Megan Dowsett is a creative consultant working with museums and galleries, and an illustrator who is finding her voice through personal and local projects.

Through the name Norris and the Flamingo, she shares the sense of adventure that runs through all of life, wherever we are on our journey. A sense of imagination, of possibility and discovery, for children and adults alike.

26 October 2019

I am 40


This month I am 40.

I have ten GCSEs, four A levels,
a degree.
I was proud, once.
Then I dismissed them, I moved on

I’ve travelled five continents;
I’ve learnt four languages, sort of
(And forgotten them)

But also in my 40 years:

I learnt to walk, and talk,
To read and write, and count.
And sing -
Finally, finally, I can just about hold a tune.
I learnt to play the clarinet.  And forgot.
The piano, too – and remembered, a bit
Bike

I learnt to swim, and ride a bike.
I learnt to kayak - to eskimo roll, tell a stopper from a wave, cross an eddy line.
I forgot how to kayak

And after all these years, I’ve just cracked hula hooping -
and run 5km.
I didn’t pass out, combust or split my sides in misery
(Enjoyed it, actually)

I learnt to sew, and knit and crochet
(and melt plastic bags to make lampshades)
I figured I wasn’t a natural artist
But I couldn’t stop drawing and painting and cutting and sticking.
I learnt to print.
I made a few books.
I wasn’t a natural artist
(did it anyway)

I’ve learned to love my figure -
I’ve thickened my figure, and thinned it, and thickened and thinned it.
I learnt to love myself in glasses
(had laser surgery anyway)
I learnt to love the mole on my chin
(And had it removed)
Learnt how to embrace my curly hair -
Chopped it off. 
(Grew it back, chopped it off)

I moved to the big smoke;
it got smokier.
Made a home of this enormous city eventually.
Made friends,
Offered a shoulder to cry on.
And missed so many more chances to help.
Cried on a few shoulders too
Lower Lip Kiss
I tried to fall in love -
I made mistakes, but finally I got it right.

I fell in love:
I found a man who fits me, who loves me,
for all this and for the other things too, the bits I won’t write down 

He’s a sticker.

I grew, birthed and nurtured –
and screamed at, wept over, sometimes smacked –
Two beautiful, (mostly) happy children.
So I guess I learned to mother
Motherhood
I’m a manager.
Not recognised in my salary, of course, and naturally I manage more people and earn less than my husband.
But still … I’m a manager
(For a bit)

I learned passionate, strong opinions, and argued for them. 
And changed my mind
(Many times)

I’ve tried, in my little way, to make the world a better place –
Occupied the library, written letters,
marched for justice
Europe
climate
(Oh dear)

I’m still learning to balance the here and now
with the impending catastrophe of Earth.
Still learning when to accept and when to do battle -
with my children, with my career,
with the world.

I haven’t achieved world peace (yet).
I haven’t won prizes or promotions,
trophies, fame, letters after my name, directorships or great wealth.

But golly I’ve learnt so much.

And with love, hope and all fingers crossed
I’m just half way through…
Swimming