Saturday, September 08, 2007

Critical Moments

Igor Prysyazhnyi

In each of our lives, there come critical moments. Moments when we have a choice. No matter what we choose at that moment, our lives will be forever changed.

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Looking back into my past...I have found some of those moments, the ones that I have reviewed of late, occurred in my mid to late teens. By the time I had reached those teen years, I had already learned that I had no power over my own life, no control over what happened to me. There came a critical moment though, in which I could change that.

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As most teens do, I had two selves, my inner self hidden deep, and the outer one, the one all thought was me, but wasn't. My inner world was one in which I thought I was all alone, that only I suffered in the land of the lost. Everyone else seemed to live brighter lives, not lives full of shadows and monsters. I grew up in a time in which one did not speak of the bad things that went on behind closed doors. We hid those away, my friends and I.

Now, I know, they had monsters too, many of my friends, but we didn't speak of them. We could sit for hours late into the night, stoned, drunk, or both, philosophizing on life and the future, but we never spoke of what drove us to do the things we did.

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Memories of a moment that led to other moments....

It was a cold gray winter morning, I could see the steamy wisps as each breath was exhaled, feel the cold tracks left behind by the tears that streamed down my cheeks. I had been awake most of the night, balancing on the razor sharp edges of fear and rage. I had had enough. Early dawn found me on the wide wraparound porch of my home, teetering on the top step, a small bag lay at my feet. I stood on that step for an eternity of moments. My mind racing, sifting through the possibilities that awaited my decision. I stood poised there, one foot on the next step to what I thought of as freedom from pain. Misery my only company, as I wavered, thinking, and over thinking, should I, should I not? Where would I go, how would I live? I examined my alternatives, listing my friends who already had places of their own, but no, I knew they were not viable options. I only had one safe destination, my maternal grandmother, but, would I be allowed to stay? Wouldn't I have to answer questions as to why I ran? There was no way I could do that, no way I could destroy my entire family. With. My. Truth.

In the wee hours of the morning, I had been awakened out of a sound sleep by an all too familiar terror. Only this time, I didn't lie there waiting for it to end. This time, I ran from it, I hid, cowering behind a locked bathroom door, until the monster was no more.

Hours later, there I stood on the steps of my family home, with a packed bag, knowing that no matter what I did, I was putting an end to one portion of my life. I didn't leave, I gave up in despair, no where to go. I turned, eyes wide, taking in the heavy wooden doors that were supposed to give protection to those that lay sleeping so soundly behind them. I loved that house, those beautifully aged doors, I had lived within those walls longer than any other house, its 14 rooms had filled my imagination with the lives of those who had lived there before me. I knew every nook and cranny, but is was not a house of safety, not for me. I walked over to the white porch swing, and lay across it lengthwise, slumped over, lost. I watched the light change, felt the warmth of the sun as it rose, and sent its rays across my outstretched legs. Finally at some point, resolve filled me, I had stopped the monster in the night, I could do so again, and again if need be. One evil in my world, would no longer have power over me.

* * * * * * *

Looking back, that decision had several different effects. In many ways, I found my voice, I was no longer afraid to speak my thoughts, to debate my opinions, I felt secure in my intelligence, in the way I viewed the world, I was full of ideas, and ideology. That time in the mid-seventies was a time before cynicism had taken such a firm root in our society.

But there was still a part of me that felt powerless, in my family, roles could often get reversed, and if I was not careful, I was not viewed as me, but as a replacement, a carbon copy of another.

To be continued...maybe...

* * * * * * *


You are the dark song
of the morning;
serious and slow,
you shave, you dress,
you descend the stairs
in your public clothes
and drive away, you become
the wise and powerful one
who makes all the days
possible in the world.
But you were also the red song
in the night,
stumbling through the house
to the child's bed,
to the damp rose of her body,
leaving your bitter taste.
And forever those nights snarl
the delicate machinery of the days.
When the child's mother smiles
you see on her cheekbones
a truth you will never confess;
and you see how the child grows--
timidly, crouching in corners.
Sometimes in the wide night
you hear the most mournful cry,
a ravished and terrible moment.
In your dreams she's a tree
that will never come to leaf--
in your dreams she's a watch
you dropped on the dark stones
till no one could gather the fragments--
in your dreams you have sullied and murdered,
and dreams do not lie.

~Mary Oliver~

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Blogger Note: I can write of these memories, that moment, because many years ago, I achieved healing and peace with them, they are no longer allowed to fill me with the fear and rage they once did. In all their bleakness, they helped shape me, helped create who I am, how I deal with the world, and how I view the world. For most of my young adult life, many decisions I made were a direct result of those earlier years.

In the process of achieving my healing, I began to use my own voice, it became my career, and my vocation, I was an educator on the subject of abuse. I taught what abuse is, and is not, an educator who taught how important each voice is, no matter the age of that voice. I am proud of those years.

Each of us has a story to tell, we each tell it in our own recent weeks, I have been reading poetry written by various women authors, and in each tome I picked up, I found a story similar to my own. This set me to pondering many things, mostly though, the thought, that so many of us have been touched by the evils of abuse, each person who tells their own story in the only way they can, imparts a message of healing. We can heal, it takes some longer than others, some choose another form of abuse before they are finally free, but we can move on, we can be strong and powerful, we don't have to forgive our abusers, but we do have to forgive ourselves.


Fiona said...

"We can heal, it takes some longer than others, some choose another form of abuse before they are finally free, but we can move on, we can be strong and powerful, we don't have to forgive our abusers, but we do have to forgive ourselves."

Yes, just yes.

Big hugs

Sunny Delight said...

Hugs to you too my friend, many hugs!

Anonymous said...

I didn't know. I'm so sorry sweetie, I don't know what else to say.

Sunny Delight said...

It's Ok, really. I have moved on, grown past that time of my life, and how could know darling woman?

Funny thing is, this blog entry is only one instance of many critical moments in my life...some hellish...some amazing...they all are important.