I Kick Walls.

13934734_677409009073993_9004699101755769334_n I’m reading  Billy Lynn’s  Long half time walk.   It’s been adapted into film by Ang Lee. Talking of films… I saw Manchester By The Sea at a screening in The Soho Hotel:   Grayson Perry was sat on my row.   Grayson Perry, if you didn’t know,  is the British king of analysis on masculinity.   Watching Manchester By The Sea with Grayson Perry  in the same venue was too much for my masculinity so later that night  I kicked a wall repeatedly.

I wept too. Not at the film.  I’ve been weeping a lot this past week.  So there’s been a lot of wall kicking. Cry. Kick. Cry. Kick.   One of the causes was a marathon session with a psychologist.  He  was assessing damages for my claim.  The session drew all the poisoned water from the well.  And sucker punched me.

14021451_677918015689759_3653262036617963710_n-1That’s enough of that!!  It’s my year of listening, watching and reading.  The day after the marathon session with the psychologist I attended the women’s march in Belfast. It was inspiring. I held the tears in the dip of my clavicles.  Everything was on the brink to be fair.  I’ll be attending more marches this year. I need  to step up my game.

Another tearful day. Tears of Joy this time.  A young homeless man who came to the Christmas Dinner was given a snooker cue signed by world famous snooker player Steve Davis for a Christmas present.  The Manchester Christmas Dinner team made it so that he got to meet Steve Davis last week. IMG_7923 It was covered by the Manchester Evening News and ITV:  The young mans dream came true. I was a link in the chain  that made it happen.  I got an unexpected surge of joy   I wept.  Then I kicked a wall to regain my masculinity.   I also  punched a melon.

This picture is of me being masculine.

52 thoughts on “I Kick Walls.

  1. Hello Lemn

    You made me laugh ‘cry kick ‘ it was all so beautiful ..and inspiring
    You have to cry a lot to get back up the river from where you began …
    Muhammad Ali great man
    Lovely to read your blog today

  2. Kick no more walls Lemn, that way lies broken toes not more masculinity. Carry on linking chains where you can and all will be well. We are you family and we love you.

  3. Hi Lemn!
    I once went to a psychologist when I lost custody of my son. Never again! It takes up too much stuff and unsettled me for weeks. I went back to talking about it all to my best friends instead. They know you and you don’t have to start from scratch. I’ve heard it works for a lot of people. I’m not one of them. Mazel! Sending positive vibes!
    Dorli X

    • There are many people who commit suicide because they’ve been brave enough to come forward but the assessment process brings it all up again.

    • I loved the show in Belfast. It was pretty special. I was a little unwieldy. I swore more times than I’d like to – five tiimes. I prefer not to swear at all. But we got there in the end. And an encore from a people who are under so much pressure at the moment was high praise indeed. I performed for nearly two hours. I’ve never done that before. I LOVE reading in Northern Ireland and Belfast in particular.

      • I didn’t even notice the swearing ,not that it bothers me , your passion for your poetry brings tears to my eye’s and your great sense of humour was loved by all hope you weren’t running to late for your flight .
        Thanks for great photo I got taken with you outside the black box
        Happiness health and more Happiness Lemn

  4. I adore Grayson Perry, and his work Lemn. A very intelligent artist.

    Despite not being a man, I took the ‘Signs of masculinity’ module in my third year at University, I wasn’t the only female present, though the majority were male.

    I can tell you, Grayson would say the same I’m sure; You don’t have to kick walls to regain your masculinity. Real men do cry, & weep at ‘girly’ films such as ‘The Notebook’, my husband did, all 6’2″ of him including those broad shoulders. He’s also read all of your online blogs to date. I haven’t, he’s read several to me, the ones he finds particularly moved by. Mostly angered by the injustices of the past. He’s a highschool teacher with philosophy degree. Rather a deep thinker. One of the myriad reasons why I liked him in the first place.

    Be good to yourself Lemn. BlastHard Lisa ☆♡☆

    • Oh My freaking word. BLASTHARD Lisa. IT’S YOU. Lisa who was at Saddlers Wells that time when Riz Ahmed had his show? You are a super ace person. Just to let you know something I didn’t put in the blog. I am a BIG fan of Grayson Perry and we had a chat at the screening. I went over to him to say hello. It was a screening organised by Red Magazine and if you see hte film Manchester By The Sea you get a full understanding of why he was there. The film is incredible adn it is all about masculinity and alcohol. Personally I think it’s about how alcohol messes up masculinity. It is a work of tremendous beauty. So anyways… I don’t get nervous in front of famous people but I was. Just cause he’s so unique. He has made a space in media which wasn’t there before.

      Writing a gushing blog about a famous person I met is pretty boring. The funny thing about the screening was that because it was a “screening” noone cried that I could see. But man it’s a tear jerker. The psychologist thing was deep and painful. But I have to go through that. I hope I am good to myself. I must be otherwise I couldn’t write this. Thanks for saying as much. I like to think that if Grayson read this blog he’d find it funny. The ridiculousness of crying and kicking a wall at the same time says everythign about boys and the ridiculousness of a misguided idea of what masculinity is. Bags of Love Lisa.

      • Bags of love backacha. I’d love to read a blog post about the famous person you met, but only because it’s Grayson, & I❤him as I already said. My facebook friends of both sexes were talking of crying buckets watching Manchester by the sea. I must put it on my to watch list xXx

  5. So, this is not metaphorical kicking –as I first thought–, right? Are we talking potentially bone-breaking activity here? What about letting a bean bag/duvet/football have it instead? (I am not joking).
    Un abrazo fuerte, hombre. We care, and you can (you supercan).

    • I was tryig to show the ridiculousness in a flawed of idea of masculinity which results in a confusion exemplified in the image of a boy crying alone and kicking a wall.

  6. Hi Lemn,
    Yes, sometimes we all have to cry. Much better to cry than not cry.
    May your tears wash away pain and be healing.
    Around the old garden where I grow food and keep bees with my friends,in Sowerby Bridge,there are some amazing walls. You would be welcome to visit if you are over this way. I doubt you would want to kick them, but they might make you cry with laughter and happiness.
    Abracos, Judith

    • Thanks Judith. I’m not a wall kicker truth be told so I’d love to see those you speak of. I let the tears fall. They’re the residue of the fuel that powers my journey.

  7. Only you can make someone envy of crying and wall kicking. What an honest and relatable writing? More power to you dear Lemen.
    I just did my share of crying!
    Love from a far far place.

  8. This is an edited note about the young man which I received from Angela Schora
    Hi Lemn, I read you blog today and was very moved by it, for lots of reasons.
    I thought you’d be interested to have news of Tyler (snooker). Last week he volunteered at the new weekly free kids snooker club (by supporting the coaches) where the original event was with Steve Davis. Ripple effects.. amazing eh?

  9. Dear Lemn ,kicking walls is much better than building them!Crying helps too only those without feelings find it impossible to let the tears come tumbling down.Give yourself a pat on the back for the pleasure you bring to so manyand take care lovely Lemnx

    • Patricia, I’ve been thinking about this. “I don’t trust people who can’t cry”. That’s what I used to say. I was wrong. if a person has no reason to cry then that’s brilliant. And if a person has a reason to cry and can’t then I should pity or help them rather than mistrust them. To mistrust a person who can’t cry is plain bad minded now i think about it. Many people can’t cry for all kinds of painful inexplicable reasons. It’s the emotional equivalent of locked in syndrome. Remember Jean Dominique Bauby the editor of French Elle who wrote The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. He was paralysed. He could not move a muscle except his left eyelid. And from that he communicated. And from the blinking of his eye he identified letters and words and wrote that beautiful beautiful book which became a film. Analagously the person who can not cry makes a great difference in the world letter by letter word by word. They have children. But the emotional equivalent of locked in syndrome crushes them. I think of the miners in Lancashire. I think of people in my own family. People I need. people who have locked me out but who in turn have locked themselves in. And most of all I think of MANCHESTER BY THE SEA the film. It is as relevant to Manchester England and the towns of lancashire as it is of the fishing villages of massachussets or the city of Addis Ababa. I’ll pat myself on the back as you suggest. And anyone else who can make some kind of sense of this reply 🙂

      • It’s amazing to hear you talk about the movement and power that comes out of the stillness of people who are locked in. These are the patients I work with and I’m humbled daily by the power of what comes when I listen into their silence. One of my patients also wrote her story recently using one eye blink. Amazing. Lemn I’m sorry you had such a time with the psychologist. I’m a psychologist too – gentler I hope with the people I work with. I’ve been using some of your morning words with them and they cry.

        • He was REALLY good Audrey. He was really kind. It’s jsut that we had to go through the process for him to document the damages. he was literally documenting damages. He is part of my lawyers team. Thanks for this kind message.



          • Ahh I’m so glad he was kind. The legal process can be brutal and stir up all kinds of stuff. It’s a privilege as a psychologist to hear others’ stories so I’m glad it was handled with care. I posted on your public FB page ages ago about a young boy ( maybe 7 or 8) who I worked with years ago in Manchester. He was in a children’s home as he had been told by his social worker he ” wasn’t suitable for a family”. This has never left me. How damaging. I wonder what happened to him. Hope he bloody sues for damages. I guess in my work I’m exposed to people “going into care” at the other end of life – when they are too disabled to go home. That government care can be pretty awful too. I loved your talk when you said that care ought to be so great that we are banging down doors to get out family members in there. What a thought. Ahh I could talk all day so better not! If you’re ever at a loose end in Oxford coffee is on me! ( ps thanks for accepting my FB request on your personal account. I know Simon Hattenstone at the guardian and it linked us up!). Bye for now audrey

  10. I saw “Manchester by the sea” last week, with a friend who is a psychotherapist. We came out reeling as it’s so unrelentingly grim. But after reflecting on it, I have decided that yes, it’s about alcohol, and masculinity and more. Mostly it’s about broken lives that can’t find the way to healing. I loved the few people who DID find a way, a person, to help and hold them. So thank you, Lemn, for the work you do for those who are broken, damaged and yet find healing and transformation because you hold out hope to them. Let’s keep crying but may our tears lead to passionate, active compassion.

    • Tears are not my fuel. They’re the residue. They’re a necassery oil in the engine. They are not the source of my drive or the end result. They’re in for the journey.

  11. Lemn,
    It is OK to cry,kick,cry. Crying mentally cleanse us. Be still , soak in it. You aren’t crying to only cleans yourself, you are expressing what you went through in a way that will help or inspire others. When you conquer your pain, the present is controlled by you. There is definitely going to be a battle between the past and present. Letting go doesn’t mean the memory is magically gone, it just means you no longer allow the brutal past to rob yourself of living a good life now. Opening up also humanizes you in the eyes of your readers. As Shakespeare said, ” to weep is to make less the depth of grief”.
    So my brother keep inspiring us. Don’t stop.

  12. Dear Lemin?
    Key phrase that: “who have locked me in but who in turn have locked themselves out…”
    My own tears were for so many years absolute floods of rage…which was appropriate and exhausting…
    Then eventually I stopped crying and started to worry about whether my emotions were completely dead.
    Now I cry when I see someone else being kind to someone…watching Michelle and Barack both naturally put their arms around Melania Trump’s back the other day …couldn’t stop crying..Or sometimes when someone actually can address my losses from a place of deep understanding

    Grateful that you get to work in therapy. Pissed that means you haven’t gotten a check cut for you yet? I loathe legal systems..but that’s another story especially the law that waits till children have been damaged before it will intervene, as happened to my boys and countless children and in some astonishing and horrifying ways to you

    Keep hoping someone will be able to give you the supreme comfort of simple day to day companionship… Prayers for that

  13. I just finished reading Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. This quote is in the book and I love it:

    ‘I’ve come to believe that how we choose to live with pain, or injustice, or death…is the true measure of the Divine within us. Some, like Crossen, choose to do harm to themselves and others. Others, like Kenji, bear up under their pain and help others to bear it.’

    Being open, authentic, and vulnerable about your struggles helps other people to not feel alone, it creates space for connection. Feeling connected helps us to bear the shitshow we call life. So kick walls and cry if you must but STAY OPEN. You are a shining light in spite of darkness and I think that is Divine. xx

  14. No walls were harmed in the making of this blog. No melons were harmed either. I didn’t kick an walls. I didn’t punch a melon. I’m not angry. At all. I just thought I should say this here.

  15. I ‘m sorry Lemn that your psychologist visit ended in a ‘cry/ kick’ episode. No one should have to feel like that. I hope the crying and kicking helped/ eased in some way.
    I love the analogy to the Diving Bell and the Butterfly ( a wonderful moving book). Yes, people who can’t cry are indeed ‘locked in’ or at least their emotions are so we have to make sense of those people in a different way …
    fortunately or unfortunately I cry all too easily- tears of joy , tears of sadness and a whole load of other kinds of tears in between.
    Being masculine doesn’t exclude crying; all the best men cry I know through my sons just how sensitive boys/men are.
    Thank you for being ‘man enough’ to write about your crying episodes. Your writing carries so much truth and therefore resonates with so many

    • The crying all happened. The kicking of walls didn’t. I was trying to use the wall kicking as a symbol of a failed idea of masculinity. In reality I cry then I work through it. I’m not a soft touch. I grew up hard and I’ve the scars to prove it. I’m not defined by them. I have said before that I am not defined by my scars but by the incredible ability to heal. It’s true. Crying is a healing noise: I let it flow when it flows and let it go when it goes.

      But the image of the boy crying and kicking a wall and punching a melon. It’s strong. That’s the fun of writing. Things happen.

  16. Keep on being “the link in the chain” – I think your writing – poetry AND prose – touches many in a deep way. I have also heard you speak to an audience, just once, but ever since I have been a huge fan – I am hoping one day I will be in the vicinity when you post about having a coffee somewhere – I would love to meet you x

  17. I wish I was there to wipe your tears, to just listen to your sorrows, to be your crying shoulder, but situation and life doesn’t accommodate what we want or what we wish. I just want you to know I am here, I also recognize that life is complicated. My motherly advice is to accept it delightfully. I promise you, you will be happier, healthier and live longer. Your poetic and artistic ability is fantastic. Thus, I know you will excel in life. Crying sometimes is good, it releases the knot that was seating inside us. You are always in my prayers.
    Love you dearly. Your Godmother, Ethiopie

    • Your kindness is unbound. You are everything a Godmother should be. And I am blessed by you. Sometimes I like to write a blog showing like this becaue the power is in the telling. My greatest warning signs of a feeling unwell is silence. It is when I am not writing that I am most vulnerable. I find great strength in sharing stories. There have been tears this week. Wow there have been. But I’m okay. Love you Ethiopie. And thankyou.

      • I totally understand. Thank you for your kind words. I am just expressing my love. Go ahead cry, laugh and enjoy life. But, never bottle your feelings inside and go down the undesired road (you know what I mean).
        L xxxxxlv.

  18. Thank you for both your literal and creative telling, it’s the most courageous defiance of the misrule of others. There’s beauty arcing out of the darkness that is so alluring and healing. Whether you deliver your words with a fiery belly or a twinkling eye, it all helps to champion truth and dignity in our lives. As you say, keep on keeping on!

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