Tag Archives: mental health

Crones in Fuchsia

13 Sep

The bathroom at the end of the hall has no windows.  When I close the door behind me, it can either feel like a moss green and latte cell, or a safe house; whichever depends on how I’m feeling at the time.

This morning, it was sanctuary.

I knew the day wasn’t going to be easy no matter what kind of spin I put on it, because yesterday I received a letter beginning with the words: Welcome to Medicare.  My plan was to keep today light to stave off age related issues of insecurity, but if I’d really wanted a retreat day, I would have skipped checking in with my Facebook page, wouldn’t I?

tarot the fool

A friend had posted an article relating to internet security that was thoughtful, and while not alarming, I confess, it fed my paranoid side that is suspicious of rapid change.  Like any animal with a head larger than mine, I don’t completely trust it without a proper courting phase allowing me time to ease into the unfamiliar, rather than busting through its doors.

This morning a Facebook entry hit a raw nerve, sending me into the shadow that Medicare began the day before, and I found myself heading to the room without windows at the end of the hall.

Small windowless rooms, most notably closets, have long been my sanctuary when the big, bad wolves of the world close in.  As a child, I believed I was invisible cowering inside, safe from sharp teeth.  As an adolescent, I could feel myself blending into walls, crouching behind an assortment of clothes that played to the particular role I assigned myself for the day.  As a young wife, closets offered refuge from the raging bull in the other room.  In middle age, I became my own closet, moving in, putting the pieces back together again.  At this stage in life, closets are just another chore needing attention.

dark closet

But this morning, thanks to Medicare and Facebook, the small, windowless room whisked me back in time, and for a moment I crouched in deference to the past that made me the woman I am today. And I covered the crone’s lips in bright fuchsia lipstick before opening another door and entering.

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Day one, June first: be kind dear month, merciful, dear season. Refrain from shaking too hard these ticks from your magnificent body.

1 Jun

Sitting in my storm shelter, I wonder if we’ve lost sight that we are part of nature or if self-importance has only inflated our sense of superiority.  The fact that anyone these days, take me, for example, can sit in front of an innocuous computer, and between sips of coffee, (or from a storm shelter), espouse a litany of personal beliefs, emphasizes the dilemma of having more venues to share than actual facts to present. 

Now, enter: personal experience and bias, we all have it to one degree or another.  Next, enter, (take cover), politics and religion, two devilish,( pardon the pun), components in an emerging super storm.

I wish I would, (not could), walk the explicit way of my own words, and see myself as an equal to ants and spiders.  But I am an animal that steps on those I categorize as creepy bugs when they invade my space, apologizing even as their guts squirt around my shoe.   I say I wish I would, not I wish I could, because certainly I could if I’d a mind to.  But I don’t; my bias, my perspective, my pick and choose variety of practical wisdom leaves its imprint across every hour of every day in my little world.  And while I may shake in horror as I do the things I do, I continue to opt to do them.

Today is June first.  2013.  Dawn of the new age.  (Cough, gag, choke.)  In fact, today is the first day after yesterday and the day before tomorrow.   I don’t know about you, but not too much changed overnight at my house.  The weather outside is still raging.  It’s the great mirror to what’s going on with people all over the planet.  It’s the duck legs below the waterline struggling while the swan only appears to glide. 

The earth is a seed perpetuating new seeds, or maybe it’s only a dog. 

We, on the other hand, retro-evolving parasitic life-forms, seem to be moving backward in thought, rather than fast-forward; hence the emergence of a super race of resource exploiters bashing our way across mother/planet/seed/dog earth. 

Yes, of course, we have our holy women and wild men roaming the forest primeval prophesizing and recording, but mostly their numbers are dwarfed by frightening numbers of consumer/ticks sucking the blood directly from the foundation they’ve built their homes on.

Dumb?  Yeah, I think so; short-sighted, for sure.  But are we, or let me make this more personal, am I save-able?  While the jury is still out on that one, the signs are imminently clear.  We’ve reached the limit on ignorant bliss…it is time to wake up, to come to the storm shelter and sit peacefully in the company of ants and spiders. To ask ourselves the question: are we living a sustainable lifestyle: emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically and of course, environmentally.  And most certainly, it is time to take notice of what nature is saying, time to listen up as she does her best impression of a dog driven to the cusp of madness by colonies of ticks, and to take action, positive action, to help ensure we survive on the back of this great dog that has begun the process of shaking her problems loose.

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Secrets We Keep…

24 Feb

There is nothing natural about a dam.  A dam, whether man-made or built by beavers, is a deliberate barrier intended to obstruct and control.  Some dams are magnificent works of stone and steel architecture; others are innocuous mounds of grass laden dirt.  Almost everyone agrees dams are useful.  On another day, I might argue that point, but not today; but a general point of consensus is the fact that when dams are breached, they have the capacity to unleash untold grief on anyone and everything standing downstream.

Consider this: we are all dams to one extent or another, you, me, your great-great-grandmother, and the bully down the street.  We are emotionally bound by the secrets we keep. 

Because we are dams, it is important to understand that we are never completely honest with ourselves, rendering us unable to be fully honest with others.  Every perception we hold as a personal truth is tainted because you cannot build a strong, balanced house on blemished soil.  Secrets limit our potential to realize the full extent of our purpose; they restrict the natural evolution of trust, self-confidence and a healthy sense of interdependence with others. 

Secrets separate us from each other, but even more alarming, they separate us from ourselves, resulting in inner conflict, the war against the interior world of our humanly being, often with catastrophic results.  If we can learn to accept that each secret we keep is a stone in the structure of our dam, then we can learn how to safely repair the vulnerable spots that will be left once deception is removed.

This past week has been tumultuous for me; I’ve been bombarded by secret armies inside secret battles raging within.  And the feelings and emotions that have surfaced have left me shaky and raw.  It began with an unfortunate response from a weak man who is a powerful politician.  The tone of his response washed over me like acid rain.

Of course, I did not agree with what he had to say; I rarely do.  I’ve had an ongoing email discourse with his office for several years, and have yet to feel my voice has actually been heard.  So I am well acquainted with feeling powerless in the context of a political environment; but what I felt, this time, was not rage or disbelief, but something guttural, something rancid inside, beginning to churn.

I was operating on two levels of my brain, timidly consciously, and boldly subconsciously; the subconscious reaction was causing physical discomfort.  But I’d not yet figured that out, so to connect the two, conscious perception with subconscious instinct, I began taking steps, making decisions without knowing why, or what I believed doing so might achieve.

One of the things I decided to do was to share the senator’s response with a feminist activist I admire.  The senator’s mindset is dangerously narrow; his presentation of misinformation as fact and his personal beliefs presented as law, was worthy of sharing with a writer of her experience.   I put it all in her capable hands, believing I’d feel relief; but none came, actually, quite the opposite, as suddenly I began to chew my nails and lose sleep. 

I was very anxious without obvious reason.  When my friend asked if she could publish my correspondence with the senator, I immediately agreed; unleashing an internal sort of terror that left me nauseous.  I retired to my favorite chair in the corner of my bedroom where I do most of my writing, my comfort zone, for lack of a better description, and began to focus, setting a clear intention to get to the bottom of the uncomfortable feelings I was experiencing.

Absolutely nothing happened.  I sat mute with a flat-lining brain until ultimately deciding I’d done enough for one day.  Sleep that night was restless; my dreams were filled with barren or bloody landscapes.  In one, my husband bought all new furniture and rearranged our house.  He bought new clothes for himself.  He bought himself a modern car, trying to pawn the old work truck off on me.

When I woke, I was as calm as a clam: the subconscious-conscious connection had been made. 

Richard and Morgan were both working; the house was quiet.  Midway through the afternoon, the letters were published.  Within the first two hours, 3,000 people had read them.  Middle Aged Woman Talking had done a good job of furthering the fight for a more balanced government.  And I’d done my part, sharing my story.  The day passed uneventfully, emotions in check.  Early evening found Richard and me on a date, dinner and Latte’, easy conversation and a long, slow drive home over the mountain.  Naked tree branches casts shadows in the full moon’s light, creating interesting but frightening patterns across lonely back roads.  There was complete silence in the air.  My ears searched for the slightest sound, but none was there.

1 o’clock in the morning; I am sitting on the couch in front of a roaring orange fire.  Richard is waiting for me in bed.  Morgan is singing downstairs.  Suddenly a dam bursts, flooding the living room.  I tread water as best I can, but it keeps filling my mouth and lungs.  Suddenly I realize the choking sounds are gasps I am making as I cry from a pit of hell buried so deep inside, it feels as if I am dying as it erupts.

Suddenly I am 7 again, and feelings of utter emptiness are so overwhelming, I want to run away from them, but it too late.  I realize I’ve been running from this moment for 57 years.  Now it is on me, a fire burning my skin…water filling my lungs…rabid dogs eating my legs.  The secret I’d kept, a stone in the dam, had loosened.  When I broke the rule, telling one story to a journalist, all the other old stories rattled their dark bones, begging for a proper burial. 

It was a long night of revelation.  It was a child coming to terms with brutality, and the woman she’d grown into, acknowledging injustice and vowing to protect the child who had survived. 

The world looks different this morning.  The sun is even more beautiful than yesterday.  The naked branches cast uncompromising shadows in the forest.  Raw earth from the missing stone’s bruise begins to fill with fresh soil.  Invisible seeds from the garden filter through the air, some landing in the empty space.  By summer, the dam will be much stronger.  And the distance between the child and I will narrow, and the miles between us and the past will lengthen as the old ones come to terms with their private demons while passing from this test, here on earth, to the next place.