‘Extinguishing Gaslights’

This morning, on waking, I cried into the ache of my cratered disappointment for a full five minutes and then, as if swirling a faucet shut, I stopped. For the longest time, I have housed this ache inside my bare shell; the ache of others cracking the bones and tearing at the sinews of my experience; of others thinking they are entitled to break apart that experience and lay out my body parts in some ritual offering. To whom, or to what, are you offering me up? Offering any of us up? When did gaslighting become a casual pastime?

But today, rising from my bed, rising into a new day, I rise within a subtle body of fibrous plaited roots. I rise up; no more a breeding ground for your darted toxins. I step outside, knowing this ache never goes away; knowing that each safe haven must be filtered and irrigated like any other breeding ground. Sad to know that no place is left untouched. Sad to graze, yet again, my knees and wrists against one more rough crater in humanity’s emosphere*.

And yet, there is peace in realising that as a fact, and not as my fear. For the real ache was the strain of, time and again, believing, one day, I might leap over that crater in a single bound and arrive on safe ground. Acceptance of the facts doesn’t hurt as badly as I feared; for, viewed one way, the experience turns cancerous; viewed another, the ache decalcifies. Placed outside of me, outside of us, out in the landscape, the crater is something to be navigated; not scraped and carved out of my being.

On some cellular level, lessons are imprinted. Now, I learn to remain open long enough around each fractal encounter to let in the surrounding refracted light – and stop short where my forcefield is activated. Where others land then – inside or outside my boundaries – transmutes from judgement to acceptance. All I can do, after an event, is respect the lay of the land. For second chances are not mine to give. I scattered so many chances across the field of Life a long time ago – maybe a past life ago. Don’t look to me now. Go out into the field, and toil for your own self-respect.

*’Emosphere’: Emotional sphere

Nicola Perry is writing a literary quartet Lost Lessons of Imaginative Beings. Book One is out with agents. She explores the lost art of relating. In this season, Nicola’s creative practice moves into embodied wisdom and kinaesthetic experience – translating the body’s inner wisdom onto the page as visceral experience. Nicola is the author of 33 Walks in London, founder of Story’s Compass (Re-visioning retreats for writers) and an editorial consultant. In previous incarnations, she has been a senior commissioning editor for Bloomsbury, Writers & Artists, Working Partners and Amazon (before it was the Beast).

Nicola Perry

Words and author photo © Nicola Perry 2021.

‘woman in the fields’ by Eddi van W. is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ (Image cropped).

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