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  • Yesterday lunch I was talking with colleagues. Should there be positive discrimination? If there is a race to the top floor should people wearing concrete shoes be allowed to take the elevator for a flight or two? Is that a fair analogy? It would be better to make sure no one had to wear concrete shoes, or that there wasn't a race, or that it didn't involve getting to the top floor but competed to restructure the building so it was more accessible for all.

    And yet I keep thinking about the times others wearing concrete soled shoes have stepped or stomped on me and the wider tendency of those with concrete in their shoes to step on each other as a way of slowing down the competition or just cause it's crowded and easier to strike out at those closest. Horizontal hostility it's called. There are others out there wearing concrete shoes who feel stepped on by me in mine--and yet if I have, I didn't mean to, wasn't aware of doing so, or was just trying to defend myself . . . .

    In the evening I attended an Interplay session where people gently explore storytelling, music, body movement. The exercises are so gentle and playful you slowly edge out into doing more daring creative things, without realising it, Sneaky deep is a way of describing it.

    Towards the end of the evening we lie on the floor face up and lift one hand above us. This means no one can watch you because they as well can only see the ceiling above them, and this is strangely liberating. Music plays and you are to let your hand dance, smooth slow gestures, faster ones, playful ones. We are told to let our evil twin or trickster out.
    As I let my hand wander my thoughts wander back through the day. I think about my fears of being pushed down or out by other women, of women I want to protect or support to grow. I think how women aren't supposed to fight, aren't supposed to be seen to fight, And all the while my hand is floating like a jellyfish let loose on its own.

    But then we are told to move so our heads are close to someone else so that our hands can dance together. Now I lie able to see the ceiling, my hand and just at the corner of my eye another hand. It's hard to describe what happened next, the dancing my hand did with another woman's. Her movements snipped, swooped, pinched,darted away and mine did too. Not overtly fighting, just taking side swipes, nipping at each other as they passed, ducking under and then quickly jabbing a poke, moving as the hand moves in women's work stitching, wiping, stirring, flitting in and out of each other's way. I watch fascinated by the brushing skirmishes and then I think, but we don't touch, we barely touch, so I move my hand so that the back of mine slides against the back of hers, in a trice she flicks her wrist and grabs ahold of mine and the music stops, freezing that moment. And for me something has been made tangible visible that too much of the time is hidden and covert. That's the way women fight I chuckle to myself. Some taboo has been lifted from me and I feel relieved.

    Childcare arrangements mean I leave the sessions a little early. I do not speak or even catch the eye of the woman whose hand play fought with mine. I feel there is less concrete on my soles as I leave. I wonder about the other woman's soles too.
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