Friday Fictioneers – Martha’s Mind

Dale Rogerson

Photo courtesy – Dale Rogerson

Martha’s Mind

Word count:  100

 

Martha inhaled deeply, held it momentarily then exhaled slowly.

She repeated this twice before settling into practice.  It was a warm evening with low humidity so she took the opportunity to meditate on the back deck while the mosquitoes were preoccupied.

The sun warmed Martha’s face; eased her frown lines, and smoothed her crow’s feet.  The cushion beneath cupped her bottom with ease which promoted a relaxed attentiveness.

Bird evensong and faraway car sounds floated by for her consideration but she paid them no mind.

For thirty minutes, Martha simply was.  Nowhere to go.  No-one to be.  Nothing to do.

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When there was nowhere else but down

Seven or eight years ago, life had become very difficult for my little family.  I could try to explain the whys and wherefores but the events are past tense.  To try to break it down, make it coherent, and string everything together would require more time than I care to give on the subject.  Suffice to say, things were a mighty struggle all around.

Local news today of a father who shot his wife and three young children before shooting himself reminds me of a day or two during that time when I had considered doing the same thing.

The man’s motivation appears to be that of concern over his marital problems and likely, the knock on effect it would have on the relations with his children.  But I presume; I do not know the truth.  I only know sorrow for the situation and relief for my own.

The details were loose.  I didn’t own a gun, and I didn’t know how to get one; I certainly didn’t have money to buy one.  But I remember standing in the living room of our little, rented house staring at the curtains in front of me.  Just standing and staring.  My husband was at work and our children, at school.  I had been crying.  Heartbroken.  My soul wrung out.  I felt desperate.  As if there was no way out.

In hindsight, I think I had a small breakdown that day.  I believed that if we weren’t here, the burden would be lifted.  I imagined if I had that gun, I would kill the kids first, upstairs, then I’d shoot my husband when he came home in the wee hours, and then I’d shoot myself.  I actually visualized it.  I visualized wrapping the kids’ bodies in blankets and waiting for my husband.

So disconnected was I from myself that I thought it would be easy.  I didn’t visualize the  fact that I’d witness my children’s brains scatter, or watch my husband’s body fall, or the last thing I’d see would be the barrel of a gun.  I didn’t pay any mind to family and friends who would be so shocked and saddened. I only visualized a world where our own struggle and suffering ended.

Dark times, indeed.

I am grateful for my own inner strength which pulled me through when my body and soul were limp.

And I hold this dear family in the light today.  I wish the Dad had found some tiny thread to help pull him through.

Lost

I am struck today at just how lost I am.

Somehow, my husband and I landed on our feet, and this year has been about repairing our marriage and finding a new path.  But it’s not solid ground for me yet.

Perhaps there is a void that I hadn’t noticed.  Perhaps it has been swelling and growing for sometime.  I’m not sure what caused it; maybe it was left there when my husband took on some of the burden of our family life which had been mine to carry for so long.

I have stopped meditating.  I am exercising hard.  I am also drinking more than I should.

And, I have stopped being creative.

I am floundering.  Directionless.  In a mental, physical and spiritual rut.  Feeling lost today and upon reflection of the situation, am quick to tears.

Meditation and creation.

I think these might help.

And a new tattoo.

 

 

 

 

The Middle Ground

Today, I have a sense of being okay with the now; being at peace with what is.

I am not the weight I want to be but I’m finally feeling the fire in my belly, and more able to resist stuffing my face with m&m’s all day long.

I am not sure in which direction my marriage is headed (although it feels more positive and healthy than it has in a long time) and I’m okay with it being where it is.  It is a work in progress.  Unlike the entity it was prior when it was just work.

I am in limbo with my soul.  Not stalled in my exploration, but rather floating on a sea of tranquility.  A real sense of now.  Here. This moment.  And this moment.  Peace.  Calm.

I’ve been on wp for four years; quite prolific for the first two but dropped off considerably after that.  When I return to occasionally purge, there are a few sites I gravitate toward and Val Boyko is one of them.  The very name of her page Find Your Middle Ground feels exactly where I am.

I like it.  No pressure.  Just being.

Happy.

 

 

 

Accountability

“Are you okay?”

An innocuous question but for me, it comes tethered to my husband’s emotions, and has done for many years.

It has always been my job to make sure that he was okay.  It would take many forms; making sure dinner was ready when he came home late, tired and grumpy.   Putting the kids to bed so that he could close his eyes for a while; taking care of the house, and just generally making sure that he had no responsibilities within the family unit such as school paperwork, groceries, sex, anything at all.

In these ways, I made sure that he okay.  And if he was okay, then I was okay but I really wasn’t, and I never knew how to express that I wasn’t.

I am learning to loosen my grasp on the honesty of my answer.  I don’t have to hold in the truth.  Don’t be afraid to say no, I am not okay, but I’m working on my shit and I will be okay in some form or another.

I am not responsible for how you feel, and I will not apologize for how I feel.

My husband is a lovely man, and would never make me feel badly about myself, but I know that when he asks me this question, there is an underlying reason for it.  He may not like what he hears from this point forward but opening up to the truth is not an easy thing.

We are accountable for our own emotions, not anybody else’s – not our children’s, not our parents’, our partners’, or our friends’.  It’s such a liberating thing to realize and become aware of and yet, we feel so intertwined and buffeted against each other, it’s easy to lose ourselves in those closest to us.

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So, I say this is my emotional well.  That is yours.  Mine had run dry for a while but it’s filling up nicely now.  Yours is, too, I see.  If you feel yours is murky from time to time, or dipping below the plumb line, do not look to me to clean it up or refill it.  We can share from our wells as long as it doesn’t compromise the depth or quality of the water.

 

 

Swings and Roundabouts

This process of reconnecting with self while at the same time, trying to find the connection with husband, oftentimes feels like two steps forward, a hundred steps back. The connections to husband are like rusty prongs which no longer fit the holes they once did, and no matter how I try to needle them in, they just won’t go.

Often, I’ll wonder if I will love him the same way.  In those moments, I really need to pay attention to the voice that says, “No, you won’t.  How can you?”  The old way was mothering; a trap I fell into, a trap many women fall into, though this was no fault of my own.

So, I guess I’m learning how to be a wife to my husband, and it feels a bit like the USS Enterprise saucer separation, which is an odd analogy, but consider this:  two months ago, I felt an absolute separation, as if all parts of me fled.  But perhaps they didn’t, perhaps they simply ran for cover when the reality of what I was saying sunk in.

He and I have had some frank conversations lately about sex, usually when we are drunk and/or stoned, which has led to things I truly was unsure about doing.  I know now that I am definitely not ready for that; it’s like running before you can walk.

So, how do we move forward?  Slowly.  Patiently.  Cognizant of the others’ triggers.  Not as mother and husband, but as husband and wife, as friends, as partners.

Of course, there’s the child in me that is quite petulant.  Her arms her arms crossed, and she is pouty faced.  She is stubborn and still thinks that she’s better off alone.  That no matter the changes in him, no matter the work they are doing, she cannot see the point.

She is the one who hears his I Love You but clamps the mouth shut in response.  She is the one that gets irritated when he walks on eggshells, or looks at her in that way that I can’t describe in words.  She is the one who balks, indignant at the thought of discovering him sexually.  Why should she have to find out about him?  She’s the one that’s done the work for all these years; she’s not willing to put in the effort.

It’s a constant conflict between the child and the adult. I am somewhere in between, muddling through.  Trying to reconcile, trying to connect with him sometimes and other times, not.  Working on not being niggly, trying to be aware of what I’m feeling or thinking and expressing them, if need be.  I’m not very good at the awareness thing because the child is still very much a wounded creature.  This will take extra focus.

Finding my way back to a cohesive, loving partnership seems like a nice goal.  With fifteen years of backlog, we both have to remember to be patient with each other.

Pieces.

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What courage have I?  In the moment, it is simply a thing I have to do.  Tired of picking up pieces; the result of others’ choices, I made my own, and scattered my marriage, my life and his life to all points and corners.

I had envisioned months and months of civil side-by-side living while I cultivated the desire to live away from him.  I was shut down, closed off, impenetrable, had made my decision and dammit, I’d had enough.  I loved my children but I did not love my husband anymore.  Even the little, familiar things we shared seemed inconsequential and did not affect my ambition.

Six weeks later, I find myself rummaging for all the pieces.  Slowly, deliberately, even perhaps letting them come find me for repair.  As in Kintsugi, we are reconstructing in new ways.  Our marriage from before is dead; exploded, and the new one is beginning to look much different.

With this slow repair though, comes a devil on my shoulder.  The doubter, nagger, and all around pessimist.  She is obstinate and doesn’t want to move forward.  She is petulant and refuses to show any kind of affection.  She throws emotional grenades that make me break down in counseling sessions.  But what she fails to realize is that her work aids progress; she is part of the yin and yang of me.  However, she’s been the larger of the two for a long time and she’s not keen on sharing power.

So, I am struggling with conflict.  The desire to move forward and to not.

These are interesting times.  I see my husband in a new light but I don’t yet know who I am, or who I am in this relationship.  It’s a new thing, but not.  It’s not like a new relationship that’s thrilling and butterfly-inducing; it has a history.

So, I work on myself.  Or sit with myself.  Do nothing.  Think nothing.  Feel nothing.  Other times, I do, think and feel it all at once.  It’s still choppy waters.

But that devil…..boy, she’s had her way for so long.  I mustn’t fight her, but allowing her just to be makes my life quite challenging.