I don’t want to be awake. It’s been a perfect night for sleep, rain in Stockholm. Tin roof, comfy bed, the whole kit and caboodle. Real as can be, exhausted by additional pain from flying while disabled, I lie here wondering how will the special chronic repetitive pain syndrome diagnosis is going to play out. Later today I check into Uppsala universitet sjukhuset smartkliniken, that is Uppsala University’s pain clinic for a one week assessment. From this poking and prodding of both my mind and body it will be determined if a team of specialists will have me back for a month long stay. How does one rehabilitate chronic pain? I am too far gone to think about the entirety of it but will say, from what I have read, my brain is scrambled, the coding has been buried or tiny mice in my head have chewed through the wires. I am never free from pain, rested and refreshed or in the slightest comfortable. Hope is on the table and I want to be that kind of human who believes, ” change is gonna come, yes it is.” Lm attempts to move forward and cry the entire few hours and minutes I have left with fear and angst using the “why me spiel”. Rock is in place, ready for whatever comes next and has tucked Lm into a safe space for the time being. Real as it gets has taken center stage and I, the woman almost sixty years old will wrestle with fervor to let the rainy, dark morning give me some time for my eyelids to grow heavy, for my own purring snore to begin and perhaps I’ll be gifted a dream where I am unchained from my physical limitations and run a muck carefree.
In the smallest of moments, in the hands of the keepers of Time, I am lost in my vivid dreams, my memories of another me, another you, are like digging through a shoebox of polaroids stuffed in the back of my mind. You look through me, not inside me; my own struggle is real, a curse with a cause. I pull my strength from a place so coven, a spiraling space that wedges between me before and me now. I want you to know this fierce attempt to feel alive, better than I truly am and carry me like a small girl afraid of rough waters. Words fling about, nothing to you, yet everything to me. I long for you to revisit me, my depth of consciousness, my blood pumping through my heart. Listen to my love, my emerging crone, LISTEN to the time passing through us, see my bravery, my determination to be part of an unleashed continuance. Mortality is a shell, a clause embedded in our soul, in the fine print. Perhaps some may be aware in flashes dismissed, yet I am in that flash of light we cannot dance in again. I see, breathe each breath too exposed to life’s inevitable pain. I walk with such consciousness, entirely engulfed in each glance, each movement of your eyes, your being; I am amuck in a cast of my own spell. Slipping backwards into the wanderer I have always been I ask again, I plead once more, look through our Love, savour the youthful reminders, hold on to me, to US, come with me as I cross this new threshold of time. I enter with faith a chapter unknown; in my hands I hold a piece of vitality, a bit of curiosity, a smudge of fear. Do not take my time, my devotion in vain. Each touch, every hurried second my eyes are open so wide, a destiny born into my gut, unshakable and relentless it is never off duty. Scroll again through all you know of you, of the course of life, togetherness and ask yourself again and again, ” where are we?”. In that instant let me guide you back, BACK to me and without measure, allow me to take your hand to my heart and walk forward as far as the clock, the silence of being allows. See the beauty, grasp our unknown and open this next door with me. Hold it open, help me step into hope, discard the pain and see me, you, us into the new realm of Love.
At night I close my eyes yet am wide awake wanting a miracle to make you happy, to be whole and live the life you want to live. To unlock the chains of stigmatism, of bigotry and divisiveness I would slay fiercely. I want to wake to see you smiling, holding the hand of another, laughing and having plans that don’t include me. I want you to be loved as I love you, your heart to feel cosy and warm; I want this life to begin for you with acceptance and commitment. Will the barriers which bind you to unhappiness release you soon; will the sun shine and your warm brown eyes have no tears? I lay solemn, my pledge to see you through your journey unwaivering. I would be lying to myself and to the grand altruism deemed LOVE if I said it will all be okay. I don’t know if it will be okay, that you will thrive or that this world will give you what you need. My heart is heavy, my mind restless; I never stop thinking about you becoming who you are without more pain. I would pray, yet my beckoning turns sour when each day I see your soft eyes vulnerable. The God I once knew would not cast such pain on you. Goodnight my love. May you sleep and dream of rainbows and all the things that keep you strong; I close my eyes yet my heart is open for you every hour, every breath and will never be calm until I know you are satisfied.
Sitting with my Grandma, “Shhhh! Now listen”. Her smile is remembered. Loretta Lynn singing on the small television, being interviewed and my admiring her long dark hair. My cousins were restless and sent outside with sweet tea, moon pies and I stayed beside her. The Grand Ole Opry! Being poor and working one’s way to the top is an achievement many country music fans, or mindful humans can appreciate. I didn’t feel poor or that life was a struggle; Grandma came from a very well-mannered family and kept us close, often saying,”not our people”, when I asked questions about others I was all in a quandary with. “Mind your business; we have enough with each other.” I always wondered how Loretta Lynn knew anything about coalminers; all dolled up with ribbons in her hair, long braids and frilly, detailed dresses she did not seem to me to be simple or wanting in anyway. It’s dark tonight on Sweden’s west coast and my days in Nashville seem light years away; I want to believe that Loretta is soaring above us, having a look at Mars, smiling and humming in peace. Women become strong through experience, fighting for their words to be heard and sung. I feel a warmth, a sense of peace knowing she had such a good life by just being herself. What if we all could just be humble, gracious, kind and appreciate of our lives? Wouldn’t that be something? I can’t play a guitar. If I could I would take my hidden wings, stuff banana and chocolate moon pies, RC cola and warm grits with butter and salt into my backpack, strap my Fender over my shoulder and rise amongst the stars. There I’d see Mrs. Loretta waiting and she’d pat the ground beside her, invite me to sit down and we’d sing with her long dark hair flowing in sync with eternity. Actually, I think she wouldn’t care whether I could play guitar. I can carry a tune. She may be our best example of “the salt of the earth”, now an iconic memory that changed music and hearts forever. Maybe Grandma would be there, too and I’d surprise her with all my southern goodies. We wouldn’t be tired, or sick or old. Just three strong women, free from adversity and strife sipping our cola, eating warm grits and unwrapping moon pies on Mars.
Four a.m. rain, nine celsius; usually perfect sleeping time for this weathered woman. Sipping ginger tea, disturbed by my relentless coughing, I avoid my bed and waking my husband who needs to work in two hours. From my soft sofa, a burgundy wine red, drowsiness sets in. Plumped up with pillows under an old cosy quilt I stare out a window into the black where the opposite panes behind me are lit with led lights and reflect before me. I want to be small, a Christmas Eve long ago and my mother to be sneaking around, making my morning perfect. She eats the cookies and downs the eggnog, maybe wonders if she’s got it right. Is she enough? Would this have been her little girl dream? Her’s weren’t doused in decor, perfection and excitement leading up to morning fun. My dog with her red bow, the pancake batter, fruit before stockings, albums pre-stacked, ready to drop one after the other, Bing Crosby always first. She has pretty cards on my bonus Dad’s plate and mine. She knows I will wake early and probably puts the coffee maker’s little paper bag in and pours the water, only needing to wake, push the button and join me under the tree. I too, tried to get it right year after year. People pleasing I learned from Mom. It never felt right except when I finally became a mother. I had a doggie too, a red bow, pancakes and coffee. The first year, so perfect. A four month old, the first husband smiling while opening his new sweater as our baby made sweet sounds on a soft blanket in front of the crackling fire. No hoopla. Just a new bone for our dog, the gift of motherhood and dreams were full, all good, with smiles; it would be perfect. That first Christmas as a mother I held my cherub and we watched, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Each sleepless night was a dream come true then with the long awaited child. Life in the world could be imperfect yet I would forge on, recreating reasons to be joyful, to see good and not look at the late night reflections. It was another morning, at forty years old, a Christmas of struggles and loss; my five year old watching “The Snowman” and cuddling with our doggie, sippy cup with apple juice in hand and already asking for peppermint sticks. I was a woman, staring at the deep Vermont snow with more coming down. This had been all I wanted. Why was I feeling it was impossible to make my husband learn to love through adversity, not resent the world for turning us upside down. Couldn’t we right it again? He’d lost his job the previous autumn and being post 9/11, despite his impeccable skills as an electrical engineer finding work was a dead end; he was Arabic. We’d met in a university town, he a foreign student working on his master’s and a brilliant graduate teaching fellow. He also was in charge of the cartography library and was a quiet, gentle soul. Being from north Africa he was working toward success, his culture beautiful in so many ways we learned to incorporate it easily into our life via cuisine. To this day my young adult’s comfort food is cous-cous with cinnamon and butter. That Christmas it all changed. He sat angry, not hiding his feelings as our child opened presents he resented my buying. I had worked as a writer for two local papers, taken care of those in palative care in their homes and even cleaned someone’s house each week. The bills became monster’s and no matter the music, or the lights on the tree softly lighting each evening he fell into a place that had no room for my dreams or his own. I had pleased and pleaded to keep hope alive and soon I no longer knew how to set the table just right, smile in the wake of tears, cheer up anyone at all. I had failed. Did my mother feel she had failed, too? Did she wish she knew all the answers? I had left home at sixteen and broke her heart. How could I ever fix that? I knew I had to change my own approach. My husband found a job in another state and I stayed behind, afraid to follow I took a small apartment in an old Victorian house in a new town. On weekends he would drive to see us and for awhile I thought maybe it could work. I looked for work and nothing was available with a child and no one reliable to help me out. The story is one of those that many know, you are somewhere, uncertain and just taking baby steps and holding out for an epiphany. Mine came about in a very long and loaded journey, a new country, messy Christmases that I couldn’t fix, clashes of cultures, always bending, trying, pleasing and believing in miracles. Now I feel much older than I am, often in poor health, I dread everything, every holiday as I know it can’t be like it was when I ran from my room, hugged my mother and bonus dad and let my doggie open her present first. I look at the sky now, it’s beginning to show a deep yet slowly lighting blue. The led lights on a timer will click off and I will make coffee. My second husband of fifteen years will wake and ask how I am feeling and then he will work. I will worry about my NOW. Not yesterday or tomorrow. I hope for nothing much but for my young adult to find their path, to be okay and content like that very first Christmas cooing with baby toes high in the air. I want this family, despite the buried knowing of what this “wonderful life” can do to each and everyone of us, to recognize our love is NOW. I stopped wanting it all, however I do keep believing that pancakes and coffee can turn things around. Good morning! Lm and Rock are cheering all of you on. May you stumble into something good, just right and feel the way you need.
I am right with you, aligned as Ursa major and minor as the whole universe continues pulling us towards Love. Keep sharing, keep the voices of women before us alive. Feel unheard? Say it louder. Shout from your guts, CRY. Stay vigilent, mindful of your own inner work. No one can take your powers away unless you hand them over. SHINE. MOURN. Support other women in their struggles, be a woman’s woman, a teacher, a student, carry TRUTH as your flame. Stand up for your beliefs, run from insipid gossip, protect our tribe. Contribute loyalty, sing and play. We are the givers of life, the arches that span like rainbows, we are the gem other’s seek, we dig our hands in the Earth’s soil from every land. When weariness takes us down, rest upon the lap of love, honor your emotions, they need not be sacrificed for anyone. Bleed, bleed , bleed. Breathe deep, call out to the silver stars, the full moon light. Kneel with gratitude as we harvest what we’ve sowed. Mabon is upon us, the cyclical switch is eternal. Place your hope on the table, feel the change within your seasoned soul. Give. Live. Sunbeams, dawn, redgold leafs lie upon your mantal, for tis nature that earns the highest of all awards for her sacred healing, her mysterious essence, her endless ability to keep the house in order, the home in our hearts beating. Blessed Be.
Listen….hold your loved ones tighter. Okay. Those who love tf out of you and stick around through the good, the bad, the ugly. Hold them close to your heart. Let them know you appreciate them. Reciprocate that love and support. There are a lot of people who cannot and will not be able to handle the baggage you carry but there are those that will. Even if it’s one person…that’s your fuxking person, man. Love them. Cherish them. Hold them tighter. Those connections are RARE. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t let them slip away.
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.
For as long as Lm struggled ROCK had her back; the question is how long will Rock continue. Smooth yet petrified, ROCK has covered for Lm for soon sixty years. How does ROCK move on and integrate Lm’s trauma into one neat little package? Gazing into the future, releasing Lm’s agony has to begin. He has to hand over her pain and get her ready for the new and beyond. Lm’s so broken that he is ashamed to admit he too, is weary. The late nights at free falling into frail memories is getting very difficult to control. Is Lm going to become stronger, ready to fly on her own or will she continue to fear each day and ask more questions,? How will she learn to forget? The work to merge the two personas into one is constant, like tiny Santa’s helpers preparing toys for Christmas. They are diligent, undermined and need to be celebrated for their behind the scenes duties. ROCK needs as much as she needs him. A dubious path, fraught with periods of silence together they must meld into a better version of each other. Dry tears form stones into artifacts; artifacts are rediscovered and pulled into the light to be examined. It’s a hot bed of pain and Lm is not moving forward, rather than accepting the two, three or four and more sides, Lm is clinging to ROCK’s bravery and what she knows as Love unconditionally and vows not to hang up her coat or hat just yet.
Sunlight filters in through Lm’s drawn shades; she can’t sleep and watches as it changes shapes on the ceiling from her bed. None of these studied details will come again, like each diamond, every piece of sea glass and snowflakes the sun continues to provide a different light show everyday. It was a tiny slice at first, narrow and pointy. It widened, lengthening and flickering until it became so engaging going back to sleep was ruled out. Like a deck of cards well shuffled one rarely gets the same hand twice, we never know what we will be dealt and what will happen as the game is played. Life is rarely a royal flush but with curiosity and perhaps hope we continue to play loosely mindful of the whole picture. No one wins more time no matter how many clever tricks they can do. Magical potions, merciful angels, or the great mystery known as God might let us exchange a bad card for a little more time before we finally reach the end of our game. How do we finesse our individual house of cards to spend more time with those we love. How do we prolong our own reflections, our unique light that we project throughout our own lives? The light on the ceiling is no longer visible yet I know another morning design will wake me up, or do I ? The smallest parts of our intricate selves are never fully seen by anyone, yet we continue to try to show our imprint, our colorful feathers and deeply desire understanding with a need for others to believe in us. Will you have lived your life knowing you never cheated yourself or anyone into seeing all that you have to share? How can we take risks, pull out a card from our own hand and use it to justify our dreams. Procrastination is never going to be the winning deal, one must act, take a chance and live as if we all must fold our hands tomorrow. “Someday I want to go on a train to Prague, Croatia, the Adriatic Sea. Someday I want to return to the most northern isles of Norway. Someday I want to see “The Scream” in Oslo. When I turn sixty, I want to be with my best friend anywhere. When I turn sixty I will get a baby piglet and name her Opal or Pearl. When one of my best friends comes to Sweden we will go to Stockholm together and have girl time and catch up eating chocolate croissants and coffee in bed, opening champagne at lunch, see the small galleries and by each other pretty scarves and pretend we are sisters. Someday my siblings will see my Truth, I won’t be the Black sheep but a herder of my flock. When my daughter’s are home together we will take them on a surprise trip to ski again, just like when they were eight and eat pizza and start over again. One day I will sell my ArT work and I will be free from pain, and when that happens I will fly like a strong Canadian goose to see my family far, far away. All will be perfect, we have good genes. Letting Go is a long time away, we don’t need to hurry or be afraid. Our children are safe, they will have good lives and even more good things will come. In the autumn, in the spring, next winter or?