I have never seen the world as it is. I freely admit that.
I don’t ever remember any time of knowing where I did not completely understand that I was different. I have always understood that how I see things and the way I think about them, is NOT how other people do. I had two choices, to forget who I was, or not. Except it is never as simple as that. Choosing to hold on to me came at a bigger cost. It meant I would probably always be on my own at best, and at worst, I would be the one that others directed all their personal angst at. I would make myself a life-long target.
It might have been different if being me was about going quietly on my way but being me is loud and full of laughter and excitement and enthusiasm. It is compassion spilt all over everywhere and tears . . . tons and tons of tears . . . sometimes in sorrow but also in pure joy and love. I love people with loud exclamations. I fight for the people I love and I fight for those that no-one loves. I never sit down and keep my mouth shut. I see everything. And everything means something to me. I scream for people to see the elephant. I draw chalk outlines and colour it in so that everyone has to be able to see it. I call people liars when they refuse to see it.
I have never learned how to hide what I am under a bushel.
I like me. And I never give up trying to find someone who might also like me.
I love people. I don’t just love the easy ones who love me too, I love the broken and damaged ones. I love the ones that kick and scream and try to tear you to bits. I love the ones that say they hate me and even those that have hurt me. Everyone deserves a chance. I can see beyond all that noise. I can’t just dismiss people because other’s do but if I know that loving them is costing me parts of myself, or more importantly, that my being there is making their life worse, I walk away.
And I don’t come back because you can’t gather up lost moments and recycle them and make them mean something.
Sometimes the meeting is just intended to be brief and I know it is not my job to worry about whether they learned whatever lesson was there to be learned. I have to focus on what I was meant to take from it all. Even if the encounter was painful or nasty. Life is full of comings and goings and all we can do is accept it. We have to let go, especially if the damage is ongoing and there are no signs of being able to move beyond the engaged war. I love them, I bless them, and I walk away.
Letting go is not just about the physical act, you have to be able to let go of the emotion as well.
My family wanted me to sit in a corner and be quiet, better yet . . . to disappear completely. At best they tolerated me. At worst they didn’t at all. They inflicted deep, life-long wounds of doubt and lack of love that was more severe than the earlier abuse and even hate. At least hate is emotion. People who wish you into nothingness consume souls. They leave nothing to redeem. They obliterated everything.
My family gave me the greatest war I have ever fought. It was the demon of non-love that threatens me every time I fall asleep at my watch. My life requires my constant vigilance against all their voices in my head that want to negate I even exist.
How many times can they obliterate my name in records and documents? I cannot even understand the why of it all or how someone holds on, for this long, to their need to destroy someone else.
I fight the imprint upon me because I can see value in me. I see what they refused to see, as if by closing their eyes, they could make me nothing. I raged against the darkness by keeping my candle forever lit with the knowledge that LOVE IS EVERYTHING.
Even if they had none to give ME. It existed. I held onto that until I could escape.
I see beauty everywhere. I see possibilities. I love. I do all of those things because I was denied them all and because my survival instinct was the beating of my heart that refused to allow them to label me and deny me the right to life.
So I see people, and things, and scraps of material, and bits of dirt, as possibilities. I see beyond what things are into what they can be. I look for the “them” that I know has to be like me. I pull at that. I hold onto that. I made my life about THAT.
I wanted beauty and magic for my children. I didn’t want to live in a world that said you could only create those things if you had money or fame. Michael Jackson could create Never Land because he had both. His fame brought him money and that allowed him to escape his own childhood hell and to create a place of adult escape where he could actually surround himself with beauty and thereby create magic.
I could not buy anything like that magic. Life blessed me with struggle and kept my nose planted in what was real. Life took plastic far out of my reach, even when I sometimes stretched on tippy toes, trying to grasp what everyone else was wanting. I was taller than most of the other girls. I should have been able to grab hold of something. Instead, I would stand, straining and my forever friend, “wisdom” that would gently take my hand, release the tension out of it, and bend my arm, folding it in on itself, placing the palm of my open hand on my chest so I could feel the beating of my own heart.
“This is all you ever need,” he told me.
It was the truth. Everything I ever wanted existed right there.
I tend to collect people that others overlook, or step over. I look beyond the reasons why other people choose friends for something real, the part of them that they hung on to, that growing up did not suck out of them or force them to hand over in trade for the admiration of the world. I can’t see people who are so busy chasing after bits of things they need to make them feel real. Some I do not see because I choose not to look and there are some whose faces do not exist, no matter how hard I look. Someone keeps me safe from those people and I have never bothered to understand it more than to walk away and leave them be.
So many of these people that others marginalize are angels among us. I married a man that the world missed. He was just one of the oh so many people who walk among us that most people never see. They will never be Michael Jacksons. You will never remember their names. I sometimes think God protects them so that other people cannot mess them up, like they mess up their own lives. My husband was a beautiful man whose hand was always on his own heart and there was a part of us that always understood our together journey would not be long. Our together time was about our children. We did not know all of that then, but when I look back now and ask myself, “why,” my heart reminds me of all the moments we shared and how most of them were the children. He poured almost all of himself into their lives, choosing time with them over everything else.
We wanted our children to have both beauty and magic. We collected things and I painted and sewed and pulled all the bits together so that our home was filled with beauty and all the tools of magic so the children could fill their own spaces with themselves. Their father built them forts and cardboard houses for them to hang their dreams in. He built their muscles and taught them work so they could believe in their own body and never doubt that they could build. He helped them build themselves. He helped them take their dreams and build them with what they had. I taught them how to find the tools to dream and to make what they built, transform into what they needed. And we both helped them live in those spaces. We climbed in with them. We shared our spaces. We explored. We were always going further and flying higher. The men of our house ate off lace and touched satin, and they learned to love the beauty of soft pinks. They learned to feel music in their soul and to sing from there, even if they never opened their mouth to give voice to their songs. They learned they were both powerfully capable and beautiful. The girls learned to get dirty, to carry loads. They learned that sweat and dirt could be easily washed off at the end of the day. They learned they were both beautiful and powerfully capable. We broke open our children’s hearts and filled them with feeling. We taught them to see, and to know. We insisted that the questions they asked of us were questions they should ask of themselves and that most of all, they should trust the answers they were given.
We did that so that they would be prepared for, and would be able to handle the loss of their father. We did not know he would become ill, but looking back I see how many of the events that led up to his being ill, and events that followed, prepared the children for both his death and life without him. His life ended before he ever got the chance to really go after his dreams. Instead, he poured everything into his children. He gave them his all.
We lived that time with such urgency, holding on to every moment and trying desperately to understand.
I held tight to our children’s tenderness and refused to surrender it to any of the world’s ideas of what they should or shouldn’t be. I insisted they not run from the flood of other people’s emotions that they could feel, but instead, that they should stand and know it. I did that even though I knew it would take them all on journeys of profound pain. I did it even though I knew they would be targets and that there would be so many who would hurl their hate at them. and try to destroy them. I did that so that they would always be real, no matter what, that they could keep the part of them that would forever keep them real.
And I have watched the world hate my children and exact costs of their lives that is too painful to watch . . . but I have always watched. I have cried and hurt more than they can ever know . . . especially when I have known answers that I could not give or speak because it is not my journey . . . it is theirs. I have comforted myself that I have at least loved them all of their lives and hoped that they have appreciated it. Not ME, but the existence of love, because I was always blessed with knowing that something more than the physical reality of this world loved me and stood by me even when my family deserted me and tried to unlove me out of existence.
Just as I had been rescued from my body when I was abused, I was likewise rescued in my childhood. The harder my family worked to instruct me on not being wanted, the more that was revealed to me about the endurance of love. Love is. I am loved as we all are loved. It is not a commodity traded and hoarded. It is energy and life force. And we all have a responsibility for how we handle it. Understanding the wealth of love that was always mine, that holds me here and knows my heart . . .my life path was clear. And when my children came into our lives, my responsibility was to teach our children about the power of love. When Roy was gone it was my turn to love these children, through all that life would throw at them, trying to rip them to pieces and distract them from their reality.
Each of them, in their own way, see the world. Each of them think about it differently. It has nothing to do with being right or wrong, or more blessed or gifted. It is not about me being special because I am no different than any mother or woman. My children are children, like all children. I have taken their hands time and again and placed them back over their own hearts . . and that is where they stand. I have taken the hands of every child I have ever met, many of them standing in adult form, and placed them back on their hearts, asking them to feel their heart beating, to hear it, to know it and own it. I have tried to remind people, to reawaken them to their own power, that we all share . . . To love.
Life has taken much from me and I too, am worn and shabby. I have been hurt and knocked around until even movement takes effort and causes pain. As we age and beauty fades, the world relegates us to useless and we are spoken to and treated as if we have neither intellect nor understanding. I am expendable at best and useless at worst. Either way, this world has long since determined my value to be worthless. And unlike the Velveteen Rabbit whose value was found in the evidence that he was loved that much that he lost an eye and became shabby, mine is not. He was the chosen toy, over and over again. I was not.
I was discarded and forgotten, left under other useless, unneeded objects.
Had I stayed where they put me I should be in pristine condition, not a trace of a human contact on me.
No, I was not surrounded by people who loved me. There have been people who were in such pain that I ripped pieces of myself off to help them keep going. I have pushed myself until parts of me shut down, pushed too far, too long. I have cried bits of me away from the pain inflicted by others, and I have surrendered other bits knowing that I was the cause of someone else’s pain and I could not bear that I could not undo what had been done.
I know I have not saved the world. I know that I will cease to exist like everyone else who has come and gone before me and that my life will not be remembered and no-one will ever know or understand my story in any way that gives full power to the incredible epic it has been for me. I know that is exactly how it is intended to be. But I also know that I have passed on the understanding and the truth that I was given. Because I was strong enough to hold tight to it and to share the only real part of me, I have allowed my children to do the same. I see them now creating and doing the same for themselves and giving themselves to others, even when those others cannot understand the gift nor the cost. My heart beats strong in the truth that I did the right thing. I chose love instead of hate. I put all my time and energy into love.
And that is what makes it all worthwhile. It is not that any of us are chosen or specially gifted. It is not that any of us are a celebrity or deserving of worship of any kind. It is not that any of us are perfect and have all the answers. It is only that we see and know that love cannot be destroyed. It is a power. It is an endless supply of life force that can heal and change each of us and we must be stewards of that love and responsible for how we use it.
My hand is on my heart and I am focused, not that I should be loved, but that I could love. I have seen the beauty and the light, the healing and the meaning … I have felt its power.
THAT is what I gave my children and it is what they will pass on to others and no matter how worn each of us becomes, we seal our work with our aged and worn bodies, scarred and bruised with heart that funnelled all the love they possibly could, not wasting a single beat worth of that power.