Tag Archives: past

“Bruises fade father, but the pain remains the same” ~Christina Aguilera

As part of my reading deprivation, I’ve been listening to music. I’ve danced around the house, cleaning to Katy Perry and writing with the aid of Meditation music. My musical taste is ecclectic to say the least. As part of the excercise, reading deprivation aims to connect us to our own voice. When I listen to music, I do hear the other voice singing in my ear. I can hear the artist. Sometimes what the artist has to say is so powerful, so beautiful, so painful even, so true. I can’t explain why this song means so much to me, to do so woud be to unravel one of the biggest mysteries in my ongoing investigation of my life. But i am okay.

 

If you ever thought Child Abuse was something to take lightly. I can assure you. You are wrong.


“The childhood shows the man, as the morning shows the day” ~ John Milton

When I was a little girl, my father brought me to the paint store and let me pick out the color for my room. I had a silver carpet and chose a light shade of lilac. When he was done, I walked into my finished room and felt that I had stepped into a room made of clouds. The silver carpet reflected hues of lilac and my white furniture seemed to make the whole room powdery. I fell in love with my little sanctuary.

Growing up I needed that sanctuary. The chaos of dysfunction and alcoholism ravaged my home and family like a ravenous beast sent to search out and destroy anything happy. I’d close my door and let my room comfort me.

 

At night, when the moon was full and bright, my room became another world entirely, the colors seemingly made for moonlight. I would climb up to the windowsill at night and pretend that I had a comfy window seat. My scrawny five-year old self at the time easily fit on the normal sill, so in reality it was a window seat.

 

I would stare for hours at my backyard, at my swing set still and illuminated. Where I lived there was nothing around but woods. Sometimes, if I were lucky, a deer and her fawn would venture out into the cleared yard, or a group of bunnies would frolic beneath the moon.

 

My favorite time was winter. I would perch at the window, like my cat,  and watch the falling snow, hearing the infinitesimal hush as the flakes found the ground. Everything was silent when it snowed. My room became even more mystical when there was snow on the ground and the Moon would grace me with her presence.

 

My childhood room made me into an artist. While the war waged on the other side of the door, my room was my sanctuary from violence, anger and hatred. I found peace and serenity in that room and sometimes when I dream at night I visit my safe house.

 

My room now reflects who I am as an individual. Four cork boards hang on the wall facing my bed. They are filled with pictures of places I want to visit, scenes that are serene and mystical. One is filled with random clippings from magazines with words like “words can change the world” and “Let your imagination be free.”  Though I find the secret a bit hokey, one would say that they are vision boards. For whatever reason, they keep me in line.

 

I have my dry erase calendar marked up with things to do, things to accomplish, things to think about.

 

There is a small table resting in the inset next to my bed. Littered with seashells, beach glass and candles, it is a small attempt to claim serenity. There is a crystal lotus votive that sits in front of a mirror. A small Buddha carved from Jade that I found on a chance encounter with a down and out street fair when I myself was down and out, rests on one of the petals of the lotus, and below him a silver cross from a necklace my grandmother had given me. I stare at my little shrine like altar, watching the silver swirl of incense as it curls around my flower. Serenity.

My mother had a CD library that looked like a new age book-store, a relief I found when I came home to live with her after practically living on the streets. The little CD player by my bed plays Chopin or meditation tunes. There are only two windows in my room, both are small and set up high in the corner where my bed rests. When the moon is out, and when I need her the most, she hovers high in the sky. She and the stars are the only thing I see at night. I don’t need a window seat, I can see the sky from the comforts of my bed.

 

When I first came here, when I finally reconnected with my mother after living the down and out life, the first things out of my mouth were, “it feels like home.”

 

I have spent many years as a troubled and angry child. What happened on the other side of the door began to sneak into my dreams years after, and the only thing it elicited was rage and confusion.

 

Things are different now. And while I do try to work through my past, sometimes at night he calls my name and brings me back. I look at my Buddha, I stare at the moon, and I remind myself that RIGHT NOW, in this present day, I am home and what lies on the others side of the door is not unknown or known danger. What lies on the other side of my door is opportunity, peace, comfort, love, and the world waiting for me to come out and play.


“…The great teacher inspires”~William Arthur Ward

Assignment #4: Hall of Champions

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~William Arthur Ward

The Creative Champion Hall of Fame
(an induction ceremony)

Ladies and gentlemen I am proud to host the first ever Induction ceremony to the Hall of champions! The inductees are both intelligent and love giving individuals who would make any artist proud to have known them. A relative, a mentor, a teacher–three individuals who have not only inspired this artist to creative new heights but have also supported her on her mission to create and inspire the world. Without any further ado let the ceremony begin.

To the late Edward King, though unable to attend in physical presence, may his spiritual being accept this honor wherever he may roam. It seems like only yesterday when we first met, though twenty-three years have passed. I still remember the first time you laid eyes on me. Though only an infant the warmth you held in your eyes as you held my wriggling newborn body still flows through my veins. I am part of you and I carry this legacy on with the greatest of prides. The words you spoke over me, part of my imaginative memory, have been told to me through out my life. “She is wise. She is special. She is capable of great things.” Your cancer ridden body, near death, sensed something great within me. Dear grandfather, it is with pride that you are the first inducted to my creative well-being. You sensed the greatness within me, and knowing that keeps me journeying toward the greatness you beheld. You are with me every step of the way and it is because of you my pen name bears your family name. Wherever you are, I hope that you are proud of me. Every day I walk with the light I first found in your eyes. I will not let you down, because in essence to let you down is to let myself down. May your words be a prophecy of sorts as I continue on this journey, and may your spirit always be there to guide me and envelop me in warmth and love, especially in times of hardship and darkness. Thank you for being the first to hold me and for showering me with love and light from your sea-faring eyes. I love you. Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause for the late Edward King.

The next inductee came to me in the troublesome times of my middle school youth. Carefully watching our fifth grade snack time production of the Wizard of Oz, a script we collectively wrote from memory, you carefully took in our performances. You noted that my cowardly lion performance was a creative and talented endeavor. A few years later, I found myself sitting in your English class, eager to learn and grow. You recognized my talent for interpretation and deep thinking. You pushed me to audition for my very first play, your production of “Our Town.” Never will I forget climbing that ladder and not pretending to be, but actually being Rebecca Gibbs, the little girl enthralled with the great wide universe. Over the next few years you groomed me for acting school. You picked me up when my self-confidence would start to sink. You kept me going, even though I wanted to quit. Because of you, I was able to see my very first written play be put into production. Because of you I am able to say I am an artist. Thank you for being the shoulder to cry on, the ear to listen, and the man who filled my father’s vacant shoes. Without you, my life would have gone in a completely different direction. I know this now, and I thank you for the direction you chose to push me in. Thank you Mr. Minutello, from the very depth of my depthless artistic heart. Ladies and Gentlemen, the man who is responsible for my creative self-worth!

Last but not least, to the teacher who found me sitting in her creative writing classroom. Still a psychology major at the time, I bit my lip when you asked if any of us wanted to be a writer. I had wanted to be a writer but I had given up the belief I would ever be able to do so. After our first assignment, a poem about a life changing moment in our lives, you came to me before class started and handed me my poem with a long letter attached. It was the first letter of praise I had ever received, and I still have it to this day. You encouraged me to seek out publication, the kind of publication that begin writers careers. You told me I had talent. You were impressed with each of my poems, you fell in love with my short story, and you encouraged my writing every day. You helped make each poem better. You walked down to the chair of the department and spoke endlessly of my talent and creativity. You made me well-known to all of the professors of the English department, a fact I learned once I changed my major and found that they already knew of me. Because of you my faith was restored in my writing potential. Thank You Jessica Williams. Becuase of you I found the courage to disagree with my father’s harsh criticisms and pursue my dream of being a writer, openly. You said to me “You don’t have to become a writer darlin, you already are.” Words that will be with me for a long time to come. Thank you again. Ladies and Gentlemen, the teacher who inspired me to follow my dream!

To my inductees, I am proud to add you to my hall of champions. You bring a smile to my face whenever I think of you. You are what I fall back on when my confidence begins to diminish and my hopes and aspirations seem futile. You are my safety net. I hear your voices, I see the hope in your eyes, and once again I am alright to stand and continue on in this journey. Thank you for being part of my life. Thank you for being my creative inspiration. And most importantly, thank you for pushing me toward a life full of creativity and art.

 


“Your worst humiliation is only someone’s momentary entertainment” Karen Crocket

Assignment #2: The Monster Hall of fame.

In sixth grade we would arrange our table desks into groupings of five or six. We were groups, capable of earning points and compliments from our teachers. Each group had a name, like a team, along with a drawing that best represented us. My group team were the Rushmores, complete with a portrait of Mt. Rushmore with our faces instead of dead president’s, drawn by yours truly.

The team was all girls, my best friend for kindergarten, the class popularity queen, the girl with fragile bones that were always broken, and the queen’s shadow. Sometimes I thought I was there by default, not really fitting in with the girls who seemed to be overly obsessed with boys, magazines, flavored chapstick, and what dress they were going to wear to the school dance.

I could care less. I was friends with the boys, at lunch I sat at their table and during recess I played with them on the soccer field, or I sat on the bleachers and cheered them on. Jeans and sneakers were my fashion statement, and I only liked flavored chapsticks if it were something tasty, like Dr. Pepper. That was just who I was and I was okay with it.

One frigid February afternoon, after lunch, the boys set out to take the soccer field. I perched myself on the silver steel bleachers, content to hold my friend, Diego’s keys and cheer him on. I had brought a notebook out with me and busied myself with doodles and sketches. At the sound of the whistle, everyone lined up ready to go back to education and leaving the recess field for the next day’s adventures.

Diego chatted with me as we walked in, taking our usual spots at the front of the line. He had scored a winning goal against his arch nemesis, Kevin, just before the whistle blew and he was riding the emotional high that came along with winning.  I laughed, unzipping my jacket as we walked into our classroom.

My desk was missing from the Rushmore table.

It hit me like a baseball bat to the chest. My desk, alone with my fuzzy purple pen dangling out next to my favorite purple marble notebook. Alone and dead center in the classroom. I hesitated, not understanding how my desk got up and walked away. The rest of the class shuffled in behind me, chatting about various things and putting their things away.

Something white glared from the top of my desk. With what seemed to be an entire roll of scotch tape, a piece of loose-leaf paper was plastered on the top of my desk. I slid into my chair, trying to act as normal as possible, though the whispering snickers started to stab me from behind. All eyes were on me. I was center stage. I prayed the spotlight would dance somewhere else, but it just got brighter as I stared at the written message scrawled upon the immovable parchment.

The Declaration of No More Friendship

We, the former friends of Kristen, hereby decree all friendship and friendly activities be stopped immediately for the following reasons:

I swallowed a rising lump in my throat. The little inner voice that tells you to protect yourself was shouting, telling me to stop reading. But I didn’t listen. I couldn’t, what had I done that was so incredibly wrong that would warrant me a monster deserving a cessation of friendship.My eyes floated down the list.

  • She thinks she is so cool, but she’s not
  • She secretly does sexual things with the boys, that’s why they like her
  • she’s ugly
  • she’s fat
  • she smells like a rabbit cage (i didn’t own a rabbit and i always smelled like the flowery perfume my aunt got me)
  • her family is crazy, and so is she
  • she’s mean to everyone
  • her voice sounds like a cartoon being choked
  • everyone hates her but won’t tell her to her face
  • she thinks she’s so smart, but really she just kisses up
  • her mom is sleeping with Mr. Lisinksi, that’s why she’s student of the month
  • she’s so ugly her own family doesn’t even want her
  • *insert a long list of other insults*

My ego, my heart, my confidence shattered and fell to the ground around me. The entire class was whispering to one another now. Salt water began to sting my eye lids, but I blinked it away before a monsoon took control of my face. I wouldn’t let them see me cry. I wouldn’t let them see me hurt. The little voice inside tried to call out to me again, telling me that none of these things were true. Once again it was ignored as my eyes floated down to the signatures lining the bottom of the page. All of the Rushmores signed it, and a few others who i considered to be friends in other classes.

The teacher floated into the room, smiling and bubbly as always. Her face changed as soon as she saw me and my castaway island. The girls from the Perfect Peaches asked me if I wanted to join their table. I moved, simply to escape the forced solitude, grateful but nevertheless aware to the pity staring out of their eyes. The teacher walked to my desk and eyed the declaration of independence so securely fastened to my desk. She asked me if I was okay. And I nodded, pulling out my notebook quickly and covering the horrid piece of paper. Wanting once again the spotlight to shift its burning focus.

She nodded and began her class, eyeing the girls, and taking my cue that discussion of the matter best be mute.

To Be Continued…


“Journeys, like artists are born and not made…”

Assignment #1

Journeys, like artists, are born and not made. A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will–whatever we may think. ~Lawrence Durrell

Thank you.
You stared up, from the bottom of the Christmas tree, dazzled by the blinking lights content with the magic scent of it all. The water drips from the broken branches you couldn’t avoid watering in your quest to complete your volunteered goal. Had to prove you were big enough to do it. You were big enough. (And just small enough)
You climbed up onto your window ledge, pretending you were on a cushioned window seat. The kind you once on a T.V show. The kind you wanted as your own. You rested your head against the cool pane of the glass. You stared down to where your mother’s rose bush once bloomed, watching the moon sparkle in the snow. The wind whispered with snowy dust and your mind wandered to the whimsical sky, the stars singing in silence back at you. Thank you.
You tucked yourself away in your closet, crammed in between your dresses and shoeboxes. Each of your stuffed animal comrades close enough to hear all your thoughts. Mr. Bear, your first love, cradled you in his oversized bear hug back to you. The green velvet ribbon soft against your cheek, and always coming undone. His soft brown hair was like a pet beneath her fingers, and his dark ball eyes providing comfort in times of fright.  He held your hand through all of the fights.
Thank you, Mr. Bear. Thank you.
Thank you for remembering the star filled eyes of Grandpa. For the time he pushed in you the cart over the wooden planks in the Ribbon and Fake Flower gallery in the little Nursery on the way to the mall. Ba Bump. Ba bump. Just like the cars traveling on Sunrise. Ba Bump. Ba Bump. Brrrrum brrruuuum. He pretended he was a car. Racing you through, stopping and slowing. Making you giggle out of control. Thank you for remembering the way your grandmother would snap. “Eddie, Eddie knock it off,” scolding a child who humble acquiesced his wife’s remark with a gentle nod and an affirmative, “uh huh.” He waited for her to turn back to your mother and ribbons and the motor would start again, quieter than before.  Thank you for remembering his whistle, the touch of his flannel shirts, the love swirling in his eyes. Thank you.
Thank you for your imagination. The fake tests and roll call you made for “School,” the fine French dinner in yellow Playskool chairs. For days tromping through the redwood forest, finding forbidden creatures beneath logs, leaves, and rocks. Thank you for the twirl of pretty pretty princesses, for the colored monsters living in the trees, for the flight off the swing, for the award-winning goal during recess.
Dear Child,
Thank you for painting my childhood with color. Thank you for tucking yourself away in the lost and found bin. And thank you more than ever for waiting patiently among the lost in order to be found.
Thank you inner child, for showing me the Way.
Peace,
Kris