And So It Goes

In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong

The opening lyrics from a song called And So It Goes. I have brief recolations of the Billy Joel version, but I have come to know it through a beautiful choral version from the King’s Singers.

To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along

We are always stronger than we believe we are. We are equipped with these beautiful, expansive hearts that beat at around 115,000 times a day, without us even having to think about it. That equates to around 1 million barrels of blood in an average lifetime. It regenerates, restores, gives us life and keeps us going.

My heart has been broken, we tend to think that this only happens within romantic relationships but it happens with friendships too. I was around 11 when I discovered what heartbreak felt like for the first time… a friend who I had known since pre-school and her sudden friendship with a girl who would make the rest of my school life miserable.

But maybe these things do make us strong in the long run. Terrifying but wonderful things happen when we are forced to go inside of that room, that sanctuary, in order to begin to heal.

I wasn’t brave enough, not for a long time. I ignored that room, I tried to tell myself that the pumping blood and regenerating cells would help me to forget. But you don’t forget, not really. Not even if the memories are a blur and swathes of time are blacked out by your mind’s self preservation system. Your body remembers, your heart remembers and all the while your inner sanctuary sits empty.

It takes bravery to go into that space. True bravery to sit with those thoughts that you do remember. Sometimes we cannot do it alone, and that is ok. But our inner sanctuary is built just for us. Some can get there through meditation, through silence, through breath. Others find it in the quiet moments before dawn or when walking barefoot in the grass with the trees saying in harmony above. For some, it is safer when accessed at first whilst in a room with a professional, but when you find it it becomes easier to enter over time.

It’ll be different for everyone. But it reminds you of home, of grounding, or where you truly belong. It knows what serves you and it keeps it safe.

Maybe it’s a room, maybe it’s instinct.

Maybe it’s instinct, maybe it’s self parenting.

Maybe it’s self parenting, maybe it’s love.

But whatever it is, it’s a safe space. A sanctuary.

Written for the May Writing Challenge

Week 1, day 3: Sanctuary


Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

They all called her Treasure, the reliable and friendly ear at the end of the day as they sat and drowned their sorrows before going home to their wives.

She had been working the strip bar for most of her life, seen many come and go. There was a time when she worked the floor and the poles, but not now…

Now she was a mother. Not in the literal sense, she had never had an opportunity like that, but she was a mother to her girls. The wide eyed and lost, turning up out of the blue looking for some money in their back pockets and a place to hide out, so long as they didn’t mind exposing their secrets for all to see.

She loved them like a mother would, didn’t that count? In fact, she loved everyone like a mother would… always a friendly ear or a soft bosom to be comforted by. Some stayed, but many moved on. Back to the big city or off with the newly discovered love of their life, many stayed in touch. The mirror behind the bar was strewn with photos of places she’d never been.

No… she stayed, as summer gave way to autumn and the years ticked on by, she stayed. She told herself, she knew that this was where she was meant to be. She put her uniform on every day; the lipstick, the make up, the skirt, top and heels, she did it for them. She got herself in the bar and she listened… she listened as they drank and wept, listened as they celebrated the birth of their first born, second born, third and fourth born. Listened as they told her they were single but the tan lined band on the finger told a different story. Listened when they got the job, didn’t get the job, hated the job. Listened and comforted when their dog died, or their parents or their wives. She poured the drinks and leant in close and she knew these lives inside out and cared for these people like a mother, each and every one…

If she left, who would listen? So she didn’t leave. How could she leave? She knew her purpose was within these familiar walls. On her good days she knew she was doing the world a purpose, these people could go on to do great things, simply because they had been heard.

And so they all called her Treasure, because that’s exactly what she was.

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