Inhale…hold…2…3…

There is bubbling inside me

rising panic

calm pushing down

rising fear

serenity pushing down

and I am reminded of the breaths I forgot to take

as I rode the waves of birth

pushing

holding

pressing

rolling

squeezing

ripping

no air

no space

no end

until there was a scream.

But the first time

there was no scream

and I saved my breath

for round two

and only let it go

when I heard the second cry

the third time around.

How Are You?

How is she? 

They ask, everywhere I go.

Sometimes I answer.

It’s hard.  They’re trying something new.  We still don’t know.

And sometimes I don’t.

Fine, thank god.

They want to know news, they want to know progress…they want to know black and white.

I confide in some.

I deflect others.

Mostly, I seethe.

I know everyone means well.

I mean well sometimes too.

How is she?

But do you really want to know?

How is she?

I don’t know.

So tell me dear, dear sister.

How are you?

I bet it hurts.

I bet it’s really bad.

I bet you don’t even know how to explain it to me.

I bet you don’t even want to try.

I bet you want to close your eyes and wake up when it’s over.

I bet you want to travel back in time.

I bet you want me to stop asking you how the hell you are.

I’m fine.

You say it always.

And I wish I could answer you honestly.

You don’t have to be.

 

 

Betrayal

Betrayal feels like cold wool…

…a room without a door…

…a suspended wall…

…a secret said aloud.

Betrayal hurts like a nail…

…a throbbing sore…

…a twisted gut…

…a blinding light.

Betrayal happens when you let a sickness take control…when you think there is no choice…when you decide it’s easier to give up.

Betrayal happens when you sabotage a relationship…when you throw away real love…and replace it with pity.

Betrayal is a fleeting feeling…one that goes away as those who do not lie take a stand…and make it clear…that betrayal has no place here.

Saying goodbye to you is cleaning my life out…giving my heart a chance…to heal the wounds you open with your selfish cries…to get your manipulative words out of my head…so that when I think of you…you will no longer be my poor…sorry…sister…but the addict you are…living with the choices you made…and understanding that I do not have to keep on forgiving you.

I have lost a lot to drugs…but not you…you I lost to a lie.

Betrayal feels like a lie.

 

Tears

 

The words are piling up behind my eyes…

pushing past resistant eyelids…

spilling…

letter by letter…

down my cheeks…

where I angrily brush them aside.

I don’t want to write…

I don’t want to feel in text…

I don’t want to say the things my heart is dictating.

So I rub…

I destroy the words that must never be spoken…

the dreams…

the hopes…

the why….

the how…

the deafening shriek filling my mind…

the absolutely gut-wrenching pain I have no right to believe is mine.

I want to say…

that I cannot say…

anything at all.

 

Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?

It’s been over a month since I last wrote.  There was a post writing itself out in my head…but I didn’t have the heart to let it out.

I don’t know who reads this blog.  I don’t know who really cares what I write or how I write it…but sometimes I get the feeling that no matter how I say it, I am misunderstood by the one or two people in my life whose opinion of me actually matters.

So I haven’t written about this thing.

But I’ve been thinking it.

And now I have to veil it a little.

And hope you can take it for what it is and not write it off as my over-the-top emotional personality you think I have.

I’ve wondered….if I ever cross your mind…just because…and when I do…is it because you miss me…or love me…or think I matter.

And I wonder…why you can’t talk to me.

Why I make you feel so uncomfortable.

Why I have to even wonder about this at all.

I know I was stupid…and immature…and gave you hell…but I never hurt you the way you constantly hurt me…

I never stopped loving you.

I never stopped thinking of you.

And I would never dismiss you the way you dismiss me…the way you dismiss anything that touches a place in your heart that might actually make you vulnerable.

But guess what?

I can’t go anywhere.

So you’re going to have to learn…who I am…what I am…why I am…

And understand…that most of it…is because of you.

Those Three Words

Those three words
shooting off the screen
blazing a trail to my heart
to my guilt
to my torment.

Those three words
lifting me from my burden
sending my soul soaring
flying high
flying free.

Those three words
written to me
to my past
to my inner child
to my hidden self

Those three words
take me to a place
of gratitude
of contentment
of peace.

I forgive you
you wrote
and I can only reply
Thank you
because I know
you know
the thing about
those three words.

The Sadness Effect

“If I ever become a real artist I’ll make a series of sketches called Sad People.  All kinds of people – age, race, culture – will be represented with the common denominator being a sadness that jumps out at you.  Then I’ll have a gallery and people will come…it’ll be like a sad room…a place for people to feel their sadness.”

“Hmm…the sad room…so do you think there are more sad people than happy people?”

“For sure!  I mean, hopefully, everyone has felt happy and sad at some point in their lives…but sadness seems to me to be harder to express.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, let’s see…it seems like everything to do is for happy people.  Happy people go out, party, see a movie, go to a park…all things fun need to have happy people to use them.  A sad person isn’t going to have so much fun at a party unless they’re drunk, and then it’s not really so fun, and a movie to a sad person is just an escape…a restaurant means tasteless food or trying to fill a hole with food…and who wants to sit in the park with sadness?  So what I’m saying is that happiness is automatically validated by societal norms.  Happy people are productive people who know how to utilize their time in this world for work and play.”

“Ok, sounds interesting.  Now, what about the sad people?”

“I think – and this is totally me and my theories – I think that sad people never get their sadness validated and so it just sits inside and spirals…adding to more sad feelings and more spiraling…let’s call it the Sadness Effect.”

“Huh.  So being sad isn’t accepted.”

“I don’t think it’s not accepted – I mean everyone gets sad…it’s just that it’s not validated.  How many people can actually validate sadness for someone?  How do you do it?  From what I’ve seen and experienced with my own sadness, when I tell someone about it they either becomes sad with me or take a step back and leave me with a feeling that has nowhere to go but back inside to fester.”

“I see.  So how do you validate sadness?”

“I think you have to really listen.  Like, when someone says they’re sad, you have to let them know that you understand that they are sad.  You can’t try to make them happy or explain why it’s not worth being sad because then you are essentially telling them that the sad feeling has no right to be – totally invalidating the feeling, leading to another kind of sadness and loneliness as the person who is seeking validation realizes how totally misunderstood they are…it’s a terrible cycle.  And then, after too many times of getting their sadness thrown to the side, they don’t want to talk about it and try to pretend to be happy – however that may be – and then we get this whole ‘running after happiness’ trend that all started because no one ever said – ‘hey, you’re sad.  I get that.  Let’s sit with the sadness for a bit and try to understand it.’  Validating a feeling means giving it a right to exist on its own.  You can’t say ‘everyone feels sad’ or ‘it’ll pass’ cause that makes the feeling less unique.  You gotta say something along the lines of ‘I see that you’re sad.  I’m sorry you’re sad.  Let me know if or when you want to talk about it and I can do my best to be there for you.’  You know, like a kid wants validation for his sadness, he just comes for a hug.  You got to give verbal hugs out when you’re confronted by sadness.”

“So what about those people who get sad with you when you’re sad?”

“That’s the other kind of bad sadness conduct.  People can’t handle another person’s sadness as a separate person, so they use it to try to validate their own sadness, negating the original sadness and creating a neat little ‘let’s be sad together and feed each other sad pills’ scenario.”

“Isn’t that co-dependency?”

“For sure.  That’s why all these co-dependent relationships are all the rage.  You get to be sad together – gee, how fun.”

“This is all intriguing – go on.”

“Ok – so the answer to all the sad people is to teach everyone how to validate.  Then, you feel sad, you express, it’s validated, you move on and don’t sit in it forever and ever.  If everyone learned how to look past themselves and just allow other people to feel things and not take it on or step away, then the answer is solved.”

“How would you teach people to do that though?”

“Simple – if you’re the type of person who steps back, so push your instinct aside for a second and step forward.  If you’re the type of person who gets too involved, take a step back.  It’s just a small step, but it changes everything.”

“I like this.  I think you really got something here.”

“Well, anyway – back to my sad room.  I’m going to make sadness an outing.  All these happy people get to have fun…sad people are welcome to come to my gallery and cry.  It’ll be a sad party.  It’ll be fun.”

Instead

I don’t know what is churning, twisting and pulling inside me.

I don’t know why I feel a NEED.

I don’t know how to name it, claim it…own it.

I don’t know where to turn to release it.

But

I know that I don’t want whatever it is.

Because it makes me feel

not good enough

capable enough

motivated enough

to be

A Wife

A Mother

A Child of God

Who should be able

To just Be.

And so

I sit

with the churning

and try

to change it

to yearning

for something MORE

as opposed

to something

INSTEAD.

Heartbreaker

“IMMA!!! My lev (heart) is hurting!  Imma’le!  My feelings!”

She runs up the stairs, away from her best friend who had just ripped her heart apart.  I race up after her.  She is curled outside our door, tears streaming down her face from her swollen eyes.

My brave little girl looks up at me.  Her jaw sets a bit as she angrily swipes at her eyes.

“I”m not crying about that.  It’s just…I got…a boo boo.  When I came up the stairs.  That’s why I’m crying.  It’s not about that.”

And she grips my hand as we walk back down and out, past her ‘favorite friend in the whole wide world,’ the boy who doesn’t want to come to her birthday party because his friends make fun of him because he plays with a girl.

I comfort.

I console.

I sit quietly as she tell me how very much it hurts.

She wraps her fingers tightly around mine as she gives a little sob.  Her face clears and she looks at me calmly.

“Thank you Imma.  Thank you for making my heart feel better.”

And now I am sobbing…and my heart breaks…knowing….that one day…I will not be enough…to mend her broken heart…kiss away her pain…shield her from evil…give her safety and security…because…one day…my love…will not be…enough.

I wipe my tears and shake that last sob out as the strongest girls in the world snuggles up to me and says, “Imma, ze lo norah (it’s not so bad), if he wants to come, so he will.  If not, we can find another boy to invite.”

Image

That’s Me In The Corner

I clutch the bar of the stroller and rock it back and forth, even though the baby is scampering about the room.  The movement keeps my shaking hands hidden from view.  I feel the tension in my shoulders and neck.  The room begins to go out of focus.  There is a roar in my ear.  My heartbeat is picking up.  My pores open in a flood of sweat.  I need to get out of here. NOW.

One look across the room and my husband is at my side, herding me and the kids out the door into the sunlight.  I take deep breaths of the fresh air and wipe the tears off my eyes.  Slowly, steadily, we walk up the street and as we round the corner towards our house I feel my heart return to me.  I walk into my living room, flooded with natural lighting and listen to the hum of the refrigerator and relax.  Here, I am safe.

*

Most of the time I say I’m not so social.  It’s hard to explain how the sound of three or more voices competing to be heard turns into hi-dub chatters in my ear.  It’s hard to explain how different scents of perfume, food, and drink mix in my nostrils to create a sickening sensation in my stomach.  It’s hard to explain the assault my eyes experience when fluorescent lighting meets marble floors and columns.  And it’s impossible to explain how my heart drops when those sensations cause me to cower in the corner as you walk by and either pretend I’m not there, glance at me with discomfort, or worse, disdain.

My coping mechanism for the anxiety that is usually triggered by an overload on my senses is not to put myself in a position of unnecessary vulnerability.  It works for me.  I am happier staying at home, going to a less crowded park, only hosting small families and knowing when to say no.  I live within my boundaries not because I’m afraid but because there are some challenges in life that are not meant to be overcome.  Anxiety is a challenge that I work with and around.  It’s hard for me to go to parties.  I don’t go often.  If I have to attend a function, I take along my knowledge of who I am, my ability to know when I’ve reached my limit and the security I feel from those who care to understand me.

So the next time you see me in the corner, sweat glistening off my forehead, panic in my eyes, try a little tenderness or a small smile as you walk on by.

But don’t you dare judge me.