Gift

I received the gift
Of honesty from my parents
But
No inspiration
No demonstrative love
No demonstrative affection

I received the gift
Of silence from my absent father
Of secrecy from my mother

Now my life is an open book
Full of stories and synchronicity I call vignettes

I received the gift
Of negativity from my inhibited mother
'A leopard can never change its spots'
She would say

It can and it did!
I learned to be positive

My mother gave me a life changing gift
She opened the door to Italy
I entered
Outside the conventional Liverpool box
'Study in Perugia' she suggested
I did
Her dream was never fulfilled
Mine was
Her gift changed my life forever

My parent's gift was not with words of love
But
Of material deeds and possessions

I loved my ugly bombed city
I was proud to be a Liver Bird
A gauche Liverpudlian
But
Without the recognisable Scouse accent

My parents gave me the gift
Of financial support
Until
I was free to stand alone

Alone abroad
Confident
I met myself

No Mentor
No Guardian
No Advisor
Alone
I learned through my errors

New surroundings
New languages
New cultures
The Art of travel
The Art of conversation

Brazil
Mexico
London
And
Paris
Havana

A new name
A new identity
A new career
New Independence
Discovery of moi-meme
Jilliana Ranicar-Breese

My parents never told me
They were proud of me
They never understood my Wunderlust
They never asked about my work
They never understood
Who I had become

Now they are long gone
Never to know
My achievements
My successes
My long marriage
My creativity
My friends
My extended family
Who love and understand me

Now I am the Mentor
Now I am the educator
Now I am the "parent"

Now in my twilight years
I pass my gift on
To inspire others
And
Be understood and recognised

Narrative life writing poem written in Cecilia Knapp's creative writing workshop at NewWriting South, Brighton on 12.9.17