My Muse Called Me Today …

Ed Powers, My Muse called me today. I have been, for the last several months in a place of not knowing where I should be and what I should be doing. Today in particular was not going well for me on an emotional level.  My energy is low from working gruesome days and hours at work with very little down time. I had taken a walk with a friend and shared with her how lately I can’t see a future and how I’m not quite sure what that means.  I said, “sometimes I wonder if it means I’m going to die and there is no future.”  She asked me if I was taking any antidepressants.  I explained to her that I’m not depressed and that since my EMDR therapy over the last couple of years, I am a changed person and that the life I’ve created for myself doesn’t fit anymore with the person I have become. I didn’t expect her to understand and I really don’t expect anyone to understand how that feels to me, but it’s a constant feeling for me.  A feeling of not belonging, of not fitting in, of feeling uncomfortable in most places in my life.

I came home from the walk and grabbed my gardening gloves and went outside to plant some bulbs. Digging in the dirt helps calm me and clears my mind.  At one point I raised my head to the heavens and said, “please help me. Please give me a sign that will show me what I need to be doing with my life and what my purpose is.” When I came back in the house I let the dogs out to pee and came back into the living room and plopped down on the settee. I picked up my phone and saw that I had a missed call and voicemail from a 310 area code number.  I knew it was Ed.  Even though the number obviously isn’t saved in my phone as the number I have for him, I just knew it was him. I listened to his voicemail, “Michele, this is Ed Powers calling.  I just thought I’d give you a buzz and see how you are. Call me if you want.  Thank you.”

When he answered the phone, his voice was that of an aged man.  I haven’t spoken to him in several years and clearly he was in a very different place than last time we spoke.  His first words to me were, “I’m in a place where there is no-one I can talk to.  I don’t know anyone in here.”  He is in a nursing home that he said his daughter placed him there. He wanted to know all about me, but primarily he wanted to know if I was writing.  “It’s a gift you have Michele and I’m going to encourage you to write.”  I started to cry and told him how I have been feeling lost and like a misfit.  I told him that I haven’t been able to write for a long time, and I asked, “I don’t know what to write about?”  He responded, “you write about your feelings, like all that you have just told me, you write about that. It’s important that you keep writing Michele, you have a gift and I want to really encourage you to just keep writing.” I cried the whole time he was talking and told him, ‘Ed I really needed to hear this today and I can’t believe that I was just out in my garden asking God and the Universe for a sign and you called me.”  He got it, just like he got me all those years ago …

I met Ed in 1989 in Scottsdale, Arizona sitting around a pool at a mutual friends home.  He was striking in appearance, not handsome, but intense and deep.  He dyed his hair and wore a hat. He was quirky and I liked him instantly, and he me. He told me he was an illustrator for a large publishing company in California.  I was impressed.  We started a very long conversation about my life in England and my incestuous relationship with my Dad and how I wanted to share my story to help others. I left him that day knowing I had met a life-long friend.  I took with me his encouraging words, “just sit down and write.  Don’t edit it or it will lose its feeling.  Just write and write and write and then someone else can edit it.” It’s because of him that I wrote my book.  When I had finished writing it, I sent him a copy and he called me the minute he finished reading it.  He was crying.  “Michele, he said, this book is going to be a movie or a television series, I see it on the screen.” He was so encouraging and I believed in him and his encouragement.  I felt lifted in spirit, just like I did tonight when we were talking.

As we were saying our goodbyes tonight, he said, ‘Write Michele, it will lift your spirits.  I know it’s hard to feel alone.  I feel alone in here.  Send me something in the mail.  Send me a little of your writing, just please write, I encourage you, it’s your gift.”  I responded, “I will Ed, I will. I love you Ed.”  “I love you too, Michele.”

It was only in the moment when I sat down to write this that I realize he is my Muse … and so this blog is for Ed.  It would make him happy to read it ….

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They Left When She Did

They left when she did, the birds, the squirrels, and the cats, even the flowers withered and died in her absence. Everything she had nurtured and cherished in the years she had lived there, was now forced to seek solace and comfort elsewhere, or fade and die. It broke her heart to drive by the house observing the gradual disintegration.

Santana, the black feral cat and mother of her feral, now tame, Solace, had visited the boys who were renting the house, she relied on them for food and water, just as she had done the same with Billie when she lived there. The boys said, “one day she didn’t show up and we never saw her again.”

When Billie lived there, Santana would visit Solace at night. She would climb up on the outside window ledge and he would sit in his cat tree and they would talk to each other in cat language.

Billie fretted over Santana when she was moving out. She went back and forth about taking her with her. Eventually she decided it would be better for Santana to stay where she was familiar, given she was feral and had only ever lived in the area, rather than taking her to a new area, where she would have to live outside and find new shelter, etc., The emotional part for her was knowing she was taking her son Solace away from her.

She was gone three years, Billie was. She moved to another part of town, bought a house with her partner and rented out the house she loved so dearly. She rented the house to three brothers. They were great tenants. Paid the rent on time and kept the house in great shape. The only thing damaged when they moved out was the back yard and the screens in the sunroom. The yard was ruined due to the three dogs they had running circles around the yard, turning the grass into mud. They stayed two years. Billie installed new sod in the yard.

The next renter was a single woman who moved to the area to take a job. They shared similar interests and befriended each other. The renter paid on time, but purchased two puppies without Billie’s permission, adding to her already allowed two dogs, this now made four dogs. One of the dogs suffered from separation anxiety, which caused all kinds of issues for the renter.

The renter stayed a year. When she moved out, not only was the yard back to its ruined state, but the hardwood floors were ruined and the dog urine smell in the house was so bad, Billie thought she would never get rid of it!

Her relationship ended. When the second renter moved out Billie moved back into her beloved house. For weeks she worked to get the house back into shape; wood floors redone, bathrooms retiled, rooms painted, new blinds, new lighting in the living room and kitchen, new light switches in the bathroom and when all was done she bought new furniture. She had been without a sofa for eight weeks by the time it arrived. It had never occurred to her how little she could relax without a sofa to sit on. She had never been a “sit in a chair and relax” kind of girl.

Billie cleaned, and cleaned, and cleaned. She cleaned the windows, inside and out. Cleaned the blinds, the woodwork, the front porch, the sun room. She burned sage anti-clockwise and then clockwise through the house, burned candles and incense, ran the essential oils for hours through the infuser, all to cleanse and clear the house of previous energies and entities…

The winter was mild that year. One round of snow and ice and a few below freezing nights. The trees finally shed their remaining leaves during a hard rainfall in January. It was early in February when Billie looked out of the window into her front garden and noticed a daffodil was blooming. Billie placed her bird feeders and bird baths back out in the front garden and began filling them each day with fresh food and water. She gave out a call, “okay birds and squirrels, flowers and plants, I’m home, you can all come back now.” At first only the crows came to graze, then slowly day by day, all kinds of birds reappeared. The squirrels began playing in the trees again, jumping from limb to limb and tree to tree. It made her heart happy to see the animals and flowers answering her call

The first few weeks back in the house Solace would walk through the house at night crying. He would climb up in the windows crying out loud. She felt he was crying for his momma, Santana. Billie put cat food and water out on the front porch. Within days a small tabby cat appeared. She was small in frame, like Santana, and although this cat was a grey tabby and Santana was pure black, they had similar spirits. Surprisingly after a few visits she let Billie stroke her. Billie gave her the name “Kneader,” because whenever she saw Billie, Kneader immediately started to knead.

Kneader quickly became a regular visitor, and even began to climb up on the window ledge, just like Santana used to do. Solace climbed up in the window too, and they began talking to each other just like when Santana came around. Solace stopped crying at night, and so too did Billie!

 

The Toilet is my Sanctuary

I like to sit on the toilet, drink coffee and read inspirational quotes, especially first thing in the morning.  As a child, the toilet was my sanctuary; it was the only place I could go to find solitude. In most homes we lived in, the toilet was outside, an outhouse, wooden planks for a seat and typically whitewashed stone walls. The outhouse was either hot or cold depending what season of the year it was AND it always smelled of urine, always!  I remember times we used newspaper to wipe our bums, or if we were lucky we used the cheapest toilet paper IZAL.  It felt more like tracing paper than something that should be used to wipe yourself after using the toilet.

This morning as I sat on the toilet reading my daily inspirational, the prompt was ‘Writing to Learn.”  It questioned whether we learn when we write and the daily suggestion was to ‘Write something today,” so here I am – sat across the street from my house, sipping on a Station Margarita, writing something.

Writing as always been important to me.  I crave it.  I crave it from other people. I love for someone to share their feelings in a hand-written letter, such a rare gift these days.  It’s beautiful to me to see words on paper, words that flow from a person’s mind out into the world, or in particular, to me!

I have loved women in my life who  could write their feelings so beautifully and passionately on paper.  I was always so moved by them, deeply moved.  That someone would take the time to share what they were thinking and feeling meant so much to me.  It connected me to them, not just in the moment that I would read their words, but even now, years later, I can still quote words they shared with me and they still cause my heart to warm and my body to ache to be near them ….

And so this is what I wrote today and it will mean something to someone …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pens

 

My dad was a bus driver.  He worked shifts. To stay on top of his shift schedule he wrote them down on paper, not ordinary white sheets of paper, but long sheets about 4 or 5 inches wide and perhaps 12 inches long.  Horizontal black lines, creating columns all down the page allowed for him to fill in each shift start and end time, especially when he worked a split-shift, there would be four different times across the page.

I remember the paper so well and for many reasons. My first memory comes from a house we lived in on Elcho Street; a yellow and black door with the number 41 in large black numbers adorned the entry.  My dad would come home from work, take off his jacket and  shoes and sit in his chair.  He would often bring home several pieces of the lined paper and leave them on the dresser in the bedroom.  I had not long ago started school.  I was learning to write. It didn’t just feel like I was learning to write, it felt more like a release inside of me, a sense of urgency, a force within me that wanted to talk, not by mouth, but by pen, by writing, by bringing this sense of urgency, this raciness onto those sheets of paper.

One afternoon I went upstairs into his bedroom and there on the dresser were several sheets of paper AND a pen, there was a pen, a very rare site in our house, in fact the only pen we ever had in our house was the pen my dad kept in his work jacket. It wasn’t just excitement I felt at seeing those two precious items together on his dresser, it was elation, a jolt of thunder roaring inside of me, a volcano starting to erupt.  It was a NEED, a feeling I couldn’t control, a bursting, a happiness I had never felt before.

I picked up the pen and paper and climbed onto the bed.  I lay flat on my stomach, my whole body fit easily horizontally across the bed, my feet facing the door, my head facing the closet. I let the pen touch the paper.  I raced words across the lines, the pen leading the way, my heart racing, my mind emptying its long contained lava out into the abyss of the world. I felt free, even though at such a young age I hadn’t even learned the meaning of that word, I had fully experienced its impact.

As an adult I am known for taking pens.  I don’t do it intentionally, they just somehow come with me from wherever I have been.  At work they even went as far as to add fake flowers to the tops of the pens as a way to locate them if I take them, and I do.  At home I have too many pens, even though I rarely use them now since I spend most of my time using  a computer to disperse my words.  Just yesterday as I emptied boxes that I had brought with me in my move, I came across pens, lots of them ….

 

 

Can You Relate?

Are other incest survivor’s like me?  Deep, sometimes heavy (emotionally), placing others needs above our own, self-protective, yearning, running on empty, loving and hating, trying to please and feeling deflated?  Do they wrestle with darkness, brightness burns their eyes? Sunglasses don’t help!

I venture out onto Incest blogs, read articles, etc., and have done for years.  I relate, but without connection. I was a victim of what he chose to do, and he did have a choice, we all do, immediately and sometimes eventually.  As an 11 year-old girl, I didn’t have a choice, he was my keeper and supposedly my protector. He did ‘keep’ me for his own selfish purposes and he absolutely did not protect me, other than from outside elements and starvation.

At 11, I was a victim of his choices, as an adult though I veer away from the word “victim” because it pulls in sympathy and pity and though I desperately needed those two sources of comfort when I was younger, at this point in life I can see clearly how what he chose to do has completely defined my life and who I am today – and though some may struggle with this idea – I am who I am today for better, or for worse, because of my incestuous relationship with him.

So I wonder how many people who have experienced incest have been able to find healing with the abuser? If they have, then has their life been better, easier because of the healing?  Do they experience healthy relationships?  Do they enjoy healthy and intimate sexual relationships?  Are they free of addiction?  I ask all this because I have repeatedly seen in life, in the world, so many victims who move through their lives plagued with all kinds of addictions and I wonder – are they the poor souls who carry torment and torture, filled with shame and self-blame? Are they moving through life searching for something to ease their anger and fear?  Are they trying to feel safe?  Are they unhinged just like they were the very first time they were touched in a place that should never have been touched and by a person who should never have been touching them?

Un-hinged – is that even a word?  For me, it is – it’s a place where so much of my earlier life found solace, floundering around, no real sense of self, latching on to anyone who showed me the least bit of attention.  Full Of Fear – Always!

More to follow ….

 

 

What now?

So, I’m here.  It’s taken me a long time to get here, back to my house, out of a relationship in which I lost myself.  It’s been my pattern – “putting them first.” It’s how I was raised and how my life experiences continued to mold me.  I’m here though, back in my own space, alone and comfortable with that.  I like to be alone.  I like to wake up early, when it’s still dark outside, the traffic quiet, the birds are asleep and so too is much of the world.  I enjoy that kind of quiet, it’s soothing and nurturing and calming and necessary for myself to move through life!

For as long as I can remember I’ve lived on the outer edges of the company I was in.  An observer from birth and not that I don’t connect, because I connect deeply with people, rather an innate part of me notices people, smells, sounds, touch, thoughts, movements, visible and invisible.  It’s me, and though I embrace myself, the challenge is always when I immerse into the world, when I wake from sleep and realize I’m conscious, when I step from my house into the outside, when I step into the gym and hear others voices, when I arrive at work and open my e-mail, it all feels so very intrusive and not that I don’t like my life or my job, but most interactions are a challenge to my inner self and I wonder “are there others like me?”

I thought for the longest time that it was a product of the abuse with my dad, but over time I’ve realized I’ve always been this way.  People have called it intuition, being sensitive, being psychic, etc., but could it ever be named?  Do we have to name something to understand it?  Does a word define a feeling or does the feeling define the word?  I guess that’s a deep question, but I do wonder about the whole “naming” our feelings, and how once named then a string of associations runs with the “name” and then we diagnose and label and attach ourselves to likenesses, and we form groups and find solidarity just based on One Single Word – such as Incest!

So what do you think if you are reading this? Does this make sense to anyone other than me?

I Stare at THEM

They usually look around 11 years old. Girls only.  I stare at them.  I’m thinking, “is someone touching her?  Is she hiding a secret? Is it a relative, a neighbor, a family friend, her brother, her father?  I watch their every move, looking for signs without knowing what to look for.  How would I know? How does it show?  They look like ordinary little girls.  Their scars are invisible.  Hidden from view. I stare for a long time, as though by staring I might see beyond the veil of innocence.  I am looking for clues, but what are they?  Do they look sad?  Are they flirtatious?  Are they well-developed?  Do they chew on their bottom lip, wring their hands, tap their feet, play with their hair, sit pensively?  Do they frown, walk with their shoulders sagging down to the ground, avoid your gaze, block you out, avoid your touch, encourage your touch?  What do they show, that we don’t see?

And so I Stare …..