Being defiantly me.

Been doing a lot of thinking lately, mostly about the past and how things don’t jive. And I ended up chuckling over a memory that when I look back is funny as hell to me. It wasn’t funny at the time. My 6th, double 7th and 8th grades were some of the worst in my life. They are the worst years of my schooling. It’s also when the sexual abuse was at it’s height.

We had mastery tests back then. My 7th grades tests tossed the teachers for a loop. I aced the English portion but the math portion said I needed to go back to kindergarten. Of course I failed and repeated that grade. The second time I took the test, the reverse happened. I aced the Math but sunk the English so bad it said I needed to retake the 3rd grade. For some reason, the English department took serious offense.

The whole department was on my case and it felt like harassment. At that time in my life my hands and feet were at their worst. I have a form of juvenile dermatitis, (though I believe keratolysis exfoliativa should have been added to the diagnose but this was the ‘80’s after all) which my hands and feet peeled skin, cracked open showed my meat and bled. My hands were raw, red and almost always fighting infections. Walking and writing were painful. I had to fight for simple accommodations, like being handed the sheets the teacher used on the overhead projector so I continue copying them as I was slower than the rest of the class, like being allowed to turn in typed assignments instead of handwritten ones, to being allowed to tape record the lessons so I didn’t have to copy everything down by hand. Even with all these issues, having lost my mother the summer between 5th and 6th grade, having to go home and take care of the house and prepare for everyone coming home (all house chores fell on my shoulders including cooking and watching after my little sisters) I attended school rather sporadically. I missed about 78 days that year and in 8th I missed over 86 plus days and I passed that year too. I’m rather proud of that fact.

To say I was defiant to their efforts is an understatement. I was called into a meeting of the English department mid year. They wanted to discuss my academics and behavior. They wanted me to put more effort into being in school and in doing my work. As was standard for the time, they pulled out what they called a student contract. In it, it was outlined a simple affirmation that I would commit to doing my best to do uphold my grades and get my assignments in on time and attend school. (Failure to do so would result in in-school detention and possible suspension.) The remarkable thing to all this, is I had to fight my way up to the school board just for the few accommodations I had received. I was hated by my classmates and was attacked often inside school. I was already an outcast. The prescribed lanolin cream used for my skin was not odorless so I was the ‘stinky’ kid. I smelled like a sheep. I had teachers lie (this was proven over and over) about what I had done (which ended up with me taking a lie detector test to prove my innocence). Yet, I had the whole English department on my heals. Those test scores from the previous year, that’s all I can figure, those test scores were top of the class for the whole school. I was the ace English student and I was sinking hard. (I was one of five ace English students out of my elementary school.)

But they put this contract in front of me. Simple stuff, I read it. They wanted me to sign it. I told them I wasn’t going to sign it. I watched them sit there stunned. I told them that this was a contract and as a minor any contract I sign is null in void and thus I would not sign it. I watched as their brains fell out in incredulousness. I told them if they want that signed it would have to be my father to do so as I was not signing it. The bell rang and I got up saying I have to get to my next class and left the room. I was quickly surrounded by the entire English department walking with me to my class, doing their best to convince me that I needed to sign this, that I needed to make an effort to do better. To say their words fell of deaf ears would be to mis-characterize the situation. I heard them and I heard the subtext in-between. Not a single one of them asked me what was going on. Not a single one of them reached out to me as a person. Not a single one of them ever showed kindness to me. Not a single one. I was the failing English star who somehow had pull with the school board and their jobs were at risk.

I look back at this and all I see is a giant red flag flying briskly in breeze. Somewhere between the two 7th grades I must have switched out. For me this explains why Isa had trouble with English from then on, as she was main front. I had retreated and this is my memory rather than hers. We all could see there was a huge problem. No one knew what to do and they manged to make things worse.

But this memory makes me laugh and shake my head. If they only knew what I know now, what would they have done? But damn, I had moments where I walked with my head held up high.

Returning to Buttercup fields

Photo on Best RunningPhoto on Best Running

I have always loved flawed human beings.
Their frailties hide their strengths.

I was not raised in a home where love was a vital force nor was it strong enough to be felt. I’m not sure where I developed my understanding of love. I do remember reading one Chick track..the one called “Somebody loves me” and I burst into tears the first time I read it. The second time made me angry and the third time, there was a sad wistfulness that the child had finally experienced the emotion of love even though they were never shown it.

That track has stayed with me. It’s weird as actual love wasn’t shown at all anywhere in it. It’s left a special sore spot for me. Maybe that was the subtle point of the propaganda, to expect no human being can love. It’s hooey. I can love. But more to the point, I can act on that love. I just have to be aware that I too am a flawed human being.

In my own life, I never realized my story of the buttercup field was a story of untold pain what as I child I didn’t know what to do with. It was something silly that was brushed off but at the core, I was horrified that my love caused hurts, even if it was unintentional. That love could cause pain flew in direct opposition to everything I believed then and in many ways since. In that I rejected love can indeed cause pain, it left me with the impossible situation; of how can it be love when it causes pain to others. Is it necessary for me to let go of the rigid definition of love or shall I simply blame it on operator error? Either answer does not matter. Nothing would change with either one.

I have to forgive myself of my own self-convicted sin of over-picking the buttercups. I learned that lesson and never over-picked any plant again. I also have to forgive myself for being afraid to love because in the course of love I may hurt the one I love. This is the lesson of love I failed to learn as a child. Love is strong enough to bridge the gaps, to make whole that what was torn and broken.

Blasting thought Blocks

The last three weeks have been a bit of hell for me. I felt the blackness coming and I didn’t run far enough to avoid it. It swallowed me up again.

It was different. I saw it coming and it didn’t last too long. I know it was deep and I’m not sure how in the hell I got back out of it either.

It screwed up some things for me in a big way. I am taking classes for creative writing and I am behind on my assignments. I was given a second chance to catch up. I will have to do two to three assignments per day just to get back on track with the class.

I think I may have broken through – or at least punched a big hole in – my block against writing fiction. For some reason, a little voice whispered in my ear that I needed to write out the bullshits I was having about this. Thank you once again Dreamwalker. I do learn. And I did. But I also rewrote the bullshits, correcting them for positivity and reality.

Twenty-five individual bullshits surrounding this issue between me, my mother, religion and childhood had to be worked out.

Everything is coming out stilted, raw, unready yet it is progress. I have a ton to learn and practice. I’m so raw in this process but I see hope for the first time. I see progress. I see possibilities.

Yuletide Greetings to You from Me

It’s not writer’s block this time. I’ve been chewing on what to say this year that’s either profoundly Pagan in nature about Yule or more focused towards being a Pagan mother. I’ve come up as bare as a leafless tree waiting for snow.

I haven’t focused on religion or spiritually in my personal life. That part has been coasting along just fine. I’ve had my head buried in writing and working on some graphic art projects while being a better mother and wife. And grieving a bit too, as half of my heart family moved away.

Yet Yule is a few days away now and I didn’t even register it until my husband and my girls were putting out the tree and my Yule log came out. It’s even lighter this year than it was last. It’s drying out bit by bit. Holding it now makes me feel I am holding on to a frail old woman whose bones could break too easily. The vitality that the log once had is gone.

I watched my girls accept all of this as normal. The tree went up, covered in lights and decorations. The log was placed in a prominent corner of the room, decorated and treated with far more reverence than the tree. And I was lost in melancholy thoughts. Questions such as “did your mom do this too?” and “have you seen Santa?” quickly passed as excitement was pushing them forward towards exciting pursuits.

I was floored. How do I explain I have no real connection with Christmas? My last Christmas I remember was when I was four years old. That memory is very vivid, of making paper chains, popcorn and cranberry strings, of snowflakes and paper stars, and hearing my mother’s laughter and smiles. I have no idea what presents I may have gotten beyond a rocking horse that I loved. I can hear her voice, her words and her laughter when I got on it for the first time.  smiles

A four year old’s memory. I didn’t understand why something so good, so pretty, something that made her so happy had to go. I didn’t understand why it was so evil, so bad, so dreaded pagan that I would not be able to participate in it throughout my school years. How do I explain to them the drastic religious conversion my parents went through? How do I explain why I have trouble with Christmas?

So, I smile and nod. Pat their little backs and encourage them to hang up one more ornament and let their father field the questions. At least he grew up with Christmas and won’t choke on these questions like I have. And they know I have Yule.

It’s as close to celebrating something in the winter holidays I get, outside of trying to stay up till midnight for New Year’s Eve. It’s a solemn celebration for me. In reverence I’ll help my little one light the candles and let their light shine in the night as I watch over them. Later after everyone is tucked in bed, I will go outside and stare at the few stars up above, listening to the quiet night contemplating what makes this night different than all the other nights of the year.

May this Yule be a bright one for you and your families.

Love Lost

Writing 101: Serially Lost

This title has me wanting to run away screaming. I’ve lost too much in my life already to start digging up the past and old hurts and pains. If only I could lose the loss of loss.

I’d rather lose my heart over and over again instead of the pain I have endured so far.

I love too easy, too quick and sometimes too soon. Being a hopeless romantic is a whole garden of rose bushes. Sometimes you land on the soft petals and sometimes all you get are the thorns. hehe Either way, I’ve cursed loved, begged for love and even been in the deep throws of the ecstasy of love just to watch it later end.

Strangely enough I keep my heart well guarded, fortified by strong walls and all sorts of defences. Every so often someone is waved passed all my defences to stand before the last brutal gate. sighs Why am I talking about all this? Serially lost, lost in love I guess. Is it the chase? The dream? The connection? I don’t think the why really matters at the moment.

He was a red-headed little boy with blue eyes and freckles and we were in the third grade. His smile lit up my world. I can remember just how his cheeks formed the cutest dimples at the sides as his eyes twinkled with mischief.  I wanted to have his children and he never really saw me. I was an awkward gangly weird girl who wore dresses and played with the boys at recess. I didn’t act like a girl. You could find me in the sandbox, playing with blocks or even playing tag football just like all the other boys. I was surrounded by boys who saw me and liked me and were my friends. But I never saw them because I had eyes for him. I must have made his life hell.

I’m not proud of what I did as a child. I only know as an adult that I had no way to show affection except for what I learned from the boys. I shunned him, picked on him, singled him out at every moment and no one noticed that anything was wrong. I tried hard to leave him be once I realised that we would never be friends, never play together, never be anything but a memory. It’s a bittersweet memory of my sweet red-headed freckled little boy. I still remember his name after all these years. I can say I loved him. I loved him the only way I knew how as a weird little girl in the third grade. I wonder what his life has been, if he ever had adorable red-headed children, if he ever found a love to sooth the hurts in his life. I wonder if he ever found happiness. If there was something I could tell him, it’s that I’m sorry. I had a crush on him and behaved badly.

It’s a bittersweet memory of a smile, a boy of so long ago and emotions I could not understand or express. It’s a love lost in time.

Unlocking, Unblocking the Mind of the Writer

Writing 101, Unlocking the Mind

I’m doing the both of The Daily Post‘s comps, blogging 101 and writing 101. I think of this as the stretching warm-up for nanowrimo for me. I have a head full of words, all of them screaming to get out and fly on the wind.

Writing has been a passion of mine ever sense I was introduced to writing poetry in the third grade. I had a teacher who encouraged me, nurtured that aspect of myself when no one else had. You see, back then I was writing what my imagination brought forth. Which was rather unusual when I think of this, I had not been allowed to read fiction or chapter books beyond what was required in school. My mother’s firm beliefs that anything not real, not true extended into the realm of fiction. So I was committing a great sin in writing, not just writing but in writing the stories that swam in my head day in and day out.

Even at a young age I thought poetry may be the way to somehow walk both worlds, my mother’s and my own. Poetry isn’t exactly fiction, but the unique positioning of words to express an universal truth about emotions, life and humankind.

So this exercise isn’t just about Unlocking the Mind. It is Unblocking the Mind, unblocking the roadblock I’ve held before me for so long as almost impassable. I suffer from guilt in writing and it’s beyond time for me to take back that piece of personal power and grow up!

I love my mother and even thought she’s been gone from this world for many years, I have no trust that she would understand or even accept me for who I am. I know she would love me no matter what but I know I would be an outcast and a sinner in her eyes. I can only hope that if she had lived that life would have caused enough change in her to allow her to see me as I that I am and still worthy of her love, not just as her child but as a person as well.

It’s time for me to stop making excuses that derail my writing. Its time for me to push past the roadblock that her rejection of the part of me that I hold dear. It’s time for me to pursue my dreams with the passion and dedication I know I hold inside me.

I still have that first poem I wrote somewhere. My third grade teacher laminated the entire classes decorated work of word art. It was on green construction paper with a decorated cut out of lined paper with the words on it. I had decorated the background with bees and flowers. The title I still remember was “Amber Bee.” It was so childishly cute. And if I really think hard about it, I recall the hidden story in the poem. I had a major crush on a girl and this was my Ode to her. Not that I would ever tell her or even understand that part of myself until I was much older.

It’s funny that so much of the forbidden in my youth was tied to writing and reading. I still am a voracious reader. Heck I prefer a good book over television, unless it’s Dr. Who..or WWE or any of the educational PBS programs like NOVA or Into the Universe. I like to learn even if it is entertainment.