All them crazy people I work with, those I support and those I call colleagues. From the giggling girl who was sexually abused and now lives in a constant state of panic, the grumpy man who imagines he is a fictional cartoon character, the boy whose forced laugh and bugging eyes mask his confusion while another minute ticks by, to the man who chants his way through the night as he drowns in cups of tea. The girl who doubles over in pain and smiles to stop falling apart, the boy who paves his future by staying put at home until the right moment comes, the lady who seems unaffected and un-fazed as she wobbles around on neon pink feet, the man who knows best despite his ridiculously young age, the man who knows best because of his advanced years, the man who sits on the fence and changes where to face as the wind blows, the boy who moans and moans, unaware that my ears have fallen off. United by their struggles for control and self assertion, floating among big dreams and big failures.
Authors with imagination, guts and talent who reimagine, reinvent and recreate stories of olden times with new twists, where a Greek god turns into a sex slave and a sex slave turns into omnipotent Atlantean god, a silver mouse moves into the stables and makes your dreams come true, it’s okay to tease Lucifer as long as he sleeps with the protagonist’s mother and other times the lord of the underworld turns out to be a she. And sometimes, blue really is the colour that gathers the universe into a hug.
Relatives who I wonder about, pity and misunderstand. Relatives whose lives I want to avoid replicating, while grateful for the life lessons I would have taken half a millennia to learn without them. The distant echo of a ‘who I am to judge, to turn my nose up, to walk a thousand miles in the opposite direction’. My embarrassment hums in the background but I trooper on, as far as I can go, just one more, just this now, just try something next, just never look back.
Those who read, those who write, those who paint, those who cry on stage, those who build bridges and those who feed the homeless.
Self righteous people who self actualise by selflessly helping lost souls find themselves.
The girl who once dreamed big, lying awake late at night in the middle of a factory town, of going places, of being someone, of doing inspiring things, of becoming part of something, of meeting and greeting and chatting and social butterflying, of theatre night being standard and common, of a man’s supportive gaze in the background, understanding ears listening to the childish awe and wonder that overcomes her, smiling lovingly as she struggles for words, a ‘well done, sweetheart’, a kiss on the forehead, and she falls asleep with her lips curling over a day well spent. Memories of lying in that bed haunt and question me, what have I done with all these years since those dreams first formed and today when none of it is currently true? I still have a lot to learn from that girl who dreamed big and dared to take the first step.