Tag Archives: daughter

why i’m unusually comfortable with death….

Last night, I turned on PBS and caught a show about the suicide assistance program, Final Exit Network.  I wasn’t really looking for a program to get interested in yet I found myself oddly attracted to the high emotion of this episode giving options to end one’s life with dignity.  In a nutshell, Final Exit Network provides support and guidance to candidates looking to end their life because of extreme circumstances of intolerable illness.  They have been lauded as compassionate by scholars in ethics and heretics by religious groups and physicians who oppose an individual’s right to choice to the timing and implementation of a dignified death.  As I’m watching this, I clearly see both sides.  There are many issues at play here and it is a complex subject that few even wish to visit.  Those special individuals who are willing to extend their compassion to a person who asks to die, are clearly in touch with the sensitive and personal issues involved as to why someone would seek out the means to end their life.

I got it immediately.

Their stories spoke directly to my heart.

Until one directly deals with madness and horror of pain; emotional~physical~spiritual~relentless~daily~mind bending pain that isn’t relieved even though one has exhausted their finances, resources and partners.  Because until a person deals with this pain on a day to day, minute by minute way of crawling through life, I realize that the “unaffected” won’t get it.  And that’s fine, because the “unaffected” are living productive lives with good enough health to not feel the burden that the “totally affected” person does.  It isn’t a place that one visits until they have to and once they have to, one doesn’t waiver as much.

I recently had an “episode” brought on my the perfect storm of triggers.  It put me in a place that most would call mental illness.  Since I don’t thoroughly subscribe to that label, I did something entirely different this time upon the suggestion of my friend Heather.  I surrendered to the madwoman.  Blindly, I charged into this event with a headstrong, full of steam and hope approach, calling in all the divine helpers I could find.  Basically, I told it that I was in control and taking over from here.  I told it to FUCK OFF and walked straight into the madness.

Now here’s the really interesting part.  In this swirling anxiety ridden mania that I felt, a story emerged.  I actually took the wheel of this runaway train and channelled it into something productive.  And for the first time, I think I’m really onto to something here.  The outcome was a story I’ve known my entire life and one that I lived and almost died through.  But this time, I was my mother.  I became her, feeling her feelings and seeing the exact places that she was.  I have some thoughts and explanations for this but that is an entirely different post.

There was a time when I censored myself heavily regarding these mystical occurrences but not any more.  They are simply part of me. I now let them flow and even have the nerve to write about them.  A force greater than I is wanting to come through, a story is begging to be told.  Once I rode through the mania and channelled the story, a peace ensued and I share that story with you now. And finally, I’ve come to understand that embracing the dark doesn’t mean succumbing to it.

Her heart leaps from her chest when the kitchen phone rings harshly, shattering the silence of her usual household day.  She must have drifted off to sleep when she sat down to rest for a moment and wait for the coffee pot to finish percolating.  Her day is usually peacefully quiet, save the occasional phone call from a neighbor friend or the dog barking to announce a truck passing by the road out front.  She blinks and tries to steady herself as she waits for her pulse to resume its normal beat, shaking off the images of the place she just visited while asleep in her mother’s sturdy rocking chair.
The phone has stopped ringing now but she knows it was Doris.  Doris is the only person that will let the phone ring for at least 15 times full well knowing that any respectable farm woman would have to put down her dust rag or put down the pan of beans she was shelling before making her way inside to the kitchen.  
She’s fully awake now and glad that there is some hot coffee waiting for her.  She yanks the plug from the wall and lets the percolator relieve itself with a puff of steam.  Damn coffee pot.  How many years is this damn thing going to go on, she’s had it since her wedding which was a full 25 years before and would certainly love to get one of the modern ones that she’d spied in the Sears Roebuck catalog.  She adds a jigger of milk and a spoonful of sugar, stops a moment and dumps another one in.  Its that kind of day that she feels she needs extra sugar.  She goes to the porch and lets the screen door slam behind her.  Today she doesn’t care. Usually when the kids are home, she painstakingly makes sure it doesn’t slam because she knows that she can’t fuss at them without setting a good example.  That’s just the kind of woman that Louise is.  
Her coffee is steamy and sweet, just the way she likes it.  There isn’t a care about the excess sugar intake or the mid morning nap.  There is no never mind about the future, what her kids will do this summer soon as school lets out or whether she’s staked the tomatoes good enough.  All she can think about is tomorrow.
~~~~
The doctor said it was a uterine mass.  It would need to come out and soon.  
His words played over and over in her head.  She wonders if she should have asked more questions in the doctor’s office or if there was more to what he was telling her.  All she can see is the bulbous man coming into the exam room after she’d finished getting dressed and put together.  He sat down with a harumpf, fished in his shirt pocket for his Lucky Strikes, put one between his lips and lit it.  She sat there proper in her good dress, legs together, nylon hose sticking to her and the garters making an impression in the back of her thigh that would last for hours.  
Good god, would that man at least turn the window fan on.  She doesn’t object to the smoke because she’s a closet smoker herself.  Plus everyone she knows smokes; young, old, pregnant or not.  Its a breeze she’s aching for because she knows herself well enough to know that she gets woozy in the high humidity and she’s barely holding it together anyway.  He grunts when he reaches forward and clicks the fan on, letting the steel blades start their acceleration.  Finally the breeze reaches her and she feels like she can finally stop holding her breath, that she isn’t going to fall out in a dead faint.  
“Mrs. Hauner, can you get in here next Monday for an operation?  You have a uterine mass that I felt during the exam that we need to get out.  This is why you haven’t had your monthly cycle”.  He stops for a moment to take a drag from his cigarette while he glances at his clipboard and some notes he’d written outside.  He shakes his head and says, “Nope, pretty sure this isn’t menopause, just the mass that is messing things up.  We’ll know more after the operation”.
With that he stood up, paused briefly as if to see if she wanted to ask anything or have a reaction.  When she didn’t, he continued to tell her that the nurse would be in to make
the arrangements.
~~~~
From her porch seat, the conversation didn’t seem very eventful.  When she replayed it over in her head, she liked to reassure herself that the doctor didn’t seem upset, therefore, she shouldn’t be either.  He’s done this kind of operation many times before and from the appearance of the new hospital at the edge of town, it would seem that they had things under control.  But why then, has she been in a cold sweat since the words were delivered to her that morning?  Was she reading something into it like her husband had told her that night when she gave him the news?  No matter how many times, she replayed the words, there was a cold, eerie feeling that crept up the back of her neck and grabbed her around the throat.
She finished her coffee and stood up to go back into the house.  For a moment, she paused to look, as she always did, at the front yard flowers that she so lovingly planted this spring.  They look good.  Her gardens always looked good.  
Plopping the coffee cup down on the kitchen table, she continued on to the back of the house to her bedroom.  She admired her freshly smoothed bedspread, put into place hours before at the crack of dawn.  The breeze was blowing nicely in through the back bedroom windows and she wondered how long she could leave the windows open before the humidity made it impossible.  
Louise slowly opened the door to the closet and gazed at the beat up brown suitcase.  She hated the sight of it.  To her sister in law, “the world traveler” it meant adventure, escape and respite from all things Southern Illinois.  Theresa jumped at the chance to travel and any man who would take her.  In her eyes, the god forsaken town they grew up in deserved to be left behind and she fulfilled that every chance she had.  Unfortunately the last husband left her as quickly as she had left town and the suitcase became available.  Louise didn’t travel or leave the farm except to visit a sister that lived several hours away, mostly when she’d just had a baby and needed some help with the kids.  But even then, a paper bag and her overnight kit always sufficed.
She was relieved that the kids were still in school for the day and the house was quiet.  She didn’t want to have to face that suitcase with all the daily hubbub going on because she found herself barely able to think even with no distractions and dead quiet.  Louise grabbed the handle and set it down on the bed without taking her eyes off of it.  Her reality was sinking in and the more it sunk, the heavier she became.  As if in slow motion, she reached down and popped open the two snaps and lifted the lid.  As it opened, Theresa’s perfume and cigarette smoke wafted out, causing her nose to wrinkle for a moment.  Her wooziness hit her and the room lifted and started to spin a bit, she tries to settle herself down by speaking out loud to herself in a scolding sort of way.
“Okay, I’ve gone this far.  I’m getting ready to go the hospital and I’m going to be fine.  I don’t have to think about my kids being left motherless if something goes wrong because it won’t.  And the doctor didn’t mention having the cancer that her neighbor ladies are always talking about taking someone unexpectedly.  And even though I don’t know anyone personally that doesn’t have their uterus, I heard about Arlene’s sister who couldn’t have children because of this same thing and she’s just fine”.  
She takes a deep breath and wills herself to believe everything she’s just repeated to herself and begins to fill the musty suitcase with a nightgown, slippers, cold cream and other essentials for her week long stay.  With her task completed, she lowers the lid and snaps the suitcase shut, setting it beside the bed.  One step closer, one more thing off the list until tomorrow.
~~~~
The early morning sun cuts in through the venetian blinds of the hospital admitting area and emphasizes the green linoleum floor and how clean the Sisters of St. Joseph keep it.  She smiles to herself thinking how those gals do take pride in their work and momentarily understands why her sister Helen might enjoy being a Catholic.  She spies her husband outside the window having a smoke with the groundskeeper who is also a drinking buddy at the local tavern and a cousin.  Briefly, she imagines what it would be like if she were viewing her life without her in it.  Would her husband and children continue on like before only with one less place at the dinner table?  Would her absence even be noticed?  And like it or not, Louise realizes that she’s been thinking more along the lines of dying than living through this.  
The light from the center of the ceiling is blinding her. So bright that its burning her eyes.  She squints and tries to shield her eyes but the nurses tell her to leave her arm stretched out so the IV doesn’t get kinked.   They also tell her its necessary for the doctor to see what he’s doing and give a little canned laughter of “you sure do want him to see what he’s working on down there” which doesn’t comfort her a bit.   They are robotic in their movements and she’s feeling the full effect of the pre-op shot they gave her in her room.  Louise doesn’t like this feeling at all which is why she doesn’t drink except the occasional snort of Mogan David that she keeps in the back of the Frigidaire.   
She feels the medication working against all of her coping skills.  She’s losing control. Until this very moment, she has steeled herself against the bad news. Her intuitive feelings of impending doom were screaming. Louise tensed her body hard and fought to regain her centeredness, slamming down every ounce of emotion and stuffing it down her throat.  From there, she didn’t care where it went as long as it went away.  She figures it feeds that uterine mass but would have to deal with that later. 
But the grip is loosening on her self control and she doesn’t like it.  It is unfamiliar and unsettling and harsh.  The cold metal table underneath her has chilled her to the bone and she realizes that she is not only shaking, she is almost convulsing in her movement.  Every word that she’s wanted to say her entire life of silent servitude is now stuck in her throat and she can’t breathe.  A panic spreads over her and in a fit of uncharacteristic behavior, she finds herself trying to escape.  She notices that they notice her.  Her periphery is suddenly full of nurses heads with white pointy hats holding her down as she feels a pinch of another injection in her thigh.  A white cloth comes down over her eyes and stops over her mouth. She takes one frantic breath of the toxic smelling anesthesia and the world goes dark.

the baby floats.  floats in darkened, buoyant bliss.  a little girl.  transitioning from the heavens.  growing, floating, connecting to her new world with every breath and heartbeat of the mother that carries her.  she wants to feel nothing but the beat of her own heart and the arms of the Divine spirit that is lovingly embracing her.  but a primitive feeling, too much for the infantile synapses of her nervous system spreads through her.  she learns about danger from a cellular level.  she is not safe now nor will she be for a very long time.
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mommy heart

Handed to me fresh and gooey, she stole my heart instantly.

I wasn’t prepared for the impact of pure love when I looked at those eyes, wide open and brown as dark chocolate.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of her, she was so perfect, so beautiful that I almost felt frightened as she stared directly through my soul.  She never cried, she just watched, taking it all in like the old soul that she was.  In fact, we all remarked that we didn’t  know what her cry sounded like until days later.  Since I had traded the option of pain relief and hospital birth for the autonomy and gentleness of a home birth, I never had to deal with someone whisking her from me until I was good and ready to put her down, which didn’t happen for days.  Our first year is hazy as we slept, nursed endlessly and stayed swaddled to each other to soothe her colic and to ease my anxiety that I must be doing something wrong.

The beautiful child eventually found her footing and released my breast at the exact perfect time for her.  I never pushed her away. Never.  My body and soul was there for her as long as she needed me.  It couldn’t have been any other way.  It was absolutely futile to resist my role as her mother, it called to me so strongly like a destiny that I had been waiting for my entire life.  And I know now, that up until that point, I had never experienced a love like that.  Blinding, pure, knock me off my feet love for this little 6-pound being.  Everything that I had felt for my parents, friends and other loved ones didn’t hold a candle to this.  For the first time, I felt the enormous power of my emotions seize my being.  I knew that I could have lifted a car from this child or flat out murdered anyone who attempted to harm her without a blink of the eye.  I felt that certainty and a distinction that I not experienced prior.

If it was even possible, our life together just got sweeter and sweeter.   We walked and sang and looked at stars.  We caught lightening bugs and set them free in our bedroom at night.  We played late into the summer nights and then went for ice cream. Sleepily, she would crawl onto my lap, wrapping around me murmuring “I love you mommy heart”, her pet name for me when she was especially full of love.

Over the years, I stayed close as she watched other children for endless hours before venturing toward them.  She was reserved and shy.  It was to be respected and always on her time frame. Always.

She became a little girl, then a young woman.  The eye rolling started and the physical touch disappeared.  It hurt.  But it was necessary.  It had to be done. One couldn’t love this intensely and wholly without having the separation be of epic proportion.  So she did what she needed to do at exactly the time that she needed.  She hugged her friends, then her boyfriends.  It was reserved for them now and I made do.

Leaving for college was a snap for her.  Her independent wings had sprouted so long ago that she simply just took off.  Her rock solid foundation of love made it easy for her to leap.  It was never about me, she did exactly what she needed to do at that moment.  She needed to fly.  And I needed to cheer her on.

We approached the deadline of her moving cross country with mixed emotions. She would be leaving her midwestern roots and heading toward the ocean and a new life.  Mostly we occupied ourselves by planning and making lists of necessary items to purchase or pack.  I kept it light and wouldn’t under any circumstances let her see my sadness, only the excitement.  I knew firsthand what a burden it could be to watch a parent crumble as a child left home.  My mother waved bravely as I pulled out of the driveway headed for Texas, post college and headstrong.  It was my mistake to look back.  She sank to her knees sobbing with her head in her hands.  I’ve carried that forever.

My daughter and I were both methodically and consciously trying to let go of each other, coping as best we could,  trying on for size the separation that was inevitable.  We had bonded so completely that it would be difficult to pull this off but we still needed to try.  Maybe that’s why she chose to go so far away.  Maybe she needed the distance to see where she started and I left off.  It made sense.  It was always about her time frame.  She always got to choose what worked best for her.

A few days before she left, I awoke to her sleeping in my bed beside me.  My husband had already left for work and I mistakenly thought the dog had taken his place, but it was her.  A full grown woman replaced the tiny 6 pound miracle that graced my life a mere 25 years before.  We snuggled but not too close, mostly letting the dog absorb our affection, tempering the emotion.  I knew she needed some mother comfort and so did she.  But we didn’t speak of it.  We didn’t have to.

The Saturday morning she left was crisp and clear, a day before her 25th birthday.  The morning air brought that snapshot frozen in time flooding back.  It was the same weather the day of her birth.  It felt  cyclical and right.  We busied ourselves with packing her car then fussed some more and kissed all the dogs and took photos and put off the moment when we had to say goodbye. It was finally upon us.

I wasn’t prepared for the intensity of her hug.  She’d spent over a decade avoiding touching or sometimes barely acknowledging me and the sheer impact of her propelling sobbing body at mine literally knocked me off balance.  My baby.  She’s back.  Pressed up against my heart… how good it felt to hold her again.  I immediately felt guilty for loving the embrace at the expense of her unleashed emotion.

I reassured her that her home was there always, waiting if she needed it.  I held her until she pulled away then came back for one more embrace.  I inhaled her sweet essence and let her cry.  Then I let her pull away from me.  It was always about her. She let go when she was ready and I made do.


awww shucks, another award…

I absolutely love the concept of supporting each other’s healing and creative journeys expressed through our writing, blogging, art, music.

And though I don’t know who originated the idea of giving blogger awards to each other, I think its brilliant.  We, as recipients, know that they are small albeit genuine affirmations created to spread the word of our blogs/art form and raise awareness of the issues close to our hearts.  In my little corner of the world and especially for those of us who are crawling out from under a rock of mental illness, anxiety disorders, depression and chronic illness, these awards make you feel like a rock star.

I’ve had the honor of being nominated for the Inspiring Blogger award from Fringewalk, a very intricately woven blog simply stated as ” A few stitches in the global human tapestry”.  She is as complex as the many issues that she addresses which she does so beautifully.  I always enjoy reading the words from her angle, from her perspective, from her corner of the world.  Thank you, I’m so honored.  Its so cool to feel that people crawling around on the internet have not only found me and my blog but find it inspiring.  Not sure it gets much better.

Rules of the award:
1.) Thank the person who gave you the award with a link to their blog.
2.) Tell them 7 things about yourself.
3.) Nominate 7 other blogs for the award.

Now that I’ve officially thanked Fringewalk for her love and support, I’m moving on to the 7 blogs that I want to nominate.  This is a a bit of a challenge for a bona fide blog-a-holic but here goes….These blogs are ones that I find myself drawn to over and over.  For one reason or another, they inspire me.  And if the recipients aren’t as geeked about these awards as I am or simply can’t find the room on their site to post them, that’s okay too.   I’m just flat out giving them, in no particular order….and letting each of you decide what to do with them based on your situation.

Bone Sigh Arts

Where do I start?  This awesome, woman owned business, produces the most beautiful cards, prints, books, daily quotes, and e-cards imaginable.  But its the sentiments layered on top of the colors that really cinch the deal.  And even more than that, its a forum for friendship, solace, comfort and humor.  And…yes, there’s more…. Terri’s diverse and inclusive nature will draw you in and steal your heart.  Truly a remarkable place.

Wholly Jean

This woman just oozes sweet Southern, honey dripping charm.  She’s a writer, artist, fellow blogger who has provided much needed words of comfort across my computer screen combined with a straight spoken fierceness of a woman who doesn’t compromise her beliefs. Log on to her site, it will be quite an adventure.

Walking in Beauty

Joss, AKA the Crowing Crone, simply radiates love.  When I visit her blog, it feels like coming home to an old friend who has a cup of tea waiting for you.  The beauty of the way she conducts her life and writes of her experiences has given me comfort at some very difficult times. But don’t let the pureness of her heart fool you….she’s a tough lady who has transcended some tough times.  Her book, What I Know About Fibro is a very good case in point of a woman who has turned her life around.

Healing from BPD

A very honest and informative site for survivors and others struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder.  Debbie’s blog is upbeat yet real when it comes to the challenges presented by BPD.  There have been many a day that her posts have been timely and comforting to know that someone out there really understands the issues surrounding this illness.  She promotes acceptance, understanding and coping tools and does a fabulous job of removing the stigma of BPD.  

Raising My Rainbow

I do not know this woman or her son, as in I have never really corresponded with her as I have the others I’ve listed above.  But I’m a regular lurker on this beautiful, creative “mommy blog” about the “adventures in raising a fabulously gender creative son”.  Her words, not mine.  One cannot read this blog without having CJ steal your heart with the credit going to his mother for portraying him in such an incredibly, fiercely loving way.  I suspect that she is nominated for many awards and so she should be.  She is addressing some really tough issues surrounding LGBT children with pure love and acceptance.  And besides that, she is flat out hysterical.

Canopy in the Sunlight

One of my first pals that I met through the Bone Sigh Arts forum, Illuminary is a bit of a willow-the-wisp.  She’s a self admitted kind of a hermit who seems to prefer the sanctity of her studio and musings.  I’ve found her to be witty, concerned and incredibly self reflective. While she may post only occasionally, they are well worth the wait as I always find her words comforting and thoughtful.  

A Heart’s Whisper

I have learned so much from Jackie over the last year.  I must look toward women like her who are consistently graceful and gentle especially during times where my emotions are all over the place.  She is grounding and constant and pure love.  I would encourage anyone wanting to journey farther into themselves to check out her writings.  This is an absolute safe place to be.

PS~~Julie Catherine….You already had this award but I wanted to sneak you in here anyway because I love your stuff too!

And finally….7 things about myself.   This was BY FAR the more challenging task.  Not sure what noteworthy tidbits you all would want to know but here goes….

  •         I feel incomplete without a really cool pair of earrings which is about the only jewelry that I wear.
  •         I prefer the company of animals to most people.
  •         Had my daughter at home with a midwife attending.  Celebrated with a few friends, champagne and ice cream and took a hour   long bath with my new baby.  Probably one of the grooviest experiences of my life.
  •        Got to fly to Washington DC with 30 magnificent women to participate in a march for reproductive freedom. 
  •        Almost got kicked out of the local beauty pageant during high school because I wouldn’t remove my POW bracelet.
  •        For a day and a half, sat with and sang my mother from this world as she passed to the other side.
  •        Consider myself an emotional empath as I’ve always felt emotions stronger than most.  This is a gift and a curse.


Thanks for hanging in during this very long post….but I wanted to play by the rules and give credit to these fabulous new friends that I’ve had the good fortune to meet.  I’m humbled by this award and am so glad to be here in such great company!


shining Father’s shoes

This is going to be one of those stories that makes me queasy to put down on paper.

I already have a tightness in my stomach and my head is starting to swim.  I don’t feel eloquent and words are not flowing from me.   I  feel little, vulnerable, and so desperate. But I need to write about this and force myself to go forward with it because to truly release the hold that trauma and shame have on one’s soul, you must drag it into the light no matter how difficult that is.  It must be removed from the rat’s maze in one’s head, doomed to run the same rutted path.  Once its out, you can look at it, dissect it, let your loved ones look squarely at your worst fears and help reassure you.  Otherwise it stays inside and festers into illness of your body and soul.

Somewhere as a little girl of 5 or 6, I got the idea that men liked having their shoes shined.  I’m thinking that during the 40 and 50’s that may have been true when men dressed more formally and wore dress shoes as daily attire.  I’m sure it was considered a treat to sit at one of those stations and have someone spiff up their shoes a bit and most people’s houses I knew had a tin of shoe polish and a shining cloth as part of their household items.  I must have seen these items lying around or saw a scene in a movie of men having their shoes shined and internalized this thought.

This is where my thinking goes astray.

Why on earth, would I consider myself to be so subordinate and subservient to put myself in a position that I would kneel in an attendant position in front of my father, voluntarily lower myself to an inferior status, is a question that I haven’t completely answered yet.  I  know that I would practice on shoes that he wasn’t wearing, rubbing vigorously as if on a time schedule, practicing my efficiency. I don’t remembering him ever asking me to shine his shoes, I just wanted to. I’m guessing I thought it would gain me some approval from my ever distant father, the father whose only attention came at night, in secret, in the dark.  

I wanted to do anything, including prostitute myself to gain his affection and admiration.  This I know for sure, my motivation was his approval.  I would wait for him to come home, having rehearsed and practiced my craft and convince him to sit on the upper part of the picnic table while putting his feet on the seating area.  It was there that I would kneel in front of him, apply the polish and pop the buffing cloth showing my expertise until he would smile at my skills.  Even at those moments when  had his approval, I found it still wasn’t enough and proceeded to spend my lifetime trying to fill that leaking sieve of a psyche that would spill its contents as fast as it would come to me.

Adding insult to injury, my family, so very cruel with words, reinforced my shame by reminding me that I was a deplorable, pathetic girl who couldn’t get enough attention.  “you are a spoiled rotten child who always has to be the center of attention”  echo in my mind. Those types of scenarios set the stage for a lifetime driven to fill the emptiness by doing anything to gain approval from my father and subsequently other men throughout my life.  Shining shoes was just the beginning.

My daddy taught me to be comfortable kneeling down in front of him, being servant-like in my approach to him, letting me humiliate myself with so little regard for my dignitiy.  Weren’t you the one who should have instilled a sense of myself instead of teaching me to be your dirty little slave child?  You had already stripped me of the innocence  of my body and now you were closing in my soul.  Damn you.  I hate you so much right now.

I see that beautiful little girl with her rag and polish, waiting for you to come home so she could endear herself to you by lowering and subordinating herself and all the while you were perfectly, fucking fine with it?  How come I can look at her and see her beauty and you can’t? 

Thank God for my anger because it is my fury that sets her free.  Here’s where she and I rewrite the story.  I tell her to get up and I hold her tight, whisking her away to a place where she is honored and cherished and not depersonalized.  I set her down in a soft place to heal and teach her ways to find her beauty.

You never thought I would grow up to be intelligent and courageous about all of this dysfunction, did you?  You never thought that I could outsmart and outwit you by escaping far into my brain only to thaw out later.  You had not idea of my strength as I tackled all the screwed up thinking given to me by you. BUT I DID.  Guess what? You are dead and I’m over here finding and claiming my power.  Little by little, memory by memory, I am blotting you out, I’m blotting out all of the men you let near me, I’m reprogramming my brain, one tiny detail at a time until soon, I will have a completely new way of seeing myself and the terror I grew up with.

So yeah, I knelt before you, like you were some savior or God to me.  I did that.  I was a child that didn’t know any better and relied on a monster for a father for some shred of attention..

But that was then and this is today, I’ve long gotten her out of that cesspool of existence.  

Kiss my ass and shine your own fucking shoes.


changing love…

Like running water, changing love finds its way past obstacles. Freezing it in place makes it fragile, rigid, and all too likely to shatter.

 –Martha Beck, How to Know It’s Real Love

I’m gonna keep this simple today.

I like to think  that being grateful for the vast array of coping tools has created a fortuitous space for another tool to come my way.  I’ve subscribed to Martha Beck‘s daily quotes for a while now, but have just in the last month taken the time to read her books.  I’m barely 50 pages in to the first one and I can already tell I’ve found a new friend.  Her books will be on my bookshelf and her tools will be in my purple tool bag in addition to the many fabulous people, animals, resources, books and music that have so serendipitously plopped in my lap.

My own emotions are tough enough to manage but when I smack against someone else’s confused and erratic energy, that is the ultimate challenge.  Especially if its someone I dearly love.

The complexity of my past and present propel me into an instant state of frozen terror. I’d barely read her quote, as in minutes before, when my daughter arrived, confused and frustrated. So keeping the focus on myself, the DBT  kicked in and immediately sensing the tension in my body, the frozen stance, I frantically begin to observe, describe and participate….3 biggies from the DBT world.  It worked or at least its working.  I’m not frozen, perhaps a bit off center but not too far gone that I won’t recover soon.

I sit in awe of the masters that surround me and say a quick prayer with gratitude in my heart.  It feels so good to know that love can find its way past obstacles.  We aren’t static, we aren’t frozen, we aren’t shackled to the patterns of the past.

Relief washes over me as I realize for a brief and fleeting moment what true hope feels like.



weirdly grateful

i’m feeling weirdly grateful as i sit in a coffee shop playing hooky from life.

i don’t want to be at home planning my holiday dinner to make everyone else feel as if we have all met some crazy criteria and checked off some box of “there, that’s done”.  its not making me feel good at all and am wondering why do i’m doing this to myself.  i have to stop the planning that is making me feel crazy and get in touch with what is making me feel mean instead of just saying no, this is not what i want.  there are so many layers of issues here and i must go somewhere to sort them out, so here i am figuring out what hurts before i can find gratitude.  and to top it off, i don’t feel eloquent.  i’m not inspirational right now and my essence isn’t shining through.  the words aren’t really flowing, they feel stuck in my throat and i want to cry.

first and foremost, i miss my daughter.  i haven’t completely adjusted to not having her in my life, she is forever angry at me and even if she shows up to the holiday gathering, it won’t be like she is really there in spirit or with love.  that is the part that i miss.  the sweet little girl who drew cards for me for my birthday and shopped for my christmas gift on the sly, the tiniest of gestures that i recall as monumental. slowly rotating that thought,  i’m grateful to have the most wonderful of daughters and for the moment of balance where i surround her with love during her time of confusion and questioning.   a huge gift for the both of us.

second to that, i miss my family.  not my husband’s family but mine.  my tribe, the ones who have the same blood running through their veins.  i appreciate and am grateful to my husband’s family.  they have provided me with a security and a comfort that i have never known.  their longstanding history of stability and enough money has benefitted me greatly and for the most part, that is where i want to be.  but sometimes, i want my own people.  even though i know that they aren’t good for me, that most of them are in a seriously amount of denial about the incidents of abuse in our family and even though that i have to look hard to find anything in common with them.  many of my family are smart and have bright, sharp minds and wit.  but what they do with their god given talents is where the true sadness of the story lies. they can’t see their gifts, they can’t love themselves enough to stop perpetuating the cycle of isolation and ignorance that was handed to us.  i was the one who got angry and got out of there and not only handed that cycle back, i threw it at their faces and shot it from a gun aimed directly at their hearts. so, i’m grateful for my family that i grew up with and the ability to know what is good for me.  kind of the serenity prayer of the wisdom to know the difference.

next, i miss my tribe of women, the alice’s of my life.  marianne and i were ruminating over this last night on the phone about how life changes and moves forward and we lose some friends/husbands/lovers/children, hold onto some and gain some new ones.  a bittersweet movement that we have become accustomed to its comings and goings, noting that it doesn’t sting like it used to.  the first time i experienced that kind of rejection, betrayal, loss, it knocked me to my knees, i couldn’t breathe for weeks and felt my legs were made of jello.  i didn’t know what to do with that crazy amount of hurt, it suffocated me.

but now, i’ve weathered divorce, parental deaths, injury, loss of health, recovered memories of abuse and a daughter who finds me intolerable and while this all sucks big time and often sends me the bed to pull the covers up over my head, it doesn’t suffocate me any longer.  i can breathe, not great, not strong or not deeply, but i still function.  for that i am weirdly grateful.  now i know the difference between regular-i’m-human kind of hurt and trauma that cripples and maims because i’ve survived it.

so i sit here and force myself to write about feelings.  it helps to know that one of my heroes, Martha Beck, isn’t a party person either.  her post today reveals something i would have never suspected about such an successful and together woman as herself; she struggles with social anxiety.  wow. i would never in a million years judge her as less than because of this, yet continue to judge myself for needing solitude at this time in my life.

can i be grateful just to have learned this for today and begin to start knowing myself well enough to accept this? can i be grateful for the courage to write my words while stammering and awkward?

i continue the search for purpose behind the madness and gratitude where i’ve only known anger and fear.  this is why i left the house, this is why i can’t stay there and risk hurting my gentle husband. i have to be the inspiration i need right now. i say no to the party and yes to me.

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