This Old House

The Before: I remember sitting across from a friend of mine, someone I had trusted and loved for years, caught between how much she had given me and how much she had forsaken me.  It was excruciating, really, sitting over that salad in a brightly lit deli next to the university that had broken me.  I remember how sympathetic her face turned and how the rage against that look made the olives on my plate taste bitter.  I told her “it changed me,” hoping for her to finally see the depth of the damage.  She said something to the effect of “good.  It was time to grow up.”  Peter Pan.  She could not see me from her world, I was simply Peter Pan.  And I let her go so that I could keep the memories of us.  She had loved me before, what we used to have was real.  I needed to keep that.  I love her still. But, we change, don’t we?

It did change everything, losing my job.  There are reasons for that, but today is not the day for that exploration.  Today is the day that I called a teacher friend of mine, a successful fiction writer, who I knew would be important in my life.  Not in the way of epic friendships, or edging up my own teaching skills, or even in the way of just garnering a good listener—rather, my friend has an important skill.  He still believes in magic and possibility, but he never misses the mark when calling me out on my bullshit.  And here’s what I found out today: PTSD is a cruel teacher.

I used to blog like breathing.  Writing my struggles and sharing my life allowed me to be free for the first time: it was the real me.  No more disapproving mother, no more hiding, no more.  So, this blog was like a cozy witchy cottage, filled with sparkly blue jars and bracketed by a warm fireplace and a creaky rocking chair.  And it’s where the bomb went off.

So.  It’s five years later and I’m standing here.  I crowbarred the door open and am just standing here, the dust dancing across the light, and I don’t know if I have the strength to sit down.  How many times have I imagined just bulldozing this place down?  No one would remember, given enough time.  I could just take a brick or two and put them on my mantle where I live now.  Remember when I wanted to, forget when I need to . . . let the explosion have the bones of the house.

But then . . . my friend Terry suggested something crazy.  Renovation.  Some new paint? I’m older now, I’m different now, maybe rebuild the porch?  Add a garden.  Put some new books on the shelf.  See who still wants to come and sit a spell with me—perhaps even invite a stranger or two over? Like any structure, the woods are taking it all back.  But I could get my machete out . . . ask the trees to let the sun back in . . . pull the weeds and wrestle the vines back . . .

If I did this, rebuilt a bit, it wouldn’t be quite the same.  It couldn’t be for you, readers.  It would have to be for me. That’s not to say that we couldn’t have a deep friendship, it’s just that: I’ve become a crone.  I’m not so swayed by public opinion anymore.  And if I clean all this shrapnel up, sage the room, and sit back down in this here rocker, it’s going to be mine again.

It would be the one that I (one day) die in.  I wouldn’t leave the room again if another bomb went off.  It would have to be my last stand, and one doesn’t just willy-nilly make a last stand.  I’m going to study on this, think about what I would want the cottage to be, and maybe cry a little on the floor for the past.  There’s a penny in my hand, a can of purple paint in the truck, a gas can on the porch, and I have a decision to make.

She was a pretty little cottage.  I’ll let you know her fate.

24 Comments on “This Old House

  1. Missed you! You’re words are literal divinity and you deserve the audiences you build. Your past may have broken the you that existed then but didn’t strip you of who you are still becoming, for sure.

  2. Diva, you are my first response. I tried to close my browser before I saw one, just in case it was hard to hear. Now, I’m closing my browser because it was all I needed to hear. Thank you.

  3. I’m so happy to see this in my in-box… I’ve missed your writing.. and you. I’m hoping you remodel with your new you… I’ll be here to sit a spell and visit..

    Love, Autumn

  4. So happy to see this post in my inbox. It’s been ages and I’ve missed your words that paint such a vivid picture. You are an amazing writer. Peace to you and yours!

  5. I can’t deny that I hope your decision involves some paint, elbow grease, and maybe a touch of setting the moth loose in the morning. Be good to you, and listen to the world you know. If a return is right, I will be deloghted to follow your sharing. If it needs to go, please take my hratitude. You granted me permission to love my roots. I will forever appreciate you and your wisdom.

  6. I am so bad about checking email. For some reason this evening I opened it up and saw this. I understand that you need to do this only if it is good for you. I want you to know that even if it is FOR you, your words here touch us, your readers. I, for one, will celebrate every time we are allowed to visit your world and read your words. Truly miss you!

  7. Whatever you decide, my wish is that you do what comes from the heart and with the fiery passion of a witch who knows herself deeply ❤

  8. Your e-mail in my in-box was a (beautiful) startling surprise. Your post feels grounded and true to me.
    I’d love to “sit a spell”, there’ve been changes here too, as I’m guessing there’ve been for many. That PTSD sounds familiar, my own version, of course.
    Consider this an arm extended to hug you, gently, as you explore your next steps. There aren’t any wrong ones, just the ones that feel right-est and best-est for you.

  9. Best professor I’ve had the pleasure to study under. You are a treasure. Sending good thoughts and energy your way.

  10. Paint her purple. Clean the windows, let the sunlight in. Take your broom and sweep away all the dust. It’s good to hear from you again.

  11. I was so surprised to see your post and almost deleted it before I realized who was writing. I am so glad you are back and hope the “renovation” is healing. Purple sounds like a good color. With iridescent threads.

  12. We all are broken my dear..the important thing is how the light shines thru. You do what makes you happy; paint her, polish her, revive her or burn her to the ground and start over. It’s good to hear from you again and I look forward to learning her fate and yours as well.

  13. Welcome back. I have missed your words whether spoken in wisdom, sorrow or anger. I for one hope you let the sun shine again. And from one Crone to another welcome to the freedom!

  14. What a pleasant surprise! I hope all of your wounds are healed and you are at peace. It is my hope that you will put quill to paper or fingers to the keyboard again. Whatever you decide do it for you. Same goes for your home or anything else in your life. After all is said and done and everyone is gone, there is you. Be Well !!!

  15. I was so shocked and grateful to see your post in my in-box. You have crossed my mind over the years and I have hoped that you are well. I have missed you so much. It is so wonderful to hear from you, just to know that you have survived whatever challenges there were. I’m pretty sure all of your readers, myself included, have weathered their own storms. Such is the nature of life in this world. I look forward to future posts, if that is what you wish. If not, it was just so wonderful to see that you made it through.

  16. so happy to see your site pop up in my email sis!! blessings to you in your spaces!! hope to see more as you have been missed!! <*)

  17. I am so happy to see your blog post in my in box. I have never commented or communicated with you before – however I have followed your writings and sharing since the beginning. You have inspired me to search and reflect about this being human business I read everything you write and it so resonates with me, nurtures me and inspires me. Your honesty, rawness and commitment to live and be authentic are teachings in itself. Over recent years I have wondered how you were and have hoped that you have been blessed and full to the brim – if not with happiness and contentment – experiences that would be crafted and forged by you into a life richly and well lived. I have absolute belief in your ability to forge and craft the rawness of life into something wonderful. Welcome back and I look forward to reading what is written from the porch – knowing I am sipping tea for the soul. Blessed be. Kia kaha.

  18. It is so good to see you back, I have missed you deeply! We all go through things in life that force us to wake up, pull up our bootstraps and deal with things…… and it is never easy, especially when we think we have it all thought out and wrapped up in a nice lil package with a pretty ribbon. These last few years for me have been just like that…. I had it all figured out was going into my crone years free and unobstructed. And then the bomb went off….. and now I’m also rebuilding….. but you got this darling no matter what you decide same as me. We will reinvent ourselves and our world to how it suits us and deal with what life has thrown us….. I’m taking the lemons and making some lemonade…. and so are you!!!!! Love you, my Southern Sister!!!!!! ❤

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