is the most powerful motive. The rite of passage, condemned by many Islamic scholars, predates both the Koran and the Bible and possibly even Judaism, appearing in the 2nd century BC

“FGM is not confined to African countries. It has no basis in Christianity, it has no basis in Islam; none of Muhammad’s daughters had it done. For some parents it is enough to let them know that and they will drop it completely. Everyone needs to understand that every child, no matter what the background or creed, is protected by this law in this land.”

“FGM has a social function and until this is understood by social services and other bodies they will never stop it. It is a power negotiation mechanism, that women use to ensure respect from men. It prevents rape of daughters and is a social tool to allow women to regain some power in patriarchal societies….”

This has led me on to some research that I’m not going to include here because it does not answer the question of why we as a world deem it appropriate to interfere with another person’s body.

I could go on about rape; about sexual harassment of many kinds and of both sexes; about why we think it’s ok to judge others based on their sexuality; or ok to judge on so many counts from  colour, nationality  to creed; about why we, as a species, allow victimisation in all its myriad forms.

Where did we inherit the right to discriminate against another person? Period.

How far back must we go to ascertain the truth in when it became a god-given right of anyone?

In fact, aren’t we told, ‘‘judge not lest you be judged’?

At some point in history deities of both genders were worshipped for their attributes. At some point in history nature was embraced and recognised for its wonders and the processes of life.

At some point it changed.

We became preoccupied with what everyone else was doing in privacy with their own bodies. We became preoccupied with everyone else’s perceived flaws of nature or appearance or sexuality.

Is it because we live in a male-dominated, patriarchal world?

It would seem to be men predominantly who have proscribed the acceptable terms of a woman’s sexuality. Or indeed anyone who does not conform to a defined macho sense of maleness so you’re buggered if you’re gay. Pun actually unintended. But I thought, what the hell.

Let’s face it men, generally, are the biggest wankers of all time and I mean that it in its correct usage. Might it be that rather than women suffering from penis envy men suffer from clitoral and vaginal envy? Two surely is better than one. And think of how quickly we recover after climax. What’s not to envy? Ready to go again, darling? How emasculating.

Now before you go off on one yes, it does sound like I’m having a go at men. Even my own husband has just said so. ‘But I’ve not finished!’ I said to him. *rolls eyes*

Earlier my sixteen year old daughter read out to me something she received via email/text.

This is an excerpt from a poet at http://inkskinned.tumblr.com/

I’ve just followed. I can’t find a link to this piece of writing. It’s excellent. It’s strong. But I’m selecting this part to underline what so many women feel.

An open letter to the ‘nice guy’ who tried to hit me because I stopped him from taking home a drunk girl who was begging him to leave her alone (or: why you should never ask a poet if she’s really an ugly cocksucker or if that’s just her day job):

you wanna know why we don’t let nice men into our beds? Because we rarely find them.

They’re out there, I know it, but they’re not the ones wetting themselves when a woman asks ‘why do you think that?’ instead of sitting back and letting him laugh with his buddies about femi-nazis. They’re out there and they’re probably as pissed as we are that at least one third of their population has openly admitted there are times when they think it’s okay to force their significant other to have sex: they’re out there, and the sad thing is, if you’re a male, you’re statistically not one of them. As far as we know, you don’t exist. You are a white knight only you believe in.

The thing about oppression is that it can only last for so long. You are not making yourself dominant, you’re making yourself weak. I’ve seen men crumble because they feel uncomfortable when they get hit on by other men as if the stench of their own mistakes is strangling them. I’ve seen them get impassioned because a teacher preferred females and I’ve laughed because I had eight other classes where it was reversed and in all of those eight, it went uncontested.…I’ve seen boys growl about women’s history month and had to wonder if they’ve ever held a textbook where the only names of girls are tiny footnotes. I’ve seen fathers ask why the  curriculum I use for my six-year-olds is carefully gender neutral, why I let his son play at cooking or his daughter be a doctor.

I have never heard a mother complain except to beg me to get her little girl to talk more, to do more, to succeed – do you see? Do you see?

Now the last few weeks I’ve been involved in something of a private education programme thingy that might come back to bite me on the arse. But I’m doing it because education is the way forward. And it’s not the first time I’ve been bitten on the arse. Whole other story.

Speaking

Discussing.

Honesty.

And most of all love.

It’s hate that is at the root of everything I’ve read recently that has scandalised me.

And why?

We care so much about a woman’s tickly bits that we’ll mutilate.

We care so much about other people’s sexuality that we vilify.

We care so much about the colour of a person’s skin that we decry.

We care so much about the name of the religions that divide that we cannot unite.

We are a scared humanity, a humanity filled with petty differences. So petty that we cannot use the power of our own voices and select our own futures.

We inherit politicians who sometimes act wrongly under threat of disclosure about their sexual exploits. Name them, I dare you. Numerous.

Let’s lay off the sex, colour, religion and get down to the truth of this world. It is temporal. It is troubled. It is temporary.

I, for one, am taking the log out of my own eye before commenting on another’s splinter.

Except where truth and lies perpetuate cruelty.

Hatred and lies hurt. Truth will set us free.

In the words of Rabbie Burns – not rabbi Burns! –

O wad some Power the giftie gie us

To see oursels as ithers see us!

Hope

All-gifted, all-giving, the gods did provoke,

Relinquished the right, them so to invoke.

Promethean crime, aid for mankind, aroused ire,

Retribution, from gods owning fire.

First woman among us, moulded from earth,

Bestowed by all deities, heavenly blessed.

But cursed by the gifts duality knows.

Determination, Zeus overthrows.

A gift bearing ills in a jar or a box,

Pandora relents and evil unlocks.

But hope still remains for good or for ill

Perception is all when hope does instil

Belief in the story of why god would choose

A mixture of gifts, some evil to use.

Is hope then a curse to action instead

Or essence to reflect on when life’s all but dead?

My hope is a blessing, that hope is a gift,

Enabling souls to elevate, to lift,

When all feels too empty, like box opened wide.

Let hope be the light that remains still inside.

candle 3