by Monica Blok
The song of the humming is coming to take me to the place of freedom. That is, if freedom is the word for the whole, if freedom is the place where I belong, if freedom is, within all the constrictions that life and society offer us, the place where I am brave enough to fall forward, to trust that the earth will receive me with open arms, the place where I will dare to stop leaning back, stop observing and analysing all the possibilities, calculating the hurts against the loves, the beauties against the horrors, the dos against the do nots before being able to be…
Being in nature is the best reminder of my womanhood, of my humanity. When I was a child, my parents would take us out to the country almost every Sunday after church. We would have a picnic in the mountains, often by a streaming river. My father would hang up a hammock where he would take a nap after lunch, while my sisters and I would go wandering up the rocks and climb the trees and the boulders. Sometimes our dog Lassie would come with us. There was a sense of being connected, not only with my family, but also with the surrounding nature. Every stone subconsciously moved as I placed my foot down to take the next step was part of an act of reverence and an embrace with the whole area that was safe enough to explore, together with the sky above and the sounds of the wind and the fast running river. There were no thoughts, no scheming, no things to be expected of me.
The sea was another source of connection with the all. I learned to walk on the sand on the seashore of Montevideo. The sound of the breaking waves on the shore is still the soothing song of my deepest longings. If I could only breathe to the movement of the tides, this uneasiness within would melt into the center of my heart. If I could only find the words to equate the force of the ocean within and the so-called real one out there, then maybe the story of this rawness could be told.
Although I never again lived close to the shore, when I am on holidays at the seaside a sense of peace takes hold of my being and I find myself cradled and rocked to the wholeness of this small planet with its even smaller moon in this unending universe of stars and planets and dark holes, all being together that one thing all of us humans consist of. The waves remind me of the coming and the going, the rhythms of inner wisdom, the smooth mirrors of time and the tsunami’s toiling, invading the spaces we think belong to us. How vain and ungrateful I am, when I wish change to stop, when I try to define the order in the chaos without listening to the depth speaking or the lightness of the floating sounds, caressing and whispering the vowels, offering the verbs, only first just the verbs. The names name, the boundaries of the given words telling us our thoughts. But are they really our thoughts? Are they not the thoughts of the ones we learned to speak from?
See? I am separating again. The 'others', the ones out there. The people I learned from are me. And in being me I wonder which the authentic me is? The wild me. The girl I was on the seashore before I learned how to say words, when sounds were still just being imitated while the feet searched the grains of sand beneath. That one small creature, was that the wild woman already? Or was she the only wild woman and since then she has disappeared into the liking and disliking of the surroundings, in the hope of finding a place of belonging?
The searching of the words to tell the story of the deepest self have led me to think that there are so many stories to tell. An infinite sea of stories on the one hand, but on the other, not a single story. The writing sometimes takes the place of the just being, the time to be wild, or so it seems. The testimony can be a constriction, placing me in a story I may not be able to step out of. I tend to like some stories of myself more than others. Can I trust myself to allow the deepest and most authentic self to come to the surface, even if I don’t like her? I am practicing, ever exercising that in life.
When I was a teenager I liked to dress well, but looking back, I was pretty much gender neutral then, already. I was not fussed about wearing girly clothes, makeup or high heels. I was ranky and I hardly had boobs. So I wasn’t what the guys called sexy. But somehow, I always got a lot of attention from the ones I liked.
When I came to Amsterdam, one of the first things I did was get myself a pair of men’s lace up shoes. I was so happy with them, I wore them all the time. In the early seventies, people didn’t really do that, but it was a way of showing myself and the world that I could do as I liked. I had always wanted shoes like that, didn’t understand why they didn’t sell them for women. Nowadays, almost all clothes can be worn by both, or rather, all sexes, but back then it was an act of defying. Or so it felt. That did not stop me. And so, in the small things, as in the words and in the stories told, the nature and the words bring me back to the place of not letting be other than one part of the whole. And trying to trust that it is a big enough part to make a mark.