I might remember
skin to skin
and back again
of dark days
folded in upon itself
amongst the tangles
like liquid silk
along each softened ridge
You draw me to you…
Each grain of tender energy
Along the valleys
of breath intertwined
Between the ebb and flow
of the gentle, knowing tide
that binds us
Like a needle
Pierced straight through the heart
Patterns that bleed
Through each year
Of the tapestry
My Childhood Story
in my stomach
…Stitched so tight
Leave gaping holes
In my core
My sense of love
So intrinsically linked
Size ten boots
Boast of lands conquered
Yet rolled up sleeves
belie the frayed seams
Of the Self and Soul
…That read like a little black book
Scrawled with every nameable insecurity
With lips pursed
To contain my disappointment
(For no hero exists to slay the troll)
I send another on his way
…Those desert eyes…
To lap at some other oasis of need
No such mirage engulfs my energy
For with the autonomy of every womanly muscle
I must drag forth the resolve
To be my own protector
my own husband
…my own father
With magnetic force
the mystery of possibiliites
Draws us deeper
………or to Leap ?
Friends blow in
Their warm words
Whispers of kindness
Chasing the shadows
“Good night Baby Bear”.
“Night Papa Bear”, I respond as the closing door takes with it the last sprays of golden light that radiate from the hall-way beyond.
As a pre-schooler of three or four years of age, this was the comforting exchange that would end my day. On this note, I would be happy to snuggle into the added comfort and warmth of my soft toy as I drifted into slumber. It was as it should be…a father comforting his child as she relaxes into the knowing that all is safe and secure in her world, with him there to protect her. This was of course, how things were before I had learned to shut my door, turn the music up and suck in my breath.
For a very short period in those early years I looked to my father as a soft, rounded, reliable figure. I recall being perched on his shoulders at a circus, his thick hands gripping my ankles reassuringly as I strain my neck to peer above the crowd. I am Safe… in the knowing he will not let me fall. I feel the pride swell in my four-year old chest as I follow him faithfully up and down the white chalk lined boundary of a soccer field, whilst he yells directions to the boys chasing the round ball within. I am Secure… in the knowing he will not lose me in the crowd. It was as it should be. This was of course, before I learned to hunch my shoulders and shrug out which ever response was expected as he carried out my mother’s business.
Numbness connects these memories of my father. A blank white wall confronts me. I stare and stare but can’t seem to find the detail. I cannot distinguish the surface from plaster, timber or brick…I have no idea if its’ finish is gloss or matt. Impressions of my father have simply become a white-wash of nothingness. Over the years, each experience of betrayal I encountered caused the illusion of my father as an ally to dissipate into a languorous puff of indifference; his role as my mother’s accomplice in the game of manipulation gradually exposed.
On so many many occasions when I needed a voice of strength and authority to stand up for what was right and fair and normal, his silence ricocheted from ear to ear, echoing in my head with voluminous discord. At other times his outbursts of rage literally shook the floor boards beneath me, and saw me scream “Stop it…Just Stop It !”, only to be ordered to my bedroom by my mother. The fear and confusion incited by my view of the limbs of a father and his sons entangled in a violent scuffle on the rumpus room floor, soon transformed to disgust and eventually contempt. As the dynamics between my four brothers disnintegrated, cruelly orchestrated by my mother, I came to despise his placid allowance of her manipulating behaviour that had turned the males in my household into virtual putty.
Interestingly, acceptance of my father’s role as silent conspirator settled easily within me as a young child. I did not struggle against it. Generally, I did not question it, though at times I did ponder how he could adjust to the world beyond our front door …the real world…as an employee and colleague in a high profile company. That he did exit the house every morning to maintain a seemingly well functioning professional persona, made his betrayal of his children even more unforgivable. Yet his incongruous existence did not consume me. I simply grew to see him as a pathetic figure who had succumbed to a life riddled with false premises espoused by an emotionally corrupt woman, that even an eight year old could detect.
When I was around the age of ten or eleven, I witnessed a scenario that cemented my understanding of him as a conscious conspirator in the madness that was our family life. I recall a commotion one evening that lead me to quietly inch open my bedroom door, just enough to provide a view to the top of the hallway. I saw my father standing with his hand on the door knob, a brown leather suitcase at his feet. “I’ve had enough. I’m leaving”, I heard him say. Good I thought Go Go…She deserves it. My mother was on the floor, hysterically grabbing at his legs. Maybe if he leaves, the bars of control that trap us in this existence will melt away freeing us from the poisonous happenings within. Yet I see him pick up the suitcase and retreat back into the front room. Weak I thought, shaking my head in disgust. Yes that’s him…Weak.
My heart swells with pride
As I share this link with you : Fun for Us
This is my daughter’s blog. She’s only ten.
The depth of her words astounds me.
Sailing through this sea of life, I continue to find myself in choppy waters. My fellow voyagers are quick to reassure me I have the right equipment, my reputation is renowned; and that my thorough experience as the master of many varying vessels and explorer of bays near and far, is well documented by all.
Given the wondrous praise bestowed upon me by both my crew and fellow voyagers I cannot help but ponder why I keep heading for tumultuous waters ? Caught in the rip, I do see the calm, still pools ahead…oh so inviting…oh so enticing…yet they allude me. Are my navigation skills truly so poor ? How can that be for a seafaring woman of such high regard ?
Here I sit perched atop my cabin, scanning the horizon for calmer seas. Here I sit alone…a solo traveller on this voyage. Other ships pass me often, bidding me good fortune on my travels but never stopping long enough to share a tale or two over a pitcher of rum. When a lull approaches, inviting space and time for exploration at foreign ports, I courageously disembark my vessel, tossing my trusty life-jacket aside to expose the vulnerability otherwise shrouded beneath. Yet too often my hopes and expectation give way to disappointment at the sinking realisation that the Captains that stop in my waters do not share my fervour for future endeavours, or are just plain simpletons in disguise.
Am I destined to be a solo voyager through distant oceans ? Wary of pirates lurking to overthrow my vessel, I tighten the lock on my wares as each stranger in the dark approaches. Yet the tiniest flicker of light burns still within, in anticipation of the discovery of unchartered waters that may be revealed with the turning of each fresh page of my cruiser’s log. Wiping the fog of disillusionment from my binoculars, I raise them once more in the hope of spotting that illusive sea-mate with the qualifications to join me on this journey, providing the inspiration to fill out my sails and steer me towards more peaceful waters.
Do not dispel
The inner rumblings
Of primal knowing
And of self-
Revved up by Mars
And its astro-wielding
Drag yourself out
From the merde-ridden nest
…where mad men dwell
Access peaceful resolve
And with gilded grace
Refuse to endorse
The slog of self-reliance
Demand all those who desire
Of your domestic landscape
Honour your virtues
Or be flushed out in style
Ever since I was a young child I have enjoyed taking myself for long walks. Typically I would leash up the cocker-spaniel Sophie and walk in the direction of the ocean that fringed the beach-side suburb of Melbourne where we lived.
Sometimes I would challenge myself by traveling routes that weren’t so familiar to me, weaving through the backstreets as I went. Although my path may have varied, my aim always remained the same – to stay away…far away from the family home as long as I could. Poor Sophie would often look up at me, tongue dripping, panting furiously as she pulled in the direction of home, only to be ignored and told to ‘walk on’. Even though my late return would earn the wrath of my mother when she heard the side gate latch click sometime just after dark, it was worth it. The chance to escape into my own thoughts and transport myself into a land of happy families was too precious to be limited by the turning hands of a clock.
We lived in a fairly comfortable middle class suburb in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. It was the 1980’s… a time of financial prosperity, for “keeping up with the Jones”. This was reflected by the number of fancy Volvos and shiny Fords housed in the double garages attached to architecturally designed homes that became more abstract and ostentatious as I made my way closer to the beach. I recall one home I actually nick-named “The Castle” because it’s façade was fashioned to represent a miniature castle, complete with turrets and all!
However, it was not the silver badges standing up proudly on the bonnets of the cars that pulled into drive-ways around me, nor the obligatory BMX bikes that dropped on the pavement before me as children ran to greet them, that caught my attention. It was the emotion that permeated the air as families regrouped after their day apart. Strong enough to filter through the otherwise constructed symbols of contentment, when those remote controlled electric gates opened, it hit me like a rush of warm breath on my skin…Happiness, Unity and Tranquillity. I inhaled, allowing it to soak through every pore on my skin until my heart swelled with a painful longing that jolted me into moving on.
I was around eleven years of age when my older sister married and I discovered that her new brother-in-law and his wife lived with their two young sons in my suburb. I had met them maybe once or twice…he was tall, robust in stature and handsome; she was young, blonde and fashionable. Their street name was instantly recognisable to me due to the scoping of the area that I had accomplished over several years worth of long walks. I remember spending one evening walking up and down in front of their home, ecstatic to discover that they had not yet closed their gates thus allowing me a viewing section a metre or so wide between the walls of their high blue-stone fence. Slowly I would stroll across their drive-way trying to inconspicuously snatch a glimpse into their world. Dusk had just fallen so the light of the living room lamp illuminated my view of two tall glass vases filled with oranges, strategically placed on each end of the mantle to frame the collection of family photos above the fireplace. Crossing the road for another viewing, I thought I saw movements deeper in the home as children were prepared for baths before dinner. I imagined their mother lovingly combing back their hair and wrapping them in their dressing gowns to protect them from the cold night air.
I must have made a strange sight, pacing up and down like a burglar’s apprentice casing the premises in preparation for a midnight break-in. On reflection, I’m surprised no-one approached me to inquire what I was doing, considering I was a young girl alone in the street with only a confused dog by her side, whilst every other child was safely ensconced in the pre-dinner rituals of suburban family life.
Suddenly from across the street I heard the clanging of a rubbish bin being dragged up a gravel drive-way and I recognised the form of my sister’s brother in-law approaching the nature-strip. I felt an urgent longing to bolt across the road and throw myself at him, pleading him to allow me to come inside. I imagined pouring out my story of desperation to escape the bizarre and lonely world I inhabited to his beautiful wife. I envisaged her wrap her warm Country-Road clad arms around me, assuring me she would provide the maternal care and protection I craved.
I put my head down and walked on.
Where are you Prince Charming?
Where did you go?
Once so gallant and true…
You slayed the dragon
You rescued the damsel
She handed you the power
to conquer your kingdom
Together you basked in the glow
of new beginnings
Adorned in your armour,
You brandished your sword
For a time the Princess’ ambition
Outshone her reality
But as the pages turned
The castle walls began to crumble
No compromise, realistically possible
The Princess’ trust was severely tested
This Urban Cinderalla would not have her ending
As she struggles to re-write the remaining chapters
Facing up to her life …
One like nothing she’d dreamt of
Now both Queen and King to her children
Never, ever did she imagine
Prince Charming would morph into the Beast.
My friends are my spiritual-kin. This is not a new revelation but after spending recent days communicating with some of my most treasured friends, I have been awakened to the sum of their influence upon who I see when I look inside myself. For although true friends are often described as mirrors, reflective of our hopes and dreams about who we really desire to be, who emphatically applaud and encourage us on our way, they must also bear witness to who we really are. It is because we cherish the uniqueness of their experiences and their learnings so profoundly, that we can accept their gentle critique of the sometimes flawed nature of our thinking. A friendship that stimulates self-knowing by not always supporting our ego-centricity but that challenges our self-concepts and identifies our insecurities, can be an arousing breath of fresh air to the soul.
In this world we are often consumed by the roles we play, whether as someone’s mother or partner, in our professional life, or in fulfilment of our cultural identity or status. True and honest friendships ignite greater awareness of our inner identity. These friendships provide a sense of freedom…a release from the role-playing and a peeling back of the layers that mask the essence of who we are.
Distinct from family relationships which can stifle us by promoting conformity to the group, obedience and expectation, true friendships act like a loving injection of unflappable courage. They promote individuality and self-love, and always will encourage us to leap towards the most fulfilling path. For just as we want to achieve our best for ourselves, our true friends, our spiritual kin, desire the same for us without competitive zeal or secret condemnation.
Thank you my friends !