Today I need to remind myself again not to lose heart. The knockbacks are coming thick and fast, one after the other, throwing me off-balance and onto my knees. Get up, stand up. Take another step, hold out my hand. Keep it on my tongue: may the road rise with you.
I walked from Tollcross to Leith, through the merry mayhem erupting on Princes Street (tourists clogging the pavements, checking maps, snapping photos) through well-heeled George Street (suits and ties, linen skirts and boutique bags, two-course lunch and a glass of wine) and along Leith Walk (patkas and salwar kameez, DMs and tattoos, coffee bars and charity shops.) And every few blocks: people with nothing but the blanket over their knees and the paper cup holding coins.
I grew up inside a safe secure suburban box, and I remember well what happened when I pushed at its walls, peeled at its edges. The voices of parents and teachers and priests and peers knocked me back: you can’t do that. You can’t do that. This is how the world works, this is how you play the game. You have to do it this way or you will suffer. You’ll suffer. You’d have to be crazy to think otherwise….
Another knockback, and another. A spasm of self-doubt, a flood of anxiety. “Courage, dear heart.” Get up, stand up, again and again. Stay on the breath, rephrase the pitch. Build a bridge from here to there. Keep my heart from growing bitter; keep it there, sweet on my tongue for all to taste: may the road rise with you.