Kintsugi

 

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     The sickeningly sweet smell of a rose scented candle fills the air and I am instantly transported through tangled webs of time and space. To a time I was desperate for his love while being destroyed by the other woman, who was also him. The comparisons I couldn’t live up to. The pain of being heavy with child and being told how disgusting I was.  I rush for the outdoors longing for the brisk air to chase these demons of the past away. The insufficiency clings to my skin like a leech, sucking away at my self-esteem. The knowledge of my failings laid bare before the universe.  I throw my head back and stare up at the stars inhaling the brisk air as if life itself was contained within.  My bare feet begin to ache from the frost covered deck that I stand upon.

 

     I’m mostly free from that time. Lord knows how much therapy, prayer, yoga, and all manner of cures has gone into getting over the pain. But the brain has a sneaky way of hiding pain in the forgotten dusty corners of one’s mind until some uninvited guest goes rustling around and stirring it up.

     Rude. That’s what it is.  Being thrust into memories and dreams without permission. I don’t want to remember my step dad.  My ex. Fear. Pain. Loss.

 

     Is there a purpose to this remembering of things l keep trying to bury? Perhaps, these glimpses of pain past can serve to remember that even on my darkest days, I survived. Maybe that’s not much of a success story. Survival. There were no miraculous interventions or answers from above. But I kept breathing. Kept loving my kids. Kept putting one weary foot in front of the other even when everything seemed to be burning down around me.  I was imperfect. I was a mess. I still am, I guess. But I survived. And I live to hold people’s hand while they hurt and tell them that they can make it through. One day at a time.

 

     There is a Japanese art called Kintsukuroi or Kintsugi. Which means golden repair. It is the art of repairing broken pottery with silver or gold with the understanding that the finished piece is far more beautiful for having been broken and having a history. I rather like that. Maybe all the cracks where the pain leaked out of my brokeness can be repaired by something beautiful. Love. Kindness. Light.  Peace.  I am not quite there yet, I’m afraid. Transformation takes ever so much time and work. At the end of it all, may my finished soul be more beautiful for all the repaired damage…….

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Panic’s Cruel Grip

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I try to stop the rising panic

But my mind has its own will

Hijacking my body into its cruel service

I attempt to force oxygen into warring lungs

And relax the ever-tightening knot in my belly

To no avail

My heart is racing, drilling its

Intense rhythm into my head

The only real proof that I am still living

Though I feel like I’m dying and death?

Death would seem a mercy

From this torture

But no such relief comes. Not yet.

I lay curled in a ball feeling cold and

Hot at the same time, sweat droplets

Winding a path down my face

I feel utterly alone even as my husband

Lays beside me sleeping blissfully unaware

I fight the urge to bury my head into his body

Even in torture, I put my own needs last

Martyrdom always comes at a steep price

Especially when you’ve lived it for 40 years

Tears mixed with sweat are dampening my pillowcase

“You’re okay, You’re okay, just breathe” I tell myself

I try to picture beautiful things instead of the darkness

That works to take over

It feels like days, weeks even, not an hour or two

It is gone almost as quickly as it started

Not gone, gone. Not disappeared

I still feel the remnant of its hold on me

A small dread that something bad

Is just over the horizon

That the boogeyman really is right

Under my bed, ready to grab me any moment

But I can breathe again, for now.

 

Rabbit holes (When life is too hard)

 

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When life seems to throw you one curveball after another,  and you seriously wonder what rabbit hole you have fallen down into, it can feel absolutely impossible to hold on to hope. I wish I could tell you that I handle such things with amazing calmness and little stress and anxiety. But I would be lying. The fact is, that underneath my calm exterior, I am battling anxiety even on the best of days.  That I am so accustomed to stress, that like a sailor who still feels themselves moving on dry land, even when things are going seemingly well, I feel stressed, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This year has not gone very well. It’s been full of struggles and painfully hard things. I am working overtime to try to hold myself together. Doing the difficult work of self -examination and self-care.  Learning to lean on others, when needed. Working to find my brave.  Taking my meds. Going on walks and enjoying the beauty of nature.  Nurturing others.  I find these things helpful in working together to keep me from completely falling apart.

When I was a little girl, the way I dealt with my difficult circumstances was to live inside my head. Inside my imagination. My dreams. And after I could read, books of all sorts.  I would imagine that I was brave and strong and worthy of love even though I felt scared, and weak, and worthless.  This helped me make it into adulthood, alive.  Living in a fantasy world is addicting in its own way ,though. Today, it transfers into wanting to pull away from everyone and just read books and watch Netflix and not cope with all the everyday things. I fight to stay present and not fall down a rabbit hole of my own making.

This week, I am staying present, by getting my hands dirty and taking care of all the plants in my flower garden.  There’s almost nothing more grounding than literally sitting on the ground smelling dirt and life.  I stay present with snuggles and giggles with my eight-year-old son, who reminds me I am still needed here. I stay present by focusing on my breathing and giving my body what it needs the most.  I stay present by seeing the needs of others and doing what I can to help meet those needs.  In staying present, I find a way to grasp small amounts of joy and hope.

The hard truth is that for some of us, life will never be sunshine and lollypops and rainbows all the time. Some of us, have to fight for every speck of joy that we can grasp.  Some of us have to struggle not to fall back into addiction to escape the pain.  For some of us, getting out of our bed in the morning is a victory. For some of us, choosing to live, is the hardest thing we will do today. I know that there are so many of us out there. Know that I see you today. You are not alone. You are so loved. And I am so proud of you for fighting for joy, choosing presence over addiction, getting out of bed, or choosing to live another day in a hard, cruel world. Please don’t give up dear one. The world will always be infinitely better with you in it.