By Dawn M. Sanders
My life has been this steep uphill climb. Poised at the base, meek and not able to see the perils I faced ahead or able to realise the torment involved with my choice of parent.
Kept in a dresser drawer as a baby, because my mother, a single mum with three other mouths to already feed, was too poor to afford a crib (cot).
I grew up in a volatile house with my mother’s unforgiving scorn and torturous personality.
We all weathered the storm in our own way, through it all – I walked alone.
My teenage years were painful and exceptionally awkward. I wasn’t allowed to have opinions or speak my mind, and when I asserted I was dubbed demanding or with “attitude”.
So, breaking away at seventeen was the best thing I did and mum and I even got on better – as much as it was possible.
As I walked through my journey – climbing with every step, falling down ditches, getting up and dusting myself off only to saunter on, the time came to leave my place of firth, the life as I knew it, since I never really fit in there.
Standing at the water’s edge of change, new horizons and shores afar – I crossed the ocean.
When I got to the UK with a 6 month work visa – intending never to return to California again, I hadn’t planned a thing.
I didn’t notice the cultural fog when I had come here the first time, just knew everything was familiar and I was home – wherever home really was…
At twenty-four/nearly twenty-five, I had no idea my identity would be thrown into question as a woman with a visual impairment, I mean, it never really was the ‘issue’ it suddenly seemed to be.
Suddenly, the uphill climb became more steep and crowded with obstacles.
I never, ever heard, or been the subject of, such absurd labels, presumptions of my supposed lack of capability and all to the patronising sing-song tune of: “Are you alright?”
When my son found me, I was right at the bottom of a steep and imprisoning ditch, with no home and little hope – he saved me and dragged me up again.
So, walking hand in hand with someone to show the way, protect and look out for – I at least had someone to share the uphill climb with, as we steadied each other on the way.
Seasons came and went as he changed and grew and I gradually got wearier from the climbing, but I had to be there for him.
As he became a man, I helped him over the threshold into the scary arena of the adult world.
As I’ve guided him through landmarks – fighting for us both as the obstacles are forever put in our path, vultures swoop and monsters appear, it has finally come – the milestone where, one stops, looks around, susses out where they’ve come from and where the hell they’re going…
Some things make more sense, like that cultural fog – it still gathers around me when I walk outside my front door, stand at bus stops or walk into a crowded pub.
And the milestone? It’s as tall as the ones seen as Stonehenge where I can perch myself high above the pathway of the journey, for a panoramic view within the field of my third eye, my inner wisdom and intuition.
When yesterday came and, at 10 past 1 in the afternoon, I was exactly fifty years old, I climbed atop the milestone and sang, danced, cried and laughed.
With special people all around me, I celebrated the journey so far.
As my son and soulmate sat next to me by the fire, I felt strong, humbled and able to continue the fight!
The obstacle which has been placed right in front of us, must be overcome – like crossing that vast ocean or climbing out of yet another steep and muddy ditch.
Yet, turning fifty is something to come to terms with.
Standing at the half way point with more stairs, boulders or trees to clamber, what is it half way to?
No one really makes the summit and the few that make 100 years in this life on this earth, probably couldn’t be bothered whether they got to that point or not – it’s all chance.
So, what actually stands at the summit, what’s at the top of the tree?
I’m now half way to where?