Once upon a time I tried to die. But it wasn’t my time. Too much was unlived, untapped, unknown. So much not yet done, if it had even begun, so busy had I been stuffing and hiding and numbing so as not to feel the ever present sense of far away from love, from home, from myself… frantically trying to fit into a box I thought I was supposed to fit in, not for not having tried, and finally, despairing of mending the gash I felt had been rent in the fabric of me, I gave up.
It ain’t pretty to try and not succeed. You wake up not to oblivion but to shit, which I wish I only meant metaphorically. But no. I’m talking violent shit: your body screaming NO from every orifice and pore, every which way out, with no consideration of letting you make it —in your dizzy semi-consciousness— to basin or bowl in one’s one-room studio apartment.
One. So young. So 26. So sad. So homesick and greedy, above all, for connection. For a lap. For cool hands on a forehead. For arms around. For laughter. The smell of home. A kiss. One.
It ain’t graceful, either, how you grope on hands and knees, the world swirling about madly, and manage not to fall to your death —suddenly now, for some unfathomable reason, you care about not dying —managing somehow to make it down the ladder from your sleeping loft where you’d closed your lids the night before but not until after swallowing the pills and falling asleep oh-so-un-Snow White-ly.
If you were to ask me if I believe in God I would now be honest like I wasn’t then, and tell you that no, not as such. Certainly not in a man with a beard in a heaven, ordaining for things to be such and such, calling this bad and that good, this one right and that one wrong. And not a God narrow and circumscribed enough for us to really grasp. And certainly not a God who’d send people who don’t fancy him to his arch nemesis’ lake of fire.
“But I do believe in Morning Glories,” I might add. “Does that count?”
When the Morning Glories learned that one of them had tried and failed, they came to visit the state-run facility where she was. And they sat with her. Quiet. Then crying. Then laughing. Then holding hands in a circle saying the Serenity Prayer. But all the while there, with her, keeping company. And when they learned that she was to return home alone in a few days to the one-room shit hole she’d been carried out of in the wake of 44 pills that had not wanted to stay down, they asked her for her keys. And then they went to clean.
I lost touch with the Morning Glories over the years. They were an Alcoholics Anonymous women’s group I attended in Harvard Square 16 years ago, and, as much as I could relate to what it was that made them or anyone pick up a drink or a drug or a whatever, my whatever had never been Jack Daniels. My pints had not been beer but sweet fill-me-ups like ice cream, nice cream, smooth cream, comfort cream, love cream. And people. But not alcohol.
Truth be told, I also felt shame. Even after they cleaned, upon my return, the smell of the wreckage of my past, lingered. The thought of them there cleaning what I had left, was more than I could bear.
Today, the thought of Morning Glories invariably makes me cry. Words barely touch what is there. This here is a try: it’s something like gratitude. And humility. And love, oh my, love. They were kind enough to clean my shit so I could have a fresh start. They knew, I am certain of it, that it’d take everything I had to pull forward, and that I’d have to do it —the real middle of the night and ’round the clock work of it— on my own. Not without help, but yes, on my own.
So do I believe in God? Maybe. But only if I can call her Morning Glories.
[I love comments! Love notes? Your own stories? What this makes you think of? Bring it on. But I kindly ask that you refrain from advice or preaching or Jesus-saves kind of talk.
Oh and too? Just so no one worries, what I write of happened 16 years ago. Much has changed since. Life can still feel hard sometimes, but I love it far too much to abandon it before my time.]
I am so glad I found this post today. Your words are always spiked with perfect truth, and sometimes, I wish I could be more honest with myself too. I try. I AM trying. Thank you for this, and for sharing your Morning Glories with us.
.-= Amy @ Never-True Tales´s last blog ..On Darkness =-.
I believe in Love more than anything else in this world. Everywhere i see it, and i am so glad it found you to soothe your sad heart. I see you have 64 poems here, i shall set a little time aside and read some. thanks for being brave and sharing your story Heidi. i still like ice-cream 🙂
.-= lily´s last blog ..The Wonderful Adventure of a Motley Crew with Dolphin Fever =-.
.-= christy´s last blog ..Mind Churn =-.
Oh girl, I am so with you there. Morning glories, indeed.
.-= Raven´s last blog ..Saying Goodbye to the Church =-.
This is stunningly beautiful (and heart wrenching) to read. So glad you are willing to write and share it.
On God, no, I don’t believe in the God you described; that’s a man-made God, not one truly founded on the Divine. Personally, I believe in the divine that is beyond the one that is “narrow and circumscribed enough for us to have any kind of grasp of.”
I believe in the God of the Morning Glories (or maybe, Goddess would be better in this circumstance?), of wondrous moments, of good friends, and delicious foods. The God of brilliant flowers, stunning butterflies, Sea Dragons, and laughter – comfort when you are crying and lonely and inexplicable miracles… I think all that (and so much more than can be explained) is my God/dess.
Although, I do think believing in the Morning Glories is enough… more than enough even.
.-= Megan´s last blog ..Being Bold, Finding Your Groove & Living Authentically =-.
Heidi. Wow. That was . . . incredible. Tears for you. Tears for me – I was there, where you were and although I didn’t swallow the pills, I was close. And our drug of choice was the same, ironically enough. (And I even had a sleeping loft with a ladder . . .)
I don’t believe in “God” either but I believe in Love. Love is everything, everywhere, in everyone. We only need to open up to it.
.-= Jessica´s last blog ..It’s not always sunny over here and that’s ok =-.
What a perfect name these women chose for themselves and very much like what I believe in when I think of God. Wikipedia says, “The flower usually lasts for a single morning and dies in the afternoon. On a cloudy day, the flower may last until night. New flowers bloom each day” I think I believe in a God who makes it possible for us to renew ourselves. To go to the dark places and come back. Over and over.
As always- thank you for your honesty!
I am really deeply thankful that those ladies did what they could to help lift you up. Leave it to women to understand the importance of a clean apartment!
I believe in God. I believe that there is a great unknowable entity of which we are a part. I believe in the limitlessness of it.
And although I don’t understand or completely know this great all that is, I talk to it, and I hear back and the words help me.
Am I reaching out to Love? To the Universe? To Connection? Yes.
Does it have to be described any more than that? No.
Those people who have taken hostage of the word “God” and “Jesus” and used it to separate, I don’t think I am praying to the same God that they are. I think they are praying to the God of Separation. And that makes me sad.
.-= Bridget´s last blog ..The 5th Marker of Destiny- You Feel Desperately Sad When You’re Not Aligned with Your Destiny! =-.
Wow. Just feeling very moved by all your comments. Wow.
An Approachable God
Today, I sit with my back
To the rising sun.
A little mistral is playing up
Around the hills
Like a young panther
Ranging to and fro
Through the forest.
Co-creationist with god,
I am painting a green world,
With various shades of green –
Olive, apricot, peach and pine—
And suggesting that we share our abundance
With the needy.
It is too radical a thought
I suppose, though Jesus
Made the same suggestion.
“And who is my neighbor?”
Anyone who needs me.
I do feel sorry for god,
Not to be needed anymore.
I would like to keep you alive, somehow.
But not the same old distant and impossible-to-please god,
The god of Job who lets his ego
Ruin a man’s life and take his children’s.
(I know the story says he got it back 10-fold –
But what about those children?)
No. I think I’d like an approachable god,
One without conditions, whose love
Shines like the sun on rich and poor,
Good and bad – a god that celebrates
The now and lets me know I’m good in her eyes –
You know? That kind of god.
Maybe it is a woman. They’re better
At imagining the possibilities
While we men analyze the consequences.
A “god of possibilities,”
The one who looked at the stone and saw David
Lurking somewhere within it.
Because today, what we need
(and I mean ‘we’ of the opposite sex)
Is instruction in intimacy and healing,
And the capacity for self-caring,
And the ability to see worth beyond performance and production.
I’ll honor such a god,
Provided we both know
That co-creational activities
Include sex, and plenty of it,
And good food, and plenty of it,
And long walks in the forest,
And good books, and at least a few good movies—
Oh yeah, and good coffee, and plenty of it!
So much love for you and for the Morning Glories. So glad you’re in a different place now, and yet so glad you’re remembering and sharing, so this isn’t something hidden and dark and shameful. So glad it’s in the light. So glad you’re in the light with it.
.-= Julie´s last blog ..The myth of merit =-.
It’s astonishing how much kindness there is all around us, and how sometimes it takes being in a very dark place to see it. You write about the truth in such a moving way, Heidi. I’m so glad you’re here and writing and noticing and remembering.
.-= Kelly Parkinson´s last blog ..The Case of the Serial Comma =-.
If I think about God, I think about him/her as someone like the Morning Glories. Full of infinite love and kindness.
I’m glad you’re here, sharing all of these thoughts with us. And I am glad the Morning Glories were there for you when you needed them.
.-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..it’s quiet over here =-.
Gratitude and tears.