"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

All material on SHIMMERCASTDREAMS copyright of Marie Bruce and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


Seal it with a kiss and let the postman be your messenger of love

"We write letters because they last, even when the love that inspired them has gone..."
Quotation from How to Write Love Letters by Michelle Lovric

In a technological age it would seem that we have lost the art of writing love letters.  These days we rush off an email, a text or post a message to someone on Facebook or Twitter, but the romantic gesture of actually writing and posting a love letter is all but forgotten.

For me love letters are the best possible approach from a new suitor; less fattening than chocolates, more lasting than flowers, the humble billet doux will always get my attention.  Maybe it's because I'm a writer and so a written message captures my interest.  If it's written down, I simply have to read it. I cannot ignore it, like I can dismiss a pick-up approach in public.

There is something rather special about a letter, or even a cheeky Hallmark card that says just the right thing, coming unexpectedly through the letterbox.  It is a small act of genuine regard that has the power to make someone's day.  It can make the difference between a romance blossoming or falling flat before it's even got off the ground.  It can pave the way for a new love to be made welcome in a woman's life.

There is much to be said for this type of 'softly-softly'  approach.  A love letter isn't a demand for a woman's time and attention; it isn't an unexpected and inconvenient knock on the door when she's in the bath.  It is a gentle whisper that says 'When you have a moment, read this'  A love letter is a non-threatening approach, so perfect for the gun-shy girl, wounded by love in the past.  It is an invitation to consider the possibility of something more.  It is a private moment when she can experience a man's regard for her, without being expected to give anything in return.  There is a purity to the love letter - the gentle caress of the wordsmith leading a woman to make a reply; it gives her permission to speak the truth of her heart without fear of embarrassment because distance creates a protective shield. 

The billet doux can quite respectfully be taken to bed long before the suitor; it can be read, over and over, while the moonlight filters into the bedroom and the candles flicker.  The kisses written in a love letter are just as treasured as the real thing, and they last forever.  If lovers are forced to spend time apart, a love letter can be the best way to ensure he is the last one to wish her goodnight and sweet dreams, as she peruses his  words before she goes to sleep at night.  It can be the bridge that brings them together in the end and the hope for a brighter future together.

"Mine own sweetheart, these shall be to advertise to you of the great aloneness that I find here since your departing"
Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn

Monday, 14 July 2014

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Beware the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Beware the wolf in sheep's clothing...don't stray from the path...be careful who you trust...never let your guard down etc etc.  Little girls are taught from a young age to be careful of the people they trust for they may not be all that they seem.  Little Red Riding Hood is a parable designed to teach this early on, yet as we grow up, it's often the 'wolves' that get our attention first.

I have a tendency to see the best in people and while this sounds like a great virtue, over the years I have come to realize that it is actually my biggest flaw.  It means that I sometimes trust the wrong people, those who would manipulate others to serve their own agenda.  It means that I have been deceived in the past and I have failed to recognize when I am under the influence of what psychologists call truth bias and traumatic bonding. 

Put simply truth bias is when the facts are staring you in the face but you just don't allow yourself to believe it, so you believe the word of a liar instead, because you love the person who is being dishonest.  In that moment it is easier to accept a lie than it is to deal with the reality of the truth.  Truth bias is a twisted form of self-preservation...believe the lie and kiss and make up; believe the lie and go on as before; believe the lie and avoid change. Because change seems more painful than deception.

Traumatic bonding is when you find yourself in a relationship that is not really of your choosing, but which just seems to develop during a stressful time in your life.  If you are dealing with illness or bereavement, it can be difficult to see when you are being manipulated and drawn into a relationship against your better judgment.   There are some people who would take advantage of any situation, even funerals and serious illnesses, in order to compromise you and take advantage.  They are wolves in sheep's clothing - they look like good guys, they act like good guys - they might even be in a profession which garners automatic trust such as doctors or the police - yet they are acting from their own selfish agenda and you have inadvertently become their latest little tidbit.  

Traumatic bonding and truth bias frequently go hand in hand, meaning that you become blind to the situation you are in, partly because no-one likes to admit that they can have been so easily manipulated, taken advantage of and fooled in every way.  So you just carry on as you were.   Eventually though, you become so broken by disappointment and let down that you stop caring about anything at all...and this is the turning point.

At this stage, an influence far older, wiser and deeper than either truth bias or traumatic bonding steps in and takes over - in short, your survival instinct kicks in, rips the blinkers from your eyes and gives you the strength you need to move on.   You can acknowledge, to yourself at least, that yes, someone DID try to take advantage of you; that yes, they DID offer silver-tongued empty promises to be there for you, to catch you when you fell, to care for you...and then promptly left you to drop and fend for yourself because you failed to meet their demands and you ceased to be convenient to them.  Someone DID try to reel you in at a traumatic time, not because they had any genuine care or compassion for you, but because they viewed you as an easy target.  When you begin to see the truth, then you can deal with it.

Just because someone claims to have your best interests at heart, does not mean that they do.  Ask yourself "Is this a treat or a threat?"  "Is this a show of support or a strategic seduction?" "Is this a friend, or a fiend?"   At the end of the day, you will be stronger for surviving the disappointment and you will have learnt to look beyond that which is being presented to you, to see the deeper truth lurking beneath.

And while you will always be wary, the wolves in sheep's clothing should also beware...for they'll never know when or if the loose cannon they left behind might go off with an almighty bang.