Scars

Haiku


Scars are proof that once
You were sick. And now you’re healed
All shiny, slick, thick.

Scars shine in the light.
The bleeding’s done, no more night.
Morning’s torn, all’s right.

I don’t mind scars now.
Reminders of my power
To heal deepest hurt.

Won’t be seen again
I’ve been wounded deep within
Hold it back with skin

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#Metoo

Pussytrap.

I was caught in a pussytrap once. That’s what my friend and I called it. We laughed about it later. Because it was so horrific and nothing to be done. No agency to report it to and no officer to tell.

Plus, when you’re young? You think the world is the way it is. And to squawk about it? Is unnecessary and useless. So laugh. So you don’t cry.

My friends and I went to a dance club in a university town. It was on a street with other clubs. Alcohol was served, but only to those with the over-21 stamp. I had the under-21 stamp.

We went to the bar to dance. Not to drink. We loved listening to music, dancing and laughing.

About 20 minutes in, we lined up to use the bathroom. The line stretched back to the bar and two young men started chatting us up.

We were young. Naive. We were friendly, inviting, charming, silly, laughing. We wanted boys to think we were cute. We wanted attention.

After a few moments, the line was going nowhere, and the boys started grabbing. First, my friend.

I was always the protector. The NO-sayer. The “Hey, watch it!” girl. So, I was laughing, but I said, “Hey! No!” Then they grabbed me.

First, my breasts. Quick, pinching, playful swipes and pokes. Then, my crotch. You can imagine that when someone grabs your breasts or tries to, you pull back. But that only presents your lower body for them to grab.

While all this was happening, another young man had positioned himself behind us. He would grab our butts when we tried to move away. Thus, the pussytrap. No way out. A vicious game of unwanted touching.

After a few moments of arms and punches and shuffling and finally just leaving without the use of the bathroom, we got away. We weren’t laughing any more. Just wide eyes and nothing to say.

That was it.

“Hey, why you leavin’?” They called after us.

No one ever taught me to stand up for myself. In fact, the lesson I learned was, “Take it.” But to be fair, my mother didn’t grow up in a time when young men acted this way. She didn’t know. And everyone else acted like it was no big deal. That this behavior was just “boys being boys”. Or locker room antics. Isn’t that what the president said to excuse his own behavior?

That should never happen. To anyone. It’s humilating. Not titillating. It’s meant to objectify and demean. It’s not foreplay. It’s degradation.

Especially to an actress. Especially to anyone who ever worked for or with the current POTUS.

These are your mothers, your sisters, your daughters, your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, your fellow human beings. Your equals. Keep your hands to yourself. Or when we grab you back, you won’t like it.

If any man or boy ever touched my daughter like that, he’d be sorry. So would his balls.

Have I ever told you about the balltrap? LOL I’m older and wiser now.

My past DOES define me.

I hear the buzz phrase, “Your past does not define you.” Even I thought this sounded like a good mantra. At first. I might have even said it a few times. But, my past DOES define me. For better or worse.

Running from your past is like that old saying, “Going nowhere in a hurry.” You can’t forward your future until you address the past.

I grew up poor. Near a small town, in the country on 20 acres, graduated from a class of 65 people.

Maybe not poor. Maybe just so far in debt that I had to choose between difficult things. And, I didn’t wear name brand clothes. My mom made most of my clothes by hand. That, at least, put me in a different category.

Other category pushers:
My father was emotionally and physically (infrequently) abusive. I was overweight (of course). Often teased. Often at the bottom of some chaotic, emotional barrel of feelings. Struggling to have a voice of any kind in a farm community full of rednecks and intellectual infants. I was (am) a girl/woman (not always a plus).

These things define me. They are my etymological birth. The source of all my words. I can write today because of what happened or didn’t happen in the past. I thank God for my past.

My whole youth can be summed up as the jump ball for the tip off of my adulthood/writing career. A frantic scrambling to find my voice in the elbows and sweaty armpits of rural America.

Now, I am free-throwing and making it swish from the top of the key. Thank God I had to scramble.


I lost my voice, the strength of it anyway, a coupla years ago when I had my thyroid removed. They cut through muscles and nerves to get through to the organ. It can effect your vocal cords. I was hoarse and genteel for months. Totally unlike me.

From a young age, I have been identified as the loud laugher, talker, whiner, live-r. When others tittered, I guffawed. When others whispered, I announced. When others went about their feelings in a shy, reserved way, I emoted all over the place.

So. To be made relatively mute for months on end? THAT was a struggle.

I joined a local community theatre production, even when my voice wasn’t fully healed, to exercise the shit out of said vocal cords. I struggled again, this time for my literal voice.

I honestly thought my voice was ruined. I had no volume and no ability to inflect. But it came. My voice emerged. I rebuilt my annoying, distinctive, loud, full-flavored signature.

But that’s what I was doing all those years ago. Fighting for air, time, attention, my voice. I certainly found it by exercising my mind. Flexing my writing muscles. Clearing my thoughts. Coughing up all the bad stuff to get to the sweet, well-trained music of good writing.

If you met me in person, you might think, she’s pretty tame, dull, quiet, shy. But that’s just the surface. That’s just the public wall that’s been graffiti’d by others. There’s a garden behind those gates. A well-tended garden kept by me. Plunking away at the keyboard, digging out rows, mining for richness, turning up the past. Seeds of words flowering into thoughts, emotions and ideas–volumes of deep-rooted life. This is my courtyard. The sign says WELCOME.

You have to push past that gate. Be patient enough to know me.

Welcome to my past. It defines me. All that you read here is real, honest, beautiful. Though some starts out as dirt, hurt and manure.

Go With the Flow

My dad was dying. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was would be gone within two months. He had end-stage lung cancer and could no longer drive. So I had to cart him around. Which he hated. So did I.

He’d lost all autonomy and that was hard for him. A fiercely independent, strongly opinionated man. He couldn’t even decide to go home from the hospital at his leisure. He wanted to die in his own bed. He finally got his wish.

One day, we were taking the interstate home and I was dutifully going the speed limit. I was afraid if I went over the limit, Dad would say something. Criticize me. He did anyway.

“You need to speed up. Move with the traffic.”

At the time, I was extremely annoyed, but all I could mumble was, “Sorry.” And I put the pedal to the floor.

There, Old Man.

“Why do you have to find fault with me in everything I do?” I wondered.

Too fast, too slow. Too lazy. Too everything you think I shouldn’t be. But your sick. So I’ll just keep quiet and take it.

But today, when I remembered his nudge (I still think about and remember these things, ugh), I thought, “Thanks, Dad. Good advice.”

I drive for a living now. All I have is time in the car to think about things, past and present. Too much time, perhaps. It’s like all the thoughts you ever have when you’re working out and in the zone.

I’m a very good driver. I pay attention and know a thing or two about cars, thanks to my father. He was a mechanic by trade. He taught me how to take care of a vehicle, inside and out, and how to drive one.

I know why I was so sensitive at the time. Any opportunity my parents had to correct me was unwelcome and resented. They behaved in ways that grownups shouldn’t: fighting, engaging in unfair behavior, inconsistency, neglect. They were normal parents from the 80s.

Who are you to tell me anything??

And I held them accountable with my teenage indignation. Except, it didn’t help and I was just as wrong. Even if I was totally justified in rebuking their correction, they were still my parents. And they were, on the whole, usually right. Or steering me in the right direction.

I’m 44 now and much more confident about who I am and how well I drive. I’m well-adjusted and have worked through most of my past. I take criticism, for the most part, in stride now (thanks to mandatory art school critiques). 😉

Today I’ll just say, “Thanks, Dad. You were right.”

I miss my dad. I mourn all the years I lost to his mental and physical illness. But I also mourn all the years I lost growing up without him or knowing him as an adult.

He never saw my daughter. I know he would have been proud of the job I did/am doing with her. I wish he could have held her, heard her, helped her. But it was enough that he ever did that with me. I can only remember a handful of times, but it was enough.

I forgive you and I’m sorry, Dad.

knee-deep

This is not the surface of Mars. But I wish it was. A sci-fi Bradbury story and not my life.


Scared and Scarred
I am 6. Tender. Overly sensitive. Idealistic. In the living room watching TV (listening to my parents scream).
My father is chasing my mother from the bedroom to the living room. She sits on the sofa by the window. He grabs her leg and drags her from the cushion. Her pants rip and she awkwardly falls to the floor, pinned between the sofa and coffee table.
My brother jumps up and tangles himself with my father. My brother is 17 and a full-grown male. He might be one inch taller than my father. He weighs less, but not by much and has anger and youth on his side. They wrestle and fall into a window. The glass breaks and the fighting continues. They push each other away and stand panting and snarling, waiting for each other to make a move.
My brother walks out of the house into the yard and my father follows. They exchange violent words and my father threatens to stab my brother. He holds his hand in his pocket, standing at a distance from my brother, claiming to have a knife.
I will cut your gizzards out.
One of the many delusional things my father utters. It makes little sense. He is embarrassingly profane and foaming at the mouth. He taunts my brother to attack again. I can’t remember how it’s resolved.
Sometime later, I crawl up on the sofa to look at the broken window and wonder why our afternoon was disturbed. I cut my knee with a shard of broken glass hidden in the cushion. I still have the scar today. It looks like a soggy piece of puffed rice
cereal landed on my knee and stuck.

The cut was deep. Huge beads of blood. The emotional hurt was even deeper.


Complex PTSD is real. This memory was written in present tense to show how real memories can seem. You can relive some trauma at the slightest trigger: smell (cigarette smoke), action (washing hands), word (gizzards), threat (humiliation), similar circumstance (injustice). Reliving some nightmare from the past isn’t easy. In fact, it’s soul crushing. Mind melting. Scariest thing a person ever has to do–walk into the past like a darkened, grimy hallway of a forgotten house of pain. With no skills, lights or way to defend yourself. Anyone with C-PTSD does not want to be permanently haunted with ghosts. But the mind can’t erase severe hurt. It tries, but those imprints have power. Evict those ghosts with the Holy Spirit and this link: Self-Help Strategies for PTSD Visit this site as well: AnxietyBC

And get help. Talk to someone. Anyone.
This weekend I realized–I am serving my past, not my professed master Jesus. I am serving horrible memories and failing as a wife. I don’t want this. My past is not something to cling to in the storm. Jesus is.

Would you invite the devil over for tea?

I wouldn’t sit down
And have a simple snack
With Devil or demon.
You’d have to watch your back.

Would you talk to Satan?
Would you want to hear his side?
Would you trust his story?
For centuries, he’s lied.

I wouldn’t sit with Satan.
I wouldn’t believe a word.
He wants me to fall with him.
Bring down this broken bird.

Most people wouldn’t eat or drink
With a red-faced, horn-graced beast.
But do you invite this angel
Frequently to your feast?

If you:
Complain
Grumble
Covet
Lust
Envy
Gossip
Lie
Hurt
Hate?

You’re dining with the devil.

If you long for what your neighbor has
And don’t appreciate your mess?
Then Satan has had his way
And he has been your guest.

If you lie about who you are
To have another follow?
Then Satan has gladly baked the cake
That you so greedily swallow.

If you hurt or hate,
Live to watch another trip?
Then ol’ Guess Who is pouring
From the cup you eagerly sip.

You deny your frequent visitor.
You deny he even exists.
But he continues to come to tea
Because your negativity persists.

stop

Country Roads, Don’t Take Me Home

I spent my youth
Away from Home.
Wishing my friends
Were sisters of my own.

I didn’t like family.
Dangerous love.
Beat up and tortured,
Push comes to shove.

We lived in the country,
Away from town.
If there are no neighbors,
Does abuse make a sound?

My heart goes back
To that scary place.
And my throat gets tight
At memories I chase.

It wasn’t all bad.
I remember some good.
Days spent hiding,
Deep in the woods.

Green creek banks
And rich, black dirt.
Flowers and water
To wash away the hurt.

But no amount
Of River or Plain
Can wash away
That mountain of Pain.

So many nights
Unable to dream.
Flashbacks fire
And tears begin to stream.

Scars that shine
In the cracked moonlight.
Open them again
Without a fight.

In my mind, I walk
With shoe-less feet
To my childhood house,
Down that lonely street.

I reach the drive.
Kick the stones.
Look at the mess.
Hate my bones.

Turn around, get out.
Don’t look back.
This is your chance
To bury the black.

Run! Run down
To the end of the road.
Stop. Take a breath.
There’s time to go slow.

I walk through the night
Away from the past.
I can see the dawn
Coming up at last.

This isn’t a race.
There’s no finish line.
Each step is important.
This path is mine.

What Hurts

Lots of things hurt.
Or I wouldn’t be a writer.

Have you met many writers?

But lots of things don’t hurt.
I am easily overwhelmed or amazed.

You like sunsets.
That sunset is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I love sunsets. Where’s my camera??!

You like writing.
I can’t stop writing because I’ve never had a voice and this is the only chance I have to say all the things I’m feeling before I die. And if I write every day that I have left, I still won’t have said all I need to say to the world.

You had a bad day.
I had the worst day in my entire life and I have to find the will to continue.

You have issues.
I have mental illness coupled with anxiety from complex PTSD that makes good days rare and bad days merely survivable.

I feel things deeply. Maybe too much. But thank God for deep feelings. Or I wouldn’t be a writer, artist, actor, designer, photographer, caretaker, sunset-lover. Thank God for my sensitivity. Or I would be just: average. I’d rather feel too much than nothing at all.

Oh good.
You get me.
Thanks.
This isn’t a competition.
Sorry.
And if you think I’m too hard on myself?
Some people aren’t hard enough.
The truth is out there.
We just have to be willing to say it.

People (Sometimes) Suck

You don’t see me.
You never call.
You say you love me,
But you let me fall.

We’re friends, “You’re the best!”
Kisses. Hug!
But you trash and slash me
Like a common thug.

When my back is turned?
You’re no friend.
You tear me down
To absolutely no end.

I built you up.
And you stole from me.
Just a hanger-on.
That’s all. YOU’LL. EVER. BE!

This is my show.
Get your own.
Hard to be a star
When you’re all alone?

One day, you’ll wake up
And know you’re wrong.
But it’ll be too late,
I’m already gone!