All The King’s Horses


I am sitting upright, in the guest room bed of one of my oldest, dearest friends. The salt from my tear-stained cheeks is stinging my skin, and my life feels like it is falling apart. Again.

When I offer up my trust, I need it to be honored – as any of us do, of course. That means depending on someone to be true to their word. That means relying on them to be clear and forthright, especially in the moments when we are most in need. That means being honest, even when it is difficult and painful. That also means being honest with themselves. I’m not willing to allow someone to shatter my trust twice. Not ever again. Not this Schnoo.

I am not perfect, but I have been clear, and honest. I have expressed my fears, my joys, my frustrations, my wants, my needs, my hopes, my desires, my pain, and my limitations to the very best of my ability. I cannot speak if my words fall on deaf ears.

This next step is the greatest leap of faith I have taken yet. If I fall, and land in a splatter, what does that mean for me? I believe it means that I am still not strong enough in my own head and heart to make clear, safe choices for myself. It will mean a radical retreat, and some serious self-repair. If I can soar through these next few chapters, it means that I was strong enough, and brave enough to trust myself and that my choices were sound.

Nobody can break you, unless you let yourself be broken. The more the impact hurts, the more you need to fortify yourself against disaster. Stepping out of the path of a maelstrom was a great start.

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If It Keeps On Rainin’…

All Hail Robert Plant…

If it keeps on raining levee’s going to break
If it keeps on raining levee’s going to break
When the levee breaks have no place to stay

Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
Got what it takes to make a Mountain Man leave his home

Oh, well; oh, well; oh, well.

Don’t it make you feel bad?
When you’re trying to find your way home you don’t know which way to go?
When you’re going down south and there’s no work to do
And you’re going on to Chicago

Crying won’t help you, praying won’t do you no good
Crying won’t help you, praying won’t do you no good
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to go

All last night sat on the levee and moaned
All last night sat on the levee and moaned
Thinking about my baby and my happy home

Going – going to Chicago
Going to Chicago
Sorry, but I can’t take you

Going down – going down, now

Lyrics by Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie (1929) Immortalized by Led Zeppelin

When anything begins to crack, there are all kinds of glue that will make it solid for a little while, but eventually it’s going to break. That thing my be a lovely thing, a wonderous thing – a most cherished heirloom. You may hang on to it because it is so precious, but every time you take it out and expose it to the world, the repairs weaken ever so slightly, and you start to realize that the only way to preserve this beautiful treasure is to leave it, untouched. You can’t inspect it, you can’t test it’s capacity, you can’t really appreciate it the way it ought to be appreciated because the inherent flaws could leave you with irreprable damage and scalding tea on your lap.

I have always tried to take these beautiful, flawed treasures and re-purpose them. Give them new life in the form of mosaic or quirky costume piece, or something else grand and worthy of their history. I haven’t always been so successful at this.

Today I feel successful at very little indeed. There is no better time for rain.

The Streets Have Turned to Mirrors

The swoosh of each car passing outside my living room window is a steady reminder that I am here in this world. In this body. In this life.

Nothing is familiar except the sweet smiles of my babies.

That’s not true. There is one thing, so painfully familiar, that I wonder if it will belong to me forever. This feeling of shifting, moving, unsteady stepping into the unknown. This turning inward, where I know I am safest. Where I know I belong. Home is where my heart is, and my heart, after all of the romantic fancy has dissolved,  is a fist-shaped wad of muscle pumping deep inside my chest cavity. Home is inside me, and as far as I can tell, so are my children, despite never actually having been inside my body.

They have burrowed deep into my soul like no other human has ever done. They hold court over a legion of well-loved pets and a long-forgotten imaginary friend. They are keeping me rooted – still, waiting, reaching for hope day after day.

After growing accustomed to a daily routine, after trying to let this life take root, I feel again, most profoundly, that I have no idea what will happen to me. Despite promises, despite wishes, despite the things I know and the things I want the air is too thick with emotion to predict which way it next will blow.

What’s a Schnoo to do? I can’t give up hope. There’s too much to lose to not try everything and anything that might work. I shall continue to make lists, organize schedules, wash dishes, sort clothes, fold laundry, sing bedtime songs until the air is clear and we are all safe and sound.

I don’t know what that looks like, but I know we’ll get there.

Thursday, Friday, Happy Days

Despite being self-employed and only having to shuffle as far as my living room to get to the office, I am looking forward to the weekend like I haven’t in a long, long while. I was far less productive than I had hoped to be this week, and my writing mojo has all but fizzled. I need to recoup, recharge, and regain my foothold on the order I had devised for myself.

I went to the dentist today, lured there by a Groupon deal that offered a serious discount for cosmetic teeth whitening. There has been a serious gap in my dental visits, and I have no medical coverage. Three x-rays later, I have something like nine cavities that need tending! Nine! The quote for the repair was ridiculous. I’m going to have to sell a kidney on Ebay to make this happen. The irony of course, is that I can’t have the whitening done until the repair work is done. Second opinion time.

Here’s my list of things I need today:

Understanding

Love

A neck/shoulder rub

Solid food for dinner instead of this week’s staple protein shake

Facebook to come back online

Some reading time

Some writing time

Popcorn

A weekend in the country is coming up, followed by some quiet time at home while the girls hang with their grandmother and auntie. I hope to be productive tomorrow, and end the week on a higher note than it began.

Hardest. Week. Ever.

Twisters

I feel like I’m hiding under the basement stairs inside my head waiting for the howling winds to subside.

At the behest of my shrink, who suggested I try to focus on what I need only as far as the day-t0-day will take me, here is my list:

A nap

Some tea

A good book

A chick flick

PJ’s

A snuggle

More Tylenol

A nightcap

Loving words

Understanding

Support

Here’s what I don’t need:

Fear

I told you so’s

I’m not surprised-s

Blame

Until tomorrow…bon nuit.

One Foot, Two Foot

There is nothing worse than a Monday that feels like the start of an impossible week.

Sometimes life gets so strange and sudden that I start to feel as though I am dreaming it – watching my life like watching a movie.

When the things you wanted just don’t turn out the way you plan, despite your noble intentions and best efforts, do you make lemonade? Historically, I’ve taken my basket and headed off to other orchards, but this time, I’m in the place I’ve been looking for all my life. It is inconceivable to consider going anywhere, and terrifying to stay right where I am.

In my heart of hearts I can feel that this is where I belong. I’m not sure how to belong here right now. How will this life will change shape, and how will it change us?

Inside all of the chaos, I feel a still, calm openness. I recognize that I cannot control events that unfold, but I feel more than ever like the Universe has a guiding hand upon my shoulder.

A Pretend Sick Week

The children were a brilliant distraction from the tangle in my head on Thursday. I’ve shifted in my parenting style. Something terse and sometimes tense has melted away. I asked The Universe to help me, and I decided to see what they could teach me each day, and my patience has expanded exponentially. I find myself eager to spend a quiet hour or two playing with them in their bedroom at the end of the day.

My seven-year-old has been musing lately on an evening we experienced last year. She had a terrible ear ache, and her bio-mummy was suffering from the same plight, and a fever, and so I rolled up my sleeves and jumped in. I channeled my own mom, who in such moments was absolutely brilliant at taking care of us. The night of the onset of the infection was rough. She couldn’t sleep, and was in so much pain she was moaning and clutching her little head. I felt helpless and achy. Her daddy and I sandwiched her between us on the sofa, gave her some children’s Tylenol after a consult with Telehealth (god love Telehealth) and we just snuggled her and stroked her back until she fell asleep. We didn’t sleep much, of course.

The next day included a special sick bed on the sofa, with a little table holding some juice and goldfish crackers and a never-ending stack of her favourite movies. Now she keeps saying “Mama Schnoo, remember when you made me a sick bed?”

I remember my own sick-bed activities. Mindless TV, stacks of books, coloring, writing. I’d like about a week of that right now. Cocoon style warmth and comfort and nothing to worry about. Quiet incubation, which I really think that every creative person deserves from time-to-time. I feel like I’d have so much more to offer everyone if I could just take a little vacuum-sealed time.

Maybe you could make me a reading or movie list? What are your favourite books and movies when you’re feeling not yourself?