My summer of ‘79

“I told him to fuck off”

“Why?”, my brother asks shocked.

“He wouldn’t let me go”

It’s only a few blocks from our school to our house. We’re walking back home from another summer camp day. Summer camps at the school are fun. Crafts, sports and no math. The programs are run by student teachers that need practicum hours. That’s what I’m told. They look too young to be teachers, but what do I know. I’m just a kid.

I know I shouldn’t have said the ‘f’ word. I’m surprised I didn’t get in trouble, but it just came out.

Class is over. I’m gathering my things. Everyone has left. It’s just me and the teacher. He’s a good teacher. Everyone likes him. He’s funny. He makes us laugh. He’s more like a friend’s big brother.

And then he’s the scariest person I know.

The guy I thought was so cool has me trapped. I’m caught between his outstretched arms. I can feel him staring at me. Smiling. His teeth and breath are coffee stained. The smell of adulthood. He’s waiting for me to move. Moving means touching him. That’s what he wants. How do I know what he wants? I shouldn’t know this. I’m too young to know this. I’m nine. And now my nine year old brain is wondering…did I do this? I want to cry.

Time passes slowly as if to make sure every detail of this moment is forever kept for some other time when I can process better. I need to get away. My fear gives me the tiniest bit of confidence. My tiny voice shrieks FUCK OFF, and my feet finally move. I’m trying not to run. I don’t want anyone to know what I just did. I can’t get away fast enough.

His laughter follows me down the empty corridor.

“You did what?”

My father fumes slamming his fist on the table. Utensils and food jump from their plates.

“Pappy”, my mother says to quiet him. It doesn’t work.

I look at my brother. He is seven. He knows nothing of keeping secrets or loyalty. Still, I am mad at him for telling.

My attempts at explaining are useless. My father can only see my actions as disrespect towards an adult. I am fully responsible for what has happened. I need to be punished. I am grounded.

The next day I am escorted to school. My mother apologizes profusely for my behaviour. I am forced to apologize too. He accepts. Of course. It’s unnecessary he claims. Just a misunderstanding. He is staring at me again. Smiling. My mother doesn’t notice.

We walk silently back through the halls. This place will never feel the same again. I will never feel the same again. I will never forget this place. My elementary school. The place where some of my innocence was lost.

And when I remember, many years from now, I will still hear him laughing.

My Red Tent

In another time I would have known that I am sacred. I would have known that I am at my most powerful when I bleed. I would have known because my mother would have told me. As her mother had told her. As her mother had told her.

We would have gathered together at our moon time, away from the world, to rest and dream. We would have been respected. We would have been revered.

Instead I have denied what I am for most of my life. A woman. A giver of life. I have complained at the inconvenience. I have masked the pain. I have hated my body. I have hidden the proof.

It is only now, as I near my Crone years, that I honour what I once called a curse. In my Red Tent I honour this gift with ritual baths, nourishing food, dark chocolate and tea. I cry for what I must leave behind and I cry for what I am about to receive. I spend time in introspective solitude. I meet with the Mother in her church. I create. I dream. I intuit and I prophecise. I give my blood back to the Earth.

I experience a rebirth once again.

I am a ceremony within myself.

As are all women.

Now you see me

The back of a hand after speaking up

The weight of a body after saying no

Life breath taken as fingers close around a throat

The prick of a pin

A love of heroine

A mad mind

Close to suicide

A decade of life

She lives

You should see her now

More words

I’m talking

But there is no one to hear me

I empty my soul into an empty room

The walls keep my secrets

Silently screaming

WHY CAN’T YOU HEAR ME?!

These thoughts are deafening

Surely someone

Somewhere

Please listen to me

Sometimes I write poetry

The markings of his clan he wears like armour

His eyes betray nothing

His strength and bravery fill the air around him

He is fearless

He is steadfast

He is a warrior

Men cower in his presence

Not her

She is marked too

Her skin speaks of battles with unseen forces

She is a protector

A defender

She is unafraid

Body and soul bared

Revealing her weaknesses

She rises to meet his challenge

She is a warrior too

It’s all hair

I have a tell.

I want to shave my head.

That’s my tell.

That is my sign to the people I talk to.

When my mental health is suffering shaving my head is one of the first things I think about. And that’s a big deal.

I have a lot of hair. Even with half of my head shaved already I still have a lot of hair. Not gonna lie. It’s good hair.

My hair is part of my identity. It shouldn’t be, but it is. It’s not unusual to be described by my hair.

To be honest I really do love my hair. So it’s interesting and confusing to me why it’s the first thing I think about when my brain is not playing nice.

How would shaving my head help me?

Seriously. I’m asking this question because I don’t know the answer.

This past week I thought about it again. Normally the thought is fleeting, but this time I called my stylist and told her to cancel my colour appointment.

She’s been with me through my depression so she’s never shocked when I have these moments. She’s a fellow mental health sufferer too so she understands.

So now I’m one step closer to hacking it all off. I get anxious when I think about it. Then I remember the quote, “If it scares you it might be a good thing to do”.

Will I be healed? Unlikely. BUT maybe it’s time to get rid of something that is no longer of use to me. I mean really, why am I hanging on to hair? Maybe a drastic change is what I need in my life?

If you want change you must change correct?

Talk soon

A

She’s crafty

It’s Saturday evening. I’m finally sitting/laying down after a day that started at 3am.

As I write this I have my first ever bone broth simmering. My tiny basement suite smells like healing. Reminds me of my mom and our country home.

I’ve been doing a lot of ‘homemaking’ things lately. I’m not sure why. I tell myself that I’m preparing for my future alone in my cabin in the woods.

That or the apocalypse that I’m pretty sure we are headed for.

Either way I’m going to be prepared to survive.

I’ve also been thinking about writing more. Definitely more here, but also sharing what I’m learning about my newest love.

Plants.

I’ve been called to study and work with plants for a few years now, but I always ignored the pull. Until now.

Now I’m reading, researching, foraging and using plants for many things. I’ve even started making my own skin care.

Lavender honey lip balm

I may also be addicted to acquiring herbs. My apothecary grows a little each week.

Did you know you can use rose petals to make tea? They are delicious!

Today I used some of the mushrooms I foraged for the broth I’m making. And tomorrow I’m straining the fire cider I made a month ago.

These are the things that make me smile lately.

My life may be pretty mundane lately, but I’m finding and making magic when and where I can.

Beautiful simplicity.

Talk soon,

A