Wednesday, May 4, 2011

on bruises

This was Chip's gift to me: an away place, a place detatched from memory, a place to think, a place to be quiet.

I don't know why exactly, but there is something bruised deep inside of me. It's like those mystery bruises that show up on my shins from time to time: unbidden and unremembered, I'm only aware of them later when I go to kneel down in front of Alice --- to tie her shoes or straighten a hair ribbon --- and as my knees hit the floor there is a sharp stab of pain, the blossom of purple staring quietly from my skin.

A soul bruise of unknown origin. Invisible, but felt at odd times - most especially when I'm reaching into that place to share something of meaning here. The aching pain, the stab of tenderness. It's why I shy off, time and again, from writing anything real.

I talk about our days, skirting the abyss with photos of Bean. Her face is a star, the winking silver drawing my mind away from anything that stings.

And Chip: my confidant, my best friend, my protector and husband. He brought me to this place as a gift. Even when I couldn't find words to tell him about the bruise, he noticed my shift in demeanor, how a smile doesn't stay long on my face, how I spend extended moments in the studio, how I say that I keep hoping for peace.

It wasn't long after I told him that I was glad I couldn't hurt a sewing machine - that I couldn't say the wrong thing or misunderstand a piece of fabric; it wasn't much later that he told me he was going to Lake Chelan and wanted us to come with him. A short trip, he said, but a beautiful one. A little vacation, he offered, for quiet thinking.

So that's what it is. And that's what I've done.

There's a bruised and painful place inside of me. It's tender near my heart; so tender I can't quite face it, can't put my fingers on that place for fear that I will pass out from the pain.

When Alice hit her head a few weeks ago, the bump rose on her forehead: angry red and deep purple. In the days that followed, she watched the geography of her face change and kept asking me about it. I gave her the name for it: bruise, just a bruise, honey. And I promised she could watch it go away if she gave it enough time. The purple mark turned dusky gray and yellow: so ugly she worried that it was mad at her. But in another week, and then two, and then three--- it faded. The rise of skin, the smudge of injury: gone. Only her perfect ivory skin in its place. I caught her touching the place just yesterday. She put her fingers over the spot and made faces at me in the bathroom mirror. Look Mommy! It's gone! It was just a bruise- and now it's gone.

Which is what I tell myself now: just a bruise. I will give it time, some space, an occasional viewing in the mirror. Just a bruise. In no time, I'll be just fine.


Amanda said...

My Dearest Whimsy,

I remember that feeling well. I've always sort of felt bruised in an unidentifiable way and it raises it's ugly head every so often.

One specific time was when I was planning my wedding. I cried all.the.time. I couldn't figure it out because I was otherwise happy. My regular doctor finally asked me to just go speak to someone. He recommended a lovely therapis and I sat in her rocking chair one hour once per week and poured out all the hurt that I had ever felt in my life but that I had kept inside. None of it had anything to do with a wedding. Eventually as the weeks went by, I started to feel lifted. I didn't particularly get any advice, I didn't reveal any deep dark secrets, I just let out all the little things that I had held inside for so long. For some reason it feels better for a stranger, or a therapist, to listen to just you and to validate all your little hurts.

So that is what I wish for you. Find someone who has a rocking chair for you to sit in one hour a week for as long as you need...

Much love,

jsibley said...

I've got a rocking chair if you ever need it.


jsibley said...

Ha. Apparently I'm signed on as my husband instead of me.


kately said...

I know that feeling, too ...and I agree that getting it out - in whatever way works for you - is a good thing .... crying when you can .... talking about it .... just getting it out ..... I tell Shelby to just let the tears come out because it hurts too much to keep them in. I'm glad your wonderful husband gave you a Lake Chelan Getaway -- you are truly fortunate to have a soul mate who gets you. Looking forward to our next visit ... Kate

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Oh Whimsy. I am so sorry for your bruised psyche. This post was, as always, beautiful and tender and brave.

If I knew you IRL, I would bring you flowers or tea or soup or cheesy magazines or endless hugs or whatever you liked, whatever you needed. I hope you have tons of support.

As it is, I only have words: I pray for you to find all the peace you need.

Alicia said...

This was lovely, of course. Do you think all people have this? I wonder. I think not all people have this, but the best people do.