Monday Musings ~ Finding Home

Someday you find yourself in a moment where you get to simply stand still. Remember. Maybe even smile. Find a time before a destroyed childhood. Before two hands and a continuous flow of beer and whiskey obliterated your life and finally your home.

The years that have passed often made me ponder upon the concept of home. There were times I thought it was a place. Sometimes it I felt it was a person. I had moments I quit believing there was any such thing; we are here for a while and that’s it.

I still don’t know what I believe about the concept of home. But this past week on my honeymoon, I had the eerie opportunity to revisit my home town. I even saw my old elementary school where I met my first friends and made my first enemies.

Those were the “good years” as I refer to them. Before violence shattered my family. Before ever watching my step dad throw my mother around like it didn’t matter. Before ever watching him strangle her on the couch. Before ever getting bullied the first time at a different school. Before sexual abuse drove me into some frighteningly demented crevices of suicide and self-hatred.

I think abuse victims and survivors alike forget something: there was a time, preceding it all, when the abuse wasn’t there, a time when it didn’t exist. There was a place of love and warmth and safety. After the fact, we move on and do our best to re-create that place, that feeling.

For me, it was a house on 13 acres in British Columbia. It was where I learned to horseback ride on the slowest, most stubborn black horse named Jasper. It was the creek where my brother and I played hockey on the ice during brittle cold months. His slap shot knocked out my front tooth. He went back out on the creek to find it for the tooth fairy. We spent hours on that hill racing toy cars around dirt tracks we made.

I remember living within walking distance from my beloved British grandparents. It meant afternoons of tea and visiting. I remember Grandpa’s distinct English laugh, his accent echoing through the house and the smell of his favourite pipe tobacco.

I would laugh when my brother and I got home from school to find Mom had rearranged the living room every other day. I never knew why she did it. I still don’t.

Hubby and I drove past that old dirt road; still there, yet nostalgic, comforting even. It was reassuring to know there were still these places holding pleasant memories, that not every street or house I ever knew was haunted.

As the Miranda Lambert song “The House That Built Me” goes:

“You leave home, you move on
And you do the best you can
I got lost in this old world
And forgot who I am

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself.”

You really can’t go home again. I didn’t go drive by the house but simply knowing it’s there is reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter’s memory palace. No matter where Lecter finds himself, there are spaces and moments he can access mentally that makes ominous places easier to cope with.

We all have our abandoned ruins of insanity. But we also have a memory palace of our own.

Pulling out of that town felt like leaving home behind again, shrouded in nostalgia and a longing for what has been gone for years. We don’t get our childhoods back. We only get what is ahead of us.

It’s hard to say what drew me back there again. Maybe I thought I’d find some pieces of me that blew away with the ashes of the house my step dad burned down 11 years ago. I have spent so long not knowing where I belong, drifting in a nomadic haze.

I am a small town girl at heart, as much as I have tried to get away from it. But somewhere between concrete sidewalks and bustling city streets, it never felt right. I have never seen the appeal of living in a big city with people in your space and flashy billboards in your face and you can never see the stars. As much as I have tried to get away from my roots, they are planted as sternly as my mother entrenching respect into us kids. I don’t know why I always tried to leave it behind. Bar lights and night life is alright when you’re single and young. But as I get older, I find myself looking for something more. More than a bottle and more than stumbling home drunk every weekend. Especially in getting married, that life style loses its appeal.

A quote from my mother comes to mind, one she said her mother told her: “You can be happy but you are never content.”

I’ve toyed with the saying before, the way wildflower petals are soft between fingers. Happiness can be temporary; a front for what lies beneath. But stability and roots. Do we spend so much time chasing dollars and material things that we lose sight of who we are and where we come from?

Maybe the memory palace is home. If it isn’t a place or a person or a thing, maybe it is a realm of our lives we return to when we need somewhere to turn to, even when there is nowhere. Maybe it is just us. Maybe it is me remembering that before the agonizing storms, there were bouquets of dandelions and daisies picked for Mother in a glass of water on the kitchen counter. And that there were so many blooming in summer I could always go back for more when they began withering.

Dead flowers could be replaced by little hands then, innocent and wild-spirited. So while the idea of what home truly is remains unknown, all I do know is that there is healing in rediscovering a time and place when pain didn’t exist for a little girl. There was a time for horses, wildflowers, butterflies, family, impromptu hockey games, and tea parties.

I took over 100 pictures on our week-long road trip. I didn’t take many there though. It will still stand should I go back, should I need to stand still as a reminder of who I am.

I am that little girl.

“Just before nightfall Hannibal approached Lecter Castle through the woods. As he looked at his home, his feelings remained curiously flat; it is not healing to see your childhood home, but it helps you measure whether you are broken, and how and why, assuming you want to know.” ~ Thomas Harris, “Hannibal Rising”

Dandelions

Dandelions

Gypsy’s Storm

Thunder bellows
and this gypsy heart races
across the prairie.
Too many years
standing still.
Too many faces
become obsolete.
None of you
matter  to me.

To take a step
out of this town…
Seems it always
drags you back,
drive so far 
to get turned around
and her spirit dies
a little more each day.

Stand beneath blue clouds
darkening to black.
Gypsy of the dark-hearted
nomads, eyes watching skies,
gusts howling, I am yearning
for them to take me away
like wildflower petals
caught in the storm;
awaken me somewhere
no one knows my name.
I will run until
you never know of me…

And when it’s over,
when rains drizzle off,
trickle down city drains,
when thunder is a low mumble
somewhere above traffic lights
and lightening is a far off
striking memory
this gypsy heart will be
everything you’ve never seen… 

Patchwork colours;
imperfect beauty.
Ripped up denim;

roughed up freedom.
Wild hair;

not giving a care.

As fast as the storm blows in,
gusting through a life
you walked out on
the night you walked out on me,
like resilient daisies I will
still stand,
stand still. 

As drenched as you get
out in the rain
on a street somewhere
wishing for me,
I am walking ahead
reminding you why
storms are named
as they are
but you put yourself there.

You don’t even
matter to me. 

Photo by Lavinia Thompson

Photo by Lavinia Thompson

New poem ~ Restless

Rainy night;
Restlessness…
drowning this town
once more.
The world is changing
but it all stays the same
here.

And I stand
out where wildflowers blow
on a hill overlooking
the highway leading away
from this place;
counting years,
suppressing fears.

Dreams trickling down windows;
reflections of another time,
orange specks through 
street lights,
another fight
with this gypsy soul.
Does she stay or
does she go?

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Ramblings of a Gypsy

This town. It sucks a certain life from you. It keeps you in the same monotone motions of everyday living, where while nothing is wrong, everything seems unaligned, the soul displaced and then restlessness takes over. It’s overwhelming and you only want to be anywhere but here. By day, the Bible belt town is ridden with religious families who stick up their noses at anything out of the norm. Picture perfect families, who have grown up here, raised their kids and will set them free just for them to do the same thing. By night, prostitutes and drug dealers, gangsters and college and university students take to the downtown streets for wild nights and raging drinking fests, taking any drug they can get their hands on in between bar hopping.

Chasing the highway wind is the only thing that’s really been on my mind lately. It has been for the last year since my front door closed on an old love that had withered to nothing, much like the roses die and brown and become floral scented dust. Like how ribbon frays and falls to the floor, not even cared about anymore. There’s a tragic beauty when it dies. Bittersweet and hostile and freeing all at the same time…and yet, love was something he knew nothing of.

And although there has been healing in moving on and being freed from a relationship so toxic to my soul, that soul still feels poisoned by this town. Every rumour, every backstabber and every friend who becomes another two-faced mask, unrecognizable from who they once were….it gets old so fast. Suddenly every intersection lit alive by traffic lights, every 24-hour Tim Horton’s where nights were wasted on coffee, every time absolutely nothing changes, just feels like one more battle lost in the middle of the vacancy in my mind. There is a certain freedom to the open road that just can’t be captured in words and it is that something certain I have been craving since spring blossomed. It’s like watching the gypsies poke their heads out from the hotel windows where they’ve been hiding all dreadful winter. They know it’s time to move on, find somewhere new and warmer and more exciting.

Certain things just died for me here. Faith in humanity, the belief that there is an end to the gypsy’s highway, and the yearning to settle, because once again, the wildflowers are coming out of hibernation and the butterflies are free to fly away somewhere unknown and beautiful.

A pink sunset doused the prairie in a disillusioned beauty tonight, framed by wisps of whimsical purple clouds just hovering over the flat horizon. I keep staring down that horizon while counting up the years I am wasting here. I keep watching that open highway, waiting for the perfect moment to just go.

But if the past has taught me anything, there is no such thing as the perfect moment. There is either a plan for the future or there is right now. The choice is there. The time has come.

“I hear the birds on a summer breeze I drive fast I am alone in my mind Been trying hard not to get into trouble but I’ve got a war on my mind So I just ride I’m tired of feeling like I’m fucking crazy I’m tired of driving til I see stars in my eyes…” ~ Lana Del Ray

A pink sunlight settles behind a tree on Mayor McGrath Sept. 26.

New poem ~ Patchwork

 

Wildflowers grow
in yellow patches.
Drive me wild;
make me crazy,
I’m in deep,
deep as summertime’s light.

Orange dusted sunset
settles within.
Sweep me off my feet,
take me away.
You don’t even know
what you do to me.

Grass slithers
above the knees.
Lay me down out there,
soak us up sweetly,
falling way too deep,
deeper than a moon’s silver bath.

Summer is a patchwork
of leather, denim and passion.
Drink it up with me,
breathe into me.
You brought me back
from a hopeless place.

Wildflowers grow
multi-coloured patches.
Drive me wild,
make me crazy.
I’m in deep
deep as summertime’s light.

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Another road astray led me home

“This one’s for you and me
Living out our dreams
We’re all right where we should be
With my arms out wide
I’ve opened my eyes
And now all I want to see
Is a sky full of lighters…”
Bruno Mars

Life can often take us away from the road where we are following our dreams. Sometimes the road we are on is the road we think we should be on, where we think we are following our dreams. Sometimes that road simply leads us astray.

Sometimes you find yourself lost out there, looking around for something familiar but anything familiar you knew has been left behind in a suitcase in that ditch of wildflowers. Nothing feels quite the same. The core of who you are is hollow. Mornings feel like a cold cup of coffee in a Canadian winter and nights feel like a lost hockey game that can’t be saved. That feeling of restless emptiness can last for months, sometimes years.

In the past year, I found myself standing in that ditch beside that old suitcase, with its beat up leather and faded stickers from glory days gone by. That suitcase was what my life had been for the last few years; photos of a love gone cold, a childhood shattered by bare alcoholic hands, that little girl who spent her years screaming in the depths of my soul. But my life as I knew it was changing. My relationship ended. He walked out the door like it never even mattered to him and I guess after everything I ever did for him, it never really did. I lost a friend or two over the ordeal. I had to let them go; backstabbers and gossips during a break up do nothing but fuel the fires of anger and hostility that are already raging. I had to look at my life again and wonder I was really going, where this road to anywhere would take me.

My goal has always been a simple one. I want to be a full-time writer. But for being so simple, it is astounding how years have passed by that I didn’t even see; how everything changed yet stayed the same, and how, the night he left, I found myself right back to where I started: alone, wondering who my friends really were, and asking why people are so damn cruel. I remember when he said I’ll never get anywhere, sent in a cowardly text message because I guess he wasn’t man enough to say it to my face.

I had to take account of what I had built on since my little gypsy life had left the highway. It was a house with its unfinished renovations, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get everything done living on a near-minimum wage job. It was a crowd of fur babies I called my family; three cats and two dogs who stood by me when people I considered close friends decided believing gossip was more important than friendship. It was the friends I did have left, the loyal ones who knew who I was all along and supported me when I needed it. It was my family, as always, my mother and siblings, there when I needed anything.

From there I kept going forward. From there, that suitcase got set on fire and left behind, only the flames leaving embers to remind me anything had existed there at all. And by the time you read this, I’ll be onto the next road, with a new suitcase of notebooks and pens and story ideas, ready to step back into the writing world. The way that relationship and its ending drained me also left me drained of inspiration. I’ve touched my book a few times here and there, just to end up frustrated with where it was going and walking away. But the coffee doesn’t get left cold any more and I can’t walk away from writing the way I thought I might this time.

So instead of posting another poem tonight in a feeble attempt to just keep the blog barely updated, here is a real update. Nothing can ever stop me from writing. Not the man who destroyed my childhood and certainly not a man who is unable to hold a job because he is lazy and likes to break up with me over text messaging. It is time to get back to what I love and chase the dream again. So, my blog has a makeover and I am diving back into “Edge of Glory” with the help of the new man in my life who will be helping me with the songs. Let’s face it, song writing and novel writing come from two totally different worlds. I know how to tackle this book now. So back to it.

“By the time you hear this
I will have already spiralled up
I would never do nothing to let you cowards fuck my world up
If I was you I would duck or get struck by lightening
Fighters keep fighting, hold your lighters up,
Point them skyward…” ~ Eminem

Photo by Lavinia Thompson

Photo by Lavinia Thompson

 

New poem ~ One Reason

Unfinished rainbow
Broken promises
Love collecting dust like
Lace unworn for years
Hanging in the closet
Eaten away by ghosts
When lovers become strangers
Give me a reason
To believe
Give me a reason
To go on…

Rivers of rain
Tears and scars
Leather and whiskey worn out
Stale and drunk
Hung over and weary
Running like the old gypsy
In this soul
Patchwork and stitches
Ripped at the seams
Give me one reason
To fix it
Give me one reason
To carry on…

Empty skies
Nights of fighting, yelling
Crying and begging
Can’t do this anymore
Ripped denim and rum
Nothing patched, nothing left
Thief of hearts
Sort of captured the soul
Star-lit words and wildflowers
Blown away on tornado gales
Give me one reason
To chase you down
You can’t give me a reason
To try again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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