Dancing with Eyes Closed; Accepting Pain as Part of Me.
In the morning there are yellow dandelions surrounding me, lifting me up with a wash of spring hope. I am rinsed in the sun’s warm rays and feel determined. I always think I will feel better than I actually do. Is that my own stupidity or perpetual stubbornness? I dress and make it to the rich Italian red wine sofa and prop my legs up on a stack of pillows. The pain starts just after I proclaim, “I am better!” and I succumb to my surroundings. The walls are a light gray panel of wood, the ceiling white, the old barn’s tin roof I can see from the sofa is a rusty burnt red with brown dried clumps of moss separating it into unsightly squares. My pain I feel is visualized as an electric zap of steel, sharp silver, shooting up my legs and my silent scream is a maze of terrestrial hues. Pain shares with me every drop of it’s colour, of it’s beauty and it’s sorrow; like the northern lights and milky way it is so breath taking and hard to believe that it is real. Living in a state of chronic pain is anxiety provoking. My mind is a puree of sounds and I am often perplexed. Why can’t I be fixed? Why must my colours be so rare and overworked? My self portrait is black and white as I spilt any hope of beauty out onto the porous surface beneath me. “My pain”, I said to the chronic pain psychologist, “I’ve accepted.” My mind lied that day. I hate it, I hate my body and my bruises both superficial and within. No amount of prayer or drugs give me peace and like the wild scribbling made by a toddler with crayons I lay in a chaos of colour; I am a bottle with layers of dripping wax from many different tints of candles. I am beneath the surface, beneath the beauty, buried in a colour of pain. My eyes close and I stare at the daylight as if my eyelids were window shades. I don’t see why I should open my eyes except to write this pathetic complaint that haunts me. I want to be a happy rainbow one more time. One more moment of brilliance is all I ask. Like any desperate lover, Pain beckons me back, takes hold of me and says, ” I will never leave you alone again.”
Soon he would say goodbye, doubtful his first taste of love would wait; boarding on the longship would begin at sunrise after two more nightfalls. He was not at ease nor feeling dutiful to set sail, his rough, calloused hands had been assigned to row, his grey eyes already set on defeat. In the chilly night he and his lover kept warm under a sheath of tanned hide; a warm fire encircled with stones lit up their faces. His lover was cold, she had been sweating earlier and she shared with him that perhaps she was carrying his baby. It had been two moons since her last cleansing. He held her close and rubbed her hands in his own. All night he stayed up, keeping the fire crackling and he called for a wise woman to look at his betrothed. He was given garlic for his neck and a tonic that tasted bitter as nettles to sip. He must prepare to board the longship and not fall ill. The woman wiped carefully with cool cloths the forehead and the nape of his lady’s neck and said she should be moved to the women’s tent so he too might rest. He was reluctant yet never questioned this miracle of her gifts from the God’s and believed in the sunrise of his departure his love would encircle him with the other strong women and sing a prayer to the heavens. At last he fell asleep and the fire dwindled. He was a large man, of long height with a wooly red beard; for years he had been called to help others lift heavy logs, roll stones and fell trees for boat building. His stomach grumbled and his dreams brought him no peace. His eyes closed, his mouth agape, a gurgling snore erupted. Deep within his dream state he saw his own mother, her pale white face, her eyes weary yet loving; she spoke. “Son of Gudrun, son of Ove, lift your spirit up to see. It’s been eighteen moons since we saw you. Your sister Ulla is here, too. Their faces were like a portrait in beautiful pastel inks. The heavens were soft as the first spring day when the sight of white and purple forest flowers burst through the edges of the footpath, gay as the laughter of friends when the sun was long in the sky, days were easier, their heart’s lightened by the dark winter’s end. Time for merriment and the smell of baking bread, the homecoming of the longship, strong fermented ales and hearty stews and loaves of bread with berries he could taste so sweet; stirred he woke with a gasp. One sunrise had come. He stood and walked to the women’s healing tent and the flaps were sewn shut with thick leather. “Naaaaay”, he screamed and he ran to the morning fire keepers boiling coffee and sharing porridge. Breathless, he asked if his lady was in the tent still. Blue eyes looked at one another and down. He knew the answer. He kicked the first iron pot and it swung from it’s iron chains molted flawlessly by the black smith and his apprentice. Hot scalding water splashed and the men jumped back. An old man who laid on sheep skin by the fire called for him to sit by him. His heart rapid, his cheeks red with rage, he succumbed to his elder. ” What can you say to comfort me?” The man, thin and weak voiced motioned for the giant, frightened man to sit beside him. “Are you the son of Gudrun and the sister of Ulla?” The old man already knew but asked even so. “Ya, I am.” Do you think, son of Ove that your father created such acts of arrogance when the God’s called his wife and daughter up?” Silence. “What name did they leave you?” “I am Per Ove’s son.”Well Per Ovesson do you dare to guess the will of the heavens? Are you in fear of the sea and hunger? Are you a messenger or do you serve?” ” I serve.” The so very big man, Per, son of Gudrun and Ove, brother of Ulla wept. The elderly man handed Per a smooth stone to rub and called for porridge. The big man, the thin elder and the fire keepers stood close. One by one they placed a hand on his shoulder and walked on. Night fell again and he laid by his fire alone sipping the bitter nettle tea. He did not want to dream and the silence soothed him. It had been nine cut logs when a woman he’d never seen came to stand before him. “You may see your lady now”. His lips felt numb, his eyes ashamed and he said, “Why do you want me to feel more pain?” The woman outstretched her hand and he stood. When they came closer to the tent the woman lifted the flap and there lay a clump of deep red flesh upon his lover’s abdomen. He moved closer and felt confused. Take the flesh and all of it’s blood and bury it deep in the forest. His lady did not breathe and small stones were on each eye. He did as told by the healer. Without sleep and it being soon the second sunrise he fought to keep focused on his task. Big tears from a big man with the heart of a child fell steadily down his face. When he returned he went to his fire to sleep and there sat the woman again with a white bundle of heavy fur. She stood and handed him a baby. “How can this be? My lady only missed two moons.” The woman smiled and said, “the God’s were good” and asked him to bestow a name before he sat sail. In a state of both sorrow and beauty he said, ” this is the son of Per, the son of Lea. He shall be blessed with the name of Liam.” The woman promised him the babe would be well fed and when he returned the baby would be his comfort. Per kissed his son’s forehead and slept with him in his arms until sunrise. The healers had prepared Lea’s body to be sent to sea where she would be taken up to the God’s quickly. He held one side of his love’s canvas and birch sewn raft. He did not weep for she had left him reason to believe that more would come to be good. The women sang as the longship prepared to launch. The sky was yellow and afire with sunrise. The horns blew and he pulled in unison with his mates. By sunset they placed Lea on her raft and she floated away from the boat, away from the father of Liam, the son of Ove, the son of Gudrun and the brother of Ulla. In the night the high waves plunged over the stern and wailed upon the starboard, the longship albeit strong rocked with brutal fervour. Per was the lead, each pull he thought of Liam, each horn he heard his mother calling. The God’s were trying his strength in a way he never had experienced, he was not only strong in his body now but also in his soul. The storm settled and he was sent to rest. A cool wind soothed his sweaty bruised hands and his lips cracked from the salty winds from the North Sea leaked sweet bits of blood. His thirst was mighty and he was given water with herbs to keep him quiet. His cough came on fast, deep and he heard other’s coughing, too. He spat green, thick phlegm into the sea. He hung his head over, the winds cooling his dizzying state. The head of the ship was also spewing a sickness from his body over board. Few men could guide the longship, and one by one they fell, coughing, wailing in pain, and now hope had no place for them. Another night would come, a morning with many deaths and each one was set free to float amongst the creatures that both fed on them and nourished their loved ones. Per Ovesson would be the last man to go. He ensured all were met by the God’s who knew better than he the true meaning. He would fall into a deep, long sleep, he would dream of Lea, mother of Liam and he would die proud as his father had bravely done before him. He drifted off further to sea and the sky above would open it’s arms and his soul would rise up, up, up into the arms of Ulla.
The best of me, you, them, us, and all is Hope. One steps in and out of light, some of us even crawl as we are so broken and dark within that we need others to pull, push and not give up on leading us into streaming rays of what many see as simple “Better-ness”. The closer we come to our own Truth, our ability to grow stronger begins. The realisation that most of the modular examples of humans do not want to go into the depths of who they are is a reality that the evolution of western societies have placed us in. We are “what we do”. We are subjected to a deceptive construct of expectations and judgements. What is really inside your heart, your soul, your mind? Can you say how you truly think, feel and free your voice for other’s to hear or is it too risky? In my five decades plus I have learned a little bit, but Oh! there is so much more to take in. I discover so much more in each moment that I am hypnotised into being a servant of “More”. More than I knew this morning, more than I knew yesterday and I laugh at the rays of sunlight dancing across my heart’s steady beat. I am a painting, a structure framed in bone and my emotions blend into my visual perception of what colour truly is. I am orange, like a clementine imported from Spain. I am as yellow as the lemons which fall along the streets of Amalfi, green as the the stem of a daffodil. I can be black as the coffee grounds I push through the petite glass press each morning, or as rich of a brown as the newly turned soil where the potatoes and garlic are growing now. I, too can be a shade of blue that only can be seen near dusk over the forest’s treeline where night and day blend into a pale magical phase. My palette is as varied as my experiences, some days I feel wonderfully whimsical as a lilac and others I am like the brooding, burnt, melancholy ochre dug from the dry sun baked earth in Morocco; this is my portrait and it changes as my life flows from one hour to the next. When in physical pain I find the most healing hues are tossed like a salad, spread across me like an old quilt and as they dance my suffering returns to gratitude. How did living with severe pain lead me to being thankful? What began as a diagnosis, a prognosis and then a turbulent period of misery led me to my inner oasis.
My ego was a rhinoceros ready to kill all that made me feel good. I sank in deep mud and stayed there as if cooling down on the banks of the Nile yet my spirit’s nakedness unleashed a depression that no drug could take away. I had to rip my own canvas apart, rebuild who I could or would be and it took years. My fifth decade will always be one of my life’s most valuable periods of renewal. I have discovered that my pain led to the closing of many doors that should have been locked years ago. During this new abstract version of myself I would dwell on my losses, the life I led being stolen from underneath me and envy able bodied friends who slowly were shed from my company. No more deep forest dives, no more hiking for miles and climbing up mountains or cross country skiing; the smallest of movements need to be considered before engaging in every single step of every single day. “Guess-timating” what sort of pain level I will endure from any decision made each day has led me to sculpt a very fine mental map that is virtually traveling within me every second. I did not know in those early days there would be a shift in my endurance and mental health. In the NOW, most days I can not sit at all to eat with my family much less indulge in my love of cooking and painting. I can rarely sit for a dinner party, nor manage restoring a sense of order in my home, lift a potted plant, follow a conversation, make my bed, sleep soundly, wake fresh and be ready for a productive day, meaning how I once described the essence of productivity. I had found my new sketch repugnant, my emotions were entangled balls of wool and I quit. I just quit. Whilst laying in the quiet of each day, I began to face my deepest Truth, a kind of pain so blinding that it was as if I were staring directly into the sun with my eyelids pinned back as intentional torcher. All I had run from, all I had never wanted to face lay with me in my muddy rhinoceros hole. I remembered. And I remembered more and more each day. There was no where to hide and I had to lie next to my past glaring at me night after night, dream after dream. I will never be able to give this process enough credit for saving my NOW. I had to be heard, seen, held and pulled up and it would take re-breaking my heart one memory at a time and a team of guides to rescue my future. The cork popped and like an unexpected flash of rain I would be soaked in seconds with what I assigned a name, terminal despair, or TD. I knew I had to break through my mind’s window, walk on shattered glass, and return to my truest self. In doing so I would fall into the arms of my grandmother’s spirit, call on wise women and old souls to push me into the tiniest bit of light and learn to trust enough to honestly love another human being without resurrecting fear. Fear of betrayal, of being left, of not being good enough. The one who managed to pull me into the light a little more each day was ROCK, my alter ego, and the whispering spirit of Nature’s call to revisit her beauty each day; her majestic sunrises, her wild North Sea storms that are never to be reckoned with and her profound ability to try and recover from humankind’s blatant abuse. I meshed my being with the fight Mother Nature is up against each day as her water’s become spoiled by selfish beings, as her protective layer in our atmosphere dissipates and she keeps reminding me to engage in “Bettering” myself in any way I can. I am part of a rainbow, I am a healer and she is mine. I also have learned that no matter what I have been through, I am in charge of the rest of my life. I still doubt if I am loved as much as I want to be, I still have weak streaks but the colours of me and my new portrait are fierce. And on the horizon I can see that my final sunset will be peaceful. Blessed Be.
Stalking my dreams, again I find you there, my fighting to wake and escape from unwanted memories. Why don’t you grieve, hurt or suffer? Why must I lug your trunk of tricks and misery everywhere I go? I feel sick when I come across your photograph smiling and surrounded by good people who don’t know your dirty and deeper secrets. I wonder if you know your own plays, remember the truth of who you are. No one is guaranteed a good life and that alone makes me doubt often any holiness, or sacred recipes exist for us plain ole daily folk. We get sick, die too young or are burdened with poverty, mental illnesses and responsibilities. We don’t run. Step by step we inch toward death with unfulfilled wishes that seem frivolous and only for the one’s that break the rules, sprint from their trunk overflowing with the messes they create, leaving behind their trash for the good doer’s to deal with. In my dream I beg to anyone, an entity of love and life to bar you from my sleep. I know that your dreams are not full of the pain you left others with. You dream of walks along the water, delicious cuisine, fancy clothes and being adored. You do not dream of the children you abandoned or your family that is simple and have stopped wanting more. I will never be “paid back”, you will get the golden egg and my heart will still stray sometimes to unwanted thoughts of you. Tiny bits of pain slip into my illusions, completely disagreeing with my longing for peace each night. Dear Holier, hopefully stronger Spirits fill my night with those who love me and lock the trunk so not even a thief’s expertise can reveal more tonight. Dreams please be kind.
In the deep green, the lychee layers sprawl; in the deep green my heart expresses all. Above, soft blue sprinkles through the trees, a sigh of light lands on me. The stones hold memories, ancient muted songs of those who walked before me with their own dreams strong. I pause to speak to the spirits around me, I call for them to help me see. Silently my grandmothers with wise women sing, of love, death and all in between. The wind so cool playing with branches gently swaying as my soul enhances. I want to weep yet I am boldly compelled to seek out guidance and perhaps a spell. If I can heal my child’s pain with divinity, I beg that you share your sacred recipe. Dear Mother of our forests breath, I will forsake all for my bequeathed. Take her pain and rinse her despair, show me again how she will fair. Within herself, give back her smile and lead her through this desperate trial. I walk away and ask once more for you to open her heart’s closed door. A Mother so vast, so grand as you must reach out and take her hand. Remember when she was so content, her love so easy, her innocence? Deep green forest and strong tall trees, lift her fog. Blessed Be.
From birth we bloom into small pieces of our influencers; be they biological, guardians or our adoptive family, they mold us and reinforce our beliefs. They can be good or bad and some down right insane. Lm comes from a broken one, a narcissist, sociopath, alcoholic, fraud. At some point in time we have a chance to release ourselves from the bondage of all negativity, hurt and wrong, after wrong, after wrong. I am not responsible for my father’s failures, dishonesty and lack of stability within himself. He had chances to show by his actions that he did give a shit. To do better. To live on a good path. He couldn’t do it. It was not impossible; it was a lot of hard work and his blue eyed white freckled privledged ass got him in and out of places, spaces, around rules, regulations, and he was a damn good con artist. But hard work he was too good for. He portrayed himself as the educated, worldly, white collar type. All starched and pretty when he really was just like thousands and thousands of others who’ve hailed from the “projects” of larger USA cities. He was a product of the government’s way of helping out people, of all creeds, races and dreams to bunker down and guess what to do with the rest of their lives. He would escape because he could lie himself into a better world. I watch all these fraudulent Netflix true stories and keep expecting him to be found and investigated. How the hell has he gotten away with his ugliness? There are many black men and women who have struggled legitimately to rise above their strife. Not everyone is leaning on a junkyard dog selling smack to babies. I was lifted from this strange and perilous lifestyle by my mother. She worked her ass off and honestly fought to the top. My father screwed around with his polluted version of his reality for years, yet still believes he is better than the rest. His current wife, the enabler and also younger than me he has used and abused; let’s agree it is their story to tell. I can only say that if you have one door slightly opening for you to “UP Your Self “, broaden your life and be better than those who have wronged you go for it. Hanging back because it feels comfortable or an anihilation of your duty to family togetherness is what the weak choose. They don’t run when their own sibling bleeds. As the Black Sheep I, Lm, am free because the one who was to teach me right from wrong left me with a puzzle with lots of pieces missing. ROCK puts these pieces back together and intel comes in slowly but surely of more lies upon lies that bury BaDDaD’s front. Behind those cold blue eyes are mounds of unearthed relics. The feeling he continues to project upon new people in his life makes them feel like royalty. They don’t see the grinding of his teeth, the tensing of his jaw when he is deciding his next move. But Lm does. He is 79 years old and can’t bare to to reveal his reality within. If he did, he’d be alone. That won’t happen because one thing that this white, nice looking well dressed man has that women of any color, men who are not white and those who have based their lives on trust, faith, love, TRUTH and honor is he will succeed in keeping his lifestyle through selfishness and living on lies. He will survive because he is a master of his craft. He recreates his name and his madly perceived world repeatedly. Does he or any bad man ever truly pay? Is their any truth to karma, any paybacks or divine intervention? I don’t know anymore. I just know a bad thing when I see it coming because I learned what a bad thing was growing up and running far away from my trauma and triggers was all I knew, until ROCK pulled me to my feet. I still pray just in case there is a higher deity who will show me that my own suffering has not been in vain. ROCK wants BaDDaD to pay for his violations of the heart, the lies, the life he has led. Lm has no belief in retribution. Lm just wants to be heard because she is good. She was always good and yet has days in which her mental anguish is so forceful she must go back down the stairwell and wait for some light again.
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.