Joyeux Noël!

Christmas is here! Let me drink, let me sing. The ring of Joyeux Noël elicits a smile to my face. The simple beauty of the word joie sends a fleet of champagne bubbles to my head, while Noël sings along to my unique and badly rendered version of dreams and miracles.

It is a holiday for celebration, a season of grace, a time to sing.

I, myself, am not a singer. My voice falls flat, like the fat opera singer in a red sequined dress who has tripped over her gown and landed on big old bosoms.

That’s me. Flat and graceless. Applause?

One year ago, my fall came from PTSD. The experience and trauma of childhood emotional abuse was triggered in full regalia. Without pulling apart the dress sequin by sequin, let me just say I was afraid-afraid of the audience, afraid of my past, afraid of my identity, and afraid of the future.

Over the course of this year, I worked to pick up the shards of self and put them together, to face my demons and shove them over the cliff. It has been a clumsy act, but…

Courage is a gift. I used it.

Hope is a gift. I used it.

Voice is a freedom. I used it.

Understanding is effort. I worked at it.

Compassion is a gift. I allowed it.

Forgiveness is a gift. I gave it.

Mercy is a grace. I’m really, really trying.

Love is abundant. I’ll take it. (Thank you.)

…Christmas lasted all year.

Today, I am grateful. Grateful to have the delivery of gifts when I needed them. Grateful to have a heart who still laughs and loves. Grateful for the people who were on my side and by my side throughout the torment. Grateful to move forward with confidence. Grateful I am me.

And I am grateful for you, my lovely audience.

I hope this Christmas season brightens you with peace, nourishes you with love, and inspires you to sing. The best gifts in life are free, like you, my friends. I raise a glass to each and every one of you. Joyeux Noël!

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Creative Writing: Barrettes

Today, the inspiration to write about barrettes came to mind. I’ve been exploring creative non-fiction, a beautiful genre of artistry and words. Here’s a little canvas about belligerent plastic hair clips. Enjoy!

Barrettes 

Barrettes. Little plastic devils. Strawberry flowers. Blue dogs. Bows of lemon meringue. 

A clip. Tufts of hair, wispy and soft, secured. Restlessness.

A nap.

A terrier, slipped down the locks. The scalp, a teepee of awareness.

A hand, tender and soft, pulls silken threads. Tears.

A mother’s hand, slender and strong, opens the clasp, bends a white fold in the plastic. 

A hug. Tears left to fall. Rosy cheeks. Swollen eyes. Barrettes. 

Words: My Top Ten Realizations After One Year of Awareness

I’ll never forget Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. My eyes bolted open from sleep. The words My God, they are against me, cycled through my brain. Memories played out in a backwards reel: Christmas 2013, France 2005, wedding day 1996, 16th birthday 1987, a broken collarbone 1975.

I had THE AWAKENING I needed, the one I feared most: My family is against me. From this perspective, my life suddenly made sense. Emotional abuse. Neglect. Why hadn’t I seen the collective significance of these events sooner? Each experience was a pearl on the necklace of emotional corrosion. Through the years, the more I resisted its presence, the tighter the necklace squeezed life from me.

I know now that denial and dignity have a very tight grasp on each other. I’ve learned other things as well. Whether or not you’ve experienced abuse in your life, the universal elements of my experience transcend to every person on the planet. I’m happy to share with you:

MY TOP TEN REALIZATIONS AFTER ONE YEAR OF AWARENESS

  1. The power of voice is a gift you give yourself.
  2. Fear is a four-letter word that can go %$#* itself.
  3. Most people are wounded. Most people aren’t doctors. Nobody is required to heal anyone.
  4. Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself. Even if no one else does.
  5. God empowers. He lets you scream at the ones who’ve hurt you. Then, you forgive them. (Forgiveness does not mean tolerance.)
  6. Awareness is like mercury, it forms into small balls and rolls all over.
  7. Ignorance is like mercury, it forms into small balls and rolls all over.
  8. Ego is best served like chilled Jell-O: jiggly and resilient to tremors. Otherwise, it stains your shirt.
  9. Mirrors work best when clean.
  10. Life is too short for pain. Don’t take it. Just don’t take it.

Sincerely and with love,

Barbie

Words: The Scar on My Face

A one inch scar sweeps out from my lower lip. It is a solitary line of residue from a mountain bike wreck, a scurry to the E.R., a thick, deep pain, a bag of frozen peas pressed to my face. It is a permanent mark of one failed attempt, a dash from one moment to the next, a crash course in physics, an alteration.

One year passed before the wound tempered without a peppered assault of tingling nerves. One year of sag-stitched smiles before necessary muscles regained proper composure. One year for the trench to deepen. One year for a repaired version of myself.

To me, the scar is not a reminder of what occurred, rather it is evidence of what didn’t: a minor concussion-not brain injury, a temporary setback-not debilitation, a chance- not closure.

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Life is a series of dashes, failed attempts, and alterations. Deep, meaningful lines carve into our blood, bones, and soul. Temporary numbness masks the compositions we are ill prepared to see, and time, our fairest friend, reveals everything we are meant to be.

I am the Sky

I read the sky. Like words across the page, the sky tells my story. I’ve learned to read the morning haze that lifts to a bright day. I’ve learned to read the scalloped clouds, the wisps of air, the big blue nothings. I’ve learned to scan for storm clouds that prey on ignorance and slam a heavy burden on my days. I’ve seen beyond massive snow bursts to find that daytime stars, though invisible, are still there.

When the sky uncoils silver in the last ray of light, when nighttime rolls its woolen blanket of dark, I read the stars and am assured, once again, they are there for me. The protectors of fate, the stewards of life. The stars, I know, are my story- memories long forgotten, memories unlived. I look to the stars for solace, not for what I might become, but for who I am. When the flash of reckoning strikes, I am reminded that the stars comprise a book of stories, and my wholeness spans the breadth of space and time and darkness and light. I breathe in, knowing every star is mine, and mine alone. I breathe in knowing I am the sky.

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