Family

Years, miles, therapy, practice, tip toes back in, run away, shame, doubt, disgust, rinse repeat.

I thought I had a handle on it. I thought I could keep the toxicity at bay and have the three of us escape unscathed. I was foolish. I let my guard down. What was the worst that could happen, I thought. Idiot. The worst did happen. And I didn’t stop it. I did stand up and shout and point and unveil the true villains. Instead my dearest boy was made the scapegoat. A child, unable to fend for himself.

I can’t stop the loop. I can’t stop the angry words, thoughts, at myself and at you. All of you. You show more compassion and care for a stranger than a member of your own family.  Did you ever really accept him as family? Try to really know him? No, there was pity. Not much love. Not much compassion. Demands, expectations, scorn. How dare you. You are vile in your judgement and contempt of a boy who only wants to be loved and accepted.  By a family especially after losing his own. You are not his family. You don’t deserve him or his love of you despite the horrible ways in which you treat him.

I try so hard not to hate, to despise you all. I am so stunned, shocked, appalled by the sheer ignorance in how harshly you would treat one another and my son. Criticisms, judgmental commentary, lack of real support or encouragement. Cutting, sarcastic, skewering.

It was as though I was watching from afar, all the jabs and redirects and deflection of insults. Is this how you talk to one another all the time?

I don’t know that I can forgive you. I cant seem to forgive myself.  I don’t know that either of us deserve forgiveness. I know I will fight like hell to never allow it to happen again. And to teach him how to handle such egregious ignorance and lack of kindness. That is a demonstration of how NOT to be in the world.  And I never want to see it again.

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My sweet boy

Dear Kristopher,

I cannot stop thinking about our time in Florida, what we both experienced, and how to exorcise that thoughts that continue to ping around in my head. Interestingly, Pop Pop has not called or texted and though I’m not inclined to guess why, I like thinking he feels badly for what happened and doesn’t know what to do.

I didn’t know what to do on those two terrible days. I found myself paralyzed by not being able to stop the behavior of our family members and fearful of what would happen if I attempted to confront them.

You were just a boy being a boy at the beach, playing in the sand, meaning no harm and probably feeling only joy.  It hurts me deeply that I went walking instead of making sure you were safe. It hurts me that I didn’t leap to my feet and tell them all what selfish idiots they all were. I remain incredulous at how unaccepting, how unloving, unforgiving, selfish and mean they all were. I cannot forgive their brutality. I haven’t been able to forgive myself for not doing something, anything, to make them stop even though I know I might not have been able to.

You are a miraculous, loving being. So misunderstood, targeted at times, self destructive in others, and my greatest teacher.  So honest and forthright, there has been no one else so clear in their intention, struggles, demands, as you have been. The light in your eyes is magical and I have begun to live to see that light, the joy that you feel just permeating the air around you.

My sweet, sweet boy. I want to just protect you, hold you, laugh with you, make sure that everything and everyone you encounter appreciates your magic. I love you to the stars and back and even that does not say how much so clearly. You have helped me find my humanity, kindness, compassion and true love. It is because of you I am a better person.

Jumping Bean, I am sorry, I am grateful, I love you with all of my heart.

Mommie

Glorious

Home now, I am savoring bokchoi, Tapada Dos Ganhoes red wine, two kinds of cheese, pitted kalamatas and fresh rosemary peasant loaf dipped in olive oil. Oh heaven.

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The ride back from ShelburneFalls felt dreamlike. To one side of the bridge the skies opened up with hints of pink across the blue sky over the water, looking as though from a Hudson Valley painting. To the left the skies broiled, dark with heavy clouds, spitting intermittent drops my direction. The Asian-tinged melody on the radio complimented the drive perfectly.

I was able to grab the mail and scurry into the house just as the drops began to fall. I am thrilled that once again my plants are nourished by natural means and the lush of spring will continue to come.

My massage from Towner has left me more grounded, feeling physically calmed and rested in a way I haven’t been in quite a while. Thank you thank you; I can’t wait to tell her. For her hands, her attention to my sore body, her time to talk and share our lives with one another. The stories we share with one another are so very important to me.  We seem to connect on truly personal levels, meaningful ones. Genuine. It means a lot and I relish the opportunity.

This… this means so much to me. The muchness is so very rich and vibrant filled with texture, and ease, and laughter and listening. It is a blessing!

Ten Minutes…

I’ve been challenged to sit, for ten minutes a day. Just sit, and be with myself in thought.  Maybe it sounds easy to you, but it wasn’t for me. There are a million other things to do, places to be, go go go, right? Yeah well, the last thing I wanted to be doing was sitting. Still. For ten whole minutes.

That sounds silly. And dumb. And crazy. I can’t find ten minutes to just sit. What the what?!  So I realized I am going a million miles an hour all the time. Just like everyone else in my family.  No time to just be.  I used to do that. It used to be my nature state. No rushing. No ‘hurry up’. Somewhere along the line I lost it.

So I finally did it. Ten whole minutes. It wasn’t bad. I didn’t say a mantra or anything. I didn’t get bored or anxious. Just sat, and thought, and paid attention to the thoughts. Sometimes I found myself writing chore lists in my mind. Then there would be am moment where I would realize it, say nope not doing that, then get back to just being.

Joy came up. How am I seeking it, what feels joyful, can I do more of it, what choices am I making. That was useful. It followed me through the weekend. Should I do this or that, it joyful, will it feel good?  Seemed a good tack to take.

So here it is Monday. I didn’t sit the whole ten minutes. I need to set a timer, be disciplined about it I think. I feel the overdrive motor going already.  Looking forward to yoga much later. Hoping to manage the work space in between.

Anyway, maybe something will come of this ten minute thing. At the very least maybe I will slow the fuck down. I just realized by the time I’m done writing it will be about ten minutes….I wonder if it counts…..

oh doll

That’s what she would have said. I’d tell her about the stress, being threatened with termination, all the stuff with my teeth, the kids not wanting me to sit with them anymore at school events. Everything. I’d start to cry and she’d say “oh doll” in a voice only moms have. She would make me feel loved, cared for, less alone. I feel so alone now. There is a difference without being able to reach out to her. I tell my dad things, but he shifts into being about him. She would just be there. Listening. I miss you mom.

What is passion really?

For as long as I can remember I have sought out one thing…..passion. I know its not a thing, but it begins to feel like as though it is in fact, tangible, then slip through your fingers.

I have had passionate moments. I’m not talking about that kind of passion (though it would be nice if that would stop evading me as well). I have been a passionate metalsmith, painter, and into porcelain pottery making for a while.  But that kind of interest wanes, makes me self conscious about more things in our overly laden things world. I’ve been passionate about doing something useful, with meaning.  I’ve shouted on the state house steps about equal rights, advocating for kids needing to be adopted and artists getting paid for their work instead of being expected to donate it to causes all the time.

For a variety of reasons including surgery, kids and changing jobs, I stopped art making. Not only did I no longer feel any passion about it, I lost all sense of being inspired. Fellow artist friends said ‘just make’ as though that would remedy my malaise. It’s hard for me to force myself to do it. The times I did it was okay, but it was hard to focus. My dad assigned me the task of making an urn for my mom’s ashes. At first I loved the idea, but having not worked at my wheel for a really long time and have a painful shoulder, it became frustrating and anxiety-causing fast. My studio now in a heap in the basement, clay hard and unyielding, I suggested he get an urn somewhere else.

I’ve continued to feel stymied in my daily life.  Is this it? Get up, go through the daily routine of living, go to bed. Really?

I’ve fallen in love with kayaking but when the weather is as bitter as its been here of late, that’s not an option. Getting close to the water does fill me with a kind of peace, joy and excitement and always has.

So I’ve been going to therapy about this. Talking, listening, contemplating. I’ve become more aware, again. It’s like in the Four Agreements where he says we are awake and fall asleep to knowing and go back and forth between these realities. I’m present much more, conscious of how I’m feeling, conscious of how I’m being.

I think it can be easy, at least for me, to be lulled by disenchantment. Lulled by the accepting of this is just how things are. It’s also easy to get lazy and then wonder how the hell I got where I am. Fortunately those times have gotten shorter and shorter and I lean into finding what feels right, better, joyful even.

And so, it finding a moment of spark, opportunity something amazing happened…..

 

Feel All I See

I stared at the bright, swirling light of the full moon and wondered if this is what love felt like.

This was one of the outcomes of a game night of word play with friends. The context of the story is that this is the thought of a young boy, middle school age, sitting upon the roof top above the internment camp where he lives. He stares at the sky with his schizophrenic eyes which see the sky as though a Van Gogh painting; alive with strokes of color, bright flavor-filled light that is his universe. His illness created a playland about him and coupled with synesthesia, he could taste and smell the cornucopia of life about him on the roof and below in the crowded camp.

Towards the end of the story right about when his family is freed from the internment camp he begins a regimen of lithium which all but cures him of his illness and opens a new door.  Now he walks about amazed at the true light of the sky, the actual vibrant colors and textures of the grass beneath his feet, the fabric of his clothes and the ability to feel a different kind of internal love keep from him by the intensity of schizophrenia that had ruled his mind and his body.

I’ve posted it on hitrecord so maybe someone will run with it and flesh out the rest, maybe illustrate it or make an animation of him staring at the night sky.