As surgery approaches, so do the tides of my emotions. I’ve reconciled with my body for the most part. It is what it is. It’s a vessel. My body, this physical cage, it does not define me. It is a map of the roads I’ve traveled, the battles I’ve fought, the wars I’ve won. This body, this cage is only as good as I allow it to be. My soul on the other hand is tortured. My soul screams out for justice. I face my days, I go to work, I do my job, I spend time with family and friends. I laugh. I smile. I joke. Inside I scream. My soul screams for justice. I fantasize about seeing HIM. Facing HIM. I long for a moment where our eyes could meet and I could will him to hear and see my soul screaming. And I know that moment would fall on deaf ears and a blind heart…. and my soul screams for justice.
Maya Angelou passed today and it hit me profoundly. I read her words before ever thinking about putting my story down on virtual paper. I read her words about her life, her childhood, her teenage years, the birth of her child at 17, her dancing to pay bills, her deep innate need to survive, her words were my words before I knew I had them. She had such a gift with language that I felt as if her world and my world were seamless. Not in experience, in emotion. I had such respect for her craft that I read everything I could get my hands on. I watched everything she appeared in, listened with intensity every time she spoke. She was a woman not satisfied with simply being, but in teaching and sharing and evolving. A true soul role model. A true soul. A soul. A soul that was tangible and real and who restored my faith in the very belief in souls. RIP Maya Angelou, your gifts in life were vast and may death bring your true rewards.
Something inside me has awakened. I feel now more than ever a pull to discover my purpose. This feeling has been brewing for quite some time and as I get closer to accepting it, the calmer I become. I am still with purpose. Still. Still in my mind. Still. Fearless of the future. I have always done the practical thing. I pursued a practical career in a practical field. I drive a practical car, live in a practical house. I’ve taken practical vacations, (all local in my state that I could afford, weekend get-a-ways and 1 actual vacation in the last 15 years.) I am tired of practical.
I have triumphed over every single adversity I have ever faced…I can do this. I can go fearlessly into the unknown and embrace whatever the other side has to offer. My whole life has prepared me for this. This take off, this step from the comfort of my chaos and practicality. I am tired of looking at the world through someone else’s eyes and seeing what other people see. I want to see it for myself. I want to live it. I want to be it. I want to discover my own wonders of the world and fill my purpose, whatever that may be. I want to travel with only the burden of the backpack on my back and just…be….free.
I am still with purpose.
As far back as I can remember my brother made intricate designs with spools of string in his room. He would attach various toys to these designs and suspended them there. It was like a crude spiderweb with random toys caught within the strands. I remember everyone commenting on how much he liked to do this, how creative he was. They thought it was “cute” , thought it was “interesting”. I knew the real reason for his labor. It was an alert. It was something he designed to try to protect himself from our step father. Some beatings would come in the middle of the night, for no apparent reason. These attacks were as random as the bathtub incident. My brother would spend hours during the day constructing these elaborate warning devices only to have my stepfather cut right through them with a pair of scissors. I wonder how it never entered his conscience. I wonder how he cut through the web of GI Joe’s and army men without so much as a single moment of pause or hesitation. He obliterated our sense of safety every opportunity he had, striped it away with casual abandon. Details….all these little details that I can finally put thought and reason and voice to. Now, whenever I see a spider web I think first how beautiful it is and then I am brought back to my brother and the fear he must have felt in those moments when he realized his trap ,his alarm did not work.
His story is found here…
My hand is outstretched, force-ably. I am being lifted by the wrist from the bathtub. Moments earlier the bathtub was a swimming pool for me and my barbies on a hot summer day. I am under the age of 10, 8 maybe? Playing in the bathtub in my bathing suit. I live on Orange Road. It’s easy to remember because we live in Florida and oranges are on every license plate. My barbie drops back into the water and as her hair forms a halo of gold around her head, I know I am in trouble…though I do not know why. Then the blow lands…dead center in my stomach and I heave and struggle to breathe. I don’t recall the pain only the suffocation, the feeling of my lungs collapsing from the blow and the desperate biological need for air. It’s so fast. It happens so fast. I am being yelled at but my ears are ringing and I see the movement of his mouth but hear no words. I can’t even cry, though there are tears in my eyes and he drops me on the tile in a heap and he is gone. I crawl into my bedroom which is right off the bathroom and I gasp and cry. I push my face into the mattress of my bed because I am afraid the noise I am making will cause more blows to come. I shove the blankets into my mouth to stifle the noise that is escaping me. I distinctly remember being ANGRY at MYSELF for the noises that were involuntarily leaving my beaten, broken frame. I was angry that I could not control them and that it might cause me more harm. I think this is the first memory that I have where I felt anger towards myself at something that was so obviously (although not then) out of my control. I think this is why I stop myself from crying even now. I feel anger towards myself when I allow a vulnerable human emotion to take over. I despise crying. I have always viewed crying as a sign of weakness and just now…I realize why. You really don’t know just how much your past infects your everyday life…..
It rose up like bile this morning. The anger. The rage. That place where injustice meets desistance. I am angry, that HE gets to go on about his miserable, pathetic life as if I were some insignificant thing that he could cast aside. It’s so much more than the passing of a relationship or the ending of a book. It’s an unfinished chapter in my life, it’s a run on sentence, a cliff hanger without resolve. I invested so much time and energy into this empty void that kept filling with more and more negative space, engulfing all things…all things…..all things ME. I suppose it’s because it’s getting closer to the surgery to help repair what he did to me on the outside. It doesn’t begin to grasp what he left on the inside. I didn’t want to have surgery again, didn’t want to be carved into, splayed apart. Surgery comes with risks, risks I didn’t ever want to face again, unless I absolutely had too. So I’m angry. I feel the violation over and over again. He faces no consequences, no repercussions. He faces nothing because he is a coward. Inhuman. I would will him to feel each needle pressing into my skin. I would will him to feel each slice of the scalpel, each dissection of the blade, each tug and pull of my tissues as entry is made to remove what he left behind. I would will him to feel each wrench of the surgical steel being wedged into my body to pull free the damage he has done. I would will him to feel it all…as he has willed me to feel it all. The anger rises up and I swallow it down as I always have.