Many apologies for not getting back to you sooner but I’ve been traveling my own private tunnel through hell. Only now do I see a glimmer within myself from time to time, the glimmer of hope that I will come out of this a better and stronger woman.
I have followed the sage advice of a dear friend who cannot be with me here and sought out professional help for myself. I talk to a counsellor on the phone once a week and she is my link to sanity, she has the eyes that see what I have been through and the things that have come to the surface are unspeakable, but must be spoken. My mouth is mute but my body is screaming to be heard. The stuff that is coming out is the stuff of nightmares. And we are only getting started; the tip of the iceberg has only been scratched.
And Nootka Rose has lost another petal to autumn.
It is the new moon. It is Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, a time for new beginnings – a new beginning for Nootka Rose? Time will tell. I have known moments of total despair and moments of euphoria and incredible love, the type of love I have never received before, never known before. There are angels and they are surrounding me now. I just don’t know if I can receive what they want to give. I don’t know if it is too late for me but I hope it is not. Despite the coming of fall, the angels beckon.
I had an angel visit me yesterday and she saw things in me I could not see in myself. She saw an incredibly gifted and beautiful person that she wanted to learn from, to share her family with, to hold up during this time of weeping and grief. She did not see what I saw, what I have seen all these years through the eyes of a mother who did not want me and who used me for her own narcissistic purposes. And when I failed, and I was set up to fail, love was withheld and abuse was handed out by the buckets.
At a very young age as a helpless child I was chased, I was beaten, my needs were ignored and I was not allowed to sing my song. I had an emotional gun put to my head and I was told to get upon the stage and perform like a circus monkey and to win, always to win. Only then did this helpless child feel any kindness if only for a moment. Then it was back to jumping through higher hoops, playing the instrument of her choosing, not mine. It was all I knew, the only skill that I had that was ever nurtured… and eventually it ran me into the ground. And that is when I became invisible.
Do I feel sorry for myself? No. These are simple facts and the simple facts make up the story of the life I have led with the ghost of her in my mind constantly haunting me. Her anxieties have now become mine, her dreams replaced mine, her wishes overshadowed who I was, who I could have been. And now I realize, at least on some level, that I can be free of her and try to live those dreams now, crippled as I am.
I can do this and with your help I will succeed. One of you lives across the street in a home for disabled people. I call you The Blind Woman Who Knits. You are an inspiration to me and someday I will read this to you. You have my only book of poetry that is in Braille that I lent to you so many years ago. Only now are you willing to give it back but I tell you, my sister, that it is yours. Because you held me and made me laugh when tears were in my heart. Because even though you are three years older than me you call me Big Sister because I am taller than you. But your heart is 50 times the size of mine and your courage is only something I can aspire to. I bring you fresh vegetables from my garden and you feed me love and laughter.
There is Jolly Holly, who is a whimsical and happy spirit who feeds me broth, takes me out of this house to her small pad, makes me sit down at the table and eat properly, and is determined to “beef me up”. She even ordered me to clear my dining room table of all clutter so we could have a meal she will make next week. I can’t believe the kindnesses of her heart. We even have a date with or without the men in our lives on Valentine’s Day. And after resting at her place she dragged me down to the ocean to get some lovely photographs that brought me back to life.
Another one of you, my Butterfly Friend lives far away but has cheered me along and tried to understand my experience from the point of view of a single man with a good mother and a loving family of siblings. You may not understand me but you befriended me and you gave me work because you admired what I do. You gave me back a little piece of myself and you invited me to make your Christmas special with all the commissions you showered on me when I felt totally worthless. I put my poetry on photographs awaiting your approval and you always approve whatever I do because you know what I have been through and how much I know about people because of my experience. You have made me realize there is nothing to regret. Adventure still awaits me.
I have found a true friend, a kindred spirit with a family she wants to share with me… a little at a time because she knows how fragile I am. I call her The Nurturing One. She cares for the people across the street so I need not be embarrassed or ashamed of my body and its failings. For my body did not fail me and I did not fail me and I am not worthless and there is no need to be ashamed of what I was put through that caused all this pain I am feeling now.
I have learned that there is so much love out there, but what good does it do me if I cannot love myself first? So many of us, especially women, were taught only to serve. We nurtured, we nursed, we bled, we sacrificed our souls to serve others. Now it must stop. For Nootka Rose there is no choice. It is this or death for a cold winter awaits me if I stand outside my own home, the home of my heart. My blood will freeze from the guilt and shame that has been heaped upon me year after year. I hand the guilt and shame back where it belongs and it does not belong to me. I am worthy and I am determined and all my angels will help me through this. There are so many of you and you know who you are – I’ve only mentioned a few of you because I am tired.
He may never come back to me, the one who left me, but it is not his fault that he could not cope. Perhaps I bear him a great deal of ill will at times, but underneath it all the only answer is love; I don’t speak of that clingy needy sort of love but only of the love that requires the deepest of respect for our diversity. It is not our fault that we were born into the families that crippled us with scars we took out on each other. There will always be things about you that I do not understand, You Who Left Me, when I thought I knew you so well. Now I realize I don’t know you at all and your very presence makes me ill at ease. We are so different and I hope we can find common ground for though I go to bed at peace with myself I wake up alone and terrified because you are not there to comfort me through the nightmares that were not of your making. How can I blame you for things you did not do? I cannot. But now I hold you accountable when you treat me badly!
We have seen the Blue Moon and the death of Uncle. You went to the funeral without me and you sleep alone with my dogs, my pack, my children in that dingy warehouse that houses your business, and there is nothing I can do and nothing I want to do to bring you back. You must come back on your own in a way that we can both manage to live with.
And in the meantime I have The Blind Lady Who Knits, The Mother of Five Children, my Wise Friend, my Jolly Holly, my Butterfly Friend, my other long-distance friends and some much needed professional help – all helping me to see this woman of gifts and worth through their eyes so that eventually I can find her in my heart… and hold her close like a frightened child, until she is no longer frightened. I become my own parent and let the evil messages I was fed as a child fade off into the ocean of love and mercy…
Two weeks before the Blue Moon
my lover left me cold,
At first it seemed far too soon,
at first it left me old.
But now I see a bit of light
where there used to be none
as the blind gave me back my sight
for they could see the sun.
Now fairies sprinkle fairy dust
upon my head at night
so I’ll wake up, get out of bed,
and not give up my fight.
For only I can save myself
with all this love around;
I’ll take myself off of the shelf
until its me I’ve found.
A wild Rose is what I am
no need to be ashamed,
no need to hate myself for this,
no need to be the Blamed.
I’ll focus on my will to live,
I’ll focus on my dreams,
creating love in all I do
and sewing up my seams.
I am not young nor am I old
but somewhere in between
and now the journey has begun
the journey – to be seen…
© NootkaRose September 17, 2012.