Odd, how one
question brings up a myriad of others.
What has my search for a
reason to live encompassed? How could I possibly categorize and place
before the listener a coherent string of sentences that would just begin
to describe all the times of flux and a still changing belief system that
keeps giving me a reason to keep going?
I remember, as a child,
rather foggily I admit; being the eldest I was the first one to go to
school. Any thoughts or memories I have are of me alone. I walked to and
from school by myself. I moved about in my own 'space'. I have always had
a sense of complete and utter safety in the woods. That was the place I
could move about.. touch, feel, breath, lay quietly watching the varied
forms of life about me.
During my childhood, my maternal
Grandmother would take me to her choice in church on Sundays (pressing a
nickel into my hand for the collection plate --- this just brought a smile
to my face ..when I was caring for her last Fall, I went to her church
with her once again and she attempted to place a dollar in my hand, just
like then. "I am a big girl now, Gran, I have my own money for the
collection." smiling at one another as we hugged one another. (I am
grateful for all the memories that woman and I got to share and the ones
she left me with)
My parent's house was not one that encouraged any
attending of organized religion. As a child I went by myself to various
types of church. Attending Sunday School and earning a stay at Bible Camp
one summer when I was about 10.
When, as a family we moved to
Ontario (East- Central Canada) for a period of 5 years. I was introduced
by cousins to Catholicism I found the pageantry and mystic of that
religion to be somewhat awe-inspiring.
When I returned to British
Columbia pregnant with my eldest son, eventually moving to a home I
created for my two eldest children that was in a residential area with
other Single Mothers of varying incomes and states of
That time became my search for 'self' through the use
of street drugs. (Nope, not everyone of my age group - growing up in the
sixties and seventies used drugs, as much as we would like to believe that
made us 'part of' I know of many people (a very good friend of many years included) who 'opted
out' of that whole drug culture - even his body building time was
completely natural) who never used any 'street drugs'.
I became a slave to anything or anyone who
could get or introduce me to someone who had some drugs, some booze,
something that would help me to numb. To not feel any of the
emotions I may have had. To get me to the next high the next
'trip' into my consciousness.
I look back onto that
time of my life and am completely amazed that my children were not taken
from me by the government officials. That period of time I was so
unavailable to them either physically, mentally or emotionally. Either
high or sleeping off the last high as I
left them to be babysat by a TV or play in the yard of,
thankfully, a safe neighbourhood where friends watched one
While I was on another of these flights of
fancy as to what was a good time I found myself sitting in
the candlelight with a group of friends; listening to music as my left eye
began to stream profusely. I turned my face away from the rest and moved
into my bedroom for a time. Soaking my clothing with the stream of tears
from that one eye.
I moved into the bathroom and stood gazing into
my eyes. Mesmerized by the tears moving down my face until that gradually
stopped. I became hypnotized by my eyes I was unable to break my gaze as I
opened the medicine cabinet and removed a 'safety razor'. Removing the
razor I began to caress my face with the sides of the razor .Stroking so
sensuously and then I began to nick my face. Watching the blood well up,
reveling in my inability to feel anything. I continued
'experimenting'. All the while thinking "YES! MAKE IT SO THAT NO MAN
WILL EVER WANT YOU AGAIN... SO THAT NO ONE WILL EVER HURT YOU AGAIN! DO
IT! DO IT! YES!"
At that moment the bathroom door was
kicked in and the two people that entered (one, my youngest sister) were
absolutely horrified and shocked. I stood frozen with anger as they
attempted to staunch the bleeding. Through it all I stood, still gazing
into the mirror.
This was the beginning of decades of applying makeup to eyes that
somehow never met the soul who resided within. A complete aversion to
mirrors. What was it I attempted to ignore?
Back to the events of
that night. The amazing thought process of a group of people 'under the
influence'. They all went off to 'score' something/anything and left me in
the house after finding me attempting to blow out the pilot light on the
As soon as they left the house I went for the 30_06 that
I knew one of the guys had and had been shown how to operate it. I set
myself up in the living room on a kitchen chair. (It was the room that was
furthest away from my sleeping children. 3 & 5)
I removed my
shoe and sock from my right foot, placed the open end of the barrel in my
mouth and big toe of right foot in the trigger. Took a deep breath and
pulled the trigger towards me with my big toe. I sat there, completely
frozen. Without hope, beating myself mentally. "Son of a BITCH.. You
cannot even fucking do this. What the FUCK!!? Useless piece of
fucking skin. FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! Fucking useless CUNT!'"
became like a catatonic.
Two of the group returned to the house,
becoming very upset. Dismantling and removing parts of the
Determined to get some drug to counteract the previous ones
they once again set out.
Somewhere in that time I found my voice,
some minute part of me that had a desire to do something different with my
life and I made my first call to a Crisis Line (Hotline -
suicide intervention.. whatever your area might refer to them as). For
four hours (I have since learned that it was the end of that person's
shift as I called and that amazing person stayed on and continued talking,
listening) that woman listened as I went on about my lot in life, what I
had done, what had been done to me, how much I wanted it all to end. ALL
of it..just end.
She listened.. she spoke.. repeatedly.. over and
over until I finally heard "I CARE IF YOU LIVE. I care if you live.
I care if you live. I care if you live. I CARE IF YOU LIVE! I CARE if you
Every time I said anything to her.. she would reply,
"*I* CARE if you live!" At some point I was able to make an
agreement with her that I would not attempt to harm myself, that I would
call her at a specified time each night.
I also agreed to get in
touch with Mental Health and did the next morning. Saw them that afternoon
- was questioned by two Mental Health specialists (Psychiatrist and
Psychologist) telling them it was just the drugs. Agreed to go 72
hours without drugs and return. I was asked if I was angry.
denied feeling angry.
It was pointed out to me that even though I sat there seemingly quiet
in my body language and kept a level tone of voice happening that I had
constantly been ripping apart matchbook after matchbook. *shrugs* "So
what!" was my attitude.
After 72 hours I was admitted for my first
stay in psychiatric ward. My first experience with Group situation as far
as being called on my bullshit, masks and the beginning of understanding
self. Why I do what I do, what I am capable of changing, learning of tools
to change, listening, truly listening to others.
What has this got
to do with 'spiritual beliefs'?
To me, these steps were the baby
steps along my way to finding my 'set of spiritual beliefs' that comfort
me, that give me a reason to keep on going when I don't want
There were others - a brief stint, including baptism (the only
time I was) as an adult into a highly organized religion that believes in
family.. Honouring our children by giving them our undivided
attention. I came to know of some of their belief system that does not fit
for me and choose to leave that particular church.
occasions when I still attend the closest, physically, church available
for services or just to enjoy the majestic silence of the
More of my spirit is refreshed in nature, in the
woods, the beauty of a sunrise/sunset, the blooming of a flower, the trees
dancing in sunshine, rain, wind. The beauty of life that is good, well
The certainty that there are people in life who are
here for purposes of good not to attempt to destroy, belittle or
erode what little pleasures of life one might find.
that for each of the above there are tenfold people who would be honoured
that you 'invited yourself' into their home on a special occasion as they
remember times when they would be the absolute last choice of any
The knowledge that there are those that may dress
themselves in sheep's clothing, eventually, the 'wolf' inside them becomes
known to others.
A belief that I was given the gift of knowing all
these things instinctually and it is up to me if I am to honour this
part of myself and pay heed to the warnings I hear.
spiritual beliefs would be very similar to those of the Aboriginals of
North America, with smudging ceremonies and drumming (a gift from a
dear friend, I came to know via an email support list, that was born of
our friendship, with her hands she stretched, fashioned and dried the
wonderful drum that now crossed the Atlantic and a continent-- "All
my relations, Thank you, flyte"). It is part of my belief system
that we borrow the use of a small area of Mother Earth and to do as little
damage as possible during my stay on this plane.
In general, life
is a process that I get out of it what I am willing to put into
It has always been my contention that it is very easy to vetch,
complain or to do damage behind the scenes. Much more difficult to stand
up and be counted.
How am I willing to put myself out there? What
am I willing to do to make it so that 'one' person knows that they
have made a difference? How much am I willing to give to life?
respond: As much as I can, each and every day, a little out of my
comfort zone. I reveal another facet of myself with each of these pages,
each word, each issue, each tear, laughter or shared thought. I speak my
piece. I stand up to be counted as one against the war on abuse. Will you
stand with me?