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.
Underneath my colorful quilt, a friendship lost, a friendship built
Stolen youth, years gone fast, I found someone though time has passed
Once running, laughing we did not share, our hurts or pains that brought us ner
Your big brown eyes, subtle composure, two hidden hearts with no disclosure
We both were hurting yet never shared what life we'd led nor truth or dare
We grew up, struggled through, found our way and lost it, too
Strong women now, we rebuild our bond, between us lies a salty pond
One day before my body breaks, I beg to see you; it's our fate
One more time to laugh with you, soon I'm sixty and so are you
In a foreign land I reach across to hold your hand
Life's been harsh with some good times too, May we meet again for I love you.
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.
Pimp your blog. Add some bling. Make it shine, stand out, shout, attract, organize everything so it’s more appealing to the reader? Lm is biting her lip again. Truth is Naked. Truth isn’t fluffy and for a good time. It’s simple. Truth should not be camaflouged with frivolities. Lm has locked herself in a small closet where she has hidden the memories of one person who she won’t forgive. Ever. Wait, she has someone new! This is not news to ROCK who knows her best. Lm is never forgiving herself for letting people who loved her do mean things and get away with it. Her hair is falling out now and she holds onto a picture of herself at fourteen. What the hell is wrong with me? She kicks the door and is like a feral street dog in Thailand. Roaming, pleading, desperate to find a kind soul. She can’t be touched but is needy. She waits for the moon to rise and then she will sneak out and climb high into the tallest tree and fall to the ground and die. No. That’s not good enough. If she lives with more pain then she has lost again. Her suicidal ideation is a huge issue. She never wanted to die but now if things don’t turn around she would be okay with it. That last breathe and that white light with angels lifting her soul peacefully, leaving her cage, the one that hurt all the time could go to the damn compost. Maybe. Another day. ROCK wishes he had the ability to smoke so he could have something to quell his anxieties. He stands firm. There is nothing that she can do to herself when he is near. Baby birds fall from trees all the time and live. Lm is NOT like a little robin who knows nothing about what’s out in this cold,cold world. She is mumbling. She is circling around and yelling at her own inner child. He wants to intervene but he knows she must do the work. One day, ROCK believes he will transform as well and Lm can join him as one. When this day comes they will be free and walk away, with arms, a cigarette in hand and blow smoke rings into the sunset.
For as long as Lm struggled ROCK had her back; the question is how long will Rock continue. Smooth yet petrified, ROCK has covered for Lm for soon sixty years. How does ROCK move on and integrate Lm’s trauma into one neat little package? Gazing into the future, releasing Lm’s agony has to begin. He has to hand over her pain and get her ready for the new and beyond. Lm’s so broken that he is ashamed to admit he too, is weary. The late nights at free falling into frail memories is getting very difficult to control. Is Lm going to become stronger, ready to fly on her own or will she continue to fear each day and ask more questions,? How will she learn to forget? The work to merge the two personas into one is constant, like tiny Santa’s helpers preparing toys for Christmas. They are diligent, undermined and need to be celebrated for their behind the scenes duties. ROCK needs as much as she needs him. A dubious path, fraught with periods of silence together they must meld into a better version of each other. Dry tears form stones into artifacts; artifacts are rediscovered and pulled into the light to be examined. It’s a hot bed of pain and Lm is not moving forward, rather than accepting the two, three or four and more sides, Lm is clinging to ROCK’s bravery and what she knows as Love unconditionally and vows not to hang up her coat or hat just yet.
Sunlight filters in through Lm’s drawn shades; she can’t sleep and watches as it changes shapes on the ceiling from her bed. None of these studied details will come again, like each diamond, every piece of sea glass and snowflakes the sun continues to provide a different light show everyday. It was a tiny slice at first, narrow and pointy. It widened, lengthening and flickering until it became so engaging going back to sleep was ruled out. Like a deck of cards well shuffled one rarely gets the same hand twice, we never know what we will be dealt and what will happen as the game is played. Life is rarely a royal flush but with curiosity and perhaps hope we continue to play loosely mindful of the whole picture. No one wins more time no matter how many clever tricks they can do. Magical potions, merciful angels, or the great mystery known as God might let us exchange a bad card for a little more time before we finally reach the end of our game. How do we finesse our individual house of cards to spend more time with those we love. How do we prolong our own reflections, our unique light that we project throughout our own lives? The light on the ceiling is no longer visible yet I know another morning design will wake me up, or do I ? The smallest parts of our intricate selves are never fully seen by anyone, yet we continue to try to show our imprint, our colorful feathers and deeply desire understanding with a need for others to believe in us. Will you have lived your life knowing you never cheated yourself or anyone into seeing all that you have to share? How can we take risks, pull out a card from our own hand and use it to justify our dreams. Procrastination is never going to be the winning deal, one must act, take a chance and live as if we all must fold our hands tomorrow. “Someday I want to go on a train to Prague, Croatia, the Adriatic Sea. Someday I want to return to the most northern isles of Norway. Someday I want to see “The Scream” in Oslo. When I turn sixty, I want to be with my best friend anywhere. When I turn sixty I will get a baby piglet and name her Opal or Pearl. When one of my best friends comes to Sweden we will go to Stockholm together and have girl time and catch up eating chocolate croissants and coffee in bed, opening champagne at lunch, see the small galleries and by each other pretty scarves and pretend we are sisters. Someday my siblings will see my Truth, I won’t be the Black sheep but a herder of my flock. When my daughter’s are home together we will take them on a surprise trip to ski again, just like when they were eight and eat pizza and start over again. One day I will sell my ArT work and I will be free from pain, and when that happens I will fly like a strong Canadian goose to see my family far, far away. All will be perfect, we have good genes. Letting Go is a long time away, we don’t need to hurry or be afraid. Our children are safe, they will have good lives and even more good things will come. In the autumn, in the spring, next winter or?
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.
Bound by societal conformation we adorn our fingers with proof we are part of another; we have consigned within ourselves to be part of a whole. As a pair, wedded or not, both persons give part of their sentient “SELF” away. Inside the heart’s overflowing bloody pool many are tredding and desperatly clinging to reach the shore and shake off the idea of identifying themselves as seperate; like a wet labrador retriever humans often dedicate their entire lives to this bigger entity called marriage. Leashed, we toddle along and are faithful to our significant other in roughly 75.9% of human to human relationships. Yet, what if you were never whole on your own to begin with? Entrapped like a caged chimpanzee, your inner being never came forth. Lm was and is still hidden under layers of sediment and has never been set completely free. What does freedom really mean? How does her dedication to another feel when she is only a ghost of herself? Lm is not bound by religous doctrine and her insecurities wrestle with her pride daily. Why do people hide behind their roles, children or religion? What exactly is friendship? What makes one fear being who they are? Rock allows Lm much freedom to explore without guidelines. As far back as I can remember I have been shocked when others hurt me. It’s as if I have no shield between the real world and my heart. If I am betrayed I am not very good at forgiving. Where does this come from? I recently opened a door to a haunting memory at a southern USA summer church camp. I had one good friend joining me on this adventure and there would be new youth from all over the state of Tennessee to converge into this lovely, peaceful setting. I had my menstruation as I recall and was in much pain and couldn’t get in the pool. In the girl’s dorm before lights out I wrote in my journal and slipped it under my pillow each night. I described breakfast, vespers by campfires, the piney smell of the forest and my activities of the day. Each night at the campfire there was a boy who I thought was very cute and had a mean crush on. Note to all blossoming empathetic beings, never leave your journal where it can be found by others or in particular, don’t trust that good people won’t do bad things. I looked daily at the activity sign up sheet and made sure I was in whatever group he was going to be in that day. I laughed at his jokes, smiled with my shiny braces and always looked to see where his eyes wandered around when we met for campfire sharing before bedtime. My friend who came with me was very outgoing and had a sense of confidence I did not. She was the oldest of in her family of three sisters and one foster brother. We did not attend the same school however so my relationship with her was built on our both being in the loosely labeled ” Non-Denominational Christian Youth Group” in my part of the state. She would call me and ask if I was going to youth group each week and if I was going our mothers took turns picking us up. We also took ballet, tap and jazz dance lessons together and mall walked on Saturday nights together sometimes. She would become to me the monumental meaning of ” two-faced”, a term used in school amongst clicks talking about who could and could not be trust worthy. The depth of my innocence and lack of competence in social circles hadn’t hit me yet. I was not only the naive one in most situations but also the silly one. If I had no idea what to do I would make others laugh. Laughing was and is a good thing unless you become the target of others cruel wit. As camp neared the end of the two week stint I shared with my friend who had taken the long bus trip to western Tennessee with me that I had a crush on this boy. Unbeknownst to me was she already knew. Customary at camp was to give our new friends our addresses and many took photos. I asked my friend to please get a photo of me with this sweet boy and I would then suggest we exchange addresses. I stood as close to him as possible and he draped his right arm behind my neck and over my shoulder in full camp pal mode. I got his address and ran back to tuck it into my journal. What? Where was my diary? A sting swelled in my cheeks as if I had been slapped and tears broke loose. We were to all sit on the cabin steps for a group photo and I didn’t go back out. My youth counselor came in to find me and asked me why I was upset. As I told her my journal was missing she said that surely it must have fell behind my bunk bed when I was packing my things to go home and she would help me find it after. Teenage or middle aged trigger warning bells are chiming. I sit down and my friend asked me what was ” that all about?” and I told her. After the group’s picture was taken we were to pick up our lunches prepacked in the dining hall to eat on our buses home. I ran to get mine and as I was heading back to my room I saw my counselor with my journal in her hand; she always had a happy smile that all youth group leaders have, “I found it on the lower bunk.” I was grateful but certainly confused. We loaded our bus to the Nashville suburbs and my crush boarded his bus to far eastern Tennessee. My friend sat next to me and we ate our Lay’s potato chips first and giggled about different things we’d experienced all the way home. When we got off the bus I gave her a hug, never expecting it to be my last. I gave my film to my mother to have developed when she was driving. She stuck it in her purse and asked me lots of questions. I couldn’t find words to talk to my mother. I wanted to say I had a crush on a boy and I froze. I never could openly talk with my mother and I wasn’t about to start then. Days before school was to start my mother came home from work with my camp pictures developed. Excitedly I looked at each one and threw away the ones blurry with my big thumb also in them then, wait! What was this? My mother was near but busy making dinner yet she heard my outburst of tears and saw me run to my bed and do a full face down on my mattress kicking my legs and sobbing. She couldn’t understand my words but kept asking what was wrong. She looked at the picture and didn’t see what I did. As my photo was examined my TRUST, my Loyal Beagle friendship myth was broken. There I was with the boy who I had a secret crush on that only one person knew about. My holier than thou church pal who’d taken the photograph had also not only read my journal but given it to him to read also. There I stood like a fool, the rush of being close to this boy had my eyes reflecting my giddiness and well, the boy with one arm around my neck hanging over my shoulder had his other hand pulling my journal out from under his tee-shirt from the back. Yes, my friend took this photo and had shared my secret. Trust crumbled and I was unconsolable. On youth group night I overheard my mother speaking to my ex-friend’s mother about who was driving and I ran to her and motioned for her to cover the wall phone’s speaker. I blurted out I wasn’t going because I had a headache. My mother finished her conversation and hung up. A headache. She felt my head. I didn’t feel warm. I got out of this one night of humiliation yet I did not get out of my life sentence of anxiety when attempting to make new friends. To this very day that memory still comes up. I still take on the smiling persona that Rock helped Lm build to bravely navigate through social situations and sadly, this would not be my first lesson on friendship and meaningful communication. I would be hurt again and again because I cared too much. Today’s goal is strengthening my boundaries and my family which I have built on one solid foundation, Love and Trust. I am a good friend to hold onto however, without doubt I will remain in my stairwell peeking out at anyone new who wants to try to know me. I am still recovering. Still easily bruised and I am still fighting to understand what makes Lm happy.
A Trickle A Tad A Smidgen A Sliver A Pinch A Drop A Bit, Not More. ROCK is slaying the morning with a scathe, a sharp cut through Lm’s fog of anxiety. “Why did you open that can of worms?”. ROCK is now covering my tracks, pushing me down into the stairwell for letting wild ramblings outside of the confines of my safe place. “You will get in trouble again with that caustic spewing, you dig?” Rock is locking up my mind without worries and vows to shield Lm from the light under the door. He is watching for the footmen, the cowards and protests that will brew from Lm diving into the deep end of the pool. The stream of words that made tremors and cracks in the middle of nowhere are still felt. Lm crosses her fingers behind her back and rests against the cold cement walls. She is not afraid now. She is determined.