It comes back to this, doesn’t it?

It occurs to me that I am being paid to write what I want to, for the first time in my life. I have a PhD scholarship. They even gave me a bit extra, thanks to my university medal, garnered all those years ago. I still remember giggling like it wasn’t that important, but being disappointed when the Vice Chancellor forgot to announce us medallists. The mollified master of ceremonies regrouped with a round of applause once we were already back in our seats.

I used to walk with a sloping gait, shoulders hunched modestly. I am so short that I don’t really need to stoop, but I used to anyway. Now I have to walk stock straight, because of my aged knees. My husband calls for my goosestep as I march downhills, bottom out and knees bent slightly, taking the pressure in my quads, changing the physical habits of a lifetime of pretending to be not as smart or talented as I really may be, just in case I wasn’t loved because of it.

Such a girl thing. So cliched. But there it is.

And here is this PhD supervisor, a lovely, encouraging, supportive person. So smart. So well regarded. Here she is, in her office at the university, in a building that looks reasonably new, showing that other people, people in power, people with money, take writing seriously. And here she is, taking me seriously. Urging me to start writing immediately. Telling me to create a safe space for my writing so I can write whatever I want. Suggesting that I get my ideas, memories down.

She trusts my process.

Can I?

Well, I will start like this. Goosesteps up and down the hill. Time, each day, to write for myself. I will write as poorly as possible. I will write.