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!