The Carapace Child
Putting on yesterday’s trousers, shirt, jumper and socks, the room smells musky and dark. It’s massive and silent. The sun casting early morning rays across the dewy reeds in our meadow. I could see the rear face of the mill fortress forbidding, unwelcoming and derelict. My house was silent except for the old kitchen boiler firing up and the pipes signalling their participation. I had my pocket knife and a small set of hand tools. Shall I take matches? No, I won’t need them today.
It was going to be another good day.
I walked out of the shaded kitchen door covering the twenty paces, to the slippery stone path, in a matter of seconds. Silently and stealthily moving before anyone else had stirred. Moss clung to the dripping rocks ranging upwards against the high bank of the river. Towering above me they climbed upwards towards the hills above. In the valley below, the stream was terraced to form naturally gliding silky weirs. Trees hovering silently over the water’s edge. Reeds standing defiant against the flow. This dark, forbidding theatre and nature’s silent players, playing their scenes to an audience of deserted farmhouse windows below.
Climbing the bank at the last river bend and sheltering in the soil cave above it, I could look back down and see the house where they all were. I hid here, I felt good here, I was in my own world. Alone but never lonely, my world came to life and the players were all in place.
It didn’t matter that I wasn’t missed. It was no concern of mine what they all thought of me. I couldn’t change the way my mother looked at me. The unwanted child of a loveless fling. I didn’t miss being loved, I just didn’t know how it felt to be loved. What was I supposed to do to make her care for me? I wasn’t seen, no, I was unseeable. If she looked at me then she would surely turn to stone. She was stone. The small seven-year-old child that had nothing within him that could please the narcissist woman I called mom. And while she lays still in her grave, the child still lives within me.
The Plastron Adult
I care passionately about many things but I don’t care that much about most things. I’ve no interest in stuff other than the few bits of stuff that I like. That’s generally just my stuff. A handful of things dear to me. I have no interest in flashy cars or designer labels. I’m loyal to the very few obscure brands that blend with my blended lifestyle. I work to live. I’ve been very good at what I do. I’m a good person, kind thoughtful and loving. These are some of the positive things that people have said to me. Things only they can see.
As a young and angry adolescent, I had five fights. Five confrontations that I didn’t start but I won them all. As a sportsperson, I saw my opponent as an enemy to be beaten. When driving my cars or riding my motorbikes I was aggressive and territorial. During my time working in Camp America, the mess sergeant (ex-Marine) identified me as the ‘queen bee’ of our small group. I was always team captain and when we played, we won more than we lost.
Then I grew up. I replaced anger with determination. I replaced aggression with motivation. I fought inequality for the downtrodden and I competed against inequality so that those around me could express themselves. To be the best they can. To stand a chance.
As I aged, I became soft and gentle, loving and kind. I like this version of me. Others like this version of me. I live without stress, anxiety or insecurity. This person, this new person, was born out of great people bringing out the softer more feminine side of me. I consider myself a third stage person. I am also feminine and someone that loves a full range of emotions and feelings. I embrace all feelings and learn from each of them.
I’m still curious, optimistic and interested in what life has to offer.