Go Away!

 

 

to-love

 

~*~

“What the hell does that even mean?” Cynthia glares at me with raccoon eyes and wails. “What do you know of my pain? My suffering? You who have everything. You think my life can be fixed with empty platitudes? Go away!”

She slumps her fashionable thirty-something frame into the sofa and sobs like thunder.

Sobs I remember.

I know her pain. She only assumes that because I am older and seem to have my life together that I have never walked through the valley of shadows. But, she doesn’t know me. She only sees the illusion of me.

I recognize Cynthia as the woman I was 20 years ago ~ broken, confused, stuck, desperate, angry, frustrated, bitter ~ all hidden behind a finely applied mask of pretty lies that fit so tightly it almost suffocated the life right out of me.

With the ignorance of those who know only their own pain she doesn’t realize that the rutted and pot holed path I’ve walked is not so far from her own. A path bordered with noxious weeds and pretty plants that poison, overshadowing the cheerful flowers clinging to the healing rays of the sun.

She doesn’t realize that I know what it’s like to be in the choking embrace of another’s misery; to watch the petals fall from a once blossoming life; to have my fondest dreams lopped at the first branch or, most often, not even have a chance to take root.

She doesn’t know because she never looks beyond her own suffering.

Yes, I know her pain, and as I watch her sobbing there I feel it all over again ~ the heart-burning, gut-wrenching, headache-inducing dismay of disappointment and sadness rolled into one ugly ball of torpid feeling. A numbness that acts out like this. Cold. Hard. Stinging. Selfish.

As I witness her anguish, however, my awareness reminds me of triumph over adversity. It reminds me of how I am able, now, to look life in the eye and tell it “I love you” just because it is … and just because I am.

Cynthia cannot see this yet, and perhaps she never will. Perhaps she will wallow in her divorce, or lament her poor choices or berate her appearance and spout profanities to her dimming light until the end of her days. I cannot know for sure.

Still, what I do know is this ~ not I or anyone else can hold her hand and lead her down a path to healing until she is ready; until she opens her eyes and chooses to move beyond her pain.

I don’t know what that will take for her. Everyone’s wake-up call is different.

In the meantime, all I can do is listen and love her, my daughter, and pray she will be alright. That one day she will learn to love her life for the precious gift it is.

And that is all.

And as she bids, I go away.

~*~

My response to the Free Write Friday challenge from Kellie Elmore.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Resurrection

 Lambs in Spring

Little white balls of beautiful fluff,

Bouncing and prancing and that kind of stuff.

Baaing and whimpering here and there

Sometimes they’ll do nothing but stop and stare.

Crying for mother on a lovely spring day,

Mother comes running; decides to stay.

Bounding and twisting round and round,

Looking for something no other lamb’s found.

~*~

This is the first poem I remember writing.

I was 10 years old at the time and my form teacher at school had issued a challenge during an English lesson to write a poem for spring. It would have been this time of year, in fact.

I wrote it. Handed it in.

A few days later the teacher was distributing the marks and asking some of us to read our poems to the class.

On my paper he’d written “Very Good!” but in front of the class he asked me, “Are you sure you didn’t copy this from somewhere?”

I was a tender and insecure child being raised in a broken home and in the shadow of my mother’s operatic glory. To have the light shone on me at all was difficult enough but to be accused, perhaps even in jest, that the work I’d handed in was not my own totally mortified me. I defended myself, of course, and he seemed to accept it, but I have never forgotten how ill it made me feel to have someone question my integrity as a writer.

I know this poem by memory. To me it is one of my greatest early writing achievements. If I ever publish a proper book of my best poems this will have pride of place on the first page.

All other writing has sprung from this creative moment. It was the first time I saw myself as a writer and, ironically, the first time (and hopefully the last time) I was accused of plagiarism.

There was a huge gap of time before I was able to see myself as a writer in adulthood. Though I kept journals and occasionally wrote poetry I had disassociated when I was growing up so pursuing dreams and cultivating my talents was beyond my comprehension or ability.

It wasn’t until a kindly woman, my boss at the time, gave me a good, swift kick in the proverbial derriere (I was in my late 20s) that I began to awaken from my deep creative malaise and see myself as a writer, perhaps for the first time. I was working as her administrative assistant in the corporate relations department of a real estate association, and she saw something in me she thought needed cultivating. However, she had to threaten to fire me before I was able to wake up enough to see it myself.

This incredible woman waded through the muck of my unconsciousness to find something long hidden and almost lost, and gave me the opportunity to reclaim it. She taught me how to build an employee newsletter ~ research, write, edit, produce. It started at four pages and, as I got the hang of it, quickly grew to eight pages. Circulation about 150. I learned quickly and loved doing it. In time I was promoted to Editor of the association newsletter ~ a weekly publication circulated to more than 25,000 realtors in the Greater Toronto Area.

I suppose I share this to demonstrate the difference people can make in our lives, and to demonstrate that if we can only get out of our own way we might resurrect an important piece of our life puzzle.

Had my school teacher been more supportive and understood me and my life situation better he might not have been so free with his accusation and I might have had more confidence to pursue this obvious talent. There was no one at home to do this, so left to my own devices, confused and with nowhere to turn, my only alternative was to let it go. Even as a child it hurt too much to have my integrity questioned.

But, as I’ve learned, it takes just one person to see potential and show you what’s possible for you to start believing in yourself. And, as I am learning again in these middle years while pursuing a long-lost equestrian dream with a new coach, this can happen at any time in your life.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: Writerly Reflections

 

 

 

 

When The Student is Ready …

This week’s Free Write Friday prompt from Kellie Elmore

I didn’t understand it then, but I understand it now …

“I didn’t understand because I couldn’t understand, I wasn’t ready, Joe.” So said Magnolia as she gazed absently out the window trying to explain her life to me.

“For a time in our lives are eyes are not open wide enough to see what really matters. Our vision is narrowed by the prejudices and the illusions with which others, chiefly our family because they are the ones who first influence us, endow us. We learn to see the world their way, and for most of us the view is disconnected. They have a need to be validated through our eyes” She pauses. ” Still, if their ways are harmful, should we then perpetuate their dysfunctional view just to seek their approval?”

It’s a good question, purely rhetorical, but I answer anyway.

“What’s this got to do with me?” I respond, my ignorance laid bare. She doesn’t miss a beat.

“You are in danger of remaining a slave to the beliefs of those who have come before; of those who have patterned your life,” she says, convinced of her truth. “You are angry all the time, as displayed by your need to curse at the slightest provocation. You criticize where none is warranted. You are defensive to the point of being hostile. You hurt the people who matter most, including yourself, but don’t see it. You do not see it because you are not ready to understand there is another way.”

I suppose I could get defensive as I stand here in Magnolia’s glow. But I can’t, because that’s just it. She is glowing. She is so serene I feel something I don’t know I’ve ever felt before … a sense of peace.

Could she be right?

Could it be that my hostile way of dealing with life is due to an inability to see my Self beyond the programming of my forebears?

“It can be undone … to a degree,” she says, as if reading my mind. “But you must be willing to become self-aware; to explore the rooms of your soul that are darkest and frighten you the most. You must shed light in them, rummage through the crowded closets of negative thought and empty them of everything that clouds your ability to see your own truth. Everything that makes you unhappy.”

Pocket of Sunshine

“But how will I know what I am looking for?” I ask, somewhat bewildered.

“You will know it when you feel it.” She says, again with a confidence that creates a longing in me for my own. “It’s really quite simple when you consider the thoughts, ideas, experiences, people, places and anything else that makes you unhappy, miserable, sad, angry, devalued, diminished, distraught and all other manner of negative emotion. These are the things that need to be explored; that need to be made peace with so you can release them and make room for something new and more life affirming.”

“Like what?” I ask.

She turns to me and smiles.

“Make peace with yourself and you make peace with the world. You promote peace around you, Joe. Everything that makes you truly happy; that brings you such joy you can’t wait to share it with everyone; that causes your heart to heal and overflow with love. When you no longer feel the desire to express yourself through expletives or defend yourself all the time; when there is no need for attention at any price. The price of your dignity; your self-worth; your Self.”

She ponders for a moment.

“Where there is hatred, Joe, there can never be peace. If it is not peace you feel inside, what is it? You must decide your fate ~ to deteriorate in the face of hatred or grow in the heart of peace.”

Perhaps it’s just where I am in my life right now but for some reason this is making sense. I am middle-aged and exhausted in the wake of my reactionary existence.

I see how my life has been misguided, and possibly sabotaged, by the belief systems of people who knew no better than to influence me with their own dysfunction.

I’m beginning to see that what there is, what I have experienced, is not all.

I did not understand this before, but I understand it now.

And when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

~*~

Hmmmm … interesting where the free writing process will take us.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_n

Solo

Mrs. Cardinal

Solo

Upon her comfort

Perch she sits,

Gazing out to

Horizons golden-

Veiled, and longing

For the gilt touch

Upon her furrowed brow.

Not so far, the flight ~

But, ah, so

Alone.

The nest now but empty,

A cagéd prison

Of her untested fear.

But, the sun ~

The sun does so beckon

And the warmth

Upon her back

Would be so fine.

Thou agéd wings unfold,

Perchance the light upon this

Solo flight to shine.

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014 

Again

Free Write Friday with Kellie Elmore.

Time and place scenario.

Source: We Heart It
Source: We Heart It

You suddenly find yourself standing alone on an unknown sidewalk in an unknown place. It’s night and snowing and the only other person around is walking away from you….

~*~

Again

I’ve been here before

In this place

Alone.

A back turned.

Abandoned.

A swell of surprise

Rises and

Falls.

How could you leave me?

Again?

A promise made;

A promise broken.

Again.

Hollow. Forsaken. Bewildered.

I bend to my own

Resilience.

Survival mode kicks in.

Again.

Keep walking.

I’ll find my way.

Again.

~*~

What an odd weekend of challenges. A triple whammy of emotionally challenging scenarios … at least or me.

First a Daily Prompt highlighting the “Twilight Zone.”

Then a Weekly Photo Challenge on the subject of “Abandoned.”

And now this.

All topics that hover at a rather deep, and uncomfortable, level for me.

In my blog Eyes to Heart I tackled the subject of “abandoned” as far as I dare take it.

A couple of days ago in this blog I started writing about the “Twilight Zone” but couldn’t finish. Maybe I will as the week (or year) progresses and I can find a way to reconcile the many heavy themes that popped out of the ether and onto the page.

With this free writing challenge it appears the bewilderment of being abandoned and standing in that twilight zone have come to the fore. 

Worlds collide.

Again.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Sink or Swim

rain-gif

Sink or swim?

A choice I,

And I alone,

Must make.

Treading water

Tires the more

I delay.

Clouds of confusion

Hover and rain

Down their tears

Upon these

Restless waters

That drown

My spirit.

A dry, distant horizon

Hints at light and

Beckons, and still

I delay.

Oops … there’s a shark.

~*~

This is my response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday challenge for this week.

This was fun … 😉

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_n

The Soup of My Soul

Dalia

What it is to feel the weight of change.

Every fibre of my being in a shift.

Energy flits and flies from

Head to toe.

Takes my breath away;

Gives it back.

Breathe …

Moving through another layer

Self-doubt waves in my

Direction.

“Remember me?” it yells,

Desperate for my attention

While desperately I push it

Aside. “I thought I dismissed

You long ago,” I bristle, and

Run screaming from the room.

To soul’s kitchen.

Something’s cooking. Smells

Inviting. An onion on the counter.

Peel back the layers.

Oh, how it stings!

Throw it in the pot.

Stir. Stir. Stir.

No wonder I cry.

Let it simmer.

Breakdown.

Stir. Stir. Stir.

Its hard shell softens.

The suffering ceases, reduced

To a savoury translucense

That sweetens

The soup of my soul.

~*~

Healing is a bitter-sweet experience.

When you get through the bitter the results can be sweet. 😉

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Emptiness ~ The Dark Unknown

Emptiness
Source: WordPress

Emptiness.

A void waiting to be filled.

Fill it wisely, and be well.

~*~

A path familiar walked for too long a time.

Riddled with old perceptions and prejudices;

Delusions, illusions and self-sabotage.

It was all I knew; all I understood of life

Until one day I finally

Asked:

“Is this all there is?”

*

A wall to the right guides me forward;

To the left, escape.

But to escape is to runaway;

To avoid a truth which

Looks, oh dear, so dark.

Yet, I must know the dark secrets

Of this truth. My truth.

Surely it is more than the emptiness

I feel that suffocates.

I must know. I must make

The uncertain live and die in me so

I might live again.

*

All is uncertain. Even escape drags us

Into uncertainty. An uncertainty

Often darker than our own.

*

At the threshold I stand. Smile.

What is more intrepid; more adventurous;

More exciting than to advance into our own

Mystery with open heart and mind, and a

Desire to plumb the depths of our truth?

To feel what is real. To negotiate the joy;

The terror; the fear; the relief;

The pain; the sorrow; the love; the hate;

The sadness; the history of the ages that

Makes us who and why we are?

In the process, discovering a new self-respect,

A new joy in our being because we have found

What lies beyond the lies that have

Shaped how we perceive our world?

Trade that powerful roller coaster

Of healing for an escape

On a delusional fairground ride into the

Utter depths of another’s darkness?

I think not.

So, with courage and a will to seek

My truth boldly I step into that immeasurable

Abyss. The place from which I would

Run screaming for lack

Of understanding.

Stop. Breathe deeply. Feel its clamp around

My chest. Feel it mess with my mind.

My eyes blinded search for light; for

Relief; for the familiar.

Panic. Fear. The light!

Where is the light? The walls have

Closed in. For a moment I

Suffocate in that

Dark unknown. It cannot

Be escaped. It must be faced; met;

Addressed; wrestled with; felt.

Feeling? What is that? I who have

Numbed my way through life must

Suddenly feel? It is too much; it is

Too much; it is too much; it is …

Light!

Blinding darkness in a twinkling to

Blinding light. With one hand I

Shield my eyes while the other is

Gently held.

“Be at peace, dear one, the truth

Is not so hard when faced together.”

I catch my breath. My body floods

With awareness, or at least the

Desire for it. I am not alone in this

Dark place when the Good Heart

Upon it shines.

“See.

Acknowledge.

Understand.

Accept.

Release!

Be free.”

To be free of my past I must

Face it. And not just

My past, but the lives of those

Who came before and coloured

My world with all their

Grief and prejudices and

Suffering and pain.

Together the Good Heart and I

Walk this straight

And narrow way.

The gentle hand my guide;

The gentle voice my comfort.

No judgment.

My truth revealed in a loving

Way, leaving me weeping for

Joy at my survival of the

Slings and arrows life has

Thrown my way. Somehow

I made it here. And somehow,

Henceforth, I shall thrive.

Fill the emptiness created by a

Self-imposed, protective vacuum that

Had almost sucked the life

Right out of me. Fill it with love;

With beauty; with peace.

I am more than the misery of that

Dark unknown. My truth buried

Behind the heavy shroud of

Others’ suffering; imposed upon my

Will and accepted as my own as

I knew no better.

My truth reveals my authenticity.

Yet, I would never have heard its voice

Without first stepping boldly into that

Dark unknown.

~*~

This is written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words. It started as a free writing exercise, calling upon the memory of a dream I had a couple of weeks ago, an experience in a restaurant where you eat in the dark and years of therapy.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

More Emptiness from the 1,000 Word Challenge

Memoirs of an Unremarkable Man

Louie Behogan

Lita Doolan

Winter’s Field

Winter's Field
“Winter’s Field” ~ taken with an iPhone 5

~*~

In Winter’s barren, snowy field I stand,

My tender heart gripped tightly in his icy hand.

His frosty breath across my naked soul doth blow,

Leaving in its numbing wake a frosted, ruddy glow.

*

I didn’t mean to stand in Winter’s field so bare.

When first I stood it blossomed green and lovely there.

But then, alas, the changing leaves did fall,

And that which I had first observed appeared to be nowhere at all.

*

So here I stand, in nature’s stone-cold lonely place,

The light of love gone briefly from my care-worn face.

Instead a dormant season now resides ~

Within my chilléd heart love’s smouldering fire hides.

*

Yet Winter’s frosted season too must end,

As Spring her warming greeting soon will send.

And so my frozen sojourn, too, will cease,

And once again love’s warmth in me increase.

~*~

Temperatures have plunged again. Minus 20C with windchill is not such a winter blessing.

Still, the frigid weather reminds me of this poem written years ago when my life was in a dark and chilly place.

How the years have changed me; what lessons they have taught. I am blessed to be able to look back on desperate times with an open mind and healed heart.

Winter cannot last forever. Just eight weeks until spring. 😉

Be well,

Dorothy

~*~

Note: This image was taken yesterday afternoon as temperatures were dropping. What caught my eye were the prismatic colours bouncing off the clouds. It was just that cold. Do you see them?

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Winter

~*~

Winter Sun

~*~

The cold of Winter hath the landscape gripped

And wrapped its frosted fingers good and tight.

And from the trees vast branches hath been ripped,

Their scars a sad and plaintive sign of plight.

And o’er the hills vast swathes of icy snow

A mass of crystal twinkling ‘neath the sun

A blesséd sign that e’en in ten below

The light still shines upon us, everyone.

*

And so the winters of our lives unfold

Perchance a time to hibernate and grow.

When life seems hard; the world outside is cold

Yet in our hearts we warm to truth we know.

Soon beastly Winter, too, itself will sleep

As Spring time o’er the hills doth start to peep.

~*~

It’s actually -20C outside. Hibernation feels like a really good idea. 😉

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy New Year!

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014