Kaleidoscopic human being

I do believe… you and I are deserving of kindness… I am in a process of learning what it is that I really desire… your presence, is an allowance of that desire, to exist. Be bold, be brave, hold it firmly within you and shine it like a torch. You never know… what stories, a person is carrying… whether that boy… you see… riding his bike, with his earphones in, has been bullied at school? 

Judgment: another kind thought – sometimes judgement comes from someones attachment to their sense of identity and what they believe about that.  

If they cannot allow the quality they see in you, in themselves, then judgment is a self-defence mechanism. If it bothers them, to what extent is that quality yearning for expression, in some form or other, in them?

You never know… whether the woman who sits down next to you… has attempted suicide. You never know, until you take a chance to welcome someone to share their story. You just never know, what’s going on in their life. You never know, who will resonate with your story… but you can be sure, someone will… and someone will find it empowering to hear. And believe me, the telling of stories can be deeply healing.

I don’t know if that boy was bullied, but I am sure, he has a story to tell.

Here’s what I appreciate about him… that his presence invited me to ask more questions. That I hope, whatever music he was listening to… soothes him. 

Why do we sit down here and gaze at the ocean? There’s the vaguest film of salt in the air, carried by the cool breeze… and the heat of Summer, is swirling through the air. It reminds me of those strawberry cream candies with the swirl of red/pink and white. It’s about a year since I was last here. Beaches draw up images of boisterous crowds out here for the sun and the sea. 

Isn’t that why I am here? 

You watch briefly, someone else gazing at the sea and this vague sense of discomfort steals over you. Their solitude feels sacred. It’s the realisation that they are fully here and present with their thoughts. It’s the sense that they’re not, at this moment, distracted by the world behind us, rushing sounds of vehicles, in a seeming hurry to be somewhere. It’s the sense that solitude here… is quietly shared. Is that why I am here? 

There is a pigeon looking at me, wondering if I will offer food, or perhaps, if I will leave crumbs of food behind. I don’t know. Is it a clever assumption or an assumption based on routine? Or both, that the clever is in the routine? That, for this pigeon, this routine works. This routine soothes its sense of survival. I don’t think it cares to know that the breeze is ruffling feathers on its back. But the thought makes me chuckle. 

Earlier this year, seeking solitude so I could write, distill and sift my thoughts onto the page, I found myself surrounded by mountains and a stream, a little way off… and a packet of hazelnuts. I demolished them and then I noticed… this ant, making away with the skin of a hazelnut! 

How hard and tirelessly it worked… to carry that skin across the earth. What I had carelessly dropped… was its treasure. This ant… had a work ethic and I admired it. I know, it doesn’t entertain these trains of thought. It doesn’t sit at a bench and ponder its work ethic, its nature. I don’t want to say it doesn’t think… that would be insulting to the intelligence inherent about ants and their colonies.

But I sit here and think… and someone would definitely ask… if they knew the nature of my thoughts… do you think about useful things? 

As I might’ve grudgingly realised, in their parameters of that question, the answer would be no. Yet because this thought has arisen… anyway… I’m inclined to believe that I valued their thoughts… and their parameters of seeing and thinking about the world… over my own. I valued them, their thoughts, their opinions and what they had to offer… but did they value mine? 

Did they decide… yes, I value you, but only if you are this, this and this. 

Were they cognisant of this? 

Of saying… I value you… but only if you are not you. 

The two parts of that sentence… form the two parts of an equation… and they cancel each other out. There is no value here. 

But I am here… suddenly wondering about the ghosts of the past. The part of me, thinking these thoughts arising from past conditions… and the part of me… naturally and instinctively seeing and feeling and offering the impulses that arise out of being in this moment. Are they one? Am I attempting to rectify cognitive dissonance? 

The more kindly, I think about judgment and what it offers… the more I’m able to embody what it is that I do want and desire, from myself and from others. People aren’t easily categorised by adjectives… people are a kaleidoscopic array of everything that is possible. 

That is a thought that excites me. 

Believe the best of others and the best will reveal itself. Believe the best of yourself and the best of you will show itself. There’s flexibility to those statements that I enjoy immensely… because they would be equally valid if I substituted best for worst. And since… no person is one or the other… life is a hodgepodge with everything. 

The clarity of that tickles me.

It seems ironic… and because, it lends itself to the next question: Out of this hodgepodge of everything that is life, what experiences do you want to pick and choose to live? 



Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

A re-imagining of one of fairytales most iconic villains. (Spoiler alert by the way.) That’s right up my alley and the larger than life and fantastically unreal, layered on rich, Maleficent on screen was just superbly performed. She’s the archetypal nemesis rolling out the devil may care card – complex and multi-faceted and single minded in her seemingly black and white approach to life, with few exceptions dotted on the lines of life – for example – her love for her human god-daughter yet delightfully wicked and sardonic disdain for the rest of humankind, and not unwarranted. I say single minded – and love this aspect of her because it sets the stage for her journey. It’s what makes her so endearing in her villainy and her love.

One of my favourite lines was her response to her god-daughter being human, “… and I don’t hold it against you”. Jolie delivers this with just the right amount of tone that it’s perceived as Maleficent having the right of it and how could it possibly be any other way? Once something is categorised, it’s difficult to re-categorise it. But re-categorisation is the process that breathes new life out of old and stilted paradigms. Maleficent herself is a re-categorisation – a re-weaving and a re-perceiving of an old story and paradigm – that of the ‘wicked witch’ and the ‘innocent maiden’. She’s a shadow archetype coming into the light – in the process of rage and fury and the acceptance of otherness, in the metaphorical sense here, without speaking to the most obvious aspect of race.

Though I do feel that the film touches on race, that all anger has its source – not unwarranted, even if the re-perpetuation of war and violence is only an answer to a wounded ego, stemming from the fracturing of a deeper sense of identity – in this case – that is linked to the land. In the context of this film, land is symbolic of heritage and power, literally. The advantage that the human queen gains over the fae, comes from the sourcing of the flowers that grow on the graves where the fae bury their dead and Maleficent implies, it is a place to respect the dead. The act of disenfranchising one group – in the context of this film – the dark fae – is and was the seed that sows repercussions, though you could also surmise that the human queen was inviting war – in her own personal quest for revenge.

I also feel that the film speaks to this; no one is responsible for the wrongdoings of their ancestors but the power to shift and heal the dynamic does lie in the present – Prince Charming throws down arms and declares no more fae blood will be spilled on his watch. That’s a powerful moment for the leader that rallied the dark fae to battle – does he continue down his present path? At what point does justice morph into personal revenge? Which he would have every right to… but he would also lose far more. Given the way his character was presented in the earlier sections of the film, this moment was his climax point.

There were also moments, during the death scenes in the Church, where I absolutely admired the way the writers didn’t shy away from death but brought its ‘naturalness’ into the fore in a way that made this scene beautiful and of course, very dramatic, despite the gruesome and cruel aspect of the storyline portrayed here. In essence… death, in this scene, was less about ‘death’ in the sense of returning to the earth via decay… and more so, a ‘death’ of magic and the voices and characters that populate the imaginations of a magical world. It occurred to me, that making this scene without fake blood was necessary given that a large percentage of the audience would’ve been children. But the way this sequence was approached, was absolutely to its merit. The blue fairy’s moment was moving, emotionally powerful and sadly beautiful. Tastefully, very tastefully done.

Before I finish with another round of praise for this film… I’m going to kick up a tiny tirade about the original fairytale from Brothers Grimm that this modern day version is spun off, and I would bet, the ‘original’, was probably spun off even older folktales that became distorted.

Snow White is presented as the epitome of virtue – kind, innocent, pure, to a fault – because she falls victim to a sorceress, who’s presented as vain and jealous – to a fault because sadly the whole unfolding of this fairy tale depends on this aspect, but, in the characterisation and plot development, the Grimm brothers simultaneously lumped powerful and evil together in the sorceress, and good and hapless together in Snow White. Unwittingly or not, without justifying that it’s a product of its time, the message this fairytale gives to young girls is an uninspiring and polarised either/or. None of the characters in this story empower any kind of growth – not even for the hero who comes rushing in, assuming his role is to save the day. De-throning the two most important female characters of their sovereignty and what should’ve been a connection between women, so that the hero can look like a hero… is poor plot development. Enough said.

This re-telling of Maleficent absolutely grabbed it and teared it to shreds – refreshingly. Re-invention is splattered all over this film. Maleficent literally rises from the ashes as a phoenix. She saves the day, because she is the most powerful character in the story, she’s evil because she has no qualms about who she is, no need to justify her horns and her magic and her fury, there’s no nice-complex going on. She owns her badass. She’s sardonic and possesses integrity made of steel and love for her god-daughter Aurora. And that, was the best part of the first film. Interchangeably she’s been both the villainess and the heroine. You could even argue, if she hadn’t played the villainess or experienced the betrayal that created the Maleficent whose journey we followed in the first film, she wouldn’t have been deepened enough, to present not only as an enigmatic character, but a strong one given the challenges put in the way of her character arc. This film sequel does its prequel justice and the premise, plot and characterisation has everything the original Brothers Grimm fairytale was missing and far more.