Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Right after my baby was born I was accepted back into my parents home and waited to die.

I never had a "plan". I thought it would just be the natural course of events. About six weeks later I started thinking about venturing out into the world.

Other unfortunate events led to a referral from my counselor to volunteer at the local facility for psychotic children.

I had a lot of love that needed an appropriate outlet. Psychotic children were perfect. We really connected. I started with a little towhead that I was supposed to reward with M&Ms for doing math problems. But what he really liked was being taken outside the ward for walks. I fantasized adopting him.

There was a little "voluntarily mute" girl whose mother had disciplined her by holding her head under water. She only spoke to herself when she was alone. Her hair was shorn because she used to stick food in it.

An eight year old boy that threw a twin size mattress across his room when he was upset about I know not what.

A twelve year old boy that had set his parents house on fire and frequently reached for my breasts.

A four year old boy that had been institutionalized at three. He quietly spread his feces on his walls and floor.

Those are the ones I remember. In the afternoon we took them to parks and played. I felt very much at home. I was loved and appreciated that summer.

In the fall, a man from "group therapy", took me in, helped me start school, gave me a car.

After 4 months I drove to Idaho to take up with other misfits, trying to escape the "system" and testing it's safety nets. Processing grief and abandonment. Rejecting society, blaming it, for my guilt. Like the world shouldn't be such a crappy place to live. I was looking for a better place, a better world.

Looking for love in all the wrong places as a war between my ideals and reality was going on inside.

Another series of events conspired to bring me to a safe space, an alternate reality. My initial suspicion of my spiritual teacher held him at bay for a couple years. At which point my self doubt held the process off for another 3 or 4 years. One day I realized that the reason I kept coming back was the loving. The quality of loving was the best I'd ever found. There was room for all my imperfection. But it's still up to me to bring myself forward, to confront my guilt and to forgive myself.

For years into reunion, certain words, like abandoned, had me running scared. It was so easy to turn the knife of guilt and shame on myself. I've been learning to breathe, and watch the ocean of emotions flow through me. I endure. I am greater than my emotions.

I feel like an old growth redwood. They can get burned out. Hollowed. They keep growing. The charcoal side can be curled over with soft red bark. Slowly. If they fall over, they may still sprout from the ground. Sometimes a circle of young trees comes up where the mother tree had been.
( for some good pictures)

I am.

8 comments: said...

Wow what an amazing post. Isn't it sad that you were deemed strong and mature enough to be helping these children but deemed unfit for your baby.

You're such a powerful writer J.

Joy said...

Really powerful, and somehow different than your other writings, it is very good.

I have always been afraid of redwoods, that they would consume me, they are so alive and giant.

Being Me said...

Did you look at the pictures on the link? They are consuming. I think I like feeling consumed.

That's something to consider...

Susan said...

That post is so moving. So many people would be terrified to be within a mile of "psychotic children" and you were able to offer them love.

Possum said...

Lovely post J.
Hugs, Poss. xx

momseekingpeace said...

Wow an amazing post, I can so relate to the part that says

I feel like an old growth redwood. They can get burned out. Hollowed. They keep growing.


Third Mom said...

Beautiful and moving. Thank you.

cloudscome said...

Just found you from This is a beautiful post. I'm going to keep reading.