sit next to me

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sit next to me
at church
on the hard bench, peace sign sneakily carved in
and i’ll translate the hymns for you
every proclamation of god’s love and protection
will confirm that it’s not available to all
in him there is no darkness at all
i wonder how to get in him

sit next me
on your porch swing, you friend of 20 years
when you tell me you love me
i know how to lean in, our sweating glasses of cold wine clinking.
when you tell me nothing can change your love for me
my body stiffens and i swing:
first to quickly rebuild the walls, you don’t realize you just lied
then to roll over, a disarmed position of numb love
and finally the swinging stops and i arrive in the middle
aware of the arc

sit next to me
where there are children
and i’ll tell you how they feel
i’ll send your eyes to their bodies
the grown ups around them
the big boys near by
the big girls looking at them
the sun’s slant
the animals, the bugs, the concrete
teaching you what to notice
and what doesn’t matter

sit next to me
at the coffee shop
hard chairs grounding me
fingers hunting the keyboard
to find reason for what i fear
eyes scanning for home
i’ll angle the screen for you to read
while i breathe the comfort
that someone i don’t know
has written what i could have

sit next to me
and play a game of objects
show me anything and i’ll lead you
to the threat:
a pink and purple kleenex box
a picture of a newborn
a banana
a pair of flip flops
sunscreen
chunky knit winter hat
i’ll take you on the quick trip
to the signs of danger that each is
then i’ll tell you the only value of those trips now
is to take them for the last time

sit next to me
with a slick wooden bar between us
in a mysterious bubble of privacy in a crowd
and confide in me your story
my heart swells for you so much
i escape my own worth
keep talking and i’ll keep feeling
as i grab the roots and plants and pull myself back down
to keep from fleeing the fear
that i have nothing to complain about

sit next to me
by low light in a cozy room
and tell me the worst thing you can imagine
you might get uncomfortable
as i follow the tracks back and rationalize it
and if i can’t make sense of it
i’ll resign to the mystery of god
then tell me the most beautiful thing you can imagine
you might get sad
as i degrade every sweet nothing to a message of warning
and if i can’t articulate it
i’ll trust that the divine message will come to my prepared heart
and then my chest will burn and my eyes will close
and you might see tears push the boundaries of my eyes
as i recognize the filth of bullshit that this is

sit next to me
and enjoy the side show of my mind
the one that’s been fueling fear for so long
the reel that has surprised my therapist
only after it surprised me
the thoughts that are in honor of myself, my selves
the baby, 4 year old, 7 year old, 9 year old, 12 year old mes
the conditioned mind that the 40 year old manages
and the ageless one soothes
in a full spectrum of gray

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don’t stop

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don’t stop touching me slowly.
every crawl up my leg is a chance for me to heal.

don’t stop telling me i’m beautiful.
i’m not afraid of it anymore.

don’t stop wanting me.
i’m practicing it not being conditional.

don’t stop choosing hymns for sunday morning.
i’m ready to notice what my mind says.

don’t stop reading scripture about god as protector.
i like to purge myself of the pain.

don’t stop praising god’s undying love.
i like to wonder about it.

don’t stop lamenting for those who are hurting.
i want to consider myself worth of compassion.

don’t stop announcing yourself.
i’m grateful not to startle.

don’t stop asking me what i want.
my “nothings” have been replaced with “i don’t knows.”

don’t stop asking me how i am.
no matter what i tell you, there is truth in it.

don’t stop asking me to tell my story.
it’s like you just told me you loved me.

don’t stop telling me jokes.
laughter is the greatest escape.

don’t stop offering me drinks.
i know why and when i do now.

don’t stop giving me food.
i’m a baby again with all my needs met.

don’t stop remembering the times i seemed happy.
i am starting to believe it wasn’t all a show.

don’t stop remembering the times i seemed scared.
i no longer deny it.

don’t stop saying it’s okay to cry.
someday i won’t hold back.

don’t stop encouraging me to let go.
i like to see what i have a death grip on.

don’t stop praying for me.
i like to imagine the purpose of it.

don’t stop sending me quotes and pictures and cards.
i’m letting myself be seen.

don’t stop hugging me.
it feels different with my shell cracked.

don’t stop chewing watermelon gum or using dial soap or drinking tang.
every memory of the smell is me releasing it.

don’t stop telling me your dreams about me.
they may or may not be for me.

don’t stop sending me good vibes.
i think it’s an exchange.

don’t stop avoiding the topic.
i’ve come to love the elephant.

don’t stop telling me that nothing can change your love for me.
being scared of love is different than being scared of pain.

cottonwood

vigilant power

reflections shared at new creation fellowship church

june 8, 2014

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i go to church ready to face my conditioned mind under a single light bulb in a small room, my inner children awkward and needing regular reassurance, my 40 year old self tired but often calm. a week ago we were invited to move through a guided scripture meditation where we would imagine ourselves in the story. i stopped my doodling…guided? meditation? imagination? i was in, had nothing to lose. after imagining the dusty ground, the beige colored clothing, the hot sun, we were invited to imagine the “holy spirit coming to us.” clear as day, the holy spirit apologized to me for not being enough.

a graspless, figureless, just beyond my sight yet right in front of me feminine power said, “i’m sorry i wasn’t enough.”

today i’m not sure if this is a whispered blasphemous confession or a testimony celebrating a personal encounter with the divine.

it wasn’t completely comforting to consider the holy spirit’s apology: i’ve worked for decades to believe that god’s will reigned over my entire life, including childhood sexual abuse and fear. i’ve held a white knuckle grip to the belief that everything happens for a reason, including repeated violation and limb draining fear. for the holy spirit to apologize for “not being enough” triggered my hidden-child-self, afraid-of-not-worthy-of-love-and-care to believe my fears were true: god had abandoned me, the power of the holy spirit was not enough to keep me safe, after all, even jesus died at the hands of those who hurt him.

a quote from laura truax hooked me: i see power differently now. power doesn’t look like domination any more. power seems to begin by imagining that a person can live differently. think differently. act differently. it’s an awakened imagination.

i. know. how. to. imagine. my imagination has kept me safe and sane.

through the past week i’ve imagined another possibility: the holy spirit wasn’t enough to prevent the actions of others. that the holy spirit wasn’t enough to overpower the will of humanity. i’m sorry i wasn’t enough to keep their hands off you. i’m sorry i wasn’t enough to remove your fear.

and that is the tragedy of children being hurt and scared and violated within the circles of neighborhood and church and family.

i spent a lot of my childhood escaping to imagination, time traveling back to reimagine my experiences.

in my role as director and teacher of new creation preschool, i continue doing that, along with an added drive to imagine what our space could provide.

there’s a two tiered attack of imagination: there is the overarching bow of imagining an experience for each child to be free of fear. there is the active role of imagining any reason why that might not be true and respond to that.

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he is small. he is told he is small. and with every remark, his anger seems to grow. the quiet comments snuck past us right to his source. first it was precision-like propelling of wooden puzzle pieces to the center of the foreheads of his offenders. a few months later it reduced to furniture tipping, anger transformed to the strength to knock tables over. months later still, a further reduction to a methodical slow quiet act of laying down every chair in the room. controlled, beautiful anger. and now, time has tricked me into forgetting that he ever did those things. his anger is shown through words and cuddling and is trusted with us. i’m not at all surprised, it was what i imagined.

she walks in and i spot her across the room. she’s arrived at the carpet landing before taking the final step down to the hard floor of our classroom. she has a dead center view of the entire space. i notice her mom behind her, her brother next to her. she is scanning the room and i notice her eyes stop. before i even glance where she is looking, i imagine what could have caught her eye…is someone there? is something there? does she see something she wants? i notice her mouth. it’s slightly open but her teeth look clenched. is she scared? was she unsettled before she even came in? i notice her eyebrows, smooth over relaxed eyes. her hands, limp but alive. is she concentrating? a mere split second has passed and now my eyes see what her’s see: someone is climbing on the shelf up to reach the bottle of oil and water on the windowsill, left from tuesday’s science experiment. is she afraid that he’ll fall or is she protective of the bottle that she helped prepare or is she irritated that someone else got to it first or is she surprised to see how the oil and water have separated…i imagine all of this in preparation to provide honor to her as i say, “welcome here. do you notice something happening with that bottle?” i imagine she does.

he rocks on the wooden boat, seemingly delighted to be in command. he yells with curled lips and furrowed brow and smiling cheeks. has has wrapped the red retro phone cord around his wrist as he calls for the restaurant to deliver him food-fast and he doesn’t want bread. he has two friends across from him equally calling orders, but yes to bread and no to juice. yes to pizza and yes to rainbow cupcake but no to a plate. the boat is theirs. the play is theirs. the game is theirs. i imagine myself like a wave, no matter how gently i roll in, no matter how subtle my voice, i will disrupt as i announce, “soon friends, you will be off the boat so other friends can have their turns.” the commander looks at me with the same curly lips but with now flat cheeks and says, “never! i am the ship driver of this boat!” “you are now and soon someone else will get their turn.” “never!” “soon.” i don’t know if they’ve sailed an ocean away or stayed anchored in place by the time i come back and make the transition. the commander’s fellow passengers leave their boat without comment while the commander tucks his toes under the boat’s seat and clenches his hands around the handles and the phone. “never!” “now.” he’s removed like a wiggly magnet from a post. his hands empty of everything but his power, he clenches them and clenches his teeth and his lips contract between curled and straight: “i am so angry at you.” “you wanted your turn still?” a near growl “yes” followed by “you will get another turn…pick what to do while you wait.” i imagine a roomful of possibilities, all of which will lead to him getting another turn.

they were lined up, 13 children like cats in a tunnel and i overhear a child yell at another teacher that he hated him. “it’s okay. here, here’s some soap to wash your hands.” about 20 seconds later, this little friend came smiling from the bathroom, as grounded as ever, sharing with others some joy filled story from his week, his hate forgotten. i imagine that the teacher took some of the fear of powerlessness and handed it back to him as love.

during this last year of my own journey of healing, a new friend visited preschool. she sent an email to me immediately after she left saying: “You are such a genius. All along you have been creating the space in which to heal yourself.”

i’m getting comfortable with that. i can see that i have used my own hyper vigilance for good, that the trauma in my childhood stoked a passion in me to save each child’s dignity. almost effortlessly, i imagine a myriad of reasons why a child might not feel safe in our preschool. in what can almost seem like mind reading, i tend to fears or concerns before they are even said. in what feels like shape shifting, i recognize the timidness and cautious joy. like a time traveler, i find possible scenarios that children are reacting to. i’m not ready to say that i needed to experience what i did to be the kind of preschool teacher i am. i am ready to say that it is my life’s fiery passion to create spaces where children feel safe. it is my wide hope that children sense their own power. it is my voice that longs for humanity to lean into the exchange of this holy power.

imagine warm playdough, colored golden yellow from turmeric that was added to the flour salt water mix.

imagine a child gives you a grapefruit sized chunk and asks you to make a ball. receive it and mold it into a sphere of warm gold. hand it back to her and imagine she squishes it. smile at her. she gives it back, asks you to make another ball. mold it into another sphere of warm gold. give it back and watch her roll it between two tiny hands, dimpled at the knuckles, until it’s long like a snake. she gives it back, this time asks you to make whatever you want. imagine receiving it: a warm, uneven, coiled opportunity.

solid

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i’ve felt like I’m in “palliative care”…working to keep myself comfortable while allowing thoughts and feelings. working to create a world of ease while anticipating the unknown. i’m sure that i’m not dying as much as becoming and labor images keep visiting:

when i was in labor i believed in the goodness of the birthing ball, an orb big enough that i could back on to it without effort. i was weightless, the bottom of my belly meeting the top of the ball, my breathing alone moved me just enough. then a contraction hit and the ball became a magnet for pain, holding the echoes and giving them back to me, over and over, even after the worst had passed. i was stranded on the quivering pain and barely strong enough to lift myself up to stillness. i got off the ball. made sure i was where i could lean on something that wouldn’t waver or roll to my side and let someone make me a baby bird, feeding me water one drop at a time, or sink to my hands and knees and let the ground hold me like a table, ready to be set for a feast.

berries and honey

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the world has been an odd friend.
when it changed my perspective of myself, i made it my feared ally.
i would cozy up to it
like one might to a bear
when trapped together.
if it was only you and her
in a cage or in acres of forest
with no escape,
you would try first to hide
then move slowly so she wouldn’t notice.
lonely with her.
one night your breathing matched
and you knew she knew you were there.
so you get close
in case she ends up protecting you
or making you her cub.
what if she gives you berries and honey
instead of shredding your skin?
what if she pulls you in with her heavy fur self
instead of coming down on your neck?
what if she leads you through the forest
instead of batting you around as you die from worn out fear?
what if she believes you can climb trees
and catch fish with your hand?
what if she sees herself in you,
fur and flesh becoming the same?
cozy up to this bear world,
capable of ruining you and saving you.
imagine the what ifs,
the honey on your chin,
the smiling eyes of the beast,
the lumbering through a slanted sun woods,
the enveloping warmth that swells with her breath,
her weight increasing with every inhale.
the protection.
the companionship.
the quiet exchanges.
then with time test her.
make her a fire and mash the berries into a sauce.
pick her wildflowers and tuck one behind her ear.
rub her back and pull the burrs she can’t reach.
arrange stones in a path to her cave.
make her a crown of ivy and periwinkle and climb on a stump to reach her.
give her gifts she could never give herself.
close your eyes,
smell the smoke,
feel her breath passing through primal fangs,
feel your fingers tender from the burrs,
swallow again the last sweetness,
close your eyes and lean in
to your odd friend, capable.
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alone but not

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what it’s like.

our three baby chicks are put together in a box. maybe never having known each other until now, they huddle together, three heads each working to get under another one’s wing. they find the light and huddle under it. too cold or scared or new to sit down, they sleep standing up. for a moment they are all asleep, then one peeps and the other two wake up. for another moment they are all asleep, then one teeters and the other two wake up. for a moment they are all scratching around on their own, then one cheeps and the others come running. for a moment they are all in the cage, then one flies out and they all call. in piercing long calls, the one out of the cage calls, another one flies to the ledge and calls, another one is left behind and calls. all desperate for each other, not sure who should make the next move.

there were three girls coming and going from an apartment down the street that someone was moving out of. they must be the grandchildren or friends or the daughters of a cleaning woman. i walked my route and on the way home saw them ahead of me on the sidewalk. they must have permission to go to the park, they were probably bored, the youngest one getting in the way. i was gaining on them and saw how it was: the youngest one was no more than four. she had on a long dress and shoes so dainty she could have been barefoot. she stopped every few feet, poking at this, picking up that. i never saw her face, her long hair acting as a veil. no one talked to her or told her what to do. the middle one must have been seven. she looked straight ahead, eyes on where they were going. she stopped when the little one stopped, i never saw her face either. the oldest one was about 13. she looked ahead and behind and all around. she stopped every time the little one stopped. she stood vigil to her play and kept the coast clear. i knew she had seen me, i knew the others hadn’t. i didn’t want me or my dog to give them anything else to do. but before i could make my move to cross the street, the oldest one picked up the littlest one, making eye contact with me. and as though looking in a mirror, i sheepishly smiled and waved at them, my voiced “hi” no more than a whisper. with barely the raise of her fingers she waved back.

i lift the stump, wanting to create a half circle around the fire with stump seats for five. without thought, i utter an apology. they are scattering franticly. on the bottom of the stump, on the ground beneath, with no regard for the now split tunnels they used to travel. in seconds they’ve moved up and out and around me. the very moment i lifted the stump, it was too late to put it down. things had immediately changed. to stay alive the stump couldn’t be set down where had been even one second before. their own stump would kill them if i put it back.

i’m on the road and one lone bird sits on the wire. i see her and since i like to believe she sees me, i telepathically thank her for being there. i practice my quiet walking in hopes i don’t startle her off. triumphantly, i get right beneath her, then she goes. and then she stops again, on the wire a few feet ahead. then i get beneath her, and then she goes. and then she stops. and then i get beneath. and then she goes. and then she stops. and then i get beneath. and we walk like this for a magically long time. and then i look at her. say thank you outloud and then she goes. all the way.

i’m on another sidewalk and see i’m parallel to a deer in the field, a well traveled two lane street between us. she’s way out there, but we see each other, and both start walking north. she has a limp. i call my husband because someone should know. i keep her pace. she stops. i stop. look at each other. she limps forward, i keep her pace. she stops. i stop. look at each other. again with keeping her pace, stopping, looking. again. and then i decide to stop watching. i can see out of the corner of my eye she’s limping forward. she stops. i keep going. i like to think she made it to the tree line.

this is what it’s like. fragmented parts of me nudging each other, leaning on each other, falling on each other, keeping each other awake. parts of me oblivious in created safety, parts of me focused on the task at hand, parts of me vigilant, looking everywhere at once. watching, keeping pace, catching up, exposed and scattered with no option to go back. alone but not.

the chicks have grown for a few weeks. the heat lamp is gone. they push their bedding out of the way and are content on the cardboard. my tip-toeing into the dark kitchen to start the coffee doesn’t wake them anymore. now they sleep splayed out, heads awkwardly to the side. alone but not.

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Nuthatch

by Kirsten Dierking

What if a sleek, grey-feathered nuthatch
flew from a tree and offered to perch
on your left shoulder, accompany you

on all your journeys? Nowhere fancy,
just the brief everyday walks, from garage
to house, from house to mailbox, from
the store to your car in the parking lot.

The slight pressure of small claws
clasping your skin, a flutter of wings
every so often at the edge of vision.

And what if he never asked you to be
anything? Wouldn’t that be so much
nicer than being alone? So much easier
than trying to think of something to say?

wake up and do it

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“so you wake up…and that’s what you do,” she said to me. i had just rambled my heart loose while sipping gin from a repurposed salsa jar. “yeah, i guess i do,” i said to her.

words from hymns taunt me and strip me of hope.
the smell of dial soap closes my eyes.
the tag line on public radio, “think about it dot org,” furrows my brow.
hair rollers. old school video games.
maggots. milk. pickles.
lionel richie. sade. nude panty hose. vinegar.
butter knives. spoons. string. the movie airplane.
pictures of white furniture in a white room. incense cones.
pepsi. benson and hedges. jeopardy.
bass pulsing. sirens. cracks in asphalt. ice cream trucks.
yogurt. black beans. bandanas.
white hotel sheets. forced air coming on.
red carpet. blue carpet. judy blume books.
rat tail combs. converse shoes. american flags.
coffee stir sticks. milk in cartons. mushrooms.
roll away beds. bunk beds. michael jackson. hot tubs.
white dogs. black dogs. chain link fence.
blankets over windows. above ground pools. pull out couches.
yellow linoleum. baseball bats. watermelon candy.
stained glass. pink industrial soap. weeping willow trees.
peace signs. wood glue. tang.
green vans. cartoons. fried chicken.
overpasses. neglected yards. plastic riding toys.
quarters on a sidewalk. bananas. stop signs. upholstered chairs outside.
cars driving slower than the speed limit. cars driving faster.
people walking with plastic grocery bags.
new pencils. metal lunchboxes. tina turner.
crossing busy streets on foot. kmart. heavy breathing.
looped extension cords. fat white men. uncovered mattresses.
grainy movies. polyester comforters. sound systems with glass doors.
45 records. microwaves. tears for fears. the outsiders.
the color blue. boxes. tube tops. tents. marigolds.
green peppers. maple trees. lightning bugs.
charcoal grills. white undershirts. highways.
the words karma, blessed, unconditional, just,
all powerful, all loving, protector.

my heart rate increases with every line. my body literally moves in a new direction, anywhere to get my mind away from the trigger. and now i stop. stay still while moving. breathe while freezing. ride the wave while fighting. will myself to soften. melt. open. let it move through. see what it’s about.

hear your son tell you they played jeopardy in school and let yourself remember: remember the time you walked through the covered window house and stopped at the doorway where the obese mom was in bed, skin flopping over the mattress sagging under her weight, smoking, a full ashtray next to her, watching jeopardy. remember looking at her, different than your own mom, with toe nails yellow and so long they curved around to meet the fleshy pads below. remember her smiling at you with weird eyes and then yelling at her daughters. remember spending the night in that house, sleeping in the living room on the floor, the blue glow of the tv suddenly lighting the room giving life to rape depicted by a fat white man with brown hair and a screaming blond woman. remember going back to play there again.

coffee is poured, sun’s coming in, toasted bread with pieces of hazelnut just popped up, reach in the kitchen drawer for a butter knife and let yourself remember: remember the metal on your throat. remember the brown and yellow kitchen floor under you. remember the counter out of the corner of your eye holding kool-aid and white bread and burning incense. remember his arms and legs strong with anger holding you down. remember not understanding what you did wrong, remember him saying he wanted to kill you. remember your friend screaming for him to stop. remember going back to play again and again.

come home from work, full and tired, free the baby from her car seat and bring her to breast, escaping her for a moment, milk sprays and let yourself remember: remember the magazines in their bathroom. remember wondering why all those people were all naked together and why there was milk over them. remember more magazines and the movies and the brown textured carpet.

listen to high schoolers talk about relationships, decent and balanced and let yourself remember: remember wishing your high school boyfriend would beat you so then you wouldn’t owe him anything. remember thinking you’d have a big balance in the virtual bank of transactions. remember that he never came close to hurting you and never said you owed him a thing.

walk down a friend’s narrow stairway and remember. go to a bluegrass festival, see a canvas tent and remember. see stained glass and remember. put food in your grocery cart and remember. get utensils for snack time and remember. watch tv in a dark room and remember. cross an abandoned parking lot and remember. go to church and remember. this is my work.

i wake up and remember and wait to feel. i remember things as though they are happening right in front of me and feeling never comes. i’m there, resigned to the moments. is that part of me still safely hidden too far away? or did she leave so quickly there was no feeling absorbed? or was there a divine something that swooped in and protected my heart, gloved hands around it or even a metal cage that would have to be dismantled some day, but was worth it? was there a great mother who decided i needed my eyes and ears to keep track, but my heart was off limits? was there a great father who decided to morph ahead and behind to smooth the way so it would take almost nothing to exist? did the shell of me walk through only to report back and make new plans for safety? remember you weren’t all there.

so those triggers: the signs and objects and songs and words, the gross perversions of everyday things. i wake up and decide to do it again. allow myself to see them and notice what simmers in me. some days it feels like an interesting experiment, exposing my active eyes and mind, my genius level of recall. some days it feels like a loud, slow rush, threatening to swallow me with mocking gulps.

they are opportunities to heal. i believe with every remembering, i put it to rest. always a nearly effortless blink away from respite:  close eyes, lower shoulders, breathe, soften, melt, open.

then wake up and do it again.

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anyone can slay a dragon, she told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. that’s what takes a real hero. -brian andreas

cave

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the following piece is my description of coping with revictimization. growing up in an impoverished community, i looked for safety from as early on as i can remember. then it got personal through molestation, my body violated by four people … Continue reading

f.l.y

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no feeling is final.
-rilke

so, did you just remember these things?

the question jarred me the first time. how strange. i couldn’t fathom having been free from the memories. i’ve always remembered. i’ve not been reminded of anything new in this past year. i wrote a list of “these things” and they filled a paper, starting with a neat list, evolving into double columns, ending with words scrawled sideways around the holes intended for a binder.

i’m a time machine that can travel back to any number of memories. i can feel how i felt. i remember if my stomach was flopping or if my limbs were draining or if my head was dizzy or if my heart was racing. i can feel myself with frozen body. i can see where i was and where i was looking, though i don’t know what i saw and i never remember where i went right after. i can see as much of the room as a photograph could capture. i’m always at the center.

now i’m a shape shifter, heading back into those memories and i, warrior-like, join the scene and interrupt with love and comfort and protection for all. all in the picture see the light. all are transformed. starting with the most scared one and ending with the most blind one. memory by memory, detail by detail. the journey of re-membering.

i’ve been deep in intention to feel and heal. i welcome truths revealed, even when they cause my eyebrows to crinkle deepening my 40 year old lines. even when my breath reduces to barely visible shallow wisps and my eyes dart around looking for something to ground me. these aren’t memories revealed, these are beliefs i didn’t know i believed, feelings i didn’t know i felt, buried in a ring around my heart.

i remember, i said. i even remember the details, i said.

for that entire page worth of memories, i can see the details. each is like a photograph, though sometimes like a movie clip…no longer than the 15 second ones now allowed on instagram. but mostly photos. usually the standard 3.5X5 size, but sometimes square, sometimes even a fancy panoramic, encircling the entire memory. they are so vivid to me, i have to remind myself that no one else can see them. i see the room, what i was wearing. i see the what was on the floor and what the curtains looked like. i see the blanket and how far open the door was. i see the chairs behind me and who was in them. i see the posters on each of the 4 walls. i see the booths around me and who is in each. i see myself talking, i see myself walking away, i see my self. and even if it’s a snapshot, i smell my surroundings and hear the background noises. like in an amplified tunnel i hear bat-like. i hear more than i thought i could. my heartbeat so loud it pulses the light. the smells so strong they have a color. i see my feet, sometimes barefoot, sometimes covered. i see my limbs. i see my hair, either long and straight down my back or feathered back over my ears. i see my eyes. i feel them too. i see where they are looking but not what they see. i feel them in the sockets but they are still like marbles.

you remember your eyes, she said. you remember seeing, you mean.

no, i see my eyes.

how could you see your own eyes?

with a bit of annoyed confidence i tell her: uh, because i’m above it or sometimes behind it, because i see everything like a snapshot, like a birds eye view…………..oh, shit.

i revealed my own truth. disassociation. years later and this word just now connects to me. of course. all my memories, easy and hard, i’m both outside of and in. i remember the distinct moments of leaving, when it got to be too much or the risk was too great. open the wings and release. fear leaving you. i flew up so effortlessly. up and out. blessed be, there was always enough wind to catch my wings and allow me to hover. fly. fear.leaving.you. f.l.y.

my dad wrote me a song when i was a baby. i’ve never thought of it as directive. i’ve never connected it. you’ve got to fly on your own little wings, oh baby fly high. and when you get tired, i want you to know i’ll be flying a little ways behind….

i allow myself to feel tired now…i rest and daydream, laugh and say things without thinking. i’ve flown in a tight circle for years, never allowing myself to leave completely. i never flew off and left for good. i worked air and muscle to stay just out of fear’s way. now i practice landing. landing back into that body that now is safe. remembering that small body that loved soft things and didn’t mind getting dirty. that body that ran fast enough to win the 50 yard dash. that body that numbed everything, even true pleasure. landing back into my skin, the same little marks i’ve had my whole life and the scars i made myself. landing back with freedom to rewrite history and imagine intervention. landing back and breathing while i look around. landing back and staying with it, labor like. landing back and noticing only what i can see from my body’s point of view. landing back and noticing.

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the temptation to fly is strong at times. the wings barely raise and wind tugs them open. it takes strength to tuck them back in. it would be so easy to let the breeze carry me.

so, time machine activated, shape shifting engaged, wings folded in, all systems go, i land and stay the course.

february 4, 2014