Over Board

 

Since I like to write about life in “metaphors” and “allegory” I would like to directly confront any haters by describing my life as a big Carnival cruise ship.

When you spend 33 years steering your ship with the same beliefs, illusions, escape mechanisms, denial and self defeating behaviors, you know how to steer, because its the way you were taught. It’s the way you always have done, the way your parents and even their parents taught, a map passed down with just one compass, a set group of working members that trust you to steer the way they taught.

Rejecting their way of navigation is to reject them, to question that any idea outside the script they have written for you is rebellious and ungrateful. By asking to maneuver this ship, your own, the way you hope, the way you dream, causes narcissistic panic and rage, for such a request slaps ingratitude, defiance, and no amount of love by either party changes this fact at all.

It is their fear of all fears, to lose control.

But you cannot dance for them, steer for them, look at a map that has nothing to do with you and pretend you are doing a job GOd made you for, not even for the love you feel for them.

It is too great a cost.

Trying only comes with their reminders of your past navigations, life boats of passengers that would leave, that little failed  marriage, financial irresponsibility, their hearts heavy with concern, so naive and desperate for love and approval, you believe them.

The drama and unhealthy anxiety and loss of weight and who had to bear such a thing watching you destroy yourself?

Your heart sickened and you would agree especially when the trump card fell, like how your children were at stake, and as my mother said when I excitedly announced my acceptance to Photography school, “But honey, your children need you. A good mother knows  you can’t ever get back your children’s childhood.”

But I had waited till Lola was in Kindergarten, my heart felt it true that I had real gifts, people had told me about my writing and photography, something my mother claimed she wouldn’t read.

It was just too unbearable for her.

Not to mention being the family laughing joke, the dating disasters, financial dependence, and so you went along, so you laughed with them.

So crazy, how could YOU be qualified to run your own ship?”

They meant to shut up, find a good man, stop causing drama, and do not ask questions that make them feel, look, or examine pain, but one last thing. DO not take front seat or that would mean that they may be put out of a job, a job they invested 33 years in keeping. One thing I have learned is that nothing is more important than their own illusion of control, that you somehow are responsible for the emotions, existence, needs, and life path of another simply by being born.

In your birth, you are their ownership.

But, what if they were right?

They always were.

Could you possibly be that arrogant, even crazy, to believe that something inside you knows more?

Read their map, take passenger seat with their compass, and they promise, you will always be safe, loved, and in God’s loving hands.

In many small moments of defiant self assurance and your own part brave, part powerful, part narcissistic inner guidance, you throw the compass over the side, rip their perfect map and do horrible things like go to school, take on boyfriends not of their knowledge or choosing, at 33 mind you. You refuse calls, break cars, and cry over missing your babies.

They tell you that this is abuse, this defiance of role, the writing, and you failed them by not taking the destination they paid and invested financially and emotionally for you.

In your young naive attempt for all that you have fought for, you throw up the middle finger, rip their map, not just in half with a clean line you can tape back later for emergency, but in many teeny pieces throwing them up in the air.

You clearly have no idea what you have done.

They watch in horror, announce insanity, and so you hear the many heartbreaking lies from the ones who KNEW you, who were watching, who cried and held you, so you dive deep in denial as your reputation is smeared, like a knife you know is cutting and bleeding in your back, but you refuse to pull out.

Sometimes pretending the pain isn’t really there is less painful than the wound itself.

And sometimes, this exact point causes you to never fully examine your wounds, your life, your loved ones, I believe, is a promise that you will in fact, become them.

The repair is not possible you realize as your heart slices to pieces, your children are no longer called or seen, even the ex that supported them is deleted next to you off of facebook, birthdays and holidays are ignored, with the exception of a lovely card, only for the grandchildren, who have been left to you for the explanation of why an entire extended family, aunts uncles and cousins, are gone. I couldn’t bare it. My babies most claimed to being loved were now pawn to a woman who claims I will not let her see them.

And so, you have what you have asked for, a ship, gulp, and no one to control the many anchors and nets, food preparations, or storm safety regulations.

You have a few passengers to take leadership of, all watching with careful scrutiny as to how this captain will maneuver without any map, an illogical quest for certain, and you can feel some of them smug at their obvious belief you will hit the rock of Gibraltar, or drown the entire boat from your selfish, ignorant, irresponsible and reckless decisions.

They are waiting to be right.

The others left are a little scared, with life jackets all on, you notice, a fact that makes you wince, seeing as there is only bright sky and little waves, but they have swimmies, goggles, inner tubes and helicopters on call.

So you will prove them all wrong. You will prove you are the Captain, the first to use an inner guidance and new technology from within. You are living your destiny, you say in the mirror at night, certain the gods will protect you and the ripple effect of your intentions will lead you and your girls to freedom.

You believe with all your might you are called to do so.

And in front of them all, in front of yourself, you run your ship directly into a glacier.

And another one.

You see with terror that the water has began to fill the first cabin of passengers and it is your fault, these passengers you have grown to love as your own family are all affected, their money and resources drained, their thoughts of your motives and choices are murmured below, but you can hear them all.

They are losing trust, amongst the chatter, you feel their worry and anxiety over you, causing great pain and a responsibility greater than you ever knew before.

That is the worst part of being a captain.
Letting down the ones you want nothing more than to love and protect that have no choice but to drown or get hit amongst the rocks with you.

I was in the McDonald’s drive thru, with Lola my cheerleader, Kat my critic, and I saw her eye me in my rear view.

She must have noticed I buy nothing for myself, even food, something she comments on, aware at too young of an age that mommy has had an excruciating break up, must move out without any idea where to live, needs extra work and fast, and is heartbroken mostly over missing them and wondering if in fact, everyone was right, once again.

“Mom,” she said, with authority in her voice, even at 10.

I was scared to look up.

“One day mom, you will have a big house and a man that is your real soul mate, you’ll see. You will go on trips and buy things and mom, you can do it. One day mom.”

“Yeah!” Lola cheered from the back, shouting, “YOU WONT ALWAYS HAVE NO MONEYS!”

She kept eating her fries while I said nothing, afraid to show the tears sliding, the belief they have in me had nothing to do with my past behavior, all to do with what they knew I was capable of.

“And a child shall lead them.”

I had already took on a first captain, one with a snarky spitfire of personality and courage, to test the waves, an open book of brilliance and psychological passion which she has mysteriously gained at such a young age.

Ya’ll know her as Thelma.

I hired her to research and build a new map you see, my courage and passion to my cause quickly passing, so I asked her to find a much better working compass, a growing regret was quickly coming with the realization I threw away with the first one with little indifference at the time.

She has bad news.
She cannot give me a new compass.
She WILL not give you a new compass.
She says it like the truth blazer she is, something I often brag will make her the greatest forensic psychologist of all time, but with me, you see, I demand she change the very core of what makes her beautiful and unique.

I explain carefully that I just want her to say it is okay.

She explains details over my ship with little patience and logical direct blows. She tells me I am the leader of this ship, not her, and not the ones before, and I have a choice. I will lead the ship I call my life, for good or bad, or not.

My knees go weak, not knowing I had unconsciously looked for the exact replacement of what I knew for all my life. I just saw pain, blinding white light, and an evil girl who cut up souls and served them on strawberries.

It took a lot of time to see the real Thelma, not the woman I only projected upon as “mother.”

On many occasions I imagine I might have challenged her to first deck where I would wrestle her lady like uppity ass to the ground, but in fact, something worse happened.

I realized she was right.

What the fuck was I thinking?

I did what all confident self seeking freedom fighters do and cried, begged, demanded she do it, fell faint on the floor from the magnitude of it.

She just rolled her eyes.

Until the breaking.

Something had to be changing for she was evolving into the nurturing and kind friend, the co caption I was used to was not empathetic, even harsh.

It was the first time I saw her as she was, and had always been, but from my own dysfunction and terror of being abandoned had blinded me to ever seeing the real her.

I saw after a year that she had no life jacket on or life boat pulled to the side, nor had she ever.

How could I have missed this?

So this was the breaking, the pounding of my knees to the ground, the layers of unworthy unloved messages and beliefs began to take over, and I had nothing left to fear.

In that moment, I had and was nothing,

The interesting thing about pain is that some pain keeps you stumped for years, and I had the tears of a clown with the make up dripping off, only my true sad self to let through and all of it, all of it, had been not my fault, but my responsibility.

I wasn’t stumped at all. I was aware I had done nothing I had set out to accomplish, that intentions mattered nothing, that I was in fact, the scum on the bottom of the scummiest bottom.

So the reality I had been missing was that she had not changed into anything, for I saw her, my biggest defender, fighter, support and friend. It was I who was the one changing, the parts of me who kept her and the world away were the ego and I had none left, not anymore.

Then I heard some music, coming from bottom deck, Justin Timberlake I believe, blasting on the radio, my girls coming up to shake what their mama gave them, the ship half burned, ship wrecked, void of food.

True deliverance comes not when we are accepting mighty awards in front of all the people who didn’t believe in you, our shadows and ego convinced OUR truth will be rewarded, maybe even a podium or Ted Talk might come our way.

It just is never going to be that way for me.

It is in the destruction, when the tides have turned and all is lost at sea. It is in the shipwreck and pirates who betray again and again, so you find treasure in your laughter, in your glories, in your unforgivable mistakes, and if you have a lucky break, all you can see and feel is just peace.

These are the finest of any treasure a captain can find, when her ship becomes eerily still while the  dolphins came to say hello, jumping in perfect circles. One by one they come, dressed in costume, Kat and then Lola, Thelma and Dad, all the ones who love from a broken heart come to dance.

“You are the captain of your ship, the captain of your soul” is a quote I scribbled down way before I took on this journey, and I will not begin being grateful when I find the destination, the flag, the written map the gods reveal before me.

Sink or swim, with maybe one float left to hold on as I watch my boat burst into flames, it doesn’t matter.
I will dance just the same.

For everyone on board, from past to present to unknown to future known, this is the song I am dancing to, hoping you all are blessed, touched, and loved. It is you who have been God’s touch on my shoulder.

Enjoy!

Michael Franti & Spearhead LIVE

 

Three Amigos

There is nothing like deleting old emails all morning only to break out into the ugly cry, Lola and Kat at first concerned,

Mom, is it Sammy?

He died two years ago, my 14 year old dog.

 

Mom, you can put these blankets around your shoulders to make it all fancy,” Lola consoles, of course, by fashion wear. She once told me she was in my tummy and the whole time she was thinking, “When, oh when, are they going to let me change my clothes!”

Kat studies me when I cry, analytically, like she has never seen my face before, or if she were logically counting tear drops for a homework assignment.

The only thing worse than having a broken heart is your kids knowing it.

Then, they put on my “favorite” song, despite the fact I hate Katy Perry, go figure, and did a dance show until I laughed so hard the snot didn’t even bother me, the pain burning in my heart was numbed like someone slapped vapor rub on it.

Before you know it, the moment passed, they were fighting over the wi remote, my puffy eyes are all thats left, and I say loudly, “Act like a real writer!

I was going to write about something serious today, and actually you know, edit, or read it, for the love of God.

I was, I REALLY was, but I found this in my email account, no date, before I had a blog I suppose.

“Wow. So, we were running a “CRYSTAL GIRL” errand, which Kat, Lola, sometimes Nana and I, are the Crystal Girls, an exclusive group, and Kat and I start scheming. So, I say, “Kat, you know where B lives?”

“Whittaly.” No, I say, “FLORIDA,” with a smile. Lola first says, “When I see that nice man B, I am gonna kiss and love him and hug him” she said, eyes so big!

Kat said, “Yeah, and HE is a NICE man, and DADDY likes him, and on the chatter went…
Then it hit.
Lola crumples her face and says, “And B will NEVER ever Eat Bad Stuff and TURN his HEART BLACK and leave us or die, Mommy! NEVER, EVER!”
Knocked the wind out of me…… 

I pulled into the QT and parked the car, and looked at her.

“Lola, love, tell me where it hurts.” She shook her head, “NO!”
Kat put her hand on Lola, who put her head into the leather, and I said, “Lola, my heart hurts because of Papa, does yours?”
She gave me one eye from her pudgy baby hands, peeking in, through the tears. “And I don’t know if Daddy or Nana or my boyfriend B will die or leave, but…”
I was about to launch into one of my Mommy speaches, and I am one of those moms that has to annoy even a seven year old to death to make sure its all said,
so Kat interrupted, “Lola, she said.. You’ll always have me.”
And they hugged and I wept.

This morning ended up a lot like that, no babies, now big girl dance queens, in my heels and sunglasses, on a fake stage, but even the same, it hit today. And no mommy was there to give a fake speech, but who needs fake speeches, and living dogs, old boyfriends, dads, holidays, phone calls or birthday parties? Not me. It is far overrated when you have Katy Perry twins, singing badly and loudly, my words from the email blurred into one as I cried all over again, reading the last line.

And they hugged and I wept.

Introducing “The Other Woman”

I just received a comment from a reader beneath a blog I wrote about my father, one in which I expose my hurt, my pain, the loss and destruction of being his child.

I am not one to like my personal truth being read, much less on such public display, my idea as a writer was to heal my wounds.

Little did I know it would become material read by over 10,000 strangers, a thought that makes me want to vomit, but I write to heal me, and if in any way

possible it helps others not feel so alone on this journey, I am grateful.

I also know that to expose myself comes with consequences, some good, some bad, and I do not publish anything without thought to the people affected, a reality that weighs heavy on my heart. I am indifferent to most comments, try my best not to think of them, never wanting to write for an audience, always striving to focus on my art, my truth. I feel my writing is just a projection, that a computer screen is capturing one moment of emotion or thought, so to be loved or hated, I do not feel personally attached to either thought. I write not because I want to, but because I must, and I let the readers do or say as they will. It is their right.

However, in this case, I have decided it is my right to reply in anyway I please, not in spite, but in addressing the child within, the outrageous injustice that she has endured will be heard and if it comes out politically incorrect or even a tad sarcastic or angry, so be it.
She has been through enough.

And here, is what this stranger had to say:

lea hickman
lhickman3158@gmail.com
71.236.12.232
Submitted on 2011/04/01 at 12:03 pm

“Katie, You are certainly entitled to your opinion about your father; however you are his daughter and he loves you. Reaching out is never easy, especially after a divorce, but your dad wants a relationship with his kids and granchildren, and you should consider his feelings. STOP being selfish!”

And this is my reply, of course, in Dear Abby blog form, but just in a more “OBVIOUS”
fashion.

“Wow. Lea Hickman. You certainly know how to make an appearance. I suppose introductions don’t seem to be needed here since my letters never received a reply, but I guess you know that. I never really thought my personal blog would be the place for a mistress to have a platform, but you are not just any mistress, but one who actually gives advice as well? I should be so honored.
Well, here is your moment and so lets just open up this can of worms shall we?
First off, please don’t be offended that I have not included you in any of my blogs or invited you over to personally say hello because it has been my impression since I was a small child that you were the psychotic ex girlfriend of my father, imagine that?
Yes, he said many times that you were prone to jealous rages over his adoration of my mother, that you could never be one to recover from his rejection.
I never knew he was such a stud.
Lucky girl, you are.
I wondered many times if all those calls and appearances in my childhood and adult life were fatal attraction, and funny thing about a woman’s intuition, I truly did give you the benefit of the doubt.
Perhaps he was just in denial.
It just seemed strange that my mother, who was of course, “THE love of my Dad’s LIFE, and THE ONLY love he EVER had,” normal gross announcements he made to her almost daily, was not apart from him even a day for my entire life.
I just didn’t know how to prove you, understand?
I will say I never thought about electronics, like say, computers, the one thing my mother doesn’t know much about, so I apologize for not connecting sooner.
I think it is lovely that you care about his relationships so deeply, I mean really, to reach out to me in his name is well, so kind of you, and effective for sure.
What daughter doesn’t want to run to Daddy when his ex girlfriend psycho perhaps mistress appears on her blog to defend him?
It is romance at it’s best.
I know. Maybe you can come by, the two of you, the reunion will be just beautiful, and I’ll be sure to vacuum. We shall all hug and cry and sing with joy, my two daughters love any excuse to eat cake, but it might want to be in secret you know, just in case, our party were to “get out” and upset family members.
People are so sensitive about these types of things.
Did you know my Dad and Mom ate a lot of cake, together, like 34 years of cake, gosh, that adds up to how many cakes a year for how many special occasions?
Wow. That is a lot of cake.
And I do appreciate that call to not being selfish, and I know I struggle here, I certainly do.
What do I call you again? Oh, Lea.
There I go again, being selfish. Maybe Grammy could be a pet name, just between us?
I am working on that selfish thing. My father certainly could have used more help in raising me. He told me what love is, but maybe you have a better view.
You are a fine example of exactly what my mother should have been you know, to get and “keep” a man as kind, selfless, loyal, and honest as my father.
Oh, but I would keep an eye on the credit card when desert comes.
Between us, he may have stolen it, so just proceed with caution, perhaps take your purse with you to the restroom, and lock it in your home if he accompanies you.
He is known to have 38 aliases and prone to using other people’s social security numbers. Whew, what a handful he is!
But listen, I do want to congratulate you on defending him, and perhaps you also are aware of the 22 page hate mails, mostly stripping my mom of all her dignity in outrageous lies meant to hurt her, not us. I mean who can blame him, right?
Oh and how he loves his grandchildren.
I think he met, no, not sure about my precious nephew, but he did get my little girl a train set one year. Kind of confusing to them, this overwhelming love.
Perhaps it overwhelms them, I don’t exactly know.
I suppose it is hard to blame him, even though he is definitely responsible for years of therapy, and along with the stalking, broken promises, and forgotten boundaries, you may need to give him a loan to help him with this healing Lea!
Not to mention the occasional run from the IRS, abandoning his family over a car, a nice one, the one in his mommy’s driveway? I know I am just his little girl, but really, that car smells brand new, don’t you think?
He used to love to joy ride with mom and I in that thing, and we would go to Bruster’s and get ice cream, and this funny thing happened once, he played this song by Chris Isaac, “Somebody’s Lying,” and I just poked him on the side of his arm, while we just laughed. He always thought I was just hilarious.

But, not to put a damper on anything, cause I am uncertain to your status, on facebook you see, the status of your relationship is what makes it official, anyways, keep this one little thing in mind. If it does go a little sour, don’t be surprised to find dead roses in your mailbox, surround your entire family for holidays with weapons, but use bats so the children aren’t nervous, and always tell him how selfless and wonderful he is, that he did the BEST he KNEW to do, over and over until your eyeballs fall out and every bit of life force has been drained out of your ever loving soul.

Oh, and do tell your daughter I said hello. In high school, she once told me we could be sisters but I wasn’t quite sure what she meant, not until today that is.
Maybe you should mother her since I do have one of my own.
You should meet her one day, or I believe you have.
She is not perfect, but she did love my father very much, as we all did.
He just never saw the value of real love, a perfect offering even in all his failures, until it was way too late.
I’m not sure how any love is more pure than a child for her own father, especially mine, because I wanted to die before I lived one day believing my daddy, the man who hung the moon, could become this. This is the unspeakable crime to a child, this is not the man I remember nor he is the man I ever wish to know.
But perhaps I am just selfish. Perhaps you can give him the love he never had. Perhaps you are the perfect woman to show him love, for trust me, every woman till now, his own daughter, can not. Perhaps you were the only one he loved all along? Perhaps he doesn’t know what love even means? Perhaps you can teach him.
Perhaps.”

Shame Erasers Part One

The ugly truth about writing is that it is not something you choose.

It chooses you.

I have been avoiding this blog like crazy.

Writing is the only way I know how not to lie.

One of my favorite writers said we have no choice to write or not, that inspiration is bullshit. She said you show up, every day, like all other writers, because it is your job, and that is what you do. Fine. But I don’t have to like it.

……………………………………………………..
Shame Erasers Part One….

I wish I could write this in outline, or power point, to make it less blinding.
I need lists to make even grocery stores less frightening.

Its like I have been living with the sound of a dentist drill in my mind,
an irritating awful pierce demanding I sit down and write.
I just want to get under my covers and hide.

A man I have been dating wants to be my boyfriend.

Good God. That statement even looks as dumb as I imagined.

I don’t need to tell anyone I am a free spirit, a boastful pride in the fight I put out for that freedom. I love being and going, free to kiss, flirt, drink, touch, dance, and to be single is bliss. Utopia is Granny panties or lace thongs worn just for me, ice cream out of the box,
a delightful bed with no sweaty needy hairy man waiting on me to get there,
asking where I went, why my cell phone wasn’t charged, or if I knew how dangerous dancing, live music, oh, and the other hairy sweaty sex crazed filthy mind controlling men I hang around are.

These are the men in past I have referred to as boyfriends or husband, and believe me, it never ends well.

It begins with a promise they make after four beers while I am in red heels,
a short black dress revealing cleavage and legs, leaning in with my glass of red wine.
This is not my first rodeo people.
I laugh at the thought of life and cramps on the bathroom floor,
Lola being put in time out for talking about hairy pee pees, Kat irritated Lola stole her label maker.
And so, my response is usually, “Good Luck,” said with ease and flirtation, ending with me in my bed,
my girls safe and snug a room away. Bliss.

And so, today, for my mini series, you understand the pitch I gave, the same one a million times over it feels, but now there is one man who refuses to sign.

He will not budge. The immovable mountain I can not climb, cross, surround, depart from. He has the most annoying response ever to all these questions I spit, like nails, all the time, every hour.

“I want you.”

Seriously? That is not the correct answer.
That is actually kind of stupid.

And he smiles patiently, a man I named THE COLLECTOR, his house full of little groups of old cameras, beautiful treasures in all types of forms, put together like a kid building legos, but with art.
I can’t decide if I am experiencing love, horrific fear, warning signs from God, or intimacy.
He is like a nightmare wrapped up in a teddy bear, the very thing that looks so soft, I am suspicious of how it is stuffed.

Is this what people call love? THIS is the feeling women crave?
I feel like I ate too much beef jerky and got on a six flags ride I can’t get off.
Is this vibe what we are going for on romantic comedy movies,
which are all hired actors by the way, who are divorced three times over,
a side fact for the romantics to chew on.

I must lose him or commit to him, which I think has brought up every issue I have.
He kind of just required it.

How dare he? How dare a hairy sweaty man be so good, so kind, so sweet?
I don’t know how to control this ridiculous man, and I am mad with love and hate over this lack of control, especially in bed, as if every secret I have invites him inside with little thought to what this could become.
There should be prisons for people like him, torture chambers.

I don’t know what is bigger.
To lose something so big it will destroy me and all that I have worked to become.
Or to live in this, this fear, so ridiculous and mind altering, I just can’t do it. I have to get rid of him and fast.
Clyde says that is extreme.
Clyde says the things everyone says, and asks this question, which makes me laugh, for reasons I am so happy he doesn’t understand.

“WHAT IS THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN?”

I know this question.
It is designed to see that a simple truth holds the key in hoping that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
I wonder if Clyde as a grown man had been told by his father point blank,
a man he had known and loved his whole life that he was an investment,
a bad one that never paid off. Then stand in the ruins of a life built on lies while the masses poke and smile,
asking for news on the latest man, a humiliation that rubs like a skin burn, a deep pulsing heartache no
words can describe.

I need a shame eraser. I just don’t know where to find a parking lot of them, my shame for watching
this man in his stubborn insistence stay reminds me daily I was not free at all.
I was as sick and chained and controlled in my mind from fear now as I was with the sweaty hairy men.
This is a nail biting mind altering truth to me, MISS OBVIOUS, soaking in single loving bliss.
It is humiliating, scary, and makes me wonder if I might be seriously damaged, like beyond what I could even
exaggerate, so much that I could hurt him, a thought I can’t live with.
What if I were like my Dad?
What if my Dad left for reasons the Collector will find?
What if I trust someone who becomes a mad man, like my Dad, and the girls will have it done to them.
No, no, this is wrong, wrong, wrong. I know who did the crime.
I just can’t justify at the right time if it is him, or me, or both who believes the crime has to be paid.

And so here I am, with a freight train headed, in the complete dark, his mere existence mentioned and teased by well meaning friends makes me want to fall over the edge, my balance knocked, my leg shaking.
The girl with the mouth from the South is in trouble when she can’t talk, not to anyone, not about this.
I have found my personal truth lies within me but in this, in this, I have become the unknown.

Part of me hears Clyde say “Breathe,” and “Go Slow,” but I don’t feel that. I feel betrayal coming like a smoke monster hurling at my door, shadows cast from giant magnifying glasses, my fears coming from the ground whisper I am drowning and the life boat I need, well, he is running out of time.

The saddest part is I don’t know if I’ll drown before I can tell him I want him back.

Hands

God, I had forgotten about hands, his hands.

They were ungodly perfect in the way they touched, kneaded, teased, heat moving wherever they moved.
In one touch, I found myself not caring about anything else but that they didn’t stop, and I don’t beg.

These hands made me beg.

I was not in control of them, but somehow they commanded me, a deep pleasing vibration came from them, and I loved them, salivated for them, my mind never leaving them, watching them, asking them not to stop, to never go away.

They were sweet, impossibly sweet, in their attention, a mindful impossible tender attention to detail, to me.

How could hands be so sweet?

The forgetting was as unbelievable as the touch themselves, and so my mind churned as they touched,
pressed in the wanting and asking of me.

How could hands be this way? I wondered what they wanted from me.
I thought of other hands, the way they moved with simple suggestion.

I thought of awkward hands, the way I moved them for them, just in case they did not know.

I thought of my father’s hands on my mother’s neck.
This thought made me begin to sweat. She trusted those hands too.

What if I were like her, trusting hands that seemed made for her?

My heart pounded now, and I felt sick, wondered if I just weren’t ready for hands, not sweet ones, because what if hands that felt this good were the ones you don’t trust?

Hmm. This made sense.

I thought of asking him to stop, but how? What do you say? He wouldn’t understand.

The hands were moving sweetly and elegantly, to music and candles, but now what felt wonderful started to
claw, scratch, burn.

Maybe I just needed some water, or a pill, an anxiety pill, of course.
No. Maybe, well, no.
No, these hands were wonderful and kind. No. NO. I was fine. These hands were fine.
Or were they?

How would I know? My heart now started beating rapidly, but not in the good way,
the pain and burn of them circled with the churn of my thoughts, racing, racing, running away, or at least trying.

Where could I run? I was trapped with these hands, hands so beautiful they made me want to cry.

“You okay?” It came from a sweet voice, its question made me feel like a complete fool.

The room got dark, because I turned off the light.

The hands paused and I wanted to rock and scream and yell to stop, that they hurt, that I was burning,
that they hurt. But, this couldn’t be true. They were sweet hands. Nice hands.
“I’m okay,” I lied.
I don’t know how to love hands yet.
I don’t know how to trust them.
These are the words I wished I said, but what would have happened?
What if the hands went away?
They most certainly would go away, wouldn’t they?
This made me certain. I had to have done the right thing.

And so I lie. I lie and I lie and I lie…..

Olivia Maddy Marie, a “Tribute” for Heather Murphy

When Kat was barely two, my boss at the time had a little boy named Alex, her favorite playmate, a child so full of life and contagious joy, there were no walls, counter tops or couch cushions that could contain him. He was a flaming spirit of play and laughter, a lot like his mom, and nothing he did could not be instantly forgiven.

One of the hardest moments of my life was going to his funeral, his mother bathed in unimaginable grief became no longer my boss, but part of my soul as I worked with her every day, my greatest teacher to date. She taught me that being in grief with someone made you not weak, but strong. I will treasure her for life for all the moments she allowed me to practice the art of loving someone who is drowning in grief, and the realization that there is no life jacket to throw, nor did she need or want one from me.

She taught me to look at life, death, love, loss, God, and motherhood through a whole new lens, but the ultimate lesson she gave me, is that you can not say, pray, wish, love, or cry the pain away. You have to just be there, sit in the devastation with her, and just be. It is the hardest and most important lesson I have ever learned.

When I left her and that job, there were lessons yet to remain. I quit to have Lola, to divorce, to grow, and in a full cycle, to return to the same job, changed, irreversible, yet so incomplete.

I had yet to meet Heather Murphy.

My first day back on the job, I found myself in the office with this beautiful young blond mother who in small talk about our girls, took out a picture of her incredibly beautiful Isabella, the perfect vision of brown springing curls and big eyes that would melt the hardest of hearts. Then, she took out a photo of Liv, her baby who had died not too long before we met, just a year old. I thought I could die of heartbreak at that very second, flashbacks of the same office, the unforgivable grief, all the details entirely different, the horrifying reality absolutely the same.

My new boss was a part of my soul now too, in an instant, like someone in heaven were snapping their fingers at me, to wake up, to realize she and I were strangers no longer, but together in that moment, for a reason.

It was bigger than me. It was bigger than us.

I don’t know if she knew it, but I knew it.

I watched that woman outside of my body for months, waiting, asking, praying, wanting. She is a spitfire, a hilarious person full of playful energy with a sneaky smile, sarcastic humor, kind gestures, motherly instincts, strength, and has an uncanny ability to do her job amongst men not just well, but incredibly well. She had walls as tall as Berlin, a tough exterior of strength and professionalism, calling me out when I needed it, running the place when I wanted to fall over from fatigue, but she remained. She exhausts me, sometimes mowing the grass at night, just because it needed to be done.

I believe it is her greatest strength and weakness, this strength, because everyone believes she is capable of everything, and sometimes I wonder is she just wants to sit in a chair and be rocked, mothered, taken care of, a realization that no one is there for her, but her, and she is responsible for everyone else.

Slowly, she let me in, and it took time, and the right moments of listening and asking, to hear her stories of Isabella and Liv, the moments moms exchange with knowing looks and hysterical laughter over what their children do and say, the joy that light us up and the acts that put our heads in our hands with worry. After time, I got to see and experience what happened behind the office door closing, the truths I was ready for, the job I wanted, fearfully, but qualified. I knew the job I had been trained for was not in counting money and doing side work, but in listening, crying, staying, and being.

No money can account for that kind of work, the work of one soul inviting another in, the exchange of pain so unimaginable and unreachable, it is what I believe, the very hope to see life each day as priceless, to approach death in humble awakenings, the thing we fear the most, the loss we never want to imagine. It is a gift and she let me unwrap it, the images of Liv and the stories, her chest of toys and lasts, her journals of letters she writes her, the guilt and horror, the daily hell of waking up to a nightmare you can not numb or escape.

I wrote of Alex, back in the day, and I still have those memories on file, an imprint on my soul, but I was too afraid to share his story and life, the fear and pain a choking sensation around my neck. But, I am ready for Liv.

Alex changed me but Liv freed me. Becky taught me to be in the mud, in the dark, in the grief, and she shown like a star so bright, it was too painful for most to witness. Heather has shown me in your vulnerability, you are invincible. She walks the line of greatness and destruction, a beautiful mess, a tragic disaster, and I know she is afraid of going crazy with her own fear, but I know it will be the arrow to show her the way home.

I am waiting for that day she knows. I wonder what will happen when she arrives, the arrow slicing her heart open, her blood a price will become her gift to herself, to the world. It is a miracle what the human Spirit can endure, that every bit of pain of her loss is giving the world a different lens, a price too high for any mother to pay, and for that, I am so very sorry. That line is almost too pathetic to write, how sorry I am to even write it.
What the hell kind of word is sorry for the price you have paid?

I still will not be sorry to hope, to cry, to endure, to give gratitude, because that is just a piece of what you have given me. I hope to share her with the world, through her mommy’s eyes, her life so big and full and immeasurable in moments not only a mother can understand, but all who have seen angels, walking or not. Her Spirit is too beautiful to have gone anywhere but here, and I feel her now, as I write, and I feel it every time her name is breathed, every time I see her mother cry.

…..I hope you will feel her as well, the anniversary of a year since she left, published on the hour she took her last breath, and I ask that today, you say a prayer for Heather, light a candle, release a butterfly balloon, open your heart to the life you have been given, and remember.

https://buddhathepig.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/the-second-funeral/