Sometimes I wish, I think, I could have lived my life
without the soul stretching exercise.
I could have been a dandelion floating on the wind
at the whim of every breeze.
I would have been happy blowing across the open fields
a dandelion puff scattered every which way
sacrificed for a wish by a child with a grin and scuffed knees.
No heart to be broken, no regrets to sleep on at night
just a hundred puffs floating this way and that.
Maybe a flower opening my petals for just one day
drifting on a whim as the wind carried me away.
I could have been a feather fallen from an angel’s wing
floating past your window
as under the covers you snuggled
not seeing me or any thing.
I would have sprinkled blessing dust
across your windowsill
as I whooshed by
so no person could ever scar you
or beat you blind with lies.
Sometimes I wish, I think,
I could have lived my life
without the soul stretching exercise.
by Jeanne Marie
The woman I am, shall not be the woman I will be or the woman I once was.
The morning always brings another beginning, thank God.
And I, always becoming, am not allowed to go back to the once was… that woman is no longer there.
Older. Wiser. I have learned to live and let live.
I, after years, have acquired perspective which lends me sanity, sanity where once there was none.
The pains that once overwhelmed and undermined the nurturing, developing woman that I was, helped to shape the woman that I am now becoming.
If only mastering and accepting these lessons, if only I could blindly trust, there is a gift, the gift of change that accompanies each pain.
I am becoming and with becoming comes peace. I can see and sense this for I know where I was yesterday.
by Jodie Lynne
I look down at her limp body.
She is face down on the large bed, alone. Her fine, blonde hair is like a halo around her head as she lies so still on the brown, patchwork quilt.
As I watch her, I am sobbing. I don’t understand my gut wrenching tears. Why am I crying tears of desperation and tears of terror? I don’t know why I am hysterical and then, with a sudden sense of horror, I realize that it is my body on the quilt and I am not breathing. My body is cold. I am dead.
“Oh my God,” I think. “She finally did it, she really did it this time and there’s no rescue, there’s no turning back.”
“Why did she give up?”
“I don’t want to be dead!”
At this point, I no longer feel connected to the woman on the bed. I think of the body as her and I am me.
I have no memory of her final act, but I am filled with shame and loathing at what she has done. I’d always thought that death would release me from her unending pain; now, seeing what really happens, I am horrified.
All that I can feel is her hurt and my disgust.
“Why did she give up?” I moan. “How could she do this terrible thing without my permission?”
I sob even harder because now I understand that death doesn’t release me from her despair. No, on the contrary, I’d carried her burdens with me to this nether world. All I’d lost was her body and her ability to change her life. If only she had known.
Now, I could spend eternity roaming this sphere, trapped with the emotions I’d carried from her physical realm of reality, caught at that moment in time when she’d given in to hopelessness, surrendered to depression.
I feel enormous regret. I want to be alive! I want to go back and keep on trying.
I didn’t give up. She did!
I have no memory of my physical death. Where was my vote in such an important decision? I, her very soul, I have been forced from her body without my permission.
It doesn’t seem fair and I am so angry. This is a horrendous experience. I hate it! Floating above her dead physical form, I want to shake her, scream at her, but what good would it do?
How could she have done this irreversible deed? I, the very essence of her existence, I did not have a choice, no voice in the matter of her physical demise.
Now there truly is no hope and no escape from the emotional blows she’d been dealt. She was free but I, her inner being–I am condemned to carry her pain through this new plane of reality.
I feel doom such as she could’ve never imagined. No person still in possession of their body could begin to conceive the shock I feel, awakening on the other side with all of her pain still weighing down my soul; amplified by the powerlessness of being separated from the body that had housed my substance for almost forty-two years.
She had given up and her pain was my prison! Death isn’t a release!
“Oh God,” I cry, “if only she had known that, but now it’s too late.”
I wonder how her family and her friends are taking it.
At once, before the thought is even finished, I feel my spirit surrounded by them.
I am crushed. I taste their anger, their pain, their guilt and their shock at her selfish act. Their unbearable fury and their horrible sadness are added to the emotional load I already own.
Unseen, I cower beside them, burdened more than ever, dirty and ashamed.
Why hadn’t she realized that suicide was not her answer? What would it have taken to show her this celestial space, this spiritual prison? Didn’t a glimpse of this possible netherworld ever enter her thoughts; didn’t it ever trickle into her conscious mind?
I can’t describe the distress I feel, the grief that showers over me as I watch the chaos created by her self-inflicted slaughter.
I want to live! I want to live!
Sobs wrack my ghostly form as fruitless tears exhaust my ethereal energy. I begin to float and I lose touch with my being. I am losing all conscious thought.
My eyes open. I am crying, disoriented and lying face down on my familiar, brown patchwork comforter. Could it be?
I reach for my face with my hands.
My fingers touch my warm, living flesh.
I am alive! It was only a nightmare. Thank God!
But wait, was it just a nightmare? Perhaps I’d left my body and traveled to the other side. Perhaps I’d been given a horrifying warning. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had traveled a far distance, that for a time I had left the material world behind. Tears rolled down my hot cheeks, tears of gratitude. I still had a chance and I still had a choice.
However, now I know. I don’t have forever to catch my star, to work through my conflict.
I get up from the bed, shaking with relief. I am alive! Another chance to heal, to forgive myself and to fulfill my destiny, another chance is mine.
I understand, perhaps for the first time, that the emotional baggage I choose to carry on my back, the pain that I’ve refused to let go of–it could all travel with me into the hereafter.
In fact, my baggage would weigh more than ever because the anger and the grief that my suicide would cause my family and friends, that weight would also be laid upon my spirit.
I am alive! I don’t want to waste this chance to heal my broken heart and somehow; I know, nightmare or spirit travel, this was a final warning from my Creator.
Post note: This was an extremely real experience. Jeanne Marie, 1995
She changed after he died and God knows, she was strange enough before his death, but then he died and she melted into nothing, shuffling down the hallways clothed in someone else’s skin and we all realized that we were losing her and there was nothing to be done because we could see that her soul had fled with him into the death tunnel, even as her lungs continued to breathe and her blood continued to pump, even as she slept, as she walked, as she drew breath; yes, this woman in our mother’s body was now a stranger and even though we had all suspected that she still loved him as much as she hated him, we really didn’t know and we couldn’t have imagined the depth or the width of her self-imposed restraint and we never saw the chains that she had wrapped around her feelings, no, not until we saw how the grief broke her, watched the sorrow loosen her clenched pain, saw the anguish strip away her self-control, screaming silently as her imprisoned mind flung itself free, breaking like a child as she mourned his passing, regretting what could have, should have and never would be because now, all hope was annihilated as they lowered his body into the ground and we cried for him not knowing we should also be crying for her because he was dead and she was alive and he was gone so it was over, nothing could ever be fixed, repaired, restored or renewed and death, his death, the death of her first love, our father’s death, had written the final chapter of their insane love story, a fatal romance that had self-imploded thirty-five years ago, but did not die until the day he passed, dead and done and so this, his death, this was the tragic end of a waltz that should have been sat out because the band had played the wrong song, composing a doomed allegiance from the very first chord and we should have known, but how could we have known that his death would drain the spirit from her, crush her so totally and now, now we have to decide…shock treatment or lobotomy?
Can you hear the
Of angel’s wings?
Lost in your closet
Of endless memories
Come out of the dark
Don’t be afraid.
The screaming has stopped.
The voices you hear
Exist only in your mind
The storage trunk of the past.
Come, open the present.
He will protect you, this
Angel of the Wounded Child.
You want to die
Lost in your pain
Yet, you have not lived.
Open the door
Take down the walls
Let the healing begin.
Angel of the Wounded Child
A light peering into your closet.
He wants you to
Come out and play
The nightmare is over.
Wake up! Wake up!
Sleep is not a cure.
Come out of the darkness
The light does heal
The secrets, the fears, the past.
by Jeanne Marie
For Jodie Lynne
Tangled in bonds forged by
Genetic matter blended
Knitted in the womb
Knots that cannot be untied
Ropes that were braided
On our creator’s loom
Lines that are unclear
Boundaries do not exist
Pain ultimately is shared
Young woman becomes
Woman with child
Child turned teen mother
Grandmother with babies
In her arms once more
Two women now
On opposite sides of
An open door
Her little girl only exists
In the mother’s mind
Bound by knotted love
Tangled in her
Living her own lies
Worse than fiction
Hearts ripped apart
By love that destroys
Always with the
The mother steps back
From the tornado
Of wrath and pain
Gut wrenching past
Today can’t restrain
Accused of coldness
As she slams the door
While in reality
She is burning with
Her daughter’s pain
Avoid the disaster
Detangle shredded ties
Attempts to close the door
Between her soul and
Her daughter’s mind
by Jeanne Marie
Eighteen hundred miles from here there’s a place that she calls home, but it isn’t.
She left it behind long ago, this gypsy’s child who could not deny her urge to roam.
On the distant shore she still calls home there’s ocean air she longs to breathe…
the endless blue she aches to see, winds that howl all the way to her heart,
”Come home to me.”
When her longing for the ocean overwhelms her senses, she goes.
Sand castles that take so long to build; yet, never meant to last.
Waves that crash ice cold, slap against her legs, deliver burning blows, sting away her past.
As she tries to absorb the ocean through her skin the surf takes her pain and
batters it away, beats it senseless against her shins cleansing the memories from her head.
The salt in the air, the sun on her face must go straight to her head, drive her half insane
because what sort of woman lifts her body off the sand but lets her soul remain?
Still, home is just a word she doesn’t care much to define and her soul knows where it belongs.
In the early morning hours, one last plunge, she shares the waves with a wayward dog.
Their eyes meet, sentiment is shared, “This ocean it is mine, for this moment, it is mine!”
Dried kelp, empty crab shells, seaweed, rocks, she gathers with a fury she can’t explain
because what sort of woman flies to the ocean and attempts to carry it back home on a plane?
She hauls back a suitcase filled with rocks, stones of every shape and hue.
Still her ocean slips away, not even this gypsy woman can possess the bewitching blue.
She flies away, minus her soul, maybe she’ll return to stay, maybe when she is old.
Painted by many, photographed by even more, none have ever captured
the Lady’s true essence nor managed to carry home the sandy shore.
“I want to live at the ocean,” she tells him when she walks off the plane.
He mourns for the longing in her eyes, her lust for oceanfront property undisguised.
She knows the answer before he speaks, money stands between the ocean and her door.
She’ll have to settle for a visit each summer.
Meanwhile she’s returned to frozen lobster, dirty dishes and unwashed floors.
She gently arranges her cache of shells, goes back to work not quite resigned.
“If I ever sell a book,” she whispers, “I know which cottage I’ll call mine.”
I recently published my book, Women Who Think Too Much. I held onto this manuscript for almost 20 years, afraid to be judged, because I bared my soul in those pages. I waited so long that someone else published a book with the same name.
My writer’s group encouraged me to edit and finish this book and they believed that my words had value. My editor and friend poured her heart and soul into this book, she fell in love with this book. Read every draft, every word, over and over and over.
My writing group believed that my words could touch and maybe help another person, and to my surprise, releasing my book released so many of my own pent up fears, that it helped me. After growing up with my promise/threat to publish WWTTM, my son just kept saying, “Just publish the damn thing.”
I am out there now. ME, THE REAL ME. I felt the walls come down. And so, I helped myself, even if I never sell more than the 11 copies I have sold.
I am not hiding in my blog, I am coming out.
Hello, fellow writers. This is me. Jeanne Marie.
This is my book’s dedication.
To my mom, Mrs. Grace Christine Doucette, 1926-2009.
Mom, without your love and support, I wouldn’t have found the courage to write this book. It all began with my first computer and a four-page letter to you in 1998.
You proudly passed the pages (composed of essays, poetry and pictures) around to family and friends.
When they asked for more, I let my imagination fly in print. That was how the newsletter, “Women Who Think Too Much” was born.
Within a few months, I had subscribers in eleven states and Canada. The full-color newsletter grew to sixteen pages and at my invitation, many guest poets and guest writers were featured, but most of all, I will always treasure your submissions.
I wrote WWTTM for twenty-four months and then I allowed life to get in my way. The bulk of this book was written back then, but never finished despite your persistent encouragement. It may not even be finished now, but it’s printed.
I miss you every day…
Until next time, love, Jeanne Marie
Women Who Think Too Much available at:Ebook
Christmas is hurtling toward me again. My fifty-third Christmas season. The emotional burden of Christmas Past swoops down from the twinkling lighted trees and brightly lit homes that surround me. The blue and red flashing bulbs wring me out until I resemble a soiled, sour dish rag. I resist the waves of regret and remorse, work and work on my computer until my shoulders are on fire, EBay until my arms are no longer able to function. Work around the house until I can’t trust my twisted, deceitful hands (hands which used to be so petite, so pretty) to hold a Styrofoam cup of lukewarm coffee without letting it fall to the floor.
I’m tired. It’s time to lie down and accept my lashes. Lashes of regret for all the loved ones whom I’ve hurt, for all the loved ones who have slashed me with the tree switch of dysfunction, my remorse that has no cure, my rage that burns inward, my self-destructive urges to destroy the vessel that encloses my anguish. My sobs break free, my muscles clench, my flesh trembles from the anguish of forcing the traumatic memories back down; but still I see the cherished faces of nanas, grandfathers, mothers, daughters, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, fathers, sons, lovers and friends.
My ties bind me to people whom I’ve lost to foolish games; codependent lies, contaminated love, mine and theirs.
Each time I close my eyes, Past flashes me like a crazy pervert naked beneath his raincoat. Therein lies Justice because there is no place to hide from myself and myself is where Past lives.
I try my meditation. Relax my entire body starting with the top of my head, working down to my toes. Picture a warm pot of honey and Pooh Bear with a fluffy, yellow dipping wand. He encloses me in a cocoon of warm honey, swirling his sweet warm around me, gently starting at my head. Pooh doesn’t make it past my shoulders before I shove him aside.
I want to slice the pain away, run to the bathroom, and take a razor to my wrists until I have slashed through the skin that protects my veins. I want to cut and slice until the unbidden, unwanted memories Past forces on me leave me alone, my brain waves registering a zero.
But I can’t. After numerous botched suicide attempts, I’ve decided that life is an obstacle course with Heaven as my reward and I’ll pass God’s test if I don’t kill myself or any one else. Therefore, I am trapped, imprisoned in Earth’s orbit, each moment reminiscent of a corny Star Trek film where Captain Jim can’t break free from the aliens. I am captured by that damn, “Thou shall not kill-anyone!” clause.
So; instead, I cry raggedly into my poodle’s soft pillow which he left behind when he followed his daddy to bed. I wrap my little girl Barbie blanket over my arthritic swollen joints and I weep.
I remember the carefree crazy days when I carried two razors at all times, one in my left shoe and one tucked into my size 36 AAA bra so I’d always be prepared to self-destruct at a moment’s notice. (I broke that habit when I sliced open my pregnancy induced 38 C breast by roughly pulling off my bra before I removed the blade.)
That night, I put down the bottle too, cause hell, I was high enough on impending motherhood and each time I drank, I wanted to kill me or the baby’s daddy, maybe both.
I wasn’t able to put down the Southern Comfort the next time around, and although the scar on my mature breast has faded, my second baby still bears the thumb print of my addiction on her forehead.
Past is a stubborn, relentless enemy. He sucks, he tears and he drains, he holds me prisoner under the soft lie of a safe Barbie blanket. I wet her smiling pink face with my faucet of tears.
I get up to get a tissue though, because not even Past can force me to wipe my snotty nose on Barbie’s Sweet-n-Low smile. She’s the dream, the hope and the promise. She’s the little girl still hiding inside my haggard, worn body. I drag my butt to the bathroom for the Angel Soft tissues.
Sleep would be a blessing because I’ve learned to stop my dreams by staying awake until I’m exhausted, but Awake won’t let me close my eyes.
By the way, I just had to stop writing to go back and edit all the sentences where I had slipped into second tense in this ménage a tale of woe, because that is how I distance myself from myself, a survival trick that I learned long ago to attain comfort in chaos.
I’ve surrounded myself with pink and yellow, but the blue remains. A three foot Barbie is decorating my pink Fiber Optic Christmas tree from the Dollar General, pink dolls drip from the branches, a pink and cream handmade afghan drapes over my night gown covered knees, sunflowers burst from sky blue and sunshine yellow vases. The window behind me is open and the sharp winter’s breeze cleanses my Marlboro filled lungs and airs out my smoky living room.
Still, inside I am black. My dark, tortured soul beckons to me and my gut begs me to give in to the insanity. “Just let go,” they whisper.
Psychiatrists say that the truly insane don’t even know it, so maybe I’m simply deranged, damaged goods, but either way, I keep a viselike grip on my minute drip of reason because I’m not going down that black hole alone again. Not even I am that brave.
I decide to stay sober for just one more day. I decide to stay alive for just one more day. After all, I’ve put together over thirty years of sobriety by promising myself, for just one more day. The dream. The hope. The promise. My Barbie blanket and me.
I get so dizzy struggling to keep up to myself, running from room to room, to garden, to garage, to shelf.
Clean this, write that, whip up a cake, pay the bills while making a fattening meal, that my hips know they can’t take.
What am I doing?
Cause I really don’t know–and there’s no going fast when I’m traveling so slow.
I’m stuck in the back seat with the driver asleep at the wheel while somehow the joyride has turned into a raw deal.
Well, no, not very much–dreams are dangerous races cause my mind is unguarded, drifting in and out of strange places.
Displaying my fears, scrambling my brain, inflicting grief with no notable gain.
Shoving back in my face what I thought I’d discarded and a nightmare revisited ends what I’ve started.
Perhaps I could slow down and buy me a piece of mind, but an accident’s gaining speed ramming into me, hard, from behind.
Preceding the crash, Past insists on driving my soul allowing ancient ghosts to tell my thoughts where to go!
“Jump out of the car!” my panicky brain tells my feet.
Run until you can’t remember, the pain, the anger, the bonus gifts of deceit.
As told by Peggy Sue to Jeanne Marie
I know that my owners were overjoyed when their last child left the nest. Still, I wish that they’d asked my opinion before they let him move out. I may be just a dog, but I have feelings too.
The boy came by the house to visit last Sunday and it was then that I realized just how much I’ve missed him, him and his big, sweaty tennis shoes.
While he was busy talking to Dad, I casually strolled over to the rug near the front door where the boy had politely left his shoes.
I stuck my head, well almost my whole body, in one of them. I rolled all around on the floor with his shoe and the odor brought back such fond memories.
I remember when the boy and I first met. He was very young when I joined the family and quite a handful. I used to help Mom with his discipline. I didn’t mind. I was glad to help. When she’d yell at him, I’d chase his rascally butt right into his room, nipping at his heels for good measure.
We also had two girls. One lived in Boston, but the other one always said, “Yes Mom, okay Mom.” What she did was another story, but at least she pretended obedience and I never had to chase and snip her. However, she did give me a few exciting nights when she tried to sneak out her bedroom window and inadvertently set off the burglar alarm. When Mom checked on her and saw her “sleeping” in her bed, I uncovered the hoax with some strong barking at the foot of the girl’s bed. Mom caught on real quick. She unrolled the covers and sure enough, the girl was fully clothed. The girl was somewhat boring except for her repeated attempts to beat the alarm. (She was a slow learner.)
On the plus side, she did share her yogurt with me and she scratched my head with her long fingernails while she watched the soaps.
But the boy? Oh, he was such fun, a human ball of energy! A stick of dynamite waiting for a match! Running through the house, going in and out, in and out! Me, chasing and barking all the while!
Sometimes I’ve gone too far, I have to admit it. I did bite him on the eyelid once.
Then, one time when he was being hollered at, I jumped up to bite him for emphasis. I caught hold of a piece of his shorts and if I had caught him just one-inch closer…well, let’s just say that I could’ve endangered his future fatherhood, if you get my drift!
I hung on; unsure of the protocol required in this situation while Mom rolled on the floor laughing. Finally, I realized that she was saying, “Let go Peggy-Sue, let go!” So I did, no harm done.
Sometimes the boy was nice to me. I remember when I took a stuffed Donkey Kong off his bed and I adopted him as my own. The boy said, “Let her keep it Mom, I don’t want it after Peggy-Sue messed with it. And they look so happy together.” I have tears in my eyes just thinking about his generosity.
One day, as he lay on the floor watching cartoons, I paused to take a bite out of his apple. He just laughed and called out, “Mom, come see Peggy, she’s so cute!” He thought I was cute!
The last few years that we had him were the best. I adored the way he would come in at all hours of the night. The way that it allowed me to wake up Mom and Dad with my insane barking. (Mom’s description.)
Nights can be very lonely for a poodle, what with sleeping all day, so I’d just lie on the bed and wait for a good excuse. The boy would turn the key ever so quietly and shut the door softly. But I didn’t care.
“YIP, YIP, YIP,” I’d shout out, using my “stranger\danger” bark to get the full effect.
Then, the mutt the folks had bought to keep me company, Charlie, would join in the ruckus.
Dad would yell at the boy and Mom would yell at Dad. “The damn dogs woke you up, not the boy!” and the whole house would be lit up like Christmas morning!
Just when Mom and Dad would start to fall back to sleep, the boy would tiptoe out to the kitchen for a drink and the whole thing would start all over again.
“YIP, YIP, YIP!” Soon as things quieted down again, his phone would ring. Third time around, I was pushing it, so any noise the boy made after that-I had to let it slide. Ah, how I loved those noisy nights.
Another favorite time was when the boy’s friends knocked at the door. I got some good barking mileage from them. His girlfriend was a special delight to chase from the front door to his room and then I’d catch her again on her way out. I knew she was scared of me and that made me feel like a guard dog, tough and strong.
I even miss the arguments that the boy and Dad used to get into. Those were great times for starting up a storm of barking. I’d run around them in circles, yipping to my heart’s content, taking first one side and then the other, as I tried to mediate. Although they never seemed to appreciate my efforts, I like to think that my participation often helped them work out a quicker settlement.
Now when the boy comes over, no one fights and the boy acts so different. I hardly know him. Saying weird stuff like “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir,” to the folks. His shoes smell the same, but I think that maybe he’s a man now. That could explain his strange behavior.
Dad and Mom are so hum drum. I can see their Golden Years coming fast. Most nights they sleep right through until morning. Thankfully, a fierce thunderstorm or a strange car door wakes them up now and then.
Without the boy, I just lie here and think of the good old nights. How much of a racket we used to make…
I never realized that he was moving out; although, I should’ve caught on when I saw him take a pile of boxes from his room to his car and then he carried out his bed. When he didn’t come back that night, I realized, I’d lost the boy.
There’ll never be another pair of shoes that excited me like his did.
We were quite a team. That’s why I miss the boy.
I think Mom misses him too because her eyes were dripping when she typed this story.
You can’t keep a fairy angel
on the ground
You can imprison her
Take away her ability to fly
Hold her down, for a while.
But as soon as the light hits her face
She will shake herself free.
She will fly
She will laugh
She will love
She will leave her addictions in the dust
Cause you can’t keep a fairy angel on the ground.
by Jeanne Marie
Today I will get up out of bed and
I will tuck my pain inside a pretty box.
I will close the cover and I will leave my pain there.
Today I will thank God that I can move and that I can walk.
Today I will exercise my body and I will feed my soul.
Today I will enjoy the flowers in my delightful garden.
Today I will give thanks for all that I have gained and
I will send into the clouds the pain for all that I have lost.
Today I will give a piece of my time to someone else.
Today I will not say any negative
words to myself or to anyone else.
Today I will not acknowledge or take into my heart any
negative words that are spoken to me.
Today I will feel the earth beneath my feet, I will let the sun
warm my soul and I will connect with the spirit of life.
Today I will open my mind, my heart
and my soul to all that I can create.
Today I will ask God to touch and surround
both my loved ones, and my enemies,
with angels as they walk their own path.
Today; if I dare forget to be grateful,
I will take out the memories of each
of my children’s and my grandchildren’s hugs and
I will let the memory of their precious faces surround me.
I will be busy today.