Black Swan

A black swan event is something unusual or unexpected.

It’s a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

It is also a song by Thom Yorke.

And a movie starring Natalie Portman.

I discussed this with my daughter recently.

She said,

‘I know.’

As your children grow, they gain knowledge.

When previously you could amaze them

with a fact or nugget of arcana

They now

Will have already Googled, absorbed, and analysed.

They develop,

acquire minds of their own

With stuff only known to them,

Ideas of their time, their generation.

The black swan was one; I found her at my swimming lake in lower-Barnsley.

Black swans do not usually reside in Barnsley

They are Australian.

Our common variety,

Mute swans (loud when upset)

Are white,

Like dust,

Silken, creamy

An often-exaggerated whiteness against a muddy lake.

My daughter and I saw the only other black swan in my life

This summer

As we

Sailed down the Thames on a windswept barge.

Me too cold in my t-shirt,

I squeezed into her hoodie for warmth,

Wearing it back to front

Like a surgical gown.

It seems these birds likely escaped from captivity and settled in the north,

Having been transported from Australia as curios.

Who knows, some might have flown,

Lost their way and the eternal sunshine.

Last week’s Blindboy Podcast discussed ageing and the loss of youth,

Culminating in a reflection of the artist

Misplaced, psychologically incongruent in a London pub

Dressed accidentally as Eminem.

Should I wear more fashionable clothes?

I asked my daughter yesterday

As we walked through central Leeds,

Past trendy shops and protests in support of Iranian women.

You’re 50, you don’t need to dress fashionably.

I don’t want to look like an old man, like I am past-it.

My daughter assured me that I didn’t look like an old man and my clothes are fine.

We moved-on.

Blindboy discussed bleaching his hair last year when he was distressed,

profoundly anxious.

I remember as a young man, shaving my hair as an act of self-abuse,

An attempt to gain control

When living the opposite.

Similar experiences pass through the minds of adolescents who self-harm.

I can’t do anything

I have no money

No friends

I can’t go anywhere

I can cut.

I am not an adolescent psychologist although I imagine this is some of the context.

A sense of self, of autonomy, of power over your actions or inactions is fundamental to emotional wellbeing.

See the youth’s speeding on their motorbikes?

They are tasting independence.

If independence is not given it is often taken,

Either constructively or with negative consequences.

As we grow, age, mature,

So too, do our children,

If we are lucky.

They move-away,

find new friends and interests.

Develop a language, a toolkit of terminologies that are outside our own.

And this is good,

This is how it should be.

This is the way of the world.

And, black or white swan,

We should celebrate their futures.

Published by rodkersh1948

Trying to understand the world, one emotion at a time.

4 thoughts on “Black Swan

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