A Life Unravelled

A Life Unravelled

I am of an age

When the formative years

Speak.

“Remember me?”

They ask.

It starts with

Music.

A song.

A memory.

A feeling.

Hmmm …

I had forgotten.

Lost in

Tumultuous times of

Twenty-plus years.

Tumult covered by more

Tumult.

A child overwhelmed;

A teenager confused;

A twenty-something

Ungrounded,

Until in the thirties

Unravelling begins.

As it must ~

Or die bitter.

~*~

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m seeking professional help to unravel and make peace with my life.

Starting in my late 20s I began to experience wake-up calls. People and events emerged to shake things up, most often sending me into an emotional tailspin.

My initial response was always that of the victim.

“Why me? What did I do?”

Then one day something started to happen.

I started to wake up.

My grandmother’s death when I was in my early thirties snapped me out of a career malaise. Instead of being bitter about the loss of someone I loved I was going to honour her memory by honouring my heart’s desire.

I embarked on my true journey with the horse. Granny would like this, I thought, as she was also passionate about horses. More importantly, however, she’d want me to be happy.

My two years as an equestrian coaching intern were a refiner’s fire. The veneer of my “happy” married life began to be stripped away until I could finally see the truth of its dysfunction. The victim was alive and well and absorbed into the drama of another who, I quickly realized, resembled my emotionally distant, self-absorbed and delinquent father.

Within a few years we divorced. I sought my first round of counselling and avoided dating once I realized I was attracting variations on a negative theme. I was determined to relinquish emotional baggage and find a healthier way of being.

My eyes were opening.

Eighteen months later I met my future husband. A kind, gentle, thoughtful, caring and emotionally mature man. (What he was doing with me took me a long time to understand.) The road was rocky. I’d had no experience being with such a person. But  unlike the previously dysfunctional men in my life, he was genuinely interested in my well-being and demonstrated through deed, and not just word, his devotion.

I learned to accept I might be worthy of something different than my normal experience.

My eyes opened further.

Two years later, tragedy in the riding arena as a school horse I’d been riding died following a freak jumping accident. Getting back in the saddle was difficult. The silver lining came a few months later with the opportunity to part-board a beautiful thoroughbred mare, Murphy. This lasted nearly three years.

And then Murphy died of cancer. More blinding misery, but the courage to look for a silver lining.

Five months later, a dream come true when Bear entered my life. Finally, a horse to call my own. But I wanted to be an aware horse owner. I wanted to build a relationship based on trust. I turned to natural horsemanship and enrolled in Chris Irwin‘s Train the Trainer program. While I was fine tuning my horsemanship skills the horses were reflecting back to me how broken I was, my insecurities rearing their ugly heads and demanding my unbridled attention.

Another wake up call; another realization that I needed more help.

Wise Old Equus

Enter art therapy and meditation. I became more grounded and a beautiful collection of veil paintings was born of my unburdening. This journey lasted about 18 months.

And I was still working with Bear ~ the experience of self-awareness around him bringing greater depth and meaning to our relationship. A new self-confidence was emerging; the victim was beginning her retreat.

And then my eyes opened some more.

A week in Sarajevo in February 2009. Panic attacks. Anxiety. My inner personal hell rising to the surface and reflected in the sad, unhappy state of a recovering war-torn city.

Within weeks I was sitting in a therapist’s office, the depression and anxiety, the feeling of being stuck and weighted down by things beyond my understanding more than I could bear.

The true work of unravelling a lifetime began sitting in a chair opposite a stranger whose only desire was to help me along the road to wellness.

The pain, anger, bitterness, grief, shame, the trauma of abuse laid bare. The broken-ness of my life lying before me like the scattered pieces of a puzzle waiting to be re-assembled, but with awareness.

Eyes ever opening.

And with this a sense of liberty. The freedom to begin to see myself differently. The triumph of survival and a new-found understanding of what it means to thrive. The tools to rebuild the puzzle of my life into something more functional. An opportunity to create a clearer picture of who I really am while releasing the illusion forced upon me when I had no concept of self and no choice but to absorb and reflect the drama and dysfunction of the adults around me.

A life unravelled.

A life reclaimed.

~*~

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Do you fear the dark place?

It’s Free Write Friday (okay, I’m a couple of days late).

Time, once again, to let loose the imagination.

Here’s the prompt …

i-fear-the-night-tso-1

Here’s my response …

The Dark Place

What fun

To step into the dark

For just a

Moment.

To sense with open

Mind and heart

Another world unfamiliar.

Through the veil of my

Fear into the dark place

I am led.

Black as black can

Be, My hand before my

Face I cannot see.

My breath I

Cannot find as

Oppressive air a

Smothering cloak

Arrests me.

Disoriented eyes beg for

Light; for escape.

Fun becomes overwhelm

Becomes fear becomes

Panic becomes

“Let me out of here!”

I do not belong

In this dark place.

“Let me out … please!

Let me out!”

*

A voice. A guiding

Hand.

“Come, follow me.”

Trust I must.

And to the light

Once more am led.

Beyond the heavy

Shadow of my doubt …

And breathe.

~*~

Comment

What fun, I thought, to dine in the pitch dark.

The concept was intriguing.

Dans Le Noir is a novelty restaurant with locations in several major cities worldwide. When we were in Paris a few years ago we thought it would be fun to have a culinary experience where the enjoyment of the food is enhanced by the fact you cannot see it.

Check your phones and digital watches, cameras, etc. at the door, enjoy a glass of champagne, select your menu option and form a human chain to be lead through several layers of heavy drapes to absolute dark by a visually-impaired, i.e. blind, waiter.

Not a speck of light, anywhere.

I lasted less than a minute. Didn’t even make it to my seat. Claustrophobia swarmed me almost immediately and I had to be led out again.

I recovered my dignity, and ate alone, in a fully lit bar while my husband and his daughter enjoyed (endured) the experience without me.

Like all writers worth their salt I immediately wrote my experience and feelings down on a bar napkin, filling every scrap of space with imprints of my terror, panic, relief and a, yes, food review.

Do I fear the night? The dark?

Hmmm … I believe it would be more appropriate to say I embrace the light. 😉

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

free-write-friday-kellie-elmore

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

#FWF Free Write Friday: Blood Moon

free-write-friday-kellie-elmoreAnother opportunity to hone my free writing chops courtesy of Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday, this week ably hosted by Mark Schutter.

Here’s the prompt:

hunters-moon-vegastar-carpentier
Photo Credit: VegaStar Carpentier Website – http://www.space.com/18307-blood-red-hunters-moon-photo.html

VegaStar Carpentier captured this image of a Hunter’s Moon from Paris, France on Oct. 30, 2012 using a Canon EOS 1000D. October’s Full Moon is called the “Hunter’s Moon” or “Blood Moon”. It is the first Full Moon after the Harvest Moon (the Full Moon nearest the Autumnal equinox) and it gets its name from hunters who tracked and killed their prey by autumn moonlight, stockpiling food for the winter ahead and marked hunting season in North America.

~*~

Blood Moon

How long you have lurked

in the forests of my psyche.

Stalking.

Eluding my every effort

To resolve once and for all

Our entanglement.

A game of cat and

Mouse. You after me; me

After you. Under a

Blood moon.

Shadows cross

The path; obscure the view.

Be there, if you must,

But away, far away,

As I stockpile the best

Of me for use

On a future day.

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Broken Record

When we embark on our healing journey it’s a bold step. We are energized by the idea that with appropriate professional help we can wrap our past up in a neat little package and fire it off into a universe where we need never meet up with it again.

And perhaps if we did not think this way we would never take that first liberating step toward a new way of being.

The truth is, while we travel the bumpy road to wholeness we bump into our old selves all the time. With guidance and growing strength we are able to tip our hat to that old part of ourselves and keep moving on.

Sometimes, however, we can get stuck in that old place ~ that old way of being that says we aren’t good enough; no one cares; you belong in the shadows; asks “who the hell do you think you are?” … and on.

I’ve been going through a bit of that lately, and have remained largely silent as a writer because of it. These moments get in the way of my creativity and my sense of place in the world.

Today, however, following an intense tête à tête with my amazing therapist yesterday, I’m ready to step out of that malaise and get on once again.

Doing my best to remove that broken record from the turntable of my life.

Herewith a verse inspired by this experience.

Enjoy and thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

Broken Record

Old familiar

Broken place

I let you go …

Honestly!

Yet, here you are …

Again, like some

Broken record

I’d forgotten.

The needle slipped

To a broken,

Repetitive

Debilitating

Groove

That torments,

Taunts and

Irritates until

I can no longer

Bear your

Broken voice

Telling me over

And over how

Broken I was

And still am …

Am … Am … Am …

Not!

Enough!

I remove the needle

That pierces my

Broken soul

And smash that

Broken record of

My Self. It is

No longer my

Truth. Time to

Dance to a

Different tune.

Play on!

Carefree

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, All Rights Reserved 2013