Monday, July 7, 2008

Writing through Change

I don’t clean all day. Even though I have some kind of energy in the morning, I don’t clean. It’s been six days now that I’ve spent here in this little space. I’m just listening.

Or I’d like to think I’m just listening. Some grand, amazing, spiritual kind of thing. Mostly I flit between emotions and the predominant one state of being is: curled up on my bed or in my chair. Listening, feeling, thinking, reading. Mind you, not the best stuff either. Just stuff.

I reread my manifesto from two days ago over and over and over. How do I work through this? How do I listen to that voice, that place in my head? How do I do it? How do I act on the dreams I have in front of me?

I get angry at myself at the day wears on. I was so inspired 24 hours ago. I was so convinced I had hit on something monumental. Now I’m deflated again. Feeling stupid. Wondering if I can possibly achieve what I’ve set out to achieve.

The last part of my manifesto is what is stirring around inside of me.

I am not like you. Your story is not mine. Your story may encompass mine or sing a melody too, but your story is NOT MINE. And for my heart to sing, I must tell you and tell me that YOU ARE NOT MY STORY. And I must live mine. . . .

I AM NOT YOU. I do not have your talents or your encumbrances. But I do have mine. . . .

So, clear out, back away, stand by. You may hold my hand, you may be my friend. But you are not to come within the walls of my silent place any longer. For I’ve tried to hear her voice through you and have you sing her song. But you sing badly or not at all and I sit hoping to hear truth in places I do not honor with ears that are not mine.

I feel a bit ferocious about this last part. Like I’ve discovered a secret that I must not forget. I must remember the truth I have seen and heard here. You are not to come within the walls of my silent place any longer.

It has been an act of self-preservation to hear that voice this week. I don’t know how good/bad this week was really. I don’t know if it is right even to reflect on it morally. It just is. Good or bad. I learned something. And I think it is a lesson I will take with me forever.

I don’t know if I made a monumental mistake. I’m sure I was too selfish in the whole matter in some ways. But as the week wore on and I started listening to the screaming inside my head—I mean, really listen and take notes—I started to see that if I was going to hold this little flame and keep it burning and moving and growing in the right direction, then I needed to protect it. It isn’t so much that others are going to run in and blow out my little flame. It is that I will get distracted by them and let the flame blow out. It’s that I’ve let myself for so long hear others’ stories and listen to others’ worldviews and I’ve backed away from my own.

At my graduation ceremony from high school, they played this Garth Brooks’ song called “The River” to our high school video. And there was this one line that caught me and pounded into my heart.

Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away
'Til what we put off 'til tomorrow
Has now become today
So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance the tide

I knew sitting there, listening to that song that I was sitting on the shoreline. I wasn’t daring any rapids and I certainly wasn’t dancing any tide. And besides the couple of years that encompassed preparing for, going on and returning from my mission, I haven’t stepped in the river much.

I’ve been all about the shore.

I don’t know all the reasons. I think a huge chunk was simply trying to find my path in life. What I was good at, what my strengths were, and then having the joie de vivre to live life with zest and meaning because I was doing what I supposed to be doing on this earth. I think I’ve been wandering a long, long, long time trying to figure out what that purpose and passion was all about. I kept trying to fit my square peg into a round hole and coming up short.

That, in turn, has left me really self-focused. Trying to discover and listen and hear what was inside of me. But not even understanding that this is what I was doing. It is a journey we all have to travel some time in our lives. Mine has just been overly focused on that task.

What is clear is that I have to stake out, lay claim to, and fight like crazy for the little flame, the barest whisper that I heard this past week. There are so many voices around me. So many that I’ve listened to for so long. I’ve been hoping I think that someone will be able to HEAR MY VOICE. Listen to it, interpret it for me, and spit back what I should do and be.

Part of this depression, this sadness, this ache has been the confusion surrounding my plan. My purpose. I get it all mixed up. And I think it will get mixed up again unless I take time to give special attention to inspiration. I need to hear that voice, that whisper each day. Or I need to take the time to listen for it each day. It is such an interesting mix of quiet and deafening thunder. The stillness of the voice is in the interpretation of it. It seems though that once I’m able to catch the drift of the voice and hear the bedrock truth in it, then all of a sudden it is screaming in my mind. It seems so self-evident. So, true, so right, so unimpeachable. It rights my worldview, it opens up new paths. It shows me where and what I should be doing. Where the passion and light is in my life.

KNOWING that truth changes everything. Everything. It changes me on a level that I never expected. It is this light that I hold deep in my center and around it I build implacable truths and unerring insights that foist the foundation for my life. It is such a RELIEF to have that center. It is so peaceful. It bolts me to reality, grounds me in the commandments for my life. It gives me a laser-like sight for the path ahead. This kind of CLARITY is so refreshing simply because it stops my world from teetering. I’ve felt so unmoored, so unsure of my next step. So unwilling to start any journey.

It has been the great anxiety of my life. For a very, very, very long time.

I feel a bit vicious about protecting it. Vicious and fiercely wary of any attempts at its fledgling status as the center and source of my existence.

Stand back. You are not to come within the walls of my silent place any longer.

I think that message is so much more for me though than anyone else. I’ve allowed people into my sacred place. I’ve let anyone in who has an opinion to share and I’ve grown more miserable as I listened. What I need is to be still within and without myself. You may not come in here. You are not allowed. For I will try to accommodate you. And then in my anxiety to do so, I will draw you out with your story. Your story that allows me to escape from my own.

I’ve placed my little candle, my tiny flame in the fecund earth of my bowels, my soul-center. I’ve cleared a space and I’ve staked my claim to my truth there. My bedrock. And within the tiny circle of that light, I’ve thrust my daggers into the soil to outline the light shed by my tiny flame. I’ve built a defense around it. This is my silent place. You are not allowed. This is for me. This is my truth. I cannot share it with you. I’ve shared it with so many of you. I’ve cast my pearls before the swine who have trampled it. I won’t do that anymore. You may not listen.

Not because you are willfully seeking to destroy it, but mostly because I have not taught you to respect it, this truth that is mine. I’ve not respected it. And in order for me to ever share with you, with anyone, I must first own it. I must nurse it, care for it, and cultivate its soul-satisfying splendor.

Friday, July 4, 2008

My Manifesto

I don’t have enough ***** energy to do multiple things at once. I can’t stay there anymore. I know I’m being dramatic. I know it. But, sometimes life is dramatic. And maybe mine hasn’t been enough, so I’m going to create some.

I can do it. I can work for the rest of my life in that stinking job. But in order for that to work I have to kill some other part of myself. Shut the blinds and close the door and never look back. Take one for the team.

ONLY—pay attention—the only team I’m fighting for is my team. And taking one for the team is about to extinguish me. If that is what is necessary, then I can see that. But I don’t have kids or even a career at this point. I’m just working paycheck to paycheck. For a car, for a house, for my independence.

I don’t want to give up my independence. My car either. The job, and the house can go though for another job and another house.

I’ve got to support myself. I know that. What I also know is I can no longer stay in the place I’ve been in.

What am I going to do? I’m scared to leave but I’m scared to go. I’m scared to leave the security of everything I know. Scared to be here.

No one has been listening to me. Me, least of all. The voice I keep hearing inside my head says go, go, go, go, go.

Go far away. Leave this place. Leave these people. Leave these boxes with four walls that crouch, ready, hungry, waiting to consume you.

Leave now before you lose the courage to go. Leave now, before you quit trusting yourself totally. Leave now.

It’s time to go. It is past time to go. I’m leaving for my health. I’m leaving for me. I’m leaving because I need to leave.

I don’t want this life. I’ve been living it too long this wrong life.

YOU ARE WRONG. Every bit of you. You are wrong.

I don’t know that I have the courage to listen to what this voice keeps telling me and telling me. I’ve been living the wrong life and it is time to live another. I’m scared what taking this fork in the road will do to all my conventional, pre-conceived notions of life. But what I can tell you is I’m letting all the convention stifle me. Eat me. Kill me.

And I don’t know if I have the courage, fire, voice, or wherewithal to listen to the voice, hear it and act.

So, I’m doing. In the dark. Without a lead. All by myself. I’m doing.

I’m going to make mistakes and fall down and hurt and cry. I think I’m even scared of those steps. I feel timid and shy and unsure but I HAVE TO LISTEN TO THE VOICE THAT KEEPS whispering my name.

Go, go, go, go. Go far away.

Be in nature. Write your story. Live. Breathe. Be. Better than I am here. Better than I’ve ever been.

What I do know: Nature, green, write, help others too, hear their stories.

That is the clarity in my vision: no dead-end jobs or dead-end places. I need to hear people’s hearts every day. I need nature. I need to write.

Where can I do those things?


The break must be clean, I fear, or I will sink back into my conventional life, my conventional job, my conventionality.

I need a convent, a solstice, a quiet place. Where thoughts are cool and deep and sunlight comes with gentle rays to dry out sadness.

Be my sunshine. Be my place. Be my brightness that excludes this darkness that threatens me.

I must have courage to walk to new places and higher roads and things that will take me to the place I know I must be. To meet the future with a leaping heart and singing a song I have yet to write.

I see you there, my friend, my new home. I’ve glimpsed you through long hallways with thick shadows where the echoes confuse and elude me.

I need you, quiet. To hear the words spoken with crisp stillness. So low, so still. It takes me many months to hear the words that you send to me. Many years for the ripples to reach the words on my tongue. Sometimes, many eons, I think.

My circle of knowledge is no longer enough. Into the vast darkness I must go, feeling my way. I reach out to touch you. Please, hold my hand.


I haven't been to work in a week. Yes, avoiding. Yes.

I tried to wrap my escape as a blanket around me. And it welcomed me. The quiet and the dark. Mostly, when I thought, my thought was "leave me alone."

There is wisdom even in that. The quiet, the dark, the loss of contact. I needed to hear me. I needed to hear God. I need them to stay away. All of them with their voices and their help and their thoughts. STAY AWAY.

What came out of my thinking was this: I can’t do this any more. I can’t pick up this load. I can’t live in this place. I can’t be here. I don’t want this place or this job. I want my independence. I want my life. But I don’t want this. STAY AWAY.

I can’t answer a question or read a book or make a decision. I can’t re-engage until some work is done. Some long, dark work through echoing hallways with crashing thunder.

I see people making decisions and I think “When will I be able to do that again?” or “Will I be able to do that again?” I see people laughing and playing around and I think, “So much is going right in her life because she can do that.” I see someone pick up his or her load and start a new day and I think, “I want to pick up my day too.”

But then the stillness settles around me, the darkness closes in, and I sink for one more day in the dark oblivion that welcomes me.

She’s punctuated—my stillness—by staccato words and voluble gestures at God. I curse him for cursing me with this thing that is in me. This thing I cannot silence or avoid. This thing that must be answered as it maws and tears deeply at my bowels. It stains my days and colors my dreams with its pulsing, screaming wildness. I cover myself in its blood.

I have a pot of red geraniums that some one gave me. I place it outside my door where the sunlight engulfs it in dry June heat. Too much heat as I forget to water its thirsty roots and watch dispassionately as my red geraniums turn black from too much light.

I cannot answer their questions. I cannot talk one more day of birthdays or dinners or food or friends. I cannot be there as my screaming silence engulfs me. I live so much in their world, talking their talk. I do not honor the truth I have been given. I do not honor the words that make my heart beat with red blood. My soul is thirsty too.

I am not like you. Your story is not mine. Your story may encompass mine or sing a melody too, but your story is NOT MINE. And for my heart to sing, I must tell you and tell me that YOU ARE NOT MY STORY. And I must live mine.

You do not have to listen or even hear it. You do not. But MY STORY will be told. I will not close this shop or shutter these windows. I AM NOT YOU. I do not have your talents or your encumberances. But I do have mine.

And beautiful or ugly, timid or ferocious, they are mine. I own them. And I must build a better life with them. I cannot build with tools that are yours.

So, clear out, back away, stand by. You may hold my hand, you may be my friend. But you are not to come within the walls of my silent place any longer. For I’ve tried to hear her voice through you and have you sing her song. But you sing badly or not at all and I sit hoping to hear truth in places I do not honor with ears that are not mine.

Stand back. For I have a story to tell.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Independence Day

I can't do this thing any more. It sticks in my throat. It's too big for me. It's too small. I eat, I pray. I don't love. I hate.

I'm going far away to a cool coast. A quiet place with mountains and trees and green everywhere I look. A place to heal me. Can places heal? Or do they just hurt? I hurt. I hurt here. Right here. Who hurt me?

No more whys. No more. I can't do this thing I'm doing anymore. LEAVE ME ALONE I scream to the silence. LEAVE ME ALONE. No on hears me. No one.

I'm sick. I hurt. I ache. It is just too much for me. Too much for me.

I won't do this tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. I won't do this. I won't die in this box without walls I can see. I won't die here gasping for my last breath. I won't recover. I have to GO NOW. That is what the silence screams at me. Go NOW. This place it will eat you. With the lies, with the hurt. Even them. They love me, but they hurt me too.

And I hurt them.

I won't see their faces anymore these people that I hurt. I won't see them. I won't see what I don't want to see. No one will make me.

Chatting in the Dark

me: you there? 
I need to talk
I haven't been to work in over a week
I'm going to quit my job
Move to Oregon
Never be seen again
I can't do this anymore
I can't do this thing I'm doing any more

are you there?


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