“Just another brick in the wall” ~ Pink Floyd

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Wall (n): a vertical structure made of stone, brick, or wood, used to enclose, divide, or support


What experiences do we miss out on because we have built a wall against vulnerability? What’s the worst thing that would happen if you took down a few bricks?

When we are born we don’t realise we are vulnerable as we have no concept of what it is to be vulnerable. But as we grow up, as we experience life, there are things that occur and they can hurt.

They may be physical things and so we learn not to repeat the experience. I was bruised on my forehead and nose often as a child for persistently refusing to believe that I had grown too tall to walk under the kitchen table.

Or they may be emotional experiences; people who say unkind things, people who break our hearts, people who leave us. We can’t build actually physical barriers to these, we can’t not interact on some level with other people, so we build emotional ones. Brick by brick, we build a buffer against the world to protect ourselves.

As we recover from hurts we might take a few bricks down. This leaves us more vulnerable and so, as is inevitable, we get hurt again and we add a few bricks back on. Sometimes we meet people along the way who we consider worth removing a few bricks for. And sometimes they are and they help us move a few more bricks. But sometimes they aren’t and we add a lot more bricks. But even with the really good ones we never remove them all.

But what really are we protecting ourselves from? Walls are designed to hold up structures, to protect us from predators, to create boundaries.

Maybe the structures we are holding up are necessary. Or have we hobbled ourselves under that low ceiling. Protection from predators is necessary but in keeping away the predators we also keep away the much more gentle creatures

What if your wall is so big it appears it can’t be scaled? How can anyone get to you? How can you connect with the world with all those bricks closing you off?

Think about your wall; how many bricks will you move today and in which direction?






“Life, it’s not what I thought it was!” The Wonder Stuff 

Or, as defined by my dictionary:

life n: the state or quality that identifies living beings


I was once working somewhere very posh by Upper Berkeley Street. It was a lovely early Spring day, crisp but with piercing sunshine, and I had a view out onto the street. I remember seeing a young guy walk down the pavement and emerge from a patch of shade into the sunlight. Clearly I wasn’t close enough to see his pupils constrict or anything like that but I remember seeing his whole face change as he blinked several times and nearly stumbled, trying to make the adjustment from the dark to light.

At that moment, the vulnerability of human beings hit me like a train. We can do amazing things and survive the most horrific physical and mental tortures. Yet we’re so vulnerable to the slightest thing, like a sudden patch of unexpected sunlight.

I never much liked Biology at school – the whole slicing up a cow’s eyeball kind of put me off. But I have a fair concept of how the human body functions. And it blows me away. This next line may only be relevant if you’re a Pratchett fan but what the fuck does a spleen do & how do you make it work?!

But, seriously, think about it. Really think. About yourself, about someone you love, about the people around you. How do we ever come into being &, once here, how do we manage? Skin, eyes, limbs, fingernails! All those thoughts & feelings and weird senses and instincts that we can’t even find words for. Our capacity to do so much. To be so much.

Now I’m not saying that means all we can do or be is good or anything like that. What I am saying is that it is incredible. Think about that word for a moment ‘in credible’. From ‘credible’ meaning believable, incredible means something that is practically impossible to be believed.

And I truly think of people like that. The friend who goes through hell so you’re ok, the lover who makes you feel beautiful, the stranger on the street who holds a door open for you & suddenly the world is a much nicer place. The capacity for all that and much much more is incredible.

Human beings are damn bloody amazing. And that is worth remembering every day.