Angie Hart on the steadying influence of Women of Letters’ Marieke Hardy.
I need to tell you something. I have been so afraid. There is so much that I have allowed to drift by on the water alongside my boat, as I navigate the safest and least choppy way to sail. Some days I have been so full of fear that I haven’t even been able to row. The boat still moves, because as you know, nothing on water stays in one place. But I have you. On those days, this is my anchor. You say, ‘I am here’ and I say, ‘I know’.
From the time that the fear took hold until now, where it screams just as loudly but from a much more tolerable distance, you have been there. You asked me to read a letter for your very first Women of Letters event with Michaela, at Bella Union in Carlton. It was truly an honour to be asked. I love writing. I love reading. I hate reading my writing out loud – but I love hearing other people read their work and I want to be like them. The day I read my letter on stage, my body shook so entirely and so visibly that you felt bad for making me do something I find so hard. In truth, the sensation of being out on that limb was thrilling. You didn’t ask me again and I thought it was because I had done so badly.
You see sparks. You find the light in us, no matter how buried, and you give it oxygen to shine brighter. You ask so many timid souls to be brave and they blaze impressively under your gaze. You asked me to read again when you found out that I did not, in fact, hate the idea. I have since read letters out loud at your esteemed literary salon (in front of actual people), three more times. In these letters I have outed my biggest mistake, given voice to my deepest longing and owned my shortcomings in a public apology to my other half.
I am a walking contradiction. I am a chronic avoider. I shut down when things get hard. When you ask me to write something, I think of expanding, opening and shedding dead skin. You invite me to go lightly, if that is all I can manage. This only serves to send me deep. Deep where I need to go. Nobody needs to live inside dead skin.
You called me last month, to invite me to be the host and co-curator for WoL. You assured me that I was perfect for the role, but gave me every kind of ‘out’, if I didn’t feel that it was for me. You said you had all thought of me and something just clicked. Even through all of my self-doubt, it is hard not to believe you. I’m ready to prove you right.
Today, as I write this, the water is still and I am grateful for that. I know that there will continue to be all kinds of weather and I know you’ll be there. To you my dear anchor, my ground, my hand from the pier; thank you.
I am here and I see you. Forevz.
Women of Letters co-curator Marieke Hardy welcomes Angie Hart to the fold.
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