Monday, October 28, 2013

The Eyes Have It




Most of the time when I look in the mirror I see the aging face of a forty-something mother of two.  One who can see many mistakes made on the road o this life getting to this point.  The face of a woman lined with every regret she's known, every disappoint felt (mostly with herself).

Now and again the reflection in the mirror has the eyes of a teenage girl who holds vast dreams.  she sees beauty in simple everyday joys.  her greatest joy being creating nothing from thin air.  She started doing it as a child, creating vivid ever changing landscapes full of people different from those she knew in everyday life.  This was her escape.  It was an escape from every form of pain she knew.  She could use this form of escape even when she couldn't open a book.  Sometimes especially when she couldn't.

Sometimes when I see her eyes she's happy, usually over some simple amusement.  A baby laughing.  A favorite old song on the radio.  A sky filled with more stars than she ever remembered seeing.

Other times her eyes are begging me to remember.  Remember not the pain and suffering but the defense mechanism they triggered.  Remember the joy of creation.  Remember the dream it spawned of doing this every day for the rest of her life.  To make this her life.

She pleads with me.  Yet I feel divided as one whose soul has been split to walk down separate roads.  I look away partly because her pleading breaks my heart but mostly out of fear.  Life caught up with me, overtook me, pushed me to believe that failure was worse than death.  I separated myself from her by taking a different name.  My life was severed.  Here lies the girl who dreamed.  Here lies the woman who lived.

Still, when I see her eyes I know what's she's saying:  "Life without truly living avoids failure but is its own kind of death."  I never wanted to die.  Not like this, letting the fear overwhelm me.

Escape is found more easily in the digital age.  But damn if those eyes don't call me back to an earlier escape.  An escape more pure and sweet than honey.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month. I think it’s important that I share this in case it might help others. Without encouraging words from others when I was younger, I don’t know if I would have made it this far.

For most of my life I have had issues with depression. I remember even as a child that I would feel unreasonably sad. This led to tantrums/acting up which led to punishment. As a teenager the depressive episodes only became worse. This may have been partly chemical/hormonal but also because of all the trauma I was dealing with in my home life (abuse). I didn’t know at the time that it would be a life-long battle. Back then I really thought that once I got out of the situation that I’d be able to live happily ever after. I held on to this hope into adulthood and marriage.

Once I began having children, I knew I had to do something about my depression. Happily ever after wasn’t completely working out. My husband and I would vex each other with our clashing baggage. I entered therapy for the first time when I was pregnant with my daughter. I wanted to deal with the depression so that I could be a better mother. It did not go well. The therapist basically told me that I needed to “just get over it” (the abuse and the depression).

When my daughter was one year old I tried again. This was the early 1990’s and there was actually much attention and coverage of the suffering/issues of those who had gone through abuse as children (physically, sexual, etc). Axl Rose was on the cover of Rolling Stone with an article detailing with the abuses he had suffered and how he was getting therapy for it. Tori Amos was the first spokesperson for RAINN. She wanted to help others after releasing the song “Me and a Gun” about being raped. However, the downside was that Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)/Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) was an in vogue hot topic at the time and hugely over-diagnosed. This is unfortunately what the second therapist I visited tried to talk me into. He worked through the university we were attending at the time and I’m sure he thought I’d make a great source for some scientific paper. I left after a few sessions.

I tried therapy again when my daughter was three. This time I tried group therapy as well as individual therapy. It was much more beneficial. The individual therapist concluded that I did NOT have DID/MPD and helped me through a few of my issues. The group therapy also helped me work through a number of issues but, most importantly, I didn’t feel as alone or as crazy.

Still, with all this therapy to improve myself in my 20’s I still didn’t pick up the pattern. I still thought somewhere out there I could reach my happily ever after if only I could just work through all the debris from the abuse. I was blind. I needed time to mature and perhaps to heal more as well.

I’m older now. I look over my sporadic journaling and it’s rather dark. I seem to write/journal more when I’m depressed. If someone were to just view these journals, it would seem that I’ve never known a moment of peace. That is, however, not the whole story. When I am not depressed (or angry) I can know some measure of happiness and can be extremely productive.

It’s important at this stage in my life that I can identify this pattern of depression. I know when it’s sliding over me. I know better what to do to protect myself. I can somewhat block it from coloring all of my life/my memories with bleakness. Most importantly, I know that it’s not going to last forever.

I have heard the saying about suicide, “Don’t solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution.” When you are in the throws of depression it colors everything as bleak. When I was depressed, if I read my journaling, it all looked very permanent – like moments of happiness were when I was just fooling myself. I was lucky I never did do myself permanent damage but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some close calls.

I hope through this honesty I may help someone else out there. I have come to benefit from the honesty of others on the net such as Jenny Lawson and Allie at Hyperbole and a Half. Thanks!

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hoarding Revisited

I am revisiting the issue of hoarding.  Not just in writing here at the blog but in my every day life.  I found shocking evidence against myself when I was unpacking the boxes marked "office".  This is what I've uncovered to date:



54 pencils
18 mechanical pencils
10 colored pencils  - Please keep in mind that this # will rise when I actually get into the art supplies
36 markers  -  Please keep in mind that this # will rise when I actually get into the art supplies
15 highlighters
166 pens of various colors - black, blue, purple, teal, peacock, green, red, orange, etc.





~375 index cards
9 notepads under 5 inches
10 notepads under 7 inches
15 larger sized notepads
25 post-it notes of various sizes and in various states of use
13 spiral bound notebooks
11 8.5 x 11 inch notepads
7 8.5 x 11 inch composition notebooks
~ 1300 pages of loose leaf paper

I cannot express how horrified I am to know that I've accumulated this much office supplies.  There are also assortments of folders, hanging files, paperclips, binder clips, sticky page markers, and push pins.  As I said, I haven't even gone through the art supplies (which were packed separatesly and are currently in the guest room).  Even if I finished writing all the poems, short stories, and novel length stores currently in my head, I don't think I could use up all the pens and peper I've stockpiled (maybe).

In the spirit of my new mantra of letting go of what is not necessary, I have donated the unopened/unused office supplies to the YMCA school supplies drive.  I feel good knowing that it will all be put to good use and that someone who couldn't otherwise afford it will be very grateful to have it.

My other issues of hoarding is with sewing/art/crafting supplies.  It took me 12 hours to sort everything.  I threw some things away wondering why I'd kept them in the first place.  Other materials I chose to donate to GoodWill.  I made sure to take those boxes to the charity drop off as soon as possible to prevent myself from backsliding. 

Even with this purge there was still an ungodly amount of cloth in various shades and patterns dating from the 1930's to present day, sewing threads of various shades, embrodery floss in a rainbow of colors, cross-stitch material, patterns, buttons, ribbons, lace, netting, tons of beads/jewels/tools/materials for jewelry making, and various sewing notions.  This doesn't even take into account the books and magazines that cover a wide range of sewing and crafting.  I was able to sort everything into the space I have available but I confess that it was a tight fit.  A lot of the quilting, sewing, and crafting must be dont to justify keeping all this so I hope to get busy soon.  The first project will be baby quilts for my twin great nieces who were born in June.  Need to get busy with that!

The last hoarding issue standing in the way of breathtaking productivity is the rather large stash of items I hope to list on eBay.  Besides needing to make myself sit down to do the actual listings, I've made myself promise that no matter what the item is, if it doesn't sell after the third relisting on eBay, it will be donated to charity.  While this does make me feel anxious, I know that it's necessary.  It's not money lost, it's space and freedom gained.  I just have to keep that in mind.  I have already sold or donated 55 books!

I am working slowly towards freedom from "things".  I've accumulated way too much.  I've also set a bad example for my children.  Sometimes "stuff" gets in the way of living and creating the life you want to lead and memories you will cherish.  I anticipate a long painful process but I know this will be healthier for me and my family.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I Write Like


I write like
Mark Twain

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Anonymous



I have a confession to make. My real name isn’t Lelain de Peche. I have said before that it’s my nom de plume but I haven’t explained why. When I first started using it with my Twitter account it wasn’t just to support my writing (I have a very common name) but also to help protect my identity. Indeed, when I first started using Twitter I was even vague about my sex, my home life, and anything else that might point to who I really am.

I have my reasons. I grew up in a household where abuse was the norm. It started with my father. I cannot think of a single way in which he was not abusive to us. My eldest sister was able to work up the courage to turn him in for the abuse. She wanted to save her three sisters and herself from his abuse. Instead, everything was turned on her. Our father’s siblings and their children railed against her. They called her a liar and a whore. Then someone bailed our father out of jail. Long story short, after a failed attempt to destroy his family, he chose to take his own life rather than stand trial for his crimes. He shot himself in the driveway in front of our house. After this, his siblings and other family members not only tore into my sister (as much as they could as she was still in state’s custody) they turned on my mother and the rest of us. It didn’t help when almost ten years later I had the same issues with my father’s brother. Then I was the one called a liar and a whore. He didn’t go to jail though. I was removed from the home during the investigation but then, unfortunately returned (God, I hate the 80’s!). The only good that came out of this unfortunate childhood, if you can call it that, is my writing and creativity which I have used as a release from pain and a way to escape my reality.

Today I am married (25 years this fall) with two children. I made a conscious choice when they were born that I would make sure my father’s people were not in their lives. I have done what I can in this digital age to ensure that I am not found. I cannot endure the harassment that they might measure out to me and I would not have my children know its vileness for a moment. To that end I will now and forevermore be Lelain de Peche, anonymous writer and artist.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Birthday Month

As a child I'd sit in class and be incredibly envious when someone's birthday was celebrated.  Their mom would bring cake and party supplies.  Even as an outcast at my school I was allowed to participate because the whole class was included.  Still, I longed to be able to celebrate my "special day" too.

Ah, but I was born in the summer. July, when the heat really begins to build and the sweat trickles down your back.  When I was a child, not everyone had airconditioning.  We certainly did not.  We had screen doors, open windows, hoped for a cross draft, and had a couple of round oscillating metal fans. It just wasn't cool enough in the house for a real social gathering.  Not that my family was known for social gatherings to begin with.  There were a few times I remember my Mom trying to throw me an actual party.  It was hard to get the neighborhood kids to come over after second grade.  Remember, I was an outcast.  Mom did always make a cake when one of us had a birthday and there were a few presents.  Still, I missed the social acceptance.

When I married, my husband's family would throw me a birthday party.  It was just their family but it was nice.  Cake, ice cream, and a special dinner.  I felt special and it helped to heal some of those childhood wounds.  Once the children came along, all the focus was on making their birthdays as special as possible.  I know that to some extent I was over compensating for my own childhood.  Now the kids are older and fairly much do their own thing on their birthdays.  I think I did good by them. 

My birthday is now just another day.  At most I request to NOT have to make dinner.  I usually buy my own presents.  I have hopes of spending the day reading and writing.  I'm in my 40's.  It's well past time to let go of childhood hurts.  Birthdays are just a day to mark the passage of another year of life, to look back and reflect, and make plans to make the year to come even better.  I think I'm starting to settle well into this middle-age thing...

Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Reading from MAKING POE PROUD


video

CROSSROADS

The long road meant nothing
It was a journey to a wanted
Destination
It was miles of troubles
That must be crossed
And she would press herself
To walk it
Because there was
No where else to go
And standing still
Was no longer
An option



video


MUSE’S ORPHAN

Glass of wine and
Lucid dreams
A hangover
And lack of sleep

Fuzzy shadows
Of past beliefs
Letting go
Doesn’t lend relief

No heir apparent
No kingdom’s keys
A muse’s orphan
A mind diseased

To childhood delusions
I’ve fallen prey
What I’m to be
I cannot say

Disillusionment
And poured wine
Lend awakening
To a disheartened mind

If I am lost
In lucid dreams
Let me scribble
For relief

These two poems from MAKING POE PROUD were recorded by the author (me) Lelain de Peche.  MAKING POE PROUD can be purchased through Amazon for Kindles.   

Monday, June 3, 2013

Suburbia - Moving Part 2

Written May 21, 2013

When I was growing up I knew that we didn't have a lot of money.  What we had didn't compare to most of my classmates.  My maternal aunt, however, appeared to have married well.  The few memories I have of her house in Mount Juliet led me to believe that she and her family much be rich.  Upon hindsight as an adult, I realize that they were actually middle class.  Still better off finanically than my family but not the fairy tale wealth I thought I was seeing.

I remember as a child being in her house and wanting to live in a beautiful place just like it.  It was a split story ranch with a garage and rec room in the basement.  The main level was the kitchen, livingroom, den, etc.  The bedrooms were upstairs.  Most amazing to me was that there was more than one bathroom!  It was just another ordinary house in a suburban neighborhood - nicely decorated and uncluttered.  But to me, it seemed "real fancy".  My step-father acted like they were putting on airs to have a house like that.  Truth is, they were just a normal middle class family in the 1970's.  When I was a child, this was a major dream to aspire to.

While unpacking (and,yes, I am STILL unpacking boxes) I looked around and realized, much to my surprize, that I had actually, truly reached that childhood dream.  I live in a modified one story ranch on a cul du sac in the middle of this town's suburbs.  I live in middle class suburbia!  It struck me one day as I drove into the entrance of our community on trash day.  All the cans were out at the curb in roughly the same position.  All the houses in their rows conformed to the home owners' association rules, keeping their grass mowed and their yards uncluttered.  I was awestruck, unable to fantom how this had happened to me.  How had  I come all this way?  Yet it still didn't feel as though I had "arrived" anywhere.

It is odd to look back at the dreams of my childhood - a good middle class home, a safe environment, a loving family, a career in story telling/creating - and see what I've actually accomplished.  As a teenager, college student, and young wife/mother my dreams had shifted constantly and had continually seemed out of reach.  But those dreams formed in childhood play (with dolls, pretend and dress-up, early stories) they took root and are now beginning to bloom.



Landscaping leading to my front porch. Beautiful!

I'm not rich.  I don't live in a Victorian mansion.  I'm average middle class with a mortgage and debts.  It doesn't feel as special as it did when I was an awestruck child.  It does feel comfortable and I certainly want to get used to it.  Welcome to my enchanted suburbia where I hope to make the rest of my childhood dreams come true!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Moving - Part 1 - April 22, 2013

Moving anywhere is always a challenge.  Moving to another state is even more challenging.  Luckily for us, my husband's new employer is paying for movers to help us.  Of course, you have to keep an eye on them.  Otherwise things don't get packed that should or things that shouldn't be packed (like trash or recycling) will be.  There's also the issue of not knowing what is packed where.  Sure they label the boxes "kitchen" but in which of those two dozen boxes is the tea maker or the spices?

I have been sleeping on an air mattress since Thursday.  My bed should arrive today.  It will be nice to sleep in my own bed if I can find it amongst the boxes piled near ceiling height.  I know it will take a while to sort through and place everything.  Even after our massive three day yardsale before the move, we realized once we got here that there are still some things we'll have to let go of.  I still have records/files from twenty-five years ago when we were first married.  So I need to sort through all of those files and shred them to make more room.  My books (a bibliopile is a mover's nightmare) and my craft materials will still be a problem.  There is so much of both!  I am hoping for more time and energy for crafting (after placing everything into a more house-shaped form) but I seriously still need to let more things go.  I don't want to be a prisoner to objects.

Which leads me to my latest concern.  Since the week before last my husband has been calling me a "hoarder".  I don't like the label.  It makes one think of people living with trash piled to the ceiling with only a small path to walk and a dead cat misplaced somewhere in the mix.  While I'm not to that level, I do realize that I sometimes hang on to things because "I might need it later".  I'm not sure where this comes from.  I know when I was growing up I felt like I didn't fit in because I didn't have the same things as everyone else (homemade clothes  in the last 1970's/early 1980's was NOT as acceptable as you might think) but  that really doesn't seem to be the root of the problem.

I think the problem may stem from my step-father.  He lived through the Great Depression as a child and was a veteran of WWII.  He and his siblings had to literally scrape together enough for the eleven of them and their mother to eat during the depression.  EVERYONE had to do their part and NOTHING went to waste.  Even bits of twine were tied together to be reused.  It was this mentality that most likely got him started with collecting scrap metal to take to the metal recycling yards (junkyards) in Nashville.

Though this mentality of leaving nothing to waste is useful, it can lead to issues, like mine, of not wating to let go of things.  I did let go of a number of things at the yard sale.  Like the music box that I've had for at least twenty years with the intent to fix it.  I never got around to it.  Or  the old cardboard framed print of ballerinas I bought as a child at a Five and dime in Fairview, Tennessee.  I was no longer displaying it.  I kept it why?  Because I had once wanted to be as graceful as a ballerina instead of the unbalanced clutz I've finally learned to accept?  All it reminded me of now is that we could never afford lessons like my peers for ballet or piano or Girl Scouts or anything else as a child.  There was only time for work so that we could make more money for the family.

It will hurt to let go of somethings.  Unfinished projects and unread books make me feel like a failure somehow.  But letting go of them will be freeing as I will have more time and energy and mental focus for new projects that are more appropriate for where I am now in my life.  Frankly, I really just need to accept my physical limitations.  I can only do so much.  There is only so much time in the day.  As my new life here in Indiana takes shape, I hope that it will be healthier both physically and emotionally as well as more creative and productive.  Wish me luck!

The ballerina print I bought at the Five and Dime in the late 1970's.  Just as the yardsale closed it started to rain. I took this photo and thought it looked as beautiful as it did when I feel in love with it as a small child.  The rain gave it a look of having tear stains.  The universe crying with happiness that I finally learned to let go of that which is no longer moving me forward?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rain

A dark and rainy day in East Tennessee.


Rain drops drip
and hit
against metal awnings
as trees sway
pawing
against the building
lending
a sleepy feeling
with each drop
that drips
and slips
into puddles and pools
calming and soothing
and cooling
a worried mind
letting go of
the hurries and flurries
of to-do lists
and wish
for a warm bed
to snuggle
a muddled mind
to cuddle
sounds of each drop
that hits
with no worries 
to miss

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Searching, Dreaming, Finding

This 4900 square foot Victorian beauty is truly a sight to behold and I enjoyed running through it!


Odors from strange houses cling to my clothes, filling my nostrils with memories both pleasant and repulsive. I sneeze.  My eyes begin to water.  My head begins to ache.  My mind begins to wander, back through each house I've seen.  I am left wishing that, in a Frankenstienian way I could combine different elements from each of the houses.  The wood floors from here.  The carpet from there.  The appliances from four houses back.  The woodwork from the favorite house.  The mast suite in the dream house.  A combination of all the office spaces.  The price of the first house.

My head swims with indecision.  Arguments fire back and forth inside my mind and amongst my company.  A decision must be made.  And I know that with whatever decision is made there will be regrets for the ones passed over.  When the decision is made, I will wash my clothes free of all these strange fragrances as I will try to cleanse my mind of all the other choices left behind and focus on all the ones to come.

This was stenciled in the master bedroom of the above Victorian home which was in foreclosure.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Searching for Home



Rain on my face
as I turn to the sky
eyes smile as
I shout
"Hallelujah!"
My kingdom has come
and I would dwell here
the rest of my days

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Release!

I have released my new collection of poems on Amazon.  BLOOM TO FADE speaks of love from its inception to the bitter end to survival. These poems span a lifetime.  Some are personal.  Some are written from the point of view of people I've known or characters in stories I've written.  Here's the first poem in BLOOM TO FADE:

Duas medietates occursum
Factus totum
Et consumet unum alius
numen avertat

 Two halves meet
Become a whole
And destroy one another
God forbid

That first moment when your eyes meet and you feel all the feels and you want to melt.  It's all in there.  So order it from Amazon and give it a read!

RELIEF

How I crave to be held
By a lover’s gaze
Held by his eyes
Unable to escape
As his lips approach
And his arms embrace

The world is heavy
And I crave relief
A drought of
Passionate haze
To rise above
The drowning waves

Heated and misty
My eyes steam like his
Burning with visions
Of things forbidden
Still we stay locked
A swagger in time
Forgotten for a moment
The world left behind

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rebirth



The phoenix begins
to write her lists
kindling for her 
funeral nest
She has no fear
of change to come
endings and beginnings
are always one
moving closer 
to days of fire
to be reborn from
the funeral pyre
What is this new thing
that she will be
from the ashes
she'll fly free



Sunday, January 20, 2013

THE 70'S

When I hear the phrase "The 70's" I think of a wooden door thunking close onto a swinging bell, of bare feet walking onto an air conditioned cooled concrete floor, the wall air conditioner whose hum I can hear over the swoosh and squeak of the ceiling fan, the smell of mothballs mixed with tobacco, earth, and chocolates, the ice chilled glass bottle of a Dr. Pepper after the metallic glass clink when the top's popped off, of momentary sanctuary from the heat, the grime, and the toil.  This is "The 70's" to me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Ring

My mother suffers from rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis.  Her hands are gnarled and twisted to the point that it’s hard for her to perform some daily tasks that we take for granted.  A couple of years ago she made the decision to give each of her daughters and granddaughters her rings and her necklaces that had clasps (which she could no longer work).
She gave me the wedding ring from her second marriage.  My step-father was a pleasant man in the beginning but then he changed and our situation changed.  By the end of his life I hated him and was glad to see him go (being perfectly honest here).  So when she first gave me the ring – two linked hearts with a tiny diamond in the middle – I looked at it in a negative way.  It made me think of “him”.  I couldn’t wear it anyway because it was sized so large to fit over my mother’s enlarged arthritic knuckles.  I put it away for a while not wanting to look at it. 
Earlier this year I decided to have an antique ring resized for my husband as a surprise for his birthday.  I thought I’d resize Mom’s ring at the same time on a whim.  When it came back it was not only resized but cleaned as well.  It sparkled beautifully and looked nice on my hand.  It reminded me of Mom’s hands – when she cooked for us, cleaned the house, folded the laundry, tended our wounds, worked in her flowers.  The ring no longer reminded me of my step-father or their marriage anymore.
I brought the ring with me on this year’s Christmas trip.  I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to see her due to her recent health problems and my recent cold (which she couldn’t be exposed to).  Then I got the call on the day I was to visit her that she’d been rushed to the ER. The drive from my husband’s family to the hospital was an hour.  While getting everyone ready and during the drive, my mind worried over the situation with my mother.  I feared that I may lose her.  She’s 74 years old and the reality hit that she wouldn’t be with me forever.
 I looked at the ring, turning it nervously around my finger.  The two hearts joined together began to take on a new meaning for me.  Instead of it representing the joining of Mom and my step-father, it reminded me of the link I will always have with my mother whether she is with me or not.  My mother wasn’t perfect when we were growing up but she loved us.  She will always love us.
Thankfully when I arrived at the ER she was fine and not long after they released her.  While I was in her little ER cubicle, talking to her (and calming my own anxieties), she noticed the ring.  She smiled a little smile, happy to see me wearing it, and said, “I see you’re wearing my ring.”  I felt warmed and comforted somehow that she approved.  As I was leaving she gave me a strong hug that said a thousand unspoken things.  And my heart was healed just a little more.