Rising from the Ashes

Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

Those terrible words

those terrible deeds

do you know

what they did to me?

How distorted I became?

My logic flawed

as I thought

it was all my fault.

The core of me

those central values

the pictures I saw in my head

you destroyed.

I fought back.

I overcame.

Now this core of mine

is beautiful again.

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Believe

Coffee wafts through the air
senses becoming alert
no time to feel despair
no time to stop and relate
life is such a busy state
never a chance to recall
the missed times of childhood late.
Love
Misery
Divorce
Life
Reboot
Recall
Re-love?
Sunshine and swing sets
parks and long walks
children laughing
corn fattening
this is what memories play.
Work
Bills
Lawyers
Alcohol
Drugs
Fall
Get up
Give up
Come clean
Reconnect
Re-dream?
Cabin in the summer rain
war played on the carpet
memories that do explain
all about happiness.
I am not as lost as I feel to be
I am not as unfounded
ungrounded as I view myself. 
Within me lays the strength of the Titans
Within me lays the power to be
Within me lays the well of hope
all I need to do is believe. 
©Jay-lyn Doerksen
April 29/18

Lessons Learned

This was a week of lessons for both myself and T. I think too that it has been a hard week for him as the amount of time the Ex has spent with him has been minimal. I cannot even work up anger. I am resigned. I am sad for T. I cannot make him change. I cannot make him see the young man who is growing up right in front of our eyes. T is playing Farming Simulator as I sit here typing this.

I was excited because I am able to listen to my music on my notebook while writing and also watch T play Farming Simulator. I believe I have explained before? Long story short you build up a farm. People create maps and you go farm. Drive around. It is a popular game judging by the amount of Youtube videos I have been subjected to. At the moment I am sitting here with our shared headphones on (the ones that cover the whole ear not inserted buds that would be gross) listening to Florida Georgia Line. Basically I load the entire album and start at the beginning. Today may be the first time in a long time that I get through the very long list.

We had two rather comedic episodes that left me gasping for air I was laughing so hard.

Yesterday morning I was about to wash the bathroom floor and asked T if he wanted to go use the bathroom before I did. He said yes. As he is climbing down his ladder I stand there  and tell him he is not to pee on the floor, the seat, the side, nowhere but into the toilet as I had just finished cleaning it. As a matter of fact, I suggested that he straddle the toilet and push it down to pee straight in. With hand pantomimes. T stared at me in absolute horror and as I turned away informed me that that was the absolute worst advice ever. And if I had one I would totally understand why. I giggled again typing this up.

Later in the day as I was driving him to the Ex’s for his night with him T was muttering away about what an absolute boring evening it was going to be. That none of his friends could come over. It was going to be dad, grandpa and grandma. I

I am trying something new. We are all programmed to notice the negative, the absurd, in other people’s pain. We mock others to make ourselves feel better about our own selves. When T and me had our long conversation the other week I told him that we needed to change. That we needed to look for the positive no matter how hard it is going to be. And it is going to be hard. I mock others. I make fun of them to others. I am no saint as I told K and P. It is a habit, a trait, who knows but it needs to be changed. Now the other day when I dropped T off at school I mocked the bright color of one of his classmate’s snowsuit. I tried to recover by saying at the very least we would not lose him in a snowstorm. Told him that he was not to make fun of the boy to which he emphatically told me he would never. I told him I was sorry. That I should never have made a comment and about a child’s snowsuit nonetheless.

So back to T and me, driving to the Ex’s. Grandma and grandpa are visiting. T is going to be bored. I suggest that he could hang out with grandma. And glanced over to see him looking at me like this. Yes I pulled over and took this picture. Mom, he leans forward his arm on the back of the seat, that male posture when they want to tell you something really important in the car, Grandma is old. And she is annoying. The laughter escaped me and I tried to stifle it. I looked at T and explained to him that grandma really loved him. That she wanted to spend time with him. As he is muttering away, frowny face on, arms crossed. That was when I learned something new about T.

I suggested (I am great for suggesting things) that he might want to spend some time with grandma because she would not be around forever. And he said no that was not true. Um yes, unfortunately we all die someday. Nope, we get another life. I looked over at T and said you think after we die we get a different life. Yep. So you believe in reincarnation. Yeah like having past lives and all that. We get to be together in the next life too. There are times when T reminds me how so very special he is. He also believes that had he been born a girl, the Ex and me would have still been his/her parents. The life would have been the same just pink. He expanded my mind right there.

Today he was annoyed that I had picked him up from his friend’s so early. Had thought that he was going to be staying there until 5 p.m. He was angry with me and refusing to talk. So I thanked him. I could have argued until I was blue in the face with him about his attitude but again I am trying different things to find what works for us. I want to stop that cycle I have seen myself falling into. But no, I thanked him. And waited. Finally he asked for what.

I told that I had taken his suggestion and had started writing a story the night before. Wanted to know what it was about so I gave him a quick a synopsis. Explained that what had started off as a short story about one thing had morphed into something else totally different. My main character had a story to tell we were just figuring it out. I thanked him again and he said you are welcome. I felt it was a small victory and we chatted and laughed all the way home.

Once home with chores taken care of I went to grab the headphones and T was loading his game. Asked where the headphones were. As if I didn’t know, he had taken them into his room one day watching Youtube and left them in there. He fought with me. Told me I had taken them and put them somewhere and it was not his fault that I could not remember. I took the remote for the XBox and sat down on the couch explaining that he could have the remote back once he checked his room.

He argued with me and I kept my cool. I did not yell. I did not let my temper get the best of me. I spoke calmly and repeated that he would get the remote once he had gone to look for the headphones. Finally I said that if he was sure they were not there could he please just humor me and go take a look. Stood in the door and said looked. Uh-uh get up there and look.

I heard him climb up into his bed and silence. After a few moments I got up and double checked the table and counter just in case I was being a hardass for something I had in fact done. I stood watching him from the doorway as he climbed down and threw the headphones at me. I think he thought I was going to crow and say I told you so. Or some form of that. Instead I said thank you I really appreciate that you looked for them. Warned him I might sing and was that okay? I was informed that it was most definitely not cool to sing out loud. I made no promises. He giggled.

I need to be his example. I cannot expect him to act one way and for me to act another. I will slip. I am sure that I will make a mocking comment about someone, and snort giggle when reading memes on FB again I am no saint. But I will actively work to do this. For both of us. And in a world full of negatives looking for the positive is hard. And that is when I learned my second lesson.

What I do now is easy. I am in my home. Being a good example is not hard when I am not interacting with others for extended time periods. I will be going back to work. I will be around toxic people who are going to attempt to shame me. Those who are going to judge me. Not celebrating with me as I recover from this bout of depression. That I am emerging a better stronger woman. And it is going to be hard to not to give in. To not laugh at that little aside about a coworker. A dis about an employee. An irate customer. Being tired. I could come up with a thousand reasons why I slipped back and forget what I was doing this for in the first place.

Yes in part this is a step in my mental health and realizing that I was following a cycle that my father got from his mother. I was yelling at T and several times during the week I cut myself off from phrases he said. I need to break it here and now. But this is for Tember. Our children are our future, and I want to encourage T to see the good first before having to process the bad.

 

Fear me not

***Picture posted on Facebook by Power of Positivity***

As I have detailed on here somewhat brokenly and rawly, I have learned I live with depression and will for the rest of my life. That somewhere along the line, the chemicals in my brain decided to go haywire and there are probably neural paths that have crossed that never should have even come in contact. With medication and previously therapy, I will not conquer and eradicate my depression, but we will live an uneasy partnership. Much like that little spider I allow to live in the bathroom corner.

As I was meandering through my Facebook feed this morning I came across the above quote and it instantly reached out and grabbed my by the throat. Because for so long I did fear failure. And with that fear, I stripped and bound myself with chains, closing off a part of me that is as essential to my well being as breathing or eating is.

I am a writer. I live to create. One of mom’s favorite stories about me when I was younger was how in grade one she received a call about a short story I had written. Not sure what was going on but the story was about a dog who died and a ghost squirrel was his (I am speculating here as I cannot go back and ask my 6 year old self) spirit guide. Not to heaven but beneath a tree in the backyard. I believe I have the story here somewhere  I might have to go back and reread it. It may be a gem of an idea!

However I am digressing.

My forte seems to be writing poetry. I began writing poems (not of the Roses are Red variety) I believe in 1986. I would not hold me to that fact, I may be a little off. But the first poem that I still clearly at least recall the premise of, had to do with the escalation of something between Ronald Reagan (than president of the U.S.) and his counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev (last leader of Communist Soviet Union) and nukes. I was 11 years old and scared. Who knows where the poem is today but that was my start.

I have always used poetry to express myself. As a teenager, struggling with depression and self-image issues and just a whole lot of anger, my poetry was dark and tragic. I wrote a lot about suicide. There was no happiness, no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel.

In hindsight, I was wrapped in a morass of pain and hatred, anger and fear. It all fell from my mind and pen in twisted pathways. Approximately 15 years or so ago, I found all my poetry. And I burned it. But that comes later in this tale. The emotions that bled off the page into the air around me as I read had tears pouring down my face for this poor soul I had been.

In high school I wrote the next great novel. Ha! Three years, a gazillion rewrites later and I was ready to send it off to the publishing world. I had done enough research that I knew I had to send in a query first so I did. And I received some interest back. I had to pay to have them read my manuscript. However the person who had to read it probably earned that money tenfold.

It was a horrible novel. I cringe even now when I think of it. I recently learned that my baby bro found a copy when he was in junior high and had an english assignment. So he took in all 300+ pages and handed it in. With his name on the front. I applaud his audacity but the teacher caught him out and ended up calling my mom. I can only hope that the english teacher never read it because I had had him during my season in junior high.

Needless to say, I did not sweep the publishing world off their feet. What I did receive was a very nice rejection letter which indicated that I had talent which needed to be shaped and molded. That I should take some creative writing courses.

Not sure if anyone can truly know what rejection is like to someone with depression so I am going to explain how it was for me.

First I cried. A lot. Than I began to be filled with this immense sadness. For this was my dream and now my dream was dead. (Yes I was also a tad dramatic when I was younger) I did not focus on the positives that I had read. Strong descriptive skill. Knew when to break with conversation. Talent. Benefit from writing courses. All I saw was that my novel was no good. I did not know what else to do with myself. (And thus started my career in Customer Service lol)

Next I packed up my typewriter. Cleaned my desk of all writing material. All creative works. And I hid it all away. Most of my material ended up being stored at mom’s until she retired and moved but I am getting ahead of myself.

For the next 26 years I wrote sporadically. Limited to poetry for family functions as required. I never showed anyone anything I was working on. I had short stints of productive periods writing poems but again I was harboring this fear. If I showed my works to others they would hate it. I was no good.

In 2003, during another bout of deep depression which had yet to be diagnosed, I found all my poetry. All the short stories. And I watched the papers burn and flutter into the air, ashes carried away on a breath of wind as I once again let go of this dream I nurtured for so long. (Even if I was not actively pursuing it, that small flame was nestled in my heart.)

I won’t bore everyone with the next 14 years of blackness and despair. Enlivened by the birth of my son. The career I discovered I was good at.  But still I feared. So I stamped out anything creative. I still was reading. Voraciously. My outlet. My escape. And I was and still am in awe of the authors I have found over the years. Of their creativity, the breadth and scope of their imagination.

So let’s jump ahead now. To today.

As I stated about I found this quote in my Facebook feed this morning and it resonated with me. Because for so damn long I allowed fear to rule my life. The words and sting of rejection so firmly entrenched in my thoughts that I feared to try anything. But all that has changed.

I began blogging back in December. And at first it was hard. What do you write about? Plus I had a lot I wanted to purge. I mainly began with blogs like this.

Talking about myself, my life. My son.

Yet as  I wrote, my imagination began to peek out. Unfurling herself from the cocoon she had woven in protection when I tried to excise her from my being.

Everywhere I turn I am inspired. I awaken from a night’s sleep with lines of poetry dancing through my mind.

And I no longer fear. I move forward, writing for myself and well those of you who are joining me on this amazing journey. Nine months later and I can say I am not in the same place I was in when I began this blog. And I hope nine months from now that I will have evolved even more in my writing. In my life.

Fear me not, for I tread among the stars. Illuminated with golden light and blessed of imagination. Travel along side and enjoy this journey with me.

My Ex

A while back I wrote about how my ex and me were getting along and I realized how much I had matured. Well today I took that one step further. Today I looked passed the man who made me unhappy and spoke to my friend.

This is a man who at one point and time I loved. It is not his fault nor is it mine that in the end we just were not happy together. We are such very different people with little in common. 

Today was the first time that we had a conversation in a long time. And we both laughed. Not the fake ‘yeah get out of my face you are annoying me’ laugh but a real laugh. One that sets the other to laughing. 

We also still have inside jokes and can say things to one another that we are unable to say to anyone else. There have been a few times, where I have been spitting mad and the only one I can vent to is him.

In talking with a girl friend today, she informed me that I was taking the mature route with him. All I had said was his girlfriend was good for him.

And I no longer had to take care of him.

This man is helpless as a baby attempting to organize a tea party. I sent him numerous texts regarding the dates he had T over the summer. I also sent him several screen shots of my calender so he had it. Finally his girlfriend messaged me asking what the dates were. 

That is only one example. 

I can afford to be nice and decent to him. I am happy and in a great place in my life. And I really am working hard to let go of negativity.

It was easy to be angry with my ex when I left. I was blaming him for my unhappiness. Which really is unfair because I had a hand in my own unhappiness. I could have stood firm when I tried to leave three months prior to everything imploding. 

Now though…I am in my own space. I am writing daily. My relationship with my son and mom are amazing. 

So yes, I can afford to be kind with M2. And I even like his girlfriend even though we have not really spoken. But she is excellent with T and that more than anything makes me like K3.(Lol too many K’s- best friend, Auntie and now M2’s girl friend. M1 being my bestie.)

M2 loves T with all his heart. And at the end of the day that is all that is important. He is doing his best to be a great dad. Our failure to make our marriage last aside he will always be my friend. 

Opportunities

*Photo is mine taken today.

I watched the sunrise today

with silent tears on my cheeks

not from sadness you see

but for all the opportunities.

How many sunrises have I missed?

Because of time needed elsewhere

of responsibility and

well, just life.

I am also crying tears-

Tears for the girl I was,

for the woman I thought I would be.

Tears for the woman I became

and tears for the woman I am becoming.

Tears of sadness,

forgiveness

and welcoming.

Tears that cleanse my heart

and my soul

allowing me to embrace

all my opportunities.

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

 August 29/17

Birthday Eve

Today is August 28th. In slightly more than 24 hours I will be 45 years old. I did not actually arrive in the world until 8:20 p.m. so am not “really” 45 ’til than. 

I am looking forward to turning 45. I am not the same woman I was when I turned 44 last year. I am by far a much better and stronger version of her. I have taken my life and where I could have continued along the path of destruction I was on I changed. Slowly at first. But as the changes became good changes, as my outlook and feelings became harmonized and less disjointed I welcomed the changes.

I have documented my cycle of depression and how I had to claw my way back. I have an amazing support group who have been with me since I started on the new journey to me.

A journey that has seen me rise high enough to realize I was in an unhappy marriage and find the strength to leave. To my mistakenly believing all my problems were solved by the dissolution of my marriage and I went off my meds. I began to rely on alcohol to get me through the days. 

My crash, which scared me so badly because I had allowed myself to be tricked into believing I was okay. Our brains are wicked when presenting one with deceptive illusions.

Even after I resumed taking my meds I still continued to self-medicate with alcohol. Finally July 1st I decided to stop. I went six weeks without drinking. And when I did, I woke the next morning disappointed in myself. 

I have had some again but there is a difference. One that I can see and feel. It is no longer a need. There is no desire to negate the feelings I did not want to face. 

So tomorrow I am turning 45. 

 I am eating better. I am sleeping better. I am exercising. I have quit drinking to self-medicate and find that I do not miss it. 

Best of all I am writing again. I am more secure in the voice I have. I am letting those wonderful words combine and emerge like a waterfall from my finger tips. I believe in magic again. 

At 45 I am beginning to emerge from the cocoon of the past. I can see my present but the future….that is a dream still waiting to be dreamed.