Savoring shells and squirming in skin…..

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Spring 1979.
A cold Topsail wind whips my tears along the sand in the early morning dark,
where I’ve been driven by a dream that had me jumping from my sleep
to lift a crying baby I couldn’t find.
She’s several weeks gone and my heart feels sprained
by sudden stabs of fear that she’s lost in the crowd of this big wide world
and I think I’ve done the best for her but I feel only this vicious sense of coming up short,
and don’t recognize the me that’s left in the after.
As I cry my hurt along the water’s edge,  something large rolls up against my foot.
A perfect conch.  On a beach of broken pebbles.  Somehow it washes up a warm and soothing grace,
this treasure from the deep – feels like “I’ve got this” – a wink delivered on the waves.
I take it home like a token given and keep it to rest my eyes,  my hope carried through the years.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It’s hers now – I sent it along to whisper love
and finding Allison this warm September last feels like another shell to hold;
I love this window.
Like when I’d rest my head against the doorframe to breathe in the wonder
of my littles asleep in their cribs,  so full up and tender for these tiny bundles of light wrapped in skin
It feels a little like that again,  and while Autumn is our busy season
and life doesn’t slow or gentle down for me to linger,
sometimes in the night I get up and pad down the hall to have a loving look and
it’s a beautiful thing that I can.  Another gift given and I know it.

But I don’t hear back
and as the leaves begin to fall,  an old chill comes over my soul like a fog rolling in.

I’m glad she doesn’t do fake just to make nice,
glad she’s living authentic and true,
and I support her in the story that’s her own to live and tell.

But why doesn’t she want me?

There it is, the haunting pain,
and this question doesn’t stand alone
because shame comes seeping up from the floorboards of shut off places
like a backwards flush and I feel the drag on my soul…..

“What’s wrong with me?”

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We’ve all felt it,  this burning kind of shame –
accusation that haggles with your worth until it talks you down,
your defects discovered – you might have been loved but this is a dealbreaker.
And if you say or show or let on or get found out
you’ll be put out in the cold where you belong
and so you hide your love away and go small and smaller still…..
It pricks me sharp but I’m fighting to show up and stay.

It’s coming on Thanksgiving and I feel it like a fever that I can’t shake
but I open to some outlaw grace and get inspired to reach out shaking anyway.
I’ll write her every  Monday – say the words I couldn’t say,
unfold the cramped legs of what I want to give her – at last I have a way.
I plunk an easy,  newsy note into her box each Monday night,
a little heartpour sent off grinning with a prayer,
something she can count on – a love that’s always there and this is joy to me,
even with the disappointment-hangover that happens in the afterdays as she doesn’t respond,
and I grab on to the beauty that I  find and let it steele me in the keeping true.

  I’m thinking that if I feel that something needs to happen
or be in order to repair what feels broken in me
then maybe it’s gain when it doesn’t go down that way,
because insecurity gets flushed out from where it festers hidden
and as twinkle lights begin to light up the December nights,
the stuff in my basement gets dragged from where it hides
and with every “have you heard?” I squirm in my skin as shame storms down on me.
My chest goes tight now when they ask.  Please look away.  Please don’t see
me standing naked in the glare of her no thanks.

I feel so much “I’m sorry” rumble up from the deep,  not for anything I’ve done
but for what I don’t know how to be.

The longing and loss are valid – I feel it an ocean,  the grief.
But something’s not true in this shadow.
It’s easier to call the bluff on lies that others believe,
but I’ve got some bleeding blind spots – needing help myself to see.
And as Christmas comes and goes with no response still,  I’m rumbling inside to get free….

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“There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers
than those of us who are willing to fall because we have learned how to rise.
With skinned knees and bruised hearts,  we choose owning our stories of struggle over hiding,  over hustling,
over pretending.  When we deny our stories,  they define us.
When we run from struggle,  we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye….”
– Brene Brown
(Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted in her Rising Strong)

If you’re still along for the ride,  I’ll tell you right now – this chapter doesn’t have a fairy tale ending.
It’s a love story,  and real,  and there is beauty to unfold still
but it’s messy and raw and and soaked with pain and grace;
maybe this is just exactly the stuff of getting free
(the best is still to be)

Teardrops in the wind…..

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I post this every year….a healing,  loving ritual

because I need to somehow honor those days out loud,
especially for those who maybe still haven’t found their voices
yet.
And for all mothers everywhere,  because our hearts bear always the stretch marks
of loving and letting go.

It was March,  1979.
Breezes turned balmy and I pulled off my shoes,  letting swollen feet tramp across warming earth.
I was pregnant with my first baby,  due St. Patrick’s Day.
For weeks I had ached for time to stop,
squeezing myself shut to the coming separation,
the word “relinquish” heavy on my heart.

But today the weather had turned,  and hadn’t everything somehow changed?
Spring had come with her own dreamy wildness
and waves to ride far beyond the looming loss.

I spent the day sunsoaking,
watching the wind stir the tireswing I’d played in
not so long ago.

I was newly seventeen,
an “unwed” mother
with an unwanted chore:
to give my baby to someone she deserved.
Soon she would come apart from me,
gone before the leaves flushed out.
Their buds were fat and ready to pop.
Like me.
I went quiet with the knowing.

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But this day was vivid lovely and it got inside me.

As the sun began to dip low,
a storm of pain rumbled and hammered down urgency
inside my belly
as grownup voices began herding me into the night.

As my frightened parents gathered my things to the car,
I lunged back inside for one last moment alone
with the gentle life that had shaken mine
with her own gentle worth.

I lowered my heavy frame onto the bed and tried to sing one last lullaby
but could do only tears.
A fragile goodbye.

Following strong contractions downstairs and into the night,
I returned home with only fierce memory
of her tiny fingers and face.
But I’m forever marked by her essence,
often swept away by her melody
as it drifts across my heartstrings.

I recognize her song.

Thirty seven Springs.
I honor each of her days.
And today I tenderly comfort the girl-in-me who carried her
before she was transplanted into the garden
that nurtured her to thriving.
And I remember those shimmery days when we were just us,
when she was still mine.

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Thanks for giving a listen.  For being a witness.  I hold it as a gift with love and thanks.

“The dark does not destroy the light;  it defines it.
It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”
– Brene’ Brown

“When you get to the place where you understand that love and belonging,
your worthiness,
are a birthright and not something you have to earn,
anything is possible.”
– Brene’ Brown

I’m celebrating life this week and want to offer up a package of goodness,  Stargirl style,
in a drawing.  Just because I can.  And it makes my heart smile.
I’ll draw a name from comments and make up a gift box
full of handmade art,  handwritten love,  and beautiful little surprises
picked especially you.
A little love bomb:)
Just plunk a comment in the box and I’ll send your name into the mix.

September singing…..

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Can I tell you something,  quiet,
because my voice is coming back from a very thin place,
like when I used to read books aloud all day at my children’s school
and could only croak raspy strings of words when the day was done.
But I want to croak it, even whispered,
that love is stronger than fear.

Because it’s September,  and talk of terror fills the streams we sometimes have to wade
and it reminds me afresh what pierced my heart that day so many years ago
when the buildings came down,
and I don’t want to take it for granted,
this voice that is mine
and the brief breath of days we are given.

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Yeah,  it’s going quick,  this life
and sometimes things get swept away unexpected,  like a vapor,
and I don’t want to leave any of my love un-given.

For me, September raises her hands like the choir director I adored as a girl,
her fiery red hair wonderfully unkempt and long arms stretched out calling,
calling to each of our voices
“sing out”
as she tugged at the songs still sleeping inside us.
I now know why she pulled and stretched and wouldn’t accept the slumber we kept.
She knew  she was standing on sacred ground
that something real was unearthed by the rising of our sound.

I want to live it out louder,  the stuff I want left hanging in the air
if my body is suddenly torn away and my voice hushed,
to clear my throat and bellow out what my heart would grab on and fight, white knuckled,
to leave behind.

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Weren’t they our voices that the terror came to silence?
To make our love grow cold?
So when we,  even trembling,  belt it out,
the song we carry inside,
we honor those who were taken,  and those left behind.

“Sing out,”  I can still hear her calling
and somewhere deep inside
I want to tilt back my head and bellow from my belly
that in every painful,  vulnerable place
I will love life more,
appreciate more,
pray and laugh and lift my voice more,
and take each breath I’m given
like it’s a golden ticket that I’ve won.

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“Because hiding out, pretending,  and armoring up against vulnerability are killing us:
killing our spirits,  our hopes,  our potential,  our creativity,  our ability to lead,
our love,  our faith,  and our joy.”
-Brene’ Brown

  hey,  I want to send a copy of my September Ripplesongs to the winner
of a giveaway this week;  leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing next Saturday!

truth in the tremble…..

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Stuff is just exactly
as broken
and shaky
and gimpy
as it is,
but hardly hopeless,
oddly beautiful even,
in the coming undone

so I’m gonna re-think the tremble
and not crumple up small
and slide down under
the coming up short,
trying to fix the wobble
and make it seem smooth
so the flaws don’t show;

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’cause even though it may stop the squeak and shudder
when I flatten out low,
I wasn’t born to be the wedge
beneath these shaky table legs
so maybe we’ve got something here
that isn’t quite real.

Let's find another,  truer way
because I don't want to spend another day
 feeling homesick
 for me.
blog ice
(serving this up again because I've had our voices on my heart)
"...the issue of 'stay small, sweet, quiet and modest' sounds
like an outdated problem,  but the truth is that women
still run into those demands whenever
we find and use our voices."
-Brene' Brown

 

got to be free….

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To be free…..this is the thing,
top of my list……even love needs freedom
to thrive,
freedom to grow my own garden,
learn from my own mistakes,
choose my own path,
decide in my own heart how I worship, build a family,
make a life and a living,
to say my own strong “no’s” and grin my very own yeses,

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to write and sing and paint and dance
and pickle and pour and pray and chance
and to choose my own pace about it,
not taking on hurry or rush or shove or push,
not swallowing one drop of ridicule because of my gimpy places,
but to bask in the light beautiful along the way,
all along the way,

because I’m free to choose,
to relax into the timing of Love
and take joy in this journey
that is mine.

Really,  don’t let the beauty of this life get away from you.

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Lifting my heart to toast every drop of freedom
we are born for.

“Don’t shrink.
Don’t puff up.
Just stand your sacred ground.”
-Brene’ Brown

(and,  hey,  I really want to write you back when you leave comments.  I don’t get e-mails anymore,
since my blog changed a bit,  so I’m gonna try writing a reply right at the end of each comment.
Never done that before.  Not sure if you’ll ever get them….just wanting to stay connected.)