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



Monday, July 30, 2012

The Unpublished Heart

Hidden beneath the predictable veneer of the expected
and a sincere desire
to have televised and authored emotions,
the kind that resonate with masses, win awards,
sell books...

beyond the frontier, behind the curtain,
above the strings of the marionette
pulses the unpublished heart.
It would not gain popularity,
nor would it be asked to prom,
or even marry.

By God, it is a heart though!
There is a universe sized hole through it,
and yet....
inconceivably...
it still labors with every agonizing beat
to feel something
within the bell curve.
.
.
.
("10. Adult children of alcoholics usually feel different from other people. The feelings of isolation you had as a child make connection with other people extremely difficult. You longed for the connection but could not effect it. As an adult you find that these same feelings persist. I'm not sure one ever completely loses the sense of isolation. I'm not sure anyone with this kind of history ever feels wholly connected." - Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed. D.)

23 comments:

  1. Make life not determined by where you have been, but where you are going.

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  2. So true, Annie, and beautifully said. When I read my first ACOA book, it literally knocked the wind out of me. I never knew WHY I had that unfillable hole in my heart...till I read that book. Oh, the joy of knowing you are not alone in your suffering! I was a parent to my mother most of my life because she was a drunk. I still have moments of deep mourning for the childhood I lost. Love you, my Annie!! xo

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    1. I talked about you in therapy today...the connection we feel. I think we see these holes in each other and are drawn into them as 1) a similar and recognizable entitiy or 2) an emptiness we wish to fill in each other.

      My new boss asked me, if I could be anything in the world, what would it be. I almost said "a child"...but I figured that might get my ass fired or demoted for not being ambitious enough! I love you too Marion!

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  3. (until... you discover you are not the only one. for me at least, this is true)

    That was so beautiful. I read it quick, then went back and sipped it. Damn, you're good.

    (I made a mess of my life. Pulled people in, told them what they wanted to hear. made them think they loved me. then...when they least expected it, I left them. Once, when I was in my early 20's I accidentally fell in love and it scared the hell out of me so I hurt him so bad that he walked away. And then I punished myself for another 20 years. and then, I feel in love again. this time, it was deliberate. It was the frightening. I killed it. He came back. We discovered we both were raised by alcoholics. I felt less isolated. I felt safer. but its an ongoing process. and its a well paved road. there are days, especially steamy ones, when I get stuck in those damn tar bubbles....)

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    1. I wrote your comment out long hand, thinking about it for quite awhile last night. What a journey, eh? And breast cancer on top of that! I hate the 20 year punishment part, but I totally understand it. If we never get to the core of why we're screwed up, then it just seems like our failing in total. I am incapable of flying a rocket ship. Should I punish myself for 20 years? Doesn't seem productive and yet self punishment feels good in a way. But I could learn to fly, and vow never to get in a rocket ship again until I do.

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  4. Annie, as a child I never knew that other peoples homes didn't operate like mine. The fear, and uncertainty the five days of good surrounded by the thirteen bad. Life offers plenty of opportunities to relearn how to live...

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    1. ACOA talks so much about that also. We don't know what normal is. We don't know how to act and we feel differently than the way we think we are supposed to. So there's a lot of posing and masking and hiding. It's sad really, but I can't really just blame what I call my "un-childhood". I just wish I had worked through it a lot sooner. But then I suppose I wasn't ready. It's never to late to relearn, if we are willing to do the work. The work bites!

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  5. This is a gorgeous piece, Annie - so obviously close to your home and heart.

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  6. Good, good. The final comment about adult children, reminds me of my sister (half sister) who is one and has lived most of her life in various stages of fear and addiction.

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  7. My birth father was an alcoholic. I rarely mention him. Ah, the divide between the expected and what is real, what is sought and what is found. I have known that longing too of the last stanza. Beautifully, achingly nailed.

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  8. Gracias Annie. I so much appreciate your voice to this along with Wander's, Green Monkey's and Marion's input.

    Thank you all for sharing.

    Wonderful piece Annie!!!

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    1. Yes, great comments. How many of us were drawn to this blogging thing by the dream of connection...feeling like you belong and are a part of something? I'm just realizing that isolation can be an interior island, not just a physical stepping off the grid.

      Thank you!

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  9. "Make life not determined by where you have been, but where you are going."

    Easily said... but sometimes, our lives are constantly affected by forces over which we have no power or control. My parents weren't alcoholics, but there was no display of affection between Mom and Dad... I guess I never really had an idea of what a relationship/Love was supposed to be about.

    It is difficult to break free of those albatrosses that have been strapped to our backs for so long.

    Still, one can't give up... just keep looking forward, Annie...

    ~shoes~

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    1. Yes, Travis said something similar as this quote. If there were a switch, it would be as easy as that. "Difficult" is almost a euphemism for the physical wrenching involved in understanding and overcoming the baggage. Not giving up Shoes. Diving in.

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  10. I read this a few times. The penetration into feelings and experiences mostly observed in my case, makes me think I understand them, though I know unless lived I can not. I missed dealing with most of this. On the other hand it feels like I didn’t… What I avoided dealing with or placed in safe places, this writing now brings forth.
    Wonderful writing..

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    1. Thank you Anthony. I believe you can understand to a very important level without having lived it. Shared understanding is one of the main reasons I write I think. First it figures things out for me, and secondly it paints a picture of me for others. I'm actually desperately wanting to write about something else besides myself at this point...fiction, fun, frivolous. Maybe soon :)

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  11. Your poems always resonate inside my mind long after. I'm sure this will too.

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  12. i read this study where one group of adults had been abused and frightened and neglected almost all the time throughout their childhoods. the other group, only sometimes. sometimes they were loved and cared for.

    guess which group fared better as healthy adults?

    yup, the ones who knew what was consistently coming and could brace themselves for it. hope made that hard for the other group.

    your fine writing and images make me wonder if a hole in the heart can be filled, repaired, or if it might glide more easily when the winds blow. you are facing what you lacked, annie, and i think in time you will not only be able to give it to yourself but you will get a special delivery.

    love
    kj

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    1. Hmmmm. I have always found hope difficult. Well the silver lining asserts itself I guess. Leave it to you KJ! I wish my hole wasn't quicksand for those I care about. But on the positive side (listen to me! not sure I have spoken those words before!) I am in active pursuit to heal what hurts...others, and myself.

      Love you!

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  13. I've seen two kinds of drunks, the violent and recluse, and the happy drunk. I don;t want to be either. But I have friends raised by happy partying alcholics and they turned out okay. It was the former group that was the cause for trouble at home which spilled over into the kids life at school and such.

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    1. Yes, I would imagine there is quite a difference raised between those two extremes, and then of course there are all the subtle variations in between that add to the mixed bag of nuts!

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  14. Goosebumps, but not on my arms, up the back of my neck and into my skull... wonder what that means. God how your words move me...

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Thank you for listening.