Our little world is dark and still this morning, barely a murmur from wind or animals as we wait and hope for more rain.
Our New Year was marked by wild storms that toppled one tree and hurled branches, leaves, and bark from the gum trees all over the farm. It looks like a woodland fairy went a mad-crazy with confetti, and I love it. Ground that was bare and cracked two days ago, now has bright green grass an inch high. Vibrant spears pushing up through a veil of gum nuts and twisty branches, shredded leaves and gnarled strips of bark. What a beautiful way to start a new year.
This morning I’m hibernating in the granny flat, a fan blowing air cool enough that I can actually curl up under a blanket. That, my friends, is rare bliss in a Queensland summer, which usually has me comatose in front of a fan with a wet towel around my neck to keep from melting. I’m cherishing it.
Recently I realized that I was finally ready to go through my old journals, letters, and photographs, ready to work through those still-buried moments that needed addressing and healing so I could move forward in peace.
It has been horrible and beautiful. Going back to those days of darkness and bondage and abuse, facing the brain-washing and paralyzing fear and deep insecurity, reliving the crushing of all that was me, it is hard stuff. I’ve sobbed for her, the Back Then Me, trying not to be sick, wishing I could reach into those pages and photos and snatch her to safety, and make a safe place for her to heal, a safe place like the farm is for Now Me.
The lovely part is, I can do that. I can revisit those moments with the strength and courage and love that I have now. I can address those lies with searing truth that shatters them into pieces. I can face those bullies and abusers, and tell them exactly what I think of their cowardly cruelty. I can feel those feelings in absolute safety.
Face what happened. Feel the feelings. Speak the truth. Then the healing happens.
Now I can pick up letters or pictures that only recently had me sobbing and all I feel is love, and incredible pride. I talk to Back Then Me and tell her how sorry I am that I couldn’t keep her safe, how proud I am of her for keeping love and light in her heart no matter what hell they put her through, and how happy I am that we are safe now, surrounded by good people who love us even with all our crazy bits. We’re pretty lucky.
And when I’m ready, I do it all over again. Another story, another time, another moment, knowing that the painful part won’t last, that soon it will be scoured clean and filled up with love and gratitude.
As I work through these memories, I’m finding a lot of healing through drawing. I draw what I feel, what I need to express but can’t find words for. I have a goblet full of markers and a blank notepad nearby, and as I work through each situation, I start drawing.
It was awkward at first. I am not a natural at drawing, and had this wonky idea that I should only draw if I was good at it. Voicing that showed me the lunacy of such thoughts, and I embraced the freedom of being a bad draw-er. The drawings come more easily now. Bear, who has his degree in fine arts, cheered me on. When I bashfully showed him my childish efforts he beamed and said they were perfect, for it was my childhood experiences that were being given a voice, and it only made sense that they would be from a child’s perspective. That made me smile and picture my inner child scribbling away, telling her story through stick figures and primitive, um, everything else.
So I keep drawing, and each one lightens my heart and frees my spirit a bit more, and untangles feelings and thoughts that would otherwise stay hidden and unexpressed.
I’ve also been making things. The hard work of healing is only effective for me if I am equally passionate about the fun work of play.
I love playing. I love making things and mucking about in the garden and nailing bits of wood and painting old furniture and cutting out pictures for scrapbooks and hiding away with stacks of books to inspire even more play.
This week I harvested rosellas and made bottles of gorgeous ruby red syrup to add to chilled prosecco or icy cold sparkling water.
I harvested the last of my red carrots, striped beetroots, and a huge cucumber from my friends, Paula and Nikolaj, and made jars of pickles flavored with caraway seeds, peppercorns, and cumin. They’re so delicious served cold on our sweltering summer days.
Soon Bear and I are going to reupholster some old chairs in heavy weight linen, and put the second coat of bright green paint on my medieval chair.
Healing. Drawing. Creating. It’s a beautiful start to 2018.
What type of play is your favorite? xo