The hero or victim of your life

wonderwoman.jpgWe all live our lives, and we are all LIED to in childhood about what its going to be like – we are sold sanitized fairy stories where they took all the gruesome bits out because it might upset the children. Except we learn, that those gruesome bits are there for a reason, the gritty and ugly is a real and unavoidable part of life – EVERBODIES life, there is no escaping it whether you are rich or poor – people of all ages, all classes and all strata of society deal with “stuff” every day – nobody it totally immune from a messy divorce, a bully in work, a parent with a mental illness, cancer, disease, failure – no matter how protected and sheltered our life may be.

So why don’t we prepare our kids for it? why do we fill their heads with banal cartoons that don’t always mean anything, where the prince and princess always meet and fall adoringly in love with nothing messy, and no pregnancy or kids to report either. Nobody fails in our kid’s stories, everyone’s a winner, good always prevails and there’s ALWAYS a happy ending

Is life ALWAYS like that – not so much, so people still keep seeking it, the dream whatever it may be and keep chasing, without stopping to pause and be truly happy in this life here and now. The idea is in us that if our life doesn’t match up to their stories we were told it was going to be like then perhaps we are not really enough. There will also always be those toxic people who want to perpetuate that feeling in us to, so they can feed us their magical solutions. The religions who prey on our fears about death or lack of family, lack of a moral compass or guidance. The drug pushers with their prescription pills, making anything out of the box abnormal, keep your head down and obey the programme or you might just have something wrong with you – we can fix you but your wrong, not enough as they make millions in their industry. The companies selling us th solution in terms of courses and lifestyle changes – insecurity and discontentment are BIG business. Its good to push to improve yourself your life and your circumstances but be assured you are enough as you are


It is because you are a hero. Sometimes when something bad happens in life, and we have something we have to overcome, whatever, it may be, maybe it is that messy divorce, a job loss,  disability, sickness, lack of love, poor economy and few local prospects. You can in a way, start to feel like a victim in life, perhaps you dropped out of college,whatever it may be – life can be tough and knowing how to navigate our lives is not something we are given a great deal of help with – life doesn’t come with a manual and even if it did it would be out of print pretty quick because the game is changing all the time.

So… if you have made it this far, bloody well done, your a hero of your life, not a victim , even if you didn’t get to have the life you dreamed of, because you can and will overcome everything that is thrown at you and even in a moment of defeat you can know its not forever with the right help, with time to reflect and learn. Read the gruesome fairy stories with all the hate and jealousy and grit and create your own. Because that’s what life is about – there’s a great blueprint for the journey we ALL go through in some shape way or another, where we make the Heros Journey -where we go from ordinary to meeting real and difficult challenges and finding our own way around our limitations. Sometimes we may get “stuck” – being stuck may last for years, but onward we go because life goes on and everyone gets some sort of success in the end – it just may not look like the traditional happy ending – there may be compromises but its all a heroic journey, even if its one of struggle every day.

So, If you like to 70 or 80 imagine how many challenges you have gone through and overcome – life is still beautiful – so that makes you a hero – even if it can seem like your a victim in some way.

Fantastical Tales by Michelle Smith

They want my life story, a neat little ditty to fit in before tea,
Who shall I be, a heroine strong or a victim that hides now and you never see
A girl lost not found that never moved beyond fantasy unicorns and never never land
Shall I embellish my tale and add fantastical things, fairies or an ogre or two
Magical winged beasts, villains to slay by the rising of the light
Do you want a story that makes you feel a little wiser than your years
Do you feel lucky for all the monsters that did not go bump in your night
The trials not all of us bear, but perhaps we do
War wounds and scars haunt us and keep us from flight

Into the deep comfort of that good night, where love conquers all
The happy ending guaranteed, well that’s not always how it falls
Some tales are sweet, dramatic and with rhythm
Others weak that let tears leak
On to the floor
To collect in puddles, swept away in a hall
Which tale shall I tell you because I was there I lived it all



A good story- Dressing the Naked Truth

One thing I love is a good story. The story may be part of a film, or a favorite novel, or a biography or part of an inspiring talk – it may be a piece of outstanding journalism – but I do really love a good story.

A good story for me brightens my whole day,  it sends tingles in my brain, and joy in my soul. It may have been dramatic or moving and I would have had my emotions swept along with it, its just like a great rollercoaster ride at the fun fair – your with it all the way and once its done your delighted and want to hear it again.

Thats a good story for me

So, since I have decided i love stories so much, I especially love the spoken word and traditional tales told to a live audience. In a small cozy gathering often in comfortable surroundings with light refreshment and an inspired and talented storyteller, which we all listen to as a community.

I have explored religions through my life too and cultural frameworks of reality which holds what we feel we know to be true. These are all based on story – grand narratives and while there are many issues with religions, wars etc; one of the things I love is the talent of the priest or priestess or Buddha as storyteller, passing on their wisdom and insights in a way that makes better and more virtuous people, wiser, and more prepared for life and its difficulties.

I also enjoy telling stories. I tell stories in my work as an ESL teacher of Chinese children and I love to do all the dramatic bits and the funny voices to delight the children.

So as part of my work and also as a personal interest, I have started to collect little traditional stories as I hear them that are quite short and memorable and preferably have some sort of higher meaning or moral to them.  I have decided to share some of them here in my blog… obviously, in a written format, they are not fully alive, not like when they are performed or told by a teller – but I think it’s nice to share them with their bits of wisdom which others may appreciate in the online world.

One story I heard quite recently relates to my experience of church. When I went to church and heard the gospel about how we are all sinners destined for hell etc it didnt really sink in, I had previously been studying Hinduism and that says we are good with a divine nature, secular thinking also says we are all basically good people and after a while of hearing it and evaluating its truths, i did get a little angry with the idea that we are hopeless sinners in need of a saviour. Some people who hear those words stay angry or at least dismiss them as nonsense – but I never totally did that because while its true everyone is capable of good and if perchance we do any good we are the first to sing our own praises, it is also true, that we have a darker or shadow side which we hide and try to keep under control. Lack of awareness of this side of ourselves and refusing to admit that ok, we may be less than perfect can lead to all sorts of problems.

However, for the Priest whos job it is to present this truth to the people, with flourish and style, having the responsibility for the flock and their moral and spiritual welfare in his hands – he has a hard job to do, to present something that people may get angry about, dismiss etc etc

So I heard a story that could help with this. It’s a Jewish tale and it goes like this:

Once upon a time two very beautiful women met in the woods, they both had long luscious hair, big starry eyes, stunning figures and were both gorgeous in every way. So being a little vain they decided to have a competition to see who was the most beautiful woman. In order to test who was the most beautiful and the most powerful, they decided to have a competition where they would walk through the nearest town in all their beauty and see who would gather the most crowds

One woman’s name was called Truth, the other was called Story

So Truth went first, she was very beautiful and she walked through the town and people did gather at first, but not for long and mostly they then went away and carried on with their business – then thinking she wasn’t doing very well and that she would lose the competition she pulled out all the stops to appear more beautiful, letting down her long hair, shaking it in the breeze and still that didn’t gather the crowds – so feeling there was nothing more to do she decided to take off her garments and appear in the town completely naked

Although Truth was stunningly beautiful, she just still didn’t gather the crowds and instead, now she was naked – people ran away and locked their doors and hid from Truth.
So she went back to lady story and said sadly, I have been utterly rejected and even spat upon by the crowds, they even hid from me – I think I have lost this competition,  I must be very ugly
so Story’s turn came and off she went to the town – she was dressed in finery and when she went through the town the people all came out of their houses and soon there was a huge crowd gathered around her – everyone loved story and she had easily won the competition
So returned to the woods and the two women talked. Truth was humble – I have lost this competition – it must be that Story is more beautiful and more powerful than Truth
But Story replied is it not that I am more beautiful and powerful – it is just that people often don’t like the truth and they especially do not like the Naked truth even though you are indeed a very beautiful woman.
However, all is not lost because all that truth needs to be loved and accepted is the mantle of story and then Story took off her long feathered cloak and gave it to truth and she looked very fine indeed. So now when she went into town the people did gather to see her in her lovely long cloak and soon a big crowd appeared and truth was accepted and loved.
Moral – although Truth in itself is a beautiful woman people do not like her without adornment, they prefer in disguise – dressed in the mantle of story.






The white horse that carries us home

Death – the final journey.

This is something many of us choose NOT to think about, after all, if you are young perhaps there is no need to contemplate the finite nature of our existence.

But here and there we get reminders, we see our grandparents growing older, their struggles and pains as they need assistance with their daily tasks.

Our pets may die and leave us bereft of their company

and as we grow older and older ourselves, some of our companions and friends leave this world, sometimes suddenly, it may be a murder, or a heart attack and sometimes in really horrible circumstances such as a long struggle with an illness like cancer.

For myself, I had a health crisis which came on quite young, it wasn’t a fatal illness but there were many times I thought I may die due to being sick – so this caused a change in me. I became religious, I studied the sacred texts of many religions. I experimented with meditation, reiki, studied and made mandalas, prayed long and hard, sat long in silence, and thought deeply. Then I rejected religion altogether when my health was much better and TRIED to go back to my old ways of just living but I found that I was different and changed by my experience and the sacred was with me to stay along with my wounds.

Now I make art and had just started an every day drawing art challenge, when I got a message from a friend, that another mutual friend who has a disability and had been struggling with cancer for a long time, many months wasin fact, is going to die.  First it had been breast cancer they beat that, then it had been leukemia, they battled that, and now it seems they had found another mass in her liver and it’s cancerous. So now the doctors say there is nothing they can do. Visitors requested for her last hours,  days or weeks to make her comfortable before she leaves this world.

So, this was also a moment in my life where I had decided I didn’t really want religion and in particular Jesus of religion in my life anymore – sickened and dismayed by the actions of many Christians and also in toxic shock over some of the more poisonous and difficult to swallow parts of this religion. BUT just the day I got the news about my friend, doing my art challenge, I had drawn a picture of Jesus with his white horse which indicated as a rider He was faithful and True.


My friend had been going to church before she got ill which is how i knew her and had dedicated herself as a Christian and had stayed with the faith during her long illness and now she was facing the final journey.

So I looked at my art and what I had drawn and decided that yes there would be a use for this – Not only had my art reignited my own faith in a way, but also I realized that this picture was for my friend to brighten up her room.




I drew some more, just a white horse on its own no rider. The horse we ride to take us home. I scoured the internet for inspiring images and saw a beautiful picture of a single boat, and suddenly I saw it in my mind’s eye with flowers – so I used the image and drew my vision and then came the poem – about the lonely boat and our final journey.lonelyboat

A lonely journey

a lonely journey all alone
to a place that is just unknown
from the shore well wishing hands wave farewell
so many cheers and prayers and thanks to dwell
with us on our passage through the time
to the place of endless rest
and know there isnt any test
Just love and peace thats eternal too
although we will miss and think of you
sweet memories of a friend and her smile
Goodbye for now, until one day, we reconcile.

So, I realise now the benefit and need of religion in our lives…. it for these moments, to express the inexpressible, to appreciate life in all its ups and downs the dramas and the darkness and the light times, to find hope and meaning when there otherwise appears to be none to comfort. It may not be literally true but it certainly contains truth that is experienceable and felt by millions of people, enriching their lives and causing them to enrich the lives of those around them. Sometimes it does go a litle awry people fight and kill over truth, or threaten small children with hell – but otherwise religion, especially the Christian religion, and your following Christs instruction is all about guiding the misguided, caring for the sick, the elderly, the disabled, the homeless seeing people through major passages, birth, marriage, parenthood, death and providing wisdom that cannot be learned, that is just a little inspired and supernatural. Cures that defy all understanding, and soothing and bringing peace to the disturbed. The cries to God do not go unheard.

So yeah, I’m going to go visit my friend who is dying and bring her my pictures and help brighten up her room, tell her and weave her some stories and help her die in dignity with hope for the journey. Then when my time comes I too am going go peacefully into the night hopefully fully prepared.

Wisdoms root


Inspired by Robert Burns poem the Bards epitaph. I’ve been reflecting on wisdom as a tree of life described in books like the Bible and what it means to be wise. Self control and prudence is her root and shes truly beautiful a white reflection of something glorious and greater than ourselves. I wrote my own poem and made some art(above) in honor of Lady Wisdom. The gnostics believed lady wisdom and the Bride of Christ were one and the same 🙂

Wisdoms root

Silver lady standing tall
whos the fairest of them all
moon maiden bright
white goddess of light
no image is found of the woman renowned
shattered mirror, lost dreams
beauty is not as it seems
but thats how you learn, cause you just cannot earn
a place in the hearafter
fairy bells and laughter
an island of song there to rest.
A serenity of heaven the place, thats the best
Wisdom divine is the luminous woman so fine
self control is her root, and her graceful foot
a reflection to sigh of the Glory on high
Prudence her name and she gives gifts of fame
and old age ripe and healthy, and probably wealthy
a sure sign of Grace on the old human race.


Since I wrote this post i have had news that im going to be part of an exhibition with a group of artists called the Last Foundation – the exhibition is on Last Foundation – New directions. So basically the new directions all of us ex-students are going in since passing the course. The ex-students that make up the group Last Foundation have gone onto various fields – fine art, fashion, textiles. For myself I have developed my poetic and storytelling voice, writing short stories in a creative writing class and performing my poetry around Swansea and also being creative in training to be a copywriter – but I have decided I really want to explore the amazing world of new media and digital storytelling. So, Im going to apply for the New Media Degree in Carmarthen and learn everything about videos, film, animations, apps, UX design and so on. So the exhibition will reflect this – im going to do a digital storytelling version of my poem on wisdom and a semi-animated video using after effects and my digital art will be displayed in a cut up mosaic form like a smashed mirror. Ill also include my artwork in the semi-animated video along with royalty free images and sounds I’ve collected from the internet.

I did some further free writing on the project to see what else my poem and artwork could tell me

Wisdom is a tree of life and all those that hold on to her will be blessed (proverbs 3:18)

wisdom is alluring – but she is not to be enjoyed or partaken of by men she is chaste and a reflection of the divine, her gifts are a measure of His Grace – she does not act independently

mirrors reflections – smash the mirror for looking at self – selfie culture, lost in broken dreams and unwise living – beauty is not found in self reflection its found in being the mirror reflection of the Greater Glory a spark eminating from the source of it all. Its in reflection on Him that we may become beautiful and wise – joyful, clean, holy, white with hair like wool

wisdom as a moon maiden
The moon is a reflection of the sun, and so too is true beauty but a reflection of the Creator and its His light that gives delight in the an otherwise barren and bereft form. So it is for the Christian, our job is to be reflections of the Light of the Great Light – the source of all illumination and Glory. Without Him we have no light, we are not radiant or beautiful in ourselves but by cultivating the gifts of the holy spirit and turning our faces to greet the Sun of Righteousnes we too can be beautiful and reflect the His light in an otherwise dark night of an unbelieving sinful world.