Sunday, March 27, 2016

Filling the Space

The Warren's Garden, Brentwood, Vancouver Island
Gillian Cornwall, Spring 2015

I eat to fill the space 
that once was filled with a whole me.
I yearn for sleep that lasts
more than 
The only way to fix me 
is to be me
and the only way
to be me 
is to take the time
to heal me -
to walk the path of wellness.
For food won't fill it, 
my mind can't simply will it.
The only way to be me
is to walk free 

...And so I step up to the mic and say, "Enough." Time is limited. It is my most limited resource and it is essential that I make the most of the time I have remaining. I am going to do what I need to best ensure I have as much time left as possible and that begins with self-care. This means moderation in consumption,  particularly food, and eating fresh, local goods - way fewer packaged comestibles. It means making gentle exercise a priority and re-embracing Qi Gong as a daily practice in my life. It means caring less about the meanness that exists in our world - and by meanness, I am using the English definition of the word ...because I am English.... Definition: "lack of generosity; miserliness." 

I will breathe deeply and be present. I will say what I need and give it to myself, such as: "Time to write please!" 

There is only one way to get what we need and that is to create a kind and loving space for it. Take time to consider how we work and what we do and whether it is of value. Are we performing a task simply because we always have, or is there still a need or a positive impact from that labour? If not, let's chuck it! There is time for other pursuits if we look for it creatively. Prioritizing how we spend our time is essential to the level of joy we have in our lives. 

So, I organize to make the time to create the time to have more time. Yes, I am able to see the first world entitlement and irony here.... When did I complicate my life like this and how do I re-take the reins? 

Attention. Attention to the moments, the days, the weeks, the months and years. Attention to how I utilize and create during the time I do have and a sound belief that I have the right and the autonomy to choose.

In this season of rebirth and renewal, take a look at how your time is spent. Be creative and make space for your exceptional individuality to shine and grow. Your greatest successes and inspirations will come when you make space for them to grow. Like all the flora and fauna of the earth, you will blossom with the right amounts of space, time, nourishment and sunlight. 

With love to each of you. 

-Gillian Cornwall, c. March 27, 2016

Chickadee Spring, The Warrens Garden, Brentwood, BC 
Gillian Cornwall, c. Spring 2015

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Our Spring

Wet and verdant island day, 
Gillian Cornwall, c. March 2015

 Victoria blossoms
Gillian Cornwall, c. March 2012

A billion tiny kisses plastered to the ground.
Licks and kisses, pink on green, 

the green grass of a west coast spring

A promise kept to us every year
through the grey, wet winter:

"Blossom blizzard"
we call to the east to tease: 
"Yes, it's snowing here too...
...all pink and fluffy
from the plum and from the cherry."

A billion blooming kisses for our mother.
The love of mother,
like no other,
our only mother 

This Spring, let go. Put down that which is not yours to carry. This is the season of renewal and rebirth - a chance to reinvent yourself. You owe no debt of servitude to another soul. You are unique and whole and perfect on your path. Respect all women for they are the life-givers and must be celebrated for their strength and capacity (which is immeasurable and perfect). 

Tread lightly on the Mother Earth for she is the provider of all of your needs for life. Be patient and kind, mostly with yourself, and your patience and kindness with others will come naturally from this prescription. 

There is life to be lived. Go outside. Breathe into your belly. Remember that you are uniquely and infinitely connected to all through your dantian: your centre of life and energy. Participate in your life; celebrate it. Don't just watch the lives of others on the television. 

I write this as it flows through me. I hear this in my  ear, in my heartbeat and through this universal energy I call soul. 

May we embrace the Spring and burst forth into this season of our lives in all of our epic, unique beauty.
-Gillian Cornwall, c. March 20, 2016 

In it.
Gillian Cornwall, c. March 2015 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Letter to the Time Bandits

Big Ben, London, England
Gillian Cornwall, September 2016

Dear Time Bandits,

Saturday night I sat up in my bed, with my eyes closed and hot tears streaming down my face. I spoke slowly to prevent the sobs that bubbled volcanic just below the surface, the words expressing my pain and frustration to my compassionate, brilliant and loving partner.

My computer had decided to indulge itself that day with one of its epic, mind-numbing, unannounced, hours-long, Windows 10 updates just as I had sat down with a tenderly carved-out, single hour to work on my novel. The times I have to write are limited and as precious as my own breath and heartbeat.

Needless to say, I was devastated to have this hour snatched away by an untouchable computer deity. I lost my mind, freaked out, yelled at the laptop, wept and swore like a sailor. I imagine my neighbours hiding behind barricades of furniture clutching their brooms and rolling pins to fend off whatever attack was coming their way. Sorry, it was just me, flavoured with the hormonal nightmare that is menopause.

But it's more than that and that is what I was able to tease out with the help of my partner on Saturday night and again with my dear friend, Kelly, on Sunday. It's not just that one hour. It's realizing that I finally accept, even celebrate, who I am and what I should be doing and there is so little time left to do it.

It is the time that has been stolen from me for as long as I can remember - in every social, school and workplace I ever had. I figured it out at last. You see, I've lost at least ten years of cumulative time, battling, just to get to the same starting line as the heteronormative male dominant society that prevails. I'm still not there. I'm still asking for answers and getting blank stares or people staring at the floor. 

I've been fighting just to get on an even footing with those who are straight, or pass as straight, because I have been treated as 'less than' for who I love for as long as I can remember. I have dealt with everything from being flashed by another woman at work to being told it would be easier for me if I just behaved and dressed more like a regular woman - if I just tried harder to fit in. 

Well, you might as well try to be gay as me try to be straight. Folks, it just doesn't work that way. You can't ask a vacuum cleaner to make your toast in the morning any more than you can ask me to pretend to be straight. It's absurd, yet you expected it. You still do. It infuriates you that I will not just stay in my box long enough for you to tape it up and get the label on there! I'm like a cat you want to contain and take to the vet and it just isn't going to happen.

...and it has cost me. Your fear, anger, petulance and lack of understanding around my unwillingness to fit your norms has cost me - not just jobs, but dignity, safety, peace and friendships. Most tragically, it has cost me epic amounts of time...

...and I want it back. All of it. Now. Please. There is less time ahead of me than behind me and I need every second of it to do all of the things I should have had the time, well-being, energy and safe location to be doing all along.

So, it would be great, society, if I could take a wee break to catch up and
 do the things that many of you have always been able to do. Simple things like:
  • hold your partners hand in public, 
  • get married to who you love, 
  • apply for jobs and get them because you are qualified, 
  • tell people you have someone in your life without fear of repercussion and listening to stories about the gay auntie everyone has. 
I could go on, but maybe you get the picture?

You see, Time bandits, that which you have robbed? the things perhaps you take for granted? I have had to spend more time hiding, fighting, recovering and changing the world to be a safer, kinder more equitable place for me and those who are coming after me and now, well, I am asking you to pay back your debt. I want my time back please and an apology would be a good start to pay off the interest on the debt. Acknowledgement would go a long way too, but most of all, I want my time back so I can finish my book, draw beautiful pictures and complete a legacy that includes more than an entire adult life of ploughing a line and paving the way for lesbians and gays who have come after me. I'd like a bit of time, well, just to be me. 

I'd like to start today if it isn't too inconvenient for you.

With sincere gratitude and acknowledgement to all those who have come before me and the price they have paid for me to walk my path more freely.


-Gillian Cornwall, c. March 13, 2016

Princess Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Gillian Cornwall, c. October 2016

Sunday, March 06, 2016

I Write

"Time for Sale" at Charmaine's Past and Present
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2014

I write. It's more than what I do; it is who I am on a cellular level. I am a transmitter of stories and poetry. At times, it is as though they already exist and I am simply capturing them from the ether and containing them on the page - unsure as to how much I actually have to do with the process. The characters tell me who they are rather than it being the other way around. They unfold themselves and their lives before me - through my pen on the page or my fingers on the keys. I am a conduit, just as I am in the rest of my life. I am a passage connecting people to people and stories to people. I hear the voices and stories of the many and weave them into another upon the page. I listen to the wind and share the voices I hear upon it. The stories pour from my fingers, unwittingly at times, and I polish and shine them. I understand the sculptor who sees the work within the rock and releases it for the world to see. I cannot explain the how of it all. It just is.

My biggest rival is time and the need to put food on the table and a roof over my head - for it does not matter to the world that I am conduit, a writer. I am a dime a dozen in the eyes of most. 

"Yeah, you write - blah, blah, blah. How is that of any use to me? How will that line my pockets?" 

I have no answer for you. I write. It's what I do. It's who I am, yet I must work at something else for I must eat and and clothe and house myself. I could not do so, I suppose, and continue to write - it only requires pen and paper, but I have softened in my older years and homelessness no longer suits me. I have done it - it's cold and hard and frightening. 

So I wish for more time to write. I have stories to tell you. My writing and my drawings and my love for people are the only inheritance I can leave. I want the ripples to be wonderful when the drop of water that is my life joins the ocean of all. 

I write this today to try to be understood, to let you know that I am here and I write because I must - as I breathe, I must. I hope it warms you, enlivens you, enrages you or sets you free in some small way. I hope it brings you joy and laughter at times and, yes, my ego says that I hope it makes you remember me when I am gone. I hope that, in some way, the words will warm your heart when you feel alone and you can turn to this blog, or my book when it is done, and find a friend there - in a word, a phrase or an image conjured. 

Today, I suppose, I write this for me, hoping you understand. Thank you for indulging me. I am grateful. 

-Gillian Cornwall, c. March 6, 2016

Water to the Shore
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2014