Blind Pigs and Harold Fry

Keeping a journal is a boon for me.  I write down lots of things, who irritated me at work, which of my children I will have to punish next, what I should have said in that conversation I had the other day…  And lots of quotes.

If I read or hear something that moves me, I try to snatch it up in my journal, or if all else fails, on colored note cards that I have squirreled away in multiple places around my house and in my purse.

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Sometimes they are interesting facts … or inspirational … and then there are some that just make me laugh:

Even a blind pig finds the acorn eventually. – anonymous source, but she’s a hoot and a good friend.

I dig this method.  It’s tactile and real.

Anyway, I’m journaling up a storm lately and I decide I need to find a box or something to put all of these in.  (There is some debate of what should be done with old journals, but that’s another conversation).  As I’m boxing the most recent ones, I run across a notebook I’ve been using for scratch paper for a year or so.  The front pages of the notebook contain some of my writing, some poetry-ish things I put to paper in early 2016.

I am shocked at how much I was hurting inside at that time.  No one has read this before.  I wish now that I’d had the courage to share this with my husband, so he could have known how desperately I needed help.

Everything takes up space.
Too many toys and no room to play.
Thousands of ships with no room to sail.
Too many emotions and no space to think.

We need stacks
and dreams
and a harbor where all can be parked and sorted and processed.

Tomorrow is my harbor and all my boats go there, they sit and wait and change not a bit.

 and then this doozey …

They call me mother, and they need me.

The tending is routine, and harassing, and unavoidable.
One me wants my tears and another me wants my pain.
this particular me would like a taste of irrational fear
some bitter cold joints,
some gasping panic,
some quiet dependency,
some empty silence,
some distraction,
some anger.

They all want.
And the day wears on.
and I am alone with them.
I manage their demands,
silently holding them against my breast
to appease them.

I grow thin and brittle.
To cry can fill me some, leaving me not so hollow.
Anger is at least warm.

In an ecstasy of misery I raise them, one by one. My army of sorrow and fury, growing fat on digested possibility.

I don’t think of myself as being one to show off my misfortune for drama or attention … and I remember writing that, and I can vaguely remember how desperately unhappy and frightened i was… Oh how I wish I had just told someone.  But I thought I should be braver, tougher, I should be healed by now … I shouldn’t be so dramatic.

I am both frightened for, and saddened by, the woman who wrote those poems.  The work I have done in the past few months has brought me so far that that woman, the other one, seems like a bit of a stranger to me now.  But I wanted to share these poems for the same reason I still have ONE picture from when I was fat … because she is a part of me.  A part I don’t want to leave behind, but to bring her along with me as I heal.

She is a testament to how fucking strong I am that I didn’t completely self destruct even in light of my obvious misery.

She is a reminder that my misery was internal.  It wasn’t my family or my husband or my job, it was my brain and my body.

She is a reminder that suffering from PTSD or depression or anxiety is palpable and real, it IS ‘all in your head’
and your stomach that clenches with fear
and your eyes that sting with all of the shed (and yet to be shed) tears
and your legs that feel watery with irrational fear.

If you find yourself reading this and thinking … ooh damn, I feel that way too .. or ooh damn, if only I could talk to someone.  Please (oh lord please) talk to someone.  Email me, a friend, a family member, call a hotline … talk to someone.  Staying silent will not make it go away.  I was so silent for so long and only became more unhappy.  I know, I’ve done it .. both the silence and the talking.  Talking is better.


Okay, that was intense … let’s move on to the Harold Fry portion of this post.  So, I finished reading Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Bachman and I wanted more … I wanted to feel moved and good again .. hopeful.  Someone recommended The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce and I decided to hop on board.  Snuggling in to feel good I quickly discovered that Harold Fry is much darker than Britt-Marie, but I’m still a fan.

To give you an idea of the beauty and poignancy of Joyce’s book, I present to you my most favorite quote so far (I’m not done yet):

He felt dulled with such apathy … like being an empty space inside a suit, that said words sometimes, and heard them, that got in a car every day and returned home, but was no longer connected up to other people.

The loss of self expressed there hit home with me, so beautifully said.

So I’m off.  Another week down and I may try to blog a bit more often.  It feels good to put something out there, even if it’s not the standard art fare.

Love to you all,

Heather

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