Catpaws Cafe

Random musings from my virtual fountain pen

Tug of war

(written 21 September 2012)

Since wordpress keeps removing my formatting, I will type the first line on each ”verse” in caps…

THERE’S A TUG OF WAR going on inside of me

the part that wants prosperity

vs the part that holds fear

Fear of feeling obliged to help

I don’t what to work hard to give it away

to someone I judge irresponsible perhaps.

IN MY HEAD I know I don’t have to.

In my head I know we are both creators.

So this is how I set it up for now.

If I have no money, then

I can’t feel guilty for saying no

when someone asks me for some.

THING IS, it doesn’t work

coz the guilt transforms into guilt for

not having any

not living up to expectations, mine and perceived others

and a hundred little unidentified

illusive fears that sneak around like dust

on stagnant water it festers and hatches like mosquitoes

then one by one they come for me.

NOT HAVING money can’t keep me ”safe”

any more than having money can

but it can keep me in fear – for now.

Fear of not having funds to go and see family,

to be unable to bail us out,

plus all the ones that come from not being

in a network of friends to catch a fall.

TO SOME it is real, to some it is a game

but at times the game does feel ever so real

no matter how much I remind and reassure my self.

When with all the skills we have accumulated between us

we can not find work and funds are low

coins rather than notes.

This is a place of contradictions

the well off live side by side with poverty

sometimes co-existing within the same family.

I am amazed. How do they do it so easefully?

I want to learn!

If you saw your nephews in rags and no shoes

would you not feel some sort of human obligation to help?

Instead get in your fancy car

leaving the aircon on while you go to work.

DO YOU REALLY think your brother/in law

who slaves away for 12 hours or more a day

is not working as hard as you

and deserves a break too?

Am I really the only one who’s head observes these things?

Of course, you are in no way obliged

but if you so easily could

how can you not want to?

I NEED TO LEARN from these people

learn to not feel like I want to help

because I’d want that hand if it were me.

I need to learn to let everyone have their experience

without wanting to change it.

Let the complexities just be what they are.

Respect the choices of others &

get on with my own.

Choose and choose again

choose a different experience to explore for myself

and let everyone else have theirs.

I’m having a hard time viewing poverty as a ”choice”.

IT IS NOT EXCLUSIVE to this place

it’s just that the extremes makes it more apparent.

The have and the have nots.

In England it’s behind closed doors

even if those doors are ever changing doors of a b&b or hostel.

OBLIGATIONS to help…..

It reminds me of other times…

looking after siblings

looking after parent and grand-parents

because it’s what the eldest/youngest/ugliest daughter did.

Love does not come into it.

It’s what you do.

No matter how much you begrudge

a chance at a life of your own

a family or a (”suitable”) job

teaching or nursing .

Through the centuries I hear the echoes

”why do you want to look after other people when

your brothers and sisters need caring for?”

Yeah. A little bit of freedom? Break from the unpaid labour (read slavery)?

An end to a working day rather than 24/7 thankless ”duty”.

WHY DO WE perpetuate the cycle?

Like the crabs in the crab bucket…

grab hold of anyone trying to climb out.

Any branching out

no matter how small

stirs the fears of all the others, whispering:-

Is it so simple as to—

Did I make the right choice?

IN MY MIND I can clearly see

a picture of me and the class of -83.

On one of the facets we’d just got back from a great adventure

a dream we’d nurtured for 2 years before coming to fruition.

In a mere week we’d grown

seen things, experienced so much

and changed irrevocably.

And here we are

asked to step back into the selves we were before.

Go back and fulfill the choices made before.

Before we grew, before we knew our selves

and the facts we now hold in our hands and heart.

I’m sure most didn’t give it much thought

lucky are those who can be content

doing what is expected of them

without questioning.

LIKE A caged bird

had flown around the room

and worry turned into jubilation,

now back in the cage you go.

But I’m different now!

I’ve seen an other world

and you want me to go back and be that small again?

I may not know what I want

but I still would like to reconsider.

Collect a few more facets of life

and my self

before I make my choice.

THE GIRL ON the lawn again;

I’m not sure about this anymore

but what else is there?

She does not want to cause a scene

she does not want to be rude

she does not want to cause trouble

But the question unformed

unasked, unanswered

swirls around like a restless ghost.

It will follow her for years to come

What else is there?

Even when she finds the words,

then she becomes somehow invisible too.

Unsure if anyone can hear her

or if they are just ignoring the question.

Because they don’t know? Don’t comprehend?

She sets out to find her own answers.

IS HAVING a choice

even if it is an illusionary one

a luxury?

A right?

Is this introspection purely an introvert thing?

Or is it an indigo trait?

To see so much, think so much,

contemplate more angles of life

than a team of devils’ advocates?

SO THERE I am again

back outside the school on the lawn

in my dress with daisies on,

wishing I was thinner

with a flat belly and slender legs.

This is where our roads parted for college

where we get to start spending our days

in the company of those who have chosen to study

something we were supposedly interested in

rather than bundled together by age group.

I STILL SEE me on that lawn

the buses in the street

the break from all we’d known up til then.

Knowing there were other choices I’d rather make

but that were not available to me.

And a little voice whispered – unfair… isn’t it?

I hissed at it to shut up.

Keep your head down and get on with it.

Three more years and I’d be free.

Forget it feels like a prison sentence,

just get the darn qualifications

then I can choose where to go

and what to do.

Then I can LEARN TO FLY.

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One thought on “Tug of war

  1. sunrise4uk on said:

    Thank you for sharing – I can relate to many of your feelings!

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