139 is a Prime Number.
‘A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number, greater than 1, that has no positive divisors, other than 1 and itself.’
Now that is exciting! The word ‘prime’ is enough to lift my shoulders and to fix my eyes on the horizon. In fact I have decided that I, also, am a prime number, with no positive divisors other than 1 (that’s still me) or itself (me again). How can I lose with that positive thinking?
Although every moment of my life requires an involvement with A. N. Other, a relationship in other words, be it complex and thixotropic or easy and naturally flowing, I am still singular, just me, I, The Prime Number. Of course, I can be far from such in another’s eyes. I might, in fact, be entirely divisible by anyone who cares to divide me up, spinnable by anyone who fancies throwing me into one, but whatever Lady Life tosses my way, even she can never ever divide One into more than itself and, once I spot this dividing thing going on, I can stop it just like that. If I have the power of one, then I have the power of one.
In my earthly woman life, I can spread myself too thin, stretching myself progressively flatter in an effort to play carpet for all those around me, regardless of any risks to my health, self-esteem or direction in life. I can do all this thinking I am solving others’ problems, when what I am really doing is interfering. Instead of me respecting A.N Other’s right to be a primary number, I am dividing him or her up, telling her what to do and how to do it because I would know, wouldn’t I! I am saying she cannot do without my advice, when without my advice is precisely how she needs to be.
Is it a myth or were all us girls brought up to put ourselves last? Outside the door is better, in sackcloth and ashes, with voice on ‘mute’ and all desires surgically removed, as a baby. Well, maybe it is the truth, but why on earth do we perpetuate such nonsense? There is a lot to be said for the new woman (many of them my own daughters-in-law) who refuses to wear a modesty vest and who bites off her mute button and spist into into the undergrowth, standing her ground like Boudicca. But this situation still smacks of war to me, one the sackclothed little carpet-woman manages to avoid by obligingly upholding the pillars of household peace, like Samson in a frock.
There is a third way. There has to be.
This leads me on to the next bit.
‘One, sometimes referred to as unity, is the integer before two and after zero‘. Integer means either a ‘whole number’ or ‘a thing complete in itself.’ It comes from the latin verb ‘tangere’, to touch, and from it we have the word integrity, which translates as ‘the state of being whole and undivided, or ‘having the quality of being honest and with strong moral principles.’
Zero is the first number, according to some but I am only giving zero a nod and a wink for now. It’s the number 1 I am thinking about, because, although I am one of two or of many, from millions to a book club membership, I will always be One, and within that understandng, acceptance and knowledge lie the seeds of a colourful unity.
Having strong moral principles is a wonderful thing, providing I don’t expect anyone else to have them. If I do, and make such an expectation clear, I am laying down my baton of integrity to don the periwig of a judge. I have just made myself divisible and I deserve whatever comes my way. I would be wiser to concern myself with my own dirty washing, of which I may have a considerable pile. As I judge another, thus I show, loudly, that I am wondrous to behold in my perfection, and yet it is only wordish vanity somersaulting from my mouth. When I turn to walk away I may feel smugly chuffed but I may as well have no back to my trousers for the fool I have just made of myself.
However, if I consider not others’ failings, but my own, and if I turn the beacon inwards to study each and every one of them, and begin to address them one by one by one, I am now a Prime Number. I have just elevated myself through the dirty cobwebs of my secretest hiding place and I can see the sky. I have nothing to lose from now on.
Well, that’s not true.
What I am about to find as I walk back into one or other of my relationships is that nobody likes change, unless they are the one doing the changing, in which instance, it’s fine and they can’t understand what the fuss is all about. However, if change comes in the old garb, ie the old me who always used to join in the salacious gossip, or the deliberate rebuff of a ‘lesser mortal’, or if I ran about like a ferret after everyone else’s insecurities and am suddenly absent, or, worse, actually present but unmoving, then I am going to astonish and disappoint and what’s more, be told so. If I decide I am going to walk the other way, against my own established direction, I will undoubtedly find myself lonely, feeling foolish and wondering how big my bum really does look. I might even feel a frisson of fear, because I have no map for this road, not yet. Someone is bound to mutter that I have been on the sauce, or maybe I’m going through a rebellious menopause thing, hmmmm? But, if I keep doing this new thing by not doing the old thing, I will soon find a rhythm for my feet. As long as I simply concern myself with my own sense of integrity (the state of being whole and undivided) I may not save the world, but I am saving me from carpet heaven – I, the Prime Number One, the only one for whom I am responsible.
When I am required to make a choice that involves another, I can still approach it with integrity. After all, I cannot concern myself only with what I want to do or achieve at any given moment, because I am part of two. However I am still One within that couple. I watch young folk pull and push for independence, negotiating deals for the smooth running of a shared life. Tried it myself now and again over the years, but I make a mistake here if I expect approval for wanting something the other person doesn’t want. So what can I do? Do I just give in and lie down? Or do I cut my losses, decide we are incompatible and head off to find someone else to be incompatible with?
Or………..maybe I might take a hold of myself, my integrity as a Prime Number, the Number One, divisible by nothing, and take a good long look into my own shadows, and then, with the intelligence of my own heart, quietly and lovingly begin to walk my own path, the one that runs beside yours at times, and not at others, thus embodying both unity and singularity at once, without any divisor.
Such an elegant truth.