So much change this time of year!
Grab hold if you feel adrift :)
I am afraid to write this poem
as it is about my weakness/illness/brokenness
and how it affects others
and how I exaggerate it affects others
and how I want to have both lots and no effect on others.
I get very small sometimes and very very quiet.
I am six again.
There were bedrooms,
one mine and one in which my parents fought
and made love and fought again.
Their closed door, the heaviness and darkness,
they were not a hallway, but a galaxy,
complete with asteroids and black holes, away.
I took comfort in a crocheted blanket across my bed,
it was made of mauve and dusty pink colored yarn.
I’d poke my fingers through its holes,
I’d gather its fringe into little ponytails.
There were childhood fevers and lightning storms,
there were cockroaches in that apartment.
My garage is now full of rat shit
that I am too overwhelmed to deal with.
It happened mostly recently at a retreat for addicts,
I was invited to speak on a panel about love and sex addiction.
I sat for two hours in front of people.
My face was hot, I didn’t know where to look,
didn’t know how to compose my hot face,
to convey proper presenter-ness, to be at once, calm, knowledgable, generous.
The other panelists and the audience spoke of collecting yoyos (5000!),
reducing women to body parts, 45 hours of screen time in a week,
their eating binges and purges going from daily until once a year,
until they were asked to be a sponsor
and finally disallowed even this annual indulgence.
The other presenters made the audience laugh and were self-disclosing,
they were familiar, where I felt fictional,
I offered my thoughts in the reverse order I intended.
Afterwards I could barely see as I walked to the bathroom,
my brain was the texture of cotton candy.
I told the organizers I’d stay for the day,
at least for lunch, but rather slunk off,
not wearing my glasses as I left
so I couldn’t make eye contact with the
attendees who were headed for fellowship and food,
who were working their program
with determination and grace I then lacked.
Rather than connecting, instead of honest-ing,
I went to a thrift shop, I “cruised” for clothes,
the way johns hunt for hookers,
scoring two pairs of jeans I don’t need.
At the checkout I added a diet soda,
candy bar, a bag of cheddar potato chips,
eating them quickly without tasting, without regard for health,
the way junkies inject dirty needles.
The relapse was mild in terms of the 4 C’s of addiction,
craving, compulsion, control and consequences,
but two days later my shame hangover lingers.
The retreat was Buddhist and we were reminded
until we have right thought, we are all addicted.
How about right heart? right community? right support?
which is what those lovelies were providing
and I wronged myself by not partaking.
My mother-in-law, who lives in assisted living,
wanted to be an actress,
but her bi-polar illness prevented her.
She asks me to bring her carton after carton of ice cream,
dulce de leche, discovered thanks to my enabling.
She asks me to buy baby powder, shampoo, Q-tips.
I bring these sundries, even though her small bathroom
contains multiples of such items already.
She is obese, but I purchase the ice cream anyway.
I am not sure what progress looks like.
My husband can now be out of touch for hours
and although I might douse myself with kerosene,
I don’t reach for matches.
The emptying though, and the rip tide that accompanies it,
this reclusiveness, isolating, so named in recovery circles,
has never gone completely away.
I want to offer hope.
after asking here,