Sunday, June 3, 2012

Alone, and Feeling At Ease, and Finally Telling The Truth...

"Only when alone can I feel at ease even though I long for company of a sort I have yet to find except, occasionally, with Sally, the sort that doesn't make you wonder if what you've just said or done are making people snigger inside. Alone, I inhabit a world shaped by magical belief and the stories I tell myself about myself flow clear and continuous..."
~*~ Nancy Mairs ~*~,
Remembering The Bonehouse


Dear Ones,

Nancy Mairs' books are the most courageous books I have ever read and I am rereading this book now to remember her courage, her truth, her complete lack of a facade of any sort. The "Bonehouse" is her body, and the book is about living in her body after she found out that she had Multiple Sclerosis. Through her many books, which are spell-binding, you experience, in the deepest level of your being, what it means to live in a body that is deteriorating. I spoke to her once on the phone years ago. By that time she could no longer type but spoke her words into the computer and continued to write books that I cherish and am amazed by.

As I write my book I feel close to her words even though her circumstances have been nothing like mine, but her truth-telling is what is spurring me on to tell mine, to tell the bits and pieces that I thought that I would never write, to express the experience of living in my own Bonehouse, which has been a different kind of trial. Sexually abused for many years, terrified of my own body, living my life, as I've often told people, as if my spirit were flying along with my body bumping on the ground behind me. I have frequently been hurt. It is as if I wasn't aware that I had a body at all.

And I know about the sniggering too. I can only imagine what an odd child I was at school with what was going on at home, but I was made fun of, not part of the cliques, "the cool kids," and I found my greatest solace with my animals, all sorts, mainly dogs, and from ten years old on into early high-school, on horses. I miss horses terribly and if I ever have the means I will live on a farm and do horse rescue, taking in those who are too old to ride, those who need love, and care, in their later years. Animals offer unconditional love, people seldom do. Even the ones you love with your whole heart and they love you, there are always areas that are grey and can become mucked up and muddy and painful, at least for a time. I am not complaining about this, I am simply stating a fact.

And there is the magical child that still lives inside of me. The stories that she has told are not lies, but often tinted a soft shade of pink, or lavender, or sky blue, perhaps pale green. In this way I survive and move on. I am a realist, I don't live in fantasy, but there are those bits of me that have created a world in which I can live and survive. I am a survivor. 

Nancy wrote bravely in more than one book about having had an affair after she had MS, in an attempt to feel something in her body that was quickly falling away. She came through that dark time and she and her husband reconciled and have had an incredibly beautiful marriage ever since. If she can reveal that can I write about leaving a man I loved dearly and do to this day, to be alone and discover the side of me that I had long hidden even from myself, that I am a woman who loves women? I am still close to my ex-husband and we love our children dearly. This is a gift that I am deeply grateful for and do not take for granted.

I am writing these words holding my breath, wondering how many of my longstanding readers will fall away, but I've not told my truth for too many years to worry about that anymore. There are people who will be helped by my experience, even if only touching on some parallel reality to theirs. It is for them that I tell the truth too. How can I not?

When I am alone I feel at ease. Yes, there are hours of aching loneliness, but they pass and I settle deep into the gentle comfort of the silence around me where the whirring of a fan, the talking of the grey parrot behind me, the nuzzling of a group of small pugs who sleep all around me comfort me deeply. No, I am seldom lonely, and I have moved very deeply into a spiritual life that I hadn't known possible. I talk to God all day long. He is my constant companion. And I love all people everywhere, and in writing that I am not being trite or prosaic, silly or overblown, I am telling a truth that comes from the knowledge that people everywhere are afraid, they suffer, they love, they feel joy, and in the stillness, the place where I pray and feel all that is, all that I am able to know, I know that the love that I feel is born of a compassion that I have learned as I walked through my own dark days, and in that journey my most potent desire is to help others, to let them know that they are never really alone, to let them know that they are loved. Many won't understand, will disagree, will think it is part of the magical beliefs that are part of who I am, but they would be wrong, and I am past explaining myself. I will simply be who I am. That is the truest, the most important thing that I can do.

In Remembering The Bonehouse Mairs writers:

" 'Your body is a temple,' I will recoil at the perpetuation of this boundless source of shame, self-alienation and pain. 'Your body is not a temple!' I want to shout at each wide-eyed child whose body has just been snatched from her and set on a hill, remote from the grubby reality that she is hungry for lunch with a whole hour to go and the boy behind her has just dropped something squirmy down her blouse and she'd like to whirl around and give him a good smack on the nose. 'Your body is a body. Not a holy place of worship but a person. Not a structure 'you' occupy like a maidservant in her master's house but you, yourself. Make yourself at home."

I am learning to make myself at home. I am making peace with my body. I am writing this book and I will tell every bit of truth inside of me. Yes, I am finally writing the book. It is time...


11 comments:

deb@simpleplate.com said...

Congratulations, Matri. You don't know me, as a real life friend, but I have followed you for years, your pups, your birds, your gardens and you. I've loved every minute. I applaud your resolve and your need to tell your truth and to live it and I for one will not turn away. You are a beautiful soul, a child of God and you deserve all the happiness you're seeking. Be well and be blessed.

Maitri said...

Thank you so much Deb. You are so kind and your words mean more than you could possibly know. This was a scary piece to write but it is the core of the book I am writing and my main intent is to help others who, though their circumstances may be different, feel lost and alone and afraid. When I have read a book that helped me it comforted me so much. If I could do that for only a handful of people it would all be worth it. God bless you and keep you safe, happy, and loved as I know you are... Maitri

Shaz said...

Your beautiful words of truth touched me deeply, your experiences are my own....right down to the gray parrot

Jenny said...

Maitri I love your writing, you're very special. Remember you are loved, exactly the way you are, moment to moment...

Maitri said...

Shaz, thank you so much for your kind words, they mean more than you could possibly know. And you know, this grey parrot is such a magical delight for me. I lost my beloved grey parrot Henry, whom I had hand-raised, in 2008. I swore I would never have another one. But then came this little girl whose "parents" were both ill or facing terminal illness and it broke their hearts to give her up but she needed care they could no longer give. She is badly plucked but her feathers are growing in now and she is a constant delight. Whatever would we do without our parrots? Blessings to you and your little one and thanks so much for writing in...

Maitri

Maitri said...

Jenny, you are so very kind. Thank you so much. And your gentle words are a soothing balm and much appreciated. Thank you so much for writing. What a grace-filled gift your words have been for me.

Blessings,

Maitri

Dinah said...

Wow Maitri, I love how honest you are in your writing.

I understand how it is like being the odd child in school, being made fun of, not part of the cliques and stuff. For me, I found solace in taking long walks alone, in places where people usually won't go.

I can relate to the pain about not having said goodbye and how silently the parting of ways can hurt in a relationship, although my experience might not be as intense as yours. But I know what you mean.

I've only just started following your blog, but to be honest, it's your truth that makes me want to read on. If your longstanding readers cannot take your truth, then let new readers who are longing to hear your truth come.

Thank you, Maitri, for being so honest. I'm really just touched and blessed by reading this post.

denimflyz said...

Truth comes in many forms and is expressed individually. My heart cries for you, and for what you have been brutally subjected to. To have the constitution to face what you have and to send blessings upon the world and be humble and have a smile in your words...
I have been abused, but not at home but by teachers and people of trust. Beaten because I could not see the blackboard in school, or having trouble understanding school. I found solace in my animals and my grandparents. To this day, my distaste of the human race shows, though my comfort among those of us who walk this path, I am comfortable with. Not everyone gets my compassions and I do not give compassions out freely.
May blessings be upon you.

Maitri said...

Dinah, you are so very kind and I'm glad that there was something in my writing that was a comfort to you in some way.

You know, there are times when I write something and cringe as I hit "Publish." And times the next day when I wake up and think, "Oh NO, what have I done?!!!" And even with this piece I have come back, even this morning, to remove one little section that has worried me but each time I've come back I just couldn't do it, because that's not who I am as a writer.

As a young woman and on into my childbearing years and 30's and 40's to today, the women who wrote bravely, their truth, were the ones who gave me something to hold onto, who made me feel that I could go on. They gave me courage, were touchstones, helped me hold on through the darkest hours when I had the worst thoughts. I felt less alone. They went through that, and they survived. I think it is our responsibility to reach out and help those that come after us. We are a chain of survivors. I am a link in the chain.

So I thank you for your kind comments on yet another day that I woke up afraid about what I wrote and came to the comments section section, read your comment, and kind of sunk back in my chair with a sigh of relief. YOU are a touchstone for me, all of you who write in here. We are all links in the chain...

Bless you dearheart,❤

Maitri

Maitri said...

Denim, what a very kind note, I appreciate it more than I can say, and as a woman who has been kept afloat through the hardest times in my life by the animals that I loved so dearly and who shared their lives with me, I understand what you say and I feel it so deeply with you.

You know, I've often said, "Trust is hard won and easily lost." And it is with me. It's why I lead a cloistered life of prayer, meditation, writing, doing work that is important to me, and most of all just loving my sweet little ones that are always with me to kiss and cuddle and laugh at and with. The poor little featherless grey parrot I took in a few weeks ago is feathering out and we are bonding and she just talks and sings up a storm now that she is growing comfortable here and it is such a delight. I am surrounded by the sweetest kind of love here, and it shores me up through all the days of my life.

I wish you love and peace dear one. Please know how much your comment meant to me. And I send blessings back to you, in abundance.

Maitri

grayspirit said...

I think an honorable goal in life is to discover who you are and to find the strength and wisdom to accept that discovery - regardless of what others might think. Continued luck on your journey.

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