I haven’t posted on here for a few reasons. It is just how life has been the last year. I have however made fantastic progress on writing my book. Which essentially was the entire purpose of starting this blog. I finished the rough draft a few months ago and began the tedious process of editing it.
I cut and slashed my way through numerous chapters condensing them, removing repetitious words, gaining strength of voice. Then I hit the cliff, the subsequent fall into the cataclysmic day that changed me forever. Literally, the story where the cliff giving away changed everything. I can stand at the edge of that reality as though carefully looking over the edge of a huge precipice. I can’t, however, bring myself to jump into that black hole that became my life.
The months and years that followed with one thing after another knocking me down. Throwing me about as though I was a boat amid an ocean storm. I fear to embrace the pain, loss, loneliness, grief, anger, and sadness enough to write the depth required to bring a reader there with me.
So I have sat at the table for weeks stuttering about within the chapter that changed my family unable to find my footing. I will for I must but this seemed easier to write and share than facing what I spent years with Mary-Jane forgetting.
I know I haven’t been keeping to a schedule. Okay, scratch that. I haven’t been posting at all. It isn’t because I haven’t been writing because I have. Just not on my blog.
First off so far I seem to be having a rough year for a variety of reasons none of which I feel I can write about. Secondly, I got to travel with my daughter which was amazing. I have every intention of sharing photo’s of Europe once I make time. Thirdly, Mercury sucks – at least that what seems to be the common reason for blame this year.
Laughter is the best medicine, right? Well, I am giving it a real go and reading for the umpteenth time the ‘Stephanie Plum’ series of books by Janet Evanovich. Even after reading it six times I can still laugh to tears when reading these. It seems to have been helping me find my happy.
The great news is I am making great headway finally in organizing my bits into chapters that fall into order. I am not feeling so lost or overwhelmed now with writing the book. I do struggle to shake loose from the grips of emotion each time I write. To live my daily life without letting the past seep into it. Below is a rough draft from one of the chapters I’d thought to share.
When I landed at the small airfield and walked inside the airport I looked around and didn’t see my mother or anyone I knew. I retrieved my luggage and dragged it over to a pay phone where I called her. I got no answer. She still lived at the community with her new husband in a different house. Which was about an hour and a half from the airport I was waiting at. I wasn’t dressed for November weather. I didn’t own appropriate clothing for being far north in the winter. Darkness was falling. Two hours past and still I sat and waited alone.
After about three hours a vehicle pulled into the parking lot. It was my mother with her husband. I lugged my big suitcase to the back of the pickup and heaved it in. I got into the back on the little fold-down seat and asked what had taken so long. Her answer: she wasn’t sure she was even going to pick me up at all. She decided to come and get me but I had to leave within a week. I was dumbfounded. Why force me to fly there then? I had had a home and school lined up. Now I was far north turning sixteen in two days and apparently had nowhere to go.
I spent my sixteen birthday at my mothers as though I didn’t have one. The children didn’t know it was my birthday and she didn’t tell them. It was as if it didn’t happen. A month later she would call me to sing happy birthday. Apparently, she didn’t know what to say to me on my birthday but at Christmas time felt like it was fitting to call me and sing happy birthday.
Anyways I thought to post and share with you that I am still here and working away one letter, one word, one day at a time.
I lay on the patch of grass trying to breathe. To keep my happy facade firmly in place. I’d found a little spot of green with shade amidst the hard cement and cold uninviting buildings of the downtown.
The clouds twisted and danced as their shapes continually changed. I wished I was an artist. I wished a photo would show what I saw. And I waited.
It was the third day. The bus depot was ready to kick my loitering butt to the curb. They wouldn’t let me sleep on the cold plastic bench another night. The money I’d earned picking cherries was almost gone. The public washroom couldn’t wash the stink off me. I had been waiting for what seemed forever.
The bus system had a safety net for youth. They would give you a ticket home if you needed to get home. As long as someone was willing to claim you and say they were your home. There was no safety net for me. Deep down I knew this. I knew I had no safety net. Yet I had tried. Dared to hope a little bit.
My mother was technically home. They would give me a bus ticket there. Trouble was, I wasn’t allowed to live with her. There was no point in going further from where I planned to settle down. My family where I was trying to go wouldn’t acknowledge me. Wouldn’t say they would be my family home even to get me safe travel passage.
I would have to hitchhike the highway of tears if I was to get where I was going. It wasn’t called that yet. That would come in another few years. My waiting was over. I just had to pull up my big girl panties. Put on my happy face. And build my own life. Starting with hitchhiking almost a thousand kilometers.
I haven’t posted in much longer than I intended. I had a post all set to schedule but … I just didn’t feel then. I still don’t. It’s sitting ready for another time to share. The next thing I knew I had taken on more than I could chew. My writing fell behind. Actually behind is not even close. I haven’t written anything since finishing up my storyboard. Even my reading began slowed to a halting stop.
I was reading ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F&*k” but after 2/3 it became rather rote. I read chapter 18 of “Girl Wash Your Face” and put that book right away to the going going gone pile. I was read a trashy novel while flying to see Bob Seger perform. That was an amazing night. That trip also got me started again with feeling something. The book “I’ll Be Gone In the Dark” was given to me and sparked my inner oh. It’s as though the light has turned back on. Even if winter blues are still here my avid love of words is returning. The infatuation with books, the urge to push myself to write my story is returning. I am laughing as I read a novel by Margaret Lashley – if only I could have her gift for description. Glad One was absolutely wonderful and Two Crazy isn’t disappointing.
I did learn about a new computer program, that hurt my brain. I switched from iPhone to Android yet kept my mac – that was a fun transition I am nowhere near done learning. I took a couple classes – I finish that today. I hope to take another this summer if I can. I tried out something new that could have helped someone. I was overdrawn. I had nothing to give. I was tired and wanted to have an extra glass of wine not write. So instead I began to work out daily thanks to an insta friend I made who kept encouraging me to try it out. My faithful friend Dudley happily keeps me company with frequent offers of kisses as I sweat and grunt my way through.
I have terribly exciting plans for this month. We will be exploring England, France, and Spain for a quick jam-packed trip. I must admit I probably won’t be posting while exploring Europe so it will be awhile but I will be sure to share many photos of the wonderful Adventure I am about to embark on when I can.
I remember dad got me these really cool sunglasses after I burnt my eyes. They were completely red matching my red high top sneakers that I wore till they were in shreds. The frames had red leather blinders so no light could get in from the sides. My eyes were safe and wouldn’t burn again. I didn’t know a person could burn their eyes. Yet I burnt mine on a hiking excursion. The glare off of the white snow crust, the bright reflection off of the glaciers. That glare is evil. I suffered from a painful blinding ache for days. Trust me, that isn’t something you ever want to experience.
Later I lost them. Put them somewhere safe or left them somewhere and they were gone. I felt horrible. Sick to my stomach horrible that I lost them. I knew they were expensive, important. Dad’s old school reaction didn’t help my gut ache. That I should be more responsible, careful with my things. That they were expensive. Didn’t he think I knew that? Every time that my parents were in the bathroom together with the tap on I knew they were fighting. Fighting about money. I hadn’t meant to lose them. I loved them. They were red. They matched my shoes. They were gone.
We keep things in case we need them, as mementos, for that one time we might need it. As a tangible piece after losing someone. Keepsakes, memories, things. I’m like that with photos. Thousands of photo’s to jog my memory of the wonderful adventures I’ve had.
Our stuff our collections of mementos don’t mean anything to others. We cart it around and display it. When we are gone it goes too. It’s just stuff. Even our photo’s don’t mean as much to others.
Hanging on to things. Hanging on to the past. Feeling guilty when losing things. Becoming a hoarder when you feel you have no control over your life or income. When life becomes so scary so hard that all there is, is stuff. The connection between emotional tumult and things becomes blurred. It doesn’t have to be that way but for many it is.
On a side note. I keep feeling shocked over how much stuff, junk actually is created. Every dollar store, Wal-Mart, knock-off brand, a cheap version that ends up in the landfill. Let’s face it, two minutes after using cheap replicas they break assuming they worked in the first place! The constant redecorating, redoing, replacing of things that aren’t even broken is such a common occurrence nowadays. That gives me a tummy ache for entirely different reasons than the one I had over losing my sunglasses.
I have noticed that I think back to my children being young often. Missing their sweet chubby young years. When I was pregnant with my first I was terrified. I hadn’t even planned to have a baby and then all of a sudden I had to make a family for the kids and try not to lose the baby. I was raised to play housewife and mother so I knew how to do that. I just didn’t know how to do that in the world. It might not sound like a big difference but it is. Especially at twenty-two without any solid groundwork laid. I was afraid I wouldn’t know how to love my unborn child. I was so afraid I didn’t dare speak my fear aloud. I am terribly superstitious about putting my fears into words. I had built such a great wall around myself. I had jeered at lovers and newlyweds. I avoided close friends and families. I laughed at the girls thinking they were in love. Ran rowdy with the boys that were no good laughing at their women who sat at home believing their men to be honest and faithful. I kept my walls high and believed that was how I wanted my life to be.
Then I held my daughter in my arms. Her skin so soft. Her fragile little body, all 5 lbs of it. Trusting me to care for her and protect her from all that might come at her. I would sit for hours holding her while she slept. Tears would sneak down my cheeks from the deep love as my heart hurt from the depth of it. I knew that in a blink of the eye she would be grown and gone. I wanted to treasure each moment. Love each stage my children went through not worrying over the terrible two’s or waiting for the pre-school age. I vowed to love every stage they went through growing up.
As I try to bring forward my childhood, my past to lay out as chapters in a book I find my mind wanders. It grasps onto peak moments without easily grasping the hidden pieces.
That moment when all-encompassing love touched my heart and it grew. I treasure that moment. It is a memory easy to think of when faced with troublesome writing. I was willing to have feelings for who could help but love these beautiful little beings.
I used to love writing. I wrote a short story when I was maybe eleven years old. Now I find it hard to write. Maybe it’s harder now as it’s easier to remember the negative the hurtful than the nice memories. Or maybe after not writing for so long. Maybe it’s a lazy underused muscle. Maybe my avid love of reading has made my writer side lazy.
When I was young a few very hurtful and emotionally damaging things happened. We subsequently moved and I lost the fragile hold of budding friendships. Lost the comfort of what I finally felt was home. I had been betrayed by my family, my friend, abandoned by my mother. The realization that nothing is real. That love and family is just a word hits hard and maybe never fully heals.
I learned in that time that without a doubt the Biblical time of the end we were being taught was indeed very easily an option. The second coming of Christ, the second death for those not deemed worthy. The hunt and persecution of those in the wrong religion. Ours, of course, would be the wrong one. It was us that would be put to death after horrible torture once our family had turned on us. That was some of my childhood bible stories. Who needs stories of the monster under the bed when you have those.
Back to my point about why writing is hard. Why it leaves me with a sense of guilt. Yet another excuse to not put my pen to paper. Or in this case fingers to keys.
Since we were isolated there was little for options of lashing out, acting out. I knew nothing of the world except what was deemed appropriate to tell. The basis of truth behind the stories built upon the tellers’ opinion. An opinion from someone who chose to leave the world for a commune lifestyle. See how that is a questionable source?
I wrote as I knew no other outlet. I wrote my pain and anger. My story, my fears, my heartbreak. I had pen pals – remember those? I think my mail probably was blocked to them. No matter where I wrote my story, where I hid it mother found it. She would be livid every time. How dare I write even in fiction about our pain. Our deep embarrassing secret that really wasn’t a secret as everyone knew it. How dare I put to paper what should never be admitted. I kept writing and she kept finding them. ‘Never write down what you don’t want people to know’ she would say. What she didn’t want to face up to is more like it. Eventually, I let it go and began a new quest… BOYS!
Such a common question. An easy way to keep a conversation going as you get to know someone. My answer has always been yes. However today I am realizing that even though I am the oldest I feel more like an only child. And am probably not far off really.
Being the eldest and old enough to feed them, change diapers, and babysit; it was more like being a little mother. In a way, it was like having the best doll in the world. My dolly actually cried, peed, waved their arms, and had drawers full of outfits to be put into. Much better than any replica doll I ever found for my children. My ‘dolly’ had soft soft skin and smelt delicious like only babies do. My dolly would hug me and follow me around where ever I went. Forever a faithful shadow even when I no longer wanted one.
When I was dating a test question was always, ‘are you prepared to help me raise my siblings?’ It wasn’t exactly a first date question. Definitely came up if things ever looked mildly serious. My ex-husband used to wonder how the heck I knew I would be raising my siblings as my own. He must have thought I had some sort of psychic power. In hindsight, the man had no clue the kind of woman I was and certainly didn’t know how to walk the path I found the strength to walk. With a smile, I might add.
I had no idea my mother would pass much too young. Never once did I dream we would be orphans with me barely legally old enough to claim them as my own.
I did, however, believe for years that my siblings would question the lifestyle that they were born into and leave. Go in search of more. More knowledge, more answers, more choices. The same things I had searched for but didn’t know how. The same questions I asked and didn’t find the answer for until long past searching for them. Maybe my questions were unusual for no one seemed to have the answers. Or maybe in my shame and low self-esteem I was surrounding myself with those that wouldn’t know. People that had those same questions but didn’t speak them aloud as I did.
What I know now I didn’t even know to think of. The options I see now I was unaware of. Unable to find the way there. Blinded by fear and self-consciousness I hid in a haze. Playing like a grasshopper instead of being a worker ant. In case your unfamiliar with that analogy let me tell you the story I heard.
There was a grasshopper who played all summer long. Teasing the ant for working so hard when he could be playing as the grasshopper was. Come winter the grasshopper was cold and hungry and came to the ant begging for food. Now, who was laughing…?
So back to the sibling question I started with. I answer but never truly never from the heart for the answer is complicated. Yes is a simple answer. I lie, deflect, or discuss my baby brother who I adore as my own. Tears of love stinging my eyes when I mention him.
There I said it. I collect toilet paper. And not that scratchy cheap no name stuff. Definitely not the Green planet friendly tp. That stuff is worse than the tp at the govt funded buildings. I mean Charmine, Cottonelle, Royale, and other baby soft brands. If they are on sale it comes home with me. Stuffed under handbags, in the back of the closet, in the kids’ washroom. I buy the kids’ Store brands or other sale but still quality brands because it’s cheaper and they have no sense of the word waste as teenagers.
I know why I buy it. I understand buying on sale is a good idea. That being thrifty is the way to become a millionaire. That is not why I do it. I have this fear hidden deep in the darkness of my consciousness. I am afraid of using paper thin, sandpaper rough, one ply tissue. The kind you would be able to steal from the local library. Sounds ridiculous right. Wrong. I was so broke – a whole different blog story there for another time… I was so broke I would sneak into the public library and stuff a half used roll into my backpack.
I can still see clear as day me sitting on the toilet. My black canvas satchel with its cold metal buckles on my lap. Trying to get that giant commercial size roll out of the case without making noise or breaking it. The metallic taste of fear on my tongue. The desperate need for tissue at home.
So now I have toilet paper. Good toilet paper. So soft it’s a kittens fur wiping your bottom. According to commercials. Or maybe so soft bears love it. Hoards of it in my closet, in the bathroom, in the kids bathroom. And I bought more today because it was almost half price. I am sure it will be double when I need it. So I buy more. I buy it for the sale not because I can’t help myself. I tell myself I’ll be good and buy only one giant bulk bag, not the maximum limit. That would be silly right! 🙂 Then I stress all the way home if I should have bought more while it was on sale. Or if I spent too much buying things like toilet paper on sale when I didn’t need it yet. Either way, I end up with a stomach ache.
So there it is. Why I hoard toilet paper. And probably food on occasion. Definitely speaks to my dislike of wasting anything. Throwing away anything when it can be donated. For I will never forget having to steal toilet paper.
How come you bit him my parents asked. “Because he said I could,” was my simple answer. Earlier I had been sitting on the stairs coming up from the basement. I wasn’t allowed downstairs but I was halfway so technically I was obeying. The men lived in the basement once their cabin burnt down. We all ate meals together and worked together as a whole. This man that I recall feeling close to yet had loathing for had come by me on the steps. Maybe I was waiting for him. Hard to know what my little five year old brain was thinking. I have no recollection of asking him. The only memory I have is sinking my teeth into the soft flesh of his hand between his thumb and forefinger. Once my teeth clamped down I just wanted to keep biting harder and harder not letting go. A voice in my head said I couldn’t. It would hurt him I thought. I need to let go I thought. Yet my jaw was locked into the bite. I don’t recall him making a sound. I just clenched my jaw, sunk my teeth in trying to hard not to go too far. Not to bite too hard. My teeth marks were there to stay. Little teeth indentations in dark shades of purple. I don’t recall having any repercussions from that action. I suppose the fact that I had asked permission and he’d said yes was enough. As a youth I wondered what would have caused that want in me as a young child. Did he do bad things to me? I would never know.
As a youth of the streets my mother would cry out for prayers for her wayward daughter. Why was she gone, why did she deny the Lord, why was she a herion addict and drug user, as loose woman. Ironically I never touched herion, didn’t really do hard drugs, didn’t drink often and always choose to do it safely where some pervert couldn’t get me. My mother and the leaders of the school never once mentioned I had been denied return to the fold. Never admitted to the community I had come back begging to live with my mother to be one of them again. Promising to be a devote follower and never question them again.
So I wondered. Mother wondered. Others wondered what could have happened to me as child to cause me to turn my back on God, on life in the community, on my family. Who could have hurt me so. Was it the man that I bit, some other man who lived in our home. No one not even me thought maybe it was being turned away from my own mother. Being sent away as an unwanted bothersome thing. No one thought what internal damage that trauma might cause my already aching heart.
I will never know why I bit him. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I may never know why I did many of the things that I did. I now know that the biggest hurt of all even more than my father, was being turned away by my own mother and the community I was born into.