Sunday, 3 November 2013

My new normal... Another month on, perhaps time to stop counting.

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, blue skies from pain?
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail? A smile from a veil? 
Do you think you can tell? And did they get you to trade Your heroes for ghosts? Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze? Cold comfort for change? And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage? 

How I wish, how I wish you were here. We were just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year, running over the same old ground. What have we found? The same old fears. Wish you were here.

Out of the blue there was a 1989 concert on the TV. What had once been a regular part of the sound track to my life, the words had long ceased to register and were just a soothing mantra, suddenly I found myself hearing my interpretation of the words again.

You think you can tell Heaven from Hell but year after year the same old fears keep us in our cage, we trade an easy known cold comfort for the uncertainty of change...

No more, those useless wasted years are behind me now and memories fading fast since life has settled into a new normal. Even just a few years ago it still seemed an impossible dream and for all those I have met along the way, I wish you too were here…

My whole life I have tried to shrink into the shadows, not easy when you are as tall as I am. I hated the sound of my own voice and usually said as little as possible especially in public. Any time I might have to stand in front of people I would feel physically sick at the though of the fake presentation I would have to make, the fear that people would see right through me and that my real voice would come out without me being able to stop it! I once had a date where I had to speak marked on the calendar for six months as “Black Monday” and it haunted me. Sometimes I could briefly put on an act and get it over with but I was never comfortable.

Gallery in evening

Two weeks ago an exhibition of some of my photographic work went on display alongside the work of a fairly well known Scottish painter. We had agreed to open the show with an Art charity event and to speak about our work. I was strangely calm about the prospect. Come the day the painter and his new partner pulled out their three pages of notes and spoke about the work and why they had traveled to the sites which inspired it. For once there was a torrent of questions which brought up many of the points I felt they had left for me!

It took a while for the couple of dozen people to find their way through to the larger of the two galleries containing my work. As I stood waiting for them all to arrive and settle I was utterly calm without even an extra heart beat. I started by saying that I had no idea I was supposed to have brought three pages of notes and I would just have to make it up as I went along. I did and answered loads of question until someone came to say we had better leg it to the dining room of the country house where the gallery is situated if we wanted hot food.

A smile from a veil? Exactly right, I can smile now that I no longer live behind a veil. Finally presenting an authentic personality is like being set free from a gag and straitjacket and the world has accepted my presentation wholeheartedly. This is my new normal...



  1. And now you are in the 'pink'....couldn't resist that one Caroline. So true though isn't it?

    Shirley Anne x

  2. And a fabulous exhibition it is too - and you even chose to illustrate my favourite photo from it, but you knew that.

  3. Caroline, what you write about your voice in your past life sounds so very, very familiar.


Many thanks to all who ever joined in the conversation and to those who took the time to follow my zig zag to a new life..

I can be contacted on the email found on my profile page.