Shackles Off

by Penny M

There used to be a program on the telly in the U.K. It was called ‘This is your Life’. The show was live. Eamonn Andrews, the host at the time would read out biographical details about a pre-selected guest. At various points in their journey, he would mention a person from their past who would then appear on the set to surprise them. Reunions were cheerful, tearful and sometimes fearful. I loved it.

Since breaking out of the employment bubble, travelling extensively and meeting new people, I find myself on stage wondering who my surprise guests would be and what they would say about me. I’ve done a lot of thinking about what defines me. Mary Mary’s song Shackles never fails to get my heart tapping.

“Shackles (Praise You)”
It sure is hot out here
Ya know?MP900405192
I don’t mind though
Just glad to be free
Know what I’m saying, uh!

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
(What’cha wanna do?)
I just wanna praise you
(Yeah, yeah)
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
(Uh feel me?)
And I’m gonna praise you
(What’cha gon do?)
I’m gonna praise you

Without the shackles of youth, the expectations of failure, the limitations of living, I find myself in unknown territory.
The concept of arranged marriages doesn’t appeal to me, but arranged appointments?

I recently met a gentleman in a Melbourne bar. Most of my guests for This is your Life may now be reaching for the Rescue Remedy. A pub is not where you would find me. I was filling time, typing up some interview notes while waiting for somebody who was working there. What are the odds?

Being a writer, I was on the alert for a story. His was of interest to me. I failed to realise just how misunderstood such interest could be. I was mortified to discover during a recent presentation on Body Language by Claire Newton that looking at people’s lips is a sexual message. When you’re in a bar, the light is bad, the background chatter is loud, lip reading is an essential skill. Fortunately he was a gentleman so my penance was a distant admirer and a pen pal with an interesting life story.

In the corners of mind
I just can’t seem to find a reason to believe
That I can break free
Cause you see I have been down for so long
Feel like the hope is gone
But as I lift my hands, I understand
That I should praise you through my circumstance

If nothing else, this experience snapped me out of my self-limitations. I must admit that I rather enjoyed writing in such a setting. I have decided that a local coffee bar with free Wi Fi could become my haunt in future. Who knows what might happen?

Been through the fire and the rainBallet Dancer Mid-air in Jump
Bound in every kind of way
But God has broken every chain
So let me go right now

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance …
Photos from Microsoft Clipart


One thought on “Shackles Off

  1. Susan says:

    Go for it, Penny! Sounds like you are having fun. Many years ago, a woman we knew said to my sister: “The more you do, the more you can do” and that has stayed with me ever since. Writing in a bar or coffee bar can be very liberating too – all that hubbub around you becomes part of the background and energizes you.

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