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Once Upon A Time

For many years I was in an extremely destructive relationship with someone who has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) and during that time I was regularly subjected to a variety of emotional, mental and physical abuse.

Every day I walked on eggshells, living in fear of saying or doing something that might trigger an aggressive response.

Many people might wonder why I, or anyone else, would remain in this kind of environment, but by the time I fully recognized that I was in extreme danger, I was already badly emotionally and mentally weakened and debilitated.

I was living in terror waiting to be attacked at any moment and yet I did not feel as though I had the strength or courage to remove myself from it.

Abuse doesn’t always happen overtly and it isn’t always easy to recognize. Often it is a covert, insidious, invisible drip that slowly poisons the victim’s mind so they don’t trust their own judgment, is unable to make life-changing decisions and feels as though they don’t have the coping skills necessary to get help or leave.

It took me a long time, and everything I had, to pull myself from the bottom of the deep dark hell I existed in and to get myself to a place of safety.

By the time I walked away, I thought that the nightmare was over. But in so many other ways, it had only just began.

The terrors of the taunts, torture and torment that had become my normality didn’t subside. They remained alive and relived themselves in the form of intrusive, regular flashbacks.

Many months after I had left the relationship I discovered that I was suffering from C-PTSD, (Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.) C-PTSD is a result of persistent psychological trauma in an environment where the victim believes they are powerless and that there is no escape.

C-PTSD is slightly different than PTSD, which is brought on from experiencing one solitary, traumatic incident, or it can develop due to an accumulation of incidents. Although both C-PTSD and PTSD both developed from my experiences, I identify more with C-PTSD, as it was the effects of the prolonged exposure to repetitive and chronic trauma that I felt I couldn’t escape from that affected me the most.

For many months after leaving the relationship I struggled to sleep at night, and when I did I often woke trembling after experiencing terrifying reoccurring dreams. On many occasions when I did eventually sleep I would sleep solid for at least 24 hours, in such deep slumber that I would struggle to wake from it and when I did I would feel fatigued, spaced out and as though I was numbly sleep-walking through the day.

I was easily startled and panicked at the slightest sudden movement or loud noise.

I was ultra-sensitive, on edge and highly alert most of the time, which I believe was my mind’s way of forming some sort of self-protection to keep me aware so that I avoided similar potentially dangerous situations.

At the mention of certain words, names or places I felt nauseous and dizzy and would become extremely distressed. A painful tight knot developed in my stomach every time something occurred to remind me of the trauma.

I still have difficulty remembering large phases of my life, and for a long time I struggled to stay focused, and my concentration abilities were very poor.

I would get upset easily, especially if I was in a tense environment. I had constant anxiety and was regularly in fight-or-flight mode.

I didn’t eat properly. I had no motivation and suicidal thoughts regularly flooded my mind.

I had lost my spark.

One aspect of the aftermath of the relationship that affected me most was the daily gaslighting that I endured. This left me finding it difficult to believe anything people would tell me, and I analyzed, questioned and dissected everything.

Forming new relationships, whether friendships, or romantic, was almost impossible as I struggled to trust people’s intentions and felt scared of possible underlying, hidden motives and agendas for their words or actions.

I dissociated from most of what I had been through and pretended, even to myself, that the abuse wasn’t as serious as it was. Partly because I felt ashamed that I had not left sooner and also because I wanted to defend and protect the person I was involved with, as I still cared for him. Therefore, I rarely mentioned the relationship to anyone and froze and shut down through stress (sometimes resulting in a meltdown) if anyone tried to talk to me about it.

It got to the stage where I withdrew completely as leaving the house became overwhelming and a major ordeal because I wouldn’t/couldn’t open up and connect and I felt terrified of everything and everyone.

One thing that became apparent and harrowing was that although I had gained enough strength to walk away and I felt empowered by the decision knowing that it was the right choice for my emotional, mental and physical health, I was suppressing all my emotions and feelings and I was far from okay on the inside.

There were many rollercoaster emotions trapped inside me and trying to ignore and contain them was doing more harm than good. In many ways the ending of the relationship had signaled closure to one phase of my life and had opened up a new chapter that was going to take a little time to get used to.

It appeared that while I was in the relationship I had become so used to enduring a wide variety of narcissistic behaviors that they had almost become normal and acceptable. Stepping away from all that I had known felt like I had walked from one planet and onto another and I hadn’t got a clue how to navigate it on my own or how to relate to anyone on it.

I soon realized that unless I started to focus on healing myself, I would remain a victim of my previous circumstances as the build up of emotional injuries, wounds and scars needed urgent attention. Otherwise, they would seep out and silently destroy sections of my life without me being aware that the past was still controlling me.

It was up to me to rebuild my strength and confidence, otherwise I would end up alienating myself and causing further damage.

I had a lot of inner healing work and restructuring to do and trying to convince myself that just because I had left the relationship everything would be okay, was not going to be enough.

The first and most significant step I took was admitting and fully accepting that the carnage I had experienced was real and had a huge impact on my emotional and mental wellbeing.

I had been surviving by a fragile thread in a domestic war zone and for far too long I had been intimidated, manipulated, lied to and threatened, amongst many other toxic and dysfunctional behaviors. The whole relationship had been an illusion and resulted in me having serious trust issues as well as losing the will to live. I not only struggled to trust other people, but I also realized I had no faith at all in my own intuition, perception or judgment.

Finally, I gave myself permission to take as long as I needed to heal, even if it meant I would spend the rest of my life slowly putting the pieces of my life back together. I came to terms with the fact that there is no timescale to healing and there was no hurry.

I allowed myself to grieve the relationship and the loss of the person I had separated from. This was extremely difficult to do as I had so many mixed emotions due to the scale of the abuse. For a long time I denied my grief, as it was complex to come to terms with how I could miss someone who had been responsible for vicious behavior towards me.

One of the hardest parts to dealing with this grief was feeling as though I could not talk openly to anyone, as I believed no one would understand how I could remain in such an abusive relationship and still miss many aspects of that person and the life I had with them.

The reason getting over this type of relationship can be so difficult is that many narcissists display both “Jeckyll and Hyde” type characteristics, one minute appearing extremely loving and affectionate and the next crippling, cruel and cunning.

It is not easy to explain that I deeply loved and badly missed one side of the person I was involved with, and disliked, feared and never wanted to hear his name mentioned at the same time. Even thinking about this can make one feel a little crazy as it does not feel natural to love and hate the same person.

One essential step toward healing from narcissistic abuse, I believe, is finding someone to really confide in and who doesn’t judge or question anything that is said. Being free to talk openly and comfortably without having to over explain is vital to start putting the accumulation of experiences into some sort of context. If there isn’t a friend on hand, it is worth taking time to seek out a good counselor with an understanding of C-PTSD deriving from abusive relationships.

The most important thing that helped me to heal was focusing more on healing and rebuilding myself. Although I took time out to research and gain knowledge and understanding of the type of abuse I had been subjected to, I spent far more of my time indulging myself in whatever felt good for my soul.

Slowly and surely I rebuilt myself, formed new friendships, learned to trust people and forgave all of the past. There are still days that it haunts me, but there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel and although it can be difficult to believe that when you start walking through it, as soon as you take the first steps of acceptance the path ahead begins to become clear.

Healing comes by taking one small step at a time, with gentle, loving care and without hurry…

Author: Alex Myles

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(Family) Ties

I never knew my grandparents. Two of them died even before I was born. Both in childbirth. I only saw my grandfathers once and I was too young to remember them clearly. What I can recall is a vague memory of an old man kicking my elder sister square on the chest over a handful of little dried fish my mother bought for us but he, the old man didn’t want us to eat because he was saving it for his other grandchildren; his second wife’s grandchildren actually. Daddy, my grandfather from my mother’s side is a distant memory without a face. I know he briefly stayed with us during his last days and I remember my parents quarreling about him. I know we traveled by train to see him buried but I don’t have a recollection of that trip.

My other relatives – aunts, nephews, nieces, uncles and cousins- I only see in Facebook. I don’t know them in real life. I have a sister I never seen for over thirty years and another one longer than that. My other siblings I have chosen to distance from 15 years ago after countless insults and betrayals. My parents are both dead.

My own children whom I left in the care of my ex husband’s family I only see once in a while. They never forgive me for abandoning them even though they know it is/was for their own good. I understand their feelings.

Home I never had. I mentioned this already before here in my blog and have written posts about it. I (we) never develop roots. We moved too much to cultivate strong hold of anything including connection. 

Friends I don’t manage to keep. Rarely I find an honest person with good intention. Only true blue can apply. Funny but those that stand the test of time I keep distance from. I don’t know exactly why. Maybe I want to preserve my image of them for the fear of being disillusioned. Same with places. I cannot go back to where I had good times. Once or twice I tried. Both with people and places. I learned that love is not sweeter the second time around.

Acquaintances I have few. They give me headaches. I cannot learn anything from them aside from the fact that you cannot trust no one but yourself. I can’t relate to most people and I know it’s vice-versa; they are clueless as well when it comes to me. 

Strangers puzzled and amused me at the same time. I can never understand why they are aggressive and intolerant in general. How someone can be angry to somebody for no reason at all aside from the other party not sharing their taste, skin color or religion.

I have so many fears. Most of them irrational. But what I fear the most is people. Their capabilities for cruelty are boundless. People scare me. 

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Hatching

She disappeared again, that kid. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with her; she’s so different from her siblings, not only in manners but in appearance as well. They say she is touched by Engkanto. Some call them environmental spirits, the ones who dwell in the forest and have magical powers. That would explain her fair skin and strange colour of hair. Her father said it is like that of corn, I find it unsettling like almost everything about her.

The other day I can’t help but spanked her because she’s been telling nonsense again. She’s full of those little stories which make you wonder sometimes if she’s right in the head.

I found her sitting on the window sill, feet dangling off the edge bawling.

“What on earth happened to you?” I asked scooping her up away from the window.

“A rooster bit my big toe.”  She said sobbing. I immediately put her down.

“What rooster?”

“The golden one, mama.  The one that sometimes appears together with the golden hen and beautiful shining chicks.” She said, smiling through her tears.

“There is no rooster or chickens around here, or anywhere nearby golden or otherwise. We have no neighbours remember? Don’t say things like that!”

“But it’s true, mama! He bit my big toe, look! He saw me looking at him and he jumped and bit me!”

“Stop it! Chickens don’t jump, they fly. And he cannot bite you because he doesn’t exist! There are no chickens around here, do you understand?”

“How come you don’t see them? I always see them. And there are other things too, like the big guy the other night, the one that came and sit in our balcony wearing all black and has no face, and the coffin that was floating under the tree with four candles on top and a hat, why there was a hat on top of the coffin mama? Who the hat belongs to, did someone forget it?”

That did it. Before I realized what I was doing, I took off my slipper and gave her a good whacking across the bottom, then send her to nap. I just hope that she will not tell her father when he comes home…

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A Beautiful Mind

“There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind.”

~ Patrick Rothfuss

My sister turned crazy when she was eight.

I don’t know if it was because of our financial situation, the sick violent relationship between my parents, the constant isolation, or the combination of it all that drove her out of her mind. Or perhaps she was just born that way.

I can still remember the first time she showed an unusual display of behavior. It was the evening we acquired an electricity connection and I was happily reading a comic book under the light when I heard her reciting a multiplication table from the other room. There was something that wasn’t right the way she was doing it. The tone of her voice for one, and she kept repeating the damn thing over and over again but mixing the whole thing up! I thought: what’s the matter with her?

The same day, I woke up in the middle of the night and saw her posed over the sleeping body of our elder sister holding a scissor above her head ready to strike. I could understand. I could imagine myself doing it also for countless of reasons but we usually don’t act the things we imagine, do we?

The next day, she came home from school crying hysterically, quite beside herself mumbling about some accident on national highway, dead, mutilated bodies strewn on the road, things like that… The funny thing is: there was no accident. Young as I was (two years older than her) I knew for a certainty that time that she lost it.  

And it never stops. Then there was a decapitated head on the bridge, an occasion when she rode on top of a vehicle naked and bleeding, she tried to kill herself by slashing her wrists with a razor I had to carry her all the way down from the attic to the hospital. And all that because a guy didn’t fancy her. And the time she was raving mad and climbed over the gate of someone’s house shouting the name of the sophomore (who turned out to be gay) whom I didn’t realize she was in love with but the boy didn’t know she existed and why he should? He belongs to the upper middle class and from a prominent family in town, and who are we? In his eyes we were just dust on the road. After the incident, more than ever.

Pity because my sister had and have still a brilliant mind.

She was a straight-A- student, even after that unfortunate incident with the gay sophomore, she finished the year with a gold medal. She is the most intelligent among us, the only one who has a magnificent voice she used to sing solo in church and school choir. If I have a photographic memory, then she has the most advanced camera in her brain, the girl can recall every small detail of long time ago which I have long forgotten. If I am a psychic then her power compares to mine is tenfold. Not only she can predict who is going to come on a certain day but she can tell you the exact time. She knows the name of every medicine known to man and can recite them in their generic names. I remember the time she went to a hospital and stole a lab coat and pretended she was a doctor. It took them a couple of days to find out the truth.  She’s that good. She once worked in a law office as an assistant and she has no law degree or any education related to law. She attended high school only a year before they shifted her off to college and even there she excelled.

We tried to get her committed in a mental hospital but after every interview, the verdict was always the same: she’s not crazy but emotionally disturbed. She doesn’t belong to a loony bin. A fact she will gladly and readily use against anyone who dares to challenge her cranial capacity and state of mind. Whatever her real condition is, it hinders her to lead what society considers a “normal” life. She is not able to hold/sustain a relationship for a long period of time and take care of her children. She tried. Harder than any of us. She wants the kind of family we never had: functional, together, harmonious and loving. At the end, the continuous betrayals, the hard facts of life, the huge responsibilities of keeping a family proved to be too much for her; she left and lives a life of a drifter. She becomes homeless. 

For some people perhaps she seems like someone who is a sexually delinquent person but the truth is she just wants love, attention, caring, warmth; all the things that have been denied to her all her life. My mother saw her as nuisance, ugly (she doesn’t look like any of us and not charming but in my eyes it doesn’t make her ugly) and always treated her with contempt. An attitude she extended to my sister’s children as well. I don’t understand.

For all the things she did out of the ordinary, there are two occasions that are engraved in my brain forever. One was when she jumped in pitch dark night into an excavation filled with coarse gravel straight through between barbwire fence and came out unscratched. The second was when we were in a bus traveling to the mental hospital and she squeezed herself through the window and jumped; landed on the highway, rolled over, stood up unharmed and started running away. Sometimes I think, she’s blessed in some other ways.

I don’t know where is is now. It’s hard to keep track of her when she’s always moving around. I hope she’s doing okay despite everything. I love her. She’s the best among us. Good at heart and innocent. Yes. Innocent…

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Merry Christmas

When I was young, despite of circumstances, I always find Christmas the most exciting time of the year; better than New Year which is always dominated with extreme noises and possible fire works casualties. I remember going from houses to houses all over town wishing the occupants merry Christmas and in return you will get small change or sometimes a meal. A privilege reserved only for children. As an adult, it is seen as morally wrong doing the same thing.

I had a small pink plastic piggy bank for my holiday coins. All the cents I gathered on my tour, I put in there. It helped for the rest of the year when I needed money for school projects or to buy snacks during recess so, I will not feel left out and different from other kids. When my coins were finished, I put white wild flowers in the slot of my piggy bank; it looked good in my play house, just like a flower vase.

But the Christmas I will never forget was when I was a freshman. After 11 years of managing the fishpond, my father found himself in dispute with the owner. Proud as my father was, he rather dragged us down the drain than give into something which was against his principles; we found ourselves homeless overnight.

Out of desperation, lacked of other immediate resources and nowhere else to go, my father built a one room shack just outside the perimeter of the fishpond (how stupid and embarrassing that was, but I believe if he didn’t  think about us, I have a very strong notion that he rather pack his bags and move to another town very far away from our then current location – he done this before – and never come back. But as it were, he swallowed his high pride and settled us in temporarily) you can read the rest of the story in details here.

That particular Christmas eve we locked our door early and tried not to hear the merriment outside, pretending we were asleep; in the dark I can hear my stomach growling, we didn’t eat supper that night but no one complained. We all suffered in silence.

Out of a sudden I heard someone calling my name outside, my father put his finger on his lips and gestured for me not to open the door; I went back to my place.

But the person outside the door kept knocking and calling wishing us the usual holiday greeting and begging me to please open the door.

After a while my father gave in and allowed me to see our visitor.

When I opened the door, I was surprise to see Macedonio; he was one of the seven brothers who just moved to our village couple of years ago.

I remember when we were still living in the fish pond; he initiated an introduction between his brothers, me and my siblings by purposely landing a big kite in the middle of our place, which was separated from the rest of the neighbourhood by an electric fence. He managed to convinced my father to let them in to retrieve their kite, the rest is history.

Macedonio courted me briefly till my father (as always) pointed him to the fact that I was still underage and will not be available for such things until I’m 100 years old or so. He remained a trusted friend of the family as well as his other brothers who for some reasons don’t look like each other. Not a single resemblance. As if they are handpicked from different places and by some chance ended up together as one family. I have never seen more good looking young boys in my time than Macedonio and his siblings.

Where was I? ah, yes opening the door finding him standing there smiling at me. His usual off hand smile that if I was more experienced that time, I will recognize it as designed to melt every girl’s heart.  But I wasn’t. What caught my attention was the enormous plate he was holding full of Christmas delights. There was mountain of pancit, a loaf of bread, suman, kalamay, sinukmani, half of a fried chicken and rice cakes! I looked at him full of disbelief! He smiled,  eyes  twinkling, poked his head inside and when he saw that my father wasn’t looking; he gave me a peck on the cheek and say: “Merry Christmas you gorgeous.” And he disappeared into the night.

He must have been aware of our situation (not much one can hide in small village like ours) and how kindhearted of him to think about us in that time of the year and provide us a holiday meal without hurting the sensitive pride of my father. Bless the people like him. Not only for making our Christmas unforgettable, but restoring my fate in humanity…

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Bah, Humbug!

Okay… Christmas is here again and no matter how I try to be a female version of Ebenezer Scrooge minus the greed I cannot escape certain duties during this holiday season. The dilemmas are always the same each year:

What to wear to those parties?

An outfit for family gatherings must be proper and not overly chic; something a critical mother in law would approve, meaning = don’t upstage her at all cost.

Another one for a corporate lounge dinner with people you don’t know at all and have nothing in common but have to chit-chat nicely in case they are your spouse chiefs or subordinates, wives included. The attire must be formal enough to be classy yet not too constricting for after dinner twirling on the floor with just a hint of simple sexiness as not to look slutty.

And not to forget yuletide season night of fun with friends and whoever they decide to bring along. This time, whatever the choice must be warm enough for after dinner strolling around the city hopping from bar to bar sampling their signature drinks or in case the parking is too full you have to leave your car few kilometres where you have to be. But it has to be punchy too with a lot of schwung for flirty yet classy effect appropriate enough for semi formal dinner and to impress your friends and their escorts. (ha ha)

Oh, the colour! I almost forgot the colour. Red is the obvious and safest choice for my southern colouring that’s why I will not wear crimson this year. Black makes me look washed-out, I will disappear in any shade of tan; white is not festive enough and will appear luminous in any muted lighting. Violet- lavender- mauve and purple remind me of funeral homes, that leaves only yellow which is a big no-no in any circumstances; blue and green which are the traditional hues of Christmas itself will never be on my list no matter what. I don’t want to resemble either a holiday tree or the baubles that goes with it. What a freaking dilemma!

What to serve on Christmas dinner?

As to satisfied the fussiest of eaters among your guests but at the same time not spending the whole evening in the kitchen people would wonder where you disappeared maybe gone to some fancy restaurant for last minute order to replace your over-complicated menu that didn’t work because of your shaky nerves (catering costs a lot of money and frankly I cannot name one among my guests –to- be that deserves such ado and effort since I don’t like them at all the feeling is mutual I suspect good thing that I only see them around this time of the year) I have to come up with an original idea that will not cost trouble but will blow their socks off.

Next is: what gifts to buy?

Especially for the ones who are lucky enough to have everything they can think of. I know it’s the thoughts that counts but you and I know better. I witnessed enough family Christmas gifts drama where both parties ceased to talk to one another long after the jolly holiday is over and years beyond that. Believe me, the theory about its- the -thoughts –that- counts- can only stretch so far.

And of course we cannot forget the hubby darling dear and our once in a blue moon special tête-à-tête; it requires proper attire drinks and delectable(s) as well. And if you are like me who only give certain favors and accommodations  during special occasions… then more careful preparation is required, if you know what I mean.

That nicely summarized my festive dilemmas around this time of the year and like Ebenezer Scrooge I would (if I could) say… “Bah, Humbug!”  Because like him; I do not want to socialize because I never experienced steady growth in a strong family unit and all that jazz, or I could lay the blame on my ex who managed to make every Christmas that we’re together (that’s 20 traumatic years) a living hell.  How’s that for an excuse?

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If Walls Could Talk

I long for a career walking through empty houses vacated of all furniture and personality, walls once full of love and memories now bare with chipping paint and talk of being alone forever. Do you think if houses could talk they would tell you of all the people who walked through their lonesome hallways with no intent to return?

Do you think if walls could talk they would tell you of all the crayons that have been pressed against their plaster skin creating masterpieces that can’t be painted over? What about the day your dad got so drunk he punched right through the memories and your brother years later with chalky knuckles following in his footsteps? Would the windows board themselves up after you left?

Do you think the air vents still carry the sound of your mom telling your dad she doesn’t love him anymore? Do you think that house is waiting for someone to come along and fix it up again?

I spend my Saturday mornings furniture shopping for things that aren’t there and won’t ever be there. Do you think houses are like people or people are like houses because I can walk up cracked concrete steps everyday and I can run my hand down the oak door wondering how many people have stood in my spot before and if their legs ever buckled ?

I can grab that cold metal knob but I can’t ever turn it because I’m not ready to confront the crumbling walls of a house that was once a home.

– Kelsie Byers

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Flawed

What is your worst quality?

I’m a worrier.

I worry about everything. 

I worry about the neighbors who said we parked our car on the wrong spot. Why they care? It’s not their own parking.

I worry about every conversation I had and scrutinize every word that has been said, maybe I’ve missed something. Perhaps It could have been better.

I worry about the dog that I saw walking in the middle of a busy road. Did the animal find it’s way back home unharmed?

I worry about girls who cycle through the park in the dark. Do their parents know? Do they know the risk?

I worry about the temperature in my son’s house. 17 degrees. Is it too cold in there? maybe that’s why he coughs a lot.

I worry about my daughter being alone in her apartment. Anything could happen. She said it’s safe. But where is safe?

I worry about someone who has to drive to work everyday. I find that people on the road are getting more and more aggressive nowadays.

I worry about the current state of the world, the nature, deforestation, global warming, terrorists attacks…   I worry about everything.

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Tuesday

I am sitting here in front of my computer having a mental block. I don’t know what to write. I just woke up from a dream a moment ago. In my dream I was searching for my dead mother believing she’s still alive. I don’t want to go into details about it because if I do, the pages and the hours are not long enough to explain everything. For that, I have to go back to the very beginning or otherwise my story will not be clear enough to understand.

Outside, it’s starting to get dark even though it is only 16:37. The image below is the view from my office window and the one above is from my bathroom window upstairs. The same vantage point where I took the inspiring photo the other day. It is still in some way inspiring the view, but not the kind of which most people can relate I guess. Normally it is my kind of thing, dark and moody, but not today; today I long for sunshine and summer, I long for a sense of familiarity and warmth, I long to find my dead mother to convince myself that she’s after all okay… 

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Morning Thoughts

For the first time in months, I slept whole night and woke up at six feeling refreshed. Opening the curtain to admit daylight, I saw there was a fine layer of snow covering almost everything outside. The winds have gone and the air was still and quiet, there was no drizzle to disturb the peace.  It was beautiful. As if the day didn’t awaken yet and still dreaming under the soft white blanket of snow, guarded by the pinkish glow of morning light.  Watching this little silent moment I felt humbled and inspired.

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Seasons

Summer.

The barbecue tasted great. The potato salad too. We sat in the garden enjoying the wine, his hand intertwined with mine. We looked into each other eyes, communicating without words. He was happy. I was happy. So were the bees and other insects around us, they zoomed tirelessly between flowers, collecting nectar. I laid my head on his shoulder, he gathered me in his arms. Together, we watched how nature works. We stayed there till late listening to the birds.

Autumn.

I was looking at the fire pit watching the flame. I lighted it earlier and sat in the gazebo waiting for him. He uncharacteristically late today. So, unlike him. The dinner I prepared and laid on the table turned cold, the candles had burned out. He finally came at eight looking different, haggard and somewhat worried. He sat opposite me and said he wanted a divorce. He is in love with someone else. Outside it started raining. Good. I didn’t have to water the plants.

Winter.

He’s gone. Packed his bags and left. He said he was going to stay in a hotel. I found out later that he moved in with her. I watched him marched through the garden with his suitcase. He stepped on my rose bushes on the way to his car. He probably didn’t notice they were there under the blanket of snow. I closed the curtain and laid in the dark.

I stayed there for days. Sometimes weeks, lying in my bed without moving. Standing up just to get more wine. And smoke. I took up smoking again. I found out cigarettes were good substitute for food. It filled my stomach and quieted my nerves. A good companion during those dark long lonely cold days and nights. I took the phone off the hook and disabled the doorbell. I didn’t want to hear or see anyone. I just wanted him to come back and say he made a mistake. I waited in vain.

Spring.

I went outside and found out that crocuses and snowdrops had pushed through the layers of snow. A little farther, cyclamens were also putting a good show. So was the grape hyacinths.  I lower myself to the ground and fingered them. Tough little flowers. Soon dutch irises and narcissus will be joining their efforts  and the garden will be alive again with riot of colors. I smiled for the first time in months.

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Itchy Feet

When I was growing up we moved a lot.

We never had a real home or time to settle and grow roots. My memories of home are vague snippets of strange places with different people sometimes I doubt if they are real or imagined.

I never want to go abroad. It was never my dream. I was happy where  I was.

When I was 17  I found myself in Europe. What a strange place. I can’t get used to the food and the weather. I came from the land of endless summer. Here, it is mostly cold, the trees bare and looking like Blair Witch Project.

For the first time I stayed longer in one place, twenty  years.

Eleven years ago, I moved again. This time in an apartment. After 3 years I moved once more to a terraced town house. I stayed there for another three years before I settled in a six bedroom Edwardian house in the country. It took me five years to move to a suburban villa where I am currently living.

Last week I started looking for houses. I have appointments to view some of them this weekend. Yesterday I saw two and was disappointed. 

I guess, I’m moving again.

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The Power Of Touch

Textures are everywhere: The rough edges of a stone wall. The smooth innocence of a baby’s cheek. The sense of touch brings back memories for us. What texture is particularly evocative to you?

Strange that I didn’t think about it before. But now that you asked, I know without a certain doubt that it’s anything under my feet. Let it be pebbles, sand, carpet, grass… anything.

I grew up in a place where most people still don’t wear footwear in the house and children are allowed to play barefooted outside. They even hike without wearing anything on their feet. Here where I live people are long forgotten their primal instincts and the use of their limbs for survival. I bet the average person here will have difficulties surviving in the wild. Or even a day in a culture where they have to rely on primitive tools and only themselves.

Me,  I still do that once in a while. Walk barefooted around. There is a sense of freedom in doing it. Why don’t you try?

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