IF I TELL IT

November the 10th and day 10 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. No snow but it must have rained overnight. The ground is wet and the sky is grey. It would be a good day for California dreaming. Winter is on the way. What story can I tell today. I’m hoping like the farmer in Field of Dreams, that if I tell it people will read it.

I had dreams of writing even in grade school. I have memories of huddling with a couple of friends at recess to start a story. I bet we gave our teachers a smile and maybe a chuckle or two. Nothing much came out of these gab sessions. How productive or creative can kids get in 15-20 minutes? I know that it’s ample enough time for them to get into trouble. But I was never that kind of a child. I was rather boring. I never got into trouble. I got ran over by a boy on a bike once. I was in my Brownie uniform going to a meeting. My face got smashed into the dirt. I got a lip full of gravel. Still, I worried about getting into trouble.

In grade 8 the principal overheard me talking with another student about not having to study. We were walking back into the school from recess. We were still on our own time. He came to my class and called me out to talk. The other kids in the class thought he was going to praise me or something. They thought I was his pet. Instead he gave me supreme shit. Something like ‘Don’t you dare be a bad influence. Now get back inside!’ I was crushed and shocked for I was sort of his pet. It was rather harsh.

Looking back now, I think maybe it was around the time his wife was sick. She had cancer and died but I don’t know the time frame. But I was still a tender child. I must have gotten over it because I babysat his young daughter on evenings when he had meetings. Then he taught me how to dance for my grade 12 graduation. He was always proper with me. After high school when I was in Saskatoon going to university, he called our house. I answered the phone. I thought he would want to talk to my father eventually but no. He invited me out for supper.

We went to the Marigold on Third Avenue. They had a delicous barbecue chicken. He asked me if I wanted a drink. I ordered a margarita. I don’t know what we talked about. I do remember he told me I should be careful about drinking when I am out with a man. I already thought it a bit improper that he asked me out. But he was my teacher and principal from Maidstone. His advice gave me great pause. But we were in public and nothing improper happened. I am the original Miss Innocent but I have good instincts. I have heard stories that he like young blond girls. Well! I am not blond at all but I was young and supple.



WHEN THINGS FALL APART

Some days are harder to show up than others. I meant to come yesterday. When that didn’t happen I was trying for this morning but somehow I lost my way here. Distractions, thoughts, feelings, putting off and avoidance all contribute. It is always so much easier to go with the flow, not commit and not show up. But I am finally here in the after glow of supper and wine.

I have to admit that I’m feeling the boogeyman again.He shows up now and again. I’m awashed with the heebie jeebies. I’m ok though. I’m not off and running away to anywhere. I tell myself to stay. It’s just sensations.  I’ve been practicing and applying mindfulness. It’s such synchronicity that I am reading Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart at this time, too. She tells us that fear and anxiety are all part of being human along with all the other emotions. They all serve a purpose. I am learning to see my feelings in a different way, trying not to label them as good or bad and not trying to rid them.  I am the guest house as in Rumi’s poem.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

I could say that I have been falling apart for quite awhile now. I do not consider it a bad thing. There was great pain with the shattering of what I was that no longer worked. Pain is a great teacher. It is also very cleansing. It sweeps out all the debris. After the pain subsides, I feel such sweetness and I can see so much clearer. It is a time for reconstructing, putting back the parts of myself that I like and the parts that works. This is not to say that I will live happily ever after or that the boogeyman is vanquished forever. I am sure there will be more falling apart. The next time the boogeyman comes, I will think of him as Mr. Sandman. He is less edgy and much more friendly.

WHO KNOWS BEST

Happy Fourth of July to my American family and friends.

It’s a hot one today.  Nothing like a dripping tap, broken toilet and a mentally ill neighbour having an episode in the morning to set my teeth on edge for the day.  A slow Internet on an even slower PC isn’t helping my disposition any.  But I am hanging in there.  I am determined to make the month as per status quo.  I breathe, drop my shoulders, clear my mind.  I close down the browser, shut the computer off and restarted everything.  Success!

IMG_0904I left the computer running as is.  I needed time and space to get into the zone.  There were no words in my crowded, messy and frustrated brain – no transmission possible to my finger tips.  They could not tap out anything no matter how nimble and willing they were.

Out came the vacuum and I am now happy to say the air and floor are much clearer of dirt and Sheba’s dog hair.  The AC has been running.  It is cooler.  My edges are smoother.  I haven’t yelled at anyone.  My fingers are happily flexing their muscles.  I wonder if they have a story to tell.

I’ve been a slob, clutter bug forever and a day.  It’s a story I’ve been obsessed with and told for decades.  Maybe I should change the story for it no longer serves me.  So let me tell it one last time and then forever hold my peace.

It was a class in Grade 1 or 2 when we were living in Hong Kong.  The teacher requested our parents to send a note stating our worst habit.  We all dutifully brought our notes to the teacher.  When my name was called, I had to stand up.  The teacher read my mother’s note which said that I do not pick up after myself.  I drop things, like paper and leave them on the floor.

show & tellThe class was, in essence, like Show and Tell.  My mother probably did not know what the teacher was going to do with the information.  I didn’t.  She read the note out loud while I was standing up beside my desk.  Then in a very authoritarian and loud voice she said my name:  LEUNG HAFONG! and proceeded to tell me to mend my ways.  Then:  SIT DOWN!  I felt crushed.  Tears stung my eyes, but I did not cry.  I was a stubborn and willful child.  I clamped down inside.

Who knows if that did me more harm than good.  But now I am done with the clutter bug story.  I am done with being that willful child.  I do not have to be a willful and stubborn adult.  I can let go.  I no longer need that clamp.

It is the Fourth of July.  We are all free!