Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Yearning for Growth

No big insights today. Kept mostly on track. Intermittent grief for the second career I was building, but tempered by my slowly growing online classes.

I’m yearning for the kind of post-traumatic growth that moves us forward in our capacity for compassion. Today was a day when it felt like a very distant dream, even though I mostly avoided all news today.

Sunlight streaming down.
Illuminating the world.
Yearning for new growth.


Gas What?

I started a post about the strangeness of today’s oil price crash set against childhood memories of gas lines and shortages in the 1970s.

Then it borked and the save failed.

We got through another day. Groceries ordered. I sat on the deck and managed to answer a few emails.

The roses are blooming.

Heady scent lingers.
Profusely blooming roses.
Abundance of Spring.


Weekend Care

I got out of synch and am up later than my usual night owlish tendency. There was a great online hangout with friends today. We played a lot of games. We're still healthy.

A quick entry for the day, for those poems!

Come morning, rain break.
Petals scattered on the ground.
Apples drink in rain.


Transient Beauty

All the pink faded from the apple blossoms and they were starting to wither away. Today the rain returned, I'm sure it will knock these last petals off.

Transient beauty.
Spring's blossoms fade so quickly.
Delicate as hope.

We spent the day playing games. CK asked if I wanted to get Animal Crossing a few weeks ago. It is pretty expensive, to my mind, and I was reluctant. I worried I'd get it and not really get into it and waste the money.

How I see myself as worthy of a $60 game is directly related to trauma therapy.

Homelessness at age 4 where you are repeatedly shamed by your family while you shelter with them leaves traces. That it coincides with signification abuse from my Mother, instead of loving support, makes it complicated to admit to my wife I want her to buy a game, and online subscription, while I'm not working.

The results of my scary game purchase? I played nearly uninterrupted for four hours today! It's really a sweet, kind way to just rest.

It was rainy and chilly after several Sunny warm days. Sitting on the sofa with the dogs and Obie playing a sweet game really was a blessing.


Heady Roses

Spring has been exceptionally beautiful here, sunny and dry. I’m longing to go stand on the beach, but who knows when they will be open again. At least our yard is a good place to be.

These tiny white roses bloom nearly all at once, filling our yard with their heady scent.

Lengthening spring days.
Light and warmth increase each day.
Scent of rose lingers.


Beneath Cherry Blossoms

Errands weren't easy before COVID19, now my anxiety spikes and I'm hypervigilant after going to the post office.

8,819 people have died in the past two days in the USA.

CK's meds got mishandled by one of the mail carriers yesterday. I channeled some of my anxiety into a fierce demand, documented in writing, and got them delivered to our porch today.

Getting angry, having it seen, really is hard. I feel like I'm the worst person, the ugliest stereotype of an angry white woman demanding her way.

I told several people today that I was sorry I was so angry, but my wife needs her medication. It was exhausting.

Then I cut down a bunch of overgrown bamboo. Trimmed a dozen poles to take to a friend tomorrow before admitting that my body was done.

There were several highlights today, besides my wife’s meds. Emptying our post office box yielded several checks and such lovely notes from students. I also got to stand under a flowing cherry, the kind with triple blossoms.

I’m always reminded of Issa’s haiku* when I see these. I feel like we’ve zoomed past trilliums and wood violets, I’m sad to have missed them, so am grateful to stand under them today.

My own Sakura/Issa inspired haiku:

Standing beneath trees,
Filled with heavy flowers.
What a time to live.

Here's Issa's haiku:

What a strange thing!‬
‪To be alive‬
Beneath cherry blossoms.


Terrible Lessons

I am working out this week's therapy session. Feel free to skip this. The poem is here at the top!

A COVID19 Haiku today in honor of my trip to Trader Joe’s.

Tie top and bottom.
Open to cover the face.
Terrible lessons.

🎋 🐚 🎋

🎋 🐚 🎋

⚠️ Content Warning ⚠️
⚠️ Child Abuse ⚠️

Terrible Lessons I Learned by Age Four

No one is on my side. No one. No one is listening either.

Advocating for myself is dangerous. No one cares about my needs or my bodily autonomy.

I am only valuable when I'm soothing my Mother.

My anger, if seen, is dangerous. Clench your jaw and hide it even if it feels like your head will explode.

Many questions after just spoken aloud for dramatic effect. Don't answer. Clenching jaw helps.

Be invisible, be small. Be quiet when you can stand it.

Always go when your Mother calls you to her, no matter how terrifying she sounds, even if you know she will hurt you. If you make her get you it is only worse.

Don't resist. Open defiance energizes her. Meekness saps her strength.

Then she will let you go outside to play.

If you run fast enough away she can't hear you scream how much you hate her, hate them all.

Get back on time.


Not All Flowers

In my SAFE sessions I’ve developed a pattern that’s helpful; a kind of signal in the processing that I’m more in control of the memory. This also indicates I’m getting closer to installing it.

Today I got to that point with the current memoryI'm integrating. I start to step outside, seeing it instead of experiencing it directly. Then I can run it forwards and backwards, like a film. Like the most terrible home movie collection ever.

So I'm glad. I also have some ugly truths about my Mother to integrate. It was a good therapy session.

These dogwood bloom right breast my therapist's office. She's moving and next session it will be a whole new neighborhood. I'm happy I got to appreciate these today.

Dogwood bracht unfold.
Not all flowers have petals.
Tiny blooms revealed.


More Naps Needed

Found myself being hard on myself for not being able to make it through most days without an afternoon nap that throws off my time table. That was after being hard on myself for sending out an incorrect schedule of my classes yesterday.

It wasn’t an easy day. It started with an email officially canceling the conference I was presenting at in June. Expected and somehow still painful. Another reminder of how sidelined my whole career reboot is.

Then I tried to teach class, which eventually happened, but only for the folks who figured out that I’d sent the wrong online class details and tried the previous week, which got them in. I spent the afternoon answering questions about what happened and sending a new newsletter.

Then I needed a nap. And a snuggle with a creature or two. I get frustrated because I want to do more house projects, more website updating, but napping it is.

Here’s today’s poem!

Tender beginnings.
Now each tiny leaf opens.
The birch awakens.


Thirty Days

Today I've been actively practicing isolation and physical distancing with CK at home for 30 days. I miss my routine. It is Easter, I'd likely have made the effort to go to church.

Apparently Day 30 is the day when the boiling rage I felt last night condenses into a terrible case of the mopes. All the fear and anger about COVID19 meeting head-on with 7 year-old grief and unresolved feelings of being a bad friend plus a generous helping of rage towards my Mother and family of origin.

It made for an uncomfortable morning where it felt like everything set tears to falling. I ended up drinking tea and playing video games for a while before tackling some chores.

While I'm not feeling simmering rage or weepy mopes, I do feel worn out by the mix of feelings over the past few days. Despite the angry kitty letting me sleep in until nearly 9am, I feel as though I didn't get any extra rest at all. The heightened hypervigilance that's part of the energy of COVID19 for me, is really exhausting.

There is still a double-whammy effect whenever IK's death anniversary comes up. I get the grief, shame, hopelessness, and anger I felt at that time. Along with it comes up the anger, shock, disgust, and despair I felt at my Mother's response to the effort we put in to arranging the memorial service (CK), packing up his apartment (me), contacting his family (both of us). She was jealous of the energy and love we were giving our friend who had just committed suicide.

Up until IK's death my Mother had been the center of attention. When we got the news, we jumped into action with a few other close friends to do the work that needed doing. My Mother pestered me on multiple occasions, asking why we, I, had to help. Why wasn't IK's family doing the things we were. Once we found IK's parents, why didn't we just step back and let family take care of everything. Family should be cleaning up the apartment. Family do the memorial service, why are you, just friends doing this?

I was, in the midst of the shock and terrible grief for our friend, horrified and ashamed of my Mother's petty, selfish behavior. It felt like everything we'd worked on to help her, to improve her health, and build a life around taking care of her unraveled at this point. She realized that our attention could be diverted away from her, she took every little dissatisfaction and she blew them up, she began really bullying me again.

Given that I was already processing a great deal of anger at my Mother for terrorizing me so throughly as a very young child that I never questioned her as an adult, this year it has all hit me extra hard. Last night I was so angry at her and the political nightmare our country has become that I could even make art. Today at least was better and I could make something!

Palest pink brushes
The edges of white flowers.
Apples begin here.