There goes the Australian audience ;).
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie (pronounced Ozzie)... oi!, oi!, oi!
A good man makes me feel safe.
His integrity gives me the confidence that I will be safe, that nothing will hurt me.
He wrote to me the other day after a long conversation he knew me better now.
You are fragile. You know exactly who and what you are. You are careful and understanding.
We had talked about my concerns. He explained and I believed him. He apologised that he made me feel the way he did. He understood my concerns.
The more I considered his assessment of me the more I think he was right. I am fragile, I break easily, this way up.
I think I am very strong too. I am strong in the art of self preservation, self protection. This is not necessarily a good thing. I am cautious, but "there is such a thing as too cautious," as a correspondent said to me the other day (you know who you are ;) ). My correspondent was right. The fear of the fragile stem being bent to the point of breaking is what holds me back.
I used to be not quite so fragile. I travelled the world before the days of Internet. I travelled alone to places where the world struggles to survive day to day. I had a backpack, slept under trucks (sometime on top of trucks if there were lions under the trucks). I hopped borders, working where my skills allowed and wasn't paid: why does western privilege need payment in places where people don't eat but once a day if they are lucky. I survived amoebic dysentery, sinking ferries, being robbed at knife point of my passport, all my cash and travellers cheques (remember those), curious hippopotamus's sniffing out my tent at night and African military with sweating skin and reddened eyes from drug use with a huge gun on a tripod slung over the shoulder and pointed at my head.
Somewhere along the way a girl can lose her bullet-proofness. Somehow she becomes fragile. As a girl grows, there are things that come into her life which make her so. She has a son. The light in his eyes ground her in fear. Fear that he will be lost to her, fear that she will be lost to him.. through her cancer, his father's infidelity..these things threaten the child's life more that anything she has ever been through; More than being thrown from a rubber boat into New Zealand's Class V rapids and swimming the rest of the journey through them; More than being grabbed by a man in the night in the streets of Istanbul and escaping the worst a young woman could fear; all these things and more. She never felt the delicate nature and impermanence of life quite so keenly as when she holds her son in her arms.