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.
As your children grow, they gain knowledge.
When previously you could amaze them
with a fact or nugget of arcana
Will have already Googled, absorbed, and analysed.
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)
An often-exaggerated whiteness against a muddy lake.
My daughter and I saw the only other black swan in my life
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.
Blindboy discussed bleaching his hair last year when he was distressed,
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
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.
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.
4 thoughts on “Black Swan”
As my 19-year old is finding her wings in an alien country, I am feelign every word you have written. Even the surreality of it.
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Thank you! The black swan was attacked by a white one this morning! What next?!
Oh no. I hope the swans didn’t learn race relations from us.
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I didn’t think of it in racial terms. You have a good point.