Pain’s Stain

Pain has a heartbeat of its own as it adds itself slinky and subtle to our lichen bodies. We breathe within and without pain every day of our lives. Pain hurts! It pushes and pulls and stabs and robs and beats us down to the ground- if we let it. It’s “my boss was on my back again” sciatica pain. Fight back. It’s “this project has put the world on my shoulders” neck pain and tension headache. Fight back. It’s “if I lose this account, I will absolutely die” nervous breakdown. Fight back.

When pain pushes, push back. If pain trips you up, get back up. There is nothing more stunning or climactic than dueling with your pain. Pushing past the tar baby as the ick peels away from your mind and body is like diving head first into a breath of fresh air. The final stain of tar snaps away like static. A star takes her first full inhale, because she fought back.

The Nitty Gritty: Because I love you so

I remember you as a baby, and, when you are truly expressing yourself, I see those same eyes and am bewildered at the young man pleading his case with truth and passion before me. I call it a great injustice that all of the true matriarchs, the ones who taught me, have died before your time, before they could see your eyes asking for truth and answer them.

Dearest Hank,

At your mother’s behest, I have stayed away, have clamped my mouth shut, have shamed those women who went before me by not doing what needs to be done. Damn it all! You will know our side of the family if I write the last sentence of this book with my dying, smoke smelling breath from cigarette slimmed lips. You are a Martin, a Hamilton, a Bell, a Hill, and, unfortunately, a Vest. Everyone deserves to know where they come from, their roots, and you will know yours.

There is a reason you are creative. There is a reason that you play video games in your “bear, and bare, cave.” There is a reason that you used to believe that the devil lived in the bathroom. There is a reason you have anxiety. There is a reason you are so highly intelligent. You should and will know by the end of this book.

You will know the truth; truth is one of the most powerful forces in the world. As Uncle Ben reminded Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Jim Qwik was eager to point out that the opposite is, also, true. So, use the stories, the truths, and the lessons in your book, this book, with wisdom, compassion, and honor- traits that many have fought to have passed down to you.

Read slowly, and digest what you take in. Learn the truth; it will truly set you free. As Marcus J. Borg promised, “Honesty begets candor.” However, prudence goes a long way, too.

This book will give you grit which, when nurtured, will give you courage. Courage will give you strength and strength gives rise to passion. Ignore zeal until you are firm in your foundation or you will flounder. Passion will ignite a thirst for knowledge, and knowledge leads to truth. And, the great Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was correct, “The truth shall set you free.”

Every person deserves to know his roots; these are yours. They are not for boasting or bragging rather for knowing the why of deep longings and of things abhorred. These truths are not to be picked through and tossed to and fro willy nilly but to be taken as a whole and honored in your being.

So, it is that I give you your birthright. Cherish it. Know that I did it in love for you and in respect of your becoming a man. I wrote to those eyes, wide and wild with wonder, begging for truth. I turned a yarn of honesty, because I love you so.

Turf War Strategies

I am taking a Quest for Personal Mastery from Mindvalley University. Today’s assignment is to take a situation that you have labeled as bad and show how you can see the good in it. The following was my answer.

My late husband and I moved to a small, “blink and you’ll miss it” town late last fall/early winter. He had become blind and had been on dialysis for about two years. Right before Valentines Day, he died. I knew of three people here. I felt like I was in Russia in Rocky IV- out in No Man’s Land struggle in every way just to survive. Sometimes, I still feel that way. About six weeks ago, it occurred to me that I have gym equipment, a room that I could use for ballet and piano, a memoir to write, and a new puppy (as well as my Sweet Mila) to play with, and a huge kitchen to learn to cook in. I decided to set up an office, an exercise room, get a piano, set up a doggy play room, fix a cozy bedroom, and more. I am working hard on it. In the recent Wonder Woman movie, Diana crosses No Man’s Land to save people enslaved by Nazis. I will cross this land and be closer to the best version of myself along the way.

This scene gives me chills, because Santa/Mom gave me a Wonder Woman outfit for Christmas when I was four years old and told me that I was a heroine who could conquer anything I put myself into. Thank you for reading, and enjoy the show.

Joy Comes in the Mourning

I really cannot believe what has happened. I knew she had been hurt- harmed in a different way, but still damaged. She remembers my first time being sexually abused, this time by my father, when I was age one. My abuse was physically and spiritually painful as hell. The devils of our family sneaked into her brain, her mind and destroyed her heart. Her beautiful heart turned black, then disappeared into ashes- fumes gone with the wind. Still, she is destroying my peace just as she destroyed my faith in God as she rubbed on me her fat, flushed body when I tried to escape my father’s penetrations every night- and morning.

Morning has taken on a new meaning for me. God promises in the Bible that joy comes in the morning. As for me, joy comes in the Mourning. Mourning all that I inherited as piece by piece it disappeared. My belongings vanishing in the wind, and no one witnessed all of the family photos or my antique grand standing piano magically fly out of almost a dozen storage units. Gone was my wheel of the mill on Granny’s line of the Martin-Hamilton farm-the mill that General John Hunt Morgan held captive during The War Between The States. History vanishes; my memory doesn’t. A flood that never occurred took more of my possessions. Her stealing our dear Mother’s bank card while she was lay dying in a hospital bed and taking thousands out a day and gone was my inheritance. Oh, but, she proclaimed, “I am doing this for you, sweet sister.” I think that she meant doing it to me- again.

Mom was not a DNR. Mom decided that and made us three agree. The doctors hounded us to break our promise. My brother stood firm. On my seven hour break from sitting with Mom, I returned to discover my sister had upped the ante, changed the cards of fate, signed a paper declaring my angelic Mother a Do Not Resuscitate- proving Mom’s life, sacrifices, battles won and lost as nothing, nothing, nothing. In a rage, I flew to the nurses’ station, demanded the death sentence documents and destroyed them with sound and fury.

I have only a picture of my Mother left. All the rest dust in the wind. My writings will be my legacy. I will be pulled into the pit no more. As I stand at the pinnacle of the chasm, I will lift my chin up- as Mom would encourage me where she here. I wait on my God for deliverance. I fall only into the arms of my Lord now. I rest in His comfort and rise through the Spirit. For some, everyday is a clean start, new beginning, blank slate. My heart reopens, breaks free, and begins to shine again. For now, my joy will come in the mourning. So be it.

Joy Comes in the Mourning

I really cannot believe what has happened. I knew she had been hurt- harmed in a different way, but still damaged. She remembers my first time being sexually abused, this time by my father, when I was age one. My abuse was physically and spiritually painful as hell. The devils of our family sneaked into her brain, her mind and destroyed her heart. Her beautiful heart turned black, then disappeared into ashes- fumes gone with the wind. Still, she is destroying my peace just as she destroyed my faith in God as she rubbed on me her fat, flushed body when I tried to escape my father’s penetrations every night- and morning.

Morning has taken on a new meaning for me. God promises in the Bible that joy comes in the morning. As for me, joy comes in the Mourning. Mourning all that I inherited as piece by piece it disappeared. My belongings vanishing in the wind, and no one witnessed all of the family photos or my antique grand standing piano magically fly out of almost a dozen storage units. Gone was my wheel of the mill on Granny’s line of the Martin-Hamilton farm-the mill that General John Hunt Morgan held captive during The War Between The States. History vanishes; my memory doesn’t. A flood that never occurred took more of my possessions. Her stealing our dear Mother’s bank card while she was lay dying in a hospital bed and taking thousands out a day and gone was my inheritance. Oh, but, she proclaimed, “I am doing this for you, sweet sister.” I think that she meant doing it to me- again.

Mom was not a DNR. Mom decided that and made us three agree. The doctors hounded us to break our promise. My brother stood firm. On my seven hour break from sitting with Mom, I returned to discover my sister had upped the ante, changed the cards of fate, signed a paper declaring my angelic Mother a Do Not Resuscitate- proving Mom’s life, sacrifices, battles won and lost as nothing, nothing, nothing. In a rage, I flew to the nurses’ station, demanded the death sentence documents and destroyed them with sound and fury.

I have only a picture of my Mother left. All the rest dust in the wind. My writings will be my legacy. I will be pulled into the pit no more. As I stand at the pinnacle of the chasm, I will lift my chin up- as Mom would encourage me where she here. I wait on my God for deliverance. I fall only into the arms of my Lord now. I rest in His comfort and rise through the Spirit. For some, everyday is a clean start, new beginning, blank slate. My heart reopens, breaks free, and begins to shine again. For now, my joy will come in the mourning. So be it.

Witching Hour Confessions

The things that we think of when the lavender and lemongrass essential oils are wafting through the room, and I am half asleep and struggling to see. The smell permeates my brain and acts as a truth serum. These are moments writers beg for and detest. It is our witching hour.

I am thinking on the fact that I am completely and utterly alone. Most of my family are dead. My children passed long ago. I have no friends. Reverend Billy Graham spoke on loneliness in an archived service that I listened to today. He shared a true story of an old woman, 92 years of age, who died alone. Every day, she wrote in her diary, “No letters. No visitors. No phone calls. No one loves me.” I fear that I am a cross between Auntie Mame and a hermit who lives in a house that everyone believes is haunted. And, it is haunted by her memories of past loved ones, past lives, the past everywhere which she keeps alive to comfort her.

So, while under this magic trance and devil dance, I will make the confession that begs me to stay awake. I don’t believe that God ever wanted me to be a Mother. Otherwise, He wouldn’t have taken my children. Taken. And, I have no set of special skills to get them back. Now, I am a barren widow. I am not playing the pity card. These are just the facts, Ma’am. Just the facts.

Alice and the Real White Rabbit

For everyone wanting to follow a White Rabbit, here’s the real one. I swear that this song is my theme song. If you have to vomit to get to your dreams, do it. I love to write. I love to act. I forget what I am supposed to say or write or think or do before I perform, but, when the light hits me, my inner light turns on. I sweat, get nauseous, hit the bathroom, but I’m really just sick of being afraid. The love of my life called me bunny or rabbit because of the way my nose twitches when I get in my groove and I am on fire. I am tired of just being an encourager. I am ready to shine.

Not Going Viral

Thinking about the homeless during this virus outbreak brought one of my favorite hymns and my ignorance of not realizing for 46 years that Christ’s story of The Good Samaritan was indeed about Jesus and the Golden Rule. At the well, Christ’s disciples asked what good could come from Samaria. This inquiry parallels the question, “What good could come from Nazareth? Both were questions posed by a disciple. Are we all not ignorant and biased? Of course, we are. We are human. At Kroger yesterday, I heard rumors of people snatching masks and sanitizers from one another’s own hands. What??? I will take precautions for the virus, but I will not allow it to consume me. If I get it and die, I will be with my Savior and my loved ones who proceeded me. If I don’t, I will help others who didn’t pass. I have seen people that I love die. Mom and Granny’s passings though not pleasant were marked by a calm knowing on their faces. “Death comes to us all”-Braveheart. The Savior is with us all. He overcame death. And, if the LDS part of this hymn bothers you, get over yourself.

Living Within and Without Sorrow

I think that I bought into Robert’s idea that I am an alien and Troy’s idea that I am an Archangel for several reasons. Who wants to be ordinary? Just an ordinary human with ordinary problems? Everyone wants to be treated like they are different, because we are all different. Yet, we fear the unknown in others and in ourselves. If I was an alien, I could come up with some bizarrely fashionable look or maybe parade around like a human all day as if I were the proverbial fly on the wall that everyone wants to be. Big Brother at its finest. I could teleport or zap my foes with a ray gun or be kissed by William Shatner. I could go up into space and see that the outline of states and countries as resembled tiny Native American beads. I could morph into anyone or anything without the pressure of bills and rent and waving to that person that I don’t care for yet seek their approval anyway. I could be a fearless version of me.

On the other hand if I were an angel, I COULD have the wish of my heart if I ever decided what that is. What is the wish of my heart? Isn’t that a tricky question. The most difficult exam I had in all of my years was a makeup test for the book The Heart of Darkness. When I asked my teacher for the essay question, he slyly looked at me and replied, “You make it up and then answer it. You have fifty-five minutes. What??? I thought that this man truly could do alien things like go to the moon for cheese and crackers. Though I was young and wanted to impress him, I still do that people pleasing crap. I didn’t want to choose a super easy question, because I was full of hubris or a difficult one, because it would limit my writing capabilities thus my argument would be weaker. So, what is the wish of my heart? Well, that depends on how boldly I could let myself go to the throne of God. And, as an angel, I could help everyone with tireless energy without getting mixed up in their emotions. I would be like a grandmother who gets to enjoy her grandchildren but pass them off to her child to take care of at the end of the day. I could enjoy the lush beauty of the earth and the wonderful presence of the All Mighty. I would never be under the condemnation of sin. I would never disappoint God or be angry with Him. In fact, I would never have any emotions. God would give me my daily assignments. I would complete them, and God would give me a pat on my halo and let me keep my wings for another day.

Unfortunately, I am human. I feel more emotions in five minutes than the sky has stars. I hate it. There’s a saying where I live, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. It will change.” That saying easily and perfectly describes my moods. I used to say I am sorry constantly. Mom would get on me for saying it, and I would apologize for that. I am too old for this shit anymore. It takes brass balls to say this is who I am. Take it or leave it. So hard, because I have lost so many and so much. I am a woman grieving. Yes, I am grieving for my husband, my aunt, and my parents, but I am, also, grieving for all of the years that I have lost while living in fear, all of the happiness that escaped me, all of the children I have lost, all of the years I won’t get back, all of the friendships that I destroyed, my inability to live a normal life, my abusers who I can’t beat with a baseball bat, because I want to destroy the person that they were when they were raping me and not the dusty, old shells of yesteryear. I feel like Rachel, a thousand years dead, screaming and crying for the children two and under murdered by a Roman madman. Everyone sees and hears, but not one person does anything to help. At this moment, I may be invisible, but I choosing to live unapologetically me.

Susan in Wonder

Recently, at another horrible first (and last) time doctor’s visit, I noticed a wall hanging that read, “Not all who wander are lost.” I slipped back onto my chair as every polite Southern Belle should. Within moments, I shot out of my seat with phone in hand to snap several series of photos of this and several other hangings.

As I slapped back down into my seat, I noticed that I was humming a distant memory. Suddenly, I was a nine year old sitting slumped over my piano playing a Christmas song unfamiliar to me. Granny had never played it. Mom had never even hummed while pulling homemade cream candy. I was getting bored with one elbow on the instrument’s ledge yet still trying the words and tune together as they mixed in an intriguing way. So tucked away was I in my cacophony cocoon, that I whipped around as my older sister walked up behind me singing the melody.

“I wonder as I wander out under the sky. How Jesus, our Savior, did come forth to die.” Maybe it was because I was just a nine year old kid, maybe it was because the most poignant moment of all my Christmases had been spoken during an almost silent speech by a cartoon boy, or maybe it was the first time that I had been hiding a pregnant belly during the holidays, but something caught hold of me in a good way, a very good way.

Church had not rung true for me yet no matter how many bells or how many dunks or how many potlucks. Nature did. Wandering in nature was where I found God. As I would stare up into the sky, it wasn’t a “if He made all the beautiful stars, why would He make me” ordeal (nod to Bill Paxton in Tombstone). No. What I wondered as I wandered was if He made me, how amazingly blessed I was I that He made the sun, the moon, and the stars at which I would marvel my whole life.

I live in wonder.

I dedicate this writing to my husband and his first and last sweet text to me. I miss you. I get it now, honey. Rest in God’s Peace.