waiting on the front porch

she just stood there on the front porch waiting for her will to come and get her she was packed she had a suitcase full of noble intentions she had a map and a straight face hell bent on reinvention she was learning about please and huge humilities then one day she looked around her and everything up til then was showing and she wondered how did i get here without even knowing where i was going? ~ani difranco

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Location: montreal, quebec, Canada


Sunday, September 24, 2006

how do i know this is true? by looking inside myself.
~lao tzu

there are a lot of pink elephants in the room with me at any given moment - things about myself that i don't want anybody to notice, so i never talk about them. sometimes i even forget they're there.
my loved ones probably wouldn't even consider the things i hide from most people flaws, per se; they're just personality quirks that make up bee, but to me they cause me to flame in embarrassment (i'm a big blusher).
some of the things that cause me to blush are: my klutziness (i routinely cut the tip of my left thumb off when i cook); being put on the spot; emotions (of which i have LOTS); my messy tendencies; my physical body. i have trouble sometimes owning how and what i feel. (and my inner voice just piped up: sometimes? hah! bee, be honest. okay, a lot of the time.)
i am the girl who is adaptive to any and all situations, to the point where i can go entire relationships without making a decision.

i have come to believe that my refusal to honour the person i am, all parts of me, is behind my panic attacks, my anxiety, and a large part of my depression. somewhere along the line i started making value judgments about my own character, until i had completely lost any sense of who i actually was - not someone completely good or completely bad, but just someone.

last weekend i had a heart-to-heart with my godmother. my godmother is pretty rad, all things considered, but she also kicks my ass in some uncomfortable ways. she's a sex therapist, someone who's very open to everything; try as i might i have never been good at hiding things from her. coming up against your own short-comings can be brutal if you're not prepared.
during the course of our conversation (i was telling her how alone i was feeling) she said, "of course. because you're facing the emptiness that's always been inside you."

and there it was: the biggest pink elephant of them all.

i asked her to explain what she meant, and she wouldn't go into a lot of detail, but her basic train of thought was that all people are born with a space inside them that needs to be filled; certain people have bigger spaces than others.

i have known this about myself for a long time and been unable to articulate it. this space that i have in me lurks like the biggest, dirtiest secret of them all. the kicker is, i know that everybody who loves me sees it, and doesn't care either way, or accepts it as part of who i am.
this space in me, the emptiness that needs to be filled, makes me givegivegive of myself until i have nothing left. i love seeing my loved ones happy, but if i am honest, i have to say that sometimes i give knowing it will exhaust me.
this space makes me apologize for my feelings. it makes it uncomfortable for me to be alone sometimes.

it makes it hard to do a lot of things.

lately i have been trying a different approach. instead of running from the space, or pretending it doesn't exist, i have been trying to make friends with it.
last week i submitted some poems to my class workshop, and i included a poem i had written about my c.p.
in 27 years, i have never written ANYTHING about my c.p., which is strange when i think about it, considering how i have always used writing to heal all my hurts. what made c.p. any different?

this past week i have been flexing my wings a little bit, owning myself a little bit more. it's been a continual and often bumpy process over the past few months as i figure out what i've been hiding from, turning and facing it, and beginning the process of self-acceptance. good lord, sometimes i want to run away screaming.
sometimes i do.

but i can feel something in there. it is still bending in the wind a little bit, but a root has taken hold in my heart. it feels like peace; it is growing in the space that used to be empty.
it feels weird, as all new growth does, but it feels good as well.

i want to own myself. the self who hasn't swept her floor in a few days because she's been too stressed out; the self who has nothing for breakfast but black coffee most days; the self who takes on far more than she can handle and then gets down on herself when she can't; the self who has a different laugh for almost every mood; the self who has a writing 'uniform'; the self who can be embarrassingly silly and loud and lovable, all the same.

with that, i offer you a poem. i hope you had a good weekend, and are finding some peace in the form that you need it.

today is a most unusual day. we have never lived it before; we will never live it again; it is the only day we have.
~william arthur ward


The summer I am seven, my mother
devises a plan: to make me walk
to the end of the drive way and back,
three times a day:
Heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe

The sparrows watch me from their elm, churring
softly to each other, grading my progress.

I have to concentrate to bend the slow foot,
To not let it drag over the cobblestones, the bright
blades of grass, to not crush
the potato bugs and centipedes that scurry
from my approach, this lurching shadow

with one thin leg, one broken wing
held close to my waist underneath
my jacket; my face burning,
imagining the eyes that watch from
behind curtained windows.

To the edge of the curb, which I toe
like a finish line, a ribbon of merciful cement,
and then turn, and back up the incline
to the front steps, the door with its summer wreath,
and my mother, smiling,
who takes my tear-stained face in her hands
and kisses it.


Blogger tablefor4 said...

That poem is sooooo beautiful. This is such a wonderful post. Wonderfully honest, and open. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

7:35 p.m.  
Blogger Susannah said...

i understand about the emptiness inside. for the last year and a half i've been battling with my own- over time i've realised that the emtiness was always there, not only during my grief. grief simply uncovered it and forced me to deal with it.

keep doing what you're doing, Bee - it's working magic xx

2:01 a.m.  
Blogger Claire said...

Love the poem sweetie. The journey is long and tiring, but worth it...keep growing and sharing hon.


6:34 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THis is very thoughtful poetry. Thank you for sharing.

7:27 a.m.  
Blogger Spiky Zora Jones said...

Brave brave Bee...you have so much strength. You have it in your head and your heart.
I love the poem sweetie...thank you for that and for being you.

11:21 a.m.  
Blogger Sacred Suzie said...

Oh Bee, the poem, the post... all lovely. How can something be so sad, happy and beautiful at the same time? That's real art.

It's hard finding peace within illness. I know I try to pretend mine doesn't exist because it became too much of me. But there are days I must sit and say, this is the way it is.

11:33 a.m.  
Blogger Scott said...

Great poem... I am glad that you are stepping into yourself in this way. It is tough to do, but keep plugging away with it.


12:14 p.m.  
Anonymous jeannette* said...

such a lovely post Bee. And a beautiful poem. I like the lilting rhythm of it. It flows with such fluid agility. Lovely.

5:31 p.m.  
Blogger bee said...

thank you so much for your support, everybody. i really appreciate it.

5:37 p.m.  

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