"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Interior Age

"The child of an alcoholic has no age. The same things hold true if you are five or fifty-five. Children of alcoholics simply do not have fun. Life was a very serious and angry business. There was no place for fun in your household. You gave it up. It just wasn't a workable idea. The spontaneous child got squashed and struggles to be released. The pressure to be an adult keeps the child repressed. You are at war with yourself."  ~ Janet Geringer Woititz

I put my age in the pocket of my jeans
where it mingles with other minted years
those silver dollars feeling superiority
over coins as light as communion wafers
transparent and broken

their ashes though filling the grooves of dimes and quarters
foundation on the faces of Lincoln and Jefferson
knowing they belong and hanging on
through change

I swing my feet from an over sized chair
mindful, but not moved, by my unkempt laces or lopsided pigtails.
A moment ago I was pouring over a budget in my power suit
managing a department with a drivers permit and acne.

There are no digits to my thoughts
no category of defense that a number can blame.
She is only 5!
She is only 15!
She is only 50!
She is ageless, and stuck there

but determined not to be.
It just isn't a workable idea.


  1. Annie, you just break my heart with your inability to escape those chains that bind you to that role of child of an alcoholic. But I'm with you. I only lived with my alcoholic adopted mother for the first ten years of my life, but now, at age 63, I still get physically ill and near tears when I'm around an alcoholic - who might now even be drunk at the time! I can see something on tv about alcoholics or children of alcoholics, watch Intervention, see a movie about...and be right back to that little girl curled up in a ball in a dark hallway, just wishing I could escape that life of insanity. What was always scarey for me, and intriguing to me now, is the cast of characters in an alcoholics life, the way they are magnets for the same type of insanity. In my case, she hung out at Texas 'shitter bars', and brought home any pervert or felon who happened to want a good time in private. No, no matter what the circumstances, you don't forget those years even if they are many years in the past. Hang in there, girl...it never goes away, you just have to learn how to compartmentalize it and not let it define who you are. Yeah, easier said than done. The quote above, about spontaneity - I have none, and if I'm at a party where others are drinking and being spontaneous and having fun letting their hair down, I'm out of there.

  2. Annie,
    what a beautiful and painful visage you have left me with ...perhaps somewhere your own and to be honest somewhere mine too....although those years roll by ....but the mortar once laid...is forever a scar or a atleast a smear.....hope you are doing good...

  3. http://sparksandmirrors.blogspot.com/2012/01/divine-play.html

    an important post, annie.

    i have always recognized in you a drive to become, no - allow - your younger spirit. it has been there all along. let her run now, annie. we're out there chasing trains, laughing, not really meaning to catch anything.


  4. I hope you can always find some fun, regardless of your age.

  5. hello ms wine,,
    ageless perhaps,,but worthy

  6. I often wonder if the same is true for children of divorced homes. My little man seems to take life too seriously sometimes. I want to scream at him, "DO SOMETHING WRONG!" He is so worried about being perfect that I fear he never truly has fun.

    I like the white background, it's very refreshing.

  7. oh annie....

    i love your use of the word 'change'.

    i don't mean to sound like i know something you don't. i know that is not true. but i have clients and so many times, so often we must come back to the parentified child. the child who could not afford to play, who could worried every minute while at school, who accepted blame in the hope that if she were to blame, she could make things better by being 'good'. she could be loved if she had the powers to make things better.

    we--my clients and i--come down to sooner or later meeting that little girl, listening to her, encouragaging her, mothering her. helping her feel safe. letting her teach her adult self how to play.

    writing this gets it out. you help others and a little girl perhaps quietly listens.


  8. This is so clear, so good. Age has been taking up too much, lately.

  9. I really like this. But, I have to admit, I kept waiting for lint to pop out of those pockets. Hope you are doing well.


  10. p.s annie, i started a monday night writing group tonight and i wished you were part of it.

  11. p.s.s. i am overtaking your blog tonight!

    annie, i never give you enough credit for your photos. this one is a gem.


  12. I appreciate your comments. Sometimes it seems as though no one understands. But that is an ACOA thing as I am coming to understand it. You always feel alone. I am committed to working through this, to an understanding beyond my knowing now. I pray, I PRAY, and there is no one who understands me better than the God who created me. Father. And I have never really known a "father" so it is difficult. I think there is a freedom of some kind in him somewhere, and if so...I will find it. Did I spell father right? Don't father and daughter have the same "ahhh" sound? Why are they spelled so differently? Why is everything so hard? Yes...I am globalizing, but realizing it now.

  13. I put my age in the pocket of my jeans
    There are no digits to my thoughts... perfect words for depiction...was looking for a positive note at end..

  14. I don't know why, but I imagine it's like being in prison:


Thank you for listening.