Sunday, January 07, 2018

When A Gift Gives Back

We are loved and we are free.

No need to stay entwined in the past.

Painting over someone else's story of hurt and betrayal.

Paint a new picture of light and hope for a brighter future.

Please come home.

I wrote this and then left it..

Sometimes this will be finding my way to a hidden walked community that has the ebb and flow of welcome anonymity..

She is watching me from across the cafe.

The Italian deli is clear out of their signature donuts and I'm near tears.

Here beside you. Her broken English curves around my shoulders like a velvety dessert about to be shared.

I feel the weight of her palm rest in the small of my back as she pulls me in for a hug, and slips a brown paper package into my hands.

Provolone cheese sliced for when you look like you'd enjoy company?

I understand that she's asking if I did want this, and I state:

"Sure I will stay."

The story begins wild and free.

The moments of empathy begin to diffuse the scents of spice wafting together with the steamy espresso.

My partner admitted he has been lying to me for 22 years. A leader in my life, and hundreds more.

He admitted to so many emotional affairs - one that is on going at any given time.

Also adding a plurality of sexual affairs where if anyone claims to understand where he's coming from or his reasons alone they may have only had privy to the details that would have been just for the one night stand.

He's promised to not sneak around as he gains independence and personal autonomy. But every week that's what he continued to do..

I, for one, am not allowed to repeat any wide sweeping statements outside of our home because if I do he knows three statements to inform friends that make me sound crazy. Just shaking his head no to someone who believes what he says in defense to be true is enough for me to be silenced.

I'm also never to breathe a word to our children that he plans to move out. Because I prove to be unstable revealing these details.

Then through all of this he blames the entire process I mentioned on me. I don't want to be a victim in this..and I don't accept that he is one either.

The weight of the knowledge that my life as I kept moving forward was wavering.. because why? It's so hard to personally examine why.. because I stayed? I've given half my life to this dream of day to day life.

He admitted that he mustered enough gumption to ask me to marry him all those years ago as teens, all for fear that I would end my life if he left.

Oh the abusive angst I tell you..

Well, thank you for staying. Then, on second thought, no. I believe he never really arrived.

But what I struggle with the most is the desire to let go. I want to stay. I want to leave. I've begun the journey of becoming friends with myself.

Friends will ask how on earth can I help you now?

Just please believe me, because I'm not even willing to lie, at all.

It's so lonely when the long road ahead has many listening who have only just met me on these crossroads.

Breathe... fill your lungs... just breathe.

It is really hard when you really just want to die..she states. I've felt this way..

I watch a steady stream of people walking briskly by the window. And hear these words.

I felt like dying all year. We've been on the road running away from our life on the East coast. What looked like a hippy adventure wasn't happening and my lack of planning caused anxieties in myself and children daily, sometimes hourly..

In only 20 minutes I am now crying because of this empathy in this friend I may never see again.

I reach into my bag and find 2 balls of yarn I'll never use. A gift. Yet my hands are sensitive to the materials. They match her hair perfectly and then she begins to cry. Holding me.

I'll miss you.

I hope we meet again.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Cafe Rhythm

I'm knitting and unravelling the same line of a shawl over and over. It may look painful to someone who is fascinated by the art.

To me, it's methodical.
Eventually just getting it right.

She watches me for a moment. Her hair gleaming steel grey in this mood lit cafe. Her husband attentively by her side. 

Taking turns finishing a crossword they eagerly started before I arrived.

This scene is familiar. Somehow at this one cafe, at this particular time, I always seem to sit down, look over, and quietly notice them.

Are you ever going to finish that?

A smile escapes me.

Flash forward.

I'm leaving with an unwrapped gift in my bag. Passing a couple head to head over a familiar scene. My hair is tied back and I step closest to their table. 

We've experienced seasons since I last spoke with them. Each time our eyes met over the year it was there we rested in sincere understanding.

One time more than 6 months ago. 

I was knitting and she keenly asked why there was a band-aid on my cheek.

I had a routine skin biopsy, today. 


And she slowly eases closer to me.

I've just survived stage 4 brain cancer.


Today they are gently welcoming yet another encounter.

I've finally finished what I've started.

Holding it up, for the full view.

And a smile escapes her.

I knew you would. 

Monday, January 01, 2018

2018: A Year Of Moving Forward.

Sunday December 31, 2017.

I had no intention of celebrating New Years Eve. Because it was still 2017.

Every hour that kept moving forward I'd pause and ask myself why..?

When you know, you don't know, and that is the real reason you don't have any idea what you want.

Sometimes it's in the question of why that the truest intentions are revealed.

This year and I had high hopes in the beginning. January - April were months filled with light and life. Hope and moving forward. 

Life started to fray at the seams, falling apart. I fell forward. I waited for the music to begin..the closing credits.

After that, the timeline was accurately: Halted..

I had waited for 2017 to arrive my whole life. It held a lot of milestones, and a lot of promise.

And there's the utter release of it.  Now a long awaited goodbye.


When the day arrived I was hoping to call on a few friends, fill our home, to mask a void we felt.

Just a few weeks before my heart began simmering change.

"You + I should have never met.
And I hope in a few years I won't even.. need to turn my head in passing, to see if I recognize you."

Phrases this cutting have been going on within my fractured psyche this whole life. Always in private. Never to be repeated. And this quiet moment where we had already called a cease fire months in advance.. just a quiet statement to blanket my request for just one hug. 

This may be why I'm not keeping secrets anymore. This had to be the intention I carried. The beginning of goodbye.

Jesus, I am done. You see my bare heart with a tender understanding. If my life is moving forward my hands are off, my eyes are closed. Because it's a cold and messy time in my life. I know all miracles and anything healing will be in your perfect timing. I'm ready to step away and watch you move through my life. And there are burning bushes everywhere. Hallelujah. Amen.

Then in a moments notice with a
mutual understanding - he warmed up the safer vehicle.
I sent it with good vibes driving in one direction and my heart cheered with the gifts that he returned with.

When it was my turn I hopped in with a destination in mind.
Just a few hours and some fun party foods later we were ready to start. Altogether as a family. 


Movies and shows were had with the littlest determined to stay up til midnight.
Incidentally she was fast asleep 2 minutes past the hour. But more than proud to make it.

I'm not ready.
We never are.
And if I'm being honest - I'm not willing.

Isnt that the real solution when we lay our hearts out threadbare. 
Holding space for quiet relief.

How do we connect when our hearts feel worlds away? Living in the same town, yet on the other side of the tracks of life experience.

I'm broken and messy, but the truth is no one ever begins..ready.

Someone always shows up in His perfect timing.
Sometimes you don't even realize you've gone knocking on their safe door until you're already inside.
Huddled around their table over warm cuppas and conversation.

I'm folding laundry on this first day of a new year in that methodical way of trying to not think too hard. Knowing tears will spill over my cheeks and someone (all of them notice) will ask me why.. and I just don't want to explain that a new year feels like a sentence.

Keep moving forward? Do I really have to be more grateful for what is and was and is to come?

Grace is so much bigger than fear.
Fierce Grace.

Instead I feel Azaelea's arms wrap around me as she states: you know mom it's ____'s Birthday today. A friend she played with once 2 years ago. 

She really has all the traits of being my only daughter.

This will be a year of intention. Where I listen more. Connect to my community and let my heart strings root down deep.
For its with the year long growth that we gather harvest. And that is a true year end celebration. 

I know that hope waits. It always does.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wild Empathy

I'm finding it hard to breathe. 

Almost claustrophobic. 

Standing in line. 

The people are sitting, standing, reading the walls. They are all so calm, and my heart is beating with the anxiety of new.

I feel arms around my shoulders and I melt. She hands me an elixir, and asks me if I'm OK.

Wraps her fingers in a new hairdo, and I quietly let her be close to me.

No. I reply... and the tears brew in the corners of my eyes.

What are you struggling with?

The holidays.
New beginnings.

And whether I will be able to afford just one gift for each of my 4 children. Christmas is the one holiday of the year that brings every one of us altogether.

Then I continue to share what it feels like to stay strong when pieces of broken are being held together. For the love of one day at a time.

She stares with wide eyes at me.
With the fragility of being understood.
And begins her story.

I believe in grieving.
I've been here almost 2 years.
Arrived with nothing and escaped an abusive relationship with lifelong scars.
She inhales sharply and grabs my hands from behind the counter, now.
Can I hold you?

I watch her face. 
Full of hope.
 This wild empathy.
I nod my head.

She runs full tilt around the long counter towards me, and stops right as I'm placing everything from my hands right down on the floor.
I slowly wrap my arms around her as she holds on tight.

Pressing hearts together.
 A long awaited reunion of 2 friends who've never even learned each other's names.

In the bottom of my bag is a mini shawl I have just finished. Remember the boring one? I ask her to wait. And explain that when I need to ache I also want to finish projects. 

So what you struggle with actually becomes a gift?
For who? For me?
Her face lights up, and the tears of joy spill..

 And I understand. 
That after 35 years of knitting that is what my Grandmother was actually trying to teach me.

"You can do anything you set out to do as long as you're grateful to try."

I never understood before. 
What her words meant. 
When ever I tried to give up. 
Or when someone's words hurt..

"Darling you must look up, throw some salt over your shoulder if you have to. There's a whole world out there and they're going to love you. Even when you don't feel loved. Listen to their stories. We are all connected."

This shawl with an equally matched button.
 I haven't thought much of it.
An then it leaves my hands with the fervor of realizing someone is winning the lottery.

We both are.

She wraps it every which way and is dancing right out into the market. Showing everyone in these closed quarters.
This gift.

And I realize some times that I can't even breathe, some times that I can't even handle. Those times seem to have a way of being the best gifts.

I tell her 
We'll meet again. 
And walk away.


Monday, December 11, 2017

To Connect With The World.. I Am Not Keeping Secrets Anymore.

A woman with an undeniable need for kindness walked into my life, yesterday.

She walked through the store. Gently holding many woolen creations, and exclaiming with glee how wonderfully healing they felt.

Her children walked in, and promptly asked if everything in the store had been humanely made. Are each sheep hugged before their haircuts? Do you feed them well, and ask them if they want their haircut? I explained at best how I have no answers for them. There are no sheep here, only dropoffs from many different farmers. We can just hope. All while continuing to be kind to animals and eachother.

Small changes make a big difference.

They both threw their arms around me and asked if it was ok if they could go watch the chickens, cats, and the big bear of a dog that everyone loves.

As they went outside I watched their mothers eyes -swollen from crying, and disbelief. She started to tell me how she felt so alone. She had given up a six figure job to spend all her time with them while her daughter had been in remission for stage 4 cancer. They were vegan and hoping to be away from the city for the quiet and the authenticity.

And this is where the page turns.

I told her how I long to connect with the world.
How, I want to hear more stories. Find a way to give each other our voices back. 
Because. Forever I kept secrets believing they would save me from the inevitable.

I want the opposite. I survived. I struggled with hopelessness and fought my way out of every single transgression. From child abuse, sexual assault, physical abuse, leaving home early, marrying young, dealing with anger issues, and spiralling out of darkness after my husband's infidelity.

I wrote a letter to just one of the women - forgiving her. That is, so we both could be free.

I will remain strong while life feels broken. I have gone back to work. My choice is to build our lives up - right back, with a better foundation.

And the main reason is because a very small community housed me, held my hand, took my pictures, refused medication and told me to take this life -one day at a time.

Because I can do healing on my own. I am my own person. And I am never going to be alone.

You can tell from this story that it ended with her shocked. She continued by stating how the hairs on the back of her neck were standing up. So, I also wrapped my arms around her as she tried to regain her composure before reuniting with the children outside.

I'm telling you this because we all have voices. And we can also be given them back when you feel silenced.

You are worthy.
Trust me.

If you are reading these words you can be assured that they are for you.
We can all know that we walk this path together.

If you are spiralling into an overwhelming darkness please know that you are absolutely not alone.

There was a day that I did not want to be saved.
Today is a the next day. Its the only day. Each one is a gift. That is, one day at a  time. Just one foot in front of the other.
Thank you for being a vital part of this life story.
Tomorrow I will be on exactly the same path as I am today, trying to live with intention and grow through my pain and love with my whole heart.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

When I realized now was the only time.. to leave.

The yellow in her eye flicked just a minute.
A spark ignited.
I fled.
Under my bed.
Come out now!!
Instantly there it was. The searing pain of fingernails digging into my flesh.
Pulling hard.
A throbbing in my head began.
Knowing this was now my only second.. before the first blow.
They were hard,
& intense.
A grab of hair as she skimmed my head with two full fists.
A shove into the wall.
A yank up.
This nearly unconscious body of mine.
Not willing to fight anybody. 

I knew from years of pain, this was more of a chance for her to vent her own pain.
The incredible pains she had suffered at this age.
my age.
The doors of my closet closed and I took a slight inventory of the little possessions I owned.
The smurf collection, torn jeans, favorite shirts, the cute pair of flip flops that I lived in. 
There were 2 albums strewn carelessly on the floor.
Full of pictures nostalgic
& happy.
All this filled a very small back pack and still I kept it on the floor..

Hours passed before I could sense it was time to open my door.
She was working.
I was hungry..
but were there restraints now on my door?
I gingerly, ever so quietly, inched my way to the door.
It creaked and I stopped in fear.
Hearing no remorse for these actions,
the door opened slightly..
by my own hand.
Dinner had been served, dishes were needing to be washed.
I filled the sink.
Listening to the water gush from the tap, the soap bubbles rose.
This was quiet time for me.
No one ever wanted this job, and I had no desire to wash laundry.
We had no washer and it was a days worth of scrubbing each article one by one.
She left you no food. My sister sneered.
It's ok.
Are you back talking your sister?
He grabbed my throat, and I could feel her leering at me.
The knives were arms reach, each one glistening,
I knew this was my last chance to retreat, to suppress it all.
Slurring in my face with sweat beading on his brow from the hours of lager, smoke & gambling. She is my daughter & you are a whore.
I glance back to my peripheral view and his friend is cowering at the gambling table. Waiting for more tobacco to roll.
Not wanting to interfere, he stares wide eyed as I wait. 
Wait for him to release the grip from my throat. 
No words escape my mouth. 
But you could see the condemnation his friend felt from across the room.
Me who called him out of my bed for groping at the early hours of 3 am.
Me who knew every move, every strike against me and still I stood my ground.
If he was going to knock me down I was going to stand back up.
That tiny small backpack & I jumped out a window and breathed a sigh of freedom. 
The day I realized now was the only time.. 
to leave.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015


One, free, seventy..
I open my eyes.
The puppies are no where in sight.
Loud crashes are coming from the cabin and I start running in circles. 
The faster I run, the quieter it feels.
I stop. And wait.

Boots (whisper) Buffy. Come play with me. 

Our yard is wide and green. 
We're nestled in the middle of a forest that reaches just so far, then opens up to a lake.
With water as far as I can see. 

No neighbors. 
No visitors. 
No friends. 

All I know is my Mommy. 
And a man: whom I call daddy.
But he never wants me to play around him. 

He drinks from a big bottle. 
And when it's empty, it smashes on the ground. 
I try my best not to hurt myself. 
But I fall all the time. 

Mommy tells me I am not allowed to play with my cousins because they don't open presents. 
That we talk different them every day of the week.
But thats ok.
I'm only allowed to open presents when Grandma and Grandpa give them to me, anyways. 


Here I am. 

Did you hear me calling you?! 

Why is he so mad?

He grabs me by the jean jacket and carries me all the way to their big bed. 
You come running when I call, you hear me! 

All I remember is: Spank spank spank - until I fall asleep. 
When I wake up Mommy has made some soup.
But it's cold now, because it's been waiting so long for me. 
She's all different colors. 
A pretty rainbow. 
I can't stand, so she carries me. 
I smell her in the place of her neck that I love so much.
The familliar smells of smoke and a strong smell that burns my nose. 
But it doesn't matter. 
haven't had a hug since the last time I remember that 'he' was gone. 

Alicia do you remember your Uncle Bob?
I nod in a haze.
He's going to live with us now. 

Just because. 
No more questions. 

But I want to ask. And I want to eat. 
My tummy is sore and mommy won't look at my eyes. 
I go to sleep and there is so much noise. 
I wake up but I am not allowed out of my room. 

The dolls are my friends. 

It's time to go potty but I have no where to pee. 
There is a pot in the corner that I try to sit on but it tips over and I pee on my leg. 
Trying not to get in trouble I sit so still just to wait...
and hope for food. 

There is nobody coming for me. 

I hear, my name. 
Where is Alicia? 
She's in her bedroom. 
It's 2 o'clock in the afternoon. 

Crash bang, scream. 

The door opens with a bang and my Uncle checks to see if I need food. 
I don't know what to do so I just sit there trying not to make a sound. 

Just a second goes by and I sniff. Huh? Was I sleeping?

Someone is hovering over me and spit is falling on my face. 
We're going for a drive. 
I try to stand but my legs hurt from sitting and they sting. 
They take turns carrying me outside to the car. Just my Mommy & 'him' in the front. 
They stop at a red light and Mommy opens my door, 
her door, and the trunk all at the same time. 

She grabs me with one hand and the two suitcases in the other. 
And she runs. 
Down the hill into a ravine. 
I see uncle waiting for us. He takes the suitcases and runs another way. 
She takes me and we hide under a car. 

We run 
and stop 
and hide behind buildings. 
There is a car revving up and down the streets.  

I remember french fries.
I remember a big bus.
I remember falling into someone's arms as I tripped down the stairs. 
All In a daze.
Into my Uncle Frank's arms.
His blue punch buggy was waiting to drive us to our new home.
My Uncles had saved me.
They saved us.