Let this year be different

Let this year be different.

Let the front steps

Let the windowboxes

Stay empty of impatiens

Empty of vines.

Improvise each hour as it washes over us

 

Let this year be different.

Let the café

Let the theater

Let the fields

Be empty of voices

Empty of players.

Improvise each place as the echoes wash over us.

 

Let this year be different.

Let the streets

Let the parks

Let the bridges

Be filled with the young ones

Be filled with their magic and anger and hope

Amid the clouds of poison and history.

 

Let his year be different.

Love them kneeling

Love them on the bridges at midnight

Arms raised

Calling down their power

Calling down our love

To change the river’s direction

To make the river answer them.

 

Do what you can for them

Do what you can with them

Even with your one finger

through the eye of the needle

touching Eden.

 

Copyright Kay Winter

 

Fear and Clocks

Time time time

time

TIME

Every day an envelope arrives

to be opened only by you.

Time runs a slow and swift course

through fear and clocks.

We are calendars waiting

for good news.

Framed in our doorways.

Framed in our windows.

Waiting for the envelop to arrive

with good news.

DO NOT DISCARD

it says.

But it is empty.

Waiting itself

for us to put hope

inside.

-Copyright Kay Winter

Thursday

Lisa flipped the eggs over on her beat-up cast iron skillet. She had become accustomed to cooking meals for one since the state ordered a shelter-in-place two months ago.

She closed her eyes and inhaled as the cracked pepper emanated through her tiny kitchen.

She imagined Craig, the grocery store clerk, in the kitchen with her, making small talk. Craig was the only human face she had seen since the whole community locked themselves in their homes. She and Craig didn’t conversate or anything. Their only interaction was the hand off of a credit card as she stood behind a rope, six feet between them.

But she looked forward to his warm smile. His tired eyes. His messed up hair.

She couldn’t judge his age from six feet away but imagined he was in his 30s, easily 10 years younger than her. In normal life, it would be a weird crush.

Before the quarantine, she never really dated much. Her three cats kept her swell enough company. She was an only child and quite accustomed to living and entertaining herself alone.

She practiced social distancing long before it was mandated by the government.

She had accepted that a romantic relationship was unlikely in the cards for her.

And yet. Suddenly. In such an odd time. She couldn’t wipe this stranger, with “Craig” stenciled on his name tag, out of her mind. Craig.

She plotted how things would be different for her when this was all over. She vowed to finally put herself out there. Maybe even go to a bar. Or try online dating.

She knew it wouldn’t be Craig, specifically, but it didn’t matter. She could find her Craig.

A Craig to sit and make small talk while she cooked her eggs.

A Craig who wasn’t allergic to cats.

A Craig who, like the grocery store cashier, was brave, in whatever mundane way that might translate to normal life when this was all over.

She poured the eggs on a plate and sat down on her frail, wooden chair, shoo’ing her cat off the table. Tomorrow was Thursday.

Thursday morning arrived, and the sun rose through her dusty blinds. Lisa sat up, her heart pounding. She showered, a long one this morning. She applied full make up. Straightened her hair. Brushed her teeth. Extra mouthwash. Put on a dress.

It was grocery day.

She jaunted out the door, a new wave of life swelling through her.

The store was busy, but everyone kept their distance. The shelves were picked over, so she grabbed what she could from her elderly neighbor’s lists.

Craig’s line was the longest, each person six feet from the next in line. But she picked that line anyway.

Twenty minutes later, it was her turn. Her heart pounded. She felt light-headed. Her hand extended. Craig’s brown eyes locked with hers for a split second. She blushed. She smiled warmly. She took the card back.

“Thank you,” Craig said, in a soothing baritone voice.

She grabbed the groceries and pranced out of the store, one hand holding the bags, the other on her heart.

She couldn’t wait until next Thursday.

Reclamation

I stood looking over the bluff to the swollen river below me, the early morning sun shining in my eyes and the sounds of various birds singing throughout the wood, half a dozen young deer stepped out into the clearing beside me from beneath the oak trees and stood there.

Their gray winter coats thinning, and their ears alert they gathered together, and we stared at each other, seemingly gazing into each other’s eyes with admiration and respect.

As the dew evaporated and I watched a crow announce itself as it soared high on a rising warm draft of air I couldn’t help but to think that during this time when most folks are working from home and all the shops are closed, and the cars sit idle in driveways during the Covid-19 lock down, if this natural, wild activity is simply missed at times when everyone is running to and from, working and shopping, or if it lies dormant waiting for our activity to settle.

If this became our lives, no one driving back and forth all day, no exhaust filling the air, no busy skies filled with aircraft, the malls and factories and restaurants remain closed, how long would it take for nature to reclaim itself, to take back its natural habitat, for the animals and  birds to fill the air and empty spaces once again.

A Little Christmastime/Solstice-time Story for You

Long, long ago in a land far, far away called Saint something or other, there lived a handsome, magical boy with really long fingers. One day, he generously gave away many of his dear, childhood, magical, special somethings. His particular kind of love for entertaining others and filling them with joy and wonder had imbued them with his amazing, high, youthful energy of limitless creativity, joy, hope, clarity, and humor. Focusing on the beckoning future, he freely gave his dear, childhood, magical, special somethings to the other children of the village, out of his endless Goodwill. (That’s a clue, genius.)

His fairy God-Auntie (Aunties aren’t paid much attention in America, but the boy already connected with his future, international, super-cool-vibration, and knew how to value a good thing, like, say, Aunties). His fairy God-Auntie, noticing a particularly powerfully magical item to be tossed out, secreted it away for a time when the dear, eternally young magician may be more than slightly pleased and amused, inspired even, by reuniting with one of the dear, childhood, magical, special somethings from his early self, even for a brief, time-traveling moment. Because, as you know, life is made of brief and special moments. (Not all based in time travel, of course.)

So, she made the beloved cookies (made so because they were sprinkled with Fairy Dust love, one of the strongest kinds of love, that instantly when melted on the tongue, heals hurts of any kind) in red, green, and rainbow colors. (this is totally random, but her favorite were the rainbow kind) and sent them off at a time when she hoped all the DANcing elemental energies of cookies blending together with the dear, childhood, magical, special something that belonged to the boy, would help him know, just like all his Wonderful Life family, friends, and fans, that the future is brighter than ever, and he is loved more than even he, will ever comprehend.

THE END

Fairy Dust Love to all, and to all a Good Night,
Auntie

Glass Orb

If you gaze into a solid glass orb, you’ll notice that the whole world appears upside down.  It’s disorienting, confusing, and in the palm of your hand it’s even sort of fun. But if you wake one day and everything appears to be that way, as though instead of gazing into that glass orb you are trapped inside staring out at everything you knew, only it’s all upside down, turned around and backwards. All the things you thought to be true and real are now all wrong, something changed and what once was is now no longer.

You ever feel like you go to the kitchen and everything you try and pick up spills or tips and you can’t seem to hold onto anything right. Or maybe nothing is where you normally set it, your keys aren’t on the table by the door, or on the hook in the hall but instead are in the dining room, or your shoes are in the living room and not by the door to the garage, as though you suddenly forgot where everything is?

Maybe you begin to doubt your reality, maybe everyone else’s reality seems different than yours, when did things change, how did they change? Why? The very words you use are no longer appropriate, relationships change and you feel like you must have been asleep for months or years or you woke up in some reflection of your own life accept that everything is just the opposite of what it was. It makes no sense and you can’t quite wrap your head round it, one day you knew how things worked and the next it’s like you totally forgot and all you can do is stand there like you don’t speak the language and nothing makes any sense and everyone else looks at you with different eyes, you run to the bathroom to look in the mirror to check and you see the same person you’ve seen all along.

It feels like a nightmare that never ends, it just keeps rolling on and tortures your mind, wrenches at your soul and tears at your heart, day after day, week after week, year after year and it’s no longer your keys that are missing, but it’s your children, one by one they suddenly look at you as though you’re the devil and they just disappear without a word, they walk away and you can’t seem to catch up to them as though your legs don’t work any longer and eventually you lose sight of them and they’re just gone.

Its like a scar or a tattoo in the end, one you didn’t want, and you can’t shake it because it’s always there, when you wake up, when you go to bed. When every holiday comes round, or you smell a smell that reminds you of the days when you sat on the couch with your young child propped up on your lap, and you’d lean in and close your eyes and breathe in the aroma of innocence and trust, with your lips pressed against their soft, silky hair.

It’s like the absence of light on a sunny day, it doesn’t make sense, and its always cold, a cold that’s forever there, just under the surface.

Some Days

Some days the sun doesn’t set fast enough, as though the days just drag on and the shadows languish in the open.
In the depths of night, in the darker recesses of the corners and the alley ways and the thickness of the trees there are places one can find comfort and safety from the evisceration of daylight.
When the heart and the breath succumb to hurt and pain, where do you hide under the sun?
When memories begin to fade and the role they’ve played in your relationships with those involved deteriorate, and what you’ve known to be the truth is now subjective and your new days are born of anguish and fear, how do you enjoy the light of day?
After you’ve opened your chest for all to see and it feels as though someone has stuck their fist inside and ripped out portions of your heart, how do you continue, how do you dare share what’s left with others?
Where is the nocturnal security of the moon, and the faint light it casts upon you without exposing all the agony of your injuries?
Some days the sun just doesn’t set fast enough, and it feels like a spotlight upon you whilst your tied to the whipping post, the only blessing is the burn as its rays penetrate your wounds.
Some days.

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I Don’t Belong Here

I am not like them, don’t take me wrong, I have my own issues, I have skeletons, ghosts and regrets, and I am over 25 years sober, I wore out my drinking ticket early on. More so than alcohol I really enjoyed drugs, illicit; I self-medicated for years. Then somewhere along the way I had to decide whether living was something I was game for. I had lived through physical and emotional and verbal abuse, I had my share of sexual abuse too and I even called some commercial rooftops and bridges my home for a while. That has all changed, I am sober, emotionally stable, well let’s face it stability is something of a moody little…well, you understand, it comes and goes, and I think that is applicable to everyone. But I think my stable days are far more prevalent than those days when I just can’t seem to make sense of how or why I feel a certain way.

But as I sit here in the back of the room, I feel guilty, I feel like I shouldn’t be sitting hear listening to them talk, listening to their feelings, to their honesty, to their admissions. Because I am not like them, I don’t have an eating disorder, I don’t think I ever have. I don’t understand what it’s like to break down over a snack, over eating something that should sustain my life, to not wanting to consume enough calories to satisfy my body’s needs. I don’t get why it’s so hard to stop eating, or to want to force myself to throw up afterwards. It’s not logical. I can listen to them and hear why they do the things they do but I have not experienced it and can’t put myself in their shoes, and as guilty as I feel being in the room with them, I also feel blessed.

When I quit using alcohol and drugs, I knew I could survive because I was no longer doing something that might kill me outright, I didn’t need the drink or drug to live. But with these people the very thing that is supposed to give them life, the very thing that is meant to provide them sustenance so that they may live is something they are deathly afraid of, just the thought of having a snack can trigger a panic attack sending them into a downward spiral leading to dark places, places where they question their very self-worth and depression envelopes them so much so that it blocks out all light, where the very argument for living is a losing battle.

Eating disorders have so many facets and classifications to them, it is difficult to follow for someone whom has never experienced it. There is anorexia, orthorexia, bulimia, restrictive food intake disorder and binge eating. Then there is Other Specified Feeding or Eating disorder and Unspecified Feeding or Eating disorder.  The only thing that I can share with these people is the catalyst trauma, for me dealing with my sexual abuse meant doing drugs to mask or hide the pain for a while, for someone with an eating disorder they may quit eating, absorbing the hunger pangs caused by not eating, seeking comfort in the hollow, empty feeling. Or they may seek that pain of over eating and then maybe the dizziness and pain of retching to rid themselves of the food they just consumed. For some there is a seemingly innate desire to rid their diets of everything not deemed healthy to a point where they are so anxiety ridden it affects their relationships with anyone around them, that the very thought of any form of fats or carbs is enough to stress them into a frenzy.

I get those feelings, maybe not the triggers, and maybe not always the behavior but I know what it’s like to struggle, to not see light through your own anxious shadows, or to not have a dream of the future, that the simple idea of living causes me great anxiety. Some people are starving themselves to death, committing agonizingly slow suicide by disallowing themselves much needed nourishment. I have found myself not allowing me to be happy, to do things that I know I might enjoy because some of my buddies never got the chance to do those things and lost their lives somewhere in the desert, face down in the hot sand. Sometimes its difficult not to hold it against people for enjoying themselves knowing that they can do so because my friends sacrificed everything in the name of their freedom to live.

I think the more I sit and listen, the more I hear their stories the more I realize we have more in common than possibly either of us realize. The catalyst may be different, the means of self-medicating may be different and so may the trauma and the forms that each of our sicknesses, disorders take on. I see the sadness and the pain in their eyes, I can hear the struggle and the disparity in their voices, when they speak it’s evident their throats are straining as they wrap their own arms around their knees brought up tight against their chests. They are afraid, they are desperate, and it seems there is no one their to help them. They could be standing deep inside of a crowd of people, hundreds even and still feel absolutely and utterly alone, as though no one can see them, as though no one might ever miss them.

It is devastating to be in the room with them, I want to hold them, I want to allow them to feel safe and loved and valued. I want to help them but I don’t know how, sometimes I feel like I barely made it out alive and still some days I catch a glimpse of my shadow, its cold, dark presence looming behind me, waiting for me to fall and then it can cover me, sucking the warmth from my body and stealing my will to live. Maybe that’s meant to be, maybe it’ll always be there just waiting, waiting for me to refuse to pick up the spoon or stand up and declare power over it, like the devil, just waiting for me to give in and collapse.

When I supported my wife in starting this journey, this non profit to help all those affected by eating disorders I knew I was in over my head, but I didn’t think it would affect me in the ways it has. I know what it was like to be one of the million homeless in this country, standing curbside, having not eaten, not being able to think clearly because I haven’t slept for days and watch as people flow out from the theater and throw their popcorn and half filled fountain soda’s into the trash, not being seen by them, living in the proverbial shadows as if I was wearing the cloak of invisibility. These people are there too, marginalized by society, shamed because they are overweight or ignored by fear because their lack of weight makes people uncomfortable. I admire these people, they are soldiers, the act of fighting natures programming is no small affair. They are dreamers and lovers who can’t love themselves and some of them are barely keeping their own heads above water, their feet burdened with anxiety and shame and guilt and fear and their grip on the world secured only by their fingertips, watching as people walk by over head not seeing them, not helping them.

I feel for them, I get angry at what I determine to be the only option for many, a clinically sterile treatment center that exists only to refeed them and kick them back out, with no skills, with no hope, seemingly knowing they’ll be back again soon with their insurance companies in tow. There must be a better way, no one ever talks about anything other than their shortcomings, than their poor choices and hurting others. What about their strength, what about their desires, what about their dreams and what about empowering them to live life despite everything? There are plenty of people ready and willing to tell them all about all the bad they have done, about their expectations of failure, there doesn’t seem to be enough people ready and excited to help them live out their dreams and find their passions,  these are beautiful people, smart, strong, people whom just need a hand, one to pull them out of that frigid water and into the sunlight, to give them a chance and listen to their songs. I want to be one of those people, we all should be those people. I used to think I didn’t belong here, but this is right where I belong, I need these people because they can show me what it means to fight, I need to hear their voices, it gives me strength, strength I want to use to fight for them, because put simply, as a woman who means the very world to me once said, “They are worth it, we all are worth it”.