Grace, Continuance and Loss

Photo By Magnus Polla
A Room With A Pew photo by Magnus Polla

Lm has been down this road many times before; finding hope, losing hope, finding love, losing love, believing, not believing, passionate, passive, TRUSTING….Huge ENORMOUS SNAG! Truth has always been closeted, boxed up, stored away or tossed out. What is there to believe in when so many people hurt, hide their fears and keep running on ego, pretention and illusions? Rock has been placed near the old church door keeping an eye out for anyone who might see Lm in this vulnerable place. She is trying with all her might to pray, to feel truly heard, to heal; yet her leary, cynical self says, “Fuck you, how the hell am I to believe life gets better or people are capable of serious growth when those who squeezed my heart until it barely had a beat never called or wrote to say they were wrong or sorry?” This old church is barren of worshippers; cold and musty it remains a historical treasure embraced by uncertainty. Centuries old, desperate pleas from villagers long gone can still be heard. Savage Saviour, where art thou NOW? Lm screams her prayer pleading to be seen, her little girl voice echos, bouncing like a slobber covered tennis ball that belongs to a beloved family labrador that was left alone too long. From wall to an arched planked ceiling and back to the pulpit it lands with fury, causing the thin paned windows to rattle. Rock is ready. He knows this will be a bad experience; Lm will likely try to run, leaving him nebulously behind. There are no quick answers, advise or even faint clues as to how she can exorcise her miniature demons which usually leave her mute, squatting in the black, dank, drowning corners of her past. She is angry that her half-siblings are put on pedestals while she and the others are shunned. Nature has gouged into humankind to believe in more since the Neanderthals rubbed two sticks together. Or did they? Shamans, organised religions, cults, even Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneras, Queen Elizabeth II, Elvis and Jane Goodall have a strong following! Do Chimpanzees pray? Do elephants mourn or black crows truly attach? From Eve’s naked temptation to Eris the Goddess of all femme fatales, the feminine figure is the cause of all temptuous forces. Lm refuses to accept this. “Dear Goddess, Dear Female Lord, Dear Universe, Dear Whatever, hear my prayer. Please? Amen. Thank you. Ummm, I don’t even know what to say, and of course if you could save me from further self loathing I’d appreciate it.” Lm was ousted from BaDDaD’s life for she knew too much. (Period. New paragraph. She still has humor!) New Life. Forced unwillingly into a complex Witness Protection Program devised by elders she loved Lm has continued to feel threatened until recently; with one swift move using her handmade sharpened scythe she could exploit the Truth anytime. Escaping for her is simple. Whoever came up with the following and frequently misquoted advise was straight and as strong as well casked Kentucky bourbon. Southern wine. “Always tell the Truth then you don’t need to REMEMBER your lies”. BaDDaD once had eyes on her, little pipsqueak narks he puffed up like Vietnamese blowfish so they could feel higher, more significant to him than Lm; she was tortured with threats of going no contact if she spoke “poorly” of him. BOO, fucking HOO! Not anymore; Lm is very intelligent and knows he is the epitomy of fraudulence, the one who could gnaw through the twines of his Upper Up’s and unlike Martha Stewart, he never was nailed for his sins or intentional manipulation. From the womb of a good woman, he landed on both feet running; Crossville to Nashville, from here to there, D.C., Cannes, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Annapolis, Virgina and more he has always been fifty leaps ahead of the feds; sadly he remains on the run within himself, he wouldn’t know HONESTY if it hit him in the face with a piping hot iron skillet. Narcissistic parents brag because they want the kudos for being the world’s most perfect parents; “Look what we have created!” Lm’s achievements are never seen or known; she has jumped over thorns, with her alt persona she continues bravely through the tangled ivy, a jungle of lies to find peace. That’s gotta be worth a penny. Her brutal realness is feared by those who should sparkle and delight in TRUTH. Lm stands, looks back at Rock for reassurance, wipes her tears on her old jean jacket then together they return to safety in the hidden stairwell. Lm closes her eyes. Rock is vigilent, always alert, and steadfast. He double locks the door that leads to her heart. AMEN.

Bored With Mind Games; Eight Points for Truth

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Veritus. Lack of respect for what a loved one or friend has experienced or is living in the NOW is a selfish play. There are rules to abide by to live an honest life. Sound dysfunctional? Perhaps you too are on your path to freedom from illusions and the superficial world. The key to acceptance is TRUTH; keep your integrity in the pocket nearest to your heart. Lm is tired of holding her painful memories inside because they may disrupt other’s delicate worlds. Five of seven half siblings from BadDad have made it very clear that Lm’s truth is to be put neatly into a shoebox for eternity. ROCK is so damn tired of covering up her pain so others can feel better. Today she sat near him and felt his rough, brazen surface and gave him her list of Truths to be unfiltered, unpolished and he is sorting through her pile of letters, forming words, spelling out her emotions into sentences and organising her memoirs. Truth will set her free. Free from lies, from trying too hard to hold her past together and release her into the wind like a dancing butterfly. Yesterday, Lm crawled out from her hiding place with her best friend AP on her shoulder in angelic form. She pointed to all the wild flowers left to grow freely and together they hugged honey bees, chunky bumbles in their yellow and black suits and hundreds of butterflies swooned around them. Golden light fell upon their lifelong friendship, finely tuned and real. Coltsfoot mixed with red full roses, dandelions and clover lifted Lm off her feet with AP; laughing like children they flew through the tall grassy meadow, into the realm of Goodness. ROCK saw Lm’s eyes shining with delight and decided not to bring up the unnecessary, the dirt or grit. At the bottom of her stairwell she will inevitably return for he knows AP is only a temporary unfettered moment of liberatio.

“Come out and take it, you dirty yellow-bellied rat, or I’ll give it to ya through the door!” – James Cagney partial quote from the famous film “Taxi”1932

Scene 1, Take 1000 ROCK Leans Against Lm’s walls of pain and reminds us all that she may crumble but she is one tough cookie.

As many of #RealStuffbyRealMe readers know Lm has been a bit unhinged lately; ROCK has been trying to take a breather and sighs as he remembers with unbridled compassion her earlier feisty days. Okay, you are right, stones don’t need air. Rock is more like a highly trained navy seal and would fight from the bottom of the big, blue sea for Lm. She has sunken on dry land however and he can only protect her from selfish indulgences she turns to when masking her pain. He shares in his best Cagney impression a memory he hasn’t thought of in years. There is so much about Lm that others don’t know. At nineteen, or was it eighteen?… she sailed with two licensed sailors in their early twenties from the well known Annapolis, Maryland, USA yearly boat show to Fort Lauderdale, Florida! There was TJ, with light brown, sea-salty hair, soft blue eyes and a reputation for knowing everything one is to know about sailing; he was a ladie’s man of sorts, one who knew the ropes of the sea but had a deficient vocabulary and well, Lm found him simple. The captain was sly, short, and had quite the interesting nose; he was boastful with a big mouth, pushy and an extremely mysoginistic character that Moby Dick would have spat upon. He learned quickly that Lm would not comply to some unspoken norms that went with the gig. Lm being completely daft and desperate to escape her home life jumped for the opportunity to go along. Apparently, many galley gals were expected to entertain the captain at sea with more than just their singing. She ducked his sexual advances, refused to laugh at his flirtatious nature he called “joking” and was on guard fully after the forty foot Nordic left the Chesapeake Bay and entered the Atlantic. The boat had been bought by a wealthy Floridian and the crew was to be paid very well (except Lm, another story, another day). In many ways she was running away from BaD Dad and Elle’s impending divorce and the non stop crying and yelling, yet she was also running away from a broken heart. Her first major boyfriend who damaged her trust as much as her father in all future relationships had called and advised against her going. This only gave her more incentive as he doubted her ability to handle life at sea. He was a jerk and in all facets of the definition of a decent human, he failed. Lm will most likely go on and on about him to you later. Now caught at sea with the creepy captain and his side-kick, she was in a storm that they were warned about by the radio weather monitor; it was approaching fast with wild winds and waves from four directions. On a sail boat with no way out she had to brace herself and go through it and believe in someone she despised. Storms are nothing to scoff about at sea. Harnessed in at the stern and both hands tightly on the helm she did exactly what captain said, “stay on this precise course and don’t let go.” The winds were steadily building while the guys worked the sails. She ducked as the boom swung from side to side and despite the captain being a very conceited man she was literally praying to God she would never sail again if he just guided these two sailors safely inland. After the storm they took an unplanned pause at the port in Beaufort, North Carolina. She and the guys got off the boat speechless and ran straight to a bar full of fellow wild water sailors. Drunk and scared she met a curly dark haired girl named Tilly with ankle bracelets and a big heart. Tilly was not afraid of anything and was as free as the winds which Lm believed could have killed them all. TJ and Tilly were seasoned and tanned by their multiple yachty-ness experiences and hooked up that first night; they were in full crush mode and she was welcomed to finish the journey with him and the captain. The captain was even more cocky toward Lm now that TJ had a pretty girl in one night and grew more and more agitated over the slightest things. In a snarky voice he barked at Lm to bring him a sandwich. Lm had been hiding out below in an aft bunk for as long as she could. Frightened yet angry at his savage ways she took two pieces of bread and peeled plastic away from the fake processed cheese food, then slapped some ham on it. She was not happy about his behavior toward her although she was grateful he chose to listen to TJ and take the intracoastal waterway and navigate toward St. Augustne, Florida. She looked at the sandwich and took a bite off the corner and spit it out as she was a strict vegetarian. Nextly, she took a squirt bottle of French’s mustard and wrote RAT on his sandwich in bright yellow and orange. She stepped up from the cabin, handed him the sandwich on a paper plate and quickly went to sit with Tilly who was dangling her legs over the side starboard. The captain had one hand on the helm when Lm gave him the plate and he didn’t notice it’s appearance or say thanks as usual. Both girls giggled. Then they heard “Bitch!” and watched a ham and cheese sandwich fly over there heads and into the salty waters and float away. Lm was not asked to make any food for him again. Believe ROCK when he tells you that when Lm says she smells a “RAT“, she is spot on. She does adore all other rodents however.

Inner Galaxies; Undiscovered Black Holes Within Lm.

Constellations of memories light up Lm’s brain, she can’t sleep as they flicker on and off stopping only when the sun rises and even then there is a only a tiny dimmer switch to rest with her pain. Physical pain was once easier than the psychedelic light show her mind set loose just as she tried to sleep. Now the two sources of pain have made a unique blend that she must try and swallow and go on with each day in conscious repression. Steven Hawkings would be proud of her discoveries, even if she hasn’t shared them with others. She is like a small wild flower in a glass vase much too big for her beauty to be noticed. She lies at the bottom, her petals dancing with color and no one sees her. The pain is like over watering an African Violet, she is drenched and can not do anything about it. Entering her thoughts is risky, for one could be sucked in and not find their way back to safety. She will hold on to you, beckon you not to go and the swirls of ruby fire lit asteroids will attach to you. Escape plans must be made and to survive her pull and force of neediness you must be strong.

In Over My Head; A Journey Back to Me

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EyesOPEN, Gray, Blinding visions, first feeling the pain of waking, assessing my spirit’s cage carefully. Roll over to wake and see nothing to greet my loss of self. SickWith me. LittleMe, MiddleMe, OlderMe, AngryMe, SadMe. I see sundrips upon my skin, they are playful, like the child I once was. I do not feel free but bound and stranded within my soul’s carriage. I am half way nowhere and there is noone to save me but ME. Do I have the strength to fight for Lm, my self worth, my existence or don’t I? That is the real debate. I feel like I am on satin sheets, sliding downwards to an end, an end of what? This life? My consciousness is aware of other’s expectations; my mixed emotions are more like a forced collaborative art project in mixed media. I remain a conglomerate of my past and I can’t get over grief just because it’s part of the healing process assigned to me. I can not recreate a new me from a piece of yarn, a stroke of a paintbrush or one poem. There is no recipe or delight in growing a new version of self if I can’t even remember who I am anymore. I wish upon stars and hold amythyst next to my chest, I breathe in chance and exhale death. I am not so sure ROCK can carry me further. If I lose him as my frontline force against the world, I will lose me.

Blue Midnight

Although Lm is forever appreciative of everything ROCK helps her through she has one major hang up which is the sense of being forced to get “better”. Life can seem to be so much easier for others and frankly it’s annoying.

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Blue Midnight hurts; my soul is regurgitating pain from those before me and those with me now in the shadows of darkness. I am silent yet my mind replays the choices, the sickness and the fear of never having a window that will open and allow me to breathe peacefully. Suffering has no boundaries, it seeps in through every crevasse of one’s inner room. From the corner where I weep I see from the doorway above reminders of lost loved ones and those still here who are waking in fear as they battle the demons of mortality. Disease, dictators, disasters. At this hour humanity is on it’s knees, begging mercifully to some entity they are half doubting or humbled into believing in as a last resort. Calloused knees from years of prayer, hands pressing palm to palm, grief calling in infinite screams. In the cellar of my heart I pull my knees up to my chest and count the steps it takes to find understanding and empathy within my relations with other dwellers in this existential well of echoed despair. Blue is brilliant when paired with gold and the moon dances across the ceiling as I lay in my pool of doubt and motherly concern for my inner child who sees clearly those who have trespassed her. The night is so long and sleep never comes easy. In a wavering state between rest and wakefulness the “gone wrong’s” of each day plague each cell of my body; my attempts to help pull a special loved one’s self esteem up and to show them there can be a day with goodness was thwarted once again. To lay in worry with the black and blue bruises of a beaten slave is my midnight. Oh, you damned mystery of all mankind, do you even hear me? Do you see how much suffering my loved one is enduring? How can you allow this? I have bargained and have even been willing to pay whatever penance you crave just to see my only child find revelation and self love. Are you abandoning her or me? Are you worthy of my sleepless nights full of fear? I wake each day to hope like a broken clock. Both hands are on twelve and I know not if it is night or noon; my heart is too heavy to pull another through this life. I carry the weight of my deeply broken daughter, my deeply broken self and I try to show the beauty that could be for her without success. I feel the swell of my own past, my haunted and branded scars of before and want there to be a magical spirit to protect my child from this world’s contradictions and horrors. I lay down and feel my baby’s heartbeat still and I beckon the universal dream of “LOVE” to envelope her and guide her to stand up and fight for her dreams. I call with my weak, strained voice for you to answer, please.

Gently Lay By Me

In the middle of my night and the morning light I often feel my heartbeat’s whisper. In the black starless sky I know now that I am healing, heading for a choir of unbroken bonds, true meaning, countless moments of Love that’s mine. I shake loose the shackles of my past, I no longer need to remember him, the One who was to be my lifetime protector. I lay BaDDaD to rest as my father. I see beyond my physical ability into a rainbow of shimmering passion, a place so blessed and perfectly mine. No longer will my heart be full of muddy trenches and unfathomable pain. He is gone now. He is a good story for someone else to tell. Like a child I make a wish and toss my golden coins into the sea. I know it will take a very long time to sink to the bottom and perhaps they will become lost treasures among sea glass and pebbles in wavy sand for some one new to find. I ask the spirit of innocence, the power of genuine trust to comfort me. Lay beside me now. Let my heartbeat’s whisper belong in good hands, sister to sister, teacher to child, mother to daughter and lover to lover. May I save the rest of me and float softly into my dreams without fear. Amidst my sleep I beckon no fear to wake me, shake me and remember the lost One. Come, lay by me. Gently sing my heart to rest; Gently Lay By Me my Love, your devotion is my breath. If a star should shine tonight it is just for you, the love who stayed steady when I was almost through. The air is cool with springtime winds and following my heart always wins. Goodnight my love, my lifelong friend, let me sleep beside you once again.

Free Falling

Words form and stop, quivering at my lips I say nothing. A rush of warmth rises inside my throat leaving me choking on my own emotions. A battle ensues between my psyche and my gutteral instincts. I divide my shivering heart into portions like raw meat and pack them away making sure they are placed so far away from resurfacing, breaking free and falling out of my mouth. I am the keeper’s key, the guardian of truth and I am aligned with no one, not even my own conscience. I see from behind, from above, below and further within Her, that is, Littleme. I see in my mirror ROCK and turn away in denial, never wanting my scarred outer skin to acknowledge it’s own shedding. I have heard among many other words of advice to let sleeping dogs lie, a rolling stone gathers no moss, somethings are to be put to rest; I lick my lips drenched in salty tears and feel sewn up with my secrets. I know that my only chance of survival is to let go of the words begging to be spoken, to follow in the steps walked before me and keep my head down. To be truly seen is not going to happen. No magical wand will be given to me so for now, for Lm I raise a white flag and surrender to the unresolved, the pointlessness of words that are chained within.


Running Off Track

Littleme, that is Lm, has a very bad drawer full of horrible, never released from her grip memories. They come from so far away but changed her entire life entirely when three words were said to her, “I love you”. By now she’d moved north to the east coast, the Mason Dixie line and Maryland’s capital, Annapolis. She was so stuffed with emotions, drowning in her regurgitated pain and felt smothered. She hoped this move would save her from hiding in the closed gymnasium during lunch, standing on toilet seats quietly, stealing cigarettes and never eating without self punishment. Sit ups and runs and more sit ups and excuses to hide her body from an ounce of flesh. It was her last chance at control. When walking along the city docks she loved the ting-a-ling sound of sailboats moored in neat rows, the fisherman pulling up baskets of crabs and the liveliness and freedom she’d not known before. Walking shop to shop, discovering alleyways and for once, even if BaDDaD had no time for her she was breathing calmly. A solemn walk around the historical homes, perfected gardens and boys eyeing her felt good. She was registered into a Catholic school as it was nearby and she could walk there in the morning sun or fog from Elle and BaDDaD’s home and her soft and sweet smelling sister that Elle had blessed her with. She loved her uniform which made her fit in without much judgement but make-up was frowned upon. Only three other girls wore make up in school and they were pushing buttons and perimeters. She didn’t want to push anything, just be loved. The one who got her attention was sly. Not that great of a young man but his younger brother was in her class. He was a straight A student and she had been also until she stopped caring. One sunny spring day, late March, perhaps it was St. Patrick’s Day, two older guys were sitting drinking canned beer from a small boat at a prime spot to see all the passersby. Lm walked past and a guy called out to her with messy blonde hair with eyes that looked like shiny blue gems. He asked her if she knew his brother and introduced himself. Both of these rowdy over twenty- one year old guys were brothers to a boy her age in her religion class. She presumed they could not be dangerous and obliged them with coy and polite conversation. The tornado of events and fucked up-ness that was unleashed from that point changed her entire life, her belief in Love, yes, the one with a capital “L” ; shame was all she felt. Her father was sometimes trying to keep the two apart but what could he do really? Parenting is a full time job and he couldn’t hold one down in his past so it was obvious he wouldn’t have the answers. The boyfriend pursued and among one of the places he lived was on an old fishing boat with his best friend at the time nicknamed, “Mo’. Lm hopped off her bus often just before her own stop over the drawbridge downtown. She had a craving for Love and he was meeting her needs even if he was a lying predator and a drunken druggie whom she obliged on a sinking boat. He always had weed and every drug imaginable. He told her how he liked her hair, what clothes suited him the best and mostly how to satisfy his sexual needs. What she didn’t know was he kept an entourage of young women to keep him happy and his demolition of Lm’s mental health would benefit him and confuse her for years to come. Nobody was stepping in or up to save her. He gave her an STD of some kind and she was terrified of seeing a doctor. She was absolutely nothing. Ruined. Used. Lost and lost again and again. To this very second Lm has not forgiven him or his friends who lied and withheld his sexual meanderings. Not even now can she let go. He soaked her in lies and words so tender yet he was the true definition of a monster. BaDDaD and this guy were much more alike than she realised. Within she had this desperate pleading need for her father and soon she would transfer all of her attachment issues onto this very bad man. She began failing classes, running away from her BaDDaD’s often to see her very unhealthy “boyfriend”and she would lose many opportunities for fun with good friends because she was always afraid of losing him. Eventually she did; his father intervened and he was sent to Maine for his Captain’s license and planned to join the merchant marines. She wrote letters, called often and even took me of BaDDaD’s credit cards and flew to Boston and then took a bus to Maine. The sheer vulnerability she carried was taking her down. She was on the Titanic and no one was going to throw her a life vest. It was one of the most pivotal changes she would go through and at her lowest point she had no one to talk to or see her suffering. BaDDaD just wanted her to be beautiful and continue to idolize him, which she did for many rocky years. Putting this drawer away so Lm doesn’t dare to dream of the nasty, cruel boyfriend. There will be much more on the wild, unreigned years of her life. No one knew, NO ONE how bad she felt inside and she would learn much later that men hurt you. The nice ones didn’t want her. A sweet friend paraphrased her redundant lack of genuine suitors as, they perhaps felt “out of their league” and intimidated by her beauty; she would carry a sense of a strange faithfulness to the horrid sleazy guy who used her nativity for his personal gain. The #METOO movement has brought Lm to her demons door and she will forge straight on telling her TRUTH. Rock will help her from swirling down the drain.

Beige and Blue

ROCK knows Lm needs attention yet he forces her to grow, not dwell on her past. She is indeed sprawling, like ivy across an old doorway leading to solid stone paths. Above the sky is blue and she knows that real people suffer and others are indifferent. She sees the careless, haplessly self-absorbed humans as beige. How can anyone not care about the whole damn picture? Who are those that see blood dripping from the heavens and go about their lives with normalcy? People are screaming for help in our neighborhood; Ukrainian families embrace fear and the beige people are shopping for more, more, more. The neighborhood is all inclusive, a package deal. What happens in the Ukraine is happening to all of us. Part of Lm is always thinking, worrying, sorrowful and broken, yet when she sees the same in others she stands up on the top step and pushes her way to the front lines. She will not tolerate the deficiencies in other’s consciousness, she will use a loud speaker, bang on drums and pipes until she is heard. She cares very little about beige people and their circles of chatter. Blue skies are hanging over the whole world right this minute, not at all like the blue in Thailand’s resorts, or on Miami’s most popular beaches that have beige people with pink cocktails. Blue skies are singing deep and low old spiritual songs from the warriors, slaves and feminine fighters before us. The air is thick with fumes spewing the cries of innocence, the children deeply weary from moving place to place for their own good. Who is running to help them up or out; is this real at all? This war is not a test, it’s real life, real stuff and how can anyone, anything matter more than this now? No broken porcelain doll, no dreary childhood, no stack of dirty dishes, no movie star, no religion, not NOW! Prayer has brought Lm to her skinned boney knees repeatedly for 59 years and nothing changed. Beige people walking like zombies pushing strollers full of new life in a world of blue skies that are truly full of broken hearts. The moon, the sun, the unnamed stars are all watching the game below. We ARE in the real world reality show and we aren’t winning. ROCK knows that as long as Lm is focused on sending out SOS signals to save others she forgets her self. She is selfishly entwined in her own pain otherwise. ROCK knows she is soon ready to push through the door that he guards. He also knows, even if she defies her own needs she will return to him on lonely nights, when the memories keep her awake, when she remembers her BaDDaD and can’t get passed a memory. She will come back to ROCK and as always he will calm her grief, even if it’s a repetitive move he will know how to protect her tender soul.