Sitting on a chair in the basement, sifting through a box of mementos wondering what I want to save, I’m thinking about Shane and Cory going through my stuff after I’m gone. A lot went into the garbage, including one or two leftover journals that had not been burned. A life of rage done.
After moving here several years ago I had a spiritual fire in the meadow burning an entire life and box of journals. One by one I flipped through the pages of confusion, pain, and vast searing loneliness… tearing off handfuls, feeding the anguish to the fire, in the end only ash, feeling cleansed, whole and at peace. I had moved beneath the rage to the pain and it had taken a life-time.
As I began the book after the journals were gone Cory said, “I remember you always writing. Those journals will come in handy for the book.”
I did not tell him they were gone. I thought about them gone and decided it was OK. The book wouldn’t be coming from my head, it would erupt from another place unexplored and held captive all these years. A place yearning to be free, grow and to express.
Leaving the basement I felt sadness for a life lived in rage, loss and feeling lost. There are still remnants left on the shelf of the new life when the past was faced head-on in opposition of Mother’s tutelage, out from under her thumb. These things did happen Mother. No, I will not continue living as if they didn’t. And that was hard because she bought my silence, or tried to.
And when that new life began, the real one, it was confronted with force and persistence. I unearthed a letter from 60 Minutes declining my story about how the new mandates for teaching Sexual Abuse Prevention in our elementary schools were not being implemented. No, they would not be pursuing my story, but “Thank you for contacting us.”
I persisted. If 60 Minutes wouldn’t help I’d do it myself.
I met with both principals, the Superintendent and the school nurse. I explained the need by sharing my own story, and I made them aware of the new mandates which they seemed to have either not been aware of or ignored.
Everyone agreed to proceed and an invitation was extended to help develop the new curriculum. I had already compiled a great deal of teaching material including an age appropriate video. The nurse who would be doing the yearly teaching was completely receptive and the staff was also grateful for my help and input. I initiated a fund raiser to help cover the cost of materials.
What is left in the basement are reminders of a spirit that won’t be hushed, scraps of paper which show my refusal to live mute and invisible. I threw out the remaining angry journals where in every interaction I felt betrayed, lied to, cheated, or manipulated. Attacked with lust by those I loved and trusted lent to an existence where all people cause fear and mistrust.
Interactions with others has not greatly improved, but my rage has abated and along the way fizzled out. Interacting with others still causes stress, doubt and anxiety, except for those few who I have learned to love and trust. Others wear me out. Limited energy is saved for the activities and people I love and enjoy.
There on the shelf lies my one box and in it a pair of gold lined silver wedding goblets, my dried up wedding bouquet made by my Mother, my nurse’s cap from graduation, the year book from high-school, and many cards and photos.
There are photos from the Army and a certificate for completing the course in handling sub-human primates; rhesus monkeys, yes, monkey’s and that’s no small feat. They had to be pressed up to the front cage wall while the other student piped a feeding tube down their throats to the stomach pouring in liquid. Not everybody achieved this dubious award, but there is proof that I did.
I cannot throw out cards, even the cards from a friend who won’t talk to me anymore because I ended the friendship badly. I learn from each one. The basement is emptier but open again, kind of like me. Emptied of a life of rage, I am opening to love for both self and others, not thinking it but really feeling it.