There it is…
Those small ways
That I am aware
Aware of my safety, aware of my body, aware I cannot let myself be truly free
Hidden in tiny gestures
Mine and others
The moment that flickers though my mind when I choose a car park that is visible to others,
The way I put my window up if a stranger approaches my car
The tiny moments where I have learned I need to be alert
This is not normal for everyone
Just most women, most of the time, in most circumstances through the world they live in
When I carry my keys instead of putting them in my bag
Hell when I put my bag across my body instead of on my shoulder
All tiny moment in which I know somehow, have learnt somehow, I might not be safe
And it seems it is my role to be a step ahead of those who might seek to harm me
This is not the story of a women in trauma, although we all are somehow.
This is ordinary
This is life
Be alert, you are vulnerable.
The choices you make every moment will contribute to your assault, your rape, your own abuse.
I tried to explain this to my beautiful man, the father of our daughter.
He could not believe the tiny moments a woman felt, that it seems most men, most of the time, don’t need to think about.
But I do, like a reflex, We do. Don’t we?
An unconscious reaction to a world where being female is a risk factor.
Behind the choice of flat shoe versus heel, the twenty dollar note I tuck in my bra just in case, the finger I have on the button that locks my car doors – it’s there.
Before I’ve considered what I wear, or how outspoken I will be, before I have stepped from my home I have made a cascade of choices.
Take the car, don’t walk.
Text my partner my ‘last known location’ just in case.
Stand near the call button in a lift with a stranger.
Deeply embedded, enculturated, ground in.
Choices I think, I hope, will preserve me, at the very least make me less of a target.
This is the world we live in. Vulnerable. Always.
Because tiny acts of violence are normal…
Unless we say it’s there.
Lindy Schneider October 2017
A little girl
who wanted to ride
free over valleys
away from the unfree
that horse would know
a way never taken
so she also
could be free.
Inhaling flanks, eating dust
rider meets equus
towards nothing they fly
as one, into sun
and moon and quiet
her little heart might break
this very moment
without her animal mirror
to know horse is to be accepted
and her passion is mystery
even to her own soul.
Dear horse, great teacher
and I move
earthly, real, without wings
This small child knows nothing
but her ache to join your herd
alight, free, of wind and rain
her cheek rests against muzzle
and she dreams
and rides again.
From this place – book foreword
The river gathers herself beneath our feet. Where she slips through the earth we see her as a thrashing snake, or a subtle thread, weaving through the architecture of our mother’s hand. She is vast and ever present, deep beneath the earth, gathering herself in pools deeper than our imaginations and wider than our hearts. Here she seeks to flow upward and into our lives. She is pure creativity, from a place where we can truly touch the feminine. She promises us beauty; she is the balm we seek.
As I walk beside her, words whisper onto the page. My hand is carried by the rhythm of water lapping stone, coaxing my movement so that the river finds her voice. I am lulled one moment, wild the next. Water caresses my hand, shaping all the things that I create. She is our river, our muse. We live together on the banks. We speak of her nature in colours, in words, in brushstrokes and clay, and she gathers herself and makes an enduring promise.
She is From This Place. She is Life.