Saturday, December 14, 2013

Looking up, out.


Sitting on the subway yesterday going to work, I noticed two kids.  Sitting, facing the window perched on their knees, watching.  Staring intently for long, uninterrupted minutes.  They were entranced almost, watching the fast-moving, slight colors of metal and pavement whiz by.  I stood there watching them watching.  Thinking, they exuded a sense of anticipation, hope.  They were waiting.  About to joyfully pounce, arms outstretched into the first sign of life.  

Standing on the subway, the sense of disconnectedness I felt deepened, while literally touching, with my shoulders, the edges of my hands while holding the rail or my feet through my shoes.  I looked to those two children, not yet even seven, and felt hope.  They saw the same old pavement and metal and ground that we all see in the subway but they kept their eyes open.  They kept reaching towards life, toward connection.  They wanted to see the next station.  They wanted to watch the people walking, moving in and out of their reality.  They were excited to see what was coming.  Who was coming.  What and who was being left behind.  They watched, eyes bright, in hopeful anticipation.  

I thought about this while walking out of the subway on to State street. Which is in the financial district of Boston, so super ritzy, lots of tall stone or cement buildings and busy traffic.  Looking out, I saw walls.  Lots of walls.  Everywhere.  Corner walls, side walls, everything was compartmentalized, shut off.  Separate.  The only shared space was outside and it was narrow and linear and fuddled up.  Streets curved and intersected and spread out not at all according to organization or simplicity.  And as a result, the shared space felt confined, boxy.  

I thought about the kids.  Looking at the cement.  The dirt.  The metal.  And I looked up.  And this is what I saw.  This picture.  Up there.  It was open. It was bright.  And it was expansive.  I felt hope.  I felt opportunity for bigger connection, bigger understanding because there were no walls up there.  There was just sky.  And blue.  

I love kids.  Just by being kids, they teach me.  We are all teachers and we are all students.  If we could just get past the skepticism and judgement that tells us that we can't learn from someone.  Because when you learn from someone, you are connected to them in a way that you aren't otherwise.  You see part of them and they show you a part of yourself that neither of you knew was there.  

I hope you look up, look out and reach towards others.  Reach toward yourself first to learn but remember that no one lives on an island completely alone, ever.  And we are all apart of this world, this life, this society.  We are walking, standing, riding alongside one another and that's how we need it to be.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Finding healing in loss

I am sitting here, recovering.  Something I can't yet really explain just happened.  I just now went through an experience that has shifted me so violently that I have yet to stop from the momentum.  My spirit has been....it has been....touched.  Absolutely touched.  In such a painfully intimate way that I couldn't help but cry.  And so I did.  I cried like I've never cried before.  Ever. 

Earlier this week I had some things happen emotionally.  Had a falling out with a friend (kind of), having some roommate issues that are difficult and felt that familiar pang of loss when I think about how far away and how little I get to see my son.  As many of you know, I've been through some tough stuff emotionally!  As have most if not all of you reading this right now.  Life is rough.  Beautiful and such a gift, but tough. 

I'd like to share with you the sequence of events.  I think it's....interesting and comforting. 

Last week I was having a hard time both missing and going to see my son.  I know this is going to be a four day visit with eight hours of that time on the road to and from the airport.  Short visits are tough. There is so much emotion in such a short amount of time.  It used to be hard to go to Texas because the divorce between Kyle and I was fresh.  And I love my in-laws.  I really do, my ex mother-in-law is one of the most amazingly kind and good hearted women I know.  I am a better person because I was honored to have been close to her and learn from her.  But it was still difficult on some levels, in large part because I wasn't as close to everyone else as I was to my ex mother-in-law.  Some family members resented me (or so it seemed).  But to all I was "the ex wife."  And that used to be a lot tougher but now, now I am "Wes' mom."  And that feels better!  (Wes is Una's English name, I prefer to call him Una because of spiritual reasons.)

But, as excited as I am to see my son, there are some emotional things I am going to have to move through.  So I was a bit sad.  Had also been having issues with a roommate.  Just feeling like any interaction with him was kind of insulting.  Kind of jarring.  And when I'd try to bring it up I wouldn't feel like my words were heard and more jabs insued. 

I disappeared over the weekend up to NH/VT for a late Halloween Party on Friday and visiting friends Sat/Sun which was fun.  But by midday Saturday, I had this horrible pain through my chest and where my heart is.  It extended into my spine, as if there was a rod jammed in between my chest and my spine.  I also had this horrible knot in my throat/discomfort in the back of my throat/neck.  They all persisted until I finally fell asleep, exhausted from the pain, at like 11:30 pm right outside Burlington, VT at a friends.

What happened at that friends was like an emotional heartbreak, which is kind of what I was feeling right before I went to Burlington in my chest.  I knew, going to visit this friend that it probably wouldn't go well.  I had a sneaking suspicion.  Anyway, details aside, I ended up in a way, parting ways with this very good friend of mine because...it was the healthy thing to do.  For both of us. 

I woke up Sunday feeling the chest pain some but not nearly as intense and just grateful for the lessening of pain I rejoiced smiling.  I left my friend early, not feeling very comfortable anymore.  I met up with someone I'd met and connected with at the Halloween Party Friday who happened to live in Burlington.  By midday Sunday I found myself deeply involved in conversation with him looking in, through what felt like the hinting of our souls, in each others eyes.  He is a man who was truly rare in a wonderful way.  But then, I got into my car and drove back down to Boston, four hours South. 

Got back home and I start crying.  Just crying.  Little crying.  No sobbing.  Just letting sadness out. Loss.  But I felt that I could burst into tears at any moment.  I was crying over my friend, my son, even a little over how intense it felt to feel for someone like I did Sunday, again.  Monday passed with little activity involved.  It was mostly spent sleeping.  I was, without realizing it, prolonging the beginning of what was to come out by keeping myself unconscious.  What needed to come up. 

While teaching class on Tuesday morning I found myself feeling really nauseated.  Out of no where.  Had the same thing I have for breakfast 350+ days out of the year: yogurt and granola.  But I started throwing up and didn't stop.  Over and over again.  There was nothing to puke but I kept going.  I had to leave to go home and home I fell into a deep sleep for five hours.  When I woke up I felt groggy and slightly disoriented.  I couldn't stay awake.  I was exhausted and immobile or so it felt at the time. So I went back to sleep.

Wednesday seemed fine.  Back to normal-ish.  But I was weary, still alert.  Still cautious.  After work I come home and before my coat is even off and my bedroom door shut I just start balling.  I can't remember why.  I just remember tears start streaming.  I didn't like the silence so I put on music and begin what felt like hours and hours of intense and deep crying. 

It was like I was talking to myself.  All of a sudden the part of me that had been trying to surface.  Decided to put itself right in front of my face, my vision.  And something my subconscious knows well is that if you put something that needs attention and will hurt me if I don't give it attention in my eyesight...I can't push it away.   I have to deal with it. 

So up it comes.  And I find myself crying it all up.  Fear. Sadness. Loss. Feeling the bottom of empty.  Out of no where it seemed.  But I let it come up. And it came up in a way I can't really explain.  I wasn't entirely present.  By the end of the experience, I find myself flopped over my knees with my forehead to one side literally unable to flinch even feeling so immobolized.  My arms lay limp beside me. 

I think about my roommates coming in seeing me like this.  I try to move.  It takes litearlly, like 10 minutes to lift my head off the floor.  I feel dizzy.  I feel disorientated.  I feel light and fluffy.  I feel like I need a few really really deep breaths. 

I gingerly (or so I tried) get up off my knees and scootch over to my bed.  I dive under the covers as I find out that I am absolutely frigid.  Bone cold.  I turn on the space heater that I'm really not supposed to be turning on because it uses so much electricity but I need it right now. 

I sit lay there frozen inside and out and think...what just happened?  Is it over?  Am I done?  I began to feel fear.  Not toward a particular person or thing.  Just general fear.  I began to think about the things I was supposed to do - go to a therapy appointment.  I think about diving and think if I get behind a wheel right now.  Feeling this disconnected, lightheated and scared I will crash.  I start to feel really confined.  I start to feel really stuck.  I feel like I can't go but I can't stay.  I feel fear.  Lurking fear.  It's like the hairs on my neck are on guard, holding their ground searching for signs of commotion. 

After my therapy session I was going to have another kind of therapy session.  It's a kind of therapy that looks at how spiritual trauma is stored in the body.  And it's been really powerful for me.  I was supposed to have a session today.  But I was scared.  The idea of letting anyone into my space or near me seemed like a very dangerous idea.  I was triggered.  I knew it in my adult brain but it wasn't my adult body reacting. 

After talking with my practitioner and myself, I realized that it was important for me to take this step in my healing process now.  I realized that it was ok to be scared but part of the healing process is trusting in others.  I needed to trust that the man who I had come to know as my practitioner was a safe, good-hearted man that wanted nothing else but to help me.  To re-traumatized ptsd Aaluk this was not an easy message to get through.

After a bit of coaxing it was as if the healer in me held the hand of the terrified little girl and said, "It's ok sweetheart.  You are safe now.  I am here with you.  Trust me and know that I love you."  And so I allowed my practitioner to come into my space. 

And the work that followed was life changing.  Period.  No way around it.  I am still absorbing.

It all centered around loss.  During the session I had memories surface of the abuse I endured as a child.  And it was about loss.  Loss of voice in one instance (very important memory to uncover).  Loss of mobility in another.  And loss of trust.  I felt these traumas in my body.  Literally felt my throat choked up days before and now realizing that the admittance of that memory of being chocked back into my mind allowed the knot to dissipate.  I felt my legs held down in another.  It was through feeling for the trauma in my body that I was able to access the memory in my psyche.
The chest pain was interesting because it was right where the heart chakra is.  Which is known for many things I think but one of them loss.  I thought about why I might just start to puke out of no where (not sick, not pregnant, no food poisoning).  I began to realize that I was throwing up not because I was physically sick but because I just couldn't keep "it" down anymore. 


I felt like I was responding to messages from my body.  It knew better than I did. 

And when I listened my body rested, was able to let go.

I am still resting.  Still letting go.  Finding ways to rejuvenate.  Listen more gently and more compassionately to myself.

That's all I can write right now.  I wanted to share it because, well after it happened I felt so new, so much closer to whole that I just wanted to write about it.

I will remember this day though.  I took a really big step toward healing today.  And I am smiling a smile full of gratitude and hope.  Full of and surrounded by light.  I love light.   I need light.  We are light. 

*I wrote half of this yesterday, the day this actually happened and the other half today, November 14, 2013.  I was too exhausted yesterday to finish it!  But I wrote it first person to keep it simple. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Open Channel

My personal journey with life, the part of my life journey that is all internal, when boiled down, is really about about peeling back the layers of fear and doubt I place on myself.  With each new uncovering, each opening,...I feel more space open up inside me. I like to stretch and dance and jump and move and so with each new expansion of space, I feel freer. 

A few weekends ago I feel like I created a new channel of connected space to hear from.  That's what has been the most useful self-reflection quality I have cultivated over the years struggling with depression, PTSD and other things.  I don't think you can ever listen to yourself too much.  You can listen to your desires, your pain, your fear even your happiness too much but if you are truly listening to yourself, the base of which those emotions flow from, you will always have something to listen to, something to work on, something to hear. Listening to yourself is like growing a fruit bearing tree.  You grow from the seeds of personal truth branches that bear bite sized pieces of universal wisdom fruit.  And the thing about this wisdom is that it is not something you know with your head, but with something else that when it speaks and you hear, feel or know know it as truth.  For you.  Undeniable. 

I am sitting outside my apartment and even though the street is full with many houses, for the first time I see the different heights of the trees, the varied array of leaf colors and the sun bounce off and speak to life.  It's that dusky/early light that light you think could be 5am or 5pm. I feel it.  This connection.  I feel it resting in me like a cat purring in your lap.  I feel comforted, by the person who knows me best - me. 

A few weekends ago, I recognized a part of me that had been in pain, frozen, for a long time.  I acknowledged that yes, that happened.  Yes.  It is sad.  Yes.  It hurts.  It stings actually, deep.  It stings because you don't see it with little girl, confused eyes, you see it with adult eyes that know things.  You feel the pain of the experience but also the pain of knowing you were so little.  
 
But you know what?  When I was done recognizing, acknowledging, crying.  I felt a light open up inside me - an open channel and I felt more whole. 

This channel, is freeing.  It's like open arms.  Light.  There is still darkness.  But the darkness and the light are not pitted against one another anymore like they used to be in my head.  Darkness is not preferred but is a part of the world.  Where there is light, there are shadows.  But in a beautiful way the light creates the shadow and the shadow defines the light.  It is as if they work together to exist. 

And I think, that the best way to work together to exist, shadow, light or you and me is to know yourself and love yourself first.  Open channels.  Listening.  Love. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I'm Back

I haven't been writing much.  Or at all.  In the middle of, possibly the end of, a spiritual "block" of sorts when it came to writing.  Was dealing with root issues and just was feeling inward.  Not open. 

Today something happened.  I had craniosacral work done, which is a lot of things but I was worked on by someone who views it more as a spiritual journey and conversation the patient has with him or herself.  Just what I needed.  I needed to get to the blocks on my spiritual roadway.  I was feeling stunted and isolated from movement. 

I am ready to write again.  It's not going to be warm and fuzzy guys.  We are entering into dark territory.  There won't be any monsters, anything exterior to be afraid of.  The scariest parts of the world are those parts that we hide from ourselves.  The truths of who we are, in part, that we do not accept.  That is where I am going.  I am on an expedition.  I am climbing a mountain and it's not a day hike.  It's a life-hike.  I am looking to discover, unearth, set free and above all, accept...me. 

The parts of me I show others, I show you, are likeable parts.  That's what we all do.  That's what we try to fake ourselves into thinking - that we are only the "good" parts. 

Today, I faced some not-so-good parts.  I faced some memories.  Some moments of vulnerability.  Some fear.  Some pain.  And I wanted to shove it away.  I wanted to run in the other direction.  I wanted to say no, I am peace, love and light.  And I am.  But I am also pain and vulnerability and loss. 

And I have lost. 

I lost my childhood in a lot of ways.  Almost all of it.  When you are sexually active from 3-8 and again from 13 onward...you don't feel too much like a kid.  Ever.  And being naive, innocent, young for me as a child was scary.  When I was those things I was abused.  When I was tough and adult-ish I was safe. 

I was little today. During this therapy session.  I was a little girl again and I was scared shitless. Being young, being little to me is scary.  It's not carefree and fun.  It's hell.  It's paralyzing.  I was paralyzed. 

But you know what?  I felt it.  I was there.  I remembered.  And I got through it. 

Recovery is that.  Healing is that.  It is not glossing over the bad, the pain, the wound.  It's looking that scary monster of yourself that is the pain, the anger, the loss in the eye and saying - show me you.  Be you.  Be scared. Be angry. Feel loss.  Feel pain.  And I will still love you.  I will still be standing right here.  Or laying here.  Or whatever, but here.  It's letting that wound rage.  Letting it flare until it's out of breath and it collapses into a pile of tears. 

I cried today.  Quietly.  I cried for the innocence I lost.  I cried for the injustice.  But mostly I cried because the little girl inside me that was abused was alone.  She was small and alone and I cry so she knows someone knows.  I cry and she breathes deeper.  I cry and she feels connected. 

I am working on her.  I am working on me.  I am not yet ready to get close to anyone emotionally (i.e. romantic relationship wise).  I am used to having someone to talk to every day.  Someone to share with.  Someone to experience life with intimately.  It's hard not be with someone but when I look at the part of me that was abused I realize I need a lot of space, love and support from myself right now and don't have much to give to someone else in a relationship.  I keep reminding myself of this because all I want to do is curl up in someone else's loving arms and forget.  But it's not time to forget. 

It's time to remember. 

It's time to accept.

And it's time to love.  Me.

Deep breath in.  Let's go. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Looking inward to heal

I woke up angry.  Sad.  Frustrated.  I had been festering in feelings that were connected to upsetting news for a few days.  Some of the news involved abuse of a child, some of the news involved disprespect toward loved ones.  Sometimes I feel so far away.  Not that I could really do anything in either situation.  But I still felt angry, sad and frustrated.  I felt helpless in a way.

I tried to soothe myself but found I just wasn't ready to be soothed yet.  I still needed to feel.  So I felt.  I cried.  I talked.  I wrote.  I meditated.  I let the torrent of emotion take me over. I stood with it while it raged.  Abuse of a child or disrespect of a loved one is not something I take lightly.  If I saw a child being abused in front of me I would do something.  Hearing of it and not being able to affect positive change for that child hurt me so deeply.

A friend commented and said I seemed tense.  I was.  I was weathering a storm of sorts.  Not as big or nearly as long as I've encountered but still, a storm nonetheless. 

By mid afternoon I was exhausted.  I was depleted.  I thought of sleeping the afternoon away.  I said no. That wouldn't do (as I had a history of using sleep in unhealthy ways that lead to depression).  I took a shower.  I felt clean.  I felt fresh.  I folded laundry.  I felt productive.  I felt organized.  I felt in control of my little space.  I put on music with no words just landscapes of calming and graceful sounds.  Today it was a Christian Instrumental station on Pandora.  Sometimes it's New Age Acoustic.  Other days is Karunesh.  It all depends. 

Today I wanted to to be reminded of faith.  I wanted to be reminded of the delicate nature of love and hope.  Today I wanted my mind to float in between sounds that blanketed my soul in a gentle embrace.  That cushioned my muscles and said to just let go.  I let my chest deepen as I inhaled.  I encouraged my eyes to soften and my mouth to rest.  I let my teeth fall from clenching all day.  I felt the muscles attached to my vertebra breathe and release their grip on my spine.  I reminded my body that it was loved.  I let it sink into the present moment.

I had dinner plans with a friend but found myself free unexpectedly.  I decided to take myself to dinner, to celebrate the work I'd just done in soothing, caring for and loving myself - in healing and listening.

I found this small traditional Peruvian restaurant just around the corner.  Something new, close and interesting - it sounded like what I felt like enjoying that night. I wanted to try something I'd never had from a part of the world I wasn't familiar.  I wanted to treat myself to a new sensory experience in food - something I didn't know.

I went and I sat in a booth by the window.  I had spiced popped corn kernels with tzatziki sause while I was looking at the menu.  The placemats where made of deep earthy colored fabric.  And I thought.  And I wrote.  And I read.

I wrote and explored the idea that what we eat is what we choose to build ourselves with.  I reflected that I was trying something from another part of the world that I had never been.  Another kind of existence and relationship with food I did mot know.  It was like traveling without a vehicle, but through taste.  I was in absolute awe that I had this unique and very special opportunity to experience the tastes of somewhere else. The ability to enjoy food, fresh and warmly cooked from another part of the world so easily, so affordable and so often.  Before it became so easy to share culture and food around the world it was a rare and coveted experience to learn about, taste and experience other parts of the world.  Other aspects of other societies.  I felt like I was giving myself a gift.  I smiled in reverence and gratitude.

I also became excited thinking about how big the world is and how many varieties of food and food preparation there are before us today.  How many are experiencable.  I felt happy that I was taking the opportunity to live in a city where this kind of experience is available.

Sitting there I started the beginnings of a poem.  It is about being alone.  With just you.  Amid many.  But in such a wonderful, strengthening way.  Because, where ever you are - you always have you.  And that is so powerful when you fully realize it.

Sitting alone I ponder
Entirely public, I think
Nestled in my own understanding
of what it's like
to be

Reaching I write -
observe and relfect
I am not alone
but connecting

to the part of me
and you
I most protect.

in the moment there were people
I didn't see at first

settling into myself
I better hear experience
trying to
enjoy it through their lens

I sit and rest my lips
not pursed or waiting still

in a smile I breath
Release

all
there is
all I held

relax
release - my muscles
into something light

so soft
supporting
sweet

how it feels
to release

but still feel protected

really, you can't break

never
will your soul
cease

never will this expire

You are you
in blood, in truth
in fire

relax
release
your muscles
into something light

the part of me
and the part of you
I - most protect



When things become easier, progress

Something AWESOME just happened.

So many of you know that I had a really rough, somewhat nasty divorce and custody battle. It was pretty brutal and super long (4 years total in court/hearings/etc). When my ex-husband and I first split it was so heated, so intense. I remember for the first 2.5-3 years whenever I got an email from him I took a sharp intake of breath and all my muscles tensed. We were just not able to communicate and we were fighting tooth and nail over our son - the person we both most care for, yearn for and love.

He's a good person, a good dad but when we first divorced we couldn't find any middle ground, at all. It always felt like we were trying to etch a space in rock that just wouldn't break open. But the one thing we held on to each was that we knew the reason why this was so difficult was because we each loved our son so much. And that created a light at the end of this proverbial tunnel of difficulty that made the work bearable.

We've been divorced now well over 6 years and the custody stuff ended close to three years ago. We've worked really, really hard. We've learned how to listen better, how to say things more gently. I remember when he was talking to me on the phone about Una, something to do with school or his health or something - and made a half-joke, something that broke the tense, business like communication we'd had for so long. I was shocked for a second, like jolted. Then, I smiled so big and thought oh My God, we're breaking new ground! It's becoming less hard!

I got a email yesterday about something to do with my son's health. He had to move forward on one of our son's health situations (nothing big at all, super minor) and was informing me. He said some things that caught my eye - the Dr's last name was my ex-husbands, and that the doctor would perform the treatment at no cost but he'd accept donations. And I was like, oh - ok. I can do that. No problem I can send a donation!

I get an email back immediately that said it was a joke and they were able to find at home remedies that worked just as well. He said he was Dr. Kennedy and the donations thing was a joke. I was so shocked at first, I'm sure my face turned beet red and I had this huge smile on my face. We had never gone so far as to pull a prank on the other person. Ever. I was so thrilled that we'd finally gotten this far! I feel like we are now engaging on a level of respect and trust and even humor! We are finally letting our shoulders slack and saying, hey - we are in this together, right? Let's be friends. We aren't besties, but hey, it's a start!
— feeling great.

Divorce is hard, especially with children.  But the best thing you can do for your child is work as hard as you can on developing and maintaining a strong and healthy relationship with his other parent.  Step by step. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

This moment. Begonias.

All day I have had a stress headache from thinking and analyzing.  I have been trying to stop but those of you who know what it's like to have your brain really run know that sometimes you can't just think, "Stop! Calm down."  I was at work all day and tried to find moments of stillness.  Moments where I could try to give my brain space to relax. I tried some mindfulness meditation.  I tried looking up calming landscapes.  I tried reading about calming the mind.  By 5pm my head was aching, spinning and oh so congested.

What do I do the moment I get out of work? I call someone.  My sister, Bel, one of my best friends.  We talk and its great but when she says I have to go its ok because my head still hurts.  The moment she hangs up I realize that I am totally and completely alone in this moment.  For the first time in a long, long time.

I've had my son for the summer and when I didn't have him I was working.  I was never just with myself. I wasn't texting with anyone or waiting on texts, I wasn't chatting with someone through Facebook or gmail, I wasn't reading something, I wasn't trying to be "productive" or "healthy." There was no agenda for the moment I was experiencing.  It didn't have a name and was staring me straight in the face.

What I wanted to do was throw something at it.  Write! Clean! Yoga! Run! SLEEP! But I caught myself.  I said, wait.

What if I just stared at this moment and breathed it in, as may Acting 1 professor, James Rice, would say.

What if I just looked at it straight in the face, in this moment, and said, I see you.

I let my eyes fall on the potted begonia plant in front of me.  I took it in.

Not with any kind of message or purpose or thought.
Just breathing it in. Begonia. Pink. Leaves.
Breathing out.

After a few moments, I felt a shift. My soul, not my body, not my brain, released. Just a little.  A little tension, a little bunched up stress that was being held in my soul, released.  In that moment of alone-ness and just-me-ness, I let go.

It was like easing into cold water.

Like, "Here we go. Yep. It's cold. It's water. Cold - water."

I wanted to stay in this present moment but watch it move.  So I decided to draw.  I took out my sketchpad and a pencil.

I breathed into each stroke. When I wanted to erase something, I cleared away more tension. I felt like I was sketching and stroking away my anxiety, my fear and my sadness onto the page before me.  Sketching it out and turning into something...for me.

Because it's for me, it becomes something beautiful, out of nowhere.  It doesn't matter what it looks like anymore.

As I start to look at the drawing it doesn't become a representative of what doesn't work or what looks "bad" but what it meant to me - emotionally, spiritually and physically - to create it.

Expression doesn't have to be public. Expression, of art, of thought, of struggle, can just be for you, too.  I'm making this public to encourage the personal, the individual, the private pursuit of expression. Of connection. To yourself. Through art. Through expression. Through experience.

We are here to connect. To ourselves first and foremost because we live in a world where connection to the self, by and large, is not encouraged.  But also, to the world around us. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Kid in You

I have been thinking a lot about babies and birth and rights and abortion and being a kid.

What happens to the kid in you when you "become" an adult.

Is it as easy as saying, I'm an adult now? Not a kid? No more kid in me!  All adult.

When you make such a declaration, what are you often asked to do? Show it! So many of us spend a lot of time showing ourselves and everyone else around us how adult we are. How responsible, how well we manage time, how long we can pay attention.  It's an abrupt shift.  That happens at different times socially for women than it does for men.  We are children and then we are adults.  There is no transition period. We are judged and held accountable immediately after this artificial, socially defined boundary between child and adult is drawn. Whether we are ready for it or not.  For me, that came early.  When I became a mother.  At 19.

But really, we never "stop" being kids.  Even as parents.

I had a revelation today. I've been an "adult" for quite some time.  I have a seven year old child and have been supporting myself since I moved out of my parent's house at 17.  The emphasis on adulthood is actually quite comical, given the fact that once we are adults and have settled into it, what do we want most?  To be a kid!

As I mentioned, I have a seven year old and God forbid he be called a baby.  Yet, he wants to fall asleep next to me and doesn't trust himself to turn the hot water on in the shower on his own because he's afraid it'll get hot too fast. And, at the same time, wants so badly to be big. To be an adult. Not a kid.

Where does he get this idea that it's better to be an adult than a kid. Why does he yearn for it?
Why is being a kid something our kids want to escape?

A kid talks more about this idea here.

How do we look at ourselves? As adults? As once-were kids?

What if we valued the parts of our childhood that helped us be better adults?
Or, better yet, better people?

The funny thing about being an adult, is we think that we lose our kid selves.

But we don't.
If we follow societal norms, we just silence them.
Because, our kid thoughts and ideas don't usually represent what society values.

Yet, "kid perspectives" are also valued as fresh, unadultrated and new.

What do our parents, teachers and society do if not try to instill us with different ways of looking at the world....yet, much of what many of us learn comes from our kid instincts, our own places of deep curiosity.  From birth we are trying to figure out the world around us.  Are we smart? Fat? Silly? High Strung? Annoying? Cute? Before we realize the structure of society around us, we are just us.

Yes, we cater to our parent's laughter, the criticism of society and approval from our teachers because they feed us!  And we love them.  But mostly we are just learning, soaking up information.

As adults, many of us squash thoughts that encourage authentic thinking outside the box.  Most people feel most comfortable if they know how and where they fit in society.  I am smart so I get good grades.  I am funny and so I tell jokes.  I am the eldest so I need to be a good role model, etc.

Now, that's not to say everyone follows these ideas blindly but how we react to what society places on us thus determines our identity and how we'd like to be seen.  So, in this way we choose who we are based on the feedback we get from those around us, by and large.

I'd like to ask more adults to be more childish!  To encourage curiosity and silly questions!  To not listen to the feedback society gives us on how to be. To value the part of you that first beheld this world and to think, that you as a child, actually had a lot of wisdom.  Fresh perspective that's important. Especially now.

Curious about how you can tap into your kid-self? Especially if that's a part of you you thought you'd shut away forever? Treat yourself as you would your child.  With as much love, patience and understanding as you can muster.  If you don't have a child, how about your best friend's baby?

With respect, with love, without judgement.  With encouragement.  Too many of us treat ourselves and our impulses with repudiation, judgement and negative criticism.  And that's not from us. We learn that. Maybe that's why so many people are unhappy as adults...we are telling ourselves, as adults who used to be kids, that our ideas are stupid, that we aren't enough.

Perhaps if we loved each other first as children, we'd be less judgemental, less insecure and less angry.

Kids are in this moment.  That's all they know.  And they forgive, easily. They understand that things are always changing and we're all trying to adjust, trying to manage, trying to flow.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

At Knife Point

This is what started this blog. The beginning of this journey.

-------------
For years, a little girl lived naked
bunched down in hiding
still
and exposed

Something happened a long time ago
She doesn't talk so no one knows
stuck in fear
in memory
she didn't grow

Hiding her body
only behind what she could create
with her arms wrapped around her knees
close
naked

She was there, in the open
not behind a wall
or even the crumbling facade of anything
that once was

On an open ground
full of dirt

After years, she didn't want for anything
not for food
not for water

she'd forgotten how to speak

what was once was, erased
after years of nothing
except darkness and fear

forgotten

Something happened a long time ago
She doesn't talk so no one knows
stuck in fear
in memory
she didn't grow

she never looked up, she never looked back
staring at the ground
in dirt and silence
shadows of the outside world
crossed her over

Seeing the shadows,
she sometimes remembered light
even if faintly
as it flickered away

She had been holding on
so long
wrapping her arms
around her little knees

did she know how, to let go

She was tucked away, lost to me
Locked away in a room
in my heart
a room always dark

It started as protection
she was so hurt, violated
and I didn't know how to heal her

the more I tried
the more I cried

I felt alone

no one understood

we were both little then
she felt so much

I tried to be her mom
but I was just a girl
little myself
trying to move forward
because life is fast

I tried to hold her
but I didn't know how to hold such pain
how to not let it consume
me

We were so little
I didn't know how to let her feel

how to make her feel better

and it hurt

so I locked her away

too little to know

I thought I was protecting her
protecting me

by shutting her out
by locking me away

me

the little me
the hurt me
the scared me

Time passed
part of me kept growing
learning how to be

without her

she was stuck
time stood stale
shadows passing her by

But then -

something happened

In a moment
I saw her

something took me back to her
to the ground
the dirt

her nakedness
- how small she was
- how scared
- how empty

I fell to my knees, crying

On my knees, I felt the ground

Touching the ground
I saw her

knees bunched up
knees to the ground

dirty and still

20 years.

There she was

the first me
the little me
the me most connected
to what came before
most open
most new

Hiding in fear. Stuck and alone

but also, all of a sudden
knees to the ground

I saw her surrounded
by angry people

They weren't touching her
but someone had

a long time ago
touched her
in places connected
to her deepest self
her deepest part
her source

Something happened a long time ago
She doesn't talk so no one knows
stuck in fear
in memory
she didn't grow

I saw the people around her, angry
with pitchforks and knives
daggers
and sharp things

angry, so angry at her
little her,
dirty and still

They wanted to hurt her
kill her
see blood
- this was her life
surrounded in pain, in fear
she had succumbed to it
forgotten
not moving
dirty and still

My 25 year old heart - dropped

like my knees to the ground
in pain
in loss
in sadness

Something happened a long time ago.
She doesn't talk so no one knows.
stuck in fear
in memory
she didn't grow

I came to her through someone else
I had forgotten
she was even there

A message from a woman I hadn't heard from
in decades
a woman who was once a girl

who I had known

A message from once upon a time
from this girl
who my little girl
dirty and still
used to know

The woman was struggling
and writing to connect
a childhood friend from long ago

She was honest and open
sad and angry
feeling lost and alone

Reading her words, I fell to my knees
crying

I felt her sadness
her anger
I felt her loss

my heart stirred
taking me back
to the locked room
and the naked girl

stuck in fear and silence

Seeing her, my little me
for the first time in so long

she moved
I moved

bones and muscles, ancient
motion from stillness

something was stirring from deep, deep down
a memory of movement
that began in her heart

began to spread into her body

a reminder that she had once moved

that her heart had once been full

of things not so static

not so dark

not so scary

In a flash I saw everything and knew everything from before

In a flash, it came back
Knees to the ground, I wept

a long time ago
someone touched her
in places connected
to her deepest self
her deepest part
her source

She was surrounded by pitchforks and knives and daggers

But she moved.

for the first ime
in 20 years

I saw our history and our present all in one moment

Something happened a long time ago.

She doesn't talk so no one knows.

stuck in fear
in memory

she didn't grow

But she moved.

seeing them
the people around her
the pitchforks -
the daggers -

I saw her see them,
screaming and angry

from her heart, she spoke
in cries
piercing and raw

in a language of strength and sorrow

She stood
They yelled
And she stood.

They touched her.
Eyes, wild, knives close.

And she stood.

In that moment, I realized

It was always just an illusion

she was never locked away
just forgotten

she had been with me all along

I had been carrying her
her sadness
her fear
her loss

dirty and still
I saw her

dirty and still
she moved

dirty and still
I was reminded

that we were always one.


In her cries, she opened
In my cries, I embraced her

our cries
washing away the dirt. washing away the still
to make room

for the light
to blast away the shadows

the static
to move

the locked door
to open

the people
the pitchforks
to still

I offered my heart in my hand
amid the chaos
amid the fear
amid the pain
amid the loss

and she took it

Walking away, hand in heart, heart in hand
we haven't let go

remembering the years she was locked away
never again will she be alone

it was just an illusion
to protect her
protect me

but she is me
I am her.

we were always one.

And this is how it began
the journey in finding our way back

to each other

to embracing the parts of ourselves in pain
in sadness
in fear
in loss

heart in hand, we walk, each day
growing deeper in step
toward an understanding of wholeness

that started in the heart