Spoons and wounds and the words i couldn’t say…..

We played a game when I was young
where a handfull of spoons was fetched from the kitchen and placed loose in a pile on the table,
always one fewer than the players gathered ’round.
Like in musical chairs,  we would dive to grab a one with a certain turn of hand,
and the one who came up short without a spoon
had to traipse around the table saying “I am slow,”
while the grownups laughed and thought it cute,
and my grandma snickered we had to say it like a donkey
and sometimes the same child would do the circle of shame
again and again until the laughter sounded mean.
The loser wasn’t me but I ached that it was so and wished that everything came with more spoons.

On the day I came unfixed too far I wished that life came with more words
because I couldn’t grab onto a single one when the shoes came flying.
I went slow like a donkey and couldn’t say the things.
So I want to say them now.
For anyone who needs a spoon:

  Please knock on the door of my room or call me to the table
and show me your face.
My heart needs these words like air right now:
“hey,  sounds like today was hard for you.  Can we talk about it?
I heard you spoke with Mrs. King.
Did you find the words to say what you meant?
How do you feel about it now?  Confused?
Let’s try and sort it out together.  Because sometimes things are bigger than the both of us.
I just want you to know that you’re my girl
and I’m here for you.
Life can get confusing;
we’ll get through this tangle together.

I hit you with the shoes?
That must’ve hurt. I didn’t mean to hurt you;
didn’t even see you there.
I felt frustrated because the shoes were in the living room where I’ve asked you not to leave them.
They don’t belong there.
But you….you belong.  Always.
Come to the table and let’s love each other through this.”

Oh please say it so my heart can hear.
I want your eyes to touch me kind
and tell me I’m not horrid.
I cried because I was scared that I was a girl without a spoon.
So deeply,  crushingly sad about all these
damn spoons.

I want to know,  need to feel
that I matter more than my shoes,
matter more than a win or a smart retort,
more even than the cookies I make or how pretty I sing or
how fast the spin on my serve.
Please say it now
because I’m caught in a current and my soft heart puddles blood
and will begin to crust over hard
and it will take long for me to gather the words I couldn’t say.

Because they’re feeling words,
because this conversation we’re not having feels obscene,
and we don’t go on about ugly feelings;
when we’re this uncomfortable,  we simply don’t talk about it
all the harder.

But do you see that how hard we aren’t talking about this is breaking me apart?

God,  that I could have knocked on your door
and said,  “I need your questions.  Ask me gentle please.
Help me unravel this tangle we’re in.
Because this knot so tight has me unraveling inside
and this split between us is going to become what I do.
Please don’t teach me to run away;
show me there’s a way to be true to myself and stay.
Hold space for us all in this muddy and gray?

You say that I’m rebellious;
I call it broken-hearted.
You think I don’t care but I care too hard that
the way my name sounds in your mouth has changed,
how it comes out tight as if you’re cursing.
The shame in me and the shame in you makes the air somehow too hot
to stay inside my skin.

But I need you,  Dad,  need the way you soften things around here.
The way you sometimes lighten up the heavy in the house.
Will you stop figuring for a minute,  put down your pencil and turn around
and see me?
I need you to see me right now.
See the answers to the questions you’re not asking.

Please don’t let my first break-up be with you.

But you will not come
and I will move on to decide
that you can lose love fast,
that family can easily be torn,
will decide how unsafe to belong anywhere,
to always linger near the door
and never ever go all in because I don’t have that special thing,
that secret sauce that feels like worth,
the whatever kind of magic that it takes to be seen and sought.

Oh I’ll find other tables
and hustle hard for my seat
but for decades with an empty-belly ache.
This will be the wound you hand me,
as a wise one says all parents do,
and I will unknowingly wound my own and grieve this,  too,

But I will take this wound and discover the gift wrapped alongside,
will come to wildly value words and learn to string them together strong,
to rearrange and cobble and twirl them like glass until they catch the light
and make new ones if I must and work long to place them meaningful
and get sick sometimes to my stomach because I fear being
caught without the right ones.
Words will be both fences and freedom to me.

And I will leave our fundamental way
and learn to find and see truth in every nuance and shade;
no,  I won’t think only in black and white long
but will know that truth is something to fight to discover,
that suspending judgement is worth every screech of the brakes,
that not knowing is sometimes the only honest place to park.
That becoming A Liar will stir me to look for what’s true
and in loving truth I will come to better love you.

I will see that you were both young and scared and doing your best in
a shitstorm of shame that shook you
beyond your capacity to sit with me in it.
If you’d been given better,  if you’d known a different way,
you’d have done different,  I know,  because you loved me strong.
I will see your humanity in all of it’s fragile and terrible beauty
and this,  too,  will be gift to me.
I will never hold you again to a pedestal but will love you instead
and this is treasure when you’re received real instead of as an ideal.

I will know you were trying to give me the best of your love.

“Shame derives it’s power from being unspeakable.
That’s why it loves perfectionists – it’s so easy to keep us quiet.
If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak it,  we basically cut it off at the knees.
Shame hates having words wrapped around it.
If we speak shame,  it begins to wither.
Just as exposure to light was deadly for gremlins,  language and story
bring light to shame and destroy it.”
– Brene’ Brown

“My gift is my song and this one’s for you.”
– Elton John

This post 5th in a series and,  yes,  long!
Thanks for wading through all of these words;
quicker reads to follow:)

Of hiding and hunger and a low sound humming …

I was born into the anxious airbrush of a disapproving religion
and I was born into love and welcome arms and really glad you’re here.
Always the two danced together,  as they often do in an uncertain world
where life is fragile and being is messy and only rules seem safe when nothing else does.
Born to good people who wanted only goodness for me.
They’d been raised severe,  my parents.  Especially my mom,
whose own dad kept court with a southern baptist smoulder that could singe
the tender parts of curiosity and joy
until even they trembled fearful in the corner.

They were unmarried and in love and in college chasing dreams
when I came to be.
They packaged my presence in a lie
–  already they’d married.  Secretly.  Months before.
Now that I was on the way they quickly wed
and so began the family into which I shortly arrived.
The appearance swept clean,  we tidied up pretty good
except for the disease.
Deep running through the fault-line of all that I received
was this message of dark shame
and what we do to hide the beast.

I was a lively sprite of a child and this unsettled the conservative core of my parent’s sensibilities.
Oh we knew love and laughter and joy in our days,  especially after my little sister arrived just 13 months later,
but I was less compliant,  more boisterous,  willful and impulsive and sometimes “a little hellion”
which fleshed out my mother’s darkest fear:
that I had let a little hell in.
The chill of her childhood left scars that made my deep-feeling curiosity seem dangerous,
and this hung cloudy over me,  the child of her shame.
I felt it long before I knew it’s name.

And there was goodness and I’m grateful for the village that was my childhood and church,
rich with stories and friendships and music and meetings that sometimes felt like bright stars.
But I felt different from the other kids,  like I was somehow less;
all my hard-trying didn’t cover up the dark and don’t of me,
not even my scratchy Sunday best.

Into this hot lonesome came a sweet, sweet Love,
like a tall glass of acceptance to my apologetic heart,
healing balm for the shame I’d feel burned by
for the slightest infractions and failings,
not served up by my parents – please don’t hear that.
They were young and on my side.
The voice I heard was the sound of the lie
hissing over us all that there was something dark to hide.

I hungered to know more
of this God that loved the wild of me
and I began to travel roads less stained-glass and steeple’d,
looking for a safe somewhere
where my truth wouldn’t have to get dressed up,
a shelter where Love kept shop and togethering happened honest,
all the whosoevers and ragamuffins,
unguarded and at peace.
No fighting for scraps of attention.
No competition for who would love who.

I was a smooth bundle of nervous contradiction as I plopped down onto throw pillows
on the living room floor where I first learned how to be seen
in a way that soothed the hiding child of me.
Kinship group,  they called it,  and with the first soft strum
of the guitar humming low,  a lifetime of tears began to flow
as if I was taking off  ill-fitting shoes and discovering inside little rocks that I could dump.
I’d been holding my breath long and didn’t know.

 “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness
the astonishing light of your own being.”
– Hafiz

(this is second in a series I’m tugging loose….come along for the ride,  if you like;
I’m always so glad you’re here)

let me count the ways….

 Celebrating 29 years of togethering
  and oh how grateful I am
 for my mister

~  his beautiful hands and kind, firm touch,
 ~ his quiet way
 ~ how when he laughs,  really laughs,  it's music,
 like my grandpa's,
~ his loving fierceness for protecting our children
 ~  the compassion that rises up and takes him over
 when he senses genuine need.

~ that he keeps learning,  keeps growing,  keeps opening to change
 even when it challenges and chills him,
~ that he notices nature with childlike eyes.....our shared love for
 wildlife and aliveness was how we fell in love,
~  that he still surprises me,
~  the way he cares for my car
~ that he takes life's  hits and keeps moving forward

  ~  how he wouldn't quit on "us" and wouldn't let me quit, either
  ....the peacefulness that's come.


~  the way his eyes smile to me in a crowd,
~  the feel of his hand on the small of my back,
 ~ the iron sharpening iron way he challenges me with his
 ~  the happy squeeze in my belly when we ride the same wave,
 ~ the way he's learned to be free about me being me.

 ~  how we've learned to fight hard and often and well,
 ~  the way his straight lines sometimes bend to blend with my wavy ones.
~  The way he lives his own truth and keeps it real,
 ~  his calm courage when I lose it and come undone
~  his humility when I'm the braver one.

  that his heart is tender,
~  his prayers are real,
~  his love is faithful,
~ his art is forgiveness,
~ and his story is strong.

~  the way he loves his mama,  feels his music,  and lives out his love
for me real and raw and true,
~ that i love this adventure we share more each day,
~ and that I believe
that together we can find a way

to thrive through whatever comes down this unpaved path
we travel together.


Wait!  That’s 29~  and there’s so much more to love!
I want years more still
for the telling.