Zodiac

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I scroll through my horoscope, only half of my mind paying attention to the words. The other half is daydreaming of what else? The ocean. I don’t particularly believe anymore in horoscopes, but they’re still words and I adore words. Mine says something about a career change and I won’t deny that my heart yearns to write full-time. I’ve already begun to imagine the rolltop desk I would have my notebooks sprawled open on, a lava lamp nearby, hypnotizing more than inspiring. Maybe with pink or purple lava. I’m a Pisces- loyal, creative, compassionate, adventurous, artistic, a dreamer. Is it any surprise I love the ocean? I really don’t trust horoscopes, I believe in faith and working hard for what you want. Sure dispositions may be instilled from birth, but life is what you make of it.

Until Him, I had always chosen the wrong type of guy. Too ambitious, too headstrong, too demanding, too arrogant, to self-absorbed, only seeing in black and white. It’s difficult for me to love and be loved by someone who is so grounded while my head is in the clouds. It’s restrictive to me and I used to find myself feeling as though I were always wrong instead of just in the wrong relationship. But He is a Pisces too.

Before Him, I used to twitch at my horoscope’s mention of love. It made me apprehensive instead of excited. It was the reason I stopped reading them. I won’t deny I always dreamt of love, even though I never truly believed in love. Not like it’s potrayed in books and films. The type of love I’ve always known to be true is one of convenience, one born out of obligation, love that grows over time, not a loud BANG! Nothing so glamarous as love at first sight. Until He came along.

Have you ever seen the Pisces zodiac symbol? It’s two fish, head to tail. One begins where the other ends, a circle. I like this idea. The two complete each other. It’s beautiful. This is how we are, or how I’d like to imagine we are.

He is everything I had ever hoped for in a partner. He is kind, gentle, loving, sensitive, dependable. If we were our zodiac symbols, of all of the fish in the sea, I would hope he would chose me again and again. He completes me.

 

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You

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Your words give me the courage to find my own words. Your encouragement gives me the motivation to turn the page one more time, to write down those thoughts that create themselves in my mind, one word at a time, like this post. I wrote this post because of You. I thank you.

Your dreams shine light on my nightmares, chasing away the darkness and illuminating a way out, through writing and words and images. Your courage lends itself to me and I find myself unafraid when I usually would be. Your touch is soothing and smoothes away the anxiety, it replaces the stabbing pins and needles with goosebumps and shivers. It sets me free.

Your scent is my security blanket, it’s what I reach for when the world is upside down and moving backwards instead of forwards. It reminds me of home and makes me thankful that I have somewhere to call home, that I have somewhere to go. You make me feel as though I belong.

Your determination reminds me that I can never give up, no matter how much I might want to. You remind me that my dreams are achievable if I want it bad enough. Your perserverance is admirable and I find myself observing you, trying to find a way that works for me as well as it works for you.

Your friendship and love remind me that I am never truly alone. No matter how out of place I feel in a situation, in my life, in this world, I know that You are here with me and I can reach out and remember that I am loved. Your love makes me unafraid to show my own love.

I never understood love until I met You. I couldn’t fathom anything lasting, I never really even desired it. Until You, I was comfortable being alone, sitting in silence for hours at a time, doing nothing, seeing nothing, thinking and feeling much the same. I was okay with that. And then came You. You turned my world upside down and I haven’t been right ever since.

And I love it.

 

 

 

X-Ray

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**Just thought I would note that this post does deal with the effects of domestic violence… Proceed with caution please!

Sitting here on this examination table, waiting to see what the cause of the pain is and my bones are on display against this lit up board. The doc tells me I have some interesting defects. He points to the slide of my right arm. There’s some dark spots there. See that dark line there? That’s where your arm was fractured at some point but I can tell by the way it’s set itself that you never had it corrected. My eyes veer down to my bare toes and I make a game out of seeing how hard I can squeeze my left big toe with my right one and the toe next to it. I think back on the time he picked me up in the kitchen by my hair and threw me down into the bedroom, onto the thinly carpeted, concrete floor. I remember the pain that radiated throughout my arm and how that arm was useless for months afterwards. I basically became a lefty for that time period. And here, on your chest. There’s a small spot where it looks as though your breastbone suffered some trauma at some point. He waits quietly for an explanation, but I have none to give. I tune him out and hum as quietly as I can, a defensive coping mechanism I’ve learned over the years to block out the unpleasantness. It was a punch to the chest, of course. Or maybe it was the kick. And it looks like at least one of the fingers on your right hand, your ring finger, possibly your middle finger, were fractured at some point. I don’t even remember why that injury happened, only that at the time I thought that my fingers were going to be ripped off. He flips through some papers on his clipboard and I catch the words “internal injuries” and I wonder what he found inside of me. Can he tell how when winter hits my arm will be constantly throbbing as a result of the old fracture? Can he tell that all of the pain in my chest from all of the punches and kicks were nothing compared to the pain of the broken heart I lived with for so long? Can he see my shattered self-confidence after years of being told I am nothing, will never be anything? Can he see my self-loathing after having been told time after time that I am worthless, unlovable, unintelligent, lazy? And what about the anxiety I have over being in public while attempting to do the most normal things a wife and mother should be able to do- paying bills, grocery shopping, working, picking the children up from school? Can he see these things as well? Can he see the nightmares that jolt me awake in bed at two in the morning, sweating, my heart feeling as though it’s about to explode from my chest, the terror at the feeling of those hazel eyes from my past on me in the darkness? Can he see the urges I get to run and hide behind my writing when it all becomes too much? The way he looks at me while he fiddles with his clipboard almost makes me think he does even though those slides show nothing except what is there just beneath the surface.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

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Sitting on this couch, half amused, half disgusted, a lot less hurt than I think I should feel, I survey the situation with incredulity. How the hell did I get to this point? I tell myself the answer is at the bottom of that bottle, but I’ve never been one to appreciate dark liquors so instead I hold shot after shot in my mouth and spit it back into my chaser. I watch my two other drinking partners become lit, their tanned cheeks tinged pink, their eyes slowly losing their focus. The woman is attempting to make her way to the bathroom and is walking in a slanted line. The man is absorbed in whatever is on the screen of his computer. Talking to yet another woman, I’m sure. I want to laugh aloud but I think they both think I am just as inebriated as they are so I hold it in. After all, it could be detrimental to my health to laugh when no one else is.

I cannot understand how I have ended up in this position. I used to be such a good person. I worked eight, nine, ten, twelve hours a day. I paid my taxes. I went to church. I helped out friends even when it probably wasn’t morally right to do so. I had a big heart.

Yet here I am, sitting cross-legged on this couch, praying that these two find themselves laying in a pool of bloody vomit after an irreversible case of alcohol poisoning. How did it ever come to this?

I used to love him. I used to write to him every day when he was in prison and before that I used to take care of him. When he lost his son, I would come over and do the pile of dishes that had steadily built up over the week. I would take his laundry back to my parent’s house and wash it to save him a trip to the laundry mat. I used to go and pay his bills for him, with his money, not mine.

I used to love nature. In my hometown there was a park less than five minutes from where I used to live. I would go down there and sit on top of a park table, writing, sometimes drawing, watching the ducks and geese searching for food. Sometimes I would bring bread to feed them. The water wasn’t all that clean. Barges used to dump oil into it, it’s a miracle the birds and ducks could skim that water, but they did. I can’t remember the last time I saw any type of nature other than the stupid Toyota that he has parked in the backyard because he’s too selfish to get the tags and insurance renewed. Instead, he’s bought himself a new computer monitor and custom made tower including six fans, complete with a new chair so he can message whomever has caught his attention this week.

I used to make ungodly amounts of money, ungodless amounts to me at least. I used to spend it on clothes and shoes and clubs and drinks. I used to spend it on my son and books and journals and pens. An endless amount of pens. Sitting on this couch next to this dumb, drunk broad I think of all the times that I’ve had to scrounge together some change leftover from grocery shopping just to buy necessities- things most people take for granted. And forget finding a pen, these days I’m too afraid to write anything too personal before I pay the consequences later.

Little do I know at the time, this woman and I, we will soon be family. In a sense. In this time period, I’ve had more bruises and broken bones than I have written words. I’ve had more nightmares than I have had dreams. I’ve had more warrants out for my arrest for unpaid moving violations than I have received recognition at my job- both over a five year time period.

I watch her for a moment and then stare down at this half-filled shotglass in my hand and tell myself that if I would just give in and swallow down the drink I could let go of all of the pain and self-loathing and confusion and hatred and worry and fear I have been allowing to control me for too long. I could be free for even a short period of time. I fill my mouth with the amber liquid and hold it for a moment before tipping the cup with the mix of chaser and whiskey shots and letting another shot mix in with it.

 

Vanity

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Sitting on the fancy bench next to her, I watch her pick up various creams and different colors, applying them so carefully to her skin, looking at her reflection in the mirror. I thought she looked fine without it, but she felt otherwise. I watch as she transforms herself into someone who looks very different from the way she started and it’s almost frightening. I can’t help but wonder why she puts so much effort into this process, she hardly ever speaks to my father, let alone looks at him. With the exception of meals, I cannot even remember the last time I saw them in the same room together and he doesn’t seem to notice or care about her finished product.

She sits at this little table every single morning, taking such care to apply everything just right and I’m not sure why because she never even leaves the house. She doesn’t work and she spends the majority of her day on the couch, in front of the television watching soap operas that seem like they upset her more than entertain her. It confuses me how she can become so engrossed in these make believe worlds while all around her, her own world is in chaos.

I wonder what she sees when she looks in her vanity mirror. I think she sees a magnificent woman, the most beautiful she has ever seen. She thinks she has attributes that are appealing to men and envied by women. I think she looks ridiculous and I wonder if I am destined to follow the same path of falling in love with a reflection that everyone else around me cannot stand to look at. I feel an honest fear and what I do not yet understand to be disgust.

When I become an adolescent I start to become her. I stand in front of my dresser mirror for hours, trying out different colors and techniques even though I have no idea what I’m doing with these products. I lay on the eyeshadow too heavily, the eyeliner is too thick. I smear on lipgloss and straighten my wavy hair. I could do this for hours and hours because I tell myself everyone else around me appreciates my efforts.

In my early adult years I stood in front of the mirror and wonder when was the last time that I even owned any makeup. I wonder how it is that even though my body and soul hurt so dreadfully that I have very few marks to show for them and the ones that I do have to show are always kept covered because he was always smart enough not to leave bruises where anyone else could see them. How would that look, the significant other of a pastor’s son, all bruised and banged up like an old piece of fruit? The thought is almost ridiculous enough to make me laugh out loud but my reflection stops me because while there is a bitter laugh stuck in my throat, there is nothing else but emptiness everywhere else inside. I recognize that others still find me beautiful, I’ve been told enough times of all my physical attributes that are pleasing to the eyes, especially men’s eyes,  but in this moment, I don’t see them. I see nothing but nothing. Nothing at all.

Now much later in my life I am finally able to look at myself in the mirror. I don’t feel the urge to avert my eyes, to brush my teeth with the lights off in the early morning hours. I no longer trace the lines of bruises and bumps because they are no longer there and haven’t been for quite some time now. I no longer detest what I see, I am no longer disgusted. I recognize my flaws but regard them as my own uniqueness, we all have something about ourselves we dislike. I look at myself in the mirror and realize that I love myself for who I am, but not like my mother loves herself. I love what I have been blessed with, inside and out and realize that it all could be taken in the blink of an eye.

Untamable

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Sitting in the warm sand, hugging my knees close to my chest, I watch the waves crashing onto the shore. The breeze is much stronger this time of night and it makes the water choppy, almost violent, but it’s beautiful. Tiny fish jump and leap, disappearing once again below the surface and I am envious. Who knows where they came from? Who knows where they live? I cannot see the opposite shore and I know these fish have such an immense amount of vastness to explore. An entirely separate world to call their own.

The sun shimmers off the surface of the water, the waves crash against the jetties, foaming and frothing, never stilling, not even for a moment. There’s nothing calm about these waves. They are wild and free and I long to be consumed by them in a way I cannot explain. There is freedom in those waves, a freedom I am always seeking.

Seagulls dip low, barely skimming the top of the water, coming up with their catches. Their call is beautiful as they soar through the fiery skies. I imagine them flying back to their nests, on the highest branches of the tallest trees, to feed their young before gliding back through the clouds. I spread my arms and feel the wind tickle my bare skin and wonder what it must feel like to fly. I want to fly.

A couple of hermit crabs carried in by the tide nestle into the wet sand and I watch for a moment as wave after wave flows over them. I wonder if they will come out of their shells to retreat back into their watery home and I worry that they will become stuck. Standing, not bothering to wipe the sand off my skin, I walk carefully over to them and pluck them up. Walking barefoot to the water’s edge, I put them down and watch the waves carry them away. I stand for a moment as they are carried further and further out by the almost violent, yet absolutely beautiful water, sinking slowly with each wave that washes over them and I feel a familiar longing and wonder when and if it will ever be satisfied.

 

 

 

Thunderstorm

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Lying in bed with the blankets over my head, my hands pressed over my ears and it does no good because the booming of the thunder vibrates straight through to my bones. The room lights up as the lightning crashes and I squeeze my eyes shut as tightly as I can. I hate it when the weather is like this, bad things happen when the thunder sounds and no one can hear you scream. But this isn’t then, and there’s nothing out there. That’s what I tell myself anyways.

I hum quietly to myself and with my hands still pressed tightly against my ears all I hear is the tune I’m using as a distraction. I don’t even know what I’m humming and it doesn’t really matter so long as I have something else to listen to. Outside the lightning sets the sky ablaze and I can see the flash behind my closed eyelids, underneath my blanket. I could just go hide in the closet but I’m an adult and the children are sound asleep. If they can sleep through this then I can endure it while I’m awake.

He lays in bed next to me and tries to comfort me, wrapping his arms around me and running his fingers through my hair but I cannot help the tears that start to well up. I should be able to handle this, it’s just an act of nature. Thunder and lightning can’t hurt me and those bad things that happened in the past are just that- in the past.

Thunder cracks through the sky, a bolt of lightning hits seemingly right outside the window, closer than comfortable for me and the power goes out. By this time I am shaking in terror because bad things happen in the dark. Terrifyingly, horrible, life-altering things. Things that leave mental, emotional and physical scars and no one can hear you scream over the thunder. I try to steady my breathing and count down from a million while all around me the storm rages on.