Friday, December 19, 1997

Stability and Routine

The past several days I’ve found myself contemplating the concept of stability…as it applies to my emotional state, the world of material goods around me, my family. In my view, when it applies to the world of objects around me, I tend to think of that as my "routine." The other morning I was fixing my morning tea to have with my breakfast after my morning workout…the repetitiveness of these actions and choices slapped me clear in the face. And for a moment or two, I thought to myself "oh how boring this is Amy…you usually have the same breakfast, the same routine, day after day." And then I hopped into the shower, this vein still present in my mind. I decided that having a routine, while I wouldn’t call it a rigid one but which is still unmodified from day to day, isn’t boring at all. In fact, I decided that it was one of the best things about my world that day, and on many other days as well.

I recall days when I didn’t have any idea what the day ahead would hold in store for me. Would my family be self-involved in yet another crisis? Would that crisis result in an ultimatum to "shape up or ship out" as so many crises did when I was a child? I lived in terror that I would screw up somehow, misbehave unknowingly, and piss off my mother so much that she would throw me out. This was a common threat from the time I was around 5 until I was an adolescent. During those younger years, I had no confidence in my ability to survive if I was forced to be on my own. I know for fact that there are youngsters who survive under such conditions, homeless and without family so to speak, but at what cost to themselves and their development?

I wondered how I would eat, where I would sleep, how I would stay clean, how I would get an education, how would I survive. And because the expectations of behavior were never clearly defined in my house, or perhaps because they changed at random (on the rare occasion they were given), I became (or maybe I already was???) clairsensitive. You’ve all heard of a clairvoyant; well, I’m not clairvoyant. I can’t perceive things I can’t see; well, not exactly. But what I can perceive are feelings. I have extremely acute sense of the emotions churning about in another people. It’s as though I can hear a tuning fork's hum in my ears that tunes me in to what’s going on with someone, even when I'm not with the person. Some of you reading this may understand what I'm describing and some may not. I am not talking about hearing voices, or hearing someone's thoughts, merely being highly "tuned in" to their emotional state. And as a child, I wore this sensitivity like a shield, to protect me from my family by warning me of what would be appropriate behavior at any given time.

On the rare days when I let my guard down and failed to "listen" to what that sensitivity was telling me, the days when I actually indulged in being a child, the days when I laughed and talked about boys and music and playing with friends, those were the days I felt I had betrayed myself most horribly. Those were the days when I tuned out the emotions coming to me…and those days were mistakes.

I’m not sure I really know how to play…I’ve always wanted children but been desperately afraid of having them. I believe that children need to be allowed to be children. And that parents need to allow and encourage their children to enjoy comes but once and lasts just a few short formative years. What if the parent never knew how to be a child? How in heaven’s name can that parent advocate for that child’s childhood? In order to teach a child to frolic and play and laugh, doesn’t the parent need to know how to do all those? At the age of 29, I find myself questioning how easily I can laugh and play and forget the worries of the world—not irresponsibly, but temporarily clear my head to enjoy the world around me and all it has to offer. I need a teacher myself. I know I'm a serious person, and there's nothing wrong with that. But I'd like to learn how to "play."

In any event, how does all of this pertain to routine you ask? Well, I figured this much out the other day. My routine may seem very boring to others who might like to see it shaken up a bit now and again. To me, the routine is comforting, it is stability. That stability allows my mind to not obsess about how I will survive, what I will be doing tomorrow, I can let those things go somewhat because of the routine. The obvious result is that my mind is then open to explore other thoughts, entertain new activities, attempt to indulge in life. I battle to love live…I struggle daily to want it. I know that I desperately need to want and love life. And some days, though not all, I can actually see glimpses of the joys life has to offer. So, if my routine seems boring and mundane to some, I no longer feel the need to defend it. I know what purpose it serves for me. It’s value to me is inexplicable.

Tuesday, December 16, 1997

Work is Love Made Visible

"Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the grate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy." –Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, November 1, 1997

Look Deeper

Languid movements overcome the spirit which seeks flight into new territory.
Only a temporary setback to the keenness with which I attempt to master life’s challenges.

Doubt creeps in every now and then,
Eroding only slightly the progress made in days past.
Eventually, the steps are forward again,
Rebounding me into greater growth and understanding.

Sinking Feelings

Sometimes the words are not forthcoming.
Instead there are these feelings, nagging at my gut,
Keeping me stuck in some past memory.
Nemeses so nasty and gnat-like,
Drawing upon my energy to merely keep them at bay.

Forging new ground.
Extending myself beyond previous self-imposed limits.
I am quite certain I have done this before.
Now I must focus on things for which
I am grateful to have in my life…for life itself,
Setting my heart and mind free to move on.

A Little Bit About Me

Ok, well you know my name already, and that would be Amy. As for basic statistics, I am 30 years old and live in Connecticut with my 8 year old tiger/tabby cat, Faith. Her typing skills aren’t nearly what mine are. Faith, nonetheless, does her best to chat by walking across the keyboard or making her presence otherwise known…she has a penchant for plopping down in my lap and making a meal of my arms and wrists as they stretch towards the keyboard. But we’re far more compatible roommates than some I’ve seen, so I can’t complain.

My life is, as are all of our lives, a journey. Along this journey, I’ve encountered so many things that, while I would never wish on another human being, I know there must be a reason I’ve experienced them. Learning and growing from them is my only expectation. But for many, many years, I felt desperate, sad, angry, and alone. I grew up in a pretty messed up household (common in this day and age). There was chronic illness with both of my parents...physical and mental. There was alcoholism and assorted abuse–some of which now has arrested, and some of which continues. Sadly, sometimes removing oneself from the situation is the only way to grow and survive.

Growing up, it seemed that I was always the most screwed up in our family. That was my role. My father was a minister, my mother a successful businesswoman, my older brother was a brilliant student. I was the damaged one. As far as outside appearances went, I manifested all the symptoms of a really disharmonious family. Everyone else, well, they seemed better able to keep the problems under wraps. I tried to bury what I felt, what was going on, but I was not as skilled as the rest of my family. By age 16, I was thoroughly convinced that I would never live to age 25, or if I did, I would surely be committed to an asylum. The world around me was just fine, I was the problem.

It wasn't until many years later that I realized I was probably the best off of my family...I had a need to share my mind, my feelings, and my heart with others...a need so strong it would not be denied. My words fell mostly upon deaf ears or met against strong denial...and I thought I was crazy. For many, many years, I believed I was insane. I did a lot of writing during my adolescent years (A Few Excerpts From My Mind) to try and keep from losing my grip. When my father died as a result of Multiple Sclerosis, I was 20 years old. I hadn’t seen him in 4 years. My world came crashing down around me. I fell apart physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So many things I had held back, so many beliefs I held about myself, were out of control. I couldn’t function. I was hospitalized, and for 3 days straight I could do nothing but cry...I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat, I didn’t talk; I simply cried.

There were so many reasons for my tears. And I began to explore the reasons for the next 2 years in a safe and secure environment. Yes, it was a controlled environment, but it was oh so safe. I was very, very lucky…not too many people have the opportunity I had to evaluate myself and my life. I began to rebuild me, a person I did not know existed, a person I thought had no value. I can’t say that I enjoyed those 2 years; they were some of the most hellish times I’ve ever experienced. And my life is not now a perfect picture of health and happiness. But I am grateful, so very grateful, for that starting point.

There have been several times I thought for certain I would return to that place in my mind I was back in November of 1988. And it has scared the wits out of me each time. But every experience I survive has proven to me that I have strength, courage, love, and heart I fail to give myself credit for on most occasions. And I am reminded of how blessed I am with the friends I have.

The friends we make and keep provide us an incredible opportunity to increase our happiness and joy. One of my dearest, Susan, has been with me on this journey for just about 14 years now. Without her encouragement, love, and support, I’m not sure I would be here today. She means the world to me. And to Rich and Charlene, who are not online, well, my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for their love, support, and encouragement. I hope they truly know just how much they mean to me. As for all of the friends who touch my life daily, old and new, thanks just for being.

My journey continues. I used to believe it was a bad thing to wear my heart on my sleeve; I don't believe I would like myself very much if I was any other way. I pray for peace within myself, and I pray for the ability to appreciate and learn from each new challenge life offers me. I vow to give something back to this world for all it has given me, wherever I can. Life is so precious. I’ve heard that the world is not full of strangers, just friends we haven’t yet met.

I never met a friend I didn’t like.

–Amy, November 1997

Friday, August 1, 1997

Let Me Be There For You

Love which brings two people together,
Embracing them, their souls to journey in life together.

My soul is here to love you, comfort you,
Accept you, here, now and evermore.

Battered your soul seems at times,
An enigma which I desire to know, to cherish, to adore.

Truth seems muddled and lost at times,
Hidden behind old wounds and scars.
Exposing oneself again, risking rejection,
Evading more pain at all cost.

From you I want nothing more than to openly share with you
Joy, fear, pain, lust, anger.
Relinquish not my spirit and its offerings.

You must believe yourself worthy of my love and concern.
Until that time, it will be here for you, awaiting your acceptance.

For My Sweet

I have not seen your face, have not touched it with my hands,
But I know its expressions and feel its countenance through your words.

I have not walked with you in moments of silence, listened to the quiet rhythms of your breath,
But I know the path you wish to follow.

I have not tasted your lips, or inhaled your fragrance,
Yet I know that they are tender and sweet.

I have not felt your body beside mine, have not felt the quivers of delight in your presence,
But your mind has aroused me with anticipation.

I have not walked a mile with you yet in this world,
but my heart has told me that this is the path we need explore together.

I have not told you, live and in person, how my soul aches to touch your heart,
But it does and I long for you.

And I have not yet told you with my voice, though I have just begun to know you,
You have taken hold of my heart, warmly and tenderly.

Take this walk with me, love, and let me love you.

Wednesday, January 1, 1997

My Little Spiel

Hello. My name is Amy and this page is essentially a compilation of my thoughts, favorite places, poems, and anything else that may have over the years either inspired me or helped me through the rough "patches."

Life is a journey on which we can learn so much about ourselves and others...I would still be lost in darkness without the help and kindness of so many people who took the time to be there for me. Many of them were simply passersby in my life, but many more are still here now, and continue to be a source of love, hope, and inspiration for me. I hope I may, in some small way, be a source of encouragement and hope for someone else through this site. Sometimes we all need a reminder that we're not alone through either the joys or struggles of life.

A very special thanks to Terri, a friend who's tushy went numb helping me get started with this page. You are a source of encouragement, wisdom, inspiration, and the needed reality check from time to time. Hugs and thanks to you.

Take what you like, and leave the rest.

At Day's End

Is anyone happier because you passed his way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
The day is almost over, and it's toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?
Can you say tonight, in parting with the day that's slipping fast,
That you helped a single brother of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?
Does the man who's hopes were fading,
Now with courage look ahead?
Did you waste the day or lose it?
Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness,
Or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber,
Do you think that God will say,
"You have earned one more tomorrow
By the work you did today.”

– Author Unknown

The Essence Of A New Day

This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind...let it be something good.

– Author Unknown