The Fairytale Trap

Never make assumptions because more often than not, they’re wrong! 

The girl with a stare, queueing at the counter with token toddler in tow, tugging relentlessly at her shirt tails as tiny tots tend to do,  is a typical take on thoroughly modern mummyhood. Looking like, and yet not like any young mum taking the chance to escape the terraced cage for a bit, another pregnancy, baby bump bulging through tight, once loose top. Dirty disposables, playgroup melodrama, and conversations cradled in cliches and laundry lists are the order of the day if she’s lucky. More often than not it’s tantrums, Telly Tubbies and tea after tears. Stopover at the coffee shop is a welcome temporary release from the monotony of reluctant motherhood. A skinny latte, and almond croissant when she thinks nobody’s looking and nobody cares. After all a little indulgence helps her get through the routine of yet another lonely day. Is this it?  A grade ‘A’ student with potential to do well someone had once said. Somewhere, sometime, something had happened to change the course of the class room. She had fallen in love with the wrong boy, and as so often happens when young girls lose their hearts had got pregnant because she believed in fairytales and happy ever afters. Hers,  however was not a Cinderella marries a Prince Charming kind of story where the glass slipper fits but more a reality tv show where the ill fitting shoe is now on the other foot and the feet are blistered and sore. Fairytales are not real, they never were and dreams are but a distant destination of a deluded delinquent imagination. Sleep is hit and miss, though more missed than hit these days. Life is filled with small demanding people and big demanding people. Somewhere beneath and between the lines of the never ending story, the girl got lost in a clothes peg world of chores and domesticity. 

Fast forward 30 years and the rest, and the girl now a mature woman of 54, grey unsaloned  hair frames her face where once was mocha and chocolate carefully corkscrewed curls. Her roles are many but still she is lost, still lonely and alone in a crowded coffeeshop where the conversation has become comfortably stale. This is an unknown woman without a face still trapped in the fairytale that she sold herself in 1984. 

“And what will it be today Madam? Your usual skinny latte and almond croissant? said the Barrista.

“No, not today. Today I shall have tea and toast’,

© Liola Lee 2016

I wrote this while treating myself to some time out in a Costas coffee shop. It was an idea I had for a book idea. It’s still an idea…..

 

 

 

 

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State of no fear…

I am here, I am now, I am there, but how?

Mindful inner eye, as wide-angled lens

at once comprehends –

The totality of me, wild running free;

wind in my hair, loose vacant stare, ensues

flashing light beyond flick of switch –

Witch-way, way which?

Magickal myth or mythical trick?

Dust-silvered Darkness spreads wide her cloak;

spell-spoken lyrics, Spirits invoke;

arms thrown wide open, encircle, ensnare,

draw down the Moon, O Maiden so fair.

Empress of darkness, Goddess of night,

by day Mother Nature, earthly bound sprite;

maid in the morning, mother midday,

to crone full of wisdom by end of Sunray.

Whisper ‘O’ Willow, word-wagging pillow;

dream-spoken verse, unearthly mirth;

laughter and chants, meditate, enhance

the lives of the living, the lives of the lost,

shovel-spread organic compost.

Dance to the tune, of the Piper, the Pan –

sing, skip, make merry, drink life while you can.

Savoury sweetness, of cherry red lips;

bouncing bare bosoms, child-bearing hips.

Man borne of woman, she borne of man,

flesh interlocking, five-fold kiss, foetal plan.

Blueprint of Nature, bear fruit of the loom,

threads spun on spindles, in wheel spinning room.

Fortunes and foibles, on yarns woven tight:

a girl and a woman and hag within sight.

Singular stable, Hel’s horses three,

nag, mare and filly, on plains plainly see.

Past, Present, Future, time-tangled vine,

conceptual calendar, evergreen pine.

This way, not that way, that way, not this,

ritual direction, throw dice, turn, miss.

Earth worn costume, bone and skin,

not the body, box-like shell;

not the folds of flesh that tell;

this head, these hands, these legs and feet,

function as white cotton sheets.

Cover the bed, protect, preserve

spring-coiled foundations – Kundalini is served;

domiciled, dozing, down spinal tube,

Creation’s conundrum, carefully cubed.

Powerful presence, framed focal point,

quizzical querent, queue and annoint.

Wheel ever turning, circle rotates

on spherical cord, suspending, sedate.

Pisces pass over, pale into the night,

Graceful gradation, Saturnian slight.

Aquarian vessel, sail in with the Sun;

brilliance and beauty: out with the gun.

The circle is constant, clearly compels,

Pagan circumference with love binding spells.

Peace loving people, true and sincere,

Fool’s foot is forward –

State of no fear.

© Liola Lee 1999

I wrote this around the turn of the century as we went from one millennium to the next. 

 

 

 

~ Women have balls too ~

The British are a football crazy nation and football fever reaches new heights whenever there is a cup final on the horizon. However, at times when our football heroes such as Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling et al, may herald a victory that brings that glimmering trophy home that signifies the ultimate goal of the national game played at Wembley Stadium during the FA Cup Final, it seems only fair to consider the part that women have played in this much loved sport of the nation. The Woman’s final between West Ham and Manchester City is coming to Wembley on 4th May. No longer contented to restrict themselves to the more traditional sports associated with women, the ‘fairer sex’ can be seen tackling, dribbling and passing on the football field with the fervour and enthusiasm of any passionate athlete. Football is no longer a sport designated to men alone. Women take their football every bit as seriously as their male counterparts. Women’s football has secured a firm foothold on the sporting calendar and continues to attract more and more girls into the game. 

However, contrary to belief, girls and women playing football is by no means new to the world of sport. Historical sources refer to women’s football teams as early as 1895. World War 1 saw the formation of women’s teams, based around the munitions factories, the most famous perhaps being Dick Kerr’s Ladies from Preston. The war years saw an enormous increase in the numbers of women’s teams nationwide. Not surprising really when women’s roles at this time had undergone such dramatic change with women taking on the jobs previously held by men as part of the war effort. By the start of the ‘roaring twenties’ women’s football held widespread appeal and attracted ever increasing crowds. Records reveal that a match at Goodison Park in 1920 between Dick Kerr’s Ladies and St Helen’s Ladies drew a crowd of some 53,000 people, a sizeable crowd by any standards. Women’s football was big and getting bigger, a situation which by all accounts did not seem to gain too much favour with the FA at that time. The war was now over and the men were back. Where did this leave the ladies? In December of 1921 the FA declared a ban on women playing football on Football League grounds.

Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in women’s football both on and off the pitch. The Women’s FA was founded in 1969 and heralded a new era in women’s football. Pressure exerted by UEFA brought a long overdue lifting of the FA ban on women’s football in Britain in 1972. It was in this same year that the first official Women’s International in Britain was played at Greenock with England beating Scotland 3 -2. Women’s football was once more to assert itself as a sport for serious consideration in the world of sport and this was further endorsed by the formation of the first Women’s National league in 1991. That same year saw the FA lift its ban on mixed football for the under 11’s in our schools. 

In most schools, girls are welcomed and actively encouraged to participate, in what has been a traditionally male dominated contact sports. Young girls are finding themselves more and more attracted to the country’s national sport. In our schools, boys and girls may play side by side on the football field as members of the same team working towards a common goal. The emphasis at this level is clearly concentrated on the development of team spirit and co-operation. However, girls are as fiercely competitive as boys, and equally eager to show off their newly acquired skills. Today’s youngsters will grow up in a society where it is the rule, rather than the exception for girls to play football. 

In league football men and women may remain segregated for some time to come. It is still early days for the girls but the question arises, ‘ What does the future really hold?’.  In reality, it seems highly unlikely at the present time that women will play alongside men. The reason is simple. Out on the pitch there is no room for sentiment and chivalry. Football is a highly physical sport often requiring close bodily contact during tackles and the like. One has to wonder whether both men and women could rise above the ‘sex thing’. How might a woman take to being fouled by an opposing male player? How many of her team mates would be able to ignore such a situation? Of course there are those who would claim that they would play the game by the rules; rules that would apply equally to both men and women. This sort of attitude is most admirable in theory but would it work in practice? The debate goes on. Women’s football is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. New clubs are forming and the number of registered players continues to increase. It is not surprising that women’s football grows in popularity with girls now being allowed to participate as players from an early age. Increased media coverage of the sport can only add to the attraction.

The biggest move forward is the involvement of the Football Association, which in 1993 demonstrated its commitment to women’s football by instigating the establishment of a Women’s Football Committee, which would ‘ deal with all matters relating to the development of female football, including the arrangements, administration and selection of International Representative Teams, and the Coaching and Education Programme’. By appointing a Women’s Football Co-ordinator within the Coaching and Education Section, the Football Association was showing its commitment to the continuing development of women’s football. The ensuing years have seen women’s football rise up like the Phoenix from the flames. We would do well to remember those early pioneers who played the game at a time when women were still fighting for the right to vote. 

Women’s football has returned and it is staying. The future for women’s football looks remarkably good both for women, and for football. Women have balls too!

© Liola Lee 2019

Today is the day ~ Grindstone

So far today I have organised the recycling, put out the rubbish, cleared up the dog pooh in the back garden, loaded the dishwasher with last night’s dirty dishes, and put a load in the washing machine. It is Friday and I just do not seem to have that ‘Thank God it’s Friday!’ feeling that Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Snowdon on the radio say that they have. It’s just a day like every other day apart from the fact that it is rubbish collection and recycling day. Whoopee!! How exciting…not!! I have had my first cup of coffee, just two to go. I suppose I could do my Wii Fit but having drunk a whole bottle of Rioja last night I do not fancy it telling me that I have aged by 5 years. It does that sometimes. It just seems to know when you have drunk too much, gorged yourself on a major pig out, and been a couch potato. Don’t ask me how it knows but it really does, and I really do not want to be told I am older than I am today so perhaps I shall leave the Wii Fit tucked away under the telly where it can do me no harm, and I shall not feel guilty. Also, I am sure there is no way that I can balance on one leg today, and I do not need it to tell me what I already know. I have also decided that I shall not sigh today. I spent a lot of time sighing and huffing and puffing, which is a sign that I need to add some excitement to my daily routine. I try very hard to be happy, and to do my various chores with a big fat smile on my face, and to be grateful for the fact that I am alive and therefore able to participate in these necessary tasks of daily life but at times I have to be honest and confess to being more than a little bored with the role of general dogsbody. Call me ungrateful if you will but I really wish that sometimes, someone bloody else would pick things up, put things away, clean the bathroom, take the rubbish out, pick up pooh and just let me have a day off. Oh shit…I just sighed and I said I would not do that today. I did it again. “Stop right there Mrs and pull yourself together”. I am talking to myself again. I seem to be doing this a lot of the time. I wonder if it’s true that talking to your self is the first sign of madness? Now let’s go and get that coffee and think about how I am going to change things today. I’ll have to have a shower first as I feel really sticky after the humidity of last night. At least I think it was humidity or maybe it was a hot flush. How are you supposed to know what it feels like to have a hot flush. They call it a flash in the US. I wonder who invents these phrases. And another thing my breasts feel really tender and yesterday I was crying and frustrated but I have only just finished my period. I have never heard of pre-menstrual tension after the event or then it would have to be called after menstrual tension. Bloody hormones!! I refuse to be a slave to them. I am a calm, rational woman fully in control of my actions and perfectly able to adjust to this time in my life when I am experiencing some changes. Changes I might add that all women go through, although for some reason they never really openly discuss. Who am I kidding, I am a woman and my hormones are totally out of control whether I like it or not. I am having my third and final coffee now, and am trying to decide whether to chance the Wii Fit. After all it might get it wrong for once and make me younger than I am, which if it did would make me feel so much better. Um, we’ll see, I’ll decide in a minute. Oh, decisions, decisions. And, I’ve just remembered that Friday is wages day. The day we have to pay our subbies, subcontractors to you. I better get that done or they’ll all be on the phone moaning. Bless them. My job is Company Secretary to the glazing business set up by my husband. For my sins I get to do all the office admin which sometimes I do not mind but for which most of the time I find a real chore, a necessary evil as it were. Although to be fair it does pay me well but then money is not everything but it does pay for holidays. You really can never have too many holidays. I love going on holiday. Back to the drawing board, the grindstone, I mean work. 

© Liola Lee 2010

Today is the day’ …was a collection of musings I wrote during the Peri menopause years. It’s spoken in the first person, and was based largely on my journal entries written around that time. Journalling is a wonderful way to express this, that and whatever else needs to be said whether aloud or silently…

And although as mentioned previously ‘Today is the Day’ is to be brought in to the 21st Century. I did say that the past would have it’s place. So here is one for ‘Throwback Thursday’ though in the post it’s actually Friday. 

 

 

 

Today is the day ~ Fat

I have made a decision. It is one that I have made from time to time over the years at various stages of my life. At times, that decision has come to fruition, and at times it has not but not to worry for today is the day that I have decided to stop being fat. Maybe I am not hugely fat but definitely overweight, and much larger than I should like to be and most certainly much larger than I ought to be. Perhaps I am not so fat that I would require a bigger seat on an aeroplane but most certainly tipping the scales these days in the heavier, not lighter side of the perfect weight, for my slightly less than average height. I am not what I would consider too short but would not be seen as taller than average by others, but I always feel tall, so I guess I walk tall, and am therefore tall on the inside, though the outside does not give that away. Today is the day that the slim person who resides inside me with the tall person mentioned earlier, is coming out to play and stay. The short fat woman that looks back at me in the mirror is being evicted. She has been hanging around for far too long now and now it is time for the other me, the old me or rather the earlier me to return or maybe a newer me. And there lies my decision. I shall not be fat now or ever again. Think slim, be slim is my new motto. 

© Liola Lee 2010

‘Today is the day’ …was a collection of musings I wrote during the Peri menopause years. It’s spoken in the first person, and was based largely on my journal entries written around that time. Journalling is a wonderful way to express this, that and whatever else needs to be said whether aloud or silently…