Who are these children who scheme and run wild…

Three is a magic number, three legs stabalize a stool, three points define a space and tragedy they say comes in three; there were three distinct times between the age of 12 and 19 when a small blip of kindness on the part of a person with no investment in my existence made all my crazy adventures possible.

My last blog told the story of the first, This is the story of the second, a time in my life where joy was as hidden as the sun this misty, moisty seaside morning. And very fitting for a second story, it involves two boys, well men now, and men we thought then, and I woman quite grown. Reality was we were merely puppies, rolling and growling at shadows; tumbling and rolling,  tugging at the seams of real life with our sharp milk teeth.

It was spring, and I was truly alone in the world, hungry for food, hungry for meaning, hungry for touch and thoroughly adverse to anything that looked like love. My heart had been ripped away by my mothers slow death and scattered to the tides by abandonment.

I practiced laying on the train tracks, rolling away as it hit the turn. I was afraid of hurting anyone else.  No, I could not do that to the conductor. No thought of razor blades this time, to risky that someone I knew would find me, and I wanted to be gone, but an accident would save anyone from the guilts and regrets that plagued me from one I loved’s suicide attempt.

Don’t understand why I am wired this way, perhaps the need to take on the worlds pain made my adolescence harder, but I was and am wired to be kind and to be useful, nothing more and never accepting of less.

So now I knew this ending would be a a carefully orchestrated accident. I would start swimming out from the shore as the tide turned and swim until exhausted, I was known for taking risks, and at night, sliver moon, I would not be visible.

The 24 hours passed, the deep mist in my soul had not cleared. I changed to jeans, their weight would make it easier to accomplish my goal. But then the phone on the wall rang, TC said he was home and bored. the sun was still up, I had time to go over, hang out with him, listen to music, make him laugh. And then there was his brother Danny. Adorable, funny and unpredictable as everything. 

The details of the late afternoon escape me except for a small collection of Emily Dickinson poems from Danny, Elton John on the stereo and lots of talk about death, life, a favorite snippet of lyrics, the meaning of beauty, whether this girl or that girl was hotter, and always a bit of talk of the ever enigmatic Carl Frye III. We would lay on our backs on the bed next to each other, usually more interested in the way our thoughts entertwined bodies melding. But we were puppies pretending to be dogs and just discovering the magic of libito, and I was so empty that the evening was inevitable. and for a moment I was real again.

But then I noticed it was dark and I wanted to leave, your voice sounded a little hurt when I started dressing, and I said, “I’m done.” You asked my just to stay. And your brother came in and made jokes at us and so somehow I stayed.

And like so often happens if we just stay, for the night cares slittle about our faith, it just ends.  The morning dawned golden, the cold grip on my heart loosened, and as I lay listening to TC and Danny lightly snore, I was horrified how close to the edge I had come again, how they had saved my life.

I never told them thank you until now.  Actually admitting to planning a suicide isn’t something one does lightly, to admit it happenned 3 times, each three years apart, is well, crazy.

 When I entered the military I turned my back on my childhood, cut my ties that remained, and sought a new beginning. 

But whenever  another circle to close.  I have been trying to make this trip for 7 years. I guess it was time.

 TC and his wife hosted me here in Mystic with unequaled hospitality. A sincere thank-you and watching the two dogs are hardly a fitting reward for saving a life. 

 Monday I leave on the train. I am not sure that TC and Danny and I ever really understand each other, they are golden haired, silver tongued, blue bloods with wives and refined tastes, and I am a red-headed pirate who only loves her children, the road and the sea. And my friends. I love my friends.

and they are these.

I Am I Said….

Everyone says how little I have changed, I know I am 3 times older, and almost twice as large. ( A bit thrilled to see that with all my “OMG, I haven’t had this in 40 years” eating I am actually down another 3 pounds, actually thought I would have gained 10.)   I hope I am wiser, kinder and more careful of others feelings and more appreciative of their existence. 

I found that writing on the train was more spoons than I had in a day. (New readers, spoons are a measure of energy, just trust me, or google “chronic illness, spoons”) The travel and view was well worth all the drain though and I only fell once and luckily it was into another passengers lap. I was on the way to the bathroom when the train picked up speed. Embarassing, though that silver haired and silver tongued cowboy offerred to let me stay for awhile, I am sure he was more injured than I. He was in the other accessible seat, cane and brace, “thrown from a horse when m’ boys said I was too old to be doing that so now I ride trains to make em worry.” He was Albuquerque to the last New Mexico stop,

I met many, many wonderful people on the trip, but that is what made writing difficult. I love people, but they are a constant small leak in my energy and there is no quiet place in accessible coach seating. So I chose to use my communication spoons to elicit stories and share laughter and updated with a few pics on FB. My goal later today is learning how to connect my media to WordPress so my Blog followers can see with my cameras eye as my tongue becomes less and less an effective brush.

Now I am here. I drink coffee on a deck that overlooks the Mystic river. I wear fuzzy slippers and my Sarah (a Lularoe sweater style). I watch the leaves change shade. Each morning another tree has accepted the inevitable approach of winter. The squirrels tease the two jack russells and the crows scold us all. I have begun reconnecting with those to whom I truly owe the debt of my life, wishing to acknowledge, to somehow repay a debt they never even knew I owed.

I was frequently suicidal as a teen. Fully planned and prepped, but even then I had a 24 hour rule. Perhaps because of the part of me that has always believed in magic, perhaps the deep desire to cause no one else pain; when I would become convinced that all the world would be better for my absence, I would make my plan and set myself a 24 hour waiting period. Death was already real and permanent to me, a regular part of the family and libraries were my internet, so how knew how and where to cut and that I would be off in my woods even then seeing a possibility of then being of use to the crow and coyote. I would make my plan, write the entry in my diary to say goodbye, set a circle and talk to the earth, fire, sky and ocean, truly not knowing how deep a call through history that might be, tell me I would ask if this is the right choice.

In eighth grade Carla answered that question with a pair of jeans, The day before some of my classmates had given me a gaily wrapped present of dog shit and mouthwash, inside the jolly Santa Card were the time honored classic of “Die you ugly piece of shit.” Well to a seriously depressed teen-ager that was more of a directive than an insult. I set my circle that afternoon, out where Zack and I would go to do our best thinking and talking. Mind you he had long since crossed the rainbow bridge but when I was there in that circle, I could feel his fur beneath my hand, his tongue clearing the tears from my cheek.

That morning the razor blades were neatly taped down onto one of my text books under the paper bag cover and I had told my parents I was going to be helping someone for whom I often babysat.  The stage was set. A girl in my class, one of the cool girls in fact, blonde beautiful and smart brought me another present. I was honestly afraid to open it. Afraid to be again surrounded by the laughter of my home room and consumed by the shame of thinking that I had actually recieved a gift. Charlie Brown and I had a lot in common when it came to Christmas, Valentines Day and Birthdays. 

Inside was THE pants everyone cool was wearing, from D&L, a store I didn’t even consider stepping into let alone shop new. Brushed cordoroy hip huggers with wide, wide bells. They were simply the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I immediately put them on, and I wore that kindness in one way or another for the rest of my life.

I am glad she was there that day, unaware of how big a difference her not so small act of kindness would make. I think of all the ripples of that one pebble tossed – my children, my patients, my foster children, my helping others go home. Of the ripples I know her generosity has reached as far as Africa, Vietnam and Guatamala. These are just the obvious, but we can never know how far our influence for good reaches.

And other lives aside, I am grateful to her,  I would have missed so much awesome. Perhaps that is the big thing that has changed in me. That emptiness inside has long ago let me go, and today even the chair hears me. 

Carla moved in high school, so I did not think I would ever get to see her again, one more circle I could never close. 

Then I was at my high school reuinion, feeling a bit of that outsider at 17 I was at graduation, and there was that face.  45 years ago that heart and smile had heard my cry of “I Am” when no one else was listening. I looked at her face, blurted out no hello just her name and  “I think you are the girl who gave me the pants in eighth grade.” I watched her as she reached for the memory and all evening I felt that same compassionate heart.  Frequently she saw me in the crowd and came over and hugged me, I often retold the story of her unexpected RAK, sanitized of my drama.

 I watched her exuberance and joy throughout the night. She was the first to invite me and my walker up to the dance floor. And it was her husband that drove me back to the Parker Palace that night, not an uber. 

I am thrilled to say that thanks to Carla I have had the opportunity to change much in the four decades between our hellos and goodbyes. But I am equally gratified to see that in all the important ways, Carla has not changed a bit.

Good Bye Norma Jean

Every school has a Norma Jean

little bit legend   little bit human  just a touch of fae

kissed with the blush of youthful

sexuality. 

 Miss Laurie Mcleod, our candle in the wind

none of us really knew you, and all of us knew you too well.

Heart failure at half the common age for love to run out

Perhaps we drained it dry

with our lips and hands and hungry sharing of all the colors of your soul.

All Aboard, ha ha ha ha. Aye.

It is never to late to heal mental wounds but totally hoping I don’t go off the rails, more interested in moving safely down the rails. But I am listening to my Train mix: The engine led not the Patrick Monohan led one. However, maybe Crazy Train is a perfect lead song for my first blog on an adventure some have even called fool hardy under the circumstances.

I have always said the only difference between courageous fortitude and foolish stubbornness is whether you agree with the goal. So my dear friends and readers, I hope that by introducing you to all the goals I am chasing on this one little adventure you will join me in spirit and see me as strong and brave, with only the kind of foolish that lets you laugh with me, not at me.

and there are lots of things to laugh at these days, pratfalls, puns and moments of pure innocence (since memory is required for guilt to exist. ;P)

Just posting a blog or FaceBook entry these days takes the same concentration as researching and composing a news article or writing a short story, but Iwill do my best. So yeah, my communication challenges may introduce some unique turns of phrase, but listen to my heart and you will probably land somewhere near the point I am passing.

Tonight I am sitting in Flaggstaff at a dear friends table typing.  My feelings are ranging from excited to nervous to grateful, because I am about to complete three of my current 20 Wishes.   I am about to take a long, long train trip because well, I love trains, I love travel, I love scenery so “Train Trip Across a Continent” is on my list. I want to go home to Connecticut and reconnect to a few friends, visit my mothers grave, close a circle, heal a wound or two and pull some frayed threads of who I was back into the weave of who I am now. Oh, and attend one high school reunion.

But its not just the goals, or the destinations, or my love of new environs for my RAK’s. Its about challenging myself, even as who I am becomes daily less familiar. I look forward to also blogging about what it is like to take this train trip with my walker, anxiety issues and occasional memory dumps.

Took way too long to write this and bet there are at least three misspellings and errors that would have brought out my old grammar nazi but even if practice won’t ever get me to perfect, Iam still having fun. So will post again tomorrow.

Be well. Be Brave, Be Kind and most of all be able to laugh at yourself.

NanaJo