May 31, 2010

memorial day

Well, here we are at the last day of May. This month seemed to stretch and stretch before me, and now it's finally over. With all the grown-up kinds of things I've been doing and still need to get done, I somehow have been able to reconnect with the part of me that has forever been five years old. These days I see everything first through those eyes, and then through my current ones. It is disorienting, to say the least; but I am integrating more and more, and that is good.

Memorial Day was established primarily as a day to pray for peace. We remember the battles, but we don't wish for them. We only fight so that we won't need to fight anymore. Today I remember my battles. I grieve my wounded. I mourn the lost years and the pain. I have fought, and I keep fighting; but I hope that one day I won't have to fight anymore.

I pray for peace. I pray for peace. I pray for peace.

at home, in the dark

I was only ever just another one of my parents' things. I had no voice. I had no armor. Even my accomplishments somehow belonged to them. One more thing. One more item collecting mildew, keeping company with spiders and dust.

They got to me -- how could they not? I was soft in so many places. But my mind stayed intact, somehow. Saved, perhaps, by the protective shield of my skull, the one thing strong enough to keep them out. I knew what they did to me was wrong. That their choices were hurtful and erratic, that none of it made any sense. I knew that I never wanted to be like them, never, never, never.

I remember the dank dinginess of our apartment, the crowded corners and the early darkness. I remember shutting down the moment I walked in the door. I remember trying to gauge the moods of the grownups around me. Would the descending hand deliver a carress or a smack? Would there be absentmided tenderness or focused violence? The harm went so deep. Even my skin was disregarded as a barrier. Where did they end, and where did I begin? I turned off my senses. I told my body not to care. And then, when I got hugs or other normal touches from people, I hardly felt those either, even if I wanted to.

They broke me, entered me, stole from me. Left a trail of dirt and ashes and shrapnel in their wake. Kept me stored in the dark with their other loot, waiting, always waiting. Waiting for them to notice how much they were hurting me. Waiting for the apology that never came, that has still not come.

May 30, 2010


Creativity is a road out of misery.
--Stephen King

May 29, 2010

in open fields of wild flowers,
she breathes the air and flies away

This is my happy place. A place I always hoped really existed somewhere. Wide-open, safe, bright, warm. Soft grass underfoot, soft petals that slip quietly through brushing fingers. There is room for me. There is time. I can breathe. My mom isn't here. Nobody is here. Nobody needs me. I don't need anybody. I'm not hungry. I'm not thirsty. I'm not embarrassed. I'm not hollow. I don't know where I am; but I'm not lost. I don't know what will happen next; but I'm not scared. Maybe I'm pretty, or maybe I'm not; all I know is that it makes no difference to the flowers, to the sun.

Light pools in my belly. I feel like I'm breathing through every inch of my skin. I feel safe. I feel free. For a few minutes, for an hour, for eternity -- I feel like I'm alive.

to be comfortably alone

It's never the loneliness that nibbles away at a person's insides, but not having room inside themselves to be comfortably alone.

Rachel Sontag, House Rules: A Memoir

May 27, 2010


This month's posts have been so disjointed! The perfectionist in me is apalled. I am tempted to go back through, to weed out either the blatantly cheerful or the overly depressing, to even it all out a bit. But I won't.

I won't because the story wouldn't be True, then. And anyway, who am I trying to kid? I want this to be an accurate record. I want to be able to come back to these posts in a few years, and see how far I (hopefully) have come. So I can't fudge the details. I won't pretend it's not hard anymore, but I also refuse to give up the cute things the kids said, the songs and words and pictures that made me smile or even laugh, just to feign some kind of melancholy writer's dignity.

This is simply what my life was like this month: It rained a lot, but sometimes -- sometimes the rain had sparkles in it.

May 26, 2010

dinner conversation

"If I had a horse, I would call it... Taxi. Then I would go to the field and yell, 'TAXI! HERE, TAXI!!' And I would ride it, 'cause, you know, you ride a taxi." --Cissa

May 25, 2010

I can do ANYTHING good!

I love this. What a great little example she is!
discovered via {bits of beauty}

May 24, 2010


It's been a really hard day. With all the good things about to happen, I can't stop thinking about how bad things used to be. On the cusp of change, I feel paralyzed. The negativity is suffocating me; it's like breathing mud. I don't want to be this way! But trying to think differently today seems as possible as trying to stop the sun from setting or the wind from blowing. Every time I counter a negative thought with a positive one, another negative thought is there to take it's place. I ran out of positivity by 9:30am. Only sheer force of will is keeping me out of bed right now. Well, that, and the promise of ice cream if I stay up a little later.

I wish this day would just be over! I'm pressing through, but I feel so tired. And crazy. I feel crazy for feeling so many different emotions at the same time, and probably also a little because of talking about crazy people and their crazy-making behaviors lately. I am so very tired of the crazy. I want it to just go away.

May 23, 2010


My blog is one year old today! Neat.

If it seems like I've been all over the board lately, that's because it's true. I have been up, down, and all around. There is so much going on, inside and outside of me. Thanks for sticking with me. Thanks for showing up. Thanks for caring. These words and pictures really are my insides, out. Sometimes it's funny, and sometimes it's tragic. Sometimes it's pretty, and sometimes it's decidedly not. Sometimes it's all of those things on the same day.

But it's me. It's me every time.
And I am so grateful to have this place to call my own.

May 22, 2010

right and left

I've been avoiding this for days.

Why won't you listen to me?
No one ever wants to listen to me.

I'm scared. I'm scared of you. I still think of you like some horror movie child, abandoned wrongfully in the dark years ago, filled with fear and rage and hate, turned to seething violence. I don't know what you'll say, what you'll do if I let you out.

That is so unfair.

I know--

No! You don't. You don't know. You still think it's true.
When have I ever been violent? When?

Never. You're right. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry I believed that. That I still believe it.
Tell me more. I want to hear you.
I'm listening. Talk to me.

I have been waiting for a very long time. You left me, and I waited here for you. I never gave up. I never gave in to the badness all around. Somehow I never changed. I stayed good. I stayed good. I tried to tell you. I waited and waited. You didn't hear. You didn't (couldn't? I can give you that) believe. But it doesn't matter. I'm still here. I'm still you. It's just later now. You will have your joy. Let me out. Let me be. I never left. I won't leave. I am the happy girl.I always.was. I didn't leave. I stayed. I started good and I didn't change. I stayed the same. I wasn't changed by what happened. I couldn't be changed.

I am good. I was always good.

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
Sorry I didn't listen. Sorry I assumed that I knew who you were. Sorry that I, of all people, treated you like everyone else treated me. I thought I knew. I didn't see how it could be any other way.

I get it. I know what you thought. I was there. I've been there all along. It was dark, and scary, and lonely. But it didn't change me. I stayed the same. I am so much stronger than you think.

The badness couldn't touch me. I am still good. I am still here. Let me out. (I'm scared too, see?) But that's okay. It doesn't matter. We can do it scared.

May 21, 2010

quote of the day

"It's like... cheerful ants running around on rainbows.
That's how weird it is." --Caleb

May 19, 2010

the innocents

My mind has been eaten up these days with memories and thoughts about abuse. My own ghastly story, and the stories of other women that I know. It is too common. It makes me feel so many things at once that I have trouble picking out the emotions in singularity. Rage. Disgust. Shame. Shock. Fear. Despair. Pain.

A desire for oblivion. To not-know. To un-know.
To never have known.

I know few innocents, left untouched. But I would do anything in my power to see to it that they remain innocent, remain untouched. Never know what I know, they way that I know it. I suppose they might know of it, eventually. The suffering, and the aftermath. They might.


I ache. I ache for myself and for all of the women who once were innocent little girls, who have been lied to, taken advantage of, violated, used up, cast aside, thrown away. The women who thought they deserved it, or thought that there was nothing else in life for them. The ones who wondered why, but didn't ask. The ones who pretended it had never happened at all.

Their stories hit me in a place that is still raw.

I am overwhelmed with a desire to help, to fix it, to soothe. For myself as much as anyone. But all I can do is be. Be here. And in being here, testify that each of us is the author of our own life. That we can take the pen from the hand of anyone who stole it (or tried to steal it) from us, and make marks that may wobble or slant at first, but will gain, over time, sureness and clarity.

I am still here. And you're here, too. Thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing. Remembering. There were people in my life before; people who did what they could to destroy me.

But I am still here. They are gone, and I am still here.

Ruach Elohim

A breeze glides across my pillow, caresses my face like a cupped palm, the fingers gentle and cool against my hotly flushed cheek.

Hush, hush, it whispers. Hush, now. Sleep.

And I think, sadly, faintly, as it lingers near the foot of my bed: The wind is a better mother than mine ever was.


Later I think, still faintly, but wonderingly, too: Of course it is. Spirit, breath, wind. All the same. Ruach. It is hovering over me.

And I am not so sad anymore.

May 18, 2010

life is too short

photo via the lovely mackin ink

I find this very calming, somehow.

May 17, 2010

in case you were wondering

picture via

Oh man, I am feeling sooo cranky. Don't take it personally, okay? Anyway, if you're reading this, I'm probably not mad at you. Because you are lovely, and kind, and have put up with my maundering all this time. So it's not you. I swear.

May 13, 2010

917 miles away

Holy shit, I'm moving to California! Finally and for real. I have a plane ticket lined up and everything.

And I can only succeed, because the people I have in my life now won't stand for anything else. Which is the most terrifying part of it. All this support; it's freaking me out. I fear I may turn to water, involuntarily, and slip right through their helping hands. I only know how to respond to the bad; I have no idea what to do when good things happen.

Still. I feel like I've come full circle on an eight year detour, and I'm back at the point where I was when I first graduated, and everything is possible, and I've got time. I've got time!

I never thought I'd feel that way again.

May 12, 2010


Last night I dreamed I went into a room, and my family was there. As I walked in I thought I saw a big spider run to a corner and hide, but when I said something about it, everyone acted like I was crazy.

"Don't be silly," they laughed. "We haven't seen any spiders. How would a spider even get in here? There's no way."

And I said, "Are you serious? There are a hundred ways a spider could get in here! And I'm pretty sure I saw one."

But no one would listen, so I sat on the couch, disgruntled for awhile, until I forgot about it. A little later, a new person walked into the room, someone who wasn't part of my family, and started shreiking. "Spider! A spider!"

I looked up then and saw a gigantic spider hanging from a web in the corner. It had a big body and long skinny legs and tiger stripes, and it was terrifying. And I stood up and yelled, "OH MY GOD! I TOLD YOU THERE WAS A SPIDER!"

the cruel, dark tricks of time

The terror and hurt in my story happened because when I was young I thought others were the authors of my fortune or misfortune; I did not know that a person could hold up a wall made of imaginary bricks and mortar against the horrors and the cruel, dark tricks of time that assail us, and be the author therefore of themselves.

Sebastian Barry, The Secret Scripture

May 11, 2010


-move to California
-get a job
-meet new people
-work in the same place for 2 years in a row
-gain residency status
-go back to school
-get on with my life

May 10, 2010

Can you believe it?

For the first time in my life, I have a plan. A feasible, realistic, grow-up kind of plan. I am committed to it, whatever the personal cost. And I realized, suddenly, why I've never done this before. I didn't make plans because I didn't think I'd live to see them through. I was pretty sure I'd be dead by now.

There was no need to think of suicide, because the world was sure to kill me soon enough. Each trauma I went through was more violent and soul-shattering than the last. Surely the next would bring about my inevitable demise.


While I was driving I would often take a mental inventory of my finances and possessions, thinking: if today is the day, what will my friends and family have to deal with?

Sometimes, especially on the freeway, I would feel the urge to drive into the median at full speed. Just so I wouldn't have to wait anymore. It was the waiting that made me crazy. How was it going to happen? Who would come after me, this time? A car crash sounded preferable to being violated again.

Bridges, too, seemed a likely place for someone to run me off the road. I could see it, like a movie in slow motion, and my face peaceful, because at last I knew what was going to kill me, and thank goodness it didn't involve an alley or a gun. To anyone who has driven with me across a narrow bridge, or in the lane that runs next to a concrete wall or a median: now you know why I wanted to close my eyes.


I threw myself a party when I turned 25, not just because it's a recognized milestone, but because it's one I never thought I'd reach. I crept toward the date on the calendar confused, frightened, astonished. I joked about it, with my friends -- my dear, oblivious friends. I poked fun at my own clumsiness, my sensitivity, my allergies. Can you believe I'm still here?! Can you believe it?

But there were darker voices muttering in my head, and if my friends knew then what they know now, I'd have let myself cry instead of laughing that night. Can you believe I'm still here?! Can you believe it?

like a river flows

which one, which one

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantine and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above those figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which fig to choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

May 9, 2010

hallmark would be appalled

I’ve never really believed in made-up hallmark “holidays” like Mother’s Day, but it’s hard to ignore, when everyone else is participating. I always felt the pressure. Always dug deep, and thought up some flowery but ultimately meaningless drivel to write in a card, in an attempt to stave off the guilt trip. Handing it over with a gift and a smile; it was nearly as bad a farce as Father's Day each year.

But I’ve decided to forget what it used to mean to me, and reclaim the day for myself, and for all of the women in my life who are really awesome mothers.

It feels good to be free!

May 5, 2010

my heart hurts

But it's become a good hurt, in a way.
Familiar, at least.

Mother-love doesn't just go away, even when the object of it has.

as much as one can possibly want

“Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold.”

― Judith Olney

May 4, 2010

this photo

...makes me think of heaven.

via weheartit

May 2, 2010


My thoughts are running rampant tonight, weaving in and out of my stories with no regard for plotlines or margins. Coralie and Calliana. Bryton and Byrd. They seem to think they're interchangable, of a sudden. And me in the middle of it all, captive, like the baby in the briars -- an image I haven't been able to get out of my head all day. The more I struggle, the more caught up in it I am.

May 1, 2010

push pull

I tiptoe toward the page, and then shrink back again. For I pour my heart into these stories, and I'm afraid I won't know when I am about to empty myself completely, left with nothing but echoes and air. It's a frightening prospect. I wonder too, which story will be my magic mirror. The one that, when I look, will tell me I'm no longer the fairest in the land.


by Clarence Edwin Flynn
There is more light than shadow;
There are more smiles than cares;
More grass grows on the meadow
Than brambles, weeds, and tares.

There is more song than weeping;
There is more sun than rain;
There is more golden reaping
Than lost and blighted grain.

There is more peace than terror;
There is more hope than fear;
There is more truth than error;
More rights than wrongs appear.

On the long road to glory
We climb more than we fall;
And by and large the story
Comes out right after all.

I needed something hopeful to follow that last post. It is May Day, after all.