The Girl Who Would Be Silence

Silence. It was what she sought out purposefully with all of the intention of a jackhammer breaking apart concrete. It was elusive, however, just like Santa or the Tooth Fairy. She could not remember when this quest for silence began. When she was ten she thought to take a vow of silence, but of course her mother pointed out the impracticality of that idea. How would she be able to answer questions directed to her by her teacher? She would surely be singled out a disrespectful, or even worse, a weird child. And God forbid she fall into a raging river, what then? She would most certainly have to yell for help. Never mind the fact that the nearest river was 62.8 miles away from her house, arguing with her mother was about as futile as hitting a piñata with a pussy willow. After giving it some thought, she was able to resign herself to the death of her vow of silence knowing that it would make very little difference if she still had to listen to the chit and the chatter of everyone else.

All of the chatter and noise that surrounded her was like a hive of bees in her head, a hive that had been knocked down from a tree by a little boy wielding a very big stick. The bees were angry. The bees were loud. And the bees were always buzzing. They chased her thoughts with their stingers ready to strike, dripping not with honey, but with hostility. And so in an attempt to escape the belligerent buzzing of the bees and their eager stingers, she jumped into a lake deep within her mind. She retreated so far within herself that she became lost to those who knew her.

The water was frigid at first, until her muscles relaxed into it. She imagined this was what death was like, a complete and total surrender of flesh, but more importantly, a complete and total surrender of mind. So she adapted ways to remain anchored in this self-made lake. Rocking back and forth, whether sitting at her desk in school or riding in the backseat of her mother’s VW station wagon, the rhythmical rocking was hypnotic and helped to keep her mind still, so still in fact, that the bees could not see her. She was tethered to the bottom of the lake, fixedly floating like an aquatic field of Hydrilla. She could see the tiny specks buzzing above the surface of her lake, like some creation on an etch-a-sketch, searching futilely for her, but she was safe in her underwater sanctuary.

And so the hours turned into days, turning into weeks and months, and as it always happens years began to pass by. So many attempts were made to place a label upon her. Strange, shy, stupid, boring, freak…but the labels never made it to her. They stuck to the surface of her lake, floating like delicate white water Lilies, until the words bled from the paper and the ink turned into beautiful, colored swirls. They became her Aurora Borealis.

Here is My Panoply

Here is my panoply

derived from animosity

or more like your hostility

over my remarkable ability

to disregard civility

but only as it pertains to the insanity

of your idea of family.

Here is my panoply

born from your insincerity

or more like your disloyalty

to our state of conjugality

not only the physicality

but even more so the emotionality

destroyed by your lack of masculinity

and jaded by your falsity

forever changing my mentality.

Here is my panoply.

guard-your-heart

 

Panoply

 

 

Coming Soon: Under Construction

via Daily Prompt: Construct

Today is day one of, at minimum, thirty-day juice fast only it’s not so much a fast (there’s no way on God’s green, brown, or blue earth I’d ever willingly forgo coffee) as it is a desperate attempt to shed this post-divorce weight. And being that it is going on four years since my traumatic, excruciating divorce, I suppose it is somewhat delusional to still use that as an excuse. Yes, the violinists have packed up and gone home so it’s time to start singing a new tune.

How about this…

olivia-newton-john-physical-52701

…enter in leg warmers and really bad hair.

Though I am really hungry and am consciously trying not to eat my fingernails because you know toenails aren’t far behind that, day one is never the hardest. At least not for me. Usually the pain really sets in on day three.

dieting

For me that is the make or break day. I am in the tomb and want to be resurrected, want to leave the shadows of the small cave, and either I will stay committed to the diet and walk out into the fresh sunshine lighter, more confident and healthy or I will cave and forever remain in the dark, my flesh festering and slowly decaying.

I’ll take the sunshine thank you very much.

I am not too hard on myself for my current condition because the past five years were very difficult. Well, actually the last year has not been so bad. Food was once a comfort. During the long weekends when my children were gone I took solace in food. Lots and lots of food. I filled the emptiness inside with whole boxes of Whitman’s Samplers. I even ate the cherry cordials!

The extra weight also acted as a protectant against unwanted attention from men. Based on my relationship with my ex-husband and how I knowingly and willingly entered into an obviously dysfunctional marriage, I did not (and still to some degree) trust my judgement. I also have a terrible time saying no, so should I be approached by a man, with enough persistence, I’d most likely say yes to him. So yes, extra weight was a shield.

But  I realize the practice of comforting myself with pizza and chips and pasta and chocolate no longer acts as a comforter but has really become nothing more than a habit. I also would really rather not sacrifice my health because of men. And isn’t that peculiar? Once I wanted to be thin because of men and then I wanted to be fat because of men. I think it’s time to take the power away from men, the power that I have given them.

Yes I do.

I’ve done a lot of work these past five years. I am four years sober, I have gotten my long-desired degree, accepted my divorce, found gratitude for my divorce and have learned how to manage my inner demons. But my body…It’s kind of like I am all dressed up and ready to go out on the town. Hair is done. Nails are done. Dress is beautiful. Clutch is in hand. Only…the metaphorical car is broken down.

So here I go.

I am ready to construct. I am ready to construct a healthier me. I am ready to construct a more energetic me. I am ready to construct!

coming-soon

Sometimes I Feel an Echo

via Daily Prompt: Echo

Sometimes I hear an echo, only it is not quite a sound but rather a memory. Or perhaps a memory of a feeling. Like yesterday, when I saw him standing there and I felt a giddy sensation of possibility. The new and exciting feeling of “love” that I only remember feeling too many years ago. And it is though I have never felt that feeling before and it is all new and wonderful and filled with a mysterious magic. But I am no longer young and I have felt that feeling before with devastating results. The echo was lovely but now it’s gone and I am finding I am ok with that.

Sometimes I will watch a married couple and I will smile. I will remember the days when I too was married and how, even though there was so much unspoken misery, there was also times of unity. And an echo of that memory when I was not alone but a part of a team, however incomplete that team may have been, will swallow me up and for just one moment I will sigh with relief. But then I remember that I am alone and the only unity I can speak of now is the unity of all of the fractured parts of myself. Yes, the echo was lovely but now it’s gone and I am finding I am ok with that.

Sometimes I will see a commercial, like the Amazon one with the Dad who drops his son off at preschool and peeks through the window to see his son sitting desolate and alone while the other children play. And I will feel the echo of the days my oldest son, who is now nearly fourteen, was in Kindergarten and he was terrified of the boys bathroom and how it sounded as if the whole world would disappear whenever the toilette was flushed. Or I will see a mother in front of my children’s school with a baby and the chubby, fleshy thighs will stir an echo of a memory of my own children when they were just babes, and oh how my heart will swell. And an ache will accompany the memory because those days are gone forever. The echo was lovely but now it’s gone and I am finding I am ok with that.

There are constant echoes of past that sound at different times: days of playing kickball in the old neighborhood covered in dirt and grime and all the signs of childhood happiness, the first kiss that released the bevy of butterflies aching to be free, the roundness of my belly that swelled with life, the long walks with those babies through changing seasons…And the feelings reverberate within my heart as if I am standing on the edge of some great cliff overlooking the world and I am shouting out as loud as I can to the universe, to God,

Thank You.

Rearranging: Embracing Impermanence and Letting Go

I like to rearrange, change, reconstruct, and readjust.

I do it all the time.

Why in the past four years I’ve shaved my head bald twice.  I’m talking Buddha bald. Just. Like. That.

I gained eighty pounds, hiding my once thin frame which garnered me more than a few looks, with extra soft flesh. Just. Like. That.

The former blog I spent three years creating with love, sweat, and tears – the very thing which helped me get through my divorce – I deleted. Just. Like. That.

Love letters from my ex-husband that were my tether to possibility, two years worth of love letters I held onto as a drowning person does drift wood, thrown into the fire. Just. Like. That.

Pictures of that other life – complete with a mother and a father, a husband and a wife – I threw on top of the burning love letters. Just. Like. That.

I said goodbye to my children, the sole purpose of my existence, and sent them to another woman without creating guilt or conflict within them (by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done). Not quite “Just. Like. That.” but close enough.

When I rearrange I let go and letting go is the way I stay sane, the way I remember who I am. My identity is not attached to my hair, my weight, my role as wife, or my role as mother.

I was not always good at rearranging and able to embrace the changing. Before my divorce my identity was attached to material things (house, husband, children, hair, body) or ideas related to material things (middle class, wife, mother, beautiful). But when my ex-husband left all of that disappeared. Just. Like. That.

I found myself teetering on insanity no longer knowing who I was. Nights I would spend lying next to my two-year-old daughter as she slept blissfully, reciting my name over and over in the quiet darkness, terrified I would fall into the abyss of nothingness.

It took years but, by the grace of God, I managed to inch away from the edge and find solid ground to stand on, only now the solid ground or foundation is found not on the outside in impermanent material things or ideas, but it is found within me.

So that I never forget, I continue to make myself rearrange things. Whether it is something as minor as the dishes in the kitchen cabinets or something a little more meaningful like donating baby clothes I held onto for my future grandchildren (future grandchildren that are not guaranteed), I purposefully and intentionally let go.

It reminds me of the Buddhist sand mandala. Days of painstaking creation ending with a breathtaking piece of art only to be dismantled. Why? To remind us of the transitory nature of life and the impermanence of material things and ideas.

As the trees can testify, with their leaves falling once more to blanket the earth with color, it is a good thing to remember.

“Wisdom, Happiness, and Courage are not waiting somewhere out beyond sight at the end of a straight line; they’re part of a continuous cycle that begins right here. They’re not only the ending, but the beginning as well.”
Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

Ghost

There are different corridors in my mind, winding round, over, under, near and far, steps leading to steps that abruptly fall away to nothing. It’s something to walk these halls followed by and following the echoes of my footsteps like mischievous sprites leading me astray.

Each corridor is different as if it were some bizarre cubist masterpiece, deconstructed and reconstructed until it no longer resembles me and resembles only me. What is this now? My nose is my eye and my eyes are my mouth squinting into a smile, salivating or crying, while my lips are pursed as an ear. My ear? My darling little ear with darling little teeth. He was once in love with my ears but they would bite his kisses now and spit them to the ground.

Sour kisses.

Bitter taste.

No more of him. He is nothing but ashes in the corridor eternally ravaged by flames.

There is another corridor far away, must be a day and a life’s journey to reach. The walls are painted white, a pure, guiltless white. My fingers caress in a line, sighing and moaning, as I walk the length. The floor is covered with grass, new grass with an unheard of shade of green.

What color were his eyes? Hazel? Blue? I never knew. His skin was soft, though I never touched, never felt. But I could tell. I am a mother and mothers can always tell.

Oh that I could have touched. Would I have touched? Descended the stair? Tasted the peach? No. Fingers tremble at the thought and hide themselves away with their sighs and their moans, away.

I come upon a hole drilled into the wall by a very ambitious carpenter bee and I know by the honey dripping from the hole this is the spot. I lean my body into the wall, my breasts against an invisible chest, palms flat against the smooth surface, and I look inside.

There he is, that one I never knew with eyes of hazel or blue. I see him standing there, sitting there, walking back and forth. I only ever knew him in a box. Four walls, a ceiling, and a floor. And of course there was always the door. Saying goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

Always saying goodbye.

He is ethereal, intangible, becoming a ghost. The details, the words, the memories like smoke. But the essence still remains. The essence of him, of me, of an us that never was and never will be.

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

Always goodbye.

Daily Post: Ghost