Reminiscing Revisited

Daily Prompt: From You to You

Write a letter to your 14-year-old self.

~*~

Sally gazed thoughtfully through the kitchen window toward the hammock strung between maples where her 12-year-old niece, Manda, was once again happily swinging. The sweet tones of the young girl’s voice reverberated into the summer stillness, singing the tune to Reminiscing even though she’d only heard it for the first time a few minutes earlier. What a remarkable ear for music the young girl had, her aunt mused. A chip off the old family block, that’s for sure.

Sally smiled as Manda stopped to take a breath and inhaled chocolate ice cream. Oh, to be young again.

She returned to sit at the kitchen table with her glass of iced tea and sighed, remembering how much less idyllic her life had been at that age. And then her thoughts shifted to that favourite song and being 14 years old, and she sighed some more. Fourteen. What a torturous year that had been.

Sally reached for a notepad in the middle of the circular pine table, kept there for random thoughts, and dug for the fountain pen she always carried in her apron pocket. Perhaps it was time she wrote her 14-year-old self a letter. For some reason she felt prompted. Taking another sip of iced tea she set to work.

~*~

Dear 14-year-old Sally,

(She hesitated, not knowing where to start and then decided it was best to free write and see what happened … )

Oh, I remember you so well. Does that please you? To have not been forgotten? I hope so, because there are so many other periods of my life that have disappeared from memory liked clouds in the ether. But I remember you, and I wish it was for completely happy reasons.

(Sally took another sip of iced tea and peeked out the window. Manda was still happy. Returning to her missive, Sally continued to write … )

Having said that, I remember only part of that year ~ a time where you ought to have been most happy and were, instead, most traumatized. I know how you loved to visit your grandmother; to be in the small town where she lived, so close to the countryside where you and she and your brother would take long drives up to the old family homestead and stop for ice cream at the greasy spoon. I know you loved that. It helped you to feel rooted to hear the family stories of homesteading and hardship and ultimately, family success.

However, I also remember the terror you felt of  …

(Sally stopped. Was it too painful a memory? She took a deep breath and continued …)

Oh, if not for that dreadful man your whole life might have been different. If only people had known how despicable he was. If only gran had understood she would never have continued to let him visit knowing what he’d done and how much you feared him. Did she just not see? I know you were never able to tell her about what had happened eight years before ~ he’d made you promise. And you, being the good girl you were, kept your promises. But at such a cost! No wonder you ran away to your friend’s farm for weeks at a time to escape the prospect of him dropping by unexpectedly for tea.

Such terrible arguments you and gran had about your absence, but she never understood why.

If only you’d been able to tell her. 

(A deep swelling sigh freed itself from the depths of Sally’s chest. If only … )

I know you did what was necessary to protect yourself. Made yourself invisible; escaped however you could. It was no way to live. You missed so much, and I am sorry for that. What ought to have been the most care-free time of your life was made complicated by the sins of a nefarious heart. I’m so sorry.

(She wiped a tear as it trickled down her left cheek.)

All the trauma you felt lingered for years, and though I did as well in life as my invisible self would allow, I had to get help eventually. Your pain, I’m sad to say, crippled me emotionally. Still, the worst is behind us.

(Sally smiled to herself. Of course her 14-year-old self should know this!)

While your tenacity and sense of self-preservation served as a form of protection it also put obstacles in the way. I’ve been clearing those obstacles so we can both be free of suffering. I say “we” because you will always be a part of me. “We” are free to experience life fully and completely, now. It is such a wonderful gift. And I want to help Manda to do the same.

Thank you for taking such good care of yourself the best way you knew how. Perhaps now we can start to reminisce about more of the good ol’ days … like being on the track team at school, or spending time with the horses, or those lovely drives in the country with gran. You know, she did her best, too, with the limited understanding she had. We must always remember this.

With much love,

Your Self as a woman-of-a-certain-age,

Sally

~*~

Sally put the pen down and read over her letter. She smiled and pressed it to her heart. Somehow the exercise had been healing. Lovingly, she folded the piece of paper into quarters and slipped it into her apron pocket along with her lidded fountain pen. She would save the letter in her journal later. But now it was time to give that vivacious 12-year-old girl with those big, brown, sparkly eyes and the innocence of youth a big hug. Manda would always know who she could trust.

~*~

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti 2015

Leave of Absence

Twenty-Five

There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it. (Feeling really brave? Make it a vowel!)

~*~

It would generally be agreed by the throng of writers inhabiting planet Earth that we are absolutely in need of every letter of the alphabet.

I, for one, would be bereft should any one letter be banned. Such an action would be unconscionable. Even for an engaging exercise such as this, one needs to realize that every letter has its place and deserves to be accorded the respect earned over hundreds of years of general usage.

To arbitrarily ban one little letter for no reason at all is altogether ridiculous and downright hurtful.

What did the letter do to be cast out of its fraternity of fellow word conjurers?

Why, nothing! Nothing at all.

Yet one, for the purposes of this exercise, does indeed find itself on the sidelines. A rest. A break, if one were to look upon it with an eye to the positive.

Yes, let’s look at it that way.

One letter has been granted a leave of absence today.

Can you guess which one?

~*~

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti 

The Writer’s Danger Zone

Daily Prompt: Play Lexicographer

~*~

My dream come true.

A word to call my own.

Playing with the alphabet.

I’m in the danger zone.

A brainstorm of confusion

Puzzling my thought.

A word game I alone can play

Culled from all that I’ve been taught.

Got it!

Lexinaffle: ~ verb ~ the inability to dream up a new word for a daily prompt. Useage: I’ve been trying really hard to think of a new word for this frustrating exercise and find myself completely lexinaffled.

~*~

So silly …

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015

Some Things Are Not Meant To Be …

Here is this week’s Free Write Friday prompt from Kellie Elmore:

~*~

envelope-typewriter-words-favim-com-404175_large

~*~

Liberating for me, as a matter of fact …

Enjoy!

~*~

Some things are not meant to be

What do you think you could ever say

That would reach me?

I am not angry.

I simply wonder.

And why do you think

I could even trust your words?

After all the pain;

All the rejection;

All the hurt.

Yes, hurt.

How could you know what you could never tell me

When you don’t know your own heart?

And when you certainly don’t know mine.

You’ve bruised it such

That I can no longer entrust it to you.

So, whatever you think you could say

In such a simple missive

Cannot reach the tenderest part of me,

Padlocked and protected

Against the likes of you.

You had your chance.

You had my love.

And you squandered it.

*

Forgive you?

Certainly ~ on my terms.

Safer for my heart not

To know what you could never say.

You’d only colour it

With self-pity,

As always,

Anyway.

~*~

This highly-charged prompt brought the word “father” to mind.

Two fathers, actually. My Heavenly Father, with whom I have a good relationship and who has no need to write me such a letter.

And my Earthly father, who is a completely different story.

I do not wish to disparage him. Certainly, he had trials enough growing up that scarred his life. Still, as Iyanla Vanzant (@IyanlaVanzant) tweeted last evening … “Parents are people with hurts, wounds and stories – still children have the right to expect parents to be present.”

He was not present. Not in mind, body or spirit and, in fact, he declared during a phone call when I was 16 that if anyone was going to be hurt in this relationship it wasn’t going to be him.

So, is it possible that such a man, an intelligent one at that and a good writer, would ever know or understand my heart enough to know what to say in such a letter?

I doubt it.

And I have accepted it.

Our life paths have taken far different routes. He makes no effort to be in touch with me and I have no need to be in touch with someone who willfully hurts me.

Not all relationships are meant to be.

Conversely, I have always felt a strong connection to my Father in Heaven. He is the one, in the midst of life’s storms, who tells me everything will be alright. He is the one who wants only the best for me. He is the one who surrounds me with love and shows me my potential.

He is the one who wishes me peace.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

~*~

Dear Critical One: The Fourth 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 fourth in a series of letters addressed to my critical Self. The date is the actual date it was written as a free writing, and freeing, exercise.

July 11, 1013

Dear Critical One ~

Why is it that you are the first one to greet me in the morning?

I awaken to a beautiful day after a night of broken sleep; I look at the clock and it’s later than I’d like, but instead of allowing me to be grateful for the fact I have the luxury of sleeping in if I need it (which evidently I do this week) you clime in “You should have been up two hours ago … “?

And that’s the problem ~ you’re unrelenting and “shoulding” me to death!

You “should” the smile right off my face.

“You should do it this way” or “you should have done it that way.”

Instead of allowing me to enjoy the process you question and nitpick everything I do. You make it almost impossible for me to be happy with anything I do or achieve.

And I say almost because things are changing.

I’m changing.

Your power is becoming less potent though I feel it more acutely. In your desperation to hang on to whatever power as you suppose you have over me your methods become more grasping.

Would you really criticize me for spending some of my precious time cleaning up after my sick dog?

Criticize me because I am not spending it writing which, as you know is what I really want to do.

Don’t you know that when you do that you interfere with my right and ability to nurture what I love?

This is true of my writing also.

Every time you wholesale delete something I’ve created from awareness you make me feel as if my voice is of no importance and no one should hear it.

I know at some mislead level you’re trying to protect me, but what you need to understand, and I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this, is that you are actually strangling my ability to express myself … and it’s just not on!

Do you have any idea just how negative you are?

Have you not understood or, rather, observed how I have, during the past several years, divested myself of the negative voices around me? Those voices that fed you and funded all my insecurities?

They are gone.

You “should” be feeling weaker. And perhaps you are. Perhaps now you are hanging on for dear life, going down kicking and screaming.

It’s difficult for me to love you into submission. You’ve been so damaging and I see that I am still angry about it.

But you will submit, make no mistake. I’m standing up to you and your bullying ways. I know what’s good for me, and you are not among them.

Look inward, dear Critical One. What’s eating you that you feel the need to eat away at me?

Lovingly,

Dorothy

~*~

Letters to The Critical One

©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

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…whichever 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

Letters to The Guarded One …

Free Spirit

Six weeks or so ago I had a dream.

It remained vivid in my consciousness after I awoke so I wrote it down and shared it later with my therapist.

It occurred to us both, during our discussion, that this dream was introducing to me another aspect of my Self looking for some resolution. This time one of mystery I’ve dubbed The Guarded One.

Click on the image above to connect to The Guarded One.

This series of letters is an ongoing exercise and I will notify you of further updates as they roll out.

A third series, this time addressed to the Critic, is due to begin soon.

Please feel free to spend some time with these letters. Though personal I believe they deal with universal issues to which we can all relate to one degree or another.

Perhaps something you read here will resonate with some lost part of you.

Be well,

Dorothy 🙂

 

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013