Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


My Picture in a Zine

My article came out today in the Sangha newsletter, Ink on the Cat. It seemed a little strange to me to see myself there, printed, in black & white, looking out from something I could hold in my hands. I'm not sure if I've ever had my photograph next to something I wrote. When I think about it, the only time my photograph has been printed is in things like year books. Once or twice in small, local papers when I was a kid participating in a school or civic event.

In high school and college I had things I wrote show up in the school papers or literary zines. Mostly poetry, I wrote so much poetry throughout my teens and twenties. I moved onto just having a website and putting up my own poetry there when I was in my twenties. The poetry seemed to just stop showing up, years ago. It feels strange sometimes to not have poetry swimming around my head all the time. Once in a while something occurs to me, just in a flash and mostly whole. Haiku shows up in those flashes.

At times it feels like the PTSD burned through that language. When the anxiety caused by it is at a peak it feels like I am entirely cut off from any ability to think coherently, much less communicate. Being able to get any words out is a physical fight. In finally naming what left me feeling like I was broken and trying to work on it, the words no longer arrive in the spare beauty of poetry.

And yet on all sides I am being encouraged to write. My Zen teachers and community, my Hatha yoga teacher, my loved-ones, and co-workers. Tell the story of my weight loss, my realizations about myself as I study yoga, coming to a place of peace. All of is why I write a blog, trying to come up with some practice that would help me figure out how to tell whatever story decides to come up.

I feel a little at a loss as to where to start. Really all of those stories are the whole story. The free-fall of personality I experienced, was because of my weight loss. That loss of my carefully constructed personae that I defined as me left behind the stark reality of my PTSD. Peeling back the layers of the trauma leads me inexorably back to my childhood. The way out of all of these things has been the yoga and Zen practice.

I feel a sick fear at my Mother finding out what I've written and still managing to punish, humiliate, or at the very least make me feel guilty for embarrassing the family. There's a voice that says that I should wait until she is dead to write about her. I guess I feel like I don't know how to write this story because I'm still living it and most of the time lately I feel like I have no voice of accomplishment to speak from.

Yet here is my picture, printed in the newsletter next to my words. Someone from the Sangha has already emailed a compliment to me on my words, adding their voice to both CK and AM's.

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