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.

 

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A Few Good Men

I have talked often about my Daddy issues. Probably more than anyone could possibly want to know. So I  decided to share about  a few of the good men that have  loved me through the years. My earliest memory involves my Grandpa scooping me up with a laugh and tickling me with his whiskers amid the smell of frying eggs and bacon and brewing coffee.  Some of my best friends Dads for showing me what a loving Dad looks like. For joking and teasing and laughing with me and hugging me and calling me beautiful just like his own daughters. The teacher that told me that I was a talented writer and that middle school wouldn’t last forever. The youth pastor that stood up for me in front of the mission board when they scoffed at me for wanting to go to Africa. Even though he was outnumbered I will never forget his vote of confidence. The few guy friends that encouraged me through incredibly difficult circumstances when I divorced. My hubby for his kind heart and seeing beauty where I struggle to see it in myself. My best guy  friends now for the way that they are always encouraging me, caring for me, and loving me as I am.

 

Women like to dish out a lot of criticism about men. I’ve been guilty of that as well. It’s not easy for me to trust most men. That’s just a fact. BUT. As a Mama of an increasingly large amount of boy-men, I think it’s important to not only raise good men but honor those good men around us who are breaking the mold of the men that came before them. They are being more involved fathers, husbands, friends. They are feminists that believe  women are equal partners in life. They are trying to change the world for the better. These are no small tasks in a world that tend to stereotype men into either really strong but kind of dumb, violent, or Homer from the Simpsons. Ha.  That’s just as wrong as stereotyping women as overly emotional, ditzy,  super bitchy or tall, skinny, and well endowed. I want my sons to know that they can grow up to be both strong and gentle, leading their homes in kindness, Baby  and child nurturers and providers. They can speak up for the voiceless and stand up for the powerless and be real everyday heroes.

 

So there you have it. Even though some of my biggest wounds were caused by men, some of my very favorite people in the world are the men in my life. I keep saying it, but we belong to each other. Let’s hold each other gently. With encouragement and kindness. Building each other up to be the best  that humanity has to offer.  In this struggling world that we live in, we are desperately in need of a few more good men and women……

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.

Footsteps

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Footsteps   By Brandy Watson
Footsteps, boots on the floor

And I am just a little girl once more

Little heart beating through my chest

Finding it hard to catch my breath

 

Your anger burned like a flame

Sucking out the joy, and leaving pain

Loud and angry hands left permanent scars

On my body, on my soul and on my heart

 

Why couldn’t you see, I was just a little girl

Trying my best to figure out this big old world

All I wanted was to love and to be loved

But I was never just quite good enough

 

Now I’m part little girl and part old soul

Picking up the pieces that make me whole

Learning to trust, learning to breath

Though fire scarred lungs ,down on my knees

 

Fight or flight, should I run or should I hide

You can’t imagine how many times I’ve cried

Not all men are monsters, I know that’s true

But it takes all my strength to forget you

 

Why couldn’t you see, I was just a little girl

Trying my best to figure out this big old world

All I wanted was to love and to be loved

But I was never just quite good enough

 

Praying for redemption, praying for relief

Maybe one of these days I will be free

From a life lived with one foot in the past

Sweet little girl, you’re safe at last

 

Footsteps, boots on the floor

I am not a little girl anymore

 I’m  learning how to fly

Far from the past that I survived

 

Footsteps, run away run away

Footsteps……….

Footsteps I’m  okay, I’m okay

Footsteps

 

Open Heart Surgery

I lay here, chest cracked wide open

Heart bared and vulnerable

Trying not to panic from the fear

I’ve been here before

I still bear the scars from

The rough handling that nearly broke me

It’s taken years for me to be brave

Brave enough to be

Willing to crack me wide open

Once again.

My heart, an offering of sacrifice

Awaiting your choice

Can you love this scarred and battered heart

It is all I have to offer you

I raise my eyes to yours

The breath I’ve been holding

Releases at the love I find

Reflected back at me

As you offer your own

Scarred and battered heart

Into my care

 

 

Gone too Soon

Chubby fingers reaching skyward

Diamond sparkles in your eyes

Dancing, little feet on tiptoe

Accompanied by angel song

Safe from loud and angry hands

No more pain and suffering

Only love surrounds you now

Even so, my heart is breaking

For all the things that should have been

All the firsts uncelebrated

Lost teeth, school, first loves

A future wiped away in a blink

Couldn’t they see how little you were

How precious, how priceless

Endless potential in human form

Now they must live with what they’ve done

God have mercy on their souls

Dance free in peace little one

May your absence remind us

That we can do better than this

For our little ones on this

Revolving ball of life and love

 

In Memory of two little ones murdered at the hands of adults who should have cared for them.  Leiliana Wright and Kenzley Olson, rest in peace……

When You Want to Cover Your Eyes

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The news this week has been bombarding me with stories that broke my heart into pieces. When I commented on this, a lot of people shared that they choose not to watch the news or limit it.  I understand this. The desire to lock myself into a safe cocoon, unaware of all the horrors of the world that we live in, is at times overwhelming!  I am both a highly sensitive person and an introverted feeler. This means I feel ALL THE THINGS all of the time!! I don’t just feel MY feelings. I am highly affected by other people’s pain whether I know them personally or not.  So the news can be  incredibly hard for me to handle. Yet, I still choose to watch it.

I wrote a poem a few weeks ago talking about being a little bit broken. My friends didn’t like the use of these words. “You are NOT broken!!!”, they all exclaimed. But I don’t necessarily consider being a little bit broken a bad thing. If I allow myself to be a little bit broken over the refugee crisis, or child hunger, or human trafficking, it gives me a chance to make whatever difference I can make. Even if it’s just to bring it to other’s attention.

If I allow myself to be a little bit broken over a hurting friend or even a hurting stranger, it enables me to use my God-given gifts to reach out and encourage someone. To let someone know that they are seen and that they are loved is an incredibly important task.

If I were to cocoon myself away from all this pain, I would be less broken hearted and maybe I would feel more safe.  But would I ever have true peace of mind? I don’t believe so. Peace of mind is not attained by ignoring problems but by solving them.

I don’t have the solution to most of the world’s ills.  Maybe that’s not my part of this equation. Maybe I am just the noticer. The one that sees that the earth is sick and encourages everyone else to see it too. Are you a noticer too? The world needs us just as much as the doers!   We can encourage everyone to see that we all belong to each other and that the world won’t improve until we choose to see our fellow earthlings as us instead of them.  That we are more alike than we are different.  Perhaps these are small things that we can do to make a difference? I like to hope that is the case, anyway.

Living in my own private small midwestern town bubble might be more comforting but it will rarely change the world. And more importantly perhaps, it will not motivate ME to change into the person that God created me to be at such a time as this!!

So I allow myself to be just a little bit broken over the death of a 1-year-old toddler at the hands of a grown woman. I allow myself to be a little bit broken when I see pictures of refugee families living in appalling conditions.  And I keep writing, as a noticer, hoping that my words will make a difference in someone’s life!

 

*I have a couple of children who are also noticers. I love these articles by Rachel Macy Stafford about parenting Noticers.  This one and this one were particularly helpful to me*