Exerpt from ‘Writing Speaks’ chapter in my forthcoming biography : I do something I’ve never done in my adult life…..I write a poem……

The name ‘Puppet’s Betrayal’ comes loud and clear like a download and I get how powerful it would be,  to put a photograph of me next to it,  taken when I was a young child,  with a large chimpanzee on my lap.  I’m wearing smart white gloves and a formal coat, smiling as I was told to do and together with this sad faced animal,  forced to have his photo taken day in and out,  just to serve the narcissistic agendas of parents like mine,  wanting the perfect family shots to show off to friends.  

I remember being delighted to hold this magnificent chimp,  who is a marketing tool and prop for the professional photographer,  selling his services on the high streets.  We both pose for the camera,  while no-one notices our mutual sense of self alienation.  

The poem and the photo go together, they help me piece together the confused jigsaw of my life, to really embody how both of us were objectified as performing puppets.  It’s like I’m taking my place in the world because I’m putting words in that little girl’s mouth, words she could have never dared to say.   I’m speaking for the chimpanzee as well, for every beautiful creature or child being trapped, trafficked and enslaved.

What of my life that I should sink so low
Anaesthetised victim in a puppet show
Parents and society condoning the whole game
Illusion and denial so no-one’s to blame
Programmed as a child to have no rights, and no vice
Defenceless, numbed out, a vampire’s paradise
Predators feeding ground, no questions asked
Programmed to be perfect, any weakness tightly masked
Betrayal by the ones who are supposed to care
Caught up in pretences and the masks they wear
A spiritual vacuum where stoicism rules
Creating emotional cripples and unaware fools
So what of your dreams, golden girl
Why did they never have a chance to unfurl
No space to breathe, the puppet strings too tight
Worshipping false gods, no energy to fight
A life of ‘burn out’, of being hyper alert
Of people pleasing so no-one gets hurt
Covering dysfunction and hidden shame
A disembodied superwoman seeking family fame
Truth’s my freedom, stoicism’s a lie
Being ‘indifferent to suffering’ one might as well die
I must face my past and open my heart
Dare to receive as the first place to start
But I cling to old patterns, to familiar masks
I’m unsure of a life without endless tasks
I’m in rage and mourning for the loss of myself
And for the price I paid in losing my health
I’m addicted to suffering and achieving the best
I need constant reminding that life’s not a test
If I’m invaded or threatened, I forget there’s a choice
And I abandon myself by losing my voice
But something amazing occurs when I’m authentic and real
Deep emotions surface, my body can heal
The child is heard, is blessed and supported
Courageous efforts, no longer are thwarted
I’m regaining my spirit with a different set of rules
A new family of affiliation and some trusted tools
I’m repairing fences, building strong boundaries of my own
Re-parenting that child so she can be fully grown
My body’s no longer an enemy to be fought
In listening to its pain, I’ve learnt what it’s taught
Fool’s gold is true because real gold exists
Is available to those with the courage to persist
I seek others with integrity who search like me
Confronting denials in an effort to be free
In this safety and honesty, I melt some of the ice
Know with certainty, I must expose the word ‘nice’
I thank M.E. for the bridge across my sorrows
For a chance to really live for all my tomorrows
For the experience of joy and the presence of grace
And for connecting to others, face to face

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