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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Napier

Daring to be

So here’s the thing. Bit of a long story, but shortly, thanks to a lovely life coach, I’m standing on some kind of threshold. The comfortably not-quite-hermetically-sealed life of a solo woman, very happily thank you getting on with a variety of stuff, is behind me, ready to be dashed back into if things get too close. In front of me is an open field of a world which, thanks to the irrepressibility of Spring, snowdrops and sunshine, I could step into and Be Seen.


Now in lots of ways I don’t have a problem with Being Seen. I am by disposition and training a teacher, celebrant, performer. If I’ve a job to do, a role to stand in, there’s no problem. There might be some nervousness, depending on particular context, but as national treasure Judy Dench says, that’s the petrol, that’s what feeds the energy to get the class, funeral, wedding, whatever done with conviction, passion, compassion.

The notion of Being Seen on my own account, though, well, that’s something different. I have an urge, an impetus, a ‘yes-this-ness’ to write. Who, though, would be interested? Why would anyone be interested? There are so many folk out there publishing novels, poetry, blogs, posts; podcasting, running workshops. Who needs another? Is there anything I could say that hasn’t been said, isn’t being said by any number of others? And so on, and so on, and so on, drone the messages in my head persuading me – so insidiously that I barely notice – that there’s no point, that I have nothing to add. And thus the secret back door stays shut over the threshold, the field stays unwalked, and I head out of the front door when needed to teach, hold, celebrate, with my role securely in place, safe.

I don’t doubt the value of the roles, nor the quality of the work I do in role. I don’t doubt – though it often surprises me – how much others value what I do, even (though this is more surprising) the me-ness of the doing. It’s odd, then, I find, watching the lovely life-coach respond to my closed door, that I should be so – what? – uncertain, insecure, unconvinced? – about the value or quality of anything that I might offer just, as, well, me. And maybe she’s right, and maybe if I just take a step or two beyond this door-stone into the open field, the exposure won’t be so bad, maybe I won’t get shot, and if I do, maybe the gun will only be a potato gun or a cap gun and no harm done. And maybe if I do take that step or two, or more, there will be others who see their own possibility in my faltering.

So who’s coming out with me?

As I finish this, ‘cos it’s time to think about supper and getting out to choir practice, the sun is affirming the choice in a brilliantly (and arguably tasteless) pink-red-grey light-show of a sunset.

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Kate Kennington Steer
Kate Kennington Steer
26. März 2023

As I read, your threshold looks unerringly familiar to one I frequently haver over before scurrying backwards into deadening patterns using worn out coping mechanisms…

Yet…. I need to declare publicly (to whomever or whatever is witnessing your courage) I see you in this next part of your journey into whole Kateness. I hear this: ‘that I should be so – what? – uncertain, insecure, unconvinced? – about the value or quality of anything that I might offer just, as, well, me.‘ and want to encourage you to offer out all that is inside you. For as your friend I know every particle of you not just has value but is pure potential, potent-full, and stands by ready to hea…

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