Haven’t seen the movie and it has nothing to with this post but I find the title apropos so I shamelessly steal it. Over the weekend the daughter and I continued to unpack and discard various items that had been plucked from the old homestead and randomly thrown into boxes and delivered to the doorstep by the ex. Found items: Elyse’s first pair of baby shoes, old photos, children’s books, cameras, baby clothes, VHS tapes of Elyse’s babyhood, past library programs, etc. But the most dangerous find of all: my accordion file of writing dating back to high school. Once upon a time there were volumes, but I burned most of it when Elyse was a baby as I didn’t want anyone, especially her, to find all of the painful tales of woe after I was gone. But I did retain some choice bits. As I pulled the file out of the box I said to her “this is some dangerous stuff here…….” and I took a break and started reading it. Dangerous indeed. And curious.
The recurring theme: Loneliness, isolation and disconnect from the world. Some letters written to my dad, old boyfriends, old friends. Poems, lyrics, simple regurgitation of life’s events. Some of it amusing, most of it pretty darned depressing. All written before I had hope of having a child and finding that kind of love. I had several abortions in my youth and the last one just about did me in. I had wanted to keep the baby but my boyfriend of the time turned on me, as did my mother, and being young(ish) and alone and afraid, I let them convince me to have the abortion. After that I wanted to die. I spent a lot of time thinking about it too. Looking back on that young woman and reading the intensely painful writings, I see a survivor. Perhaps it sounds a bit corny, but I have survived. Little did I know at the time, how could I have known…. that life would finally reward me with a beautiful daughter. There are reasons we keep records of painful pasts. I don’t want to dwell on it, but it is a good reminder of how far I have come. And it’s a good reminder not to forget my blessings when depression tries to take me down again – that black dog that has followed me my entire life as Mr. Churchill so aptly put it…
Here’s one poem I found, which I still like despite its youthful silliness, written in my mid 20’s (on a typewriter, no less):
A butterfly drinks the tears of a turtle.
a butterfly drinking turtle’s tears.
a butterfly drinking.
drinking turtle’s tears.
And I, the butterfly who dances in the air just long enough to sip a turtle’s tear.
Survival. Necessity the mother.
A born again caterpillar
I have built a formidable cocoon.
Years it took to build this one, kiddo.
Indestructible it seems.