Twelve

With the last embrace long forgotten,

Arms still cradling your silhouette

Tingle with atrophy.

Eyes completely black in concentration

I impose beauty upon you.

Every crack in your skin, every wound…

You absolutely glow with warm red light bled from many men.

So when you lay your hands upon me-

I crackle and my pulse slows- then quickens.

Losing my train of thought,

The palms of your hands sliding down my back feel all at once rough and turn my skin raw.

Your lips are as broken glass and cut deeper as your passion increases.

Utterly devoid of inner strength to contain the delicate beauty draining from your person,

I gaze upon you.

And sink deeper in love.

 

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1947

When I wake up, the war is behind me. Brutality fading as if it were in another person’s lifetime.

The thick polished curls of my hair are my art this morning. The air is heavily perfumed. I still have time to breathe it in slowly.

I recite in my head the name of every person I will meet on the way to the market. I make sure I have a dime and a nickel for the freshly baked bread we needed.

I think of the late afternoon with nerves and excitement. My mother would like me to marry soon but my Daddy wishes I would wait until after secretarial school. I only think of the dances I’ll get to do tonight. My palms sweat at the thought of the newest dances, I may not be brave enough to try. I would prefer to spin, spin, spin and laugh and grab hold of my partner’s hand to keep from tumbling to the floor.

I asked my mother to listen intently to Bob Hope this evening so I wouldn’t miss anything on his radio show. I almost wished I could just wipe off my makeup and wear my housecoat and lounge in front of the RCA. But I would die of embarrassment to miss my date.

Skirt ironed. Collar stiff. Cheeks rouged. Lips painted. I’d like a small wedding at the church I suppose. Only three children. My mother has five and she is always cooking. I don’t enjoy cooking the way she does. It’s always too hot in the kitchen and my blouse is constantly damp with sweat. I most likely look like one of those overly athletic girls with the shine on my nose.

The night was long. So long it felt as if it were two separate days merged into one. My feet ache and my throat is raw from so much talking and laughing. I know mother won’t mind if I’m late tonight. My date had changed my dance card so that his name was on every other line. I felt a warmth in my cheeks when I had seen this. He was very forward. I could tell he wanted to dance closer but our chaperons were older and very old fashioned. He had brushed his hand over mine when he walked me home though, much to my delight.

I had tried a glass of champagne for the first time. I couldn’t even twist my braids properly the room was spinning. I gave up and flopped on my bed. I thought of him nervously asking me to see the latest Robert Montgomery picture with him next Saturday. I detested Robert Montgomery films but smiled dreamily thinking of sitting so close to him.

My eyes grew heavy and I yawned deeply. I hummed a Doris Day tune until I felt my consciousness drifting away.

Of Great Value

You know when you realize how important something is to you right? When you lose it.

You may think you know, you may believe that you understand and respect the importance of a thing but it’s my belief that it’s a failing of human culture to take things for granted until you no longer have that luxury.

I lost my best friend. In fact a lot of spectacularly shitty things have occurred since I wrote anything last. For fear of a negative diatribe that would be splattered all over social media I just restrained myself from venting. I mean hey, a few bitter status updates may have slipped out as I’m only human. But now I write because I lost my best friend.

So like I was saying, I could have gone on for hours before this happened about how I realized how important he was, how special I knew he was, but until today when he was 100% completely gone I had no clue that he possessed such a large piece of my heart. And that I would be so lost without him.

I’ve been through bad relationships, I’ve been through violence, I’ve been through hard work, poverty, and I’m raising kids which is it’s own special kind of hell and heaven mixed together. But I always had a best friend. That person I call at 2am. The person that can look at me and know that something is bothering me. The only one person in the world that can reach into my worst hysterical emotional panic attack and drag me back into my safe happy place. For god’s sake the man built my happy place.

Why did it end? It doesn’t really matter. Not my fault, not his fault. It just had to end and there was nothing I could do to change it.

I once went to a counselor after a very traumatizing break up. He drew a diagram of healthy relationship and unhealthy relationships. He drew two circles and in the first diagram he drew them side by side. He said, “Imagine the circles are you and your partner. This is a relationship where both people are so independent that they don’t need anything from one another, they exist as solitary creatures within a committed union. It requires very little communication, and this is unhealthy.”                                                                             He drew another two circles this time they intersected but almost so completely that they appeared to be one circle. ” This is a relationship were it is so dependant that you can not ascertain where one person ends and the other begins. There is almost no independence and tell me Shauna, what do you get if someone leaves this relationship?” He erased one circle. What remained was the other circle looking like a sliver of a moon. “One person is almost always left as a shell of who they used to be. They aren’t whole any longer and functionality is near impossible. They depended on their partner too much, to the point where they can’t function without them.”

As a person with deep-rooted abandonment issues, that overly dependent style was almost always the way my relationships look near the end. Even my friendships.

Image

 This is a healthy relationship. Where independence is maintained yet a balance of dependence is also rooted in the union.

 

Ok so you all know where this is leading right? I’m single with two kids and the only person in the entire world I had left is gone. You know the only option for me now right? I have to make friends with someone I really don’t like very much. Someone who is over emotional, clingy, blunt, insecure, a bad decision maker, desperate, a loner…. just an overall mess of a human being…..

Yep, that bitch.

How the hell am I supposed to make friends with someone I’ve lived with for 28 years and still can’t stand to be alone with?? Her only redeeming quality is she is the mother of my children…

SIGH

Nerve

When I wish, what I wish for is this.

I wish that I could help you.

I wish that you valued my happiness or my life as much as yours.

I wish that I could take away all your anger with a simple word.

I wish that our children were enough to make you see the truth.

I wish you had never endured the things that shaped you this way.

I wish you didn’t see me as you do.

I wish that I was strong enough to walk away or strong enough to endure.

I wish that you loved me enough.

I wish that you were happy.

I wish that I were happy.

I wish that as smart as we are, as loving as we are, as funny, creative, unique and stubborn as we are that we could live a beautiful, wonderful, euphoric life.

I wish that everything wasn’t so hard.

I wish I didn’t have faith.

Because it never pays off.

The Humanity Concern

I’m getting really distraught lately.

Over the state of the world we live in. I really don’t even watch as much news as I should. I’m busy with kids and I only catch a small portion of what’s going on. But what I do see, chills me to the bone. * I will be sampling various quotes to use the media to expand on my thoughts.*

Now I’m going to take into account that a lot of the media I see is American, as the Canadian media is pretty much non-existent to those who don’t have the time to go search it out. And we all know that American media is fear-based. They want you to be afraid of what they are saying.

Fear-based news stories prey on the anxieties we all have and then hold us hostage. Being glued to the television, reading the paper or surfing the Internet increases ratings and market shares – but it also raises the probability of depression relapse. In previous decades, the journalistic mission was to report the news as it actually happened, with fairness, balance, and integrity. However, capitalistic motives associated with journalism have forced much of today’s television news to look to the spectacular, the stirring, and the controversial as news stories. It’s no longer a race to break the story first or get the facts right. Instead, it’s to acquire good ratings in order to get advertisers, so that profits soar.” -Deborah Serani, Psy.D.

But that’s not the core of why I’m afraid. It’s the global culture of hate and separatism that seems to be consuming the general populace. We focus on the U.S.A but that is because they are the epicentre of media and that’s what we see. In truth, it’s everywhere.

Hate comes from, or is closely associated with, anger; hate gives its bearer a high, and an interminable yearning for more. Hate feeds on itself; it grows on the hater and embraces and engulfs the person into total surrender, so that a person becomes one with it. Hate is like adrenaline: Once it starts flowing, it is hard to stop. It keeps the misanthropes going, and they do not want it to stop. Hate makes the hater feel invincible, vindicated, justified.

And hate begets hate. Hate hardly ceases to enlarge itself. Hate is contagious.” – Pornpimol Karnchanalak

You hear these stories about rape and murder. Corruption in government. Rights taken away. Suicide. Bullying. War. Genocide. Different degrees of hate and disgusting behaviour. This is our world. And I have two small boys to raise in it.

The world will know peace when it is able to pull itself out of the dark ages, when all religion is dead and all minds are open.” -Ben Haggerty

I want to consider myself and my sons to be global citizens. To contribute to society. To help make this world a better place. But at this point, what can we do? Can we stop the killing and poverty and abuse and racism? Now that’s not to say I’m naïve enough to believe that these things haven’t been around in some incarnation as long as humanity itself. But is it just the magnification of the media or is it so much worse than it used to be? Are isolated tales of good and kindness enough to combat the sorrow our society is based on?

It starts with you my good man. We as a society have lost our voice of compassion or rather it has been drowned out by fear and selfishness. Some of us like you and me are at the awareness stage. We realize that there is a problem. The next thing to realize is that you can’t help a single person if you first don’t help yourself. Becoming aware is not enough. You have to act on that awareness. Show compassion and selflessness to the people around you and expect nothing in return. It’s a hard thing to do, not judge your neighbor, but once you’ve gotten control of yourself you have a better influence on the people around you. I see the norm of today being service to self, so I say to you and anybody else that has the question, the place to start is with you. How you interact with the people around you spreads like wildfire. Be the change you want to see in the world and you will see people come out of the “woodworks” so to speak.” -William Bruno

Ok. So be the change. I’ve heard it before and I believe it to be true. But what about the rest of the world? I don’t want to wait for everyone else to understand. It hurts me to see so much pain around me. I want to shake everyone with hate in their heart and tell them to open their eyes and see what they are doing. See what they are destroying. I can live with it but I don’t want my children to have to.

I also believe, that it is part of the human being’s intrinsic nature, to hate. When someone hurts me, I feel it. When someone hurts someone I love, I feel it. An uncontrolled anger that wants to hurt and punish and cause chaos. When I was in second grade, I tore a schoolmates art poster because I wanted to. And I didn’t feel badly. It’s ingrained from the moment we are born. Your circumstanced and upbringing either foster or filter this emotion. But it’s always there.

Professor Semir Zeki and John Romaya of the Wellcome Laboratory of Neurobiology at UCL, examined the brain areas that correlate with the sentiment of hate and shows that the ‘hate circuit’ is distinct from those related to emotions such as fear, threat and danger – although it shares a part of the brain associated with aggression. The circuit is also quite distinct from that associated with romantic love, though it shares at least two common structures with it.

The results are an extension of previous studies on the brain mechanisms of romantic and maternal love from the same laboratory. Explaining the idea behind the research, Professor Zeki said: “Hate is often considered to be an evil passion that should, in a better world, be tamed, controlled, and eradicated. Yet to the biologist, hate is a passion that is of equal interest to love. Like love, it is often seemingly irrational and can lead individuals to heroic and evil deeds. How can two opposite sentiments lead to the same behaviour?“” – University College London

So for me, this is what I’m doing. Every time I feel hatred welling up inside of me, I walk away. I, at great personal sacrifice, discard the pleasure my brain believes I’ll reap from revenge or nasty comments or meanness of any sort. This is what I will do now. I’ve had 27 years of slip ups and the odd hateful outburst. But with the state of this world, we can’t afford one more slip up. I can’t stop the feeling from happening, but I can stop myself from doing anything about it. This won’t change the state of the governments, end hunger, stop violence, encourage education versus ignorance. But it means that I, personally, am not contributing to it. So I can tell my sons that I tried to live in the world how I wish it were. Maybe I didn’t only put love out there for my entire life but I can tell them that it reached a point where I realized, I’m accountable for everything I put out into the world and deserving of everything I get back. I can only hope they live this way too.

Human life is a truly beautiful and amazing gift, and along with the opportunity to inhabit these bodies and this planet comes a great responsibility.  Humankind was given the capacity for unlimited mental processes, and as a result, we are custodians of this planet, and responsible for the advancement and evolution of our species.  In order for humanity to evolve to the next level necessary to create a more peaceful and unified society, each individual must tap into their core of potential and achieve a level of self-realization and improvement, which is the ultimate key to creating a better world.” –Mark Matus

All I can do is continue to try and push love through every open mind and every pair of ears that will listen. I encourage you to be kind. I encourage you to look at the negative and hate-filled things you will encounter everyday and if you cannot stop it from happening, walk away. Being a part of hate is the same as being the beginning of it.

I encourage you to change your own definition of humanity.