Every knock mentored me: knock on the door, knock in the face, on the knuckles, knocked knees from fright, knocks at the dead of night and in daylight’s sharp rays. I learned from bruises how to heal. Was there no one to place ice packs, apply balm, and wrap gauze on wounds? Of course, there were. They nursed me.
But I nursed those wounds. They taught me that when there is a knock on the door, it could be an opportunity; even if the door is pushed open for uninvited hate, and the beast of negativity curls and grunts and raids, the pug marks are lessons of how to recognise them in future. Or to forget about them.
When I am hit in the face by sudden winds of change and disdain, I figure out soon enough the pain of the other – the pain that brings a reaction. It is a discovery of why we do what we do. Introspection is the opposite of spoon-feeding. Here the spoon is shoved in the throat and we have to extricate it with all the ooze that comes out and then try and fathom what we had swallowed and what we had sipped and what stayed on the tongue and between the teeth.
Fear teaches me courage. I do not have to fight it. I cringe in corners, which is how I begin to value walls and slivers of light. I do not grab fear by the neck, for that would choke me. I just let it stay and widen my eyes, make me look this way and that way and find what I’d never have looked for otherwise.
I am on my knees and, grazed as they are, I touch the ground with my bare hands and often imagine stones to be shells and the ocean opens up. It does not matter anymore that I cannot swim.
Yet, I come up for air. Breathe deep. Think. Of so many sentences that have filled up pages and made me aware of the spaces in my words. Of the paintings that make my canvas look hollow and urge me to pick up anything, even mud, and spread it and create my own little art. Of the sculptures and the potter’s wheel. Of the experiments that make every day a new possibility. Of people not chained by limited ideas.
Of knocks on my thoughts.
(c) Farzana Versey