My Inner Child is a Stubborn Little Bitch

Well, she’s not really a little bitch, but she is pretty damn stubborn.  Most days, I adore that little girl with her you-have-to-wash-them-out-cause-you-can’t-brush-them-out curls.  But, she led me down a treacherous trail to a marriage to an abusive and narcissistic psychopath because he made it okay for me to be angry and she needed that.  She now leads me around to date after date looking only to realize her little girl fantasies because she needs them to live outside my mind.  It isn’t her fault completely.  She’s just a little girl whose unmet needs and unresolved anger shaped me and nearly allowed my assured ruin.

She missed out on the family life she wanted, the one she felt she had a claim to.  Maybe, she did have a right to an expectation of a healthy and intact family life, but she didn’t get it.  Certainly, not in the package she wanted.  So, there it is…she missed out and someone was going to get her what she wants – that someone became me.

As a consequence of my unsettled anger, I made choices and sometimes fell into situations I do not believe I would have if my extreme emotions had been explored and set free.  But, no one was watching my downward spiral.  No one understood or even saw the effects of their actions on me.  So, I coped as most children did in the 70s and 80s before therapy was commonplace, alone and on my own – just being and not progressing through the damage and grief ensuing from my real and perceived abandonment due to my parents’ divorce.

Not being shown how to work through my pain in a safe and honest place, I became ripe prey for someone who knew how to influence a person tethered to her daddy issues.  He made it acceptable for me to have anger.  He did not help me through it of course.  That wasn’t his game plan.  Instead, he acknowledged it, which is all I ever wanted, but then he used it to exploit and manipulate me into believing he was all I would ever have and at least he wasn’t leaving so take what I could get.  He used my unreconciled past, among other things, to fence in the best of me.  And I existed and endured in that psychological prison for 21 years.

Since I put my freedom back on several years ago, the little one inside has brought up those unfulfilled desires.  She says, “Here’s my chance.  That maniac is gone.  Now, I can get what I’ve been waiting for all this time.  Let’s do it!”

But, she only looks out for herself.  I’m a means to an end for her.  She has all the gritty strength of mind and floods with optimism at the end of a select few of these dates while I get all the sorrow and disenchantment when things do not go according to her plans.  She’s – well, she’s a child.

I’m not angry at her, though.  I love her.  I really love her.  I know her pain.  I feel her pain.  Her pain is mine.  But, it’s in the past.  It’s not part of my present.  For me, it’s done.  For her, that’s all there is.

So, tonight, I will let her climb into the lap of my mind and I’ll hold her and stroke those stubborn curls as I try to persuade her though I may never be able to give her that which she believes she needs to be whole, she will never – not ever – be alone again.  And, maybe – just maybe – we can be whole together.

 

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The Cost of Authenticity

When I come here to this blog and write what I write, I purposefully place a shimmer of my soul in every sentence…the rhythm of my heart rests inside the construction of each poem,  the weight of who I am makes the call between an ellipsis and a dash.  Simply put, I have never posted anything here without forethought.  I readily strip myself down to the undressed essence of all that I am and  I do it with enthusiasm like I have never known before.  I do it because I feel safe here.

On Thursday, September 11, I almost decided not to do that anymore.  Someone dear to me took me to task on something I wrote called, I Used to Be, and suddenly this place, my blog, did not feel safe to me.

I hold nothing back here and I enjoy that freedom.  As someone who was caged for so many years, unable to be me…here, in this place…I am always totally an unhindered, authentic me.  On Thursday, I wondered if I had made a mistake.  I wondered if I was enjoying my liberation too much.   After all, who shares everything in a public place like a blog and feels safe doing it?  Ha…me.  I do.

I share myself here because I can…because I choose to…because it’s important.  I invite you into my space and you either walk in and look around or walk on by without a glance.  The choice is yours.  However, I was cautioned that the above-mentioned post could lead others astray and that I should be careful what I say.  Well, I can’t do that.  I can’t be careful of what I say because to censor myself, to pretend my life is something it isn’t would be death to my creative spirit…death to everything I battled to become me.  I refuse to do that.  And, if I did, what would I write about?  Nothing that matters to me.  Nothing that anyone would choose to read.

I am an evolving person.  And there are those who will not like the changes in me and that’s okay.  I am really okay with that.  But that will not affect my freedom to share the stories and poems of my life here in the bare bones honest way I have from day one.  Literally, day one.  I am not trying to change anyone else anywhere at any time.  I respect your path… whatever it is.  I seek only to share my path with those who care to know about it.

I will be writing about this journey I am walking and I will delve deeper than I did in I Used to Be.  It will be a personal account as is everything I have ever written here…personal not proselytizing…just personal.   I will do this because I can…because I choose to…because it’s important.

Complete

Oh, how I’ve missed you

I hear myself marvel, then say

She breathes her understanding

And takes my hand in hers

 

It was lonely without you

I hear myself reflect, then voice

She nods in accord

And strokes my hand in hers

 

Oh, how I wondered if you’d ever return

I hear myself consider, then admit

She shrugs off shared fear

And embraces my hand in hers

 

It was a lost time without you

I hear myself mourn, then confide

She silences my moan

And puts her hand

My hand

To our face

And says

I was always here

you only had to choose to see

I turn from the mirror

And walk back into the world

Complete once again

My Mouth Beneath the Hand

It was you

giving me voice

on nights so aphotic…

nights when even

the moon sidestepped

behind the dust of a cloud…

awakening to my lips

awkwardly pressed

against my teeth

beneath his hand

and then my own

his

and then

mine

Words…

your

only for me

all mine

gift…

speaking all the way

past the extravagant shame

through

written words rubbed raw

with my pain

finally

speaking with no regard for

the rules of his game…

would have seen me

hung between swinging sheets

tossed across a lace balcony

swaying against the

glowing moans of a

stunned quarter-moon

my foot naked

sighing clues

in the water below…

why water?

there’s always water

it follows me…

but I couldn’t be pushed…

so instead I skip

along the balcony rails

swimmingly on tiptoe

Heaven’s breath siring the sheets

to new life all around me

I hear my name

in the silence resting

between the rustles…

the calypso waves of

water clapping below

shouting new words to

every step I land

against the waiting iron

ever waiting…

did I really ever doubt?…

gone is the hand across my mouth

when I awake

gone is the silencer to my voice

his

and then

mine

I lay my heart on a word

and it lifts me away

I brush against the moon

as I sail by

and I laugh

because it tickles…

tickles my very soul

A Daddy, Too

Just a regular day at the bank with JG until the bank lady traveled down a seemingly innocuous road of questions.

Upon hearing that JG was the only girl of the family and the youngest, the bank teller asked, “Do you like being the only girl?”

JG replied softly, “No, I always want a sister…and a Daddy, too.”

My first instinct was to shush her. But is that really my first instinct? Or is it my conditioned response after a lifetime of accepting that feelings are to be kept quietly hidden, neatly tucked away?

She, in that moment, simply stated what was in her heart. Her heaviest desire came spilling out of her with ease from a mind not yet conditioned to be embarrassed by what the heart feels. Would I rather her share it or stuff it? Perhaps in the sharing, it lost some of its sting in her mind. Perhaps in the sharing, it lost some of its grip around her sweet heart. Perhaps in the stuffing, I am blocking coolness from touching the hot spot of need that sometimes scorches many parts of who she is.

I, in that moment, wanted her to stuff it. But, why? Because of what the bank lady would think? No, that’s not it. I wanted her to stuff it because I could do nothing about it. I don’t want her to have needs and desires I cannot find a way to fulfill. I don’t want her to have pains and hurts I cannot find a way to fix. I wanted her to stuff it because that is what I had always done. Stuffing is familiar and gives me a false sense of wellness. I think I wanted that false sense of wellness for her, too.

I, in this moment, recognize that to want her to pretend to feel something she doesn’t for the sake of my own comfort is one of the most selfish emotions I have ever dipped into and wallowed around in. I love the simplicity with which she stated her most painful, unmet desire… the desire for the authentic love of and relationship with a man she can call Daddy. I applaud her for still being in that free place where life is what it is and she is not afraid to say so. I hope I never help to condition her mind that she is wrong in her freedom to speak what is in her heart to speak.

I hope one day she reads this and sees what a brave little girl she was and how much she helped me to grow into a mother that she can rely on, trust in…one that will only help her be who she is and not warp her into someone neither of us will recognize.

So, if she needs to share, I won’t force her to stuff it. If her desire overflows out of her grieving heart and she needs to speak it, I won’t teach her to feel embarrassed. If she feels the freedom to give voice to her lack, I will not force her to wear a cloak of false wellness. Today, and hopefully every day, I will shush the part of me that wants to shush her.

What Makes You Smile

Yes, what breaks your heart

crushes mine

your groans make me ache

your tears make my face wet

miles and fears apart

and yes…

what makes you smile

makes me laugh out loud

 

Yes, your grief cuts my breath in quarters

shiny, spinning quarters

black, unmoving quarters

your unanswered questions make me want to

swallow the knowledge of the ages

so I can give it to you in my breath

and yes…

what makes you smile

makes me laugh out loud

 

Because you are my gift out of what can be

a cold and lonely world…

you make my world warm

you lighten my steps

you free me and put fire in my eyes

because…

what makes you smile

makes me laugh out loud

 

Not because I’m an extension of you…

I am all me…

Not because you are my other half…

you aren’t…

not because you are my better half…

you could never be…

it’s because…

what makes you smile

makes me laugh out loud

 

I know you wonder

when my words will

rouse from

rapturous yearnings

to roses are red yawns

like you know they will…

I know they won’t…

the best poem

I have ever written

is found in every

present moment with you

and I revel and slink

only the way I can

along every line

because life has taught

me what it means…

so I join my wholeness

to your wholeness

and together we are more

spirited

psychedelic

stunning

than when alone…

now do what you do…

smile…

so I can laugh out loud

 

 

What Journey Awaits

He is here every day. But today…today, He is here. Sitting at my desk working, having just watched the first half of The Shift by Dr. Wayne Dyer, and suddenly He was here stroking my remembrances of our most momentous moments together until tears flooded my face and all I could do was proclaim over and over, You are amazing… God, You are amazing.

 

He is about to take me on a journey. This is not our first. Our journeys in the past have always been exhilarating and in my face, undeniably real, impenetrable by doubt. He is extending another journey to me. I accepted, saying, take me, show me, teach me. That is what I said aloud to Him. He heard it in my spirit before I ever spoke a word. He knew before I was born this day would come, today would come. This most important journey yet would come and that He would find me willing and…hungry.

 

I do not know where it will lead, but I never have before. It is not mine to know, but only mine to be open and allow. It is in the allowing that I will find the answers that He has for me, that He has held for me until this day when He knew I would say, Yes, Lord, let’s go. He has just the right amount of understanding waiting for me, willing me to grasp it and let it take hold of all of me. From journey to journey, I will go when He calls. Because He only calls me when the time is perfect…

Two Photographs Kept

42 days

crossing far

crossing long

through 25 years…

a photograph

no, 2

kept…

faded

liquid love lines

dress the flip side

dripping

sweet

vernal

emotions

not understood

by one

or the other…

friendships come

and some sail on…

but connection…

connection throws

out the anchor

so that it sets

deeply in the

sands of time

even with only

42 days

stretched

over 25 years…

2 photographs

kept…

Joseph and His Grace

You asked

and she answered

as you hoped she would

as you probably knew she would

You were a catch

she was a prize

unlike any other

and together you made beautiful sense

all your own

 

She was as fiery

as her favorite-colored pepper

you, ever cucumber cool

you were her rock

she was the ledge

you hung your hope on

and together you made beautiful colors

all your own

 

On your 75th year

you and I

we danced together

you whispered in my ear

beneath the music

“I miss her so much”

my eyes stung with

just enough understanding

I whispered back to you

beneath the music

“She’s here…she’s here”

and together you made beautiful steps

all your own

 

You breathed your last

surrounded by love

I held onto your arm

praying aloud over you

with a strength foreign to me

I told you to go to her

I said she was waiting

and you did

because together you make beautiful sense

never again to be alone

The Uncaged Butterfly

My heart is soggy

with your guilt

tries to keep me caged

in your metallic hate

But I am made of a

mettle you cannot

understand

for to understand

what I have within

you must have

a bit of your own

but you are a ghost

without the courage

to say beux…

did you hear me?

you are a ghost…

my spirit free as the

uncaged butterfly

that wandered in my soul

waiting for the air to

rush it away

push it away…

hush it all away…

gliding above the place

where I was

too afraid to be afraid

gliding to the place

where I am

too me to be anything else