lessons in ending

This is not how I imagined our ending

This is not the culmination of our honest conversation
This is not the gentle and patient way we have grown
This is not respect
This is not integrity
This is not the friendship we have pieced together over the years
This is absence

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this body


love your body as a lover loves your body
the delicious curve of your waist;
dipping before embracing the succulence of your hips,
hips that sway sensually with the rhythm of you

trace your finger along the history
of your stretchmarks.
they tell a story of motherhood and creation –
heartbreak and joy; of you becoming more.

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Shame seeps out from the soles of my feet
Leaving messy footprints in my wake
I wipe my bare feet on the mat of confession
I scrape them raw, desperate for wholeness

They look clean
But there’s always a layer of residue
Small specks ingrained in the whorls of my footprints
I carry them where I go

I wash my hands in the waters of forgiveness
Still they are grey with grimy sludge
When I touch you my handprints remain
The oils of my fingerprints have stained my spirit
There is no escape

I dry my body under the summer sun
Scorch this shame from my skin
Unburrow it from my heart

Make me clean
Make me clean
Make me clean

I take tentative steps from the house of grace
Gentle rain soothes my hot and heavy limbs
My lifted face is cooled and
I am being washed

Leave your shame at the doorstep
You don’t need it anymore


Good (?) Friday

April 2000. I suspect that I might have a drug problem.

I seem to have lost my tenuous grip on reality. I don’t know when this happened but I’m suddenly aware that I feel desperate and anxious quite often. I can’t see anything beyond my obsession to use. I think about drugs and using. All. The. Time.

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I am 30 years old, the mother of a 2 year old, 4 years in recovery from drug addiction, and about 35kg overweight. I am a whole child overweight. I don’t know much about treating myself with love and respect and dignity.

If you can look past my weight, my life seems pretty together. I live in a nice, recently renovated flat. I’ve held down a steady job for 2 years. I have a brand new car. I hate the car but it’s my first brand new car, I’m paying for it, and it’s what I can afford. It’s a family car. Okay, maybe look past my car too. I have family close by, amazing friends, and I don’t use drugs or drink alcohol anymore. These three things are miraculous.


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Making Sure

I’m sitting in an examination room at the Marie Stopes Clinic. It’s cold. I’m here for a pregnancy test. My period, that is never late, is now a couple of weeks late. My stomach churns in a pit of anxiety.

I don’t want a baby. My daughter is 6 years old. My boyfriend and I are barely getting along. I don’t want a baby. I haven’t told him that I’m here. I know that he doesn’t want a baby either, but I can’t tell him about this. I need to know first.

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Oh, it is good to be back here. It’s been 3 months since I felt I could write anything. The past 6 months have been tumultuous and most of the story is not mine to tell. I have struggled against the encroaching black tide of depression and an abyss of fear.

Today is the 8th consecutive day that I feel alive. I recognize myself and this fills me with such joy. I am made, we are all made, for something glorious and I am back on the road of expression. I am so deeply held and loved by my God. It is well, it is well, it is well with my soul.

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XVFifteen years ago I woke up with resignation in my heart. After two stints in rehab, 9 months in NA, and 4 relapses, I threw in the towel. There was no fanfare to quitting this time, no declarations that this time was ‘for real’. I walked back into NA defeated, broken down, no pink cloud. Resigned. Surrendered.

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black tide

Sometimes I look down and see depression ebbing and flowing around my heels. It is just behind me, oozing forward; thick, black crude oil.


Photo: Nicolas Asfourini/AFP (http://blogs.ft.com/photo-diary/tag/oil-spill)

Some mornings it pulls at my toes, swirling around my ankles, intent on weighing me down, coaxing me out on its undertow. On these mornings I don’t want to get out of bed. I want to remain motionless, not even breathing, under the duvet, away from the world. Don’t make me speak.

On these mornings my brain is foggy and it would probably take me a minute to remember my own name if you asked. Don’t ask.

On these days I don’t care for cleanliness and hygiene. I just don’t care. The effort of showering and brushing my teeth seems pointless, never mind moisturizing, dressing, and putting on makeup. Let me hibernate. Don’t make me get up.

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