You have my word.

Words have power: that must count for something.

Stone

[Resist]

I have battered the stone long and hard

the stone on my back

the stone upon which I crack my head

I have broken skin and bone battering stone

[Resent]

I have beaten out rage

with wrath and rod

waited for water to weep from rock

but boulders don’t bleed as easily as man

[Relent]

I turn my hand from fist to palm

sit down next to the stone

and watch it shrink just small enough to step onto

I realise that my struggle will become my strength

If you are woman, you are wonderful

One. Do not try and be older before you have been young.

Two. Be true. Don’t spend time reading magazines that fill half their pages with how to lose all that weight to be a better you, and the other half trying to convince you that you already are. The only person who can really make you happy is you.

Three. It’s ok that you’re afraid of spiders. And of tomorrow. It’s ok that you’re afraid of failing and being alone. It’s ok that you’re even afraid of admitting you’re afraid. Don’t let fear stop you moving your feet.

Four. Do not fret about the fact that you talk more than men, or that you cry more than men or that your thighs sometimes touch because you eat more chocolate than men. Those curves are gorgeous. The tears will dry, and get this – women smile more than men too. When you’re told you talk too much, talk more! (Unless of course it’s your mother, then shut up) but otherwise – sing, speak bright and proud – use your voice, do not second guess yourself.

Five. Realise that there is no such thing as the greener side. This is your life. Take whatever you have been handed – be it big or small or rich or poor. Own it. Care for it. Shake it like a madman, woman! Wave it madly like a flag. Then claim it like land that was taken from you and now you have come to take it back. Your life, is worth your life.

Six. You are beautiful. Six. You are beautiful. Six. Some of us will never be that size. But beauty is not defined the label of your jeans.

Seven. Seriously, gossip columns? Stop that shit.

Eight. Celebrate. By that I don’t mean find any

excuse to drink at any time of day… but search your soul for moments of joy, for someone getting a lucky break, for a hug, for being able to eat today. Celebrate yourself, celebrate your friends; celebrate everyone who has not given in.

Nine. Have you stopped to consider the outrageous notion that you will bless the world with life? Children are more than the future. They are the now. The pain will be worth it.

Ten. The word “women” does not mean weak. It does not mean worthless. It does not mean wasted. Walk away from those who ever make you feel ashamed to be called what you are. Woman. Yet you are so much more. You are every shore line waiting to be kissed by the waves – no less wanted for always being there. Perfect in time and space, making deals with the moon – no one else can do what you do.

Eleven. When you laugh, laugh loud. Laugh like you’ve got stars in your mouth waiting to burst out. Laugh from the pit of every hell you have walked out of unscathed, laugh for every bathroom stall that’s heard you crying for better days, laugh out the poison, laugh in fresh breath. Do not stifle the anthem of cackle and guffaw. Laugh like you’re fighting a war you know you’ve already won.

Twelve. Always remember, love yourself before you love anyone else. Be committed to your dreams whether in the form of people or sleep. Do not leave before it is time. Do not shy away from things you don’t know, press in. Press on. Promise that you won’t lose yourself if you ever let yourself go.

Whether mother, sister, friend, aunt, cousin, grandmother, daughter, great grandmother, partner, or lover. You are woman. And you are wonderful.

 

Everyone needs a Spider Man costume

spider man wallpaper

He is small and brave. He pedals his trainer-wheels-tricycle along the roadside. He is unaware of the four-wheeled machines – or rather the danger that the monsters inside the machines possess. He doesn’t care, but doesn’t have the words to say so. What he has is a Spider Man costume. Volcano red, seared with impressions of a black web – scars of battles won. This is his way of telling the world that he is strong.

Monday morning and I feel small. I have not yet convinced myself that I am brave. I slug to work like a blood clot through a vein – slow, painful. I am the monster in the machine. I know there will be battles today; there are battles every day.

I wish I had a Spider Man costume. All I’ve got is my brave face, feet that will try to find footing all day, and a little bit of faith.

“The daily grind” is not a phrase anyone should take for granted. It grates and smashes and pulverises ongoingly – the constant click of cogs of a clock crashing against each other. Time does not stand still, but it moves like an injured athlete writhing to the finish line. Funny how when you’re hurting the world spins a little slower than usual.

But we do not give up. We grind. We grieve. And some being more gentle than others find grace to give despite the grind. And this is what gets us through.

It is when we – who are so small and so un-brave – give from a place of having nothing, go out of our way even when we feel like we have no way to go… it is then that we grow a little, that we begin to put on piece-by-piece our Spider Man costume, that we begin to find our way. The costume doesn’t change who we are (which sucks sometimes because I want super powers, especially on Mondays). The costume sure doesn’t hide who we are – we are the same shape, now just with a brightly coloured lycra attire. The costume doesn’t make us brave.

The Spider Man costume is not so much about us as it is for those who see it. It instills hope, it gives courage. Like seeing that little boy on the tricycle rallying the machines, it made me feel like I could rally too. The costume musters courage. And quite frankly, it just looks awesome! Your costume may look different to mine, but put it on with pride. Wear it for those who are small, for those who don’t yet know they are brave.

Dead Poet’s Society icon, Robin Williams, is dead

By now you know. By now I hope you’d have wondered about the irony. I’m not saying it was prophetic or anything. I’m just saying. I hate it when people are “just saying” but it’s had my mind ticking this morning.

Why is it that a legacy is suddenly and exponentially magnified when you die? Robin Williams was just good, ol’ Robin Williams till he died. Tragically I might add. No end to life is less than tragic. Now though, people will take a moment and marvel where they perhaps should have been doing that all along. All life deserves marveling.

I first encountered Robin in a classroom. Much like the classroom he was in, in Dead Poet’s Society. Quoting Walt Whitman as he went:

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,

Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)

Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,

Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,

Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here—that life exists and identity,

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

We never expect to wake up and hear of someone’s passing – it’s inevitable, for each of us at different times, and somehow it catches us by surprise every time.

Williams contributed an extraordinary verse, the play goes on, and he does not. What will your verse be?

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