Before I start this post, I should like to explain something: At present, a huge emotional boil is in the process of bursting. Not before time, I might add: It is a tragedy it ever got to this size. I dip in and out of fury and intense sadness.
I love my life here in Glastonbury – and, during the times when this inner boil/volcano is not seeping, weeping and erupting, I am aware of being happier, and more fulfilled, than I have been for a very long time.
I have been blessed with a number of wonderful women neighbours, a sisterhood of feisty survivors who, like me, flew up the hill, in part at least, to escape some form of abuse and through whom, without exception, the light shines strongly through the cracks.
J, A, M, A, J: This perfect palindrome of female friendship has given me back something of enormous value, and that is my trust in women as intimates of the mind and soul. I have a small scattering of close women outside Avalon – and the fact that they are not in the above bracelet of initials does not mean they are far from my heart’s castle.
These ladies know that the violence of my feelings is natural, to be expected – even welcomed. They are all for me expunging ‘should’ from my vocabulary and living day-to-day in the knowledge that grief will, must, come out one way or another. They have taken me places, both literally and metaphorically, never before visited.
But they have also given back a vast and precious jewel: the ability to relate to my own sex without competition over men rearing its ugly head. We are not, by-and-large, women with men (though some may tryst occasionally); we are women alone, who have friends of both genders, who have borne children and faced much. We are Wise Women, women of a certain age, Crones or near-Crones.
I love these brave and doughty women. I feel honoured and touched to be part of them, to have been welcomed so warmly into their disparate circle. I needed them desperately. I needed to regain that sense of being one of a large group of sisters, of womanly support and kindness and understanding and fun.
I love the way they look out for, and support, me – and I them, I hope. I love the gentleness of it, and the vibrancy and the belly laughs and the occasional bitchiness we share. I love the blessed imperfection of such moments, and the fact that, broken, we can still form whole selves and take on the world.
Down from Widdershins Hill, I have also met some truly lovely men, and other precious souls of both genders.
But it is my close neighbours I wish to acknowledge today. By allowing me to erupt, to hide, to mourn, they have opened up a passage of connection which is as rare as it is wonderful – and, because I know I do not have to pretend in their company, I am far more authentically myself, and much happier, than I could possibly have imagined I would be nearly seven months in.
So let us hear it for true sisterhood – and for women who know that real strength comes from reassembling the pieces rather than pretending they do not exist.
Thank you, J, A, M, A, J!