It’s easy to say I won’t cry
but I will.
And you knew that – you must know me too well, but still…
In denial, I thought it was all kept in hand.
My perception was off –
you must understand…
So I’m here in that place where
I swore not to be.
Waiting for you … seems you’ve left without me.
And my suitcase is full
with my baggage so heavy
thought I’d built up a dam – it was only a levee.
The water is deeper than my skills were prepared…
All this weight counterbalanced
is making me scared.
But this flood will recede
and you’ll do what you must…
Then I’ll quietly blow on away with the dust.
After serving my purpose, after serving my time.
I’m a figment of passion –
I’m the victim, the crime.
And your gaze moves past me
in this silence of space…
With no words I’m effectively
back in my place.
there is a secret language in my heart
… a tremulous pulse …
timid and tender as a soft first kiss
breath mingling, a shiver transposed
and if you follow the line
of my pale, fragile throat you might
read these syllables
as they beat in time
my lips are a tiny crescent moon
and the corners shine
this curve of shy emotion.
hiding all these questions and uncertainties
my eyes flutter shut as they
– a detour around –
the roiling turmoil within.
every little thing is pain ~
every doubt insurmountable
and i’m clinging to hopes that crumble and burn.
so could you be unafraid,
please come and meet me in this
where the timbre of your voice soothes me.
the refuge of your arms could be
a sanctuary – the safest place –
to share all that’s locked within.
you give me shelter
through this struggle and storm
as i memorize the planes of your face
in the warmth of all we have created
thankful – the remedy of all i seek
in your eyes
i pray you will not turn away
from these broken, bitter pieces
this damaged mess huddled before you.
close your eyes if you must
and find the real me
all these things I can’t articulate
– a secret language –
please read these words like braille
with your strong, capable hands
they cradle my heart.
Well, 2015 is in full swing and things around here are finally getting back into a sort of rhythm… of the somewhat random variety. We’ve been hermits for a couple of months while trying to get hubs back to full health, and although that is an ongoing journey we’re not going to give in to the negativity that keeps trying to weigh us down. We’ll continue to keep a positive attitude that healing will come. I put on my getting-down-to-business boots and mean to kick it in the butt if necessary; negativity breeds worry and fear, so they have no place in this house! Most of my schtuff came to a screeching halt after his accident so it’s strange trying to find my feet in a schedule that has been completely upended… Tomorrow is my first work-related outing in quite a bit and I’m looking forward to getting out and getting the year moving along. It should prove an interesting day since the Prez is making a state visit and will be in two of the exact areas I need to visit around the time I’ll be traveling there. Hmm. Having a couple of alternate routes will probably serve me well since I have NO idea what type of traffic control is planned to protect the motorcade. That being said, it will be an even further jolt out of this weird schedule complacency if I can’t take my usual route… so I’m gonna choose to see it as an opportunity for adventure!
After being away from the blog for so long I’ve also been weighing the pros and cons of taking a different route here. It was inevitable, I suppose, given the propensity to create resolutions in December and January. I’ve decided that ultimately the format will likely stay the same, at least for now. There are too many Pinterest projects to try my hand at and share on “Try It Out Tuesday”, so that will definitely remain in the mix. I also enjoy starting conversations with people about ME/CFS and the trials and challenges of dealing with that, so whenever it’s comfortable revealing that raw and vulnerable side I will visit those topics and share. Photography is also something that won’t be going anywhere… since that’s what I do. haha! The question for the new year is: How can I stick to the plan of writing each week, sharing what’s going on here to possibly inspire someone else, and be transparent and authentic about the struggle of life without abandoning the mission five or six months down the road? Not sure. Like any plan made at the start of a year, there’s always the possibility that those goals will drop off as the weeks go by… Guess the best thing at this point is silence my doubts, give it my best, stay motivated and healthy, and keep the “To-Do” list in a prominent place so I have a visual reminder to make time to share the journey!
What are your plans for the year? Do you have big dreams? Perhaps a bottomless Goodreads list of books like me? I’ve finished my first book of the year, but I don’t know if I’ll finish the other 49 I’ve promised myself. Do you have a craft project sitting in a box somewhere that hasn’t been touched in a month (or longer) because you lost the motivation or heart? Yep. Ask hubby and he’ll tell you I have quite a few unfinished art projects waiting for me to complete. Business plans? New recipes to try? Yes and yes! My list is all over the place for 2015, it would seem… But that’s part of the beauty of it all! There’s no purpose served by trying to set a limit to dreams. Dreams should be big … and usually a little scary. When something looks frightening it’s easy to put it off or give it up entirely – I get it! When you do, however, it’s an injustice to your growth and potential. Be fearless this year! Go out and climb the proverbial mountain you’ve been meaning to climb. Find something that will renew your passions and let it motivate you to achieve something amazing. Maybe even something that scares ya a bit…
There is a seemingly endless supply of quotes about overcoming fear and many of them are inspirational and true. I’m going to leave you with a couple of my favorites for you to think about as we move into the middle of the month. There’s still plenty of time to get your 2015 ‘To-Do’ list ready, so my challenge to you (and for me!) is this: Be fearless and make this year amazing!
Naked is all the rage. There are reality shows designed around the concept; all types of media using skin to sell everything from fast food to clothing; stores offering organic (naked) food options; social media feeds full of explicit, unadorned thoughts and opinions… Naked is the new black.
Naked makes me afraid. Not the “stripped bare with my hiney hanging out” kind of naked. (Although that is potentially frightening as well and something that no one wants to see!) No, I’m talking about the “stripped bare to show you a piece of my soul” naked. The kind that makes a person simultaneously proud they are brave enough to share a piece of themselves and ashamed of something they kept hidden in the first place. I have a lot of things that never see the light of day. Like many folks, there are a variety of reasons for stuffing these thoughts or transgressions into nooks and crannies. Sometimes it’s as simple as being unique and deciding not to speak out against the majority… Other times, a fleeting thought that is cruel or unflattering and would reveal a less kind and correct version of me. Underneath all the surface gunk, however, I think everyone has poisonous things secreted away hoping no one will ever see. Have you wondered what happens if too many of the darker thoughts end up suppressed? I was reading a Stephen King book one day when a metaphor regarding this scenario crystallized for me, so it’s only appropriate that I quote directly from the master himself.
“People’s minds, particularly the minds of children, are like wells – deep wells full of sweet water. And sometimes, when a particular thought is too unpleasant to bear, the person who has that thought will lock it into a heavy box and throw it into that well. He listens for the splash… and then the box is gone. Except it is not, of course. Not really. Flagg, being very old and very wise, as well as very wicked, knew that even the deepest well has a bottom, and just because a thing is out of sight doesn’t mean it is gone. It is still there, resting at the bottom. And he knew that the caskets those evil, frightening ideas are buried in may rot, and the nastiness inside may leak out after a while and poison the water… and when the well of the mind is badly poisoned, we call the result insanity.”
– Stephen King, The Eyes of the Dragon
I’m not insane… no mater how much darkness I might have tucked away. It seems fairly important that we establish that before going any further. Let me also stress that there is not any implication being made about you and your mind. Okey-dokey? Good deal.
Conceptually it’s pretty powerful though, huh? It is a kind of crazy to bottle up every. little. thing. Opening one of those caskets and baring it to another soul might be a freeing experience… but it also has the potential of being fraught with fear and anxiety. When held up to the light that stark lack of adornment is oftentimes ugly. Messy. Objectionable. So we squirrel it away – another splash in the well of the mind. We breathe a puff of a prayer on the dice and roll ’em in the hopes that our luck limit has not been exceeded and the water quality within is still pure. However, there is the toxicity of the ‘thing’. Certainly that poses an eventual problem, right? The process of weighting down each thought or transgression and sending it to Davy Jones’ Locker must be noxious in some way, so it can’t exactly be healthy for the well in the long run, correct?
I’m not proposing we drop all social pretenses and niceties and start spewing a verbal lava of angst and wicked unpleasantness upon anyone that looks at us the wrong way. Filters exist for a reason and can usually be employed with at least some success. What I am suggesting is that sometimes it’s okay to be vulnerable. To show a piece of something secreted away within because it isn’t spit-shined and polished until properly acceptable for all. Maybe you should consider keeping the truly heinous schtuff under wraps… seriously. However, not all of the things we drop in that well are necessarily “bad”. Sure, they’re not all nuggets of wisdom or pearls of truth, yadda-yadda-yadda… But it seems to me that perhaps there is a middle ground there. A place where we hide things we live in fear of someone knowing, but in truth, most people wouldn’t care about one way or another. Think of all the time and energy wasted on worries that should never take up that much space in the real estate of our minds and our hearts. Sometimes it is genuinely permissible to… *gulp*… be different! To take a deep breath and go against the grain. Disregard the trend. To sum up: Legitimately be … naked and afraid.
For the last year or so, I’ve been making a concentrated effort to downsize my baggage. Take a good look at the influences in my life and chuck the negativity. I have health issues that are incredibly exacerbated by stress so not only was it a necessary plan, it was also a welcome reprieve from some of the symptoms that had plagued me. The journey has been “bumpy”, if you’d like to minimize the effort. Weeds have grown up and tried to choke the path – potholes sometimes abound. Is it worth it to keep plodding along? Of course! Is every day a success? Not even remotely! Yet there is a triumph gained when things go according to plan. Triumphant days leave me lighter, freer, with more joy and less wasted space inside. So when I find myself clinging to worry or harboring stress and giving it a place to fester and grow, instead of packaging it up and dropping it in the well, I’m trying to set myself free. It doesn’t always come easily or without a price, but dragging those ugly, toxic thoughts out into the light and proving they will ultimately fail to poison me… well, winning that struggle often brings peace.
So I challenge you. Not to go out and hurt others by turning off your filter and saying whatever hateful things come to mind. Not to make yourself feel worse by admitting something private to an audience that will ridicule or hurt you. And definitely not to go out and literally get naked. lol! Instead, I challenge you to challenge yourself and your ideas about what makes you less of a person, or unattractive, or unlovable… Instead of unleashing that vitriol within, giving it power over you that it never should have had, pull it out into the light and examine it for what it really is. Find someone you trust and get naked by baring a bit of your soul and then pay it forward by allowing them to do the same. Without judgement. Without fear. To make things easier I’ll start:
This month I:
watched as a loved and lovely person from my family passed away and I was unable to make the journey to see them and say goodbye,
struggled with health issues and tried to be strong for my husband who had his own,
lost a job I loved and had only recently found, and I am having trouble finding closure and am heartbroken,
discovered that the job loss – after being laid off from the two jobs prior – has made me feel like a failure, and my self-worth is really struggling along,
judged people in my head and got upset when I found out someone had done the same to me, and,
missed my friends and family, yet didn’t have the strength and energy to be more of a participant in life, and didn’t know how to ask them to understand.
And, since I’m trying to encourage you to dig under the surface –
I began to achingly come to terms with the fact that my husband and I will never become parents despite my lifelong dream of having a house full of children of my own… While dealing with this staggering realization, I have also had to confront my jealousy, envy and grief over the numerous friends, acquaintances and family I know that are celebrating children of their own and still find a way to share their joy.
How’s that for a confessional?
It hurts to have all of that going on, I’m not gonna lie. But you know what’s even more difficult than going through it? Reliving it again and again because I’ve tucked it inside, hidden behind the mask, forced to watch it all on the loop I allow to play over and over in my head. It’s too much and I’m too tired. Who has room for all that negativity anyway? Life is too short and all that jazz. In the words of Dory, “Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!”
So are you up for it? It’s not a miracle cure and it’s not something everyone will find is easily implemented. All of the things I listed above are still present. Shining a light on them didn’t make them go away, nor does it take away the sting of knowing I won’t go to work tomorrow or find a plus sign on a pregnancy test next week. These things DO take time, you know. Is it scary? Making changes usually is. Will it be hard? I’m not going to lie and say it’ll be a breeze… The question you have to ask yourself is – will it be worth it…?
Life is messy. That’s just a universal truth! But you know what the great part is? There are showers for that kind of thing. And everyone knows you have to get naked before you can truly get clean…
Observations from an artist, photographer, and dreamer…