Hope is an Indian blanket

I’m keeping the faith, but marginally. I’m keeping it skinny. I’m keeping it with socks on. I pour liquid laughter into my veins, and still wish only for dreams. I could sleep for a year. My body wants to hide under the covers for a week.

I counter with good intentions. I walk in the sun with my old self. We take time to breathe. Now the winter light slants gray through the clouds onto the ice. It brings puffs to my challenges. It brings me home to hot cocoa. There have always been ways to encounter reality so different from mine they explode in my consciousness like icy ventricles. The pulse slows. I can hear the heart beating into the crepuscule. Mine is like this song: A thousand arrows and many mighty holes.

I pause and feel the sadness gather. I type to the beginning of rain. I wish I could continue to write through anything, now more than ever. Hope feels like a blanket. I would drown in my own sadness washing over me. The water wraps its icy fingers near, but I snuggle deeper down in my threadbare wool Indian blanket. It feels like a thick down comforter. Its wide breath warms my chest. I can stay here all week, nudged inside this hiding moment. It’s safe here, kind of. At least, it’s all I’ve got.

I can hear the demand: What will you do with this? What will you make? How will you use it? Damn it. I am just here. I only write, not for a purpose always, can you understand that, but just to hear the small voice within. As I translate my heart into the guttural sounds of language, a small bird is freed from thick netting. And if that’s all I can offer myself today, I give this. I offer this.


I lay awake much of last night shivering in pure fear. I had hoped to give my fear space to breathe during the day yesterday so it wouldn’t seek me out at midnight. It came anyway. It came for hours. I relaxed into the lying there awake: This is your version of sleep, I told her. This is your rest. Sink in. And I did, catching a whiff of dreams before dawn.

In meditation today I heard: There’s nothing you can do to control the overwhelm. You just have to ride it out. Don’t stress. You all are going to be okay.

Fears hover before my eyes just above the warm blankets. Visions of scary possibilities dance before my eyes when I would summon sugar plum fairies. I haven’t felt this much anxiety since that dreadful year at college, and it’s a similar feeling of the loss of control. In good ways, in different ways, in scary ways, in many ways. I will breathe and dance through this.

December 11, 2013

I’m at the helm and unhappiness follows me like storm clouds. The electricity kept me up all night battening down the hatches and hoping for the best. Every day is an adventure. My mighty heart beats on. I haven’t updated Facebook for weeks. It’s so easy to update when things are going well, or just going interestingly. We can all be such detached observers in our lives, like correspondents: World’s biggest donut! Great evening with the kids! What would my status updates truly look like? Wrote a song and it was really cool but the piano part isn’t ready and the deadline was yesterday! Daughter being bullied while in the midst of our separation! (Salt on wound.) Steve still living with us, but barely: He is a husk of a man, so withdrawn into himself he barely uses oxygen anymore. Do we put these things into the media, where we cannot ever take them back?

Instead of chasing my dirty underwear on the wind as it blows through the neighborhood, I feel like I’ve swallowed a cat whole. Are these really the only two options available? Silence or shared shame? I know that to share isn’t truly shameful; it welcomes other hearts into our own moment, for a moment. It’s the ultimate in common experience. Life, times two, at least for an instant. But I can’t bring myself to cough up this ginormous hairball. So I sit in silence at a screen no one can see, typing and crying and silent as the dead.

There may be no greater suffering than watching one’s child suffer. Even for an instant. Especially when life is a bull that has you by the horns, not so much the other way around. How do I get off? How to avoid those sharp tongs? Every day is a chance. I know it and I’m grateful but scared out of my mind too. I don’t have a partner to go through this with. Her dad, the one who is supposed to care more about her than anything else in the world, has checked out so far as to barely register on an electrocardiogram. I feel spent. Hold me Jesus for I’ve sinned and I struggle, and if there’s a plan for me, I sure hope that I’m up for it.

Anxiety courses through my veins like turbulence. Yet, at the center I have this funny sense of wellbeing. Like I can take it. Like: She will be all right. Like Let’s enjoy this. Let’s do this life thing. Somehow, some way. Sing and praise the day.

I am a crowded house full of noise and mess and at the center is this smiling woman, a baby on her hip, baking bread and making molasses and generally making home a hearth. I love it here. Every day. Even without him and no matter whether he appreciates it or chooses nothingness, I live on, knowing I’ve made magic where it mattered most.

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