They called her brassy, big, loud and larger than life. Maude was a gentle and loving soul but this is not how she portrayed herself. Maud liked to wear tight fitting clothes over her well covered body. The more gentile women would tut as they walked past, they had decided from a distance that she was a woman of a certain kind and best to be avoided.
Maude fitted into the mould she had created, she wore far to much make up, far to many chains around her neck and wore her hair up with an added hairpiece, a look more fitting for a girl than a more mature woman. Maude created the personality she believed would get her through life, it had, it gave her the confidence she needed but never the love she desired. Maude always met the wrong man because she had no idea of how to attract the right one.
Maude’s childhood had been difficult, she had not experienced love from her parents, she always felt and was told she was an accident. She wasn’t wanted, she was ignored for the most part and verbally and physically abused at others. Maude left home at the earliest opportunity, falling for a local lad who showed her more interest than she’d experienced before. Maude was pregnant at fifteen and married at sixteen, a girl herself, she found herself responsible for a family.
Maude learnt how to work the system, her husband Bob put what money they had over the bar of the local tavern and if she was going to feed her family Maude needed to tell the odd tale or two. She realised early on that to be listened to and noticed she had to create something quite different, she had to hide any vulnerability, show no fear and charge at the world head on, Maude was certainly a force to be reckoned with if ever there was.
Maud had so many layers that she didn’t really know who she was, so many walls around her that even she couldn’t break them. Maude believed she fitted the lies she had created, she recognised herself in the person she had become. Maude had tried to cover her fragmented and difficult beginning in life in an attempt to become whole and yet the whole Maude created had nothing to do with the person she was. Maude was her own work of art and yet it was not in her original style, quite simply, Maude was a fake.
The day Maud was knocked over on that crossing was the day she went home, home to her childhood and home to who she really was. Stripped in hospital of her clothes, jewels and make up, Maude found herself. She found herself in the people she spoke to, she found herself in the kindness of the nurses and she found herself in the girl in the next bed who was interested in what she had to say.
Maude was in a coma for six weeks, it was felt unlikely she would survive, but she did, she did more than that she broke down her own walls. Somewhere in the space of the coma, in a place she was safe and at a time just right for her, Maude found home. A lifetime of being someone else, a brassy tart, evaporated. Maude survived and in surviving realised she didn’t need to create anymore, she could be herself.
Something about the respite from life gave Maude a second chance, gave her opportunity to recreate and in doing so she chose to be herself. Surrounded by care and love she felt at home, she allowed the love she had buried to resurface, the gentleness to cross her brow.
Maude’s recovery was slow but her transformation miraculous, a lifetime of lies got knocked over that day but Maude stood up.
The moral of this story is we all get knocked down, but each time we get up we are closer to ourselves.