I was cruel. I admit it. I said things that in the moment were my truth. I had carried that pain for months and months. It was stinking and awful and I finally said it out loud. I don’t know what I expected. That I would feel better? That this person would tell me what a mistake they made and how sorry they were? Did I wish for those things? Yes, I did. It was not what happened. Instead I saw the pain in their eyes and when we hugged goodbye I felt that pain. It was awful. I wanted to get back out of my car and beg them to forgive me for what I said. I did something I had swore I would never do. I wounded someone else. I forgot all the terrible things I had done in my past I had been forgiven for. I forgot a basic truth…what happened was not done to me…it was not even about me. I felt so hollow at that moment. Yes, I was wounded deeply by what happened but my perspective has changed over these months that have passed by so quickly. I now see a person who is just as broken as I am, not a monster, just another human being trying to do their best. I have made a vow to do better. I will not open my mouth in cruelty again. It is better to forgive and move on.
Page 2 of 12
Another bit of writing from about 15 years ago that I added to today.
New Lebanon, Ohio is a small town. Small enough that you know everyone and everyone knows you. To walk from one side of the town to the other only took an hour or two depending on how fast you walked. At least that is how I remember it. There are more churches than bars and at one time we only had one grocery store. In the 60’s the high school basketball team, the Dixie Greyhounds, won the state championship and there is still a sign at the city limits to let you know that. The local hang out when I was in high school was the dairy queen because the Toot which used to be the hang out was gone. The only interesting thing to do when you became old enough to drive was to drive the loop. We would start at the edge of town at the Dairy Queen after we hung out long enough to be told “You kids need to find something to do besides taking up all this space”. Then we would decide who was going to ride with who and we began the nightly ritual of driving up and down Main Street. Loop around the Dairy Queen, past the High School and the water tower, into the downtown where the library and the bank were, past the only bar in town (nicknamed the crack) and down to the dentist’s office to loop the parking lot and start again. New Lebanon was known as Magic City when I was in high school because the only thing to do was drive the loop and get high. Off from the main street all the streets led to the housing developments which we called tracts. Houses upon houses that all look alike: rectangular, brick with two car garages and two trees in the front yard. Each one looked slightly different depending of the personality of the people who lived there. Our neighbor had a bird bath in the front yard and used white rocks to fill up the spaces around the bushes. Our house had black bark around the bushes and black shutters. Some houses had fences and others didn’t. For the most part they all looked alike from the outside.
Our house inside never seemed to change. I always wondered what other houses were like inside. We had the same furniture until I was 17 and moving out. Our living room had green curtains with plastic backing. There was a huge dark wood bookshelf with the Encyclopedia Britannia from 1965 and books my dad collected from book clubs by mail. There was a gold couch that was worn from years of my dad sleeping on it all the time. Two end tables with nothing on them but a lamp and a coffee table with a giant family bible on it that had nothing written in it. There were two things on the white walls of the living room, a huge mirror that was framed with gold grapes and a picture of a seashore that was distorted and dark. The pictures were on opposite walls so when you looked in the mirror you saw the distorted seashore behind you. The carpet was green and sculpted. I hated green.
The den was bare also. We had one picture on the wall above the leather couch; it was a picture of musical instruments which were distorted and black with lots of red in the picture. The picture just looked mad and confused. The couch was this horrid black thing that you would sweat and stick to in the summer. In front of the couch there was a coffee table my sister carved a picture of big bird into, it had a small drawer in it that contained nothing. At the end of the couch was a cabinet stereo that had sliding drawers and was full of records by the Irish Rovers, Janis Joplin, Glen Campbell, Percy Sledge and other artists that I became familiar with over the years. At the end of the room in the corner facing the couch and the kitchen was a black and white console TV with a knob for channeling. The only remote in the house at that time was my sister and I. Off to one side was my father’s black lazy chair, no one dared to sit in it except him. He used to scrape his feet with a paring knife while he sat in it so there was always this fear that I was going to touch that dead skin if I went near it. The carpet from the living room also spilled into this room and was the same boring green, the curtains? Green. We did have a fish tank for a short time but I accidently killed the fish. I had seen my dad putting ice cubes in the tank when we got it and so I thought that was something you were supposed to do. The next time the babysitter was with us I told her we had to put ice in the tank and all the fish died that night. My dad called me the fish killer for weeks.
In the kitchen we had a big oval table by the glass sliding patio doors. It had big soft wheels and the material on the chairs was almost the color of my skin and was some kind of fake leather. There was never a centerpiece on the table. It was always bare. We did not have placemats or napkins. The kitchen had nothing on the walls and the counter only had canisters for sugar and flour. They were silver with black lids. Our stove and refrigerator were avocado and the fridge had a drawer on the bottom. The Washer and dryer was also avocado. It seemed so bare in there, so bare that if you talked too loud it would echo.
Now I decorate every inch of my life. I cover up the tables with flowers and Knick knacks and cover the walls with pictures and the trappings of my life. I string lights from the ceilings and around the windows. I am afraid of the bareness. Today I live far away from that place of emptiness but on days when I miss my family I get in my car and I drive from my house to the grocery store down the road and make the loop through the parking lot and then come back down my street and make the loop over and over until my heart calms down again.
This is something I wrote years ago about the color Red
Red is the color of my daughter who is a new mother
Red like the color of blood, the color we wash into this world with
Her lips as red as roses, red seems to radiate from her every pore
Caliente splashed across the chest of her shirt
She is hot, vibrant alive with the energy of motherhood
Red bleeds and burns within the chest of the young and the young at heart
When I think of red I think of the dark red of lust and swollen bruised lips of passion, the red raised stripes of my lovers back
I fantasize of red heels, red lipstick smeared on flushed red skin
I think of red painted on the stomach of a very pregnant woman
The red of a swollen vulva ready to give birth, ready to receive passion, red womb, red heart, red earth
I hear the goddesses of fire, Pele and Bridget calling for the pulsing blood and the passion of their followers, dancing around the blazing fire on the night of the red moon.
I smell cinnamon, red hots and red wax lips
I remember blood ties, blood relations, blood thicker than water, menstruation and Phoenix rising
Red nails, red hair, red light
In eighth grade whispered from girl to girl “you can’t wear red nail polish it’s for whores”
Eyes red from crying, hands red from clapping, red lines from sleeping with your hand to your face.
Skin pulsing with angry red blisters
I see signs in my mind, stop, danger, death, go no further.
Anger is blazing from my eyes
Red streams of hot lava flow from my mouth….
I have been feeling some sadness and regret but I have to just let it go and move on. I am determined to be grateful for my life. I am truly blessed. Those who really love me are here and will not abandon me.
I am determined to work on my future and prepare myself to retire from my full time job in 4 years. Part of this is working on a book and my plan to become a traveling tarot reader. I also have a dream to have a seasonal tarot and tea house here in Rochester where we would bring in speakers and have retreats. In preparation for all this I am going to be making more posts about the tarot. I want to look at each card in relation to my life and experiences. As a reader for over 30 years my interpretations of the cards have changed many times. I learn something new almost daily. I believe it is important to stay open to new perspectives . Today I start in the most obvious place, The Fool.
The Fool is the zero card. I was taught that the fool walks through the story of the tarot. Story telling is a wonderful way to weave a reading together. If I think of the person I am reading for as the fool of the deck and I read the cards thinking of where they are in the journey it helps me to tell a strong story. I have found that people relate to a story much easier than pieced together symbols that may not mean anything to them. The fool depictions are different in many decks. My favorite deck for reading is the Robin Wood Tarot. I have collected many decks over the years and occasionally I will find a deck that fits well for a particular person I read regularly for. So I am always looking for decks that I resonate with.
Right now I am at that 0 point of my life, the fool, the place of new beginnings. For many months I was stuck at the 10 of Swords. I was desperately trying to pull swords out of myself. I just wanted the pain I was feeling to be over. I fought the grief and was holding all kinds of anger and bitterness. I was damaging myself. I would get to a point where I thought that maybe it was finally over and then something would happen that I perceived as hurtful and it would bring it all back up again. I had that experience very recently. I was shocked at how much still remained and how in a moment all the ground I had seemed to gain was lost. But in reality that is not true. I am standing on the cliff right now with my little dog and my bags packed and what happened? I looked back. In looking back I got lost for a few days. Our brains cannot tell the difference between something happening in reality and what we are telling it is happening so it sets off all the alarms and our body reacts with chemicals to protect us. It feels awful. I am learning to breath and take the time to think these things though. I did not do that with this most recent incident and ended up saying some things I regret. My looking back caused me to question everything. It is time for me to take the step off the cliff. I cannot see exactly where I am headed at the moment but I have some ideas. If we wait on the cliff for a map or for exact instructions we may end up spending our whole lives there. In fact there is a danger that we may just sit down there with our back to the future. I do not want to do that. I am ready to move on and to stop trying to change something I can no longer change. Today I had someone say something that I knew already in my head but I need to connect more to my heart. If we focus on what we have instead of what we have lost or we think we should have we will be much happier people. When we are able to see things in this way we can move on. So …what I am grateful for?
- My home which is a true refuge and place of love.
- My consort who loves me in a way I have never experienced before.
- My close friends who have stood by me through all of this.
- My life experience which helps me to make better choices and to help others who are on a similar path.
- My job which allows me to be creative and to also be able to financially live a good life and help those I love.
- The lessons I have been presented with.
- My teachers who have both been people who have been loving and warm and those who broke my heart.
- My heart, it has been broken many times but is still open, loving and empathetic.
There are many other things I am grateful for and I will remember those things when my inner critique, the squirrel committee, starts trying to drown out the positives in my life.
I welcome the fool role in my life right now. I am ready to start over. I must decide if I still have things in my bag for this journey that I no longer need and put those aside. It is time to move forward.
Sometimes the universe hands you a gift wrapped in something that seems at first glance to be a bag of flaming shit left on your porch. After examining the recent gift the universe gave me I have come to realize that first impressions are truly not always right. I was angry all weekend. Today I am feeling relieved and free. This gift of sight of the truth in my life has freed me from some chains I had crafted myself. My undying loyalty to people who have never been or never would be loyal to me is one of my major flaws. I would try to save someone who was trying to kill me. That is not just an analogy, I have actually done that. It has always been my nature. But I can’t do that anymore. This part of my nature is self destructive and my overwhelming longing to be loved and accepted has done nothing but cause me pain for 57 years. I have allowed treachorous people in my life who used me. I have allowed things to go on around me that I should never have allowed all with the motivation of “if I am good to them they will love me.” It has never worked, not even once.
I am not sure why it started. I could site many things that happened to me as a child, a teenager and a young adult but why should I dig those bones back up? I cannot change those events. I cannot change those people. I cannot make those people love me. What I can do is stop blaming myself and looking for what was wrong with me that made them chose to betray or abandon me. I am not perfect. I know that. I have made many mistakes and I own that. However, I will not take on the blame when it is not mine and from this day forward I will do my best not to beat myself up over the past. I have been fighting this same battle for years now and sometimes I win and sometimes I just give up and let it take me over. I am getting older and more tired of it. I am ready to put my weapons down and walk away. Things or people who are not giving the same amount of love to me are not worth my time. I don’t have to be friends with my enemies. I don’t have to be friends with those who still have knives in my back. I always thought I did. I don’t have to anymore. I want peace in my life. I will move on and find places and people who I can trust. There are not many of them but even if I have just one or two that is enough for me.
I can’t believe it’s been a year
One year since I had the crushing realization that that neither of us were happy. One year since we stood facing each other on the edge of the dance floor and I asked you if you had broken our agreement and you said yes. One year since I spoke those words “It’s over, I’m ending this now” and we drove home while I tried not to have a panic attack. One year since I sat on the floor and watched you pack up your things and leave. One year since you said to my words about how I did not want to end things this way that you were not that into me anyway. One year since you decided that you wanted someone else you had been chasing in front of me for months but didn’t have the guts to tell me the truth about it. One year since you said if I would have just been agreeable to you having a weekend with her it would have been over quickly and we could have continued on together. One year since you did what I knew you would do all along. One year since everything that I thought I knew and loved and wanted disappeared before my eyes. One year since my entire world came crashing down. One year since my biggest fear with you became a reality. One year since my life changed forever.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss you sometimes. I miss your laugh, your face, your hands, your hair, your smell, the sound of your voice. I miss the way we could spend an entire evening just listening to music, watching Game of Thrones or Battlestar. I miss how we would go out and spend the whole time just itching to get home and be alone together.I miss spending the day sprawled out on the sofa in our pajamas, limbs entwined. I miss how I would catch you looking at me sometimes. I miss the walks we took. I miss the long showers together or laying in the bathtub on a Sunday. I miss the trips we took together and the time we spent at the festival. I miss the stupid voices and faces that you would do to make me laugh. Imiss coming home to you cooking in the kitchen. I miss the questions you would ask me that would keep me thinking for days. I miss watching you sleep next tome. I miss coming home and seeing you walking down the street with B and smiling when you would see me. I miss dancing with you until 3 or 4 in the morning. I miss loving you with all my being.
But there’s a lot that I don’t miss about you, too. I don’t miss how you would sometimes push me away in the night. I don’t miss how you would barely communicate with me at times. I don’t miss how you always seemed so far away, so unreachable. I don’t miss how you would only text me when you had something to tell me. I don’t miss how you didn’t check in with me, even when you knew I was struggling. I don’t miss that when I was rushed to the hospital you never took the time to come and be with me because it was not my day with you. I don’t miss that when I was dangerously under the influence to numb myself to what you were doing that you took advantage of that to do even more things…and then laugh about it to my face. I don’t miss how you never took the time to find out how I was feeling. I don’t miss the dark parts of you that scared me. I don’t miss how you shut down emotionally whenever something was difficult. I don’t miss how little you seemed to miss me when I wasn’t around.I don’t miss feeling lonely when I was lying in bed next to you. I don’t miss how uninterested you seemed in getting to know me. I don’t miss desperately trying – and failing – to connect with you when you seemed distant. I don’t miss how I never really knew where I stood with you. I don’t miss how you could make me feel so loved one minute but so invisible the next. I don’t miss always feeling like an afterthought. I don’t miss that you never told me you loved or missed me. I don’t miss the fact that you identify as someone who always lies. I don’t miss being constantly scared that you would change your mind and choose someone else. And then you did.
But I forgive you. I know you did your best.I did too. I guess our best just wasn’t good enough. I should have believed you the first time you told me that you couldn’t give me what I needed. I should have believed you when you said that you just transfer on to the next person and do the same thing over and over. I Should have believed you when you told me that that only promise you would make me was that you would hurt me. I don’t regret any of it. Not one single second. The time we spent together was painful, beautiful, scary, magical, torturous, intense, passionate, confusing,indulgent, wild. It made me who I am today. And if it didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have been able to learn everything that I’ve learned. When you walked out the door that last day, I was forced to face up to the reality of my choices. I was forced to wake up to some truths about myself I had been running from for many years. Turns out I made some really bad choices.But choosing you wasn’t one of them. You might not have been good for me or right for me. I might have ignored all the red flags, let you keep me at arm’s length, and made excuses for all of your questionable behavior. But loving you was still one of the best experiences of my life. And my God, did I love you.
I am going to start a regular serious of posts about the Tarot. I have been reading tarot for many years now and it has become very important in my life. I have collected some interesting decks over the years and I pick my decks based on the art and symbolism. I have found that not every deck works for me. I will be posting at least once a week about a different card or in some cases more than one card. I hope you will enjoy my insight and what these cards mean to me in addition to traditional meaning.
I will also be making some posts about ritual. As a pagan High Priestess I have been providing ritual for over 20 years. I love writing and providing ritual for my community. I can also answer any questions you may have about ritual if you have any.
I am looking forward to posting on some other topics. I will keep posting about my journey but you will find some other posts among them. Please comment if you enjoy my blog. I love your input.
I have been doing really good. I have started to have ritual at my house again. I have renewed friendships that I had not been putting enough energy into. I hosted a one year anniversary housewarming with my housemate. We had all the kids and grand kids over for a thanksgiving dinner. After almost 6 years my divorce is about to be final. I have the most wonderful housemate in the world. I have a great dog. I have wonderful friends who have helped me through a very dark time in my life. I have a companion and consort that makes me extremely happy. I am helping to lead a women’s group based on empowerment. My job is better at the moment and I have some great vacations coming up in the next few months. In the midst of all this wonderful stuff I have been fighting off that black cloud that whispers “you are not good enough” “those people hurt your purposely” “they just used you”. I see it out of the corner of my eye sometimes. Other times it sneaks up on me in the shower and I end up having all kinds of thoughts about what I did wrong and how I was wronged. It gets so bad sometimes that I start having terrible revenge fantasies. I am told this is normal. I hate normal. I don’t want to think about lighting candles and screaming curses. I don’t want to imagine someone crying and being hurt as badly as I was. Deep down I only want happiness for others. So why….why am I struggling so?
How far does this go back? I think part of my growth is to figure out where this deep self loathing and anger that is trying to come out really comes from. I truly feel like I have an infected wound that is constantly oozing awful smelly green stuff that I keep trying to cover with a band aid. The thought of cleaning it out scares the shit out of me. My fear of rejection certainly goes way back. It seems that as soon as I trust someone that is when the other shoe drops. I have a huge fear of that other shoe. As long as I can remember I have been standing watching the back of someone I care about who is walking away and I am wondering…what I did wrong?.. But did I really do anything wrong? In some cases, yes. In other cases, no. I cannot lump them all together. I was a troubled teenager. It started when I was around 11 actually before I even became a teenager. I am not sure exactly why. I can say some of it came from being part of a religion that taught me that women were not as important and you should submit to the men in your life. That teaching caused me a lot of pain and hurt for many years. I never thought I could say no to men. I was manipulated to do things I didn’t want to and then shamed for being sexual. I was called a whore, slut, bitch by the men who used me and the women who hated me. I thought I was doing what was expected of me instead I was being used and then judged by both men and women. Several times I completely trusted and felt comfortable with men who should have protected and mentored me only to have them put their hands on me the first time we were alone. Instead of protecting me my parents shamed me. My mother called me names and my father turned a blind eye. My first boyfriend was physically abusing me. My father found out about it and called me into the living room and said “You tell that boy if I ever hear of him doing something like that again I will take his head off”. Me, tell the boy who was torturing me at school and at public events in front of people, who spit on me and raped me several times…tell him what my dad had just said. I felt like I had done something wrong. I never told that boy and he kept abusing me into high school. This scarred me greatly. I still have a great fear of being alone with men unless I know them well. Men I really love I cannot be sexual with. I can only be completely sexual with men who are emotionally unavailable. To be completely honest I could care less about sex at this point in my life. I spent way too many years being used for sex and then tossed aside. Then it became that I was being used for what I could give …a place to live, a car to drive, food…I could go on and on. I was always open, loving, understanding and willing to share everything I had and I rarely got anything in return. I only wanted one thing though…to feel safe and I wanted someone to like me. I feel safe with very few people. At this moment I can tell you of the men in my life I feel safe with my housemate, my consort, my son and a couple of men that have proved over time that they are truly my friends. I have some very close women friends that I trust as well. I feel lucky to have them. Some of them were with me last year when I was so wounded I just wanted to end it. Others live far away and have kept in contact with me over the years.
So now I find myself in a place that is confusing and I can barely see. I know this is the part when I am struggling to finally throw off the cocoon or the skin I have been trying to shed for the past year. I don’t remember much of anything from December 15 until almost the end of the summer this past year. I felt like someone reached in and put their fingers in my heart like a bowling ball and just kept twisting it. In some ways I should count this as a blessing. If I would have had the energy to act on the anger of all these years I would probably be in jail right now. I stay away from certain places not because I will hurt …it is because I have overwhelming feelings of rage. I know for a fact this is not about the persons it is directed at right now. It is all the rage that has been building since that first slap, rape, rejection, or betrayal by not only men but women. I want to be rid of this anger I have been carrying for so many years. I want to lance my heart and clean it out completely. What is stopping me? That is what I am working on now. I need to let go completely. I have said for years I want to write a book and I have put it off because it hurts to write about all the betrayal and pain I have experienced. It is important for me to say that I also caused others pain. In my own pain I lashed out, I hurt people, I did things I am not proud of and I was not a great parent. I regret all of that. Today I am lucky that I have children who have grown up to be wonderful people who still love me despite what they had to live through. I hope that it helps them to be better parents and I see them being way better parents than I ever was.
I need to stop right here and say something important.
I take responsibility for every single thing I have done. I am not standing here pointing fingers and saying that every wrong thing I have done is the fault of others. I made my choices and I know in many instances I did the wrong thing. I own that. I still have days where I think about ending things. Luckily I have a safety plan and people to talk to. I still have days I just want to lock myself away and give up…go live in the woods and forget everything…but we all know that is not reality. I have a calling and I want to dedicate myself to that calling. I just have to keep reminding myself I am worthy of the friendship and love of the people who have stuck by me.
So here I am facing some anniversaries and fighting the feelings I am having. I can’t fight anymore. I have to just let the feelings flow over me and embrace my shadow. It hurts but I believe that with time it will only get better. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned this past year and most of all I am grateful that I can see who my true friends are at this moment and one of them…is me.
“People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses” Brene Brown ~ Rising Strong
I will not stop telling my story. I have been shamed for telling my story because people who have hurt me do not want my story to affect how they may be perceived. But here is the thing. It is my story. You have the right to tell your story too and I am not going to try to stop you from telling it. I am telling my story from my experience in the best way I can. I had hidden some of my posts because to be honest I was trying to please someone else. I have to be true to myself. This makes me uncomfortable because I do not like to hurt anyone, even those who have hurt me. If you do not like what I am writing…don’t read it. If you don’t want to know what I think stay off my blog and go live your own life. I am back to writing and I intend to tell that story….from beginning to end without leaving out the middle. As Rene Brown says in her book Rising Strong so many times we hear the beginning where the person is face down in dirt and then the end where they rise back up but what about the middle part? The middle part is the struggle that is sometimes hard to look at. By telling the whole story others can see that they are not alone. I intend to tell the whole story and to make all those posts I hid public again. I am back on my feet and I am able to look back over the last couple of years with different eyes now. I take responsibility for my life and I will share that story with you now. So stay tuned….