Narrator: RealMe. Little Me needs to step away for a good long while. I am by the North Sea where I have spent several special occasions in this very old gatekeeper’s cottage; it’s familiarity soothes something deep within me, a place so primal and eternal that I feel reintroduced to my own heart, my dogged determination and please bare with me when I whisper to you my secret idealisation, a very old soul called ME. From my bed with floral bed curtains in green, muted red and golden hints I sit carefully propped up to convalesce both my body and my mind. I look out of the iron crossed windows, down to marshy meadows where the inlets water is smooth; no winds have begun to blow which I often enjoy as they give me a natural resource to recharge my vitality . Tuesday I fell in the bathroom in my beloved 1700’s farmhouse injuring three ribs and spent the better part of two days in hospital and Doctor’s appointments. This has occurred one week short of my flight to the best CRPS, that is Chronic Repetitive Pain Syndrome, rehabilitation hospital in Sweden. I have had fear of how I’ll manage with my additional pain and travel with out conflict, yet when I woke this morning to the foggy gray skies, the solitude of the sea and the ease of no no frustrations a wisp of hope wrapped around me like the arms of an old friend and gently said, ” you can do this”. It is true, I can and I will. This special cottage is strong, durable and has seen centuries of storms. The spirits here unite and gather around me and lift my head up, warm my heart that was growing bitter and sway me so gently that I know I can control Little Me and face the new year with hopefulness. So, to you my readers I send simplicity, a lot of love from one survivor to the next. May a season of bliss welcome us into 2023.
Chronic Pain; The Modalities of Madness
“It’s that TIME of year, the gruelling, catastrophic melancholy jingles of good tidings deepen Lm’s bastard of a headache.” Rock reminds Lm it’s not her “JOB” to be jolly. Lm thought last year was tough with her mother visiting; fibromyalgia, brain fog and her severe spinal pain made being merry impossible; polite and engaging was a morose daily event. Lm’s mother still does not get it even though she says she does. Her mother wakes at seventy-nine years old in good health, fully dresses, puts on her jewellery and lipstick then the giant elephant, PAIN in the ass, Lm woke slovenly, unrested, clad in in her night clothes, needing the toilet and wishing her mother to be quiet. “Good morning!” “How do you feel today?” Blah, blah, blah would ensue, and Lm would use the bathroom then excuse herself to her room again. She had wanted to shout and completely lose her fucking cool and say, ” I don’t know what a good morning is!” “I feel like shit”. What a tiring memory; simply recounting it drives steel bars through Lm’s ears, clanging, banging, whistling to the point of insanity, “Tinnitus”, Rock recalls. Lm glares at Rock, “Shut up, you don’t have ears.” Now, after having covid last March 2022 Lm has made a steady decline, like a little steam engine riding it’s breaks she slowly took each turn, believed she was in control and would not careen into the mountain sides and land in a big heap culminating into a pile of unsalvageable parts. Yet, she did. She is a heap of bitter moments, throbbing bones, more and more fatigued each minute as she lies entangled within her dreadful blob of perpetual turmoil. Dreams are cruel and vivid now. Christmas music isn’t cutting it for her and Rock pushing her to wash her hair, take more pain meds only irritates her. An unwelcomed mouse gnaws in the ceiling above her bed and her eyes burn from lack of rest. Sleeping is her game now. Fa la la la la. Rock is not as strong now. He has always carried her with crushing will and managed her weaknesses; it’s obvious he is vulnerable, too. She has clung to his ability to push through the physical pain, the abuse, the sickness, the past, the failures and smile. He can’t do it alone now and is scared. Who will help Lm? Who will see she is too weak to fight much longer? She does have two promising doctors now and soon will fly off to a special hospital for chronic repetitive pain patients. What about her CPTSD, BadDad, unresolved “Black Sheep” night terrors? What about suicidal ideation? No one wants to hear this part. Amsterdam is sounding like a good place to depart this goddamn nightmare. Laying on sofas, forgetting words, sleeping for hours now while it seemed like a romp in the snow wasn’t so long ago, a wintery walk through the forest, cooking masterfully with passion, playing a game of cards with the kids, being the “I got this” kind of mother. Lm knows she doesn’t have this now. She won’t climb a mountain, canoe or see Botswana nor make it back to her favourite old haunts with her husband. She dreams of parties and dancing, remembers her youthful beauty and laugh. She can’t take care of her surroundings and just wants out. Rock can’t console her more. He has run out of ideas. There are no good surprises coming. She will sleep through the holidays, check out her last shot at being “better” at the special pain rehabilitation centre and then come back, just the same, turn sixty in January in an uneventful way and wonder no more “why me?”. She will let go of Rock, stop dreaming and stop trying to make friends stay. No MORE existing through this shit, she will give in. She doesn’t want to be felt sorry for, sympathy and prayers. She wants OUT! Because NOBODY truly knows what it takes for her to live. The anxiety, lying in a pool of regrets, wrong turns, and basically her dumbass MINDFULNESS journey leading her right back to what she really is, useless. A total drag. Someone who holds everyone she loves back. Pride has left on the last ship out of here. Divided. Lm is now a thing. An “it”. Rock stumbles and TRUTH agrees, the two of them are in for a big last fight before the bell rings and the winner is declared. Honestly, in the boxing ring of life, he doubts either will rise again.
Rock watches from the corner of his eye as Lm takes a long inhale of a pretend cigarette. She is satisfied she is back in her dank quarters, just the two of them without disturbance. Rock has told her she is far from healed and that acceptance of her past eases her presence and will lead to a healthier future. ” Oh yay”, Lm replied, ” a healthy future is so enticing!”. Lm is not believing in Rock or the future full of smiles, love and peace anymore. She is overcooked, baked to a crisp and hard. Rock assures her that if she continues to tell her TRUTH, her story, that she will overcome all of her pain. Lm knows that even if one person saw beyond her soft blue eyes she’d be leary. Everyone, every single person in her world is backing away, and she knows that she has only her pain mentally, physically and emotionally to count on waking her at three a.m. She pulls out a drawer full of photos and sees herself at seven with BadDad and the nice girlfriend at a protest. She’s sad, looking down and he is oblivious. The word of the day, her life and relationships, with her mother and father is oblivious. Obviously oblivious.
“I really thought I’d lost my grip on you Lm!” Rock doesn’t sweat; he has kept a solid eye on Lm. “You’ve been out cold; this was your first setback in years.” Lm scoots close to Rock, leaning her weak frame against his rawness, his realness and stares blankly. Lm was triggered by chronic pain, severe non-stop agony, her attempts to keep herself together crumbled. She ran away from herself which is when the hauntings of BaDDaD and a feeling of distrust take control of her persona. She is edgy, frightened by her own meltdown. Rock pulls her up the dank stairwell and let’s fresh air in through the doorway to her soul. She inhales and shivers with small tears of disappointment. “I’ve been doing so well Rock, you are supposed to keep me safe! It’s your fault you asshole. You are an ugly piece of old cement, all dried up into the most pathetic piece of whatever. Who cares? Not me. Why do you scowl at me? Why can’t I lose you or better yet throw you into the sea where you belong. Stupid Rock! “I am part of you Lm, in fact I am you.” “Holy crap, now I’ve heard everything, you are me?” Rock is still and listens as Lm curses, throws handfuls of small pebbles at him and she pushes him down the stairwell. Rock is not hurt. He lies there in the dark while she rants and raves about what a fool he is. Finally she slams the door shut and bolts it herself then one step at a time she carefully goes to the dark, sad place where Rock is lying patiently. She lifts him up and stares at him. It’s a lonely place without him, the all knowing piece of her, the one that takes over the helm when she is wrought with pain, physical, mental or emotional. She wants to thank him but chews on her fingers instead. Her hair is a tangled mess, just like her heart. Under her breath she whispers, “I love you Rock.”
As many older readers know this blog is mainly a reflection of LittleMe’s aka “Lm’s” real past where she identifies truthful occuranses which have caused her much anguish from childhood. She has a professional diagnosis of cptsd, a severe anxiety disorder which can be triggered easily (including panic attacks, nightmares, and low self esteem); she bounces back and forth with her better self and iconic protector, ROCK. Rock is ever present and takes care of her when she is having setbacks. He also pushes her to do the work to heal. Lm is also a writer who posts fairly regular short stories, poetry, prose and other forms of artistic expression. She also lives in a state of severe chronic pain and was diagnosed with CPS, or chronic pain syndrome. She loves life, animals, nature and especially forests; she is extremely protective of her family and the few very close real friends she clings to. She sets the bar very high to develop trust in others, even questioning her deepest sense of self frequently. Lm dodges people who she finds detrimental to her continual quest to clean up her mental and emotional health. I appreciate all of her readers who keep giving her support and encourage her healing process. Be Well. Be You.
GARBAGE; Uncluttering Lm’s Mind
ROCK wants to help Lm clean out her mind, release her memories into the sea like ashes of another self. He wants to help her create a beautiful new sense of self. It’s a job that no one can truly help her with as she is full of fire. He is not phased by her pissy shouting, her spit fire retorts nor when she knocks him over if he tries to lend advice. Truth has only one meaning, “cut the crap” and say what you mean. She has been foul lately. She has begun to speak to new people, coming out of hiding about her childhood, her shame, her sense of failing brought on by two gnarly parents, abusers she kept in her life because she was desperate for love. She wants to hear the words spoken outloud to her; she wants her mother to say, “I was physically abusive; I crossed a line and you didn’t deserve it”. She wants her mother to say, “I regret not allowing you to develop your sense of autonomy in a healthy way; I prevented you from following your dreams”. Lm wants her to say it, not think it. She knows her mother is fully aware of her behaviour that drove Lm to live with her beautiful other mother, Elle, her baby sister D and BaDDaD. Even though BaDDaD was risky to be around she knew Elle would not hurt her and she would have her precious D to hold onto, care for and love. When she initially got to her new town she was given freedom she’d never felt; she could walk out the door and go to get a slice of pizza and sit at the city docks watching sailboats out in the Chesapeake Bay; this alone was all she wanted. The sun sprinkling down and bouncing off the soft waves made her calm. She would get ice cream with D and watch as she licked the wooden spoon, careful that her baby sister would not get her first “brain freeze”. She started a new school and then she began to lose her way inside. In psychiatric terms it’s called “transferance”. Despite choosing to leave her mother, she also needed her; the cookie making, funny stories and playing scrabble and their shared love of beauty. Lm began to unconsciously try to become more like Elle. She wore Elle’s clothes without permission, she tried to behave like Elle in the mirror and no one understood her perserverance to create a bond that was like the one that she would truly hold onto throughout her life with her own mother. Her mother was not a horrible human being, in fact she was quite self sacrificing and had been through a very rough childhood. Often Lm would see in her mother’s enchanting brown eyes a hint of sorrow and try and cheer her up. The mother and child bond is complex, never perfect yet nevertheless necessary to evaluate and often, despite the obstacles, worth the effort to understand. Then she hit a big snag, one that she has to expunge from her own self-loathing NOW. She met her first big love who would later leave her with a sense of dirtyness, worthlessness and scarred. She would grow to hate all men, never sure how to please anyone and her family never intervened. BaDDaD didn’t care enough to stop it. Her mother had no idea what she was living through when she fell into the hands of this nice Catholic boy with bad, bad, bad, bad, BAD behaviours. He was in some ways, a replica of her father’s hidden side, full of lies and deceit; she continued to go back to him for she had no true persona, no guidance, just a broken sense of identity. Her only interests were finding love, being loved and clinging to the wrong people for it. His name was Tom. Since there are thousands and billions of Tom’s she doesn’t care to give him a break and a hidden name. He deserves to be outed for what he was, likely still is and how he used and abused her. Tom treated her like a doll and knew he was treating her poorly; he often would sleep with all her friends and other girls when she was at home with D and family; he introduced her to drugs and alcohol and soon, nothing mattered but him. She would pursue him, often waiting in his shared living quarters with his best friend K while he was having sex with another girl in his room. K would hold her while she cried and say, “I don’t know why he is like this”, drying her tears with empathy. This would go on for several years until Tom’s father sent him away to study. They met when he was twenty-one and she sixteen. Throughout her twenties she would suffer inner crisis struggling to know who she was, why she wasn’t happy or good enough. She did not know how to be herself and was lost in her own garbage of memories. Rock has led her to the point where she is tossing memories into boxes and trash bags, loading her past up and readying her for the dump. Lm is not garbage, in fact far from it. She is stronger and stronger each and every day and her slip-ups still arise now and then, yet she is prepared to let go, to savor her life and with her sword in hand, she is determined to battle her inner warriors. No one, no woman, no girl, no person should feel weighed down by their TRUTH. The car is ready, the engine started and all the rubbish that has held her back for so many years is being tossed memory by memory into a gargantuan hole. Lm is learning to save herself, not wait for someone else to save her. Rock is proud and will always be on stand-by; they are merging, if a stone could weep Rock’s tears would break the dam that has held back Lm’s growth. Thank you Rock for believing in Lm’s goodness.
Pimp your blog. Add some bling. Make it shine, stand out, shout, attract, organize everything so it’s more appealing to the reader? Lm is biting her lip again. Truth is Naked. Truth isn’t fluffy and for a good time. It’s simple. Truth should not be camaflouged with frivolities. Lm has locked herself in a small closet where she has hidden the memories of one person who she won’t forgive. Ever. Wait, she has someone new! This is not news to ROCK who knows her best. Lm is never forgiving herself for letting people who loved her do mean things and get away with it. Her hair is falling out now and she holds onto a picture of herself at fourteen. What the hell is wrong with me? She kicks the door and is like a feral street dog in Thailand. Roaming, pleading, desperate to find a kind soul. She can’t be touched but is needy. She waits for the moon to rise and then she will sneak out and climb high into the tallest tree and fall to the ground and die. No. That’s not good enough. If she lives with more pain then she has lost again. Her suicidal ideation is a huge issue. She never wanted to die but now if things don’t turn around she would be okay with it. That last breathe and that white light with angels lifting her soul peacefully, leaving her cage, the one that hurt all the time could go to the damn compost. Maybe. Another day. ROCK wishes he had the ability to smoke so he could have something to quell his anxieties. He stands firm. There is nothing that she can do to herself when he is near. Baby birds fall from trees all the time and live. Lm is NOT like a little robin who knows nothing about what’s out in this cold,cold world. She is mumbling. She is circling around and yelling at her own inner child. He wants to intervene but he knows she must do the work. One day, ROCK believes he will transform as well and Lm can join him as one. When this day comes they will be free and walk away, with arms, a cigarette in hand and blow smoke rings into the sunset.
She would love the old farmhouse and joke about marijuana not being legal in Sweden. She would look at all of my art and feel something. I would have a hard time keeping up the conversation because of my fibromyalgia flare, non stop headaches and chronic pain syndrome. My spine wouldn’t let me cook her one of my famous soups so I would put out a nice bottle of red wine, lay fresh wild flowers by her glass and talk about how fucked up the world is and how we can’t do enough in our short lives to save it. I think I could manage to make a Västerbotten pie which is a Swedish favorite and saute kale, shredded cauliflower and sesame seeds with chili flakes and grill corn. I wonder if she likes caviar. My pain would overwhelm me and I would need extra morphine. I’d tell her how her Easter album changed me, made me feel less guilt and oppression internally from my Bible belt upbringing. I think she’d like me. Maybe I would touch her wild gray hair and talk to her about Bob Dylan and how he can’t be repeated, reincarnated and how many people idolize his ability to hit his listeners over the head with an iron skillet, while repeatedly trying to wake society up. I would serve sweet strawberries and cream and she wouldn’t care that I was in my pajamas because I hurt so much. She would probably not stay over and have ” a guy” that drives her around smoking camels in my driveway. She would hug me and I’d ask if we could take a selfie. She’d oblige and get into a black SUV with dark windows and slowly the driver would make it around the barn, past the silos and I would feel satisfied how well it all went and write a long journal entry. I would call my friends and they’d doubt me. I would have met a rockin’ icon and remember how she empowered all women to continue to stand and raise our community UP to higher ground.
It’s key is hidden, I misplaced it among my own feelings again. I am alone inside a body that lets me down, hurts me and I can’t get out. I see me walking like Jesus across the sea and then sink without a fight, drowning in my mysterious mind. I am so grateful yet undeserving of salvation. Sanctuaries for Love should be everywhere, not just for those seeking redemption from our earthly delights that were indulgent or a sinful play that some grand Creator would frown upon. The gates are always open to love more, release ourselves from our own arrogant beliefs. I am burdened by carrying me through life; how then can I carry some one else? I see a white wooden columned southern USA colonial home with a long drive and weeping willows, a big porch and spinning ceiling fans. I am the youngest broken one there and I try to cheer my southern company with kind regards and smiles. I am in a sanctuary where I no longer feel like a worthless woman. I make a difference because I am not in the agony that I rise and face each morning. I can quit because I will no longer ruin other’s good times or my own. I can be quiet. I can be kept and have tea and maybe sometimes I will wonder about Jesus and God and bad and good but I will be my own judge as my heart is pure.
Dancing with Eyes Closed; Accepting Pain as Part of Me.
In the morning there are yellow dandelions surrounding me, lifting me up with a wash of spring hope. I am rinsed in the sun’s warm rays and feel determined. I always think I will feel better than I actually do. Is that my own stupidity or perpetual stubbornness? I dress and make it to the rich Italian red wine sofa and prop my legs up on a stack of pillows. The pain starts just after I proclaim, “I am better!” and I succumb to my surroundings. The walls are a light gray panel of wood, the ceiling white, the old barn’s tin roof I can see from the sofa is a rusty burnt red with brown dried clumps of moss separating it into unsightly squares. My pain I feel is visualized as an electric zap of steel, sharp silver, shooting up my legs and my silent scream is a maze of terrestrial hues. Pain shares with me every drop of it’s colour, of it’s beauty and it’s sorrow; like the northern lights and milky way it is so breath taking and hard to believe that it is real. Living in a state of chronic pain is anxiety provoking. My mind is a puree of sounds and I am often perplexed. Why can’t I be fixed? Why must my colours be so rare and overworked? My self portrait is black and white as I spilt any hope of beauty out onto the porous surface beneath me. “My pain”, I said to the chronic pain psychologist, “I’ve accepted.” My mind lied that day. I hate it, I hate my body and my bruises both superficial and within. No amount of prayer or drugs give me peace and like the wild scribbling made by a toddler with crayons I lay in a chaos of colour; I am a bottle with layers of dripping wax from many different tints of candles. I am beneath the surface, beneath the beauty, buried in a colour of pain. My eyes close and I stare at the daylight as if my eyelids were window shades. I don’t see why I should open my eyes except to write this pathetic complaint that haunts me. I want to be a happy rainbow one more time. One more moment of brilliance is all I ask. Like any desperate lover, Pain beckons me back, takes hold of me and says, ” I will never leave you alone again.”