a fiend for that lean

awaken, divine guardians of mine

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Let nothing interfere with our divine right to true freedom

You in the corner with your quiet fantasies, the ones that help you sleep at night, the ones you don’t want to let go. You in the corner with your soda thinking nobody sees you.

Have you asked your fantasies where they came from? You who are so sure that you know how this part of the universe works, ask your fantasies about the future, ‘what is your genesis?’

And be prepared for the face that comes to you. Be prepared to see someone we both know. Let yourself see and accept the truth about how these ideas were planted in your mind. I know it’s a game changer. But it’s time to wake from your dreams when the invisible fire snake slides into that room, the one you were led to by a forgery of a person a figure an archetype that you trust.

The nearly silent hiss of this invisible fire snake that sounds like a thousand match heads being lit, that sound which has terrified me from my earliest youth, woke me suddenly in the summer of 2014.

I had to get on my knees and pray for the highest and best possible divine protection. I had to surrender the entire situation and everyone and everything involving the situation, my suffering, to God. Surrender it to a power higher than me. I had to confess my fears my transgressions my mistakes in order to wash the scales from my eyes.

I had to ask for help to be willing to see the truth.

I had to use my free will choice – that freedom I have so ferociously protected and advocated for – to ask for help. Because free will means we have to ask. If help is just given up there in the low sky, it’s coming from one who does not respect free will. You know?

Hey you in the corner, one of two brown-eyed men in this club at six in the morning, check your lights. Who’s been paying the hydro bills?

Is It Time Yet

sleep to wake

He slipped in while I was half-awake, having myself been violently awakened at 13 and unable to face the terror that overwhelmed me, having been gifted the grace of finding sleep again. I guess it wasn’t time. I suppose something went wrong and because no saviour was standing over me, it was a trick that needed to be righted. I know that one way or another, cruelty is always swiftly and thoroughly admonished and evicted.

So I was allowed to go back to sleep. Though the sleep was restless and even if I couldn’t handle it, I was forever awoken, then struggling with the intense need to keep falling back to sleep. He slipped in through a 90 minute window when I thought that evil must exist but the awareness was too much and because I could not live like that, I fear that I must have bargained something important, vital even, to find sleep again. But nothing is truly lost. He came in while I was locked in a fit of absolute terror and he held my hand through the waking nightmare, through the surfacing knowledge. He showed me how to push it down under the waves. To choke the life out of the fears that kept me up and glued to the television at 4am while Vince Shlomi pimped an absorbent cloth with his greasy smile.

He came unable to believe that a naive girl of 13 could have any secrets brilliant enough to crush his skull because he’d been on the look out for that for centuries. And no being with brilliant secrets had ever let him so near as to ensnare him.

But look who’s naive now, shouts my impatient inner child. And then, hush sweet one, it’s almost over. No need to wake the beast while he’s feeling comfy all snuggled up next to your heart. No need to trigger him while he’s using your warm, warm heart as a blanket the way premies soak in the rays of heat from hospital lamps. Let him get some rest. He’s exhausted. He can’t sleep at night. It’s why he tries to get your attention with horrific visuals when you fall into a peaceful restorative slumber.

The expression, ‘get woke’ confuses me. But not in an I-don’t-get-it way. Because I get it all too well. Looking back, I don’t understand how any of us could have been so blind. But I have compassion because the truth is, if you aren’t terrified as you face this world alone, you aren’t woke.

*this piece was inspired by a challenge by @hitrecordjoe and i was going to put it on HitRecord, until i realized after i wrote it that it had to be true…*

A Duck Made Me Cry When I Felt Worthless

in it

It had been a pretty shitty week. A terrible month. An unbearable year. A painful decade.

Some days, the cumulative affect of depression fills my bones with lead and my heart with existential nihilism.

Most of those days this weight climbs onto my shoulders before I even get out of bed.

But some days, I wake feeling meh and decide to push through, pulling determination from God knows where.

One summer day two years ago, I was pushing through general all around self-doubt with denial.

I had a routine and I was going to stick to it. Forget how I actually felt. And that’s how I convinced myself to get out of bed that morning.

The day did not reward me. It challenged me. And by mid-afternoon I was ready to go back to bed.

Luckily, there was a public beach nearby.

On my way out of my apartment, I dropped my coffee-filled travel mug. It exploded all over me. It broke.

The bus driver sneered at me. I stumbled off the step and the toe of my sneaker caught on the lip, the trajectory almost pitching me face first onto the pavement.

No matter, I thought, in complete denial to how things were piling up. I was going to an oasis that I planned to start including in my vacation routine.

A greasy-spoon serving dead cheap eggs that had a view of the lake.

Nothing mattered because I had discovered a heaven that I could afford.

  
I was there for a good hour after the eggs, sipping my tea and writing in my $3.00 journal.

When I wasn’t staring out over the lake, the knowledge of its presence filled me with peace.

The only thing that was going to rip me away from the place was the call to stretch my legs and actually sit in nature with my back against a tree by the lake.

I gathered my things into my backpack and headed up to the front to pay for my meal.

The screen on the machine that takes bank cards went dark after I punched in my PIN (1234). There was a shrill noise and then silence.

My waitress looked at me and apologized. The machine had been acting up on and off that morning. Did I have cash?

Shit. No. No I don’t have any cash. Oh my God now what am I going to do? There’s not even an ATM around here. Is there? Is there an ATM nearby?

There was not.

With one sentence, I was forced to face all that denial about my self-worth.

There’s nothing to confront feeling worthless like being given a gift.

My waitress said, “Don’t worry about it, I got this one.”

She’d seen me once before in her life.

This woman who relied on tips to pay her bills so casually and gracefully told me that she would pay for my meal.

I was equally mortified and grateful.

After some convincing, I left the restaurant with plans to take the city bus back into town and find an ATM and then take the bus back to pay with cash.

But I decided to take a quick walk around the lakeshore first.

My legs became heavier as I walked, thinking about what it really meant that I was scared and ashamed to accept the gift when I was in a jam.

It hit me. I was in denial about how well I had been doing. I felt so worthless that I couldn’t even accept a genuinely heartfelt gift without having something to give in return.

This realization knocked the wind out of me. I had spent a solid three years before that fervently destroying old beliefs that fed my core esteem issues and replacing them with new ones that supported self-love.

I’d spent three years meticulously testing these new beliefs. Saying and doing things until I could really feel it in my heart. Weeding out each fragment of self-depreciation as it came up. Starting from scratch when things didn’t work.

I sat in the grass by the lake and put my head in my hands. After a few minutes and some deep breaths that stemmed my tears, I was ready to take out my journal and work it through.

This was going to be resolved – finally – once and for all, I decided.

And then something unexpected happened. Two ducklings just old enough to explore the inlets without mom swam by.

One duck saw a rock and expertly navigated to the right to swim around it. The other duck swam right into it. She tried to swim over it. She looked so silly and cute that I laughed. The very serious spell of overwhelm was broken.

She tried a few different times. Then she swam to the left of the rock and paddled her webbed feet faster to catch up with her sister.

The laughter and childlike joy at feeling in awe of nature in the form of that duck had ousted the heavy fear that I was never going to kick the low-self worth problem.

And as I sat there with my heart open, the truth of worth was suddenly clear.

That duck didn’t give me $20, she didn’t sit next to me and talk me out of my fear, and she didn’t point me to replicable studies that showed humans can fully recover self-worth, even after thirty-five.

That duck was there. She was there at the exact moment I needed the blessing she gave me without having any awareness that she was giving me anything.

That duck was being a duck. She was doing her duck things in the lake. Swimming. Exploring. Paddling.

And by being herself without inhibition, she ignited joy in my heart.

That duck gave me a powerful gift by going about her regular day not noticing or caring that I was there.

In my mind, a thought: maybe just being me is enough, maybe in some way, my presence could be like that duck and ignite something personal and private and wonderful within another without me trying to bring something of value to each table.

This is when I cried. I hate to cry. Especially where people might see me and have awkward feelings about having to be witness to my pain.

For years I’ve gone out of my way to be enough and also to not be too much, which, in some cases, included me not crying because it brought up feelings of inadequacy in those close to me.

But sitting there on the grass, as that duck paddled away, I cried. Somehow the insight that came through that duckling made me feel safe enough in the moment to risk the accusations of being too much.

Being myself is maybe, possibly a gift somehow.

The next day I went back to the restaurant with enough cash to pay for two meals. And my waitress was there. And she told me that me coming back was a gift to her heart.

Though I expressed my gratitude, I never did find the words to tell her how her unexpected and unconditional generosity lead me to such a powerful understanding of worth.

Still, I now try to carry $20 with me in case a machine is down and there’s no ATM nearby.

Just in case.