Sidling Shadows

She moves like a languid lynx

slinking across glass littered alleys

tacky with the tears

of so many shattered dreams.

Hard and heartless, she has closed down

using her body as a commodity.

To survive, to entrap, to getting what she wants.

Unsure that even she knows.

Men made her this way.

From a father who held her too dear

to a brother she fought with fear.

From boyfriend to boyfriend

each one always the same…..

It was only the faces and bodies

that changed.

Women too had a hand here.

A mother who turned from her tears

to a sister who could only feel relief.

From girlfriend to girlfriend

relationships found growing in rocky graves

mistrust and jealousy….

It was only the clothes and hair

that changed.

No time for tears.

No time for love.

No time for comfort.

Delving into the underbelly

schooled in trash

she moves like a languid lynx

sidling through the shadows.

Your worst dream.

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

August 10/17

T’s turning 9

My little boy is turning 9 on Monday, August 7th. (Just in case anyone is so lost in the summer that they are not quite sure of the date he he he) This is going to be a hard one for me as he is with his dad so I will not be seeing him. I lied. I just text his dad(at 6:50 a.m. on a Saturday morning) to ask him to rearrange plans so that I could at least see T and give him a hug and kiss.

T is not so little any more. He was born two months premature. Due October 4th and decided to arrive on August 7, 2008. We were building the ex’s shop and joke that T wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I was scared.

When I found out I was pregnant.

Bear in mind I was 35 not 25.

It is a kinda funny story how it all started. At work I had been complaining that my boobs were killing me. Everyone joked that I was pregnant. I scoffed. We had been trying for 5 years, were in the final process for adoption (where they did home visit etc.) but damn when my 3 lb cat stepped on me I nearly killed her they hurt so much. Clue number 1.

I could not understand why I could no longer drink coffee. I wanted it. I would pour my cup and set it down. Take a sip or two and than allow it to grow cold. I love my coffee. There is life in my coffee. And niceness. And civility. Should have been clue number 2.

It was our first new long weekend in February. For non-Canadians, the government decided that it was too long for workers to go from January to March/April without having a long weekend. So in February we have Family Day or as in Manitoba, the province I live in, Louis Riel Day. A long weekend. My ex decided to go snowmobiling. I was excited to have Saturday and Sunday and most of Monday to myself.

Got home from work and set the groceries down on the floor to be put away. When I heard the first growl I snapped around. Oh shit! Odin my cross Great Pyrenees x Collie x St. Bernard and Nero my Rotti were about to go head to head. And I was on my own. I screamed and yelled. I threw a heater trying desperately to get them to stop fighting.

I had Odin on the porch and was kicking at him. Kicking him, hurting him, something I swore to never do. I had a hold of Nero. Almost had the door to the porch nearly closed when Nero surged forward bursting into the room. Now I am in the porch, desperate to pull these two dogs, who combined, weighed 200 lbs to my petite 115 lb frame, apart. They are snarling, saliva is spraying and I am screaming and yanking at them.

Nero hit the stand up tool box that we kept on the porch. Sockets rained down. I was trying to get the door open, because despite the fact it killed me, I needed to get them outside so the fight could end naturally. My socks were wet from the cream that someone had bitten and it had flowed all over the kitchen floor. I was not aware of this. I stepped on a socket and down I went. Hard.

Oh boy. Now I was mad. To top it off, as I stuck my hand out for balance, I managed to stick it in Nero’s mouth as he was in mid-bite. By the time that my brain even registered that I had been bitten, he had already let go and was looking at me. My anger and frustration, fear and tears turned to rage in that moment. Rage that my damn dogs wanted to fight. Rage that I was alone dealing with this. Rage that I had been bitten! I slammed open the door leading outside and screamed at them to get out.

Stood at the kitchen sink washing the wound while screaming out the window for them to stop. The entire fight lasted no more than 2 minutes, 3 tops. It felt like an eternity to me. I got Odin in the house, put Nero on the porch and looked at my hand. Yep, pierced right through fat and oh my god is that bone????????

Called my girlfriend up and she and her boyfriend left the restaurant they were at before they even got their meal, to come and get me. Hospital here I come. They could not believe my lack of fear and stoicism as my hand was cleaned and bound. Heavy duty meds to counter any infection and I was sent home. With a doctor’s note, I was now off work for the week. (As an aside my hand blew up to 3x’s its size and I could not move it the next day, or the day after that.)

Up until this point my periods had been every 28 days without fail. So when I skipped the Sunday after that fight, I put it down to stress. By Wednesday, I was concerned and I purchased a home pregnancy test. Took it and began to clean the house. Completely forgot about the test for an hour. An hour people!!!! When I did remember in I went in to be presented with 2 double pink lines. The first thing I breathed was ‘Holy Fuck man, I cannot do this.’

Called the ex. Called the doctor for a second opinion. They told me to come in as soon as I could pee again. I drank two bottles of water and off I went. I was scared as shit. I had lost my daughter when I was five months pregnant with her. There has never been any answers for me as to why that happened. This was 15 years prior. I was in shock.

T was an extremely laid back baby in the womb. Rarely moved, when he did it was in response to my drinking a Coke (which I had stopped drinking years ago, switching to Pepsi, but he liked Coke. Or I had eaten a chocolate bar) Or when Patches the cat draped herself over my tummy and purred away. He liked that. He was not a fan of anything with processed sugar so I ate a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.

From day 1 I knew he was going to be a boy. Everyone warned me that saying he was a boy meant that I was having a girl. But I knew. There were a lot of differences between this pregnancy and my daughter’s. However, he had a strong heartbeat, when he chose to kick me they were good strong kicks. Yet still I worried.

Tuesday August 5th, 2008. I worked a normal day. Except I knew that something was off because I barely ate. Got home, made supper which I again barely ate and flaked out on the couch. I was exhausted. Could not keep my eyes open. Something was not right. The ex came in and I told him this as I was preparing for bed at 8 p.m.

Got up at 10:50 p.m. to go to the bathroom. Made it to the bedroom doorway when it happened. My water broke. Now I was terrified. I still had 2 months to go. And it just kept coming. An incredible sense of calm broke over me as my ex panicked. I dressed although by the time I got to the hospital my sweats were soaked.

At emerg I was asked if I was okay to walk down to admissions. My eyebrow shot up. Away I went only to be sent back to emerg 2 minutes later with papers in hand. The hospital is not outfitted for premature births so I was going to be sent to Winnipeg, if in fact my water had broken and I had not just peed myself.

That is right folks. The nurse on duty asked me if I was sure that my water had broken and I had just not peed myself. (Mom I love you and know you have mad nursing skills but I nearly decked this woman). Off I was sent to pee in bottle because well all pregnant women have to pee in little bottles for months and months.

Then came the test to ensure that my water had broken. This one a little more invasive and potentially could lead to infection. And they lost the first one. So I had to allow more invasions only to be told what I had already told them. My waters had broken. Ex was sent home to get me clothes to change into. Thank god I had my book with me. Although truth be told, I would read the same page over and over again.

I was fucking scared. T had been pretty quiet. I was set up on an i.v. drip to, I don’t even remember. I had no one to call. I mean yeah, I could have called mom or the bro. Truth be told, I wanted, I needed a girlfriend who would come running, hold my hand and tell me everything would be totally fine.  My ex was not really helpful in the face of an emergency so there I was deep breathing, trying to control my anxiety and wait.

I was taken by ambulance to St. Boniface in Winnipeg. By 5 p.m. Wednesday August 6th I was dilating and having contractions. Mom got a speeding ticket as she rushed to my side. My bro and SIL came to offer me encouragement. The ex’s mother showed up and wished she could go into the delivery room with me. Also made it all about her. The drugs were wonderful though. No epidural for this girl. No Morphine. They gave me Fentanyl which could be given right up until I went into the delivery room as it did not affect T. Epidural, I was pretty far along in my contractions because I had back labor, might not have worked. So why try?

Again my labor was fairly easy. My contractions were five minutes apart. Lasted a minute. The worst two I had, when T moved into the birth canal and his head popped out. When his head came out I was ready to quit until told all I needed to do were little pushes. Waved my hand at the doctor and informed him ‘I could so do that.’

I had been warned not to worry if T did not cry when he arrived. His heartbeat had been strong throughout labor. But when my little guy arrived and they laid him on my belly, he squalled and screamed. Tears filled my eyes as I reached down and said ‘Welcome to the world baby.’ And he grabbed my thumb and squeezed. 16.5″ long and 3.15 lbs. Six weeks in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and then he came home.

Flash forward nine years later. To look at him you would never know that he was premature. There have been no delays in his development.  He is smart as a whip. Funny with a sense of humor that rivals mine. (He also has a dirty little mind that I am working very hard to ignore) His sarcasm is coming to a fine point. And I am sure that by next year he will be as tall as me, if not taller.

And on Monday, August 7/17 my baby is going to be 9. OMG I just realized that next year he will be a tween!!!!! Will I keep my hair?

 

 

 

Tiny Shower

Picture above is of the shower I used this morning.

So I am out camping. In a trailer in the rain. Not a cabin with creature comforts but a trailer!

Don’t get me wrong tis lovely what with the wind and the rain. And the fact I am the only sober one. But I am not complaining. There is fun to be had and well showers to take.

My alarm goes off at 5 a.m. because I need to be at work for 6 a.m. and despite the fact I am only 6 minutes away does not impress me much.

(A little side bar about me: I have a pathological fear that I am going to be late. Always. And I am positive that my phone will not go off at the expected time. Last night was not so bad I did not wake up every hour like I usually do when I work Saturday a.m.  And just so you know it is only Saturdays I have this issue with.)

So my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. I bolt upright as unlike at home it is not next to me but on top of the damn fridge. As is the secondary alarm we set due to my fear of oversleeping. I turn mine off no problem haven’t a clue about the second phone and toss it off to its owner. So I am upright and slightly mobile.

I go into the bathroom and ask how I use the shower. Don’t laugh; chuckle a little, maybe giggle but no laughter 😁 although it turns out to be just like a regular shower. I am warned to watch the hot water as it can be finicky. Not sure what that means but hey I have never showered in a camper before. I turn on the water and step into a space designed for….I am not sure….someone who is shorter and thinner than I am.

I have barely put my cleaner on my face when I notice the water is getting cooler. Okay I thought to myself maybe the cold water is persnickety too. Turn the cold down. Begin to lather up my hair as the water gets a tad cooler. Now understand I have not been standing in there for 5 minutes or even 10. I have been in there for maybe 90 seconds.

Get my hair lathered and rinsed with shampoo. It is still a little warm. Throw conditioner on my hair and the water continues to get colder.

So 5 a.m. in a tiny wee shower (I am 5’6.5″ tall 120 lbs) and I have had no time to process that it is morning. My face is half covered in face wash, I think I had all the shampoo rinsed out when I threw the conditioner on.

Now I am swearing cause damn that water was cold. I mean ice cold. Shit and F bombs are flying left right and center. 20 second conditioner splash and rinse.

Well I am now wide awake. Freezing. And going to work. Yes it was only 5:35 when I arrived. Yes I still needed coffee to finish the wake up process. And I will never ever go on an excursion like this again if I work the next day. Unless the camper has a bigger water heater.

 

Mother and Son 2…

Having a boy is hard. Not because well, I am a woman and do not understand the whole car and what not aspect. Not because I am watching him evolve, and girls are becoming more of a ‘thing’ in his life. T has a girl who is friend, not a girlfriend. Boys are just hard because I have to learn a whole new language and discard some of my ideas and proprieties. Case in point a conversation between K and T yesterday.

K to T: Do not waste your diamonds on a ho!

M: What is a ho? (Cause y’all know that is what she is thinking.)

K: You do not know what a ho is?!?! This is a ho! (Total exasperation because mom is such an idiot)

T: No that is a booty slapper! (Hint it is a shovel but he believes it sounds funnier calling it a booty slapper.)

M: Do you even know what a ho is?

K: (with a look of total disdain) you use it to hoe grass mom!

They were playing Minecraft. The conversations that we hear with these two boys often includes slang that we just are not sure which context it is being used in. I have also discovered this week that my child has a bit (okay a lot) of my sarcastic side comments. He though does not mutter them under his breath the way I do, he just blurts them right out there for everyone to hear and acknowledge.

M has been mulling over the possibility of getting herself a motorcycle. Not entirely sure why and when she announced it to the boys, they were flummoxed. Her point is that prior to their appearance, we both did have other lives. T’s response was to state “That is not going to end well.”

His babysitter has two daughters. Both older than T. He is like their little brother and it is different for them to have a little guy around. On Friday as everyone is in bathroom whether blow drying their hair or brushing teeth and hair, there is my child banging his balloon around asking someone to play with him. K (his sitter) slams it hard and it bounces out. T is dismayed until it is pointed out to him that it is right behind him. Than they are all getting ready for school. Well, T’s bag is already to go and he is leaning against the door waiting and waiting for the girls. K says to them to make sure that they have everything as she has an appointment and will not be home. T’s response “Yeah like that is going to happen.” Death was almost instantaneous from the laser eyes except for the wall between him and H. J just snorted because she knew he was right.

Lastly, Saturday after suppper, M and me are sitting talking. I am telling her how with my spending spree that I am into my overdraft. Not hugely, I can live with the amount over I am but still I just got paid lol. All gone. But the bills are all paid and the fridge and freezer are full. T is playing on the floor when he suddenly looks up at me, worry etched on his face. “Mom am I into my overdraft?”

There is never a quiet or dull moment in my household. T has so many things he wants to know, or has an opinion on. I love all of them. Because no matter what, he knows how to make me laugh. And I treasure the smart ass quality that appears every now and than as it reassures me that a small part of me is in there. It also means he listens when M and me mock others. Not sure if that is a good life lesson, but he would learn it anyway. As long as I teach him, he can be kind in his mockery and absolutely never ever mock the person to their face. Unless a close friend who gets you. M mocks me all the time and vise versa.

It is a Conspiracy

M and me we text each other a lot. One full day of messages cannot be stored and I have the capacity to store 500 messages before they start to delete. Maybe we are a little excessive but our shifts are all over the place and some weeks we can go without laying eyes on one another at all. Despite the fact that we live right next door to one another.

Last week M was having issues with her phone. Not that she doesn’t always have issues with her phone but last week it seemed that her phone was really out to get her. Not receiving messages until hours later. And than just for the hell of it my phone decided to jump in on the fun of screwing with M.

My original text was at 8:03 a.m. M responded at 8:49

‘Stupid phone! I am just getting your messages and you sent them hours ago!’

‘I sent that message at 21st.’

‘What? The 21st today is the 23rd!’

Now I am starting to giggle. Sitting in my car in the parking lot at work.

‘No, I sent it at 8:03 this morning. My phone is just ducking with you!’

‘Wait I mean fucking lmao.’

‘What the hell is going on here? Our conversations never make any sense!’

‘Not to anyone else but they do to us.’

By this time, I am weeping I was laughing so hard. And that was when I posed the question: Do you think that it is an electronic conspiracy between our phones to ensure that we look as dumb as possible?

Believe me, my phone has it in for me. When my keyboard use to be set for english/french spelling, I would often send out half english and half french messages that made absolutely no sense. One friend I text, my text read that I had give our boss a disease. Obviously so untrue. Another time, M got a text about gold and cats. So I am certain that my phone loves to embarrass me. I discovered that I could turn off the french on the keyboard and just have english but that has not solved the problem of random corrections or anticipation of what I am writing.

Last night it all came home for me that my phone may have a warped sense of humor like I do. I was typing in ‘we were’ to M and it changed the whole sentence to ‘We are evil’. We are evil, that is what my phone thinks. After that, I decided that my phone was just being mean, and put it to bed.

There is nothing better than autocorrect/auto fill in when you are in a hurry. Unless your phone has its own personality and likes to screw with you. Like mine and M’s do. However this is okay, because it means that our days are filled with a lot of huh? what was that? and laughter which everyone needs anyways. The laughter part, not the evil intents of the phone to make us look like the village idiots that we are.

My Darkest Hour

I woke up at 7ish this morning, the one day that I can sleep in without worries. Today is the day T comes back to me at 4 so I have all day to just luxuriate in my decadence. Yes there is laundry to do and beds to be made, but I can have a little lie in. But no. So I took a half an ativan so I could go back to sleep. I was not ready, prepared or even had enough mental stability to face my day.

I cried for over an hour when I went to bed last night. Before that I had been texting and chatting with friends and my support group was circling their wagons to protect me. But none of them were here when I turned the lights off. When I climbed into bed and every sharp edged word spoken to me began to gouge its way into my confidence, my self-worth. The sobs did not wait, they erupted over me, spilling from my eyes like white water when you are rafting. I could not breath. Lucky worried, kept head butting me and curling up against me purring desperately to calm me. Thomas snuggled into the back of my legs, his paws draped over my thighs his version of a hug.

It was a black hour. It was the blackest hour that I have faced in my life.

I am a survivor of sexual abuse. I have always clawed my way back from whatever hell it is that I find myself in. I never doubted my belief in myself that I am a good person, that I care for others, that I put others before myself. Yet last night I doubted. I wondered if all along I have deluded myself and that in reality I am selfish and horrible. That my version of reality is so strongly distorted from how others see it that I wonder, am I even sane?

I looked at the time, I looked at my phone. And I wondered who can I call? Who at 12:30 a.m. is going to be okay if I call them sobbing because I have no more belief, I have no more strength, I just need someone to say it will be okay. Better not call mom because a) she is in her 70’s and a phone call that late means someone is dead, and b) my brother would kill me. Everyone else is asleep and I am so afraid to reach out and disturb anyone because I just cannot. I cannot put my woes, my worries on anyone else.

I finally called one friend who answered on the first ring. Who assured me that it was okay to call. And as I sobbed, blowing my nose in his ear, gasping for breath as each fresh wave of revulsion rolls over me, he tells me it will be okay. That there are people who love me and who cherish me and will protect me. He tells me that the shadows dancing with glee along the wall and above my head, they will vanish as the sunlight returns. He talked for an hour while I listened. I am sure that there were some mumbled incoherent denials of my goodness and worth. The cats sat on either side of me purring and snuggling in. My face and nose hurt from crying but eventually  I calmed down. Eventually I no longer felt that I was a disaster.

My dreams were ugly and distorted. Full of vengeance and venom and darkness. I didn’t sleep without worry I did not sleep without cares. What I found in my dreams were a reflection of self, crowned with Medusa’s snakes hissing and snarling and excluding myself from others. I saw myself as the outsider with no one to turn to. I muttered and tossed in my sleep.

Last night was the darkest hour of my life. I felt sadness that I had never felt before. I felt so worthless that not even the beauty found in my poetry, in my son, was able to make things better. I have come through to the other side. I am shivering. I am scared. I am doubting myself so much I am not sure that I can even face people. But I will. And I will carry on. Because this is only one day, only one night and I have so many more.

More where laughter and love, where wine and good food, where friends and family intermingle, those are the days I have coming to me. One day I will look back. One day I will say yes, that was my bleakest moment. And I will stand to greet the rising sun because it is me who matters……it is how I feel about myself that matters……not the perception that one has of me based on only one side.

 

Wicked Witch

All day long I have been trying to rationalize, look at it from every angle, but still at the end of it I am totally flabbergasted. I was not even aware that there was a problem.

I was a small nugget of success for a short while today. I was feeling good, hell I had not even shed a tear yet. And than things happened.

And culminated in a man I do not know tell me in a very loud voice how I was mean and despised and the Wicked Witch of the West. The loathing that enveloped me from this human being almost sent me to my knees. I could only stand there wide eyed and aghast. My worst nightmare had just come true. Someone literally listed all my faults, out loud, in public, to my face.

I moved on. I gritted my teeth, and with only a few chin quivers I did what I had to do. Barely. The urge, the need to scream my despair, the tears that battered to be let loose, were violent lashings against my psyche. The psyche that this morning was a rosy pink but now was more of a brownish yellow sludge.

I was finally relieved and able to fly off but it was an ugly cry. I shuddered, snot running out of my nose, I couldn’t see I was sobbing so hard. Have you ever had a man who is not a relative or married to you try to comfort you? LOL while they have the best intentions they just don’t know what to do.

Girl posse to the rescue. One made me sit on her lap while I sobbed and snoted on her shoulder. She than ran off to get girl #2 cause as she put it she was sick of my snot on her sweater and she was sharing the wealth. And they raged. And they roared. And they gave me back myself.  They rebuilt what had been shattered.

I still wasn’t perfect. Tears still leaked from my eyes. But they gave me back that sense of pride in myself. As did the man attempting to comfort me who is neither relative nor husband and he did a good job.  I will not allow one small person to derail my progress. I will not allow one small man to have this much control over how I see myself. No more will I fear being too strong, too harsh, too unforgiving. For I have been and I ended up being kicked in the teeth.

I take deep breaths. And I let them out. Tonight I am going to obliterate. I am going to sink into decadence and pleasure and wash the negativity of the day away. I will burn my incense and melt my scented wax, and I will not allow this to drag me under. It nearly did, I nearly drowned in the undertow, but I have a crew who dragged me back and I love them for that.