I could've looked at her for hours, initially the nails caught my attention; red, long, shiny, unashamedly sexy. Then the hair, a bouffant of flame-red, akin to Edna O' Brien's.
I could’ve looked at her for hours, initially the nails caught my attention; red, long, shiny, unashamedly sexy. Then the hair, a bouffant of flame-red, akin to Edna O’ Brien’s.
I was instantly fascinated by the woman to my right in a yoga circle. She introduced herself as the ‘original cailleach’ with a filthy laugh, said she was sixty three and shared with us the great joy of being past the age of menstruation, child bearing and rearing.
Later in the workshop, we were guided to turn to the person next to you and look them in the eye for two full minutes without speaking. We settled across from each other, legs crossed and searched each others’ eyes for the alloted time. I could have looked at her for hours. When the time was up, she put her hand gently on my face and said ‘to thine own self be true, you’ve a lot of wildness in those eyes’.
I asked her about her life and basked in what she told me, she retired early at fifty seven and went off to Thailand to train as a yoga teacher. While she was there she went to the full moon party, some people reacted like she had started swinging when she told them (they had always been ‘drips’, so she wasn’t surprised).
We talked about societal norms and expectations of women ‘settling down’, taking their husbands’ names, marrying in churches despite having no loyalty to the establisment, dressing ‘appropriately’ and cleaning up your language.
It hit me like a wave, this complete stranger verbalised something I have been mulling over for a long time; how had it happened that so many of us have become so fucking boring? Is it the fear of being recorded on smart phones and broadcast to the world? Does the struggle to succeed in the workplace leave no space for a bit of mischief? Or a fear of being seen as ‘different’?
Are we so obsessed with being ‘better’ that we have forgotten how to be bold?
Our pagan ancestors celebrated seasons with fires and feasts, expressed their sexuality without shame and created a culture of creativity. Us? We gasp when a woman says cunt in conversation.
Not everyone necessarily has the misneach to live everyday like its their last, but if you’re can’t remember the last time you surprised yourself, you challenged yourself to do something a little bit ‘mad’ or you cackled until you thought you’d puke, you’re seriously missing out.
We sat in savasana and I thought about the woman beside me, the flicker of spirit I saw in her eyes; how bit by bit, the flicker can be dampened, dimmed until it crumbles away into nothing like the wick of a cheap candle.
You don’t have to behave, conform, be contained. You are enough, as you are.