Category Archives: Relationships

Rebuilding your life after an emotional period

We all experience times when life’s challenges create sustained emotional upheaval. The strain of difficult times can bring out the worst in us. We treat those closest to us unfairly by pushing them away through our behaviors.  We might be angry, depressed, irritable or needy. It can serve as a wedge prying apart the fabric of our relationships.

When emotional upheaval is over, it comes time to knit our lives back together, growing and preserving that which sustains us. There are skills we can use to help. And those we care about will usually  respond with forgiveness and understanding.

Lessons drawn from 12th step programs can prove helpful.  Taking an inventory of our behavior and making creative amends is always a good beginning. If it seems overwhelming, find a good therapist to guide you.

Hopefully those we appeal to will be understanding and listen. But even if they can’t do that, it is an enormous relief to honestly and deeply assess your actions.  You may grieve over the ending of some relationships but you will know you have done all you could to make amends.

Introduce self-healing activities.  Caring for yourself through meditation and/ or exercise can go far toward making sure you don’t repeat the negativity.  If you have let your health suffer, gained or lost weight, adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Look at your daily life and long-term goals. Are your expectations realistic or do they cause increased stress?  What might you change to develop stability and assure you are fulfilled? Maintain a focus on the present.  Take things one day or even one minute at a time.  And remember, no matter how hard things may feel right now, you can get through anything for one day. If that seems too much, compartmentalize moment by moment.

we all experience bumps, detours and unexpected stressors.  Life is not static.  It is fluid.  Whatever happened, you can move beyond it.  You can rebuild. You can experience beauty and growth during the worst situations.  Make sure you draw on your support system.  And always remember, this to shall pass.

 

 

 

 

 

Voiceless

What if one day the world awoke

to find itself voiceless –

\mute – unable to make use

of words – not having words

to define, to add structure

to build philosophies

to create meaning

Would it not be wonderful

to live by image alone –

to lack the ability to define

meaning – but only live it –

what would fill the vacuum created?

Perhaps chaos would reign

but I think not –

ultimately we would

communicate soul to soul

having no other way

to connect –

more fluidity,

certainly more intimacy –

the barriers rhetoric built

would collapse in upon themselves

and my eyes would seek yours

rather than hiding from them.

Perhaps it would be

like those times as a youth

when I would lie in the night grasses

and fall into the vastness

of the universe – feeling small,

humble and connected

all at once.

And perhaps, because touch

would become so essential

we would not be so hasty

to hurt and maim and drive

wedges between each other

so we would cease to find

ways to isolate, label, judge

as our hands would entwine

finger to finger

in a new language.

My friend

When I needed a strong,
warm shoulder to lie upon,
my head resting
for just a moment,
to spill forth the fear
and rage lying captive within,
you were there . . .
holding me in comfortable
silence and understanding.

If pain became your source
of pleasure or your mind
a raging of bitter strife . . .
I was allowed the honor
of listening to those
jumbled up, tumbled out feelings
so you could have time
to sort the jigsaw pieces
and put the puzzle
back in shape.

Long have I sought a friendship
such as you give . . .
where I don’t fear to lie
exposed to your gaze.
Where I seek the warmth
of your company, rather
than hiding behind those
barriers holding me prisoner.
Where saying “I love you”
carries no threat, no fear,
only a happy glow of finally
knowing a friendship not
bound by conditions.

Glassy mirror

A curse carried heavily,
a bane weighing down
harsh truths –
brooking no means
of escape –
pushing me into black
rages of rabid,
green jealousy leaking
onto pure, clean surfaces.

Avoidance has no safety valve,
However the attempt
to glean a measure
of self-respect
was played – no hope
existed for exorcising you
from my mind.

My demon in black,
fiery splendor . . .
captivating, tantilizing
with a mysterious
seductiveness long
I have sought to gain.

All that was hated
but secretly worshipped
from distant reaches
was yours to possess . . .
desire and passion, holding souls in
calloused hands –
lightly tossed
in scrap heaps or charnel pits
never thrown away.

Wanting those trophies
to hang for all to se –
stuffed members from
a vanquished race.
While huddled on the sidelines
I watched one after another
fall by the slight
of your blade.
Envy burning
as each writhed, screaming,
squirming, crying for more.

Running in fear as
the blade turned toward me.
The journey has gone to
far reaches you may never know.
But now scales are balanced.

Contained within myself –
an identity all my own.
I prepare for the final meeting –
a battle of power,
flip sides of the same coin
embroiled in locked embrace.

Fiery black now lies
within and no more
will your subtle charms
devastate in blows
wounding feminine pride.
The war of hating-loving myself
has ended – you can be you –
not a mirror into
the glassy waters of me.
 

Listen to your Momma

He took the boy child’s face
between strong hands,
ones rough from painting walls,
pounding fence posts . . .
man hands – nothing soft about them.

“Boy, don’t ever treat women with disrespect,
but never, ever treat your Momma
that way.  She carried you,
gave you life, bore those labor pains
so you could live . . .

Listen to your Momma, and your Sister,
so when you grow older
women will love you
because you hear what they say
and understand.

He didn’t know if he deserved those words –
for they were words that
had never crossed his father’s lips,
and couldn’t be sure he deserved.

Even yet, the boy stored the words
inside his young heart.
And though he made mistakes here and there,
he became a man of shining example.

.

Not living the Dutch way with sex

I was just reading in motherwellmag.com, an article written by Peggy Orenstein, October 10,2016, about the substantive differences between the Dutch way of handling teenage sex and that of America’s.  The repercussions felt by the two were impressive. And got me thinking about my own experiences, other articles and popular fiction.  I have to hand it to the Dutch, they have their ducks in a row, in a number of ways.

This world has so many cultures. In some a girl who has had sex, even by rape, is stoned until death. Others consider her disgraced or ostracize her.There are many who marry of their children at horribly young ages with pregnancies common as low as  twelve.

The Dutch saw the free, casual sex trend of the 70’s had found a different way to face the issue head-on. The government, schools, community leaders, and families worked together to talk and treat sex as an opportunity to educate young people  about love, sex, protection and commitment.  Judgements are few. As a reult, children understand the preciousness of sex and wait until they are in committed relationships where both partners share the responsibilities for protection and there is not pressure from peers and pregnancy and underage sex rates are much lower than ours.

When I was a teenager in the early 70’s (yes – I can remember that far back), sex was still hidden unless you were in the boy’s locker room.  We drank and smoked pot a lot, so inhibitions were lower.  It hasn’t changed much as I can see, except the drugs are worse and inhibitions lower still.  I didn’t know if even my best friends were having intercourse or not in high school. I read girls have clubs about shaving below, how many they’ve scored and what variety.  I did everything but the final home run but with a bunch of partners. Hell, I was a minister’s daughter – I had a reputation to consider!

My parents found out I had succumbed to my baser instincts when I called my mother from college and described my symptoms and asked what it was (she was a nurse and therefore god). Her answer was “So you’ve started having sex?”. I was floored.  She went on to tell me I had a UTI and it was called Honeymoonitis  by medical people as it so often happened on honeymoons, caused by intercourse.  She then told me to go to a doctor for help, to make sure we were both clean when we were having sex, and, for God’s sake, use protection.  So much for the Sex Talk.

Oh, there was an earlier sex talk.  One day, on the Football bus, a boy cried out, “Debbie, I had a wet dream about you last night!” I was mortified.  After I arrived home I asked my parents what one was.  They sort of described it.  I mumbled okay and left.  A few minutes later my mother entered my room to ask if I had had one.  (which only confused me more) and I explained what had happened. She said “”OK”.

Sex education involved a banana and anatomically appropriate charts (desexualized). My daughter’s involved carrying an egg around, splitting the responsibilities with her partner, to approximate what having a baby would be like. I would have stuck the egg in the refrigerator and pulled it out Monday morning.

A decade later, books speak of highly charged sexual episodes – and these aren’t the heaving bosom romance books but ten top NY Times books. And judging from them, we have mucked it up more as the years go by.  Do parents give any advice at all?  Do they talk about waiting until one is in a deeply committed, loving relationship? Do they have a clue what is going on?

The Dutch still have a lot they could teach us.

 

 

 

 

Just a Plaything

This is an adult relationship
one not full of fantasies.
We’ve known each other
so very long –
before two marriages and after them.

And suddenly you were there
to fulfill the desires put in play
when we worked together –
but you were married, then I was.
I knew there was someone you
loved more – that I was a dalliance
until she finally broke down
and said yes.

Then you were gone,
no explanation, no call, no letter –
just gone   . . .
one night I didn’t want sex
and that was it.
What gets me most is how you ended it –
I could accept a quiet, this is not working,
But not a No Vacancy sign swinging in the wind.

.

 

 

 

Aunt Lillian

Thank you isn’t enough
for what you’ve given me.
Words have no meaning
in a world of emotions.
When I hit bottom
crawling on hands and knees
a hand was outstretched
in quiet support. . .
love without strings.

I saw hope through your eyes
gained strength in the purring
of your voice
learning you saw something
I didn’t but that must be real.
Learning  to believe in me
through the respect in your eyes
caring for myself
while you questioned after my health

I can never repay unconditional love
but through your giving
perhaps the lesson can be learned
and one day
I can attempt to love
somebody else
as you have loved me.
Thank you – my mentor, my friend.

 

 

Dreams and Choices

DREAMS

In dreams are visions born and choices made,
slipped under the skin before
the consciousness can react
making stands which force resolution.

Once I dreamt of living my dreams
in happiness and fulfillment.
Laughing with friends, stimulating, enriching,
finally within a circle of balance, goodwill and peace.

You came and held out
the long grasp of your hand, and I
full knowing the losses, feeling great pain
of their removal from my life,
took the offered hand and turned my back
on the warmth of open acceptance.

But still could not resist
one last look back, eyes brimming with sorrow,
at the choice I was making,
deep inside knowing it wrong,
but thinking I could change him,
heal his sorrows, end his pain.

Lot’s wife understood
the burning need for the last look,
to what she knew, she understood
even though she
would be forever turned to salt.

One darting look back,
forever turned to stone,
a lesson I must remind myself
each time your hand
extends to mine.

Misplaced Rage

Huddled on the sidelines
I watch
as you argue, berate
those to whom anger
does not belong . . .

Yet understand,
for learning confrontation
is a painful process
taken in tiny steps
a little at a time,
until strength is gained.

And you know,
even as the argument wanes
understanding of your actions
shines clearly in your eyes,
and that haunted look
of a child who has wronged
creeps across your brow.

But the time
has not yet come
for anger to be placed
where it belongs –
inner pain still holds
too firm a grasp,
and fear of rejection
looms as too harsh a reality.

Better the waiter,
life guards, clerks, delivery people –
they are accustomed
to undeserved pettiness . . .
soon the day may come
when you can look your tormentor
in the eye and spit back
the grief and rage
hoarded in years of submissiveness.

But for now –
where does the waiter go
at day’s end
and who becomes
the unwilling victim
of his pain . . .
where does the cycle end?

I walk down
a leaf-strewn street
and glance upon a dog
with tail tucked between legs –
and cry . . .