Tuesday, September 16, 2014

First Homecoming

      “I have a dress you can borrow,” Marge exclaimed.  “In fact I have two, they were my sister’s - you can wear one and I’ll wear the other!”  My smile filled my innocent face as I beamed back at her.  Homecoming attire.  Problem solved.
       1964. After being imprisoned in Catholic grade school with white Ship and Shore blouses and turquoise jumpers, I was a sinking rock in a fashion sea of Olympic swimmers as I entered my freshman year at the public high school.  Dressing for my first homecoming, I felt so mature and feminine with the help of my seasoned friend.  Marge and I had gone to Catholic school together, but she knew the ropes of trendy fads since she had an older sister who attended the public high school.
        I was so grateful I didn't have to venture out into the jungles of retail shops to pick out my dress.  A virtual shopping virgin, I sent up a prayer of thanks for her assistance as I donned the borrowed, yellow-laced, spaghetti-strapped bodice with the wide hooped crinoline skirt.  I must surely be the Belle of the Ball, like something out of Gone with the Wind. 
        Feeling like I was trying to control a dozen helium balloons, I packed myself into Tony's parent's Buick, barely able to see out the windshield.  I kept my hand on top of my skirt as we drove, my wrist corsage a purple orchid in a sea of sunshine.
        We finally arrived at the school and after several failed attempts, I exited the car, feet first, Tony pulling at my arms.  As we entered the transformed gym hung with school colored streamers, I stiffened in horror as I squeezed through the door, my date trailing far behind my blimp sized attire.  Wondering why she'd avoided me all week, I tried to find Marge.  I couldn't wait to compare dresses, hers pink and mine yellow.  Then I saw her in the distance wearing a brand new lavender satin gown that clung to her slender physique – the season’s straight-skirted style adorning all the girls in the room – except for me.  The crowd parted as I formed an eight foot wide swath wherever I went, wishing I could sink into the lacy frills and disappear.  Fifteen, fragile and red-faced…
Living through the rest of the 1960s and the next 40 years have tempered my self-consciousness.  I no longer care what anyone thinks of my attire and I never ask anyone’s advice about what to wear.  If a formal event should find its way into my future, I may just attend with tattoos, bright pink hair, and a see through lacy dress – or maybe I’ll look in the attic for a yellow-laced, spaghetti-strapped, wide-hooped dress…

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dementia Speak

I speak dementia.  

"Hi Diane!  Why don't you come down for dinner?"
"Oh, that would be so nice.  Let me open the walrus and see what I have."

Locked unit.  Twenty-three captives.  

"Do you know me?"  Elaine asks.
"Of course I do, Elaine!"
"How do you know me?"

Sometimes they know where they are or sometimes...
"Where am I?  Where's my wife?"

They call for loved ones.
"Mommmmmmy?"  Mournful, small cries.

Mostly, it's...
"Why am I here?"
"How can I get out of here?"
They scratch at the glass in the doors.  
 Punch the exit key pad in vain.

Sometimes they pick their way through word salad to cry,
"I hate it here and I want to go home!"

They can be mean.
"I'm going to punch you.  I'll call the sheriff!"

Sometimes they plot.
"Here, I'll push you in your chair and you can try to kick the door open."

I smile.

"I love you," they say.

I hug them and say, "I love you too."
I go home and cry.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Heat and Humidity

(from a free write on heat and humidity)
Hot.  Steaming hot.  Sweat trickling down the middle of newly forming breasts.  Awkwardness of a pubescent girl sweltering in a Midwest June.  Air conditioning but a gleam in someone's eye not yet available to the mediocre masses.  Open windows with lagging stillness.  Crisp dried grass, cracked soil, parched landscape, empty lonely life of long summer days without the distracting structure of school.  Momentary relief when mom says, okay, you can turn on the hose and sop each other wet.  A different wet than sticky humidity and clinging shirts that can no longer be removed because of budding breasts and the shame I feel to have them because I'm no longer daddy's little girl.  I never was, really, only believed I was because mom told me I was.  There was never any confirmation or even indication from that man.  There was nothing from dad.  I was no one's little girl, left alone in the silence.  Responses limited, thick with humidity, dripping with the struggle to tolerate me.  My existence.  The blank looks aimed the other way.  My gaze seeking theirs only to be underlooked.  I was obscure without substance because I couldn't get their attention long enough to make me real.  Allow me to form into the outlines they gave me with my genes.  Their genes.  Color in the subtle details to give beauty, life and meaning to the dull space I occupied for so long.  By myself.  In the heat and humidity with a family who had nothing to give except on that July day when I could no longer stand the heat and I was allowed to shower myself in cool, clear water, once the hose drained the standing tepid water into the parched ground, too rapid to be absorbed, sliding off the rough surface until I stepped in it and it became mud and I had to be careful not to stain my shorts so it would not be forbidden.  This water.  This cool water.  Already a limited resource because everything mom saw was through the crosshairs of dollar signs and her constant complaint of having to be the responsible one wore away any discipline I might have structured around spending money.  And now I am flipping her off every time I reach for plastic and feel the cool sense of satisfaction from  showering myself with constant gifts that I no longer have room for and I forget that I have.  And then I get my bills and I sweat in the heat and humidity of what I owe.  And I am afraid to move and be seen be recognized with sweat beading down my shirt because somehow I am a disgrace otherwise they would have looked at me, acknowledged me, answered me.  Soothed me from the heat that burns me as crimson creeps into my face anytime I expose pieces of me, the attention now unbearable,  now breaking out of the tomb of my cocoon.  Breaking free.  It's messy pieces stick to me because I am damp from the heat and humidity.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Life is like bead shopping...

I love beads. I used to dream of being a bead artist...in fact I was one for awhile. My beadwork waxes and wanes with the orbit of moon beams dancing in my house of creativity. Sometimes they are in slumber for many years...but my love of beads never falters. One day, as I was whipping out my credit card to buy yet more beads, I decided that instead of beating myself up for not doing any beadwork, I would not set the expectation of creating any but would now label myself a bead collector. That covers a multitude of sins and puts it in the realm of religious icons. After all, when I go bead shopping it is a spiritual experience. I enter the doors of any bead shop with great expectations. I am filled with the ecstasy of potential as I grab a basket to fill with goodies. The glitz and glitter of beads call to my soul and I grab one thing then the next, then the next, then the next....until my basket is full and I've hardly gone ten feet into the store. But the joy is in collecting and I keep filling my basket until it is time to check out, then I go back through it, connect with my gut, and weed out things that don't look so good anymore, although they did when I first saw them. I put back beads that although lovely, do not fit with my nature and find that I was really thinking of someone else when I grabbed them. Then there are those that are so beautiful I just want to possess them. Put them in a box and save them. But then I realize they'll never see the light of day and they might be better served by someone who will embellish their beauty for all the world to see. Finally, I am left with those that nurture my soul. That go with other things I have purchased. That I can piece together in my head to create something beautiful and unique to me. That carry the potential to create beyond my wildest dreams. Then I pull out my battered credit card, hope it will go through. Carry my treasures home. And pray that someday I will pull them out to play. And create. And fill my soul.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." Carl Jung

My shadow is boxing with my reality and blocking the sun from lighting my path into my future. Those dark sides of myself that reach out slimy, creepy tentacles stretch farther than I can imagine. They cheat when they box with my life because they wrap those slinky limbs around my essence and choke the life out of it until I take notice. There's no fighting with them, there's only turning on the light of awareness to flood them into the closet until the next time I am not vigilant and the sun sets into my darkness. I look back with regret at those things I did not savor and swirl amidst my taste buds and revel in the beauty of. I now sit at a crossroads of longing to go back but knowing what is behind me no longer "is" – it is now something different. There is no going back, there is only moving forward and claiming my right to be me without amendments to satisfy any others in my life. No more "yes, I'll change and be what you want, just please take me with you." It is now as Abraham says "I be what I be. I'm working on being better, but I be what I be." I stand in my own footprint of life and ask that you travel beside me. Not you in my footprints, nor I in yours. But our footprints traveling along paths leading in the same direction with twists and turns that may separate us for awhile, but eventually lead us back to the same road, where once again, we savor the delicious moments of being together. And when I disappear for awhile, know that I have traversed emotional nightmares and battled beleaguered monsters that never tire of hiding in the undergrowth to pounce when I least expect it. Those are times when I may call out and ask for your shelter...and to please hold me for a little while so I can refuel and head out again. Damn these dark paths that lead me to unknown places laden with fears that I must wade through their thick murky muddy waters until I can come back into the light and once again smile in joy and relief.  And see you.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mistakes 'R Us

Decisions are not easy for me.  As the years have passed, I have simplified my process and some become snap decisions with the hope that they will not become "snapped" decisions.  Abraham says "make a decision and make the decision right."  In other words, there are no wrong decisions, only bad attitudes about them.  There are always benefits to making what appears to be a mistake - not the least of which is learning that "mistakes" are merely labels that we apply to something to make ourselves, or someone else, feel intense guilt or regret.  Which, by the way, takes away our freedom of choice and hangs us with another label...that of "victim."  We can be victim to our own poor selection process or someone else's.  Perhaps it all goes back to why we're here on this planet, at this time, in this space.  Is it really a random occurrence?  I think there is greater order to the universe than that.  And if there is, then there really is no such thing as a mistake.  It is merely a digression from our psyche's true path and it is a guiding post to get us back on the right path, which is right for the moment, in that time and space.  And, of course, not making a decision, is a decision.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Inner Trust

It's hard for me to know my gut feeling about something.  Having to go through layers of childhood emotional defenses has effectively blocked me off from me and my inner knowing.  But I'm making progress.  I'm beginning to realize that the people in my life either help me to develop my trust for myself or they allow me to push it back within the depths of fear and denial.  When someone close tells me something that stirs my gut, I try to acknowledge the message.  If I mention it and that particular someone says it's ridiculous, I've always reverted to my trauma point behavior pattern -- I assume they are right and I am wrong.  When I do this often enough my gut goes on strike and says "Why, exactly, should I tell you something when all you do is ignore me?"  Gosh, that sounds like my mother!  I knew she was in there somewhere!  But the truth is it keeps my internal knowing hidden under lock and key.  If I can override the fearful bitch inside who can't stand to hurt someone's feelings (even if they walk all over mine) I can start to give credence to that inner voice that wants to guide me to my psyche's path.  All I have to do is listen, without judgment.  But what if I'm....oh my gosh.....WRONG????  That's when that shy, uncertain child who delivered the message needs love and care most.  Then I say, "It's okay, little one.  You detected something - that we can trust.  Let's brush up on our interpretation just a bit."  Then I hug her and thank her.

Begin again

I've promised myself at least a Brazilian times (just saw an email joke about this, I think it was about a blonde) in the last year that I would start a blog.  So here it is.  I wonder how many times I'll start, then stop, then...begin again.  Very much like my life, down the rabbit hole at warp speed.  The first sixty-one years have flown by except, of course, for the painful parts, which have been long and grueling.  Yet somehow, as they say in twelve step programs, I can't seem to let go of something without leaving claw marks over scars that now have become furrows of raw wounds, still oozing with the guilt and regret and fear that I may never get it right.  But then again, according to Abraham-Hicks, we never get it right.  And we never get it done.  So here is the jumping off point for me and may benefits abound.  My Sole to Soul Journey has begun.