breaking patterns

Rising from beneath: April 2021 NaPoWriMo, Day two

Today’s prompt is inspired by Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” It’s based on our own personal journeys. What might our experiences be if we took a different path?

No matter how many times I wanted or tried to veer from the path I was on, I wasn’t able to. Having travelled this far, I realize I don’t want to have taken a route other than the one I’ve been on.

Why?

People. My children and my grandchildren might not exist. Or, if they did, they wouldn’t be who they are. I wouldn’t have or know the people in my life, not the way they are now.

My life has always been challenging and full of stress. It’s made who I am. There’s more work to be done. I like who I’m becoming.

Rising from Beneath

I was told I could be anything I wanted…
But I wasn’t taught how and
I never met anyone who was.

I was told that if I had knowledge I would have power.
Helplessness was all I knew…
despite my accumulated information

I was told, “Aim high! Shoot for the stars.”
From my depths my aim was as high as other’s low.
I shot just to see the stars.

Years of climbing, fighting, struggling
Always landing back in the hole
Anchored by the trauma of my past.

Cycles of poverty and neglect,
Generations repeating the past.
Lord, let me be the last.

Breaking through, crawling out
Eyes blinded by daylight
Skin scorched by the sun.

Someone (not Churchill) admonished one and all,
“if you’re going through hell, keep going. It’s no place to stop.”
no longer energized, yet, here I am…still going.

I think it’s a good fight. It’s been a hard one.
Redemption, restoration, rebuilding
Self and relationships once lost.

Constantly feeling weak and lost
Continually infused with life’s breath,
Molded by refining love.

But wait, there’s more…so much more
Five decades to grow up.
Here’s hoping for another 3-5.

New battles rise up,
New fears to face.
The war against self goes on.

More to see, more to be.
My future resides with me.
My path lives in me.

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Fear, Acceptance, and Happiness

One of the greatest things about having a child long after you are done raising your other kids is that you get to rediscover the movies and stories that were good and wonderful when the others were younger, that you’ve forgotten about. Honestly, having a preschooler in the home is the best possible excuse to watch animated musicals and live action talking animals. Which brings me to Babe, a 1995 movie about a pig who gets saved from holiday slaughter and goes on to become a champion sheep pig.

This movie is absolutely full of wonderful messages about overcoming stereotypes and what kind of harm comes from being unwilling to acknowledge that another species has value and merit even though it doesn’t look the same as that of your species. Besides, talking barnyard animals, who can turn that down? That’s right, NOBODY!

One of the more anxiety-ridden and ridiculous animals is Ferdinand the duck. When the Farmer opted not to serve Babe up for the holiday feast, the duck was next in line. As the family is wondering and discussing the merits of Duck L’Orange for holiday dinner, Babe, the Cow, and Ma the sheepdog are looking on in the window in sorrow because they believe Ferdinand is no more and has been glazed to a beautiful brown sheen and is about to nourish the family.

Suddenly, Ferdinand pops up, surprising them all and it is revealed the unfortunate duck was a paramour of Ferdinand’s.

I wasn’t really paying a whole lot of attention. Let’s face it I was BLOGGING! I just had the show on so Luna would have something to divert her attention to between her independent play with her multitude of molded plastic horses and unicorns and her attempts to velcro herself to my lap. Suddenly I hear the following three lines and I was struck dumb and numb for a few moments.

Ferdinand: The fear’s too much for a duck. It – it eats away at the soul! There must be kinder dispositions in far-off gentler lands.

Cow: The only way you’ll find happiness is to accept that the way things are is the way things are.

Ferdinand: ‘The way things are’ stinks! I’m not gonna be a goner, I’m gone! I wish all of you the best of luck.

The absolute profundity in those three lines are completely ridiculous to discover in a kid’s movie, but I’m so happy I was receptive enough to hear them and my mind porous enough to soak them in.

Living in fear is no way to live. It eats away at the soul and you will die if you continue to live in the land of fear. So find a new land to reside in.

Happiness isn’t something that comes from the outside and futilely striving to change everything and everyone to conform to your idea of happiness only makes everyone miserable. Happiness will only come once you accept that things are the way things are and stop expecting happiness when things change.

If you don’t like the way things are going for you, then you have to be the one to make the change.

Of course, none of this is new information. There are all kinds of memes and quotes floating around in cyberspace and virulent in social media, to the point these messages have become somewhat flippant and trite. Funny thing about truth? Flippancy and triteness doesn’t make it less true, people just tend to believe it and trust it less.

The fact that these truths are managing to delve their way into my consciousness and sink into my inner being is a very, very new and interesting thing. It proves that the inner dam walls that have kept me from enjoying, experiencing, and moving forward in my life are cracking and breaking down. The hold that depression and dysfunction have had on me and my life for so, very long are no longer the Goliath-sized demons in my psyche. The David-sized angel called Hope is slaying them down.

It’s been a long time coming.