Childhood Home

The place remains in my dreams
like a movie set preserved…

Have assigned each room
a critique – disclosed the crimes

Yet, it remains, like a beacon
draws me to it, begs reflection

What if I could go back
now that I can breathe

Now that I’ve laid claim to maturity;
would I discover a sudden windfall?

Makeover conditioned motifs;
reevaluate ceiling heights?

With resources to remodel
heart open, connected

might I uncover abundance
like a personal embrace.

(Childhood Home first appeared May, 2020. Image my own)

The Other Side

Wind carries Autumn’s song
and I am crawling out of a nightmare

Insides churning widdershins
thoughts grasping for a forward pull

Have been to the edge,
touched the volatile

Birdsong breaks solemnity
I catch a ray of light.

(Tuesdays, I borrow from Twitter @Vjknutson
Last September, I was in hospital fighting
through a life threatening condition.
I penned this there. Image my own.)

Weighted Down

Weighted down.

I swallow rocks
to anchor this restlessness –
no exit available.

Would love to re-locate,
check self-assessment
into a sunnier place –
but the room is not ready.

I shove it back down –
am a silhouette
against stormy horizons.

My sister and I meet here,
at the edge of denial,
both seeking calmer waters –
she swims; I crave a shower

we are haunted in our sleep –
shadows clouding dreams –
projections of mermaid possibilities
and electric blue skies, dimmed

I gain ground, sifting
through basements, tossing
old ideals, reminiscing cynic;

she breaststrokes through debris
of family storms, ignoring the rubbish-
polluted pool, maintains motion

I am submerged, trying to work out
a relationship with father –
long since deceased, still present

have opened the contents
of our stored horror – no choice
but to carry on…

we are bit players in a staged drama –
no fame to add acclaim – just misguided
endings, fragile audiences, and
a sisters following
a different light

weighted down.

(Weighted Down first appeared here in September of 2016, and has stayed with me, begging to be revised.  Today, as I was playing around with images, I created this one (featured) and felt that it depicted the essence of the poem.   It was time.  I am also submitting this for V.J.’s weekly challenge:  shadows.)

 

 

 

Finding Light After Divorce

Jilted by a philandering husband and defrauded out of my share of the assets, I made a convincing victim.

“You are righteously angry,” a friend counselled.

Perhaps so, but something niggled at me.

“A man does not stray unless there is a reason,” someone said, and I felt as if she looked right through me, could see the flaws at my core.  My mother’s repeated warnings came back to me:  “No one will ever love you.”

What is wrong with me?  my broken heart wailed.

Urgency drove me to find answers.  I never wanted to go through this again.  I had to know why my life had turned out this way.

I read.  I read Daphne Rose Kingma’s Coming Apart, and Susan Anderson’s The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, and The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz:  all offering glimpses of insight and understanding – something I could hold on to.  So many books passed through my hands and desperate to learn more, I turned to a galley copy of a book I’d received as a bookstore owner.  A commercial piece, now released, but that I’d never bothered with in the past, having stashed it beside many other soon-to-be published editions.

It was Relationship Rescue by Dr. Phil McGraw.

“Too Late for this, really,” I told myself but I decided to give it a chance.

Dr. Phil wrote the words I had suspected all along:  good relationships begin with the self.  His advice made sense, and more than that, I felt like I was finally onto something.  I attacked the book as if reading a how-to manual, highlighter in hand and pencil at the ready.

Relationship Rescue delves into the different “bad spirits” that we bring to our relationships, and as I read along, I began to recognize bits of myself in the “scorekeeper”, the “fault-finder”, and the control freak, but when I reached the eighth category and began to read, I felt as if I’d been punched in the stomach and wanted to throw up. I was the “bottomless pit”.

I told myself that I didn’t need anything so that I wouldn’t be a burden.  What I was actually doing was sabotaging my partner’s chances of ever meeting my needs.  “He should know without me telling him,” was another one of those false beliefs that I measured by husband against.

The spirit I brought to my marriage was ugly.  I had so many expectations about what I wanted and didn’t want based on my parents failures that any partner was destined to fail.

With understanding comes change.  It would not be easy, and I am still a work in progress, but Relationship Rescue gave me solid understanding so that I can be accountable and achieve a healthier relationship.

My challenge this week is to write about (or submit images of) a book that made you sit up and pay attention.  What book(s) made a difference in your life?

 

 

Changing Direction

This path I walk is not my own;
it’s paved with genetic markers,
familial dysfunction, and ancestral angst.
Can you see them walking with me?
Those whose lives were cut too short –
the addicts, the tortured, the diseased –
none of us free – ensconced in blame.

If you walk with me,
I’ll help you carry your burden
and you can support me with mine.

I stand at the intersection
of broken dreams and hope for tomorrow
and in my altered state of awareness
see the commonality of our striving,
understand the patterns that divide,
and grasp the illusion of injustice
that denigrates our interconnectedness.

If you walk with me,
I’ll help you carry your burden
and you can support me with mine.

I stop and wait for an opening
to share this revelation
of underlying harmonious intent,
but the whir of societal traffic
complicates communication,
and I can find no voice to cut
through the din of the dead.

If you walk with me,
I’ll help you carry your burden
and you can support me with mine.

I turn the corner on my old life,
detach with loving sorrow
from a road that never served me,
a direction wrought only with pain.
Tiny arms await me on this open road,
eyes wide with wonder and possibility.
There is joy to be found along the way.

If you walk with me,
I’ll share this new adventure
and together, we’ll have much to gain.

(Changing Directions was originally published June, 2015)