When you've come into some dark shit and you're holding those secrets to protect the people you love. And then one of those people throws hot button venom at you KNOWING it's a sore spot, knowing they will hurt you.
And instead of eviscerating them with your own secrets and venom and anger and pain, you swallow, and sleep and wake up every few hours to their hurtful words in the back of your throat.
When you get up into the haze of January daylight looking out the window and say "it's snowing".
The bridge is a tangle of vines and broken boards swaying across the expanse,
with outstretched gnarled knuckles bracing weight precariously on ancient rites.
He grasps the fraying knotted threads that tether this world to the others.
The rhythmic sway of crumbling faith, fated, balanced, though serene,
planning/planting, every delicate moment, while shrouded in obscurity.
Blind terror glows, fickle and fleeing; embers flickering in the wind.
Liquid in glass swirls lazily in glass, cloaked carelessly in Bordeaux sin.
Laughter slicing sharply through the last shards of daylight,
the tap dancing of tongues; enmeshed.
Momentary wanderlust; wonder-lost, eclipsing ellipsis hanging in the air.
Yup I said it.
I hate hockey.
In fact I think it's entirely possible that my first words were "I hate hockey" if not they should have been. I'm not much of an organized competitive sports fan in general but hockey holds a special place of loathing for me and I for it.
I grew up a middle class kid in an up and coming neighborhood, a pair of second hand figure skates marked my birthday when I turned 8 and several winters later a newer pair, and, figure skating lessons (that my parents paid for in place of groceries some months) and my dreams of landing a triple axle were nearly always sountracked by hockey pucks slapping against the boards of the local outdoor rinks.
I'm showing my age I'm sure when I start the next sentence with how heavy and awkward my Sony walk-man cassette player was in my hands as I flung myself around the "pleasure rink" that despite the posted rules was near always full of smaller future hockey players. The kind of kids who's parents had bought an entire goalie set for their toddler son and a Gretzky jersey to go with it, poor boy couldn't even stand let alone stop a puck, and yet he and his father and slew of older brothers cluttered up "my" rink with their veritable obstacle course of scattered equipment. Skating during the day or on the weekends was an exercise in frustration. So as you do, I found my work around.
An outdoor rink in Winnipeg is almost as practical as one in Florida. The idea is kind of novel but the reality is often miles away from satisfying. All Canadian kids I think though grew up with an immunity to the cold and even in Winnipeg with windchill factors of -40 for most of the skate able months of the year, we, the die hards, would trek out as the street lights came out from November through March to get in as many extra hours on the ice as possible. And then far too late at night, the the wind whipping ice crystals freezing solid tears to eyelashes, we'd trek home, crawl into bed, and wait for the alarm.
5:30 on a weekday morning and the city is still mostly asleep, the house quite and shivery, it's 1940's boiler kicking on with a heavy sigh would greet me on my way out the door, on warmer days, the sunrise was a breathtaking bliss of prairie sky streaked in pastels of pink, orange and blue, hoarfrost lined trees and the same rink as the night before, waiting for Vivaldi to start on my cassette.
In those early morning hours, in those late evening skates where the rink was mine, I truly felt like flying, zipping around on skates became a blissful escape and a beautiful therapy, wind whipped skin burns from the cold, arthritic hands that would shape and gnarl into my adulthood, and the sounds of the pucks slapping the boards, interruption my serenity.
I stopped skating when I tore all the ligaments in my ankle. Winters went from a beautiful wild child of pastels and fearless frost to a frozen pile of suck. January became a month of hibernation instead of exhilaration. Hockey sticks and laughter, skates scraping the ice. All things wrapped up in a ball of couldn't do's and shouldn't do's.
"If it were a hockey injury we could do surgery to repair it," the doctor said, "but you're not an athlete, right? I mean not a real one? You don't play hockey so there's not need to repair the tears. Just strengthen the surrounding muscles and stay off the skates for awhile".
It was a bad call. The injury didn't heal. And the injury never well.
I suppose I can't honestly blame hockey for that, after all it wasn't hockey's fault. I suppose the doctor should have been more interested in where I was going, versus where I was.
My life seems to have stalled beautifully in the ether of 2011. Time just stopped. For me anyway. 5 years go by, my kids grow and change and yet.... I'm shocked and surprised. When someone else announces a marriage or a pregnancy I am. Despondent. Surprised. Shocked. You were supposed to stay young forever. You haven't grown up. I'm still on Maternity leave even though my "baby" is almost 5. I want another baby. I can't ever have another baby. How dare you all grow up. It's wonderful and amazing and what have I done in the time since she's been born?
The cemetery it's self is beautifully treed, with glorious markers, I've searched on a number of occasions for him, knowing he is in 38-0296. After half an hour of driving and finding sections A-P and sections 18-37 I finally downloaded a map of the cemetery to learn why I couldn't find 38. Select 38, is located beyond the military cemetery at the back, near the fence by where the airport and the highway connect, on the very edge of the property, there are no trees for a good football fields length and one would assume the cemetery it'self had ended where the beautiful grooming tappers into weeds and gravel and concrete bars and backhoes... But it does't around a curved road, with a collection of sparsely placed saplings less than 6ft tall is select 38, a series of mostly unmarked plots, in various states of freshly dug and grown over, some with small ground plaques to commemorate someone that was once cared about but mostly, unless you were to know where to look you'd think this tiny field of weeds was just overgrowth and storage. This is where they put you when you can't afford to die. When no one claims the body, when work, begrudgingly pays for the cheapest burial. I found myself drawn towards a poplar sapling as poplars are by far my favourite tree, their leaves applauding all summer long in praise of the breeze. And as I looked 3 feet from the poplar a small ground plaque engraved with the lyrics to "Blackbird" lay slightly overgrown, "take these broken wings and learn to fly, all your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arrive". I looked for some signage to point me in the right direction but there are no signs in select 38, no directions, for the most part I would imagine there isn't a lot of demand for visitors to this section. I noticed that under "Blackbirds" marker was a mental circle with numbers stamped, in fact they seemed everywhere in the weed jungle, cemetery markers so they know where they've stuck what bodies I suspect, "Blackbird" was 0297, how serendipitous. Kicking at the ground around me I found nothing, several feet away was 0294 so all that left was the space between overgrown with weeds, I pulled and dug, leaning gingerly up against the baby poplar, and there it was, an overgrown marker of a friend no one loved and no one remembers. In this field of nothingness, the wasteland of the cemetery there lies my friend Bill, with no marker, and no headstone. Adrift in a sea of lost, I scrubbed at the cemetery marker until the 296 was clear to me, and I spoke to him for awhile.
I will buy him a marker, I will remember.
I feel like it is my job to remember.
I know I couldn't have saved him.
I know I didn't kill him.
Sometimes though, you just need to do something. And I need to do this.
How damaged are you?
How wretched and meek?
Sharp tongues cut deep grooves.
How loved are you?
Hands held, hearts beat in rhythmic unison;
breath held, a calculated silence.
How safe are you?
Bundled deep within, gripping tight against the cold;
warm blankets, battle whipping north winds.
How strong are you?
Iron clad, stoic, shoulders back, facing the sun;
tall, silent, and fierce.
How frail are you?
Tiny bones, held against dark night(knight?);
shaking legs emerging slowly to uneven ground.
How free are you?
Wet winged emergence, chrysalis cracked;
dissolving silence into awakening.
Fortunately for me, when I was at my poorest pennies were still accepted currency. I was every bad cliche single mom story for awhile there. I spent a year in my early 20's after my divorce on social assistance, to supplement my pittifully small maternity leave payments. I had an ex who, for that first year, didn't pay any child support. I fell into mass amounts of debt that I simply couldn't crawl out of.
As it turned out, starting over with nothing and two kids in tow was more expensive than any lifetime movie had ever lead me to believe. There was no mansion with a crazy aunt or mother or grandmother to live with, for me. There was no stable decent paying job either, I guess that's what happens when you split up in 2008. I worked a series of secretarial and call center positions, for a dollar above minimum wage, and with bill collectors and creditors and debts from the ongoing divorce... Well, lets just say the ladies at the food bank were always very nice.
The thing about constantly being behind is you cut corners, you buy bus tickets instead of bus passes because you don't have $80 up front to fork out at the beginning of the month, $15 is easier to come up with, even though you know they wont last you till payday and you'll be scraping the change out of the bottom of your purse again trying to make it be enough to get you home from work. You learn things like the fact that they can't, by law, shut your heat off between October and April so you pay that bill last and only when you have a little "extra" whatever that looks like. And when they cut your phone off? Well it's almost a blessing because the creditors stop their relentless calling. Eventually I signed off on a debt management program, but even with that I couldn't get blood from a stone, and the payments there fell behind as well.
There was one day in Mach, I remember it because it was shortly before I started working in the bar and life got immensely better, I woke up to my last shift of the week. As always I was broke, and scrambling for change, I turned every inch of the house inside out that morning, sifting through the couch looking for quarters, nickles and dimes but came up about $0.80 short. In fact, all I'd been able to find were pennies and a couple of dimes. At the time I was living with an artist who had a collection of paints taking up most of the basement of the house we shared, she must have had paint in every color from cerulean blue, to burnt sienna, heck even golds, coppers, and silver... A penny and a dime are very similar in size, though obviously not in value... But with a little silver paint in the early morning light...
As I climbed onto the number 95 bus just as I had every morning that year, the digital display glaring it's sharp glow of 5:45 am, I shivered. I've never been good at being dishonest, but missing work... Missing work when the world is already falling down around you, when you already don't have enough... Missing work is even less of an option.
As I put my mitten full of painted pennies into the coin catcher watching them tumble in the dull incandescent glow of the early morning bus lights I looked down and mumbled to the always cheerful driver, "I'm sorry for all the change."
He smiled back at me, and handed me a transfer, not even inspecting the fare before pressing the button that dumped it into the out-of-sight bank, "change is good" he replied.
LJ Idol - Friends and Rivals topic 4 "The death of the 1¢ coin / penny and the $1 bill"
So my friend Darlena wrote an awesome piece for Time on that Christmas card that pissed off half the internet. But here's my issue with it (the card, not her piece which was nice), which she touched on, but I have an expanded opinion with much more profanity because I don't write for Time so I can be a caustic bitch.
The backlash of "lighten up" and "it's just a joke" in regards to this image is problematic and not just because women shouldn't be silenced but also because abusers don't advertise. "He's a nice guy" and "his wife was totally on board with it" are also things that don't carry any weight on this issue and here's why; abusers don't advertise.
Sure every so often some jackass on a powertrip gets caught beating up his girlfriend on camera and becomes the posterjackass for battering men everywhere. Those guys though, they're the minority. Most abusers don't advertise. Mutual friends will call a woman who's been abused "dramatic" or even a liar because "he was always so nice, no way he every hurt her, she never had any broken bones or black eyes". Smart abusers don't leave overly visible marks, abusers don't need to leave marks at all to make you feel meaningless powerless and empty. Emotional abuse is abuse. One more for the cheap seats in the back; abusers don't advertise. It doesn't make it easy to continue your reign of control and manipulation if everyone knows you're doing it, abuse is often subtle, and more often than not a battered spouse will say "it wasn't that bad" or "I'm sure he didn't mean it" not because "victims" aren't smart, but because abusers are often extremely charismatic and manipulative, they will convinced you that you started it, they will convince your friends and family that you are ill, or dramatic, that they are the victims. Abusers don't advertise.
That image is not just doing a disservice to women, and feminism, and survivors of domestic violence, it's doing a disservice to child abuse victims. To the little girls who grow up tied up and raped by a parent, step parent, family member or friend, who cry out despite being ashamed and are silenced by the family that's supposed to protect them. It does a disservice to our societies most vulnerable. So no it's not "a joke" and I wont "lighten up", because it's not funny. It is not even remotely acceptable to encourage this on any level, making sport of other's personal tragedies is unacceptable.
We live in a world full of horrors, and full of beauty, and all of it needs to be talked about. Silence solves nothing.