Four a.m. rain, nine celsius; usually perfect sleeping time for this weathered woman. Sipping ginger tea, disturbed by my relentless coughing, I avoid my bed and waking my husband who needs to work in two hours. From my soft sofa, a burgundy wine red, drowsiness sets in. Plumped up with pillows under an old cosy quilt I stare out a window into the black where the opposite panes behind me are lit with led lights and reflect before me. I want to be small, a Christmas Eve long ago and my mother to be sneaking around, making my morning perfect. She eats the cookies and downs the eggnog, maybe wonders if she’s got it right. Is she enough? Would this have been her little girl dream? Her’s weren’t doused in decor, perfection and excitement leading up to morning fun. My dog with her red bow, the pancake batter, fruit before stockings, albums pre-stacked, ready to drop one after the other, Bing Crosby always first. She has pretty cards on my bonus Dad’s plate and mine. She knows I will wake early and probably puts the coffee maker’s little paper bag in and pours the water, only needing to wake, push the button and join me under the tree. I too, tried to get it right year after year. People pleasing I learned from Mom. It never felt right except when I finally became a mother. I had a doggie too, a red bow, pancakes and coffee. The first year, so perfect. A four month old, the first husband smiling while opening his new sweater as our baby made sweet sounds on a soft blanket in front of the crackling fire. No hoopla. Just a new bone for our dog, the gift of motherhood and dreams were full, all good, with smiles; it would be perfect. That first Christmas as a mother I held my cherub and we watched, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Each sleepless night was a dream come true then with the long awaited child. Life in the world could be imperfect yet I would forge on, recreating reasons to be joyful, to see good and not look at the late night reflections. It was another morning, at forty years old, a Christmas of struggles and loss; my five year old watching “The Snowman” and cuddling with our doggie, sippy cup with apple juice in hand and already asking for peppermint sticks. I was a woman, staring at the deep Vermont snow with more coming down. This had been all I wanted. Why was I feeling it was impossible to make my husband learn to love through adversity, not resent the world for turning us upside down. Couldn’t we right it again? He’d lost his job the previous autumn and being post 9/11, despite his impeccable skills as an electrical engineer finding work was a dead end; he was Arabic. We’d met in a university town, he a foreign student working on his master’s and a brilliant graduate teaching fellow. He also was in charge of the cartography library and was a quiet, gentle soul. Being from north Africa he was working toward success, his culture beautiful in so many ways we learned to incorporate it easily into our life via cuisine. To this day my young adult’s comfort food is cous-cous with cinnamon and butter. That Christmas it all changed. He sat angry, not hiding his feelings as our child opened presents he resented my buying. I had worked as a writer for two local papers, taken care of those in palative care in their homes and even cleaned someone’s house each week. The bills became monster’s and no matter the music, or the lights on the tree softly lighting each evening he fell into a place that had no room for my dreams or his own. I had pleased and pleaded to keep hope alive and soon I no longer knew how to set the table just right, smile in the wake of tears, cheer up anyone at all. I had failed. Did my mother feel she had failed, too? Did she wish she knew all the answers? I had left home at sixteen and broke her heart. How could I ever fix that? I knew I had to change my own approach. My husband found a job in another state and I stayed behind, afraid to follow I took a small apartment in an old Victorian house in a new town. On weekends he would drive to see us and for awhile I thought maybe it could work. I looked for work and nothing was available with a child and no one reliable to help me out. The story is one of those that many know, you are somewhere, uncertain and just taking baby steps and holding out for an epiphany. Mine came about in a very long and loaded journey, a new country, messy Christmases that I couldn’t fix, clashes of cultures, always bending, trying, pleasing and believing in miracles. Now I feel much older than I am, often in poor health, I dread everything, every holiday as I know it can’t be like it was when I ran from my room, hugged my mother and bonus dad and let my doggie open her present first. I look at the sky now, it’s beginning to show a deep yet slowly lighting blue. The led lights on a timer will click off and I will make coffee. My second husband of fifteen years will wake and ask how I am feeling and then he will work. I will worry about my NOW. Not yesterday or tomorrow. I hope for nothing much but for my young adult to find their path, to be okay and content like that very first Christmas cooing with baby toes high in the air. I want this family, despite the buried knowing of what this “wonderful life” can do to each and everyone of us, to recognize our love is NOW. I stopped wanting it all, however I do keep believing that pancakes and coffee can turn things around. Good morning! Lm and Rock are cheering all of you on. May you stumble into something good, just right and feel the way you need.
I am right with you, aligned as Ursa major and minor as the whole universe continues pulling us towards Love. Keep sharing, keep the voices of women before us alive. Feel unheard? Say it louder. Shout from your guts, CRY. Stay vigilent, mindful of your own inner work. No one can take your powers away unless you hand them over. SHINE. MOURN. Support other women in their struggles, be a woman’s woman, a teacher, a student, carry TRUTH as your flame. Stand up for your beliefs, run from insipid gossip, protect our tribe. Contribute loyalty, sing and play. We are the givers of life, the arches that span like rainbows, we are the gem other’s seek, we dig our hands in the Earth’s soil from every land. When weariness takes us down, rest upon the lap of love, honor your emotions, they need not be sacrificed for anyone. Bleed, bleed , bleed. Breathe deep, call out to the silver stars, the full moon light. Kneel with gratitude as we harvest what we’ve sowed. Mabon is upon us, the cyclical switch is eternal. Place your hope on the table, feel the change within your seasoned soul. Give. Live. Sunbeams, dawn, redgold leafs lie upon your mantal, for tis nature that earns the highest of all awards for her sacred healing, her mysterious essence, her endless ability to keep the house in order, the home in our hearts beating. Blessed Be.
Listen….hold your loved ones tighter. Okay. Those who love tf out of you and stick around through the good, the bad, the ugly. Hold them close to your heart. Let them know you appreciate them. Reciprocate that love and support. There are a lot of people who cannot and will not be able to handle the baggage you carry but there are those that will. Even if it’s one person…that’s your fuxking person, man. Love them. Cherish them. Hold them tighter. Those connections are RARE. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t let them slip away.
As many older readers know this blog is mainly a reflection of LittleMe’s aka “Lm’s” real past where she identifies truthful occuranses which have caused her much anguish from childhood. She has a professional diagnosis of cptsd, a severe anxiety disorder which can be triggered easily (including panic attacks, nightmares, and low self esteem); she bounces back and forth with her better self and iconic protector, ROCK. Rock is ever present and takes care of her when she is having setbacks. He also pushes her to do the work to heal. Lm is also a writer who posts fairly regular short stories, poetry, prose and other forms of artistic expression. She also lives in a state of severe chronic pain and was diagnosed with CPS, or chronic pain syndrome. She loves life, animals, nature and especially forests; she is extremely protective of her family and the few very close real friends she clings to. She sets the bar very high to develop trust in others, even questioning her deepest sense of self frequently. Lm dodges people who she finds detrimental to her continual quest to clean up her mental and emotional health. I appreciate all of her readers who keep giving her support and encourage her healing process. Be Well. Be You.
GARBAGE; Uncluttering Lm’s Mind
ROCK wants to help Lm clean out her mind, release her memories into the sea like ashes of another self. He wants to help her create a beautiful new sense of self. It’s a job that no one can truly help her with as she is full of fire. He is not phased by her pissy shouting, her spit fire retorts nor when she knocks him over if he tries to lend advice. Truth has only one meaning, “cut the crap” and say what you mean. She has been foul lately. She has begun to speak to new people, coming out of hiding about her childhood, her shame, her sense of failing brought on by two gnarly parents, abusers she kept in her life because she was desperate for love. She wants to hear the words spoken outloud to her; she wants her mother to say, “I was physically abusive; I crossed a line and you didn’t deserve it”. She wants her mother to say, “I regret not allowing you to develop your sense of autonomy in a healthy way; I prevented you from following your dreams”. Lm wants her to say it, not think it. She knows her mother is fully aware of her behaviour that drove Lm to live with her beautiful other mother, Elle, her baby sister D and BaDDaD. Even though BaDDaD was risky to be around she knew Elle would not hurt her and she would have her precious D to hold onto, care for and love. When she initially got to her new town she was given freedom she’d never felt; she could walk out the door and go to get a slice of pizza and sit at the city docks watching sailboats out in the Chesapeake Bay; this alone was all she wanted. The sun sprinkling down and bouncing off the soft waves made her calm. She would get ice cream with D and watch as she licked the wooden spoon, careful that her baby sister would not get her first “brain freeze”. She started a new school and then she began to lose her way inside. In psychiatric terms it’s called “transferance”. Despite choosing to leave her mother, she also needed her; the cookie making, funny stories and playing scrabble and their shared love of beauty. Lm began to unconsciously try to become more like Elle. She wore Elle’s clothes without permission, she tried to behave like Elle in the mirror and no one understood her perserverance to create a bond that was like the one that she would truly hold onto throughout her life with her own mother. Her mother was not a horrible human being, in fact she was quite self sacrificing and had been through a very rough childhood. Often Lm would see in her mother’s enchanting brown eyes a hint of sorrow and try and cheer her up. The mother and child bond is complex, never perfect yet nevertheless necessary to evaluate and often, despite the obstacles, worth the effort to understand. Then she hit a big snag, one that she has to expunge from her own self-loathing NOW. She met her first big love who would later leave her with a sense of dirtyness, worthlessness and scarred. She would grow to hate all men, never sure how to please anyone and her family never intervened. BaDDaD didn’t care enough to stop it. Her mother had no idea what she was living through when she fell into the hands of this nice Catholic boy with bad, bad, bad, bad, BAD behaviours. He was in some ways, a replica of her father’s hidden side, full of lies and deceit; she continued to go back to him for she had no true persona, no guidance, just a broken sense of identity. Her only interests were finding love, being loved and clinging to the wrong people for it. His name was Tom. Since there are thousands and billions of Tom’s she doesn’t care to give him a break and a hidden name. He deserves to be outed for what he was, likely still is and how he used and abused her. Tom treated her like a doll and knew he was treating her poorly; he often would sleep with all her friends and other girls when she was at home with D and family; he introduced her to drugs and alcohol and soon, nothing mattered but him. She would pursue him, often waiting in his shared living quarters with his best friend K while he was having sex with another girl in his room. K would hold her while she cried and say, “I don’t know why he is like this”, drying her tears with empathy. This would go on for several years until Tom’s father sent him away to study. They met when he was twenty-one and she sixteen. Throughout her twenties she would suffer inner crisis struggling to know who she was, why she wasn’t happy or good enough. She did not know how to be herself and was lost in her own garbage of memories. Rock has led her to the point where she is tossing memories into boxes and trash bags, loading her past up and readying her for the dump. Lm is not garbage, in fact far from it. She is stronger and stronger each and every day and her slip-ups still arise now and then, yet she is prepared to let go, to savor her life and with her sword in hand, she is determined to battle her inner warriors. No one, no woman, no girl, no person should feel weighed down by their TRUTH. The car is ready, the engine started and all the rubbish that has held her back for so many years is being tossed memory by memory into a gargantuan hole. Lm is learning to save herself, not wait for someone else to save her. Rock is proud and will always be on stand-by; they are merging, if a stone could weep Rock’s tears would break the dam that has held back Lm’s growth. Thank you Rock for believing in Lm’s goodness.
UP, in the light, beyond all of eyesight is where our love lives. It is a beacon, a safe place where we retreat and are one. Each night you breathe in and out, the sound of your heart beating holds me, your warm flesh near mine soothes me, the smell of us is a new constellation. I am awakened and driven to tell the whole Universe our story yet I am insecure and hold onto us like I will never find you again. I want to hide you in a special place, a beautiful space with all your favorite things. I want to live and be strong and keep us, our starlit passion and dreams alive. Am I failing or falling as I lose part of me to pain, past afflictions, and a mirage of memories? Please don’t forget me if I spin off into a black hole, remember how I adore you and believe in more than me. Behind this galactic beauty is another world where we will be released from the boundaries of humankind; we shall be the stars of our own Odyssey, the dancers waltzing to a song we have composed whimsically and we will shine, oh how we will shine. Our love is our faith in one another, our destiny is enraptured without haste, we come together to be. To be. Be. A Lover’s concerto, a newly formed star that sparkles into the eyes of those still searching for truth. Our love will surpass earthly constrictions, lifting us to heights we do not fear. Don’t be afraid my Love; you are my wings.
Look at the notes; study the melody of before. Even when, (collectively speaking) the veins and bones of the western world’s liberal wannabees are dipped in predominantly milky white flesh, they are bathing in their altruistic mindsets with blatant ignorance; good intentions mean nothing to a Black man walking home from the late shift after missing his bus. He sees the fear in the eyes of the silky smooth skinned passersby, he knows he is a big, Black target. He wants to get home to his family with his paycheck and stay there comforted by his likeness; his doors are locked, too. He fears each day for his children alone at home until he gets a message on his cell phone from all three. At work he checks the clock and he keeps working, he doesn’t look up often, less he be seen as lazy or slow. He is mindful that each second he is making money to feed his family. He calls home at break and is reassurred by his son’s thirteen year old voice cracking into a soon to be full blown tall and lanky teen that he has taught them well. His children know not to trust anyone, even nice white people. WE, doused in poor old gibberish liberish do’s and don’ts still do not have the rythmn down. We, the #BLM advocates dare not associate with the NAUGHTY bigots who reflect their biased belief systems with breath that wreaks of hate. Despite what one desires to believe, ” I am tolerant”, “I am not a racist”, “I am bound to a predetermined doctrine of outlined sins”, “my FAITH is THE way”, and so on, it is not even close to prophetic TRUTH. That which is enraptured, well versed in what it means to know what living while BLACK is, has been revealed historically repeatedly; it has been relived for thousands of years; only a Black man knows what it means to be alive in BLACK skin. There is a very deep part of us, a hidden well of muck; bucket after bucket will pull up the grungy facts that show we are indeed judging, challenging and self rightous. We all know GOD better than the next guy. We all see our way as the path to follow. It doesn’t matter what you believe if you still can not accept that no path has led us out of repetition. From refrain to refrain, we are all trying to discern who is who at every moment we encounter newness. Our flesh hangs like weathered flags of colors we either recognise as new faces and acceptable or turn away quickly as they threaten who we are. Dig, GO ON! Get dirty. What are you thinking right this second when a transgender Black young adult walks into your house, your family, your world? What do you really think? Are you comfortable yet? Are you ready to hear about the history of the lgbtq community? Do you care? What is it your God tells you to believe? If you have no God, here is a clean map of how hatred is eradicated. We all die. The entire planet Earth explodes and we begin again mutating into forms that divide, then divide again and we split and spin about in darkness, within the eye of a Universal mastermind and we become renewed. We try again and we don’t get far. The giraffe will always be different from the elephant. I do my homework, my inner foraging so to speak and know without doubt I am so far from being free from my own constraints. ROCK has pulled LittleMe up and pushed me down and I fight with his well meaning plans for me. Six decades of life soon and I know nothing new. The older I grow the less I know. Hate was rampant when I was born, cracks were in the sidewalk then and they are still spreading globally. Hate. Truth, Love. It’s the melody we’ve sung since the Mad Matter made humans believe they are higher up, more important than say baby sea turtles hatching and scrambling for the safety of the same water where hungry sharks await them; stars that we name still remain our guides and if you are looking beyond your frontal consciousness, holding onto your heart and breathing into your soul or hidden self, you surely must know, humans are so far from the top of the ladder. Blessed Be.
(Remnants of Isolation 2020-22)
As a young adult living in Vermont, USA, tuning into a regular radio broadcast on Sunday morning with a warm mug of dark roasted coffee was a soulful retreat from the busy hum drudgery of the week. Garrison Keillor’s radio broadcast, “Prairie Home Companion” was exactly that, a delightful guest in my kitchen, a welcomed visitor with a smooth and soothing voice. The program was broadcast live from Minnesota, far away from the familiarity of my view of Mount Mansfield, part of the Green Mountain chain, where tall dark pines grew as far as the eye could see and neatly stacked firewood lined my weathered fence, much in need of mending.
His famous quote, “Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” His smooth tone ensured my next hour was pleasant and the inner reflections silence brings would quell any worries.
I now live on Sweden’s west coast beside a lake named Lygnern. I am far from Vermont, even further from “Lake Wobegon” and soon for ten years this view from my bedroom window has given me insurmountable pleasure.
Although I have human companions, two furry Lepus who have leapt into my heart (domestic rabbits of the Teddy Bear and Lion haired-breeds) and spoiled Hedemora chickens, the comforting confinement I once chose has now become a quarantine for survival.
I have seen the lake shine like an ice-covered pond on sunny days, frothy waves rustling from gales off the North Sea, moon beams bouncing playfully and Lygnern completely hidden by heavy fog.
This body of water I have become enchanted with is my companion and I its guest. I have sat on the edge of my bed crying with only Lygnern as my witness and comfort. I have sat with my husband on warm summer evenings by the shore, hands embraced, our eyes indulging in its romantic hues. Our love deepens while the water ebbs and it has become the idealistic metaphor of daily life. I have watched children splash, laugh and wild water swimmers tackle this natural playground.
Now I look out and feel the anxiety of the pandemic, grateful for living away from the city yet Lygnern has not changed. It does not reflect fear, rather harbors the history of our region and continues to offer up beauty and solace. It survived the cholera epidemic and on ridges near are graveyards of our village victims who once fished and swam in this lake, too. It has had rowboats browse these shores for centuries, ferries of wedding parties and been the backdrop for celebrations and gaiety for those long gone.
Lygnern embodies in its wake the memories we both cherish and take for granted.
From my window Lygnern will continue to be my companion differently than any other. All who have a view develop their own relationship with it. My worries flow and my hope grows; each day or even hour this lake offers gracefully and precisely what I need.
For those alone during this history in the making, the 2020th year and onward shall forever induce memories of solitude; your view is up to you to create. If you look out and spy a streetlamp or a seagull, they are your personal mirror of Now.
In solitude may we all find a path to inner peace by opening the pages of a book that takes us far away from our physical quarantine, tune in and listen to others and imagine your own comforting scenery.
I never saw Lake Wobegon or met Garrison Keillor, yet they were as comforting every Sunday as an old friend who’d popped into town and surprised me.
From Lake Lygnern I send each one of you a picturesque view during difficult times, and with a warm heart, I wish your days to be a bit brighter than the day before.
I will continue to write from my perch above Lygnern in my cosiest sweater and I will commit to compliance not complacency while breathing in my view of this historically rich land and water. From outside the city, where the lake listens, the sun rises and sets and yes, we all `” think” we are good looking, Peace.
Double Rainbow Over Lygnern
An angel from nature saw me sinking and swiftly pulled me through the fog. I had waited and waited for you to call. I heard sweet birds cooing and left my tears on the stone path to dry, for the beauty of my surroundings were stronger than my sigh. Rumbling in the trees a tiny deer appears nibbling on a plum tree bud with it’s tiny little ears. I do not frighten her for she knows we are one. I repeat “I am special”, “I am kind”, “I am full of love to give to all mankind”. LittleMe rises up from my deepest darkest space and ROCK quickly makes a move and puts her back in place. I will not let my love be taken by those who dare not see that I am grateful for myself, I at least still have me.
As I write about broken heart’s being mended with Al Green singing in the background I am ushered into my most vulnerable piece of self. Love is renewable and must be revisited day after day, year after year. Rock was and is still very protective of my shattered and deepest self yet LOVE is a journey I once ran through, jumped over waves for and got lost in so deeply that I could not find my way back to who I am. I still inhale the smell of you even when you aren’t near and I still get jealous after nearly two decades of “us”. Remember our passionate first meeting? An autumn blend of whimsical laughter, intellectual virility, a chemistry so robust with first love sensations and our everlasting amusements, surely you recall? What about the sunsets in Amalfi, sunrises by the sea and how I looked across the table over coffee in to your eyes on the veranda and felt like I could fall out of my chair? Now in the mirror a version of me I am still trying to get to know. I hold on to our kisses in the lush Swedish forests, our dancing in the living room at midnight on New Year’s eve and the smile in your eyes when I once did something so simple as to make a hearty, warm soup from my heart to feed us. I can feel as if I am losing this battle with my body; I am not afraid of my pain, but of yours. Must you keep picking me up off the floor or guiding me when my balance is askew? Will I hold you back from finding out more about yourself? I want to walk through our life of mirrors and see everyday we had together; the tipsy Bloody Mary Sunday brunch in Andersonville, the heartache when we could not be together, you holding me in your arms and saying, “you’re the girl I always wanted”. I say “Bravo” for the way we have blended our differences into a special cocktail that tastes a tad like southern moonshine with a bit of je ne sais quoi. You know most all of me, my fears of losing those I love, my need to hold on and never let go of anyone and how I wish my childhood could be redone. You know how much I adored my big family, my mother and my insistance that we are not at all alike (but we are). You know how I hate feeling left behind, the story of not getting matching pajamas like my sisters, my pathetic need to repeat stories of my emotional scars, my greatest mentors and my need to have a best friend always and how afraid I am to be alone. You know I love pigs and bunnies and how I want to save the world around me, and how easily I cry when I realise I can’t even save myself. You know how to fix my drugs, treat my physical pain, how to handle my anger at myself for ruining plans, burning food, forgetting I am running a bath, forgetting one language and speaking another and you are still here, loving me despite my body’s falter, my mind forgetting my intentions. I lose my self into old songs, red wine and wish I coud promise to be here a long, long time. You are the boy of my dreams, too. I love you. I love you. I love you. You know I am repetitive.
It’s key is hidden, I misplaced it among my own feelings again. I am alone inside a body that lets me down, hurts me and I can’t get out. I see me walking like Jesus across the sea and then sink without a fight, drowning in my mysterious mind. I am so grateful yet undeserving of salvation. Sanctuaries for Love should be everywhere, not just for those seeking redemption from our earthly delights that were indulgent or a sinful play that some grand Creator would frown upon. The gates are always open to love more, release ourselves from our own arrogant beliefs. I am burdened by carrying me through life; how then can I carry some one else? I see a white wooden columned southern USA colonial home with a long drive and weeping willows, a big porch and spinning ceiling fans. I am the youngest broken one there and I try to cheer my southern company with kind regards and smiles. I am in a sanctuary where I no longer feel like a worthless woman. I make a difference because I am not in the agony that I rise and face each morning. I can quit because I will no longer ruin other’s good times or my own. I can be quiet. I can be kept and have tea and maybe sometimes I will wonder about Jesus and God and bad and good but I will be my own judge as my heart is pure.