Come on…I’m not uncaring. I know the planet is heating up, the glaciers are melting, there is endless war, extreme fires, floods, famine, and drought. The bees are dying and we are poisoning our mother and cutting down the rainforest, making orphans of all the potential living there. I know that Black Lives Matter and the tiny Hitler impersonator is making his way to be Emperor. I know, things suck but I can’t help myself, I’m stuck here picking at the narcissistic wounds of my childhood, my life, my story!
Who cares? Is it because I feel helpless to do anything about the horrible conditions our poor little blue dot of a planet is in?
I’m driving home, making my way past the local homestead, dead skulls lining the fence…horned and dried up like the stories I sell. I never learned another way to do it…all or nothing. My great grandmother’s genes running like muddy rivers through my veins. The first born, of the first born, of the first born…daughters all, that being are strength and our burden. Portuguese families count worth in boy souls.
O.K. I remember, don’t tell stories.
“Mom, she’s telling a story!”
My mother cut off my long straight locks, cut off my power, cut off my truth telling early on. Hide your stories well. So I learned to fold up the letters into little word envelopes, the truth onto little scraps of paper and sealed them away in a pouch, inside a box, inside a chest, inside the deepest chambers of my flickering soul. I bound them with chains made of sadness, shock, grief, loss, shame.
Like a fairy tale in the back of a pickup truck…always moving with no place to call home. I hid them until I lost the ability to tell the truth from the fiction…following the muse of the masses, understanding nothing. My stories became made up twists of truth. Made up to ease the pain of the real stories…How much scarier can I make them?
How much more sad?
How much more hopeless?
I buried my real stories in the graveyard under my bed, proclaiming them gone. Names on the headstones like “SURRENDER”, “HOPE”, “TRUTH”, “LOVE”. I thought I was keeping them safe but I know better. I locked them away to keep me safe. But it had the reverse effect. It made me mute, it erased my truth…it erased me. Hiding my stories like that only made me vulnerable, weak, naïve…a victim.
It stole my wisdom…our stories being our life line to rich choices.
I swear, I didn’t go looking for them…but in my mid-thirties they began to bubble up like some underground poison that could no longer be held. I tried to write them in Pig Latin, writing without stopping, stringing all the letters together, writing backwards, leaving out vowels, writing them in invisible ink that only my eyes could decipher – playing at burying them in tiny word houses, stringing them like graffiti on the walls of my veins, petroglyphs on the back side of my organs, one million thread count fibers written in the hairs coming out of me.
There are lies in me, truths too…stories of family and friends, cowards and heroines…tattooed on my brain, etched on my tibia bone, burned into my retinas, stretched and woven and tied like ribbons in the hollow places of my deepest recesses, rolled into the marrow of my bones, firing between synapses. Rising and falling like a tidal wave, ebbing like the language of water. All written by a tortured child soul hiding between smiles and good marks in school, piano lessons and ballet too…strict parables for the newly hatched chronicles of SILENCE.