I don’t know how to get back to the secret place
which made my protective wall crumble;
where my emotions had been buried,
words had been stored.
Pain pills and vodka allowed me access
to the part of me I thought was long lost.
It was a moment in time, where all the conditions
were met for my unveiling;
a few months of my life,
that I have been chasing now for years,
with little success.
The wall has been rebuilt.
Feelings entombed in safety.
I am quiet, once again.
The foreboding stone building loomed before us, like a giant monster. I held on tightly to my mother’s hand, as we walked up the stairs and into the building. My knees were shaking, and my stomach did flip-flops.
School–Grade One. We had only been in Canada for a few months. I only knew a few basic English words, and I was terrified.
I had never seen so many kids–shrieking, chasing each other, playing ball. We entered the Principal’s office, and I remember how icy my hands were. The teacher led me to the classroom, all the while chattering away. I didn’t understand a word. She showed me to a desk near hers, and I obediently sat down. My parents tried to speak in halting English and hand gestures, and they gave the principal some papers. I heard my name and saw the principal shaking her head. “Pearl”, she said. She pointed to me, and repeated the name.
My parents told me in Swiss, that I was now going to be called “Pearl”. I hated that name. It wasn’t my name! I began to cry, as my parents left. The teacher tried to console me, when the bell rang, and the room filled with kids. They all stared at me, snickering and pointing. I felt overwhelmed with shame. I wished I was invisible. The teacher introduced me, and class began.
The rest of the day was a blur, as were the next few weeks. I learned English more and more each day, but the feeling of being an outsider stayed with me. I felt so disconnected. At lunchtime, we ate downstairs in the gymnasium. I would sit in the corner, trying to blend in with the walls.
I made a couple of friends, eventually, but was so intimidated by larger groups of kids. With every laugh I heard, I thought they were laughing at me. With every stare, I thought something was wrong with me. I never felt good enough. I felt ugly. I didn’t feel like a gem.
Pearl was just my mask. Piroska was a ghost, waiting for her turn to belong.
We moved that summer, so I was back to being Piroska, in the new school. I regained my missing identity. But my little ego never did recover. School would forever be a painful experience.
I’ve always been a focused person. Not necessarily in my thinking of “everyday” stuff (I’m quite scattered regarding those)…but with crafts, I never used to have a major problem. I’ve been cross-stitching for over 35 years, and usually, getting most of the pieces finished. Not framed, necessarily, but the bulk of the work done. Same with crocheting. I’ve done many afghans over the years, doilies to make my granny proud, and various other crafts.
But when it comes to the internet, I become totally ADD. I go online, with the intent to read a few stitching blogs. Click a couple of sites off their blogs, and now I’m in quilt land. Wonderful! I’m amazed at the beautiful quilts, and I’m all geared up to begin one myself.
Click a few more links…voila! I’m in miniature land. I am so inspired by what I see, and I want to try my hand at making itty-bitty furniture…and dolls. Never mind that my eyesight isn’t what it used to be!
Click, click…and now I’m back to cross stitch blogs. I’m exhausted! I’ve lost my steam. It takes all my effort to pry my fingers off the keyboard, pick up my stitching, and focus. At this rate, I will never get my projects finished.
I need to set my sights (and energy) on smaller projects. Pressing and framing my finished work.
Another finished piece, needing to be pressed and framed–The Great Horned Owl, from “Eagles and Owls” by Cross My Heart. Let me tell you, never again! Over 60 colours, blends of browns, grays. Hardly a few stitches in the same area, then colour change. Next time I get the urge to do “nature”, I’ll get me head examined, instead!
It will be beautiful when it’s hanging on the wall, though. Worth every second!
*Note: This happened several years ago. Unfortunately, plagiarism is still a huge issue online.
The thief of words has struck again: the sonnet snitch, the ballad bandit. He skulks around, targeting his prey, then pounces on their poems.
I feel conned, cheated, angry.
Maybe I should feel pity for him.
He craves attention so badly, he’ll trade his dignity
for the spotlight.
The sad thing is, amongst the stolen words,
he might have had some gems of his own.
Now, he’s left with choice words directed at him–
loser, theif, conman.
I look around at my bookshelves,
and think of the ink that ran dry,
the endless hours and sleepless nights;
the all-consuming need of a writer
to purge the soul.
Digging deep to get past the dirt,
the feelings that in turn
churn their way into words.
He had no respect for the art,
the process of writing.
To have women swoon
was a boon to his ego–his vanity
thinly veiled as talent.
His silver tongue is tarnished,
and he is exposed as a silver-plated fraud.
Maybe he could have redeemed himself,
apologized and bowed out gracefully,
instead of hiding behind private settings
It’s finally here–Spring. I can watch the snow melt, uncovering many months worth of lost things. A rake. A set of keys. A barbecue. I can smell it. Not fresh, yet. Decomposed leaves, rotting wood, mud. I can hear it–dripping of melting snow, birds busy building nests.
March was the tease month, the one in which the brave birds start venturing out, and serenade the frozen grubs still in the ground. There were still days that the north wind didn’t want to let winter go. More days, though, that the sun beat down and brought the promise of Spring closer. The permafrost layer, deep within the dirt, will increasingly inch upwards, until the entire ground can soak up the melting snow. Leaves will slowly begin to bud, then pop–trees will become alive with colour.
There’s something different in the air, in the moon phases–animals are getting anxious, pets are being particularly pesky. The dogs want to play outside, roll in the snow that remains, then plonk through mud puddles, tracking their pawprints through the house.
While driving through neighbourhoods, rows of clothes flap in the crisp, fresh wind–clotheslines groaning from their weight, as spring cleaning slowly gets underway. Kids are itching to try out their new bikes and other toys received at Christmas, still sitting shiny and clean in the corners, waiting to get broken-in.
Energy. That’s it! There is electrifying energy all around. I feel it, even though I am inside. I haven’t ventured out for a couple of weeks now. But I am not worried, because Spring gives me the motivation I need to get “out there”–agoraphobia be gone! This will be the last winter I hibernate out of fear. I will hole up for warmth, for comfort; for cozy cuddles under soft quilts.