There was a game she played as a child, it was a night time scary, silly, giggling tradition with Lm and her cousins. With a flashlight on and one kid holding it upward under his or her chin, the bedroom or basement doors darkened and it would start. Announcing in the scariest voice one could muster up, one would call “I’m on the first step”, giggles in the dark, then the imagined curmudgeon would say in an even creepier tone, “I’m on the second step”, then more squeals. On each step this creature would say something to the likes of “I’m going to eat you all up” or “I hate little children” and maybe let out a growl. Blankets were pulled over each head and huddled together everyone felt safer. Once on the top step, the door would swing wide open and the tickling began. How do we get ourselves worked up into a frenzy over someone we know, playing a spooky game yet when real life frightens us we clam up? Lm opened door 26 without thought. Who would help her through this real life game of truth and fiction? Inside the door the sun is so bright that sunglasses are needed. This memory is from the Bahamas where the evening breeze was welcomed. The shutters to her and her father’s room stayed wide open, screenless and at street level she could see crowds of white pale tourists clashing with the beautiful brown and deep chocolate skin of the Bahamians. The ocean burst upon the shore and the heat made Lm doze in and out while her father went out on the streets, crowded with laughter and accents she’d never heard. He bought her a stack of postcards with a pen. He said they were going to a fancy dinner show. The man’s name was Milton Berle that was to make them laugh and drinks and such were served at the table near an aisle. Lm had been to a lot of interesting places but this sounded much more exciting than a trip to the drive in movies or a ride on the ferris wheel at the county fair. When they arrived they were seated close to the stage with Lm near the aisle where the busboy’s catered to tables and BaDDaD although laughing a lot, also drank a lot. She knew by now this was the good side of BaDDaD, as long as he was kept happy and the drinks kept coming he’d get them back to the bungalows lining the beach. None of what Milton Berle said was funny to her but she was certainly the youngest person in the crowd. He had a sweet face and big white teeth, a tuxedo and shiny dark hair that was combed back with what she would guess to be “Dippity Do”. She consumed several Shirley Temples and watched the young men rush up and down the plush carpeted rows, from table to table they bowed and filled their trays and took away all the dirty dishes and uneaten food. Suddenly, a bus boy tripped on a step and his tray went flying toward Lm and landed by her feet. She scrambled to help him and picked up cracked plates, rolling grapes and chunks of melon. All at once a bright white light shone on her and all the people stared. Milton Berle asked the audience to have a good look at the sweet and helpful young lady helping out with all the clamour made from the shattered mess. She looked at Milton Berle and he blew her a kiss. The audience was cheering and BaDDaD was beaming. Afterwards, he would take her to a place where machines were rolling with cherries, lemons and people were using up coins to spin them around. She was weary. BaDDaD told everyone about her being spotted by Milton Berle that night. Someone who worked at this noisy place full of adults came up and said Lm couldn’t be in the room. Lm saw his face turn red like the cherries 🍒 rolling round and he called a taxi to send her back to the bungalow. He gave her a key and said for her to go to sleep. She climbed into the cab and he sent her off, through streets unfamiliar, a country unknown to her and she tried the key. It didn’t work. Luckily the shutters had been left open and she climbed up and over into the now cooler room. She felt scared and closed the shutters and latched them from inside. The fan hanging above the bed was whisking around and she watched it spin until she fell asleep. In the early morning when light was creeping in through the shutters she opened one to look for BaDDaD. Soon he appeared and gave her a smelly kiss and too tight hug and fell onto the bed to sleep. She was quite hungry and fished through his pockets for some change. She found a little bit and went out and straight to the street where dogs ran about barking, people were stirring and saw the cart where a happy faced dark man with a straw hat sold things and called out to tourists to come see him. In his rich Bahamian accent he asked what he could get the “little miss” staring up at him. Lm asked for breakfast and he laughed. “Oh, I don’t have breakfast miss, but I do have some cola!” She put the coins up and he said he needed more. Lm explained her father was asleep and told him all about Milton Berle, the busboy, the new word, “casino”, the spinning cherries and the taxi all by herself. The man softened and then handed her a cola and a small cup of lemon ice. “This will cool you off.” She took the lemon ice and her cola and went back to the bungalow. She sat on a stool and got out her postcards and pen and wondered how she could write all of this down and to whom she should send the cards. She finally laid down next to BaDDaD who was sleeping with pillows over his head. He always did that no matter where they were. Lm knew it would be a long day waiting for him to wake and resolved herself to watching the people stream by and finally her eyes closed as the sun and sky slowly changed to yellow, orange and pink.
LittleMe will be referred to as Lm now. She is unable to dig so deep or pour out more from her soggy memoirs alone. To cope with her existance she must remain in her stairwell where one step is cozy, padded with warm blankets and her grandmother’s heart and love still embraces her. ROCK has always been here and is going to walk her road leading up to NOW slowly. She must have quiet, a safe space, love and mostly her story must be told so she can trust herself to move forward. I am ROCK, sound and steady; Lm has leaned on me for decades and you will hear only TRUTH. As a young teenager Lm was beginning to sink into a very dark and sad place. She had so many reasons to do so but noone noticed. She changed from an awkward thirteen year old with an overbite and bowed banana legs to a beautiful girl over one summer. When she returned to middle school she quickly gained much attention and had no idea how to handle it. She knew how to joke and that is what she used as her mask to entertain her friends and get through the dramas that unrolled each day both at school and with her own family. I don’t think she even knew she was in rocky waters and her friendships had been split between groups, the nerds, the jocks and now the “heads”. Heads was the slang term for a wilder gang, they smoked cigarettes and weed and some were rumored to have “gone all the way” in their relationships. Her passions for her roles in the drama club, the school newspaper, track and maintaining honor role status began to waiver. Girls traveled in pairs or clusters and the wall flowers who once were her closest pals began to disperse. From a slumber party with the highest ranking girls in her class in 7th grade to being called a “Fox” and whistled at in the 8th grade was something she did not know how to handle. A boy from Battle Creek, Michigan had moved to her town in Tennessee. He had instant popularity with the “heads” and was also on the football team. He started the beginning of her popularity and although she did not feel good inside, the attention from other students was both positive and yet a disaster. In her heaviest box marked “teens” each year seemed an eternity; a haze of bad things fired off like a war between Lm’s need to be loved and wanted and her desperate attempts to have a supportive family. She wanted to feel anything, something good and escape the hellish thoughts accrueing from her childhood. A hell that is only to be told for what it was, not to place blame on anyone particular. It was just fucking rotten, non stop self abuse and a sheer struggle to survive in a world she knew little about. It was 1978 and girls were called “hot”, “smokin'” and “ripe”. Lm felt no difference inside; she still longed for BaDDaD’s visits and stopped talking to her mother and step-father all together. She also began to run miles a day and eat just enough to keep her mother off her back. Her weak point was Doritos; she would consume an entire bag then do 200 sit-ups on her sky blue carpeted bedroom floor. Her room was so tidy that her friends and family were shocked. This was really Me, ROCK taking control. I kept her from remembering the drunken nights and awful memories with her father so she could get out of bed each morning. She began to don copious amounts of make-up, had Farrah Fawcett “wings” which she sprayed heavy with Aqua Net so they wouldn’t move all day. She could actually lift them up on each side of her scalp as two seperate pieces and they indeed looked like the wings of a bird, stiff yet flightless. Lm was in a church youth group which pleased her mother and being in the southern “Bible belt” this was not uncommon amongst her friends. It is actually here where the mischief began and the church itself is where she would first be hit on by someone other than BaDDaD. She began babysitting a lot and loved children very much. One of her regulars was a couple from church with two little ones and they would stay out late and she often dozed off on their sofa. One night the pair came home and the mother smelled like alcohol as did the father. They paid her and he said he would drive her home as usual. She was nervous because of her experiences with BaDDaD’s drunk driving and almost called her mother but he said, “No, why wake her now?”; the window was cracked slightly and he smoked a cigarette and as they came to her street he drove passed her house and went to the dead end circle. Lm told him he’d missed her drive. He threw the cigarette out the window and then leaned over and put one hand between her legs and the other on her shoulder, pushing himself closer, he leaned in to kiss her. “Stop!” she yelled and he retreated, apologizing saying she was so irresistible as if it were a compliment. His name was Mr. Bradbury, a regular member of the First Christan Church. When she got home he put his finger over her mouth and said, “shhh”. She nodded and ran up the wrought iron side stairwell to her back door, slipping in quietly she peeked out through the curtained window for his car to drive away and sat with her beloved dog Bridget-Marie on the kitchen floor. She felt dirty and sick. Her mother came out of her room and said how late it was and that she’d left some cling peaches for her in the fridge. Lm kissed her mother’s cheek and slowly ate the peaches and then drank the sweet syrup from the bowl. Her dog followed her to brush her teeth and into her room and into bed, curling up beside her as if she knew Lm felt sad. Days passed into weeks and autumn was often very warm in Tennessee. Her new youth group leader lived in an apartment complex not too far from her house and she could have easily walked but her mother insisted on driving her there in the dark. This apartment complex is also where the new boy from Battle Creek, Michigan and his family lived. In school he had talked to her often and she knew he liked her. She had never been liked and pursued as much except by one church boy Jimmy. Once while talking outside of the church one night he reached out and grabbed both of her breasts and smashed his braces into hers with a slobbery unwanted attempt at a kiss. It was grotesque she recalled. He had also on Valentine’s Day had his mother drive to her house with flowers and Lm’s mother had to force her out of her room to the door and smile as she politely received them. Her mother waved at the other mother who sat in her car chatting away to her and Lm reluctantly took the flowers. He was a nice boy. He was a good church boy and her mother liked him. The Battle Creek boy was not a small suburban boy from a church going family. He had sandy unkempt hair, wore cut off jean shorts and no shirt and had shown on the front steps over the summer and asked to see Lm and her mother just said, “where are your clothes?”. He asked Lm if she wanted to go on a bike ride with him. She explained to him that she had plans with a girlfriend for a sleepover and mentioned her church youth group was now being held in the same apartment complex he lived in. It had been moved from the church and would start up again when school started. She invited him. He said he would think about it and to let him know at school when she was going to be down his way. On one warm autumn evening her Mom drove her down after supper and her church pals all gathered around the front entrance to the youth group leader’s apartment. Just as they were to be let in Battle Creek came running up to her and asked her to come see his fish tank and he mentioned his parents weren’t home. Her friends looked at him and she decided to follow him. She asked her friends to not say anything to the others and off she went. The apartment wasn’t bad, it was clean and it had windows overlooking a pool. The glow of the fish tank was a warm goldish hue and she sat cross legged on the sofa. He brought out a tubular shaped object and asked if she had ever used a bong. She said she had not. He asked if she had smoked weed and she lied and said, “of course!”; he explained this was hash and really good stuff and that when he lit the bong the water in the base would make a bubbling sound as she inhaled. He did it first then handed it to Lm. She took in a deep breath and began to cough like she was choking. Battle Creek said that was normal. Within minutes she began to stare into the fish tank and see each fish more closely, in detail, their tiny fins flapping, their unique colors and it was soothing. She then began to worry if it showed on her face that she now had officially become stoned. She looked into the mirror in the entry way and her eyes looked red. She felt heavy and her mouth was dry. Battle Creek said, “you’ve got cotton mouth”. Cotton-mouths were snakes who lived in the the lake in this part of the south. Ick. She began to worry others would notice, especially her mother. Battle Creek assured her that no one would know unless she told them. She looked at the time and realized she must run to the youth group pick-up point and he wanted to follow along. Lm said no way; her mother had already made it clear he was not approved of. At the white pebbled courtyard her church pals asked where she had been and she told them she had gone to see a fish tank. Each week they were to bring a donation to youth group for snacks and she had ten cents in her pocket. Ironically called a dime in America, just like weed was sold, in the school yard, in dime bags. She dropped the silver coin with some president’s head on it down amongst the gravel. She begged her friends to help her find it as she feared she would get into trouble somehow. Lm always had this feeling of being bad, in trouble and not good. As she crawled around on her hands and knees and scowered anxiously for it, her mother drove up. “What are you doing down there?”; Lm nervously told her mother she had lost her dues for youth group. “That’s okay, leave it, just a dime dear.” Stoned for the first time, heavy headed, thirsty and hungry her mother asked questions about who was there and such. Lm answered cautiously all the while fearing her mother would somehow detect she had inhaled from a bong. Up the side stairs they went into the kitchen and there sat a plate of freshly baked peanut butter cookies, her favorite with the criss cross fork mark her mother always imprinted on them. She gave her some milk and she ate and ate and her mother laughed. “I guessed you’d want something since you barely ate at dinner.” Lm usually didn’t eat. She pushed food around on her plate and went running or for long walks after she swallowed anything. This night she went to her room and curled up with her dog and felt new. “I am very, very bad” she thought. Her actions that fall night affirmed her feelings she had carried for years; “I am very terrible after all. Really bad. I am not worth shit”. She fell asleep in her clothes and did not remember her dreams. When she woke for school the next morning she thought about Battle Creek at school. Would he tell? She perfected herself and caught the school bus and when she got off, standing right at bus 31’s spot was Bong boy. He made a squealing sound and his friends watched from the side and he said, “Foxy”. Then he came closer and leaned in and asked her to be his girlfriend. She looked around at all the eyes on her, then back at the sandy haired, brown eyed boy with pimples and said, “yes”. Then he took her hand. The guys looked envious and the smart girls looked bewildered and disapprovingly at her. He was a “head”. He smoked pot. Everyone knew she had crossed a line and she was both happy to be adored by him and confused as she had felt so awkward, alone and sad every minute and now she had her first boyfriend. Why then did she feel so bad? She felt bad because of all that happened from her birth up until then; she was not valued or special. She had a rap sheet that would be miles long if printed out. One bad happening after another and now she could be loved, maybe. This would make it all go away perhaps. Battle Creek opened the school doors for her and she entered feeling completly different than the day before. She felt as if everyone could read her, see her dirtiness and her hash experience in her eyes. New girls who had boyfriend’s began to befriend her and soon they all were couples in training for a very rocky, drama filled year. From there it would escalate so far that she would sink into depths of nothingness where she would no longer care about herself, just be a drowning girl longing for security and someone who would never ever really be there for her. BaDDad. She would fill in her empty heart the holes he’d made with drugs, alcohol and much more. This was the beginning of a broken fairytale. She knew nothing about who she was and became just a needy beggar for love. Her head began to get squirrelly, she didn’t know how to save herself. Lm was on her last good step before she quit eating. Starving for acceptance and afraid of her own life she controlled the one thing she could, her appetite. This was when Lm put me, “ROCK”, forward. I would hide everything for her from then until NOW. I protected her so she could keep on course in her pursuit for belonging, for feeling good and escaping her so very bad, sorrowfully sealed experiences.
Nibbling at her nails ( Grandma said ” it’ll give you worms”) LittleMe stared into the toilet. Before school at her babysitter’s house she’d been gnawing on a button attached to her white cotton sweater watching “Captain Kangaroo” when it popped off and down the hatch it went. Plop. A button in her tummy tum tum. LittleMe panicked and ran up the stairs to the light under the doorway and screamed her babysitter’s name. The door opened and there was Mrs. Dillahay in her curlers and apron. LittleMe blurted out what had happened and a sweet, comforting smile appeared on her babysitter’s face. She took LittleMe down the stairs and sat with her and greeted other children as they arrived. Soon we’d all be sent off to school, down the big grassy hill, passed the clothes line, the hound dog pen, then carefully step on stones and fallen limbs to cross the creek. On and up the trail on the other side we’d climb through tall grass, often wet from early morning dew and enter the doors to Hickman Elementary School. This day LittleMe was anxious. Mrs. Dillahay whispered to LittleMe that after lunch the button she’d swallowed would show up when she pooped. LittleMe watched the clock, although she hadn’t learned to read the big clock very well yet, she did know that both hands of the clock would be straight in the middle on the number 12 when the lunch bell rang. She scurried to get in line and walked in the required orderly fashion to the giant cafeteria. She found her seat and opened her “Dagwood and Blondie” lunch box. It always smelled of something she didn’t like, perhaps the tin itself was the cause. She opened her thermos and poured out her milk into it’s red matching cup and unfolded the paper wrap around her peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She then ate a mini box of raisins and a couple of carrot sticks. She raised her hand and her first grade teacher, Mrs. Edwards ( who’d paddled her twice in her first month of school) came to her seat. LittleMe asked to use the toilet and Mrs.Edwards gave her a hall pass and she ran as fast as she could to the stark white bathrooms with big gray doors and silver metal sliding locks. She went in a stall and sat waiting for the button. She waited and waited and nothing came. Soon Mrs. Edwards would come to look for her. LittleMe panicked at the sound of the big door creaking open. “Lunch time is over, come along.” LittleMe flushed the toilet terrified. She fell into line with her class and wiggled and fidgeted until Mrs. Edwards spoke loudly, ” What is making you so disruptive today?” LittleMe saw all eyes on her and shrugged her shoulders. She tried very hard to remain composed. When the bell rang for recess she went along hesitantly with the others and thought about the button somewhere in her body lying there and how her mother would ask what happened. She never went near the merry-go-round and trapsed along the grass beside the beige bricked courtyard. Suddenly she saw in the grass a nest with two bird eggs. She called for her friend Bitsy to have a look. Bitsy told her best friend Steve and soon the school guard came to have a look. “Leave them alone” and he quelled the curiosity of the gathering crowd with, ” the Mother bird will come back for them.” Everyone scattered and of course LittleMe lingered behind. Once the guard had blown the whistle to end recess she had to make a quick decision. Would the mother come back? Would the eggs be stepped on when everyone ran home after school? She knew that they needed protection and warmth. She decided not to risk it and took the eggs and hid them in her front pockets of her green and white dress. She carefully got in cue and returned to class. It was story time and all children were to put their hands on their desks and lay their heads down to rest. While the teacher read aloud LittleMe stared down at her pockets and couldn’t wait to get home and have her own baby birds to feed. Then a warmth could be felt on her stomach; she looked in her pocket and there the eggs had cracked. The wet goop dripped down her leg to her knee socks. She kicked Bitsy under the table who sat directly across from her. Bitsy looked puzzled then LittleMe whispered, “run for paper towels”. They both eyed Mrs.Edwards and she appeared immersed in her book pacing along the front of the chalkboard. Bitsy saw the eggy mess and scuttled to the art corner where heavy industrial paper could be rolled out and torn from a hanger on the wall. Immediately Mrs. Edwards raised her eyebrows and called out to Bitsy with a stern tone. “What are you up to Bitsy?”; Bitsy in her yellow dangling, curly pigtails and smock floral dress stopped in her tracks. She looked at Mrs. Edwards then she looked at LittleMe. Yikes. LittleMe knew right then she was in for trouble. Bitsy blurted out that the eggs had cracked and the babies weren’t there. “Eggs?” LittleMe stood up and Mrs. Edwards and Bitsy looked at her pockets and at the dripping gunk as did the whole lot of her classroom. “What on earth have you done now!” their teacher called out. She took the paper towels from Bitsy’s hands and marched LittleMe to the washroom in the class. She wiped her legs and picked out the crumbled shells and looked into LittleMe’s eyes quizzically. “You’ve been paddled twice and still you cause disruption. What were you doing with eggs in your pocket?” LittleMe explained in first grade words how it all came to be. She started to cry. Mrs. Edwards told her she hoped she’d learned her lesson to let nature take care of nature and for one moment Mrs. Edwards looked empathetic. Story time was interrupted and it was LittleMe’s fault. Bitsy was red-faced and horrified as she realized she had broken a rule; Never Get Up From Your Seat Without Permission! Sting. LittleMe waited for the paddle to be taken from it’s drawer in Mrs. Edwards desk. Nothing happened. Soon the clock was on the 2 and 12 and the bell rang to line up for dismissal; Bitsy ran to the front and was to lead the line that day. “Wait, Bitsy! You broke an important rule today and can not be the leader.” said Mrs. Edwards. Bitsy hadn’t raised her hand and it was all LittleMe’s chaos that brought this on. Bitsy was taken to the end of the line and then all marched out to the big double doors that opened to the sunshine and freedom of home. As kids ran this way and that, LittleMe sprung down the grassy knoll, hopped across the creek, sprung up the hill passed the barking dogs, the clothesline and there was Mrs. Dillahay smiling, her hair all styled now and cookies and fruit punch were waiting for her regulars. Sitting cross legged on the braided rug LittleMe watched “Gilligan’s Island” and ate her cookies. Suddenly she remembered the button in her tummy. She ran to the basement toilet which all the youngster’s overseen used and sat and waited. Afterwards, before she flushed she looked carefully and there was the tiny white button. She called out for her babysitter who came in quickly. “Look, it’s there! Can you get it out?” begged LittleMe. “Oh no, no, it has to be flushed.” Mrs. Dillahay pushed the handle down and there went the button. She took a look at LittleMe’s dress and saw the stains from the bird’s eggs. “Let me fix you up a bit. She lifted her dress over her head and rinsed the pockets clean and then slipped her dress back on her, “go out and play in the sun and they’ll dry and leave me your sweater to me”. Outside the kids chased butterflies, teased the dogs and swung on the tire swing under the cool shade of an old oak tree. All was going well until they all heard Gary, a very tiny boy cry out. They all ran up the hill passed the dogs and there sat little Gary with his eyes swollen shut! LittleMe ran for Mrs. Dillahay and she came out quickly. Gary was coughing and screaming. No one made a sound. She ran back in the house and came out with her purse and car keys and told everyone to jump in fast. We all got in the backseat and some hurdled over the seat into the flat back of her station wagon and off we sped to the clinic where we all knew that shots were given. She parked the car and rolled the windows down and told us all to stay inside no matter. She grabbed Gary who by then was making a wheezing sound that was very scary. We all gathered in the far back and stared out toward the door and waited. Soon enough out came Gary walking and quiet, his eyes were still puffy but Mrs. Dillahay was smiling in her kindly way that meant all was fine. When we got back to the house his parents had shown up. Gary’s mother and father were there. A bit of LittleMe was jealous to see his father show such concern. Gary had been stung by a bee. Now LittleMe who was very good at worrying had something more to think about. She went inside and sat on the couch with her arms crossed and then heard her mother’s voice. She looked down at her pockets and the stains were gone and then on her way out the door her mother asked, “where’s your white sweater?” Mrs.Dillahay smiling as always waved and said hello then asked for us to wait. She popped inside and brought out her sweater and low and behold there were no missing buttons.
Love is not limited by time, that is certain to LittleMe. Love is expansive, complicated, messy and impossible to keep contained. Control is not Love. A homeless teenager who carries her baby to full term and knows she wants to find a right fix for her socially perceived wrong places her soul, her breath, her entire heart out on a cliff and closes her eyes, praying, convincing herself she is doing the best thing for her creation. The how’s and why’s of her pregnancy are irrelevant because it’s her Love that kept the life, gave the hope and healed from another’s broken promise. Or maybe she sees two special people, man and man capable of Love and no longer silences Love to man and woman. She in her bravery embellishes the essence of Love as Birth Mother. She never walks away. Never stops remembering. Baby placed in another’s arms please be safe from the real worlds harm. Each birthday she remembers you. Each birthday I remember, too. I love My child from another’s time, another’s eyes and not just mine. I don’t want to share but I do. LittleMe reminds me blood is not family often, but without the conscience of one amazing human that I don’t know, I would not be the selfish Mother that I am. I do not want to share, or recall or feel linked in this triage of Love. Then there is more, a brother, too. You are not for me to contain, hold back nor own. And Love, well, my way is always possessive and greedy when I am afraid of being forgotten; be it by my child, my lover, or my Love never given openly to another, I will covet and feel weary. I know no one is really mine. It’s a broken part of me that ROCK believes is ready to open the door and spread some goodness. I hope this is true. I think of the woman who healed when my brother was placed in her arms and want him back. I want to scream for BaDDaD to “go to hell”. I lost someone, too. My heart sees the face like mine in a strange far away and terrifying reunion and I cry. I keep you brother in my pocket and I wish you were more than an image of genes and mistakes. People like me go on loving their abusers, their users and the Truth is simply that we didn’t know we had a choice.
Like a school girl I climbed into bed with my mother tonight, my head on her chest, her arms around me and felt her love. I felt her sorrows, her journey, her grief and strength and in each thump of her heartbeat I was resurrected and know that no matter how hard I love others, how consumed I am with compassion and hope I can not save anyone. I can lose friends I trusted and move forward, I can be disappointed in my children and still care but somewhere in this goulash of mothering and SELF I need to save a bowl of soup for me. I still have a long way to go to know how to put my own needs and mental health out there as a priority. Being, living TRUTH means no stone will be unturned. I still need ROCK and I am sliding along the moss covered stairwell head first to reach my safe place. I have to go back and check on LittleMe as I really am all she has in the end. The quiet of the night is surrounding us. I will tuck my mother in, quiet LittleMe then ROCK will be sure I get to bed and sleep. Before my dreams begin I will pray to everything good and kind in the deep black sky that nothing will hurt me, you, and my family despite knowing it doesn’t matter. I prayed for years and the wrath of Life still held me back, the holiest of spirits and church stomping grounds never saved me. I can’t save me. No one can do the work or put in the time to assess my 59 years but me. I must pull LittleMe up to the top step. ROCK believes in all of me. I honor my roots, my traces of good memories and I am very ready to be WHOLE. The thought and emotional sensation of LittleMe and NOW merging is exciting and extremely frightening. I am guessing no one knows how long it takes to heal unseen wounds and I am very sure I know absolutely nothing…even though I am something. Someone. Somehow. Trying. Try. Try. Going. Up and down. I am Matter. Atoms. Celular bits of life and I didn’t choose to be. I just AM. We are living the best version of “US” that we can. Or are we?
NOW. Exhausted yet awake LittleMe is so sad she can’t shut down her pain. Pain that is tied not only to BaDDad but also to MeanMom. I have worked so hard to make you satisfied with me, grateful for my devotion despite your ugly words, reminders of that harsh leather belt stinging my bare skin, your icy glares of disapproval and my whole world being about you. It had to be. You, too were a narcissist. I understand your childhood was hellish yet why did you take It all out on me, your only child? I remember how everyone loved you, your beauty, charm and wit. No one would believe that you were more like a “Mommy Dearest” behind closed doors. I learned very early on to try and please you and it has followed me all the way through life. I try way too much care too much, love too much and always wonder how normal it might feel to live without this muslin blanket around me that squeezes out every bit of me until I am trapped in my own repetitive way. I turned to spiritual growth as I tried to cut the proverbial cord from you, and truly thought all decent humans want to become morally cognisant, continually bettering one’s behaviors, rough edges, just fucking grow the hell up. But it’s not like that. I have loved atheist and thought they would see that you don’t need the Bible Belt literally to whack you into bettering yourself. One can simply get old and not care or think about the reaper’s shadow. One can hide their entire lives and just get the mail, drink wine and read book after book and never once allow the pit of existence to meet the ID. You wrote a letter to me before you visited seeking redemption, claiming to know why I left you to go live with BaDDaD but you broke us apart. You told me I had done very bad things, made wrong choices and was the cause of your breakdown. I luckily have been using mindfulness techniques and meditation more and handled you gently like you were the broken porcelain doll that dropped from the window sill. I left your bedside quivering and wondering how fast you could snap. I have removed a pawn, retreated, lost in the darkness of youthful anguish and guessing games. I have tried to hold onto you despite your never admitting the depth of abuse you invoked. I had chosen the lesser of two evils long ago and repeatedly I’ve forgiven you. It doesn’t get better despite your efforts because there has always been two moms, maybe more. The mom who gave me lists of chores so long everyday that I couldn’t be a kid and certainly couldn’t do my homework. You invaded my personal boundaries, and still do. You, the mom who was hurried and had no time to listen, the pincher, slapper and owner of such a ferocious temper that it squashed LittleMe down into such fear of you I quit eating, ran away from home and have kept trying to please you out of fear of rejection for fifty nine years. My birthday is in two days. I always imagine how it should be. I wanted you here to feel loved by you, to feel better about us and all I want is for you to go away. I will be tolerant until the end of your stay but this is my home and you can’t stay here again. Ever. You broke my hope. I don’t want you to sing for me when you can’t own the words that burned me. I am growing and see that some of my family here doesn’t “get me” either. I am not the same person as yesterday or the day before. I am holding my boundaries and not afraid to start reliving my life alone now. It is supposed to get better. That has always been my plan. The story unfolds and I am in charge of my ending. I am a powder puff mushroom, you can kick me and watch as I disperse. I will grow back and stronger every single time.
I believe other people see me. I believe I am simple and my altruistic heart is understood. I have found those who claim to love me most deliver me my worst pain; I am a disturbing, empathetically redundant woman. I feel emotions and I feel love, always wanting to make a difference in this life but seem to fail. I too may need saving. I can’t bare to look up and see the stars beauty and feel alone. There is a song..a song we know well. Something special. Is it, “Oh darling please don’t let me be misunderstood”? Regardless, I am alone with my heart, my life as it is and yes, I am afraid. I was afraid from a very young age and after fifty plus years I still live in fear of hurt. Thank you ROCK for sparing me. If it was not for your sheath, your solid house that encompasses me I don’t know if I would still be alive. I live for my only child and gave up on my own shadow and dreams of love. Now, it is my devotion to my daughter that gets me on my feet, even if I must stand on hot coal and a bed of nails in my naked Truth.
On the last night I sat with you in an old rocker somewhere new, you told me I was all you had, how much I meant and you were sad. Your tears fell and you held me tight, I cried too on that last night. Parting was always tough, knowing that was enough. I never told how you behaved because your tears of sorrow were so engraved, in my heart and in my mind I returned to mother without a sign. I never knew how to handle you, how to make you happy and cease your blues. I was a child, you were my guide not a toy to carry by your side. Like a spell was cast, I followed your lead, I was a sprout and you were the seed.
Rockabye baby fell for your song, thinking I was so special and our bond so strong. I grew up and now I see you were not trying to comfort me. In that old rocker, in some place new I believed I belonged to you. I was a manifestation of lover’s guilt, not a blanket or handsewn quilt. I did all I could to be in your life, but your need for me faded wife after wife. I am a reminder of what you are not, I am the Truth which you wanted stopped. Lullaby lies, lyrics so sweet I carried your song and was thrown on the street. You told me no one could take my place yet turned from me to save your face. You are no longer number one, yelling at me that I was no one. “You are not part of this family” the words stung and broke our old melody. To be part of your present I had to close my eyes while you made more children and told them more lies.
The song is finished, I long to weep for your love for me was never deep. Oh Father, how could you grow so cold when year after year I never told. You made me to look like I was the cause of all the chaos and you got applause. I looked back at you and your younger wife and you made it clear I was not part of your life. It’s been eighteen years and three months since you kicked my heart without a wince. The lullaby memories, the lullaby years all an illusion with lullaby tears.
“Little Me” is making it harder and ridiculously longer to heal than ROCK thought. “Little Me” sits and stares on the same step for days at small doors with memories that belong not just to her but to other women. She is drenched in guilt and pain for not knowing how to save them.
A hotel notepad reads, “A New View to Rediscover You”. Different sheets on the same beds, day after day, unattached to the lives or futures of those that lie upon them. Restocked mini bars and little bottles of organic shampoos and soap; everything fresh for the next one to lay down for another purpose . Some make love and reconnect and say “I Love You” and mean it. Some disconnect, hold their calls and block texts to forget. Travelers without spouses or responsibility carry out with no regret deeds that satisfy their egos. The bar is full of people willing to spend a few nights being someone else more fabulous than who they really are. Fathers, parents, lovers. All just a few flights or hours away from their families or official commitments. No new story here.
But “Little Me” strips down the glued on layers and peels at the walls until her fingers bleed, seeking old remnants from others and scraps of mysteries unsolved. All these pieces of shame, with ourselves or from others are stuffed in tattered shoeboxes, tucked away on forgotten shelves. “Little Me” doesn’t stop searching. Truth is so simple if it is innocent. Truth is also told in so many ways by so many people, all believing their version the correct tale. In the end, there is ONE Truth. It is divine and merciless and anyone who tries to change it for their own glory, to save their ass and break the laws of Love are not given redemption. That is what we have been sold. By the Church, the books of Faith and Religion from page to page, from birth to death. Tell me how many unjust sentences are punctuated with doubt. Who is innocent suffers because the “karma” is not living up to it’s reputation. Our gig on this planet is not going to be better if WE are BETTER. Loved ones do and will damn us, break us, leave us alone and we can only peel back our own layers of time, rediscover our own truths and hope that there is a place for us to gather in the end.
From Rejecting This One Word Started My Tectonic Mental Health Shift: SURVIVOR PRO TIP: Don’t deal with anyone who doesn’t always treat you with respect or kindness. The first time you catch somebody being rude you may mute them in your brain. Get them out of your life. Do it with zeal and quickness. You […]As Your Healing Grows Your Self Respect Deepens
The above is from a resilient blogger who has helpful guidelines for coping strategies for better mental health.