Thoughts for the Week:
Water should not be cloudy and fizzle. (I almost drank it)
Sometimes you need to remember there is an and, instead of always an either or.
When a leaf smacks you in the forehead, you best be paying attention.
Sometimes we choose to walk with others, and sometimes we choose to walk alone. It is when we walk alone that we must remember that we made the choice to do so.
God does not make broke things. (from tonight’s meditation)
Tasty Tidbit #1: Turn Right
For those of you who having been keeping up with this blog you might have noticed that I have been having some interesting times lately. After a couple of good talks with friends and the weekend so close that it makes me want to skip class tomorrow, I am on the road to recentering. I have started meditating which is both good and annoying. I feel like I am starting from square one. My mind wanders all over the place. The first meditation I did I was wondering why I couldn’t hear anything or why the answers were grabbled. I would ask a yes or no question and hear both answers. As I wondered about this it popped in my head that I needed to breath. Being a smart ass to the Universe is one of my talents so I said I am breathing (yes I talk to the voices in my head, who doesn’t?) I was advised to take a minimum (because lately I need more than the minimum) of three deep breaths and then ask, the answer will come out more clearly. I have to admit it works, although it usually takes about five or six good deep breaths to get me started. One example of this working was on Tuesday. Anyone who goes to Austin Peay knows about the parking and traffic issues. A little slice of hell to go with your tuition costs. I was sitting in traffic waiting my turn to dodge through cars and pedestrians when that little voice said turn right. I didn’t want to turn right, I wanted to turn left, but I took a couple of deep breaths and listened and found a back way home that is very simple and there is no traffic at all. This morning I woke up expecting to feel terrified because today was my poetry workshop day. As I meditated taking a dozen deep breaths a song started playing in my head, well the line from a song anyway, “Everything’s going to be all right.” I remember thinking; I hope to God you know what you’re talking about. Of course it did. I try to keep the breathing thing in mind now, especially since I have been having problems with panic attacks. The breathing helps. When I start to feel the anxiety taking over I start breathing. I don’t care where I am, I just close my eyes and start breathing slow and deep. I’m just so happy about hearing that little voice again, even if it tells me to turn right, when I think I want to turn left.
Tasty Tidbit #2: Not a Poet
I have mentioned in at least one previous blog that I like poetry and that I would love to learn how to write poetry better. I decided that this was the semester to take the poetry class offered at APSU. Then during the first workshop I realized something, I’m not a poet. I don’t get poetry and I’m not sure how to get myself through the next thirteen weeks. Oh, I’ll get through it; I would just prefer not to feel humiliated every time we walk into workshop. In my creative writing classes, there is always a weak writer, someone who loves to write but hasn’t figured out how to do it yet. I’m that person in poetry class and it’s not an easy chair to sit in. I’m embarrassed about my poetry, it sounds like a five year old clobbered it together for me two minutes before class starts. The sad part is how much time I spend on my poems. I spend hours, literally hours working on them. I read them over and over. I walk into class and they sound like crap. I’m not just being a drama queen here; I mean they literally sound so pitiful. The worst part of it is I now have to finish this class and get over it. I have to deal with the fact that I pretty much suck at writing poetry. The other nine students in my class weave these amazing poems. They are all different, but they are all beautiful. I don’t get most of them, but that doesn’t take away from the obvious talent the writers have. I have been working this week to find a way to change my attitude about poetry class, but today again in workshop I heard myself explain that I’m just not good at poetry and that the poem I wrote was hard for me to write. This is probably another one of those perspective changing things but for now I think I’ll stick to prose.
I decided earlier in the week that I wanted to write this week’s blog about parents. More specifically my parents. I wrote the first draft in my head, as I tend to do, and then started to write the second draft, but something was missing. It felt whiny and overplayed. I know I have talked a lot about my father in past tidbits and blogs, but not much about my mother. I have been extra emotional lately, although better than the previous two weeks. I still feel this intense need to be nurtured; the problem is I don’t know where to turn for it. So this blog is going to be a little bouncy as I take you through my week’s worth of blog thoughts that began on Sunday afternoon, when we here in Clarksville got some rain, but in Dover where I was with my mother it was hailing and storming like a bitch.
My mother is creative. She can paint anything, sew anything, and craft pretty much anything. I’m not sure there isn’t anything crafty that she can’t do. Lately she has been into scrapbooking. There is a store near her that is a big scrapbooking store and she found out they have Christmas card classes. There is one a month and she wants me to go. I don’t have any interest in making Christmas cards. I only send about three out a year so I don’t feel a big need to have them around, a box will last me a solid four or five years. But this is my mother and I like spending quality time when I can, so I say I’ll go to the class. Ben left for Georgia Sunday morning and I left in the afternoon for round two of card making. While we are on the third card it starts down pouring. All I can think about is that I left my windows open at home, with a fan in one of them. At first I say it’s no big deal, there’s nothing I can do about it anyway, than it starts to hail. The anxiety kicks in and I have to breath. I tell my mom I think I need to leave. To which she answers, but I drove you. Fuck. I forgot. I had dropped my Jeep off at my mom’s house and she drove out here. I apologize to my mother, I know she wants to stay and finish the other two cards, but now I’m worried about my animals. What if the hail tears a hole in the screen and the cats get out? I give it a minute and repeat my request to leave, again apologizing. She gives in this time and the lady gives us the kits for the remaining cards and mom drives me back to my Jeep. I drove home and got there just minutes before it started raining in Clarksville. I was glad that my animals were safe and that the inside of my house wasn’t soaking wet, but I couldn’t get the look on my mom’s face out of my head. Late that night I was still thinking about it when I was trying to get to sleep. This is what I wrote in my journal.
“My mother feeling like she had wasted her time and her money looks at me. I was always such a disappointment.”
Tuesday’s and Thursday’s I spend about six hours in the library doing homework. Today I am finished with my homework and I am just sitting and staring at the wall. I’m thinking about my parents. I’m thinking about how I was never good enough from the very start. I think about my mom telling me how both my father and her wanted a first born boy. I think about the pictures in my mother’s house, the one’s of my brother. I think about how I desperately want my parents to love me, to treat me like a daughter who is loveable. Then I wonder if they are capable of loving me that way. I go home after school and try to cry, but the tears just refuse to show up. There is just this burning ache in my chest that I can’t get to go away. I can’t cry.
Wednesday I began the composition of the first draft of this blog. I talked about how competitive my mom always was with me. How she was jealous when I got boobs (big ones anyway, she had what I consider to be a perfect C cup until a few years ago), and how we were always competing for who lost the most weight when I was in high school. How there were so many times when I had to play the mother in our relationship. I talk about the fact that I can’t talk about another woman with motherly like affection because she gets jealous and pissed off. I talk about how much it hurts that both of my parents know that I write a blog, but as far as I know, neither of them read it. I talk about how pushed aside I felt when my little brother showed up. How my father would scream at me when I asked him to help me with my math homework, so I stopped asking and took the F’s. I talked about the last walk I ever took with my father, the one where he outlined my life including which college I would be going to and I told him I wasn’t going and he could go to hell if he thought I was going to live his dreams for him. I think about my mother convincing me to join the Air Force and the disaster it lead to. I think about all these things. I feel like an orphan, but both my parents are alive. I am an emotional orphan and I feel like I am starving to death. Not from lack of food but from lack of nurturing. Wednesday night I finally cry, the burning in my chest eases.
After my cry last night I decided I would be a bad student and not spend all day cooped up in the library. I would go run some errands that I needed to run and worry about finding a parking space later. It rained again Wednesday night and this morning was crisp and beautiful. Some people would have called it dreary, but there was something shiny and beautiful in it to me. I decided that I would go to school and I would study. I drove out to school, parked, and started walking to the library which is where I spend the majority of my time. I was only about a quarter of the way there when I just dead stopped. I wasn’t thinking about stopping, I just did. I stood on the sidewalk trying to figure out why I stopped, did I leave a candle lit at home? Had I forgotten a book? As I stood there I realized that I didn’t want to be there, it was that simple. So without thinking about, which I’ve decided is the best way to follow spiritual guidance, I jumped back in the Jeep. I wasn’t sure where I was going; I didn’t feel a need to go home. It popped in my head that I would like to enjoy today, the weather so crisp and fresh, so I decided to head over to the Greenway Park and take a walk.
When I got to the park I thought about what I said to myself this morning in the mirror. I said, “You sure are putzing today.” I have a little saying that I recite in the mornings from a book called The Seven Whispers, and I’ve listed my little prayer here for you.
Please help me to…
Maintain peace of mind (theme of the month)
Move at the pace of guidance (today’s theme)
Practice certainty of purpose
Surrender to surprise
Ask for what I need and offer what I can
Love the folks in front of me
Return to the world
When I meandered into the park this morning that second one was on my mind, I thought maybe this is what spirit wanted me to do right now. I moved slowly in the park, trying to drink the air. It smelled so good. I stopped to touch rocks and trees and moss. There were snails all over the place and I stopped to watch them too. For anyone who doesn’t know snails are pretty much sacred to me. A weird thing to consider sacred I know but they have always been present in my life, in fact in high school I made what I called a snail god for my first stain glass project. Finding or seeing a snail or its shell has always been a sign that I’m on the right track. I watched the snails wondering how many other people saw them or if they were just there for me, like a special gift.
Being a “dreary” day, there were very few people out on the trail, which I enjoyed immensely. I walked the entire length of the 2.6 mile trail enjoying every minute, appreciating every breath of fresh air and yes talking to Spirit about my parents.
At first I was still in my original blog mode, the one were my parents simply didn’t love me. There is a part in Sue Monk Kidd’s book, The Secret Life of Bees, where the main character Lily talks about how it was too much if both her parent’s hadn’t loved her. “Some things were not possible in this world. Children did not have two parents that refused to love them. One, maybe, but for pity’s sake, not two.” If you haven’t read this book I highly recommend it. That’s how I felt. I just couldn’t figure out how I could be so broken, the way I put it is how God could have made me so broken, that my parents couldn’t figure out how to love me. I thought about these things as I walked up the trail. There was something in me that little voice probably that was nudging me to change my perspective. To look at my parents as humans. I told the little voice that I did see my parents as humans; they were just humans who couldn’t seem to figure out how much I needed them to actually be my parents, even at 32. I wanted to see through the eyes of love but sometimes I felt like there was no damn excuse why they had acted like they had or were still acting. Even though my mom said it was okay about the card class I could see and hear the disappointment in her. I had done it again, disappointed her, when was I going to get it together?
My walking and my conversation continued and as it did things that I wrote in my first draft began to untangle a bit. The thing that felt the strongest was the question I had asked myself on Wednesday, were my parents capable of loving me in the capacity that I needed them to love me? I thought about that question for a long time. I didn’t feel like I was asking for anything extraordinary, I just wanted to be loved. I just wanted to be good enough, even if it was just for a moment. I figured that if I felt it for a moment that moment would preserve me for the rest of my life. My next thought was that I didn’t want to write all of this stuff and have people think what horrible parents I have. They aren’t horrible; I just honestly am beginning to believe they don’t know what to do with me. After my walk I also believe that they have so much trouble loving me because they have so much trouble loving themselves. I know they are human. I know that children do not come with manuals and I know there is a lot I don’t understand about being a parent because I’m not one. I try to understand it from their point of view, but it’s hard.
As I walk the wind seems to pick up each time I hit a clear thought or at least a thought that has some clear thinking behind it. As I walk I remind myself that (according to my beliefs anyway) I picked these two to be my parents. I wanted to learn something from them. I choose them with clear intent, when things were much less complicated, when I got the whole picture. So what was I trying to learn and why? The answer seems simple. I must learn to love myself. I feel it’s more than just simply having a love for oneself; this is an even deeper more fierce love that I must protect. I wonder if that’s why have Athena sitting on my desk, a gift from a dear friend. Is she here to show me (through wisdom), my own inner strength? The protection bit comes in because I tend to give all of myself away until I am completely spent and most of the time I don’t notice until things start erupting around me.
I realize that I love my parents, even though they have trouble doing the same for me. I realize that in a way I need to be my own mother and my own father. By the time this realization comes I have made it to the end of the trail and started back, my pace is quicker now. I will have to tend to myself with great awareness and balance. It always seems to come back to those two for me. Be aware, be balanced. As I walked I laughed to myself and wondered out loud if that was what I came to learn this lifetime. At that moment a leaf hit me forehead. I mean it swooped out of the tree and attacked my forehead. It was a tulip poplar leaf, yellow and brown with two tiny holes in it like someone had been having lunch before it flew in my face. I got the message though. I would tend to loving myself. I would find a way to forgive my parents for not being parents or at least not the parents I feel I need in my life. I will love them and I will forgive myself for being harsh to them and not learning this lesson sooner. I would change my perspective about my parents and I would love myself. I twirled the leaf in my hand and then released it onto the waters of the Red River and watched it float and bounce among the rocks.