24 April 2011

Vows meant truly (a poem)

Vows meant truly

Shattered pieces of my soul
Gathered in my hands
Leaking, draining
Spilling over
Like rain
Falling on the dry, hard soil.

I struggle to hold the shards
Inside my palms
Cutting, ripping
Like glass
Falling all around me.

Heart-words swirling
Within my brain
Love, commitment
Lies told
Falling apart in an instant.

I fight to keep dreams alive
Inside my shattered soul
But my hands are
Like a sieve
And everything pours out.

Vows meant truly.

14 April 2011

The legacy of family

"I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is more than living, for it is being conscious of living." Anne Morrow Lindburgh

So many memories have been dancing at the edges of my brain this week. I am being pushed to remember and think about the past, and I'm not sure I like it. Old songs and pictures and writing memoir essays have opened the Pandora's box that I have struggled all my life to keep firmly shut and locked.

So why does the past feel so close, so much more real than today?...Growing up in a volatile family; misplaced Southerners who never completely adapted to life in the cold North, but moved here in search of better opportunities...Traveling down to visit my maternal grandmother, married seven, eight times, and yet dying alone in Section 8 housing...Visits to Kentucky and my grandfather and step-grandmother; happy, and yet Grandpa still dreaming of his beautiful, yet troubled first wife, my grandmother, until the day he died...My father's family; his mother, part Cherokee but passing as white; his father, first an alcoholic and then a die-hard member of a snake-handling church in the hills of Kentucky...my mother dropping out of high school after the eleventh grade, my father only making it through the eighth grade...

And the family's legacy reverberates through the next generations...I look at the picture of my beautiful grandmother, who struggled as she aged and her stunning beauty faded...I glance at the picture of my other grandmother, whom I never knew, and can see the Cherokee in her long, dark hair and eyes, haunted and tired, wearing a dress made out of sack cloth...I wonder about all these people, related to me and yet distant and disconnected from my life. Does any of this really effect who I am as a person?

Then there's my own life....As I wrap up my graduate nonfiction writing class, I think about the things I've written, the truths I've unveiled and the truths I couldn't bring myself to write about because some things are still too painful to put into words. My struggles with anorexia and its impact on my marriage...my husband leaving because, I believe, he couldn't take it anymore...my hopes and dreams for reconciliation, shattered...traveling down to Florida in one last ditch effort to save my marriage and failing...and yet...

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say... except that I am confused and my mind is swirling with all the mistakes I've made in my life, wondering where did I go wrong and how to move forward...wondering about the possibilities and if I can start over...and find a measure of peace and happiness in my life.

09 April 2011

I am not alone

Hope is the dream of a soul awake. ~ French proverb

I am not alone. Christ surrounds me every minute with His love and grace. I am forever grateful for His mercy during these times of struggle and change.

I am learning to live again. Being alone for long periods of time have shown me that I have only been half alive for years. Why?

Sickness, a disintegrating marriage, a slew of changes and losses during the past five years....first, the loss of myself as I became entangled with the illogical illness of anorexia. Then frantic attempts to become what I felt David wanted as I slowly recovered and grew stronger both in body and mind, and yet he drew further and further away. Leaving my career as a journalist to attend graduate school, and the subsequent adjustments to academia and trying to fit in to that world.

I am learning to trust that my intelligence and strength will see me through wherever God takes me. I never thought my marriage would end, but it has and I accept that and continue to move forward. I have hope for the future, and its infinite possibilities. I know I will never be alone no matter what happens, and to finally feel Christ's presence so fully is a joy that is indescribable.

Not that it has been easy. I have cried many times during the past three months, and prayed for God to lift the depression and anxiety as I contemplate unraveling fifteen years of dreams and hopes. As I look around my house and the tangle of possessions — David's paintings, my books; a life built that now must be torn down — I sometimes feel overwhelmed. I want to just give everything away, pack my clothes, and go somewhere were I am not known as David's wife or a former reporter or a recovering anorexic or all the other roles I have filled that I now must leave behind...A place where I can be free.

I am not alone. Christ is with me throughout all this. He is with me when I wake up in the middle of the night, still confused about all that has happened in the past year. He is with me each time I must tell one more person about the break-up of my marriage, that David is never coming back to Michigan and he has left it to me to tell all of our friends. He is with me when I still sometimes ask myself if I am a failure, if something is wrong with me and if I am an awful person who drove away her husband because she was so stupid to develop anorexia in her forties. I don't always believe these things of myself; they are just unbidden thoughts.

Christ was with me when I decided on December 28, 2010 that I would overcome anorexia and live a full life, one filled with joy and happiness. He was with me when I kept eating and gaining weight, and when I struggled with that and had to tell myself that health and freedom were worth the pain of recovery. I have told myself I will not settle for anything less than full freedom from anorexia. I become more free every day, and anorexia is beginning to seem like a distant memory.

I am not alone.