We seem to measure our lives by defining moments. I’d like to think the only defining moment that really counts is when a new person is conceived. Genes are transferred and dictate various basic things such as skin and hair colour, how tall we might be and perhaps what sort of temperament we might have.
While I was still very young, my teacher wrote on the annual school report that I lacked academic commitment. Was this a defining moment? It shouldn’t have been but the comment buried itself deep in my subconscious and reared its ugly head on many occasions knocking my self-confidence. I was a quiet pupil who worked hard but was never able to take the subjects that lit my fire. (I don’t think she ever had me filed in the right drawer.)
I am defined as a wife but what does that mean? Too often expected to cook and clean amongst other things. The two tasks I hate the most. Why does no one else in this house want to do more than boil water?
I am a mother. Well I can’t change much there although many men are very capable at looking after children. There are women soldiers today, fighting alongside men and dying in the line of duty.
I am blonde and that can work for and against me. I can be a dizzy blonde by desire but it doesn’t usually work for me. I’m too practical and if the tyre needs changing on my car in the pouring rain, I’ll do it while boy racers zip by, probably not even knowing where the locking wheel nut is.
We all do it. Pigeon hole people. Define them with labels. Will I be defined by my writing? Probably. The challenge I think is to keep changing direction and trying new things.
This poem was a competition entry using the title we were given. Going back to the garden again, I tried to use this as a metaphor for how a young man with moderate Autism might see life.
Come into the Garden
May I come into your garden please
through the gate where you stand alone?
Enclosed and safe within boundary wall
with a mind you think you control.
Where you live in the white of the lily
and black of the beetle’s wing,
untouched by the grey mist of morning
or rainbow’s brush after the storm.
Where no velvet rose flames your heart
or its perfume kisses your soul
and drifting bells in a haze of blue
cannot play the tunes you know well.
Your path is hard to follow
overgrown as it is with weeds
and the tangle of life’s ephemera,
so important to your needs.
How I long to share the pleasure
of shimmering leaf on the breeze.
To marvel at bees laden with pollen
and pick fruit straight from the tree.