My grandmother died over 20 years ago, but each 1st of April, I remember her birthday.
She was in so many ways was the most important person I have ever meet. Through her belief in my goodness, however buried it was. Through her belief that I had intelligence, even when I throw it away.
She saw me. It was not spoken out loud, but I know she saw me.
She saw my confusion, and laid down firm but kind rules for me to follow.
She saw I had so much fear, and never ignore it. Sometimes she distracted me by taking to the cinema, art galleries and eating Knickerbocker glories.
But often she would be alone with me, speaking to me as an equal. No words of why I was so scared, but I know her love and the fear became smaller.
On occasions I saw her anger at my mother, and I was in awe. I thought no-one could or would stand up to my mother.
I felt protected – only I wished my grandmother lived with me.
Alone with her I learnt not to be afraid of silence. I would watch her paint, with a book in my hand, and decided I wanted to be an artist.
My grandmother expected girls to succeed more than boys. But she also wanted us to be happy in our futures.
My grandmother saw I was unhappy, and did what she could to save me. But she never know the depths of my despair.
But in my early twenties, I tried to live with my grandmother.
It could not work, coz I was so lost. I felt her reaching out to me, never judging me, but I had forgotten what kindness was.
Instead, I got ill. I got colic, from stress the doctor said.
When I could I run away, back to the world of violence where I thought I belong.
Now, I hope my grandmother can see I did not know how to be with love at that time.
All I can do is now to lived a life that is true to her spirit.
A life where I stand up for what I believe to be true, that I stand up for justice when and where I can.
A life where I let in as much as I can of the arts, of nature, of sports, of books, of films, of politics, of the radio, of history, of travel, and of things that can and will broaden my mind.
A life where I don’t compromise who I am just to fit in with those who may or are causing me to become smaller.
A life where being single gives freedom.
All this and more is part of me that is part of my grandmother’s spirit.
But more she never know most of what happened to me.
She may of guess some of the child abuse, but know nothing of the prostitution.
I know in life, she would of been shocked and may of closed it down out of fear that I was so abused.
But I believed she would not of rejected me.
All I know, is one reason I have the inner strength to write this blog is because I feel my grandmother’s spirit inside me.
This blog is written to show the injustice of the sex trade. As I say that I feel my grandmother saying –
Be more brave. Something as wrong as the sex trade must be exposed. Show more. I am proud of you.
I don’t know if it is wishful thinking, but when I feel I cannot go on, I remember my grandmother on civil rights marches, I remember her persecution under McCarthy, I remember the bigotry against when she divorced my grandfather and was a single mother.
She always stood up for what was true to her.
As I feel scared and that I don’t my purpose, I remember her so clearly.
I remember her determination to be an artist who could be independent. I remember how she loved being single, loved travelling alone, but also was wonderful company. I remember she was never afraid of being strong, or of showing her intelligence.
She was my role-model.
I know I am forging a path that she would see and holds my hand some of the way.