Somber

Sweet sixteen and she has scarred herself deep again.

Not quite enough to depart

But enough for us to know she intended it to be so.

So again we wait,

Wait on the knifes edge,

Wait on her bitter whim,

Wait to see if the fear will overcome her,

Praying she finds the courage to live.

 

師傅領進門, 修行在個人

Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.

A world of ash

The way he used to speak to me left ashes in my mouth as if the very air I breathed was scorched by the putrid flames of his chaos and anger. He was a manipulative gardener planting seeds of doubt, confusion, fear, pain and self hatred within me. I have fastidiously pulled these harmful weeds from my heart and mind. I swore to myself I would never live that way ever again, but this morning I woke with the taste of ashes in my mouth.

Stormy

Maelstrom

Graceful navigation of the maelstrom of life can leave one worn and in need of deep nourishment. Grace can wane, calm can be disrupted but love can buoy us through the storm. When that love is touched with pain a conundrum arises; if you open your heart there is unbelievable pain but if you close your heart the pain is still unbearable and darkness worries sharp and poisonous talons into your flesh. This is not my way but I was tempted, sorely tempted, this week to deny my love, flee from grace and let my calm be damned. I came back. And when I did the maelstrom settled as I blazed with love.

Love, unthinkable really to turn from such a gift.

words by errant satiety image Patrick Smith

Passion

Great dancers

Where do I place my passion? Where can I open my heart, open my complex wings and let my soul express itself? Who can meet me? I either terrify or enamour those within my presence. My human skill soothes but all else of me terrifies. The dissidence of my existence; I have suffered, found the love of self, my beauty and now I am terrible in my stillness. Some karma it is that follows me. Heavy footprints echo into history beyond tolling to remind that I might be dangerous as I smile with all my compassionate will, and pain rains down. Innocence long left me, I cleave to it, drown me with passion with delight I would never willingly harm anyone… I think of the mouse that my cat brought home last night and was teasing, my heart was breaking so I stole the creature from her grasp, held her gently within my palm spoke softly while her tiny heart found quietude as I soothed her with voice, breath and a single finger stroking her to calm. I released her into the neighbours garden only when I knew she was ready, she was reluctant to leave the comfort of my palm. I have never met a human soul that would do the same for me. Perhaps this is not true, I forget. In the pain I forget. Release me; let me breathe… who finds me? Who knows me? Just when I feel free, truly myself I hit my Wonderwall.

words by errant satiety

Interesting

'Attractive Stone Wall' Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

‘Attractive Stone Wall’ Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

I have a friend who greatly dislikes the use of the word ‘interesting’. He sees it as loaded but empty; it is used when people mean all manner of other things much more consequential that they cannot quite bring themselves to share, or are unable to express. I must say I agree with him and in saying so: today I had an interesting day.

This morning I wordlessly gave the right of way at a difficult driving spot to my ex-husband. It is a place I drive past daily. A place where each day I decide based on traffic and the time whether I will allow passage of the other vehicle (it is a spot where they do not have right of way and in heavy traffic will never move without polite drivers making way) to go before me. Today my ex was the driver and he knew damn well that I was the other driver and that I was giving him right of way. He took this opportunity to pause willfully and smile inanely. These were not my thoughts at the time but words I put in place now, after the fact. At the time I was thinking that it is about time that in this small town that he take a gesture of polite willingness as a ‘gesture of polite willingness’ nothing more nothing less; nada más nada menos. I am thinking ‘surely by now we can co-exist in this town without malice or any deep meaning hidden in random interactions’. He milked it. He paused too long; I had to indicate twice for him to take the opportunity, he smiled ruefully and gave me that look I recognize as ‘wistful love’. How sweet. Eventually he drove on and allowed me, and the rest of the traffic, to continue driving.

My day progressed. At lunchtime when I returned to work I see his vehicle is parked very close to my office. Time for the ‘yuck’ moment, the sinking feeling, the arrival of anxiety. This man has stalked me, bullied me, controlled me, manipulated me, was seriously addicted to pornography, was abusive and only ever loved his own reflection in me. I felt stupid for having thought briefly for a moment this morning that it was okay to feel good about him, okay to remember that I loved him once. He can’t help himself. Anytime we incidentally see one another here he is at my work place lurking, leaving things behind that get handed into me, as he well knows they do, and I have to decide what to do about it. Again and again I go through the agony of weighing up what ‘normal’ people do in these situations. If I engage the usual process is the unfolding of email interaction that is laced with the taint of all the aforementioned traits and a ‘backslide’ for me into deep anxiety. Unfortunately clinical narcissists do not come with user manuals.

Today however, I did not engage. I did not allow him to have any kind of power over me. I acknowledged that he was nearby and vocalized that this was reasonable. I did not allow his proximity to terrify me. I forgot all about it until I drove home. I didn’t feel the need to inform my trusted colleagues that there was a bogey on site. If there is one thing I have learned in the past few years it is that it is up to me how I respond to his presence. I am no longer in any danger, he has no power over me, and he never will again. I have learnt what the correct salutation towards a clinical narcissist is: do not engage. Regardless of that deep hook that is still somehow there in your soul do not engage, do not give a millimeter, or yard, or ounce, or quarter, or moment, or glimpse EVER. You must be a stone wall regardless of what you feel inside. Because any slip and that hook is well and truly back in.

I have been thinking on what I have learned from my ten year relationship with a clinical narcissist lately simply because I have two beautiful women whom I love dearly in my life that have both found themselves dealing with what they both recognise as a lesser version of this type of personality. They are both very aware, to the extent they can be, of what I went through and are asking for my help. I tried very hard to make my marriage work. I did everything I could. I left three times but was committed, until I could no longer cope, to making it work. I have talked briefly recently about how bad it got, I won’t go there again in this post. Now because of these beautiful women who have to have contact, through shared custody of children, with the men they are no longer with I feel a strong desire to be able to articulate what makes it safe. It is not going to be easy but I believe it will also help me. So I will attempt to advise and write a beginners guide to boundaries and safe interaction with the clinical narcissist, the pathological liar, and the emotional manipulator who will have you second-guessing the colour of your own hair and the spelling of your own name. I pray I will find some gold for these lovely women because for me, in my particular predicament, the only safe way is, I repeat: do not engage.

words and image by errant satiety

Deluge

Deluge

Drowning, saturated in grief, in beauty. Paradoxes suffocate me. Which is the path of the righteous? (Decide errant, decide and walk head held high.) Decadent as I am I suffer. I weep; I flail against the immoral against the indignant, the dishonest. I ache only for truth, depth of honesty a heart full of justice. Yet as human I choose. Yet as sentient being we exist within the subjective. What is truth if each will forever see, hear, feel, know within ones self only? If God is truth then God’s ultimate weakness was the gift of freewill to his ultimate diabolical creation. I deeply despise causing harm. Yet daily it occurs beneath my accidental touch and within me inconsequentially. Humans, so deep, so empowered with higher faculty yet we are fragile, emotionally wrought and selfish, or selfless, creatures still ruled by base desires. I ache, I ache most for a sweet mind to share the self in trust, nil deception, my face can tell no lie, my heart or body none either. That any hurt be suffered by my hand… death to part of my soul. Take my beauty, feed from my love, take my soft speech close to breast, suffer no more for there is no need… empathy our only gateway into one another, beyond the subjective. Nurture this organ of communication beyond all others that we can reach within another to understand, comfort, inspire, love and find nourishment and perhaps even contentment.

Words & Image by Errant Satiety
Musical offering with lyrics