Thursday, 26 February 2009

A tribute to Steve and Nageen on their 21st anniversary

It would be no exaggeration to say that I've known Nageen since I was born. Well, maybe shortly thereafter, but close enough.

She has always been stunning - thin, great bone structure, gorgeous hair. She would look amazing in a bin bag, whilst the rest of us needed to do considerable work to look
even half as good as she ever did. Whilst I would heavily mortgage/consider selling my soul to look like Kajol, I'd also have negotiated a mortgage to look like Nageen. I'd have been more than happy with that.

Nageen was always the glam elder cousin with a touch of the rebel about her: self-assured, never an awkward physical phase, always ready with a quick answer, popular, daring to do things that I couldn't even imagine getting away with. (I daresay that though I may not have equalled her in looks, I've probably wrested the rebel crown from her.) We all wanted to be around her and we all wanted to BE her.

She met Steve whilst still in uni - one of her friends met him on the beach, then later cajoled Nageen into going with her to meet him later. Steve hadn't wanted to go to the beach; Nageen hadn't wanted to go out that evening. But when things are meant, they're meant, and go they both did. It was love at first sight.

I suppose I could say 'and the rest is history', but it isn't. What they've done to be together is awe-inspiring, life-affirming and all those things we say about films and books - except their story is real. It's not mine to tell, so I won't share it here, though I've mentioned one part of it to the odd close friend to illustrate the phrase made famous by Meatloaf - I would do anything for love.

I met Steve a while after they'd married and the dust had settled; the first time I was able to travel on my own to visit them in Virginia Beach. We got on like a house on fire from the minute we met; our kinship was cemented the day he was making fajitas and Nageen's brothers were coming over and he said, "I don't know what's wrong with those boys, why one of them doesn't marry you. You're *gorgeous*," said in the way only a straight man can say it when he means it, the first such compliment I ever received. It wasn't the last, but it will always be one of the ones that means the most; one that I remember during those dark, deeply insecure times that all women (and men, I guess) go through.

I've always known I could believe in what Steve said - he'll tell you what you don't want to hear as well as what you do in that no-nonsense midwestern way most Americans are familiar with. He's also one of the most supportive, loving and funny men I've ever met (you can pay me later, babe, I'll send you my bank details) - a real anchor.

As a couple? Fantastic. Their love for each other is palpable, and not in those icky, tonsil-hockey PDA ways that make you want to get a gun licence. It's in the constant flow of support and reassurance, the excuses to touch, the laughter, in the way they stand when they're together, the warmth that flows from their love to everyone around them. Have I seen Steve roll his eyes? Yup. Have I heard Nageen be snippy with him? Yup. Have I even heard the odd row? Yup.

But the love is constant; it's always there, no matter what - best exemplified by the time Steve and I were flipping through old albums and arguing over whether we liked Nageen's hair long (me) or short (him), and in the end he just said, "It doesn't matter - she's still the most beautiful woman I've ever met" - 11 years after they first met. That love is not just obvious in them, but in their three sons, every single one of whom I held as either a babe or a toddler, now on their way to becoming gorgeous young men - and like Sasha and Malia Obama, with the self-assurance and knowledge that they are loved by parents who love each other.

Thank you. Thank you for showing the world that real love exists; that it's supposed to get better as you go on, not fade away; that commitment is worth it; that there's hope out there for all of us; that we need to hold out rather than settle. And even if I didn't remember the lesson, thank you for showing me what a relationship is supposed to look like, and why I've waited.

Above all, thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving me when my parents didn't or couldn't; for loving me when I couldn't love myself. You were the family that I never lost, no matter how far I roamed - my refuge and strength in ways you will never know. And so it was, not so long ago, Steve, when you asked why another of my childhood friends wasn't married, I mentioned that I wasn't either, but that was because I was a bitch, you said, "Yeah, but you're our bitch."

I so totally am.

I love you and miss you both with all my heart - happy anniversary, and I promise not to embarrass you like this until your golden wedding anniversary.

Then, I'm really going to town.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Snogging Satan, Facebook style

I get no respect from my Southern Hemisphere male friends. None. Whether they're from Australia, New Zealand, Zim or South Africa, every last one of them has the nerve to give me some form of backchat. Even Saffapriest (formerly Saffadeacon), usually the most mild-mannered and even-keeled of men.

The *cheek* of it.

And I wouldn't have them any other way.

One example of this was my Saturday am facebook status and my Aussie friend Jack's [NOT ex-housemate Jack] response, which made yet another of my statuses blogworthy:

Irim wonders what her dream about snogging Satan means. 12:06

VN at 12:11 on 21 February
It means opposites attract, my angel. ;-)

VN at 12:11 on 21 February
*cheeky* LOL

Irim at 12:18 on 21 February

Right, folks, so here's the whole deal:

I dreamt that I was in the guest room in the house I grew up in (it doubled as a study room for me; for some reason my parents thought it was a good idea) and Satan walked in.

I was myself now, and the house was empty - no parents, no brother, and I turned around to see Satan enter the room. I was unafraid and asked him what he wanted. I'm really cross that I can't remember his response, but I do remember that it was a completely civil conversation. It was very normal.

Then he turned to go, and I was suddenly overwhelmed by his loneliness and exile, and just ached for him and for all he had lost. Suddenly, his eternal fall, his punishment, seemed so terribly, terribly unfair and wrong.

"Wait," I said, and he turned. And I leaned in to kiss him. I think he was a bit surprised.

Irim at 12:19 on 21 February
Oh V, I should have known you'd get in there before I could finish the narration! *Grin* Well, the whole dream is over to you now. xx

Jack B at 18:55 on 21 February
Bad Boy Syndrome, Catholic style...

Irim at 20:02 on 21 February
LOL! Jack, you know me wayyyyyy too well. And you're probably even more right than you realised, considering the rest of the dream had him chaining me to a wall in a place that could easily have been any one of a gazillion Catholic churches/religious buildings - to talk, of course, I hasten to add... xx

Jack at 19:40 on 23 February
Yep...uh huh....he ("You can call me 'Meph'..." ) isn't really bad, mom, he just needs lerve....and he just needs to chain you to the wall for your own safety....hold still, this won't hurt a bit.....

You know, that dream SO explains my last emotionally unavailable addict...

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Dream journal 20/02/09

I was reading in bed last night when I drifted off sometime around midnight and had the following dream:

I dreamt that I was in the guest room in the house I grew up in (it doubled as a study room for me; for some reason my parents thought it was a good idea).

I was myself now, and the house was empty - no parents, no brother, and I turned around to see Satan enter the room. I was unafraid... Read more and asked him what he wanted. I'm really cross that I can't remember his response, but I do remember that it was a completely civil conversation. It was very normal.

Then he turned to go, and I was suddenly overwhelmed by his loneliness and exile, and just ached for him and for all he had lost. Suddenly, his eternal fall, his punishment, seemed so terribly, terribly unfair and wrong.

"Wait," I said, and he turned. And I leaned in to kiss him. I think he was a bit surprised.

This was where I ended the explanation on my facebook status, mostly because there just wasn't going to be room to go on.

After I kissed him, Satan asked me to come with him, which I did, and we entered a very cool, dark building with high ceilings and smooth brick walls, lit by torches in brackets. He chained my wrists to the wall (for those who think how might make a difference to analysis, above my head), but I didn't feel trapped. Again, I can't remember the conversation or what he was showing me, but I remember feeling completely in control and calm, responding as necessary.

It was where I was supposed to be, when I was supposed to be. It was absolutely fine - I was completely unafraid, completely in control, and relishing the exchange.

I was sorry I had to wake up when I did to turn out the lights.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

On Darwin's birthday...

I simply MUST post the discussion on my facebook status, which is just breathtakingly wonderful in its thoughtfulness, respect and depth. I'll update it through the evening till I change my status. And it's coming here so my non-fb friends/readers can add to it. All times are GMT.

In case I haven't said it enough:


Irim celebrates Charles Darwin's 200th birthday with joy - she ♥ s him and wishes she could watch Dawkins clean the floor with the Bish of Oxford tonight.

ER at 09:12 on 12 February

Irim at 09:19 on 12 February
Seriously. I've loved Darwin's work forever, despite its misappropriation for a lot of racist science. As for Dawkins, his manner annoys the hell out of me, but I am sick of people knee-jerk hating him b/c they're 'religious'. And scientifically illiterate religion doesn't get a 'pass' from me. It's so obvious to me that Dawkins is the way he is because religion hurt him at some point or he felt that God let him down - otherwise he wouldn't be so angry. I'm tired of the supposedly charitable religious joining groups like "Richard Dawkins can go fuck off" without really listening to him. xx

ER at 09:22 on 12 February
Mine's not a knee-jerk response, I've read the book!

V at 09:40 on 12 February
Love Dawkins!

at 09:46 on 12 February
Hon, as I've said, Dawkins' manner annoys the hell out of me, but he is an *excellent* scientist. I may not agree with a lot of what he says, but his arguments are often elegant & beautifully laid out, unlike many religious arguments - e.g., a recent article we discussed was an example of much of the very poor, unchallenged argumentation that happens in religion all the time - because they are only writing for the converted and never examine/challenge their assumptions, and borrow arguments/evidence from the 'correct source' (read: the Pope) without examining it.

I want Dawkins to win because he's BETTER, not b/c I like him.

You've read the "God Delusion", hate him with abandon-but the worst thing you can do is want him to disappear. Theology needs men like Dawkins because theology is stagnant, and needs the challenge of men like him to really pull its finger out and do some REAL work, move forward and...well, evolve, to borrow a word today's birthday boy might appreciate. xx

T at 09:48 12 February
Dawkins speaks the truth and people don't like that. He is confrontational because he has to be. The world needs a few more skeptics like him.

Irim at 09:52 on 12 February
Well said, hon - but I have wondered if more people would actually *listen* if he weren't quite so abrasive. The world definitely needs more sceptics, no question there. And what are you doing up at 04.48 in the morning?? xx

T at 10:17 12 February
Early morning flight to meeting.

C at 10:23 on 12 February
I don't think religion and science have to be mutually exclusive. If religion argues that God created everything, in its final form we see today, then God created humans to have a frontal cortex.
It is this cerebral creation that gives us the ability as man, to question the world around us with science.
To deny people like Dawkins a voice and to ignore scientific discoveries, means to deny and ignore the humanity God himself has created!
Go Dawkins! :-)

fr R at 10:25 on 12 February
I agree that Dawkins must have been hurt by religion at some point, and that is his one of his weaknesses. His knowledge of theology and especially philosophy is also poor, and that means he is out of his depth. He was much better in his 'The Selfish Gene' phase, which is beautifully written. On religious matters he doesn't offer arguments, but rather seeks to ridicule, something which he is rather good at. As a result 'The God Delusion' is entertaining, but he does not present any good arguments against the existence of God. It rather counts against him that he doesn't employ the same kind of academic rigour in religious matters as he would for science. God - what a load of dangerous rubbish -simply isn't good enough. As for the other side of the debate - it is sad when religious people who respond fall in to the trap of ridiculing Dawkins, employing the same kind of rhetoric that he does. Speaking as a scientist and someone who believes in God, I know that we can do better than that.
Irim at 11:16 on 12 February
Ah, my fellow biologist, the friar, weighs in :-)! Hey, hon.

[His knowledge of theology and especially philosophy is also poor, and that means he is out of his depth... It rather counts against him that he doesn't employ the same kind of academic rigour in religious matters as he would for science.]

I haven't read "God Delusion" in full yet, but if that is indeed the case, it is a strike against him as an academic: if you are making an argument, you should know your field, your opponents' field and every building block of your argument backwards and forwards, otherwise you're the one who's guilty of using selective evidence to prove your pet theory rather generate one - cardinal sin for a scientist.

Oh no, I accused a scientist of a religious crime...see, they do mix ;-)

Well said, C - creation may be true, but science and maths are the languages God used to create the universe, and we should learn them to the full. xx

L at 11:49 on 12 February
I still cling to my belief in "God" (for lack of a better term) despite Dawkins's arguments; I'm not a scientist so maybe I didn't expect the same rigor that a scientist would--but he convinced me, really, on many levels. I still believe in God because my idea of God has always been the God of Einstein, the God of e.e. cummings, "when God decided to invent everything/he took one big breath bigger than a circustent/and everything began" and the idea of an interfering, manipulating God has no meaning to me anyway.

For an argument in favor of atheism, though, I found Julia Sweeney's "Letting Go of God" much more powerful.

Darwin's the man. Happy birthday to him.

T at 13:28 12 February
Frankly, I take exception to the idea that one has to be "damaged" by religion to hold the kinds of beliefs that Dawkins does. I grew up in a proper Catholic household and I hold pretty much the same beliefs. While I disagree strongly with most of the Catholic Church's positions, I wasn't damaged in any way. Indeed, I acknowledge those aspects of my religious upbringing that were positve. Yet on the very same day that the Church finally comes to terms with Darwin, it refuses to denounce a church leader who denies the Holocaust. Is that progress? Not by my definition.

Irim at 13:34 on 12 February
Hiya, hon, good to see you & thanks for friending me :). I hear you, though I suppose I've always been more of a panentheist: God is in everything but is also beyond everything (in line with some Qabbalists, I think, which puts me in good company) and I really must make a 2009 resolution to read the book - I've seen some of his telly work.

I googled Julia Sweeney and read an interview with her - and I found it incredibly powerful as well, esp as I read the Bible a lot and go, "WTF? Would I want a God who did THAT to his creation, even if they don't agree with/recognise him? That sounds human, not divine, to me."

To everyone so far - thank loving the comments/discussion. Darwin would be proud, I think :-). xx

Irim at 13:49 on 12 February
Tom, we're not saying that someone has to be damaged by religion to hold those beliefs: one of my closest friends is an atheist and grew up happily and well-balanced, never knew anything else. But she rests much more easily in it than Dawkins does and is very happy for people to believe what they want. If you're a theist, she doesn't give a damn; she loves listening to your arguments and putting forward hers.

What Robert and I are saying is that Dawkins' *behaviour*/emotional affect - his rage, his scorn, his lack of calm - when the subject comes up, as well as his need to convert everyone - seems to point to a sense of betrayal. We could be totally wrong; we're just speculating. But in my experience, that kind of intense anger nearly always points to unresolved issues.

Remember, I said I want him to win tonight!

And FYI, I make the EXACT same extrapolation about friends who are Catholic converts from Anglicanism and do nothing but pour scorn and hate on their old religion. xx

fr. R at 15:33 on 12 February
Tom, I second what Irim just said - atheistic views are held calmly and rationally by many people. But unlike Irim, I hope that Dawkins does 'loose' tonight, and continues to do so until such time as he starts to fill the gaps in his knowledge and provide good arguments that enhance the debate. It is not enough to be a good rhetorician - look how often in history good orators and rhetoricians are later judged as misguided, even dangerous. I don't want to over exaggerate Dawkins' influence too much, and what I say about him also goes for the religious side of the debate too. But with any important issue we might care to mention, the consequences of an aggressive irrational line being allowed to substitute for proper reasoning can be grave. It takes courage and integrity to do it properly, but the struggle is worth it. Not to do so can lead to an unthinking fractured society with little mutual understanding and respect.

ER at 15:55 on 12 February
Good grief! I went to class, came back, turned on facebook and found that the response I'd been drafting all through my lecture this morning had already been made.

I don't know whether to be grateful you saved me the effort or annoyed that you got there first (twice), R!

T at 16.34 on 12 February
I've had a 2 hour flight and a 1 hour drive to formulate a response. And part of me very much wants to let loose with both barrels how much I disagree. To address, point by point, why the characterizations of Dawkins are wrong. But I won't. I prefer not to get into these debates, and I'm going to do the prudent thing and bow out now.

Irim at 16:50 on 12 February
I'll admit that I'm sorry not to hear your response, hon, though I understand & respect why you won't, and that's cool. I freely admit that what I have of Dawkins is only *an impression*, and I'm extrapolating from that - I'll be the first to put my hands up and say that how I perceive Dawkins' manner is subjective; he *feels* angry & overzealous to me.

As I said, I haven't read "God Delusion" in full, just excerpts, so I can't answer to what Robert said about philosophy and theology - they're not my areas. Again, I will say that his science is brilliant, his arguments tend to be exceptionally elegant, and I DO have a lot of time for him. There's some serious substance in his arguments, as I said above, theology could use the challenge, and we DO need sceptics like him to keep pointing out inconsistencies, discrepancies - men like him will force us to search for the truth and not sit on our asses.

BTW, this has been so fantastic, I've blogged it - sans names or pics but mine. xx

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Congratulations, but...

Warm congratulations to Jennifer Figge, an American woman who has swum from the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa to Trinidad in 24 days.

You note that I refuse to give her the title the BBC has given her, which is that of first woman to cross the Atlantic.

That's because, if you look at the map, she hasn't.

It is an awesome feat, no question, but it is not trans-Atlantic. When she started at Cape Verde, she got a 375 mile head start. Trinidad is only 7 miles off the Venezuelan coast; I'm not going to quibble about that right now.

But 375 miles, or 625 km, is a pretty big omission. So, not a winner in my book.

And of course, as a feminist, I wanted her to do the same distance as the man, Benoit Lecomte, who swam land point (Hyannis) to land point (Quiberon) - or 3,716 miles.

Now I understand that 'transatlantic' distances will differ, depending on your points of departure and arrival, but I really believe that if someone has already done it, to qualify for the same title, you have to do at least the same distance. Whatever your gender.

Just like if you're a woman who wants to be a fireman - if the boys have to carry 100 lbs on their backs during the physical test, so do you.

And that means that swimming 2,100 miles to Benoit's 3,716 - a shortfall of 1,616 miles, and not even major landmass to major landmass - is a huge accomplishment, but doesn't give you the right to be called first woman to swim the Atlantic.

Women have been told often enough that they get more for less: Wimbledon champ for 2/3 sets rather than 3/5 and so on. We're already seen as falling short. And that's unfair, because most of us run twice as far to be considered half as good.

Swimming 56.5% of the distance a man did, then wanting the same title, is just going to make it worse for the rest of us.

It is however, a huge accomplishment and for that, many congratulations and all the best for the future.

Should you actually swim coast to coast across the Atlantic in the future, in a comparable distance to Mr Lecomte, no one will be happier than I to crown you first woman to cross the Atlantic.

Friday, 6 February 2009

And yet another personality test...

You are willing to take the time to find out what's going on with other people, especially if they're in distress. You're a good listener, you don't criticize, and you offer unbiased, respectful, honest advice when it's requested.

You don't feel the need to impose your standards on others or say things that, even though true, cause pain.

With a high score on the "understanding" trait, it is likely that you are enthusiastic about charitable work, helping others, and making the world a better place.

You appreciate art, beauty, and design; you know that they are not superficial but absolutely crucial to living the good life. You have good taste, and you're proud of it.

You don't think it's pretentious to be moved by art and beauty. You're not one of those who believe it doesn't matter what something looks like as long as it does its job.

Those with a high score on the "aesthetic" trait are often employed in literary or artistic professions, enjoy domestic activities — doing things around the house — and are enthusiastic about the arts, reading, and travel.

You are thoughtful, rational, and comfortable in the world of ideas. People find you interesting to talk to. You're the living embodiment of the saying "You learn something new every day."

You do not avoid abstract conversation, experimenting with new ideas, or studying new things. It bores you to stick to the straight and narrow of what you already know.

In general, those with a high score on the "intellectual" trait are employed in such fields as teaching and research, and are enthusiastic about reading, foreign films, and classical music.

You have a knack for knowing what's going on in the hearts and minds of those around you, without their having to tell you explicitly. People tend to turn to you with their problems because they know you care, and that you will likely offer good advice and a helping hand.

You do not feel that people with sad stories are just looking for attention, or have brought their problems upon themselves.

You like to get to the bottom of things. You're not content knowing what someone did; you want to know why they did it.

You don't simply take things as they are and move on; you're not content skimming along on the surface; you don't feel you're wasting time by digging for the meaning of things.

You have a genuine interest in other people. You're a natural host, and are always thinking about how you can increase the happiness of those around you. When friends have problems or are in trouble, you're usually the first person they turn to for aid and comfort.

You don't always say exactly what you're thinking; you don't like the idea of causing anyone pain because of your criticism.

Scoring high on the "warm" trait suggests that you are among those who enjoy domestic activities — doing things around the house — and are enthusiastic about charitable work, helping others, and making the world a better place.

You are in touch with your own feelings, which helps put you in touch with the feelings of others.

You don't buy the logic that your happiness comes ahead of everyone else's because unless you're happy you're incapable of making anyone else happy.

You are in touch with your emotions, and sometimes you react before you think. The good news: you don't tamp down your feelings. The bad news: you sometimes say or do things that you later wish you could take back.

You do not live your life on an even keel; you do not go for long periods without experiencing some mood swings.

You are good at solving problems, coming up with original ideas, and seeing connections between things, connections that most other people miss.

You do not shun abstractions and concepts in favor of the concrete and tangible.

People with a high score on the "creative" trait often are employed in such fields as finance and scientific research, and enjoy avant garde and classical music as well as literary fiction and scholarly non-fiction.

You are constantly coming up with new ideas. For you, the world as it exists is just a jumping-off place; what's going on inside your mind is often more interesting than what's going on outside.You don't feel that the road to success is to be a realist and stick to the program; you never stop yourself from coming up with new ideas or telling the world what you're thinking about.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Centre of the labyrinth

As most of my friends know, I'm currently training to be a psychotherapist. So all-day classes are filled with exercises ranging from answering questions about how culture affects us to doing mock consultations.

Sunday, 25 January, my mock consultation was with one of my study partners, K, who has some counselling experience. We were to have an initial consultation, do a hypnotherapy screed, and do a post-consultation, so we had to choose a fairly specific problem for the exercise.

Now I could have chosen any of a dozen - fear of spiders would have been the easiest. But the one that came out of my mouth was, "I have a real problem being in the middle of a crowd. I need to be near an exit and/or with my back to the wall. I can't be in the middle of a row or a pew, or I feel really uncomfortable. I can get *really* aggressive if I can't sit at the end. I can do small spaces, no problem. I'm not place claustrophobic; I'm people claustrophobic."

K asked a few questions, including "When do you first remember this starting?" I gave him the answers that I had worked out - being sexually abused and being backed into corners when a parent was angry.

His screed was interesting - and I found it remarkably perceptive that he incorporated the idea that everyone was positively inclined towards me: the visualisation was of a party where everyone was happy to see me. It hadn't occurred to me, obvious though it is, that part of the underlying mentality was that *my initial assumption is that people are hostile* - not neutral, not positive, but negative. That ties into other areas as well: I don't always trust people to let me know when they're upset with me and work things out; I occasionally leap to the worst (not showing up) conclusion when friends run really late.

But that wasn't the big one. That came in the mock post-consultation, when K gently probed past the pat 'why' answers. And out of my mouth came:

"I always felt so trapped in my family. I couldn't even walk out the door without one of them or without having them breathing down my neck, ringing every 5 minutes."


It was a bit like being hit in the solar plexus - and that was when it was only attached to the people claustrophobia.

It turned out that it was more like hitting a sheet of ice along a fracture plane. Cracks are radiating out everywhere, and I'm suddenly aware that what seemed to be solid ground under my feet never was.

I felt shattered Sunday evening; the stillness of Vespers helped a bit, the Tallis Canon helped even further. Monday, I felt tender; that was to be expected. But by Monday evening, I was beginning to understand just how big those cracks were, as I mentioned the breakthrough to Ari towards the end of our conversation.

By Tuesday, my world looked like global warming had hit full force, as I felt like I was standing on a tiny piece of ice with several emperor penguins sitting on eggs on a restless ocean.

Ari and I emailed back and forth quite a lot, and by Wednesday evening, I was pretty sure I'd found the centre of my labyrinth. Follow the thread of every decision I have ever made, large or small, and it ties back to the need for freedom, the fear of being locked in.

I never make a room my own - so I can pack and leave. I go to a church like the Oratory, where I never feel at home - so the door is always ajar and I have one foot out the door, and I don't feel trapped. I fall for/get involved with emotionally unavailable men, so I never, EVER have to close the door behind me and get trapped in a life like the suffocating one my parents had - or that I had growing up. Hmmm. Wonder who the really emotionally unavailable one is there?

So in essence, my need to be free has trapped me in a life that is too small. I must always be ready to pack and leave at a moment's notice.

I may become attached to things, but I never really allow myself to become committed.

*Because it never occurs to me that once a door is closed, and a space is mine, I can OPEN AND CLOSE IT AT WILL, and come home. I'm NOT trapped.*

I've threaded myself to the centre of the labyrinth: from here, everything emanates. Every decision, every action, every fear.

Now I need to find my way out to freedom. I'm tired of living in emotional hotel rooms and out of emotional suitcases. I proved I can walk out of my parents' house with no more than 3 bin bags of clothing. I only needed to do it once; I don't need to spend the rest of my life living there.

It is often said that we become stuck because of an intense inner conflict: I am dying to put down roots, to build a family and to be still; but thinking about growing up in my family still leaves me choking for air and I'm terrified of being trapped.

I think I need to sit in the darkness for a while, holding this, honouring it, knowing it was a way for me to survive. Then, I need to thread my way out, one step at a time, intuitively and in faith.

But the time for being a spore is over; it's time to shed the hard covering and become a seed.

It's time to stop surviving and start living.

Dr Phil's personality test

My result - to take the test, click on the graphic below:

The Loyal Friend

Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expects the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

The Loyal Friend