There are three pairs of geese, each with five goslings. Two families are on the water, but one is on the grass between the path and the water, though I am only four feet away. They are so tame that though the parents keep an eye on me they are not fleeing. Two women have also stopped to watch the babies, and one says to me how they have grown, in the last fortnight! We share our delight at seeing them, cooing as over human babies. I felt complete joy.

The average age at the first rape of these women is thirteen. Of course I did not see the ones still in sexual slavery, or the ones who died in their twenties of chronic drug use, or the suicides or the ones murdered. The ones I met have had luck, as well as resilience.

I felt I was seeking reconciliation, healing, and the deepening of our worship and community together. Others thought the problem was me, and the first priority was to get me to shut up. I would not shut up, and the whole area meeting condemned me, while (I read later) demonstrating caring, concern and tenderness for me, which I did not perceive at the time.

I feel like Francesca, blown around the outer circle of Hell

Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything, is wonderful. If I could steal anyone’s life it would be hers. It moves me to tears, changes an ideal into an imperative and a normal attitude into a vile one, in my mind and the phrase that speaks to me now is like someone unable to fall fully in love because she can’t stop imagining the inevitable heartbreak.

Those former sex workers, they have huge resilience, they have faced things you could not even dream of, and you claim to be broken after- Nothing??

This cruel voice in my head, saying I am weak, is the problem. It is what holds me back

Kate approached me two years later. She was very glad to see me at Yearly Meeting, yet she needed to check that I really did not recognise her. I might have been snubbing her. I reassured her that I am really not good at recognising faces or remembering names, though she recognised me sitting on the grass in the sunshine two years after. We had a very brief conversation. She was really glad to see me. I was grateful for that, and for her saying it.

If only I could recognise people and remember names!

I have spent much of the last 48 hours pacing the floor, weeping and wailing, wordlessly, lying awake at night and dozing fitfully in the day. I am so grateful! -that the tears ooze out of my eyes rather than leaking from my nostrils, which they usually do, which is such a pain.

I came to the Religious Society of Friends because I felt too uncomfortable staying with the Anglicans and expressing my real, female, self. I was welcomed, and that acceptance gave me the courage to transition in work. That experience coloured my view of the Society and has affected all my actions and relationships in it since

and the thought that my view of the Society might nevertheless just possibly not be totally fucked up and damaging and ridiculous sets me wailing again.

Those strange bipeds, which bear a superficial resemblance to me! I am projecting onto all of you, right now: anyone who would see me is like a seven foot granite statue in my mind, a Judge, seeing me and finding me wanting, condemning me-

possibly this is unduly pessimistic in me

The green sofa *oil on canvas *65.4 x 92.4 cm *signed b.r.: J. Lavery

2 thoughts on “Bipeds

  1. Bad times come, and we clamber out of them, maybe slowly, maybe in a flash. If you would like a chat, please call. You could come up to Ed for a week if you like? xxx 😀


    • What helped me out of it, I think, was having a dark thought and answering it with a more positive one. The dark had been in my mind for some time, and the light came spontaneously. Mmm. A week in Edinburgh, I would have to spend an evening with my sister…

      Thank you so much for that. Yes. I would love it. Let us discuss times.

      Liked by 1 person

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