That much-loved question, ‘So, what do you do?’ is supposed to be a request for information about our working life. But a few years ago I think an alternative and accurate response might have been something like:
I was in my local shop looking for some tahini to make some hummus. I couldn't find it so I asked an assistant who was restocking some shelves. He looked at me and said, 'I'm sorry, I'm so thick, I don't know what that is.'
And in that moment my heart went out to him for those words, remembering all the times I'd said the same.
I remember how I used to stand in the queue at the supermarket checkout, a never-ending stream of judgement flowing through about the rubbish people were buying, about the state of their bodies. It was disgusting to me. They were disgusting to me.
And all the while I was struggling with my own disordered eating.
'A safe place to say dangerous things' is a phrase I happened upon by some curious combination of a walk in the Yorkshire Dales and the unparalleled power of the internet. I found this phrase so powerful and so important, for how many of us have places we feel safe enough to share those things about ourselves we are most afraid to speak?
Sometimes it is worth not just reading something, but giving yourself the opportunity to really read something. I mean that experience of feeling beyond the words to the space between and beneath. That's all the words are ever trying to do, actually - to form a shape and vibration that somehow beckons you deeper into the space where words do not exist and yet everything is communicated.
It was a gloriously sunny morning and I was sitting in the cemetery talking to a friend in London. The weather in London had been beautiful too and my friend was telling me about the pretty daisy chain she'd made the day before. It wasn't the beauty of the daisy chain she lingered on, however, but the fact that, the next morning, all the daisies in that chain looked pretty much dead.