A slow walk

There is a chill in the air this late autumn day, but she doesn’t mind. There is a freshness on the breeze that roses her cheeks, her warm breath forming mini clouds in front of her. She loves days like today where she can take her time and enjoy life; she takes pleasure in all the sounds around her, the rustle of leaves underfoot, distant birdsong.

It’s the rhythm she enjoys, the gentle pace, the repetition, one foot after another, left, right, left, right. The destination closer with each step. She feels herself relaxing as she follows the twists and turns of the path, knowing she will unwind further when she arrives at her destination.

A movement catches her eye and a dark blur bursts into view, dashes across the path before disappears into the long grass on the other side. Startled she jumps back, scared by the sudden appearance of a local cat on the hunt.

She laughs out loud, reassuring her fast beating heart with the sound before continuing on her way.

Evening is settling in around her, the sun sneaks through the gathering clouds to brush the tree tops on the horizon, spindles of light cut through the trees and leave strange shadows across the path. She feels the first droplets of rain, puts her hood up and pulls her cape tighter around her body.

Up ahead she glimpes the first sign of the cottages, a trail of smoke rises into the air, buffeted gently by the breeze. She imagines the roaring hearth inside and quickens her pace towards the warmth.

Through the gate at the end of the path now, the long mechanical groan of unoiled hinges seems louder in the gathering twilight and then, there in the cottage ahead, she sees him standing in the window, watching and waiting for her.

She walks briskly now, the quiet of the woods behind her, a new focus in front. He is waiting for her and she urges time to move faster. She walks with purpose now, striding up the path to his cottage, her red cape billowing.

The door opens and there he stands, silhouetted as the night descends.

“Hello little girl”, says the wolf.

The Companion

It’s lonely in the dark.

The odd rumbling of an occasional distant car, the gurgling buzz from the refridgerator, and the deep breathing and snuffling of my companion are the only noises.

A gentle movement, a leg quickly retracted against the chill of the night.

I stand guard as always but the monsters are few these days. I’ve heard tales of nights full of them, each nook and cranny holding a new and terrifying sight. My sisters say the monsters only pick on the smaller ones, or maybe I’ve just been lucky. Either way it’s been a long long time since I saw one.

The last time was a while ago. It was a night like many others, the evening rituals the same and it wasn’t long before we descended into the familiar silence. The first realisation that anything was wrong was when my companion suddenly flinched, his body twitching violently beneath me. He cried out, a soft moan full of dread.

I did what I could to comfort him but no matter how I folded myself round him he pushed me away. I checked the room again and again but no monsters appeared; I do wish he would close the wardrobe door properly though, that’s just asking for trouble.

I’m glad the monsters seem to have gone away now, that those nights are few. It wasn’t always this way.

A gentle melody trills out and a faint glow washes the ceiling. He moves, his arm snakes out into the cold air as he groggily reaches around for the noise. It falls silent and the arm recoils. He falls still again.

A few minutes later the melody calls out once more. He moves again, twisting his torso to look more animated this time and the music stops.

He falls back, eyes opening and, with a heavy sigh and slow movements, he throws me back and leaves.

I watch as he goes, feeling the heat from his body escaping into the room and know that I will see him again soon.

Acceptance

Over the past few weeks I’ve been tweeting and posting to Facebook about a Kickstarter campaign that I’ve backed, trying to drum up more support.

The campaign was organised by the people behind Irreverent Dance, the aim was to raise funds for Europe’s first dedicated, gender neutral, fully accessible, dance space for London’s LGBTQ community.

I was so so happy when they achieved funding and, with the deadline now passed, managed to raise even more (goal was £30k, final total was £36,388).

I’ll now fess up and admit I know the organiser but that’s not why I backed the project.

I also didn’t back this project because I care about dance (if you’ve seen me ‘dance’ you’ll know why…).

And I definitely didn’t back this project because it is based in London; although here’s hoping that with a permanent base there could be some form of franchise model in the future? I know many people in Glasgow who would welcome something like this north of the border.

No, those aren’t the reasons I backed the campaign. The reason was a simple one.

Acceptance.

Reading through some of the back stories of the campaign, and the aims of Irreverent Dance, I realised I was finding a lot of parallels.

I’ve written in the past about not really fitting in and that general sense pervades today. No matter what ‘scene’ or ‘community’ I find myself in, I always feel a bit outside of it. Most likely because I don’t fully commit – I like my life to have a mix of things – but even then it’s not always the nicest set of feelings.

Even back at school I didn’t really fit in, stuck between the ‘not quite as popular as the really popular kids’ group and the ‘top grades all the time, bloody swots’ group.

Back then it was hard to deal with but these days it’s not something that bothers me, I accept it’s who I am, but I’ve not always had that accepted by others, so seeing what Irreverent Dance do just makes me happy knowing that there are small pockets of the world where all that really matters is acceptance.

“Be who you want to be!”

A very easy thing to say, a lot harder to do if you don’t feel like you fit in anywhere.

So, bravo to everyone who contributed! I hope everyone who will benefit from this new dance space finds it a little easier to accept themselves, and more able to ignore those people who don’t.


 

Update: The wrong question to ask yourself about crowd funding – matches my basic reasoning for supporting the Irreverent Dance campaign.