Inspiration, Enablement, Empowerment – from the heart

Archive for November, 2014

A Tuesday in Town

Had a great day in London yesterday. Started off with the Sexology Exhibition at the Wellcome Collection. It’s worth seeing, lots to think about – and great to see that Gendered Intelligence have some materials there. Left there and walked along Euston Road to the tube, with the affirmation “I AM sex” going through my head… possibly inspired by a meditation on “I am the universe” I’d done the day before…

Then I went off to Charing X and did my usual getting lunch at the hospital restaurant before my electrolysis appointment. It was very difficult to find anything that was suitably paleo (their idea of ‘nutrition’ appears to be carbs served with more carbs and a side of carbs, then they ask if you’d like carbs with it) I did manage to find a few items on the salad bar that were permissible.

I headed back to the West End and decided it had been far too long since I last graced Liberty’s with my presence. Ogled some cosmetics and went to look at women’s wear. Closely examined several clothing items that were tagged well above a grand, walked round owning my space and smiled graciously at assistants who greeted me, thinking “I really could get the hang of this”. Made a mental note to replace my entire wardrobe by this time next year, with something more befitting.

Popped into Leon to eat and found they do a bunless chicken burger. Great! nicely paleo! Then went over to the Apple Store.

I was there for a talk with Clare Lewins, Director of I Am Ali a film about Muhammad Ali, largely from the perspective of his family life. From what was said and what was shown in the clips, Claire has handled her subject in a way that brings out a side not previously seen by many outside his immediate circle. Two of Ali’s daughters were on the podium with Clare and spoke touchingly and articulately about their father. I was able to ask a question, so asked Clare what advice she’d give to a first-time Director whose only industry experience thus far had been somewhat peripheral. She gave a remarkably positive response that pretty much confirmed what I’m already thinking and seeing at this point.

All in all a really positive day.

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Transmusings Relaunch

I’ve just relaunched my Transmusings blog, with a look at the structure of the LGBT community: The Wheels On The Bus

What Thia Did Next…

There’s a story that my mother told me when I was, I think eight or nine. It was a very strange story for a mother to tell her child at that sort of age and I’m still trying to figure out exactly why it was that particular story she chose to illustrate her message of Be very careful not to be seen as ‘different’; just fit in. It’s a story that involves sadistic bullying in a charged environment where pack instincts came to the fore; of how one person’s difference became the focus point for the level of abuse to escalate further; of how that person tragically ended their life as a result (or possibly became a murder victim) and of how the authorities acted in a way that might not have been altogether compatible with finding the truth.

My mother knew this story because she was there as it unfolded and I’m sure she felt a degree of shame on at least three counts: that she’d done nothing to prevent what happened; that she was herself intimidated and humiliated by the perpetrator; and that she accepted the effective exclusion from giving evidence that followed from her being offered a posting immediately after the event – a posting that she desperately wanted and that she’d been told only a week or two earlier would be ‘impossible’. Now I was no stranger to bullying at that age, yet this was something utterly beyond my experience, as was the particular ‘difference’ of the victim. It set me to asking questions that were too difficult and scary to pursue far, so I pretty much shut down thinking about it, or anything in any way associated.

Roll forward to now.

The realisation that for pretty much my whole life I’ve been sitting on potentially one of the most meaningful, dramatic, shocking, game-changing and heart-rending true stories ever; was something that came to me as a flash of inspiration, a lightning bolt, a moment of the most intense and pure clarity. In that moment it also became clear to me that the appropriate medium for telling this is film and that my vision of how it unfolds means that I can’t entrust Direction to another… or at least, not wholly (but that’s a matter for negotiation with those who know how such things are done).

As that vision has developed, as more about the setting, the characters, potential sub-plots and diversions reveals… and as other parts of the puzzle fall into place (I know exactly who I want doing the soundtrack – and intend to tempt them with a cameo and a spin-off album… and maybe an Executive Producer role too) the clarity grows further and I realise that this is exactly what I was always supposed to do.

So I am committed to this project in a way that I’ve never been committed to anything before and with a clarity that I’ve never had before. I’m aware that I have a mountain to climb, that I have many obstacles to overcome; not least of which will be the credibility gap and getting past the Who do you think you are? and What makes you think you can Direct without having worked your way up in the industry? objections will need to be negotiated past somehow. I don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m willing to listen to those who do have them and I’m not taking NO for an answer. Rather, I’ll be interpreting NO as an indication that I need to make the pitch better!

Hot, Happy and Healthy by Christmas?

Around three weeks ago, I replied to an invitation to participate in a challenge. I’m a bit of a soft touch for challenges; my inner adventurer loves to get involved and saying “Yes!” always feels much better that saying “No!”… for some reason it also seems so much easier, though that advantage tends to evaporate once reality sinks in! This time, it was the Be:Fit London Hot, Happy and Healthy Challenge (#HHHChallenge). The object being to achieve those three ‘Aitches’ for Christmas. And when someone offers you “…access to a nutritionist, personal trainer, health professional & life coach … free of charge!” that’s some incentive!

Be:Fit London is an initiative of the Telegraph Media Group and organises an annual Women’s Health and Fitness Festival. I spent an energising, uplifting and inspiring day at the 2014 event back in March, where I munched and drank my way through endless nutrition product samples… mostly delicious, tried a few items of fitness equipment for the first time, had a lovely, relaxing head massage… and tried a Bokwa class. There were several classes on offer during the day and I found they were all very popular and filled up quickly. By the time I got to the head of the queue to choose one, there were only two or three left to pick from and Bokwa won because it claimed to be suitable for all fitness levels. We had a five minute warm up and it turned out that was more than challenging enough for my particular fitness level at that point. I spent most of the remainder of the class leaning against the wall rehydrating, though I did pop back in for a couple of short spells and for the cool down (cool downs are really important and should never be neglected) and it gave me a lift to see several young women around a third of my age who had given up and slumped against the walls long before that point – I really wasn’t doing that badly for an oldie – for a start, I’d just leaned, not slumped! I also realised soon afterwards that I was in the early stages of a chest infection. Apart from the chest infection, which I didn’t allow to spoil things too much, I had a great day and I’ve been on the Be:Fit mailing list ever since. Next year’s Be:Fit is at the beginning of May, at a different venue and I’m already looking forward to it.

Back to the present. I accepted the challenge and got invited into the closed Facebook group, where there are now a little under 200 women being completely up for this and supporting one another as only a group of passionately committed women can. In week one, we went Paleo. It was a bit of a shock to begin with, to learn about all the everyday items that aren’t Paleo. Some of us (yes, me included) showed some resistance, but after a bit of a struggle, we got into the spirit of it and found that we can do things we’d never thought possible with foods that tend to be too often overlooked. So that’s been a real pleasure!

In week two, we committed to going tech-free after 10pm, enjoying some nice relaxing, restorative yoga before bed, aiming to have eight hours of sound sleep each night and agreed to work out at least three times during the week, while adding something new to our routines for at least one of those. I’m working out six mornings a week now anyway, so the three times was easy to do. I added the shoulder press machine to my upper body workout… and after several weeks of gradually building my walking pace on the treadmill, actually broke into a run for the first time in … oh, it must be decades … only for 30 seconds the first time, but I’m extending that already! I’m beating my COPD bit by bit!

There have also been some freebies! Everything from classes to teabags… the classes have so far all been in London and at times that meant I couldn’t get in for them, but the feedback from those who have done them has been fantastic! I have had one freebie though, a bottle of Little Miracles Organic Energy drink, made with lemongrass tea, orange juice, ginger, ginseng and agave. It was delicious and refreshing and did give me the energy lift I needed at a crucial time, to get a sixty page manuscript of my poetry completed and submitted to a New York publisher!

It’s still possible to join the challenge, so if you’re interested, check out http://live.storystream.it/be-fit-london/items/19406092 for how to get involved!

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