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


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

all saint's day is the day of the dead

i didn't realize it was getting so bad. i honestly really didn't. i thought i could handle everything - the full courseload, working part-time, both kinds of therapy and the emotional repercussions, the sexual assault, the flashbacks.

i got up and wrote every morning with my coffee, then i went to school and talked to people, then i put my headphones on and waited for the bus. day after day. sometimes met and i watched movies, sometimes i talked to my friends on the phone.

i didn't realize how much i was dying. i don't mean to be melodramatic, but that's a lot for anyone to handle, and i was doing it basically alone, shunning help, shunning support.

oh, i'm fine. i get down from time to time, but i always bounce back up. you know me. i'll just drink the tea and take my pill and get some rest. it'll be better in the morning.

it's hard for me. to be honest, i tend to need the most support from my partner - always have. there's this part of me that yearned for the "couple against the world" thing. right now met has quite enough on his plate, and even though he is the most supportive man in the universe, there's been this part in me refusing to ask him for help. refusing to let him know that i needed him, how i needed him.

well, he says that it's the asking that counts, not the getting, but right now i literally think it would kill me to ask for something i thought i truly, truly needed and not get it.

i'm finding myself instinctively putting up walls. he wants me to confide in him, to feel comfortable doing so - but i can't. not knowing that he wants distance. i mean, i'm going to try and figure out how, because this is the most important relationship of my life and this tendency of mine is what's killing it - but it's so hard. opening up, keeping open, when it already hurts so much, even though being open might not fix things.

i just...wanted a birthday, where i didn't have to ask people to make a fuss over me. it's so funny that i'm here, 3 days later, still crying into my coffee, wondering how it all went wrong.

my sister told me a beautiful story this weekend - how she was hiking in jackson park a few weeks ago and sat by the river for a while - something told her to be still. a flash of light caught her eye and she looked up, to find a white wooden heart hung from a tree. she knew that it was mom, and in that instant became comfortable with letting mom in, as someone who has died, rather than the aching memory of someone who had once lived.

i think back to my 17-year-old self, that sassy, loud-laughing, chain-smoking teenager who wrote poetry about sex on scraps of paper and listened to the doors late at night because jim morrison was the only person who truly got her. she wanted to be a writer, she wanted to be in love with every fibre of her whole being. she was full of this tender, green confidence - in the universe, in her place in it.

this was before. there is such a gulf between before and after. a gulf that took place in an instant (september 8, sunset, mother swollen and unconscious. moaning in pain. death rattle breathing. getting slower. and slower. each of us in the room waiting, praying for each breath, until five minutes passed and her strained face had turned waxen) but before that, too, when cancer just split us open. like rotten fruit. sweet and gathering flies.

i wonder who i would have been if she had lived - if i would have been the girl in the black power suit, or if i would still be this version. there's something there. i was this sensitive before, yes. i remember having anxiety attacks before she died, but would things have been different? could i have corralled the depression?

rhetorical questions are fun to try and answer before 10 am.

i wish i could go back to that 17-year old. tell her to hold tightly to the leaves of her new confidence, to not be so brazen with it, that it will take awareness and attention to keep. i wish i could tell her that she will find what she wants - someone that she loves with every fibre of her being, who loves her back, she will be a published writer - but that it won't solve her problems. that she must hold onto her confidence and turn inwards, and keep looking inwards until everything settles.

until the pain goes away. because if she doesn't, it will become cancerous, and eat her alive.


Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

Bee, your raw emotions here were written so eloquently. I remember Leonie, Liz and Susannah once wrote a note to their younger "selves" about love and advice they wanted to give. Perhaps advice their parents never had the chance, nor the will to give. I have yet to do this writing exercise and when I return from my trip I really want to. I think it sounds so healing, doesn't it? I think your 17 year old self needs to be loved by and hear from your 28 year old self. You have such a strong spirit in your words. It is so easy to feel drawn to this. No wonder my sister fell in love with you. About your partner, I wanted to say that yes...honesty is always refreshing and clearing even if it doesn't fix things.

By the way...is that a picture of you? It's ethereal.

Lots of warm hugs,

7:29 a.m.  
Blogger Claire said...

Sweetheart you are so wise and so strong...but remember it's OK to be sad. It's OK to grieve. It's OK to take some time for you...

Do not let the 'what ifs' get bigger than they have to be, sweet girl.


PS I feel down today also, and my big old grey cat is sat on my lap purring for all he's worth. It's helping. I send some of his feline love you way.

7:51 a.m.  
Blogger Jessie said...

yep..there's that "life in layers" thing again. god, i'd love to have long and interesting conversations with you about such things.

hang in there chica. i luv ya.

8:31 a.m.  
Blogger Spiky Zora Jones said...

Hey baby doll, i don't know if i've ever been completely open to anyone. i keep my secrets. i wouldn't want anyone to hurt themself as they stumble over objects frantically backing away from me. hehehe.
sweetie...you'll find your way. Shirt, shoes, power suit not required, just wear sun glasses and stay on the road. oh and bring along the Coppertone. later babes.

9:42 a.m.  
Blogger Jana B said...

Sometimes I wonder what I would even tell the younger me? Are there words powerful enough to fix things? They say it's healing to try, and I've tried several times... not accomplished much though. But rather cleansing to try.

At least now we can tell ourselves the things we wish others would say today!

(I love being an adult! LOL)

10:01 a.m.  
Blogger b/sistersshoes said...

bee~ you've done it again...you've reached up and tugged on my sleeve to let me know you need to be held. And Oh, how I would hold you. I would sit down on the comfey couch, pull you onto my lap, wrap my arms around you and rock you for awhile after I told you to hush and listen to your heart.

And what would a mother say to you as a daughter after reading this... I would say...Be true to your heart, speak the truth~ it is more painful not to. Hear that again, it is more painful to hold your fears inside and not speak the truth. The truth will always set you free. The truth gives you wings of bravery that leave fear behind. Only you know what truth you must speak...but 'fear' is a red flag. And the longer you let it feed, the bigger it grows and the harder it is to fly away from. I understand 'what ifs'....but they are just thoughts that can be given power by dwelling on them, or letting them go with the assurance that they were not your path. Accept your path...that acceptance gives you self-confidence...the confidence you need to speak the truth and the truth you need to bravely fly. It is a circle that is made complete with all the elements in place.

Brave brave girl, feel loved, even when the arms you think you need arent't there...others are.

loving you my sweet,
xxx darlene

10:14 a.m.  
Blogger Hulles said...

Some wise person once observed that the things that are meant to happen to us are the things that have happened. I find some solace in remembering this, myself.

I'm so grateful - and so are many others - that you aren't the girl in the black power suit with the soul of a clerk. I hope you are glad as well.

12:54 p.m.  
Anonymous ceanandjen said...

Sweet Bee, take one thing at a time one day at a time. Though you are a brave superwoman, you will indeed become overwhelmed by trying to tackle everything in your head. Try to be kind to yourself and continue to nurture your heart and your head.

I wish that I had the magic answer; all of us who come here do. I understand putting up walls, and I understand not wanting to expose those who love you to the pain. It is such a difficult balancing act.

You talk about that the fact that you are yourself in this forum, and you talk about the fact that despite hearing everyone tell you how stunning and good you are, you have a hard time believing it. This brings tears to my eyes. Please remember that we do indeed think this, and that is why we continue to come back. You are appreciated for who you truly are here, and despite how you are feeling now, people do indeed see the beauty that is you. You touch us all in a very powerful way. Your honesty and your brave and eloquent words are cherished.


1:29 p.m.  
Blogger Amber said...

The 'oh I'm fine, I bounce' thing... Not good for the soul.
Gosh, I have the feeling you and I could really talk. But right now I wish I had the words for you, but I actually have too many! Your post was so honest and real, and it makes my mind spin with thoughts. So all I can say that might help, is be in it. Because you can't be anywhere else. Go through it. Share it. Whatever it is you need, ask for it. Take the risk... I think it is a bigger risk not to ask.

Sending you love and prayer


6:46 p.m.  
Blogger j said...

I really think Banane is onto something here, with her allowing your mom in as someone who is dead, not someone who once lived. I think that is beautiful, and healing, and all things good.
Also, I know you don't feel like you're strong right now, but, I can see that you are. You have to trust me on this one. You know what's strong about you today? You wrote all that down. That's strength. Expressing that takes strength. (Expressing it as eloquently as you do takes talent, but that's another thing.) Think of it as an identity crisis: what you feel isn't always what you actually are; think of all the people we knew when we were younger who didn't feel like they were gorgeous, when anyone on the street would have seen that they were.
xo, j

6:12 a.m.  
Blogger Deb R said...

I agree with what everyone else has said and don't feel I can add much except just to say I'm listening. I hear you. And you don't have to be a superwoman and be happy all the time. It's ok to feel sad and lost and it's more than ok to ask for what you need when you do. {{{Bee}}}

10:34 a.m.  

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