Free Write Friday: Childhood Gift … Bear

A tougher challenge this week ~ at least for me.

Here’s what Kellie Elmore has asked us to write about:

free-write-friday-kellie-elmore“Write about your most memorable childhood gift. Was it a Christmas gift? A Birthday gift? Was it something you really wanted or was it a surprise that ended up holding a sentimental place in your heart? What do you remember? How did it make you feel?”

~*~

Trust Bear

Bear

UpHeaVal,

Instability

Spelled a childhood to be

Survived.

A bear clutched;

My security

Blanket. A gift from

Me to my heart

Though by others made

Manifest.

Secrets kept and

Wept over

In secret ~

Together. No

Judgment. Just

The stable warmth

Of the fuzzy

Inanimate. Safe

In my arms;

Secure in my

Heart.

~*~

The bottom line is my childhood memories are cloudy. The single treasure that comes to mind? A small, well-hugged and dog-eared brown bear named Boo Boo (think Yogi Bear … I had him too). It was a sad day when, at age 10 or so, I finally laid him to rest after a savage mauling at the jaws of the family cocker spaniel (or I think that’s how he met his demise. Another memory blotted … and possibly just as well.)

There have been many bears since. I have a home filled with lovely collectible ones.

And, of course, it’s little wonder I have nicknamed my companionable horse Bear … ūüėČ

The Greeting

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

The Critical One: The Third Letter in a Series …

From:¬†Dear Me: A Collection of Letters Addressed to Various Aspects of My Self¬†…¬†¬©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

~*~

Free SpiritThe third letter in a series addressed to my critical Self. The date is the actual date it was written as a free writing, and freeing, exercise.

July 10, 2013

Dear Critical One ~

Perhaps you have noticed lately that I am making the conscious effort to release the need to be perfect.

I know you’ve noticed, actually, because I can always feel you nagging away at me to …

Fix it! Fix it! Fix it!!!

You’re always nagging at me about how I use my time, asking … have I done enough; have I presented myself well enough? The sad thing for me (and disappointing for you) is nothing I ever do is enough.

You cast your critical eye over everything I do, and when you’re feeling particularly obnoxious about it you simply delete my efforts as if they never existed at all.

I would agree that learning to let go is a powerful tool for wellness, and I have adopted this rather well into my current way of being. Still, when you “let go” of something I have created, you annihilate it! There’s no loving it away. It’s an act of terror that leaves me feeling stunned and legless.

How many times have you killed the Creative One who, though she rises again like the indomitable Phoenix, must endure again and again your lust to satisfy the Perfectionist?

The Perfectionist kills authenticity.

The pursuit of something unattainable is exhausting, debilitating and hopeless. You must stop listening to the Perfectionist lest one day she stabs you in the back because YOU are not good enough.

Allow me to love you into a new way of being.

Be my ally. Embrace acceptance.

Lovingly,

Dorothy

~*~

The Critical One: The First and Second Letters in a Series …

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Free Write Friday: … Phone Call At Midnight

The prompt at Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday¬†this week is a title, and we’ve been asked to use one of the following offerings as inspiration:

‚ÄúDandelion Season‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúPhone Call at Midnight‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe Green Years‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe Human Zoo‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe Fires of Spring‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe Ivy Covered Gate‚ÄĚ

~*~

Full moon

A Phone Call At Midnight

What good can come from a phone call

At midnight?

Thump-thmp …

The alarm raised, my

Senses brace …

Thump-thmp …

Heart races;

Mind whirls …

Thump-thmp … thump-thmp …

Surreal perception

Balance lost …

Thump-thmp …

Siren sounds the night

Is but a bell by day …

Thump-thmp …

“Everything okay, dear?”

Thump-thmp

“Just called to say I love you …”

Thump-thmp … thump-thmp … thump-thmp …

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Be well,

Dorothy

free-write-friday-kellie-elmore

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

The Critical One: The First and Second Letters in a Series …

Free Spirit

As part of my healing process I’ve been writing letters to different aspects of my Self that need resolution. ¬†So far I have published a complete series to “The Panicked One.” Another series to “The Guarded One” is in progress.

Recently, I embarked on a series of letters to “The Critical One.”

I know I am not the only person who struggles with this miserable character, so I have opted to publish these letters in an ongoing occasional series of posts as well as store them in their own page in the menu.

If The Critical One stands in the way of your self-expression and dreams I hope you will find this even mildly cathartic.

I welcome any constructive and positive feedback.

Be well,

Dorothy

~*~

From: Dear Me: A Collection of Letters Addressed to Various Aspects of My Self …¬†¬©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

~*~

The date of each letter is the actual date it was written as a free writing, and freeing, exercise.

Herewith the first two letters to …

The Critical One

Perhaps one of the most devious and undermining aspects that requires addressing is The Critical One.

In fact, it’s hardly worth addressing the other aspects and hoping they’ll heal without also taking to task this damaging menace.

~*~

July 5, 2013

Dear Critical One ~

That is a harsh name, isn’t it?

Is this why you are so unhappy?

It lends itself to your unforgiving and harsh assessment of The Creative One and The Guarded One your, dare I say, fairer sisters.

Are you bitter?

If so, why?

Who rained on your parade?

The Perfectionist? That cruel mistress of illusion?

Ah … this makes sense.

Really, you must learn to let her go. She is phoney ~ the weaver of lies; the standard bearer for the unattainable; the spinner of unhappiness.

How can you even listen to her?

When you can let her go we shall re-name you to something more positive, softer like … not sure yet. We’ll need to think about that.

In the meantime, you have something to think about.

Perhaps, like your sister, The Panicked One, you should consider retiring.

You, like she, have exhausted yourself by serving as my “protector.” It’s time to release the manic need to control my interactions with life so as to keep me, supposedly and in your estimation, safe from, well, criticism, rejection and the like.

I can take care of my Self.

Please give this some serious thought. I have your, and my, best interests at heart and I can feel you need a permanent break.

I need a permanent break from you …

Pick an island. I’ll pay your one-way fare.

Lovingly,

Dorothy

~*~

July 7, 2013

Dear Critical One,

You always seem to find a way to get in the way.

And I would love you away …

Surely you have exhausted your resources. Are you not yet spent in your need to nit pick everything I do, say, experience?

Your need to control these aspects of my life must surely end at some point. Aren’t you tired of having to be in control all the time?

Have you not yet learned to trust me?

If not, I wish you would.

In your effort to “protect” me from the criticism of others by undermining me first, you actually do more harm than good.

Let me enlighten you …

Every time you nit pick, second guess, question, dismantle, dissect and just plain destroy my self-expression you destroy a part of me. You curtail my confidence, stifle my voice so I can barely hear myself never mind engage my thoughts, feelings and opinions with others.

While you maintain the stance of being helpful you’re actually being counter-productive.

Sometimes I think you must actually dislike me to be so cruel.

Why are you so cruel?

What did I ever do to you?

You don’t protect me. You prevent me.

And don’t harp on about the past. The past is just that ~ past. Gone. No longer relevant to who I am, or who you are today.

You need to adopt a new attitude ~ an attitude of acceptance. In fact, I would be happy to anoint you as¬†The One Who Accepts¬†if it would help you to see yourself differently. Wouldn’t you like to see yourself in a more positive light?

Please … relax your need to cling to the lies The Perfectionist has whispered so manipulatively into your ear.

She is not your friend.

She is our enemy.

The Perfectionist weaves her web of lies and ensnares the unsuspecting and you, dear Critical One, are just such a victim. The lies she tells you are the lies you unload on me … and I’m not taking it anymore!

So, wake up before it’s too late, before you are so deeply bound by The Perfectionist’s deception that there is no escape for either of us.

You don’t need to be a victim, and I don’t need to be victimized by you.

I can help you to be free. And the amazing thing is that once you are free I am too.

Kiss The Perfectionist goodbye and walk with me in the more supportive role of The One Who Accepts.

It’s never too late to let go of the damaging old ways and embrace new affirming ones.

You can trust me on this …

Lovingly,

Dorothy

~*~

To be continued …

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

#FWF Free Write Friday: Image Prompt … The Musician

This week Kellie Elmore’s¬†Free Write Friday prompt is an image.

walmart-man

” … tell me his story.

By the way, his name is John.”

~*~

The Musician

I’m told his name is John, but he actually prefers Jack.

It’s what his mother called him.

Not that he was a mama’s boy, but she had this idea in her head that if John F. Kennedy, the President of the United States could be called Jack, so could her son … John Fitzsimmon Kennedy ~ named after said President but not so close as to be tacky.

Jack had always hated it. He wanted to be his own man.

His mama’d had hopes for him … big hopes. Hopes he did not share. All he wanted, from the time he was 10 years old, was to be a musician. But not just any musician ~ the best darn harmonica player in the country.

His mama had been none too thrilled with this notion when he’d told her at age 17.

“A musician!” she’d wailed as he finally came out of the career closet. He was cradling his precious harmonica in already farm-weathered young hands. His mama about yanked it from him but he held it closer. She glowered. “And when, pray, did you start entertaining this notion when all along your daddy, God rest his soul, and I have had plans for you to go to law school?”

Jack just shrugged.

“Just come to me, mama,” he shrugged again. “Called me, like. … Saved every penny I could to buy this lonely pipe from the pawn shop after I heard an old fella play his at the local fair. … I been practicin’ in secret in the old cow shed down by the river meadow for years.”

His mama was livid.

“Well, you can’t play it no more, you hear? We got big plans for you, your daddy and I, and you ain’t gonna be no musician.”

“A musician!” she repeated, bereft, with one hand on her heart and the back of the other brushing over her brow with dramatic effect. “Jack Fitzsimmon Kennedy you may as well just shoot me.”

Jack rolled his eyes and walked away. He was going to be a musician whether she liked it or not.

Ever since his daddy had died several years before his mama had ruled with an iron fist, feeling she had to be both parents to the fatherless boy. It was a terrible thing, his father having bled to death after getting his hand caught in the thresher. His mama never got over it. Jack’s uncle¬†and a couple of farm hands ¬†now ran the farm, but Jack had no interest. He’d do his chores grudgingly, waiting for the day he turned 18 and he and his harmonica could high-tail it out of there and travel the country with a rockin’ country band.

It was all he wanted.

His mother didn’t live long enough to wallow in her disappointment. Just before he’d turned 18 she slipped on a frozen cow pat hitting the ground with such force that she broke her neck, dying instantly.

Sad as he was he knew it was his ticket to freedom.

Within days of her burial he’d begun the long trek by greyhound bus from Bantry, North Dakota to Nashville, Tennessee. He was going to be lead singer and harmonica player for a band, any band … come hell or high water.

And he was … for The Rambling Wranglers. Travelled all over the country. Played all the big shows and festivals through the prime of adulthood. His heart’s desire.

But somewhere along the way he’d lost his way. The parties, the women, the drugs. On the road so much he became Jack Fitzsimmon (he dropped “Kennedy” cos he was his own man) of no fixed address.

When I saw him last he was unkempt, unshaven and looking lost, perched on a step looking wistfully into the distance, perhaps remembering better days. In protective hands he cradled his precious harmonica. Slippers replaced his cowboy boots; a battered fedora his stetson.

Perhaps his mama and daddy had been right. Perhaps he should have taken their counsel and become a lawyer. He might have made a hay wagon load of money and lived the high life.

But he’d followed his heart. He’d lived his own high life. The bank account may be almost empty, but his heart was completely full. His hope for a brighter future, even at this stage of the game, clutched in his weathered hands.

Jack turned to look at me. His expression neither happy, nor sad.

“I broke my mama’s heart.” He spoke with an absent neutrality. “But she broke mine worse by not believing in me and my dream.”

Jack turned away. He removed his hat and placed it bowl up at this feet, and then he cupped the harmonica to his lips and played the lilting tones of the haunted soul. I placed a token in his hat and left.

I understood him only too well.

~*~

free-write-friday-kellie-elmoreDon’t know where that came from. Edited a little because it was so long and sentences were running on.

Thanks for the challenge, Kellie!

~*~

Herewith an update to The Guarded One as well as the first letter to The Critic.

~*~

Thanks for stopping by …

Be well,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

#FWF Free Write Friday: Famous Last Words …

free-write-friday-kellie-elmoreIt’s Free Write Friday (well, Saturday for me, now) and Kellie Elmore has issued a most intriguing prompt:

… use your choice of lines as your prompt. They can be the ending lines of your favorite book, or a favorite poem‚Ķwhichever moved you the most. You may begin your work with the lines, or simply use them as inspiration.

I take my inspiration from American poet, Robert Frost.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ~
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference

~*~

The Next Step

Where Faith Took My Hand

I did not take the road,

The road took me.

It bade me by

The way with

Hints of who-knows-what

To who-knows-where.

Uncertain, I yet followed,

Fear a weight unburdened

At the step

Where faith took my hand

And said, “Fly!”

Oh, how I wanted to fly!

Be free!

See what others may never

See. Be what I never dared

To be.

My soul’s inner journey

To that place where

Truth abides,

Down the road less

Travelled where strength and

Beauty lies.

~*~

I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge everyone who’s stepped in the deep in to follow this blog. It is an expression of the inner journey, so I’m not surprised my response to this week’s challenge unfolded as it did.

~*~

In the spirit of this blog, here’s a link to The Guarded One. This week I posted the next three instalments of letters to this aspect of my Self. For some background on this, please visit Dear Me: A Collection of Letters to Various Aspects of My Self.

~*~

And finally, I’m thrilled to announce that my equestrian blog Musings of a Horse Mom, specifically my post Confessions of a Coaching Intern: Finding Clarity with a Pitchfork and a Song, was Freshly Pressed on WordPress.com this week.

Please take a moment to check it out when you have an opportunity.

~*~

Thanks for stopping by …

Be well,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Trust and the Broken Four-Year-Old

~*~

A free writing exercise inspired by a dream …

Trust Bear

Trust and the Broken Four-Year-Old

The light had gone from her eyes by the time she was four. A vacuous wary stare filled the big, dark eyes with an expression of distrust.

“I cannot trust you,” she seemed to say.

Not a word was spoken but I could tell, as she gazed vacantly in my direction, that nothing was registering. It was as if she was looking right through me, her gaze distant; her aspect disengaged.

She would not be hurt again.

At least I could see this was her intent. But, sadly, it was not her truth. For even if she were able to defend herself completely from the predators that prey on such as she, her defences would also seperate her from those whom might help; might love.

But she trusted no one.

What choice had she but to take care of herself the only way she knew ~ like the tortured animal fight back, run, hide ~ anything to stay out of harm’s way.

It does not make her happy.

It doesn’t even keep her safe. For though she might avoid the demons without, the demons within linger, and torment. They are already there ~ already telling her she’s not good enough to be loved; not pretty enough to be adored; not smart enough to be successful; not loud enough to be heard.

The well-meaning voices she doesn’t trust out there cannot quell the dissenting voices she hears in here.

She searches for her truth, but cannot find it cloaked, as it is, in a blanket of carelessly woven lies that have already, at such a tender age, defined her destiny.

The burden of it suffocates her, and yet she has no idea ~ yet ~ that she cannot breathe. Breath means nothing because it is as if she is not living. She exists. She already survives. She bears the weariness of the aged … and she is four.

I can see in her eyes how she longs for release. She longs for something she does not understand; doesn’t know … yet.

She longs to trust someone but doesn’t know where to turn.

She turns to me.

“Can you be trusted?” she seems to ask, silently, vacantly, as if she’s already made up her mind that I cannot.

Will she understand that if I reach to hug her and say “Yes!” that this is truth?

Our truth together?

How long does it take to reason with a broken four-year-old?

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013