The name Pandora translates as “all giving”. In Greek mythology she was the first woman. The one with the box. When she opened it, all the evil escaped and swirled around, spreading out into all the world. All that was left in Pandora’s box, was hope. My last blog post, it strikes me, was called “Confusion and Hope”. Interesting.
I’ve felt a lot like Pandora. Without wishing to sound at all martyr-like, I’ve given a lot of myself, tried very hard to please…been as worried about disappointing people as Pandora was of disappointing Zeus when she disobeyed him and opened the box. And I’ve blamed myself for opening that box, letting lots of bad things swirl around me and confuse me, letting them hurt other people.
But, in the last days, that murk is clearing. I can see what’s left in the box. It’s hope. It’s bright and it’s strong. It’s a butterfly, with glowing wings, waiting to fly into the blue skies.
I always knew it was there. Hope never vanished. Only now, it seems tangible. It seems strong. I can see it clearly. It’s more than hope. It’s a belief in my future.
Suddenly, I find I have clarity. It’s an interesting experience. To see myself for what I am, and to realise I have to define myself. Not in opposition to anything or in relation to anyone. Just as me. Just for me.
Who am I? Now there’s a question. I’ve started to tell people I’m a writer again. Just yesterday someone told me that my novel, Ghosts of Winter touched their heart very deeply. Those were my words, my characters. I’m proud to be a writer. I feel part of my writing ambition remains unfulfilled. In my next novel, I will do something about that. When I work out how to write it…
I’m gay. I struggle a little more telling people that than I do telling them I’m a writer. I’m still trying to work out why. The word “lesbian” makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know why that is either. Sometimes women in general make me uncomfortable, especially en masse. It’s strange. But it’s part of me.
I’m exploring my spirituality. I’m doing so within the “family” of a Church of England church. Such established, orthodox, paternalist, heterosexist religion is in direct contradiction to much of what I believe in. And yet, I’m asking questions. Why is it okay for someone to interrogate their spiritual beliefs and come to a faith in Mother Earth or Budda without condemnation? Some religions seem to be trendy. Why am I frightened of the Christian church? Surely all it is–like every religion and belief system–is another way of exploring the idea that there is something more than our fleeting existence. I’ve met with more acceptance in that church than I have within my own family. It was easier to come out to the vicar than it was my own mother. I’m not sure what I believe. But I find I can explore it now…without fear and with confidence in my conclusions…
I finally feel like an adult. Everyone I know has assumed their proper age in my mind, and no longer do I feel inferior to, and more naive than, everyone I meet. I have something worthwhile to contribute. I sometimes know more than other people…
And I have dreams again. I know they’re dreams and, as such, might not come true. But they are exciting, something to aim for. They are part of how I will relate to the world in the coming months. Having the clarity of mind to know my dreams is more wonderful than I could ever expect it to be.
In clarity, you see, there is no certainty. My dreams may deviate, or never come true at all. My mind is full of questions, about myself and the world. But that’s the point of clarity. When the view is clear, you can see all the way to the horizon. You can see all that lies before you and look at it carefully, in all of its vivid colours. You see the beauty and the mystery. Sometimes you see the problems too. But the point is, you see them clearly. And that means you can meet them head on.
My favourite quotation: “If you have built castles in the sky, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.” (Henry David Thoreau)
I can see my castle now. I can see the foundations I’ve been building under it for the last year. They’re strong. Now I can start to fill the rooms, paint the walls…and look out from the tower and see the view. The skies are clear.
I’m about to start work on my next novel, though it’s a secret for now. I’m not writing a proposal, that doesn’t work for me. I’m taking a risk. How does Victorian Gothic sound? Ghosts of Winter is doing well. And next month is the BSB event at Waterstones. All good stuff!