(I said I would be on the road last week and I think the operative words were “out in the wilderness”. I had no internet connection at all. Not a bad thing but I apologize for the missing post.)

From July 6th through July 13th I drove towards a healing haven into which I will burrow for a few weeks. I took the back roads and camped along the way. The old highways were riddled with zigzagging asphalt scars, growths like my grandmother’s barnacles, corns, callouses and wrinkles; the very same marks that are beginning to appear on me. I did not listen to books on tape or play music to distract my mind. I forced myself to be present as I stared at the hours and miles of travel ahead. If I could not keep my thoughts focused on each moment as it passed I would begin to talk out loud to myself, describing the scenery, animals or people I was quickly brushing past. In and out, front of the pack, first or last, falling behind; the dance of the highway is endless and soothing. Sinking into boredom rather than fighting it back I found that emotions and thoughts flowed freely through my mind. Whether they were profound revelations or hilarious inside jokes with myself I remained completely entertained and discovered once again what good company I could be.
As the distance between “us” grew I felt tight anxiety that had been boiling inside my chest for seven years slowly drain away. I shifted into a state of lightness that ranged from fluffy down feathers floating beside me to the manic giddiness of helium soaring out of control inside me.

The healing has begun and over the next months or years I will work diligently to examine how and why I allowed abuse to enter my life again. Eight years ago I experienced the very darkest of times; my kind uncle and then my mother died, I lost a ten year relationship, a business which had existed equally long and the use of my body from the neck down. Over that short 6 month period, I experienced a terrifying loss of control over every aspect of my being; nothing walked away unscathed from that biblical plague. I didn’t know who I was anymore, I didn’t know what was real. Did I then call out to be controlled or did my vulnerable state act as a psychological pheromone to attract the first abuser that wandered by?  In pondering that question I realized that my “scent of vulnerability” began to hover around me long before then. As I look back from a distance with aging eyes opened wide I ask myself, “How could I possibly be any different than I am?” That simple question eases my mind.  If the pain and confusion in life comes with a dose of reason or explanation it seems to settle inside my gut with less guilt and shame. There is hope that I will have the power to jam the cycle if it ever enters my life again.

The subtle messages from the beginning of my life started with a father wishing I hadn’t been born, then a grandfather’s groping (never acknowledged), a dreamy memory of an uncle just back from Vietnam crawling into bed with me in the middle of the night then taking me out to a brightly lit pancake house before dawn. It didn’t feel right but I wasn’t sure. As always the world around me said that “it” was normal, or that “it” didn’t exist. So I didn’t know what was real. I’m not sure what happened to me that night but what that same Uncle did to my older sister is clear. She finally shared her secret shame with me when she was half a century old. All of these experiences groomed me for Allen who ripped my hymen and my world apart then told me forcefully that I “had nothing to cry about”, I “asked for it”, I “wanted it”. I didn’t think it was so, but who was I to know? Like all the others before, he defined me, so I didn’t know what was real.  Blended in gently with all of those experiences were the words my mother used to bolster my self esteem; words that told me that I was strong, creative and beautiful but when I walked through heavy doors into the man made world, that wasn’t what I heard. So I didn’t know what was real.

All those messages from the time I was a little girl have been pounded into my head by the patriarchal chain gang that presumptively lays down the tracks of my life. Definitions that are hammered into my brain like a railroad spike, over and over and over again. While on the road last week an image came to me of women, all over the world, walking through life with a bloody railroad spike through their head. I wondered, “What do other women’s rail road spikes say?”

Mine screams,
You aren’t real, you don’t exist and so you are worth nothing at all.”

The affirmation for the week of my road trip was:
“I am part of all. I belong.”
Miraculously last week, driving cross the country all alone, I was part of all and I did belong.
Those Vision Quest lessons and enlightenments coming up next week.
___________________________________________________

      Impostor Song (1999)

Each moment’s reality
has always evaded me
lite evaporation
in the crisp spring wind

What you think you see before you
a happy red haired child
is really just a shell of a
magic girl that died
struggling so bravely
moving so carefully
lest any one discover
the impostor kid

Each moment’s reality
has always evaded me
slipping past my shoulder
in the crisp spring wind

The curse of the impostor
it never goes away
impostors are impostors
to their dying day
impostor child, impostor teen
pretend hetero, impostor queer
impostor mother, impostor artist
with a pretend career!
impostor thoughts, pretend serenity
impostor laughter, impostor tears.
eventual unveiling is an all consuming fear!

Each moment’s reality
has always evaded me
dancing away
in the crisp spring air

What you think you see before you
it’s just

        never

                 really

                         there

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