kay scorah.

If you're being yourself, you can't be an imposter..

Month: February, 2020

Take care of the roots, and the fruits will take care of themselves.

A few years ago I wrote the poem “Each year the tree” (see below) and as *we re-visit the design of the weeks that I will co-facilitate in June and July at Modern Elder Academy, the tree metaphor has been front of mind for me once again.

Re-reading the poem, I noticed that I had placed the emphasis on the tree as giver; giver of leaves, shade, blossoms, seeds and fruits. In contrast, I now find myself focused on the tree as taker; on what is below ground rather than what is above.

Without roots, the tree is nothing. Without taking, a tree cannot give.

I don’t think that I’m alone in having consciously or unconsciously neglected my roots for much of my life. I overlooked or even rejected my ancestry and inherited values in favour of creating a version of me that was as far as I could get from previous generations of my family. I grew up in the 1950s and 60s in a family where equality and respect for others were everything, where deeds were above words and craft was respected more than cash, and then rebelliously stumbled into a successful career in advertising in the 70s and 80s, where the car I drove and the designer clothes I wore defined me.

It took a very long time and not a little psychological trauma for me to learn that, along with my ambitious and successful uprooting of myself, I had sacrificed my source of energy and power. When I appeared to the outside world to be at my most dynamic and powerful – dutifully conforming to the business success stereotype and giving in to society’s expectations – I was in fact rootless and dying.

And so now, at last, I am taking time to nourish my roots, and get back in touch with that which truly inspires and ignites me. I’m finally letting the real me back in; that creative, joyful, fierce yet vulnerable and compassionate shero, who is securely rooted in the knowledge that her way has value. The above ground part of “tree-me”, the part that others see, still reaches for the sky, and cannot help but provide sustenance and shelter, but from a much healthier, deeply rooted place.

This feels like real liberation. Better for me. Better for others.

(*Gratitude to my colleague Paul Loper and the faculty and comadres/compadres that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at MEA for illuminating yet another path for me!)

(Turning the Tables is one example of which “real me” is extremely proud!)

Each Year the Tree

Each year the tree gives blossom’s brightness to burst winter’s grey bubble.

Fierce and piercing beauty, soon scattered in the damp, dappled grass.

Each year the tree gives spinning seeds, whose helicopter journey to the ground

Has, since childhood, held me spellbound.

Each year the tree replaces flowers with fruits, which bend its branches

But do not break them; and even if they do, new shoots burst forth.

Each year the tree gives footholds in its cracked and furrowed bark to scampering squirrels

Gathering autumn’s bounty for winter’s larder.

Each year the tree gives shade in summer and a leafy palate

of infinite, imperceptibly changing colours to remind me of time’s passing.

Each year the tree lets fall crisp leaves. The children kick and fall and throw.

The dogs delight. The gardener rakes and rakes and rakes.

Each year the tree, in silence and unseen, grows larger, puts down deeper roots

Adds inner rings of wisdom, becomes part of earth, of you, of me.

The real truth about the gender pay gap.

balance-scale-isolated-icon-design-vector-9656446I’ve always been a bit of a data nerd; weighed down by my insistence on differentiating between coincidence, correlation and cause. So, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those newspaper editors and journalists who have liberated me from my pedantry, and shown me that the only questions that I need to ask are, “Does this data fit my previously held prejudices?” and “Can I use it to scare the shit out of my readers?”

In case you are in any doubt as to the expertise of media folk when it comes to the interpretation of data, a quick look at the list of editors of the national press here in the UK reveals that 90% of them are white males. So, if this is how they use and interpret data, it must be right. Right?

Two real Daily Mail examples of this are as follows;

Headline: “Bacon kills”. Data: some people who once ate bacon were also found to have died.

Headline: “Cancer link to oxygen in air”. Data: people diagnosed with cancer were found to have breathed air containing O2.

(And from this, I think we can also apply reverse causation to conclude that if you do not eat bacon you will never die, and if you don’t breathe that nasty oxygenated air, you won’t get cancer. The latter is in fact true. Think about it.)

Liberated by these media heroes, I have now applied their method to the contentious issue of the gender pay gap. I am so glad that I did, because now I can put to rest all my girly swot, embittered old hag rage about the issue. Allow me to present to you the real truth about pay and gender:

The gender pay gap in the UK is 18%. Men earn on average 18% more than women.

The gender weight gap is 19%. Men weigh on average 19% more than women.

Is it a co-incidence that these 2 numbers are almost identical? Of course not! It is clear that humans are, quite rightly and justly, paid according to their weight. After all, you wouldn’t expect to pay the same for 100 grams of cheese as you would for 118 grams, now would you?

Now that we know how the system works, and I think that we can all accept that it is perfectly fair and equitable, all we need to do, girls, to achieve pay parity is simply stop whining and eat more.

I admit that there are a few little wrinkles that we will need to iron out within the data. For example, is it enough for a little old thing like me to add 19% or 10 kilos to my weight? Or does every one of us women have to achieve average male weight (83 kilos)? In my case, this would mean gaining 30 kilos.

We must also ask if the measure is sector sensitive. For example, were I to work in finance I would need to gain considerably more weight than I would in any other sector; HSBC has a gender pay gap of 61% or 32 kilos, Barclays 48% or 25 kilos.

Sadly, since applying this formula I have been forced to accept that I will never make a go of it as a comedy writer and performer, an occupation where the highest paid man earns 11 times more than the highest paid woman. To make as much as Ricky Gervais I would need to gain 550 kilos

And so, rather than pursue that impossible dream, and being the entrepreneur that I am, I’m about to launch SEEP – the Salary Equality Eating Plan. Subscribe to SEEP and we will deliver to your inbox daily diet tips for a fatter, wealthier you. With just 2, 2 litre bottles of Coke a day, 6 burgers for lunch and a dozen doughnuts for breakfast we can promise that you will wipe out that gender weight gap and get equal pay in just a couple of months. You’ll wonder why it took those lame feminists hundreds of years to get nowhere!

There’s an added bonus, too. If we’re successful in our campaign for weight equality, we will take another positive step towards gender equality. All that extra weight makes it likely that life expectancy for women will drop to about the same as that for men. No more hanging around pointlessly for 3 or 4 years after the men have popped their clogs; now we can reach the grave at exactly the same time.

Finally on this subject, I would like to point out that we girls are guilty of shocking ingratitude for those situations where we have been granted equality without even trying. Yes, I’m talking about luggage. How can it be fair that the heroically obese man who is invariably seated next to me on a plane has the same paltry baggage allowance as I do……  ?

Hold on. Wait a minute..

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there’s another way of looking at that, isn’t there?