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LAYER BY LAYER by Ulli Stanway

I have always been a writer…

I have always had this calling to express my feelings through the magic of words. Sadly for a very long time in my life I have silenced this voice. Whilst I have written countless poems during endless nights, I never thought that I would be good enough for this. There are so many gifted souls out there, tell me, who would want to read my poetry?

For a very long time in my life opinions and approval were very important to me. I always wanted to live up to people’s expectations. Be the good girl, the one the others are proud of, as she lives the way they think is the only way, their way.

I tried to be very thin. I dumbed down. I put on makeup and chose high heels. I studied law. I wore a pear necklace and a white blouse. My hair, ever so perfectly layered. I was everything that others wanted me to be and nothing that I am.

Slowly and steadily I drifted away from my authentic calling. Illnesses started to manifest in my body. And pain of all kinds became my constant companion.

At some point I had to make a choice, was I to continue this path of self-betrayal or was I going to take a leap of faith through change?

I chose the unknown, something in me told me that I had to just let go and flow with it all, all consequence aside. I left my home country and moved to Australia with my beautiful husband. I started from scratch. Immersed myself in everything that comes with cultural change. The good, the beautiful and the rather very challenging parts.

I read countless self-help books, learned about pain, illness and their spiritual connection. I lost weight, oh so much weight. I decided that I no longer needed these layers of thick skin that I had so carefully and deliberately placed around my wounded heart. I started to peel them off, layer by layer. Each of these skins had a different purpose. There was grief for unborn children, anger and sadness about a miscarriage, silenced passion, death, guilt and blame.

My poem speaks of these layers and how I softly peeled them off, ever so gently embracing my arising poetess.

Layer by Layer
by Ulli Stanway

Come out my beautiful soul
And embrace me
I wish to hear you
Tell me those stories
Send me words to write down
I have not listened for a very long time
And for that I ask your forgiveness

I was too busy being washed ashore on strange lands
I did not have a voice nor hope
My days spent pleasing others
My nights filled with tears of unfulfilled dreams
Only to awake the next day
Feeling hollow and saddened

I did not see you
I could not hear you
Even if I wanted to with every part of my ancient heart
I was engulfed in their rules
The way things should and should not be
No pen taken in my hand
The head full of poetry
The eyes blinded
The poetess violently silenced
By yet another thick protective layer of skin
What if they don’t like me?
How can I change to be more loveable?
Back then where I was covered in pain
Guilt, blame and anger came upon me like the apocalyptic riders

Then came the day
When I decided to fight back
Not to believe those stories any longer
The need for approval dismissed
The need to please softly diminished
By me embracing myself
Learning to love me
And all that comes with this choice
Uneasy at times
One step at the time
One day after the other
Minute by minute
Layer by layer
I peeled away the pain and the protection
I took down my fence

And then there is now
Now is where I wake up in the early waking hours
To write with ink smeared fingers
Messy hair
My eyes drifting into the dark night
Feeling and sensing
Longing for my beloved poetess to arise
Awaiting her talking to me
We are getting closer
I can see her when I look in the mirror
I can see her timeless eyes
Her beautiful smile
As she forgives me full heartedly
She is here with me

Ulli Stanway: "I am a 41 year old rising poetess/writer/day dreamer and life lover. I live in Melbourne Australia with my beautiful husband. I love nature and I am a confessing tree hugger. I am working on my dream website called “Desire your own happiness”, which I hope will inspire other kindred souls to follow their own dreams and skip down a path they truly enjoy. I believe in becoming your authentic self, become who you are with all your quirkiness, weirdness and amazing talents. We don’t need to have countless copies of the same story being told. Be you, all that you are and that is perfectly enough. And you are so very needed. My mantra is taking your shoes off and run barefoot, in the rain whenever possible. Embrace everything you are. Here and now."

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~


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