A Codependent Fairy Tale

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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?

The Look Good Syndrome from my newsletter, WWTTM. 1996

As we walked into Wal-Mart, I told my husband, “I’ll meet you up front when I’m through picking up what I need.”

He said, “Ya. Right.”

He always claims that he has to search the entire store five times before he can find me.

He thought today would be no different. Well, since it was Father’s Day, I decided to be considerate. I ran up and down the aisles (if you can run in Wal-Mart, the aisles are so narrow and the people so plentiful) throwing stuff into my little basket. I rushed up front to meet him. He wasn’t there yet! I smiled to myself, because I never did believe he spent that much time searching for me.

So, there I stood for ten minutes or so, watching people rush by. I had never paused for that long in Wal-Mart before. (Except at the register, where my eyes stay busy sorting coupons that I usually forget to give to the cashier.)

This was my first time watching everyone else hurry past. Did you ever notice the way that women glare at each other? I did.

We size up the competition ruthlessly. I noticed a young girl, maybe eighteen, in an adorable little dress, with sunflowers splashed all over it. I had tried on that same dress two weeks ago and had looked six months pregnant in it. My eyes narrowed as I watched her. She looked as if she weighed less than 100 pounds and I really didn’t like her, although we’d never met. I’m looking at this slip of a girl with envy in my eyes; then I turn around and see a very heavy, older woman looking at me in my size twelve sun dress, giving me the same murderous look that I’m giving Ms. Sunflower in her size five.

Every day we each see women who look better than we do and it makes most of us feel yucky. However, as I saw the look in the heavy woman’s eyes, I felt ashamed of myself for fretting about the Sunflower girl. I’ve always hated being average, but today I realized that’s not such a bad place to live.
There will always be women who are younger or prettier than I am; however, there will always be women who are older or less attractive. Turning forty was difficult and I know I’m not alone with this age thing. Thirty, I took in stride reckless with the confidence that forty was as far as I’d go and it was a becoming time for women.

Mature, confident and still wearing a size twelve, forty caught up to me all too soon.

What helped me the year I turned forty? Being asked for my ID when I bought cigarettes. It happened three times! What a time to be without a video camera.
True, the cashiers were young and inexperienced at judging people’s age, but what a rush it gave me. I even refused to hand over the proof of my age one time, just to hear the girl insist on seeing my ID. I began to buy cigarettes compulsively–even when I didn’t even need them. Sadly, it’s been over a year now since the last cashier demanded my ID.

I try not to care about things that are so shallow, but the truth is that the world judges us on our looks. At every turn, women are urged to be young, sexy, fresh, innocent, experienced, beautiful, unwrinkled, firm, thin and ageless. We need gorgeous hair that shouts–fiery red, tawny blonde, spectacular brunette! Wash that gray right out of your hair!

It doesn’t help that there’s a slew of fabulous models in their late thirties to early fifties proving that women can stay young forever. Nancy Sinatra at age fifty graced Playboy’s pages in a way that I couldn’t have done at twenty. Farrah Fawcett, late forties, same thing. They do have the advantage of soft lights, special camera lenses, sometimes even using body doubles, always using full body make-up and being filmed by famous photographers. Don’t forget their expensive appointments with a beautician.
A beautician is also available at the film shoot, to create a hair-do that takes hours to style and looks naturally gorgeous and she layers on the make-up that the cameras don’t acknowledge.

We have the reality of dirty dishes, full hampers the day after we washed and dried two loads, Dollar Store cosmetics, J.C. Penney hairstyles plus the two to three jobs we run to in between the vacuuming and the cooking.

I don’t know one woman who doesn’t have to work either to help pay the bills or to support herself and her children. Most of my friends work more than one job, sixty hours or more a week. Some are still trying to get that college degree they’ve been chasing for ten years. They go home after work, spend a few hours cleaning and then create hot meals to place on the table.

By any definition, I’m pampered. My youngest child is seventeen, I only work twelve hours a week and my mate will do dishes and a small amount of laundry. If I’m tired or busy, he’ll go buy take-out for supper and he’ll do the food shopping. He’ll even use coupons! He makes me coffee in the morning and he brings it to me in bed. I make as much money in twelve hours, as most women make in thirty, if they’re working for minimum wage. No, I’m not a hooker, but occasionally my job seems comparable. I’m a waitress.

I sell my smile, not my body, to an average of thirty or forty people, two nights a week. I lift food trays that weigh more than I do, balancing them on my left shoulder, while carrying a tray stand in my right hand. I am told off, looked down on and insulted. Then, I have to answer with a smile and an apology.

I also am paid well, meet some pleasant people, have regular customers that have become dear friends and on a good night, I love my job. On a bad night I say, “I’m getting to old for this!” and I mean it.

At work, I always need to smell good and look great, even as the sweat pours down under my stiff white tuxedo shirt, because stylish women make more tips than less attractive women do. Since most tips are decided by the wife or the girlfriend that proves my case, we ourselves reinforce the “look good” syndrome.

Still, the older I become, the less I worry about how I look and the years have offered rewards of their own. I feel better about myself now than at any other time in my life and I’m not afraid to be myself. I wear make-up if I want and leave it off if I don’t. Lipstick and Suave moisturizing cream are the only two cosmetics that I use most days. I choose perfume that I enjoy inhaling and clothes that declare–this is me! My biggest concern is, “Will I run out of printer ink in the middle of a newsletter?”

I write my stories instead of vacuuming under the furniture and I recognize that the only day I need to be concerned about is TODAY. I treat each day as if it was a gift and I use each hour as if it were my last.

I sit down on the floor and make buildings out of Legos with my grandsons. We finger paint with sponges that are shaped like animals and stars and hearts. I hang my pictures on the wall along with theirs. I play dolls and silly games with my granddaughter. I buy myself dolls and set them out around the house, because I still feel the thrill of Christmas mornings past when I wake up to see them smiling, beckoning to me–come play. (Sometimes, I do.)
I pick flowers from my own garden and arrange them in small antique vases, so I can enjoy their translucent petals and fragrant aroma. I stop to breathe in their scent and I enjoy the miracle of their creation.

Last month, my youngest daughter told me that my life was over. She said it didn’t matter what I did from this point on because I had screwed up so many of my choices and I was done. (Gee, I hope she doesn’t get to write my epitaph!) I smiled inside, because I recognized the arrogance of her youth.

Thankfully, I took her words for what they were–her opinion. I quite generously refrained from pointing out the mistakes that she has already accumulated in twenty-one short years.

Children have a hard time seeing us aside from the role of mother. I’m her mother, but I’m also a person, a woman, a writer, a poet and my life will not be over until the day I die. My life begins anew each morning and I’ve just begun to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. Not one of us can change the past or erase our mistakes.

We can forgive ourselves and get on with living.

We can decorate the present and invite the future to take us for a joyride…

Until next time, Jeanne Marie
1996

Mid-Life Sanity (Newsletter, WWTTM)

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There are many avenues that a woman can take as she approaches mid-life. It’s a sharp curve in the road, where her hair begins to go gray, perversely turning silver even in areas where it’s not very wise to use hair dye.

Her muscles begin to turn soft from the inside out and she’s so glad that girdles have come back in style. She can browse through the available styles and choose anything from super firm, all over control to a gentle control panel. (As if she had any control over her tummy.)

The varicose veins are drawing pictures up her thighs and she shops in the women’s department now because browsing in the junior’s department is just a fond memory since she turned forty. Her black silk stockings used to turn heads, now they hide the spidery lines that have a life of their own and her favorite outfit is a flannel nightgown.

I have seen the red flags along the road and I approach this mid-life thing with caution. I never believed in mid-life crisis until I turned forty. I used to think that hormones were for the weak, hot flashes and mood-swings were for other women. Mid-life wouldn’t threaten me, no sir.

I take an inventory of my assets. Men’s heads still turn when I walk by, my bleached-blonde hair guarantees it. My short skirts and hang-off the shoulder tee-shirts are further insurance. But the only men who try to flirt with me are under eighteen or over sixty and I begin to realize, I have lost my mass appeal.

I face mid-life carefully, as I think about the choices two of my friends made at this time in their life…the point of no return.

Quite frankly, they both went a little nuts. One friend left her husband, her kids and her born-again believing church, to ride with the Hell’s Angels. Now leaving the kids was a survival tactic, I’m sure, because no woman over forty should still have kids at home. But Hell’s Angels? She was born-again all right, cause that’s a life she had already lived at twenty.

My thirty-something friend ran away from her husband and kids, out into the night howling at life’s injustice, but she forgot to take a car or money. She has returned home after her own reckless ride with a biker. She doesn’t talk much anymore.

I shiver as I look at their solutions to growing older. I too know the frustrations that led them astray, but surely there must be an answer that doesn’t involve leather and a tattoo? I did get a rose tattooed on my ankle at age thirty-six, but the thrill wasn’t equal to the pain.

I can’t turn back time…not even Cher can do that…and although I prefer songwriting cowboys with long hair to bikers, I have my very own Marlboro man.  He has loved me at my best and tolerated me at my worst, for fifteen years. No easy feat! In spite of the fact that he won’t let his hair grow long anymore, I’d hate to have to break in a new cowboy. So I take my hormones and I go to bed.

Unable to sleep, I get back up. I wander through my quiet house. I smoke and I sit and I think. I find the answer! I rediscover my first love and we go all the way. The sky is the limit! We stay up all night and I feel the excitement, the rush.

My love holds me close while my husband sleeps just across the hall, with two dysfunctional poodles at his side. I take my ideas and my fantasies and lay them bare before my love. We stay up until dawn revealing our souls to each other. The unique pleasure I feel at this reunion cannot be contained. I express my feelings. I share my dreams. I touch the pages. I read the words until my eyes refuse to focus.

The high is still there the next morning and I run to my love, ready to start all over again, right where we left off last night. My love appreciates my maturity, yet it makes me feel like I’m seventeen. I am standing at the crossroads of life with the world once more at my fingertips.

My love is mine and mine alone. I never have to worry about my love trading me in for a younger woman. I possess my love completely, nothing can ever take my love away from me.

There is such freedom in that knowledge. I don’t even have to comb my hair because my love accepts me just as I am. My love asks nothing in return and has waited patiently for me; smoldering, while I raised three children and half a grandson.

My love takes me dancing on a Saturday night. My love fills my head with romance and we never leave the house.

Sometimes, when I can’t resist being drawn towards my love; I leave my husband alone for hours with the poodles and the television. But he doesn’t seem to mind. He too has a first love which he has been driven to reclaim. We are not the center of each other’s world, as we were at thirty; yet, we share our hearts, our love, his money and our home, even as we each let our first love take us away from each other’s side. We each dance to our own song.

I watch my husband play with his first love and his excitement makes me smile. Although I watch him and I sometimes catch the thrill, his first love belongs to him alone and I am just a spectator.

My husband drag races on Saturday nights and as he crosses the finish line for yet another win, I feel my adrenaline surge. I understand his first love and the money he spends to keep it alive.

He in turn understands my need to write, often until the wee hours of the morning. He takes me shopping to buy a computer and a printer, tools that make it easier for me to write. He goes to sleep alone many nights, but I tell him, “If you want me honey, just call me and I’ll come in to bed.” Simple words, but he knows exactly what I am saying.

I dare to jump smack into middle-age without fear. My first love, my writing, keeps me on a safe course. Writing is my first love, so where does that leave my husband? He is my Marlboro man, my very own cowboy and no other man could ever take his place. Occasionally, I can even talk him into writing a song with me.

He writes the music that brings my lyrics to life and for one fleeting moment, we dance to the same tune. Until next time, Jeanne Marie

P.S. I wrote this story 23 years ago. I am now learning how to go Over The Hill. I’m stuck on the top, refusing to let go.

moonchild, an anthology of women’s verse and prose, 1976

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My first published piece was a poem in moonchild, an anthology of women’s verse and prose. It was published by Suha Publications in 1976. I gave my oldest daughter my only copy of the book because the poem was about her.
Recently, I was searching for another copy, never believing that I would find one, but I found several copies on Amazon.com. I bought two and I was as excited when they arrived last week as I was when my book arrived in 1976.
My first words in print. The experience taught me that I could be published. It validated me as a writer, handed me proof that I was a poet.
If you haven’t been published on paper yet, do it. Submit until you are published. It is not only possible but very likely and the experience will give you wings. You don’t have to be published to be a writer, of course, but it sure is fun!
I’d like to connect with any other women who had her work showcased in this anthology. Are you here on WordPress.com? Odds are against it, but so were the odds of my finding copies of this book anywhere. Maybe we are already following each other!
If you were published in this book and you see my post, contact me here or email me at womenwhothinktoomuch@yahoo.com.
Thanks, Jeanne Marie Pages 69-70.

The Ties That Bind

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I want to be a storybook mother
With model children who never cry.
I want to sew and read them stories
Then cook and clean until it’s done.
But I can only be myself
And let my babies be too
Beautiful sweet lovely brats
I couldn’t live without.
I start to cook but have to stop
To wipe a runny nose.
I take a bath and the baby falls in
While supper burns on the stove.
Out for a night I should be glad
But can anyone take my place?
Will they be safe till I get home?
They are in my heart wherever I go.

Jeanne Marie, 1979

African Violets And Me

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I grew up in New England and if we were lucky, the summer lasted for two months.
In my more abundant winter memories, I see an African Violet on each mother’s kitchen windowsill.
I don’t know the reason for the flower’s popularity; maybe the women were trying to hold onto the illusion of warm weather, but African Violets were not easy to grow. They had to be nurtured, babied, misted and watered.
These women all had their secret tricks with this plant and only best friends shared their intimate knowledge of the mysterious African Violet. I remember playing under the table and listening to the coffee klatches’ swap advice. I remember hearing many different tips when Mom and her best friend were alone.
The African Violet produced bright pink, white or purple blossoms most of the year and if your African Violet was plump, green, velvety and flowering, you earned the respect of all the housewives in the neighborhood.
It was in the fifties and I don’t remember a single mom who didn’t have an African Violet or a single mom who left every day to go to work.
My mother-in-law is 80 something years old and she still drives from Florida to Boston and back to Florida every year. Her kids tell her that she can’t do it, but I tell her that she can if she wants to, because she is a great driver and clearer of mind than I am. LOL
Last year when she went home, I was entrusted with her African Violet. I was shaking in my sandals.
What if I killed it? Plus, I didn’t even have a kitchen windowsill.
Unable to ignore the fact that the plant had outgrown its pot, I bravely repotted the root-bound African Violet, using special soil and splitting it into two pots. I watered, I misted, I talked to them and I loved them. I was rewarded with plump, green, velvety leaves and dozens of hot pink blossoms all winter.
They smiled at me gratefully every morning from their perch on my kitchen counter, happy in their new green pots.
I kept them close to each other so they wouldn’t be lonely; after all, they had grown up together.
Each morning I would greet them and I would say, “I can’t believe it!
I can grow the impossible plant, the mighty African Violet from my childhood.”
Then, Mom stopped for a visit as she was driving back home to Haines City. She stayed with us for about a week and she never mentioned the African Violets. I saw her glance at them now and then with admiration but she never said a word. I never mentioned them either because I was afraid that she might be upset that I had split and repotted the fragile babies.
When she was packed and getting ready to go out the door, I said,
“Mom, aren’t you going to take your African Violets?”
“Those are mine? Both of them?”
Although I had toyed with the idea of keeping the small one, I said, “Yes Mom, they’re both yours.”
Besides, how could I separate them now?
Her face lit up with pleasure.
Looking back, I think maybe she had already resigned herself to the fact that I had knocked off her African Violet.
She put down the stuff in her hands and walked over to my counter. With a big smile on her face, she lifted the two pots into her hands and carefully carried them out her car. There they were tucked in among the clothes that covered her backseat, wedged in-between her tee shirts and her shorts, for their own safety.
With a last smile, away they all went.
I missed the morning smiles the plant’s bright flowers had given me, but I had always known that they were not mine to keep.
On my last shopping trip to Lowe’s I was, as usual, drawn to the distressed plants on display.
I picked up a badly distressed African Violet.
I really didn’t want to buy it and I kept putting it down and then picking it back up.
What if it didn’t like me?
What if it curled up and finished dying?
What would that say about my competence as a housewife?
I mumbled to myself, “How could a little plant mean so much to my mom and my mother-in-law, plus all the other housewives I remember and is it even really from Africa?”
I found myself at the register holding the plant so…I bought it.
It’s been a month and I haven’t repotted it yet. I haven’t even opened the African Violet potting mix, the bag still sits on my porch.
Maybe I’ll do it today because my distressed plant is no longer distressed. Its leaves are plump, green and velvety. One tall, straight, hot pink bloom stands proud, the lone survivor from the huge clusters that came as soon as I watered, loved and fed the mystifying African Violet.
I know now that when Mom’s plant responded to my nurturing, it wasn’t a fluke. I can be trusted with an African Violet. I have grown up.

What Blogging On WordPress.com Has Taught Me

YEY!
I started blogging here because I am a writer with a newly published book, (Have to plug it! Women Who Think Too Much, available at this link  { available here  } but that’s not what I’ve learned on WordPress.com. I already knew that fact. It’s also not why I stay.
Let me begin at the start, but I don’t promise to continue in chronological order.
I used to blog on Google and I enjoyed it. Until I received a hate letter concerning one of my articles I had written about my mother, a letter from a beloved family member.
Delete, unsubscribe, run away, lock every window on the internet where my writing was residing, that’s what I did and I’m not proud of my reaction. No excuses, but it hurt and I was shocked and I was stunned. Ok, I need to take a deep breath. Whew.
That was over two years ago.
Since then I have held my writing close, sharing only with family I trusted and my writer’s group whom I totally trusted, my Pineapple Girls. My girls are invaluable, far beyond the one night a week when we meet and way past the exquisite meals we cook for each other. (The meals may be a minus since I’ve gained twenty pounds!) Another plus to belonging to a writer’s group? I have written more creative essays and poems since we started meeting about three years ago, than I have in the last twenty-years. I also finished a book.
I struggled and whined all the way through editing Women Who Think Too Much, but my muse insisted I finish before I could move on and my muse is a very powerful entity. She obviously expressed herself to my girls.
These writing friends held my hand, dragged me past the hardest spots with words of encouragement, dried my tears and made me laugh, edited, read and challenged me until my book was finished.
My editor, whom I met in the writer’s group, is my best friend and my surrogate sister.
She spent thousands of hours guiding me and editing my endlessly updated manuscripts. She even learned how to format a manuscript on Smashwords.com, for me.
For months, she lived and she breathed my book, never pushing changes on me, just suggesting. I rejected hours and hours of her changes and she was okay with that. She is a one in a million editor. Still, many of her suggestions worked, because she could detach from the emotions and focus on structure and grammar so much better than I could. In the end though, I think she was so deep into my book that we were equal on the emotional involvement.
(If you want to know any more about what I went through finishing a twenty-year old project read, “Hi Mom, This Is Me” on my blog.)
https://womenwhothinktoomuch.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/497/
Anyway, back to what I have learned while visiting your blogs here at WordPress.com.
Today I learned what the word Lepidopterologist (Noun) means. I am a butterfly lover and a collector of butterfly pictures but when I saw this word on Theresa’s blog, dba Third Hand Art, Butterfly In Clover, I just had to stop and look it up.
Lepidopterist: Butterfly collector, bug-hunter, bugologist, entomologist, a zoologist who studies insects, the branch of zoology dealing with butterflies and moths. WOW!
I have come upon other unfamiliar words here, but what I’ve learned is far beyond new words.
I’ve learned that writers, artists and creative people are as a whole, generous with their praise and liberal with their encouragement. Many writers are as crazy as I am, but they are proud of it and accept it as integral to who they are and they use it to their advantage in their intensely moving writing.
You make me think, you make me laugh and you make me cry. Thank you.
The stuff I have hidden for twenty-years in draws or in computer files marked “Personal, destroy if I’m dead.” can now come out of the dark and play with others on WordPress.com.
I want to thank each and every blogger I have visited; you have each touched my writer’s spirit in one way or another. Thank you for not hiding as I did. Thank you for sharing your joy, your success, your pain and your disasters.
Thank you for commenting on my stuff when you are no doubt as pressed for time as I am, thank you for noticing what I post, whether it’s noontime or midnight.
I have learned that while I’m sometimes different in my approach to writing, I am not unique. My writing is not outrageous, as most people in my family have told me. (Family members who have encouraged me, you know who you are.) Sometimes my writing is raw, but it is always honest and sometimes it’s funny. That’s me and that is okay. You taught me that.
There are so many incredible writers and creators on WordPress.com that my only regret is that I don’t have enough time to read every line you write, to absorb every picture you post.
I have learned that there is a place where I can belong, a niche made just for me, and it is here, with you. I came to try to build a platform and I stayed to share who I am, to meet you and to enjoy your work.
Thank you, Jeanne Marie
https://womenwhothinktoomuch.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/journal-excerpts/
PS We call ourselves girls because when we are together we are girls, laughing and playing.

August Is Gone

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September 2012
August Is Gone
I thought about it. Maybe I’ll take the month of August off and go to a place where I can be alone and I can think for myself. Make my own decisions. My birthday was last week and I turned fifty-nine. How did I get from twenty-seven to fifty-nine so quickly?
Why did I not realize that not making a decision and sleeping my time away so that I wouldn’t think, was a decision in itself?
The days blur together and the months sneak past, quick as the black racer snake that lives in my garden, slithering by my feet as fast as a bubble can burst.
My bubble has burst many times, but I just waited among the shadows for another bubble to shelter me. There is always another bubble I think and there will always be another August, even though I know that all I have this is very minute.
No, I let another August pass me by and I sit here wondering, how, why? What if that was my last and final August?
It seems like yesterday that I was diapering my babies and now, they are grown.
My arms and my hands are empty and just as surely as my babies grew too large to hold in my arms, August is gone.

Social Graces

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Can you see the anguish
When you look at my face?
Does the makeup really cover
My tears, not leaving a trace?
I look pretty, but look again
The hurt’s tearing at me,
Will this pain at last take over?
Is joyless all I’ll ever be?
I’m walking around in shock
Curl my hair, get ready to go
Put the pain away, put on a smile
Look my best, so you won’t know.
If you were in my place
You’d know why I prepare,
It’s all in the game of social graces
I was taught to hide, not to share.

Jeanne Marie

Time’s Ravage

grace baby dannielle
Try to stop the
Hands of time,
Hold this moment
For it is mine.
Try to stop the
Silver in my hair,
Stop time’s ravage
Silent as a tear.
The fat that rests
Upon my thighs,
The damned mirror
With reflective lies.
Why don’t I feel
As old as my face?
Of the child inside
I see not a trace.
I cannot stop the
Hands of time,
With each day
Its damages I find.
But time cannot steal
The child inside
It shall not claim
The girl I hide.

by Jeanne Marie

Creating An Effective Resume

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The easiest way to teach you to elaborate on your skills and talents, is to show you my own resume as an example. After you read this, if you still need help, please email me and I’ll be glad to read over your resume. I’ll even add my own touches to help you enhance it.

Women Who Think Too Much Publications
Publisher, Editor: Jeanne Marie

OBJECTIVE
To obtain a challenging position within your company’s structure while earning above average pay, working part time hours and securing a position with potential for advancement. This will be a second job, so don’t expect too much of me and I hope your objective isn’t to harass me if I’m late for work. Problems that arise at home do have priority.

QUALIFICATIONS
Hands On–I can change dirty diapers, wash baby bottles, wipe the green snot off the face of a runaway child, wash hair that doesn’t want to be washed, nurture your plants and keep your vaporizer clean, full and running.
I’ve washed close to a trillion dishes, changed numerous bed linens, wallpapered and painted nine homes and three apartments, hung curtains with nothing but a butter knife and rearranged extremely heavy furniture. (You do offer health insurance, right? Good! My back has been killing me.)
I’ve over a million hours’ experience in laundry and ironing. I’ve cleaned rugs that have been vomited on by children, guests, dogs or worse, and I’ll vacuum under your desk.

STAMINA
I once spent an entire winter hanging over a vaporizer with a twenty-pound toddler in my hands.
I can go weeks without sleep and still perform my duties.
I’ve cleaned and taken care of three children while my body was down with the flu and my mind was up with the anxiety.
I’ve supervised the same hell raising, fist fighting and bored kids on many cold or rainy days and I have endured over a thousand torturous school vacations. We suffered no fatalities, self-inflicted or otherwise. (And that was before Prozac.)
I’ve moved at least fifty times in thirty-five years, packed, unpacked and carried most of the stuff into and out of the moving truck, then back into the truck and out and in and out…you get the idea, I’m sure. I’ve even been allowed to take one end of the refrigerator. Thankfully, not the end that fell on someone’s knees. Hey, I told him I needed to rest a minute!

NURTURING SKILLS
I can starve a cold and feed a fever with one hand, while blindfolded, hopping on one leg. I’ll bring home-baked goods to work, at least once a week and often I’ll bring a hot meal too. (No, I don’t do it so everyone will like me. Well, maybe I do, so what?)
I know every allergist and pediatrician within a fifty-mile radius and most of the veterinarians.
I can guess your temperature by putting my hand on your forehead and I can nurse you if you get chicken pox, strep throat, diarrhea, the flu, ear infections or a cold. Managing your asthma and seasonal allergies are optional and will cost extra.
I’ve turned filthy, squalid apartments into clean, cozy homes and I’m sure I can do the same for your dumpy office. A few plants, a lot of hard work, a little paint from Wal-Mart and you won’t recognize the place.

NEGOTIATING SKILLS
Superb, due to weekly meetings over a span of twelve years with principals and teachers who wanted to throw my youngest child (the one my own mother wouldn’t baby-sit) out of school. I’ve also learned how to take the blame for my husband and my children’s actions and in the workplace that can be a very helpful tool. If you screw up, I’ll be there, ready and waiting to take the blame.

COURAGE
I’ve had three C-sections, one emergency and two planned.
I work well under pressure and I have bravely gone where most women dare not go–under the beds and into the closets.
I gave my hand (and my brain) in marriage, not once, but twice. Case closed.

JOB HISTORY

FREE LANCE WRITER
My Favorite Awards:
National Dean’s List 1994-1995
Survived Motherhood Without Becoming A Vegetable Award, 1996 (Self Bestowed)

NURSES AIDE, NURSING HOMES
Same as infant care, but duties involved much larger bodies, huge diapers and very odorous bowel movements. Daily contact with lonely people who had raised their kids and sometimes their grandkids, relatives who now visited them once a year. Socializing with people who’d hold onto my hand and beg me to stay when my shift was over because, “You’re all I have.” And it was true.

DAYCARE PROVIDER, MY HOME
Took care of other women’s children for ten years. The working mamas chased a career and I chased after their kids so that I could earn money while staying home with my own little angels. Once, I had three toddlers calling me Mama and my kids were all in school. Daycare had become a safe habit, but that’s when I knew it was time to move on.

WAITRESS\BARTENDER\MANAGEMENT
Slinging hash, taking verbal abuse from customers, carrying huge trays of food over my head most often through narrow aisles, picking up dirty dishes, taking verbal abuse from bosses, serving drinks and always, always, working with a smile on my face. Very similar to mothering, except for the smile.

EDUCATION
Quit school at 15-years old. Earned my GED in 1981 at age 27.
Rogers State College 1994-1995
Twenty-One Credit Hours, achieved under duress. (Re: Article, “When The Kids Grow Up.)

INTERESTS & HOBBIES

INTERESTS
Interested in having a life, thank you! I’m also interested in hiring someone to clean my house. Do you know anyone?
Activities involve thinking too much, writing it down and publishing it. Cleaning too much and hating it.

HOBBIES
My hobbies include photography, planting flowers that should win awards, avoiding baby-sitting or raising any of my fourteen grandkids and fighting with my computer until dawn. (Computer always wins.)

COMPUTER SKILLS
Obviously.

SPECIAL TALENTS, MISCELLANEOUS, FRINGE BENEFITS EXPECTED

SPECIAL TALENTS
I know a resume should be short but as you can see, with all my qualifications and experience that would be impossible. I also type, about 10 words per minute. (I’m very poor on the spelling.) I’m an expert on the phone, unless it’s one of those damn new smart phones. I will run your errands, pay your bills, pick out and sign your Mother’s Day cards.
I also write a blog, short stories, poetry and I am working on two novels and five children’s books.
I can write excellent excuse notes while half asleep, without thinking.
BTW, if I’m up all night writing, I will call in sick the next day.

MISCELLANEOUS
I’m applying by email because I don’t have a power suit. However, I’ll have a personal shopper help me find one if the job requires it. (I seriously hope not.)
I won’t wear pantyhose or high heels, under any conditions!
I’d expect to be reimbursed for the power suit, of course, as a man has always paid for my clothes and I see no reason to change my routine at sixty-two years old. I really do need a second job, even though I don’t have any free time, so I hope you hire me.

FRINGE BENEFITS EXPECTED
At my present job, the hours are long, the rewards are few and I hope you can match the stress level.
As I look back over my forty-year career as a wife, mother, grammy, writer, baby-sitter, nurses’ aide, food server and bartender, I realize that I gave my all; plus energy that I didn’t even have, so I’m really burned out.
Therefore, I hope you have a position where I can sit down and keep my thinking to a minimum. (Did I forget to list my stint as an Avon Lady?) I do need a good health insurance plan, as I’ve used up all the benefits on the one my husband has provided, (particularly, the mental health benefits) and I’d like a “Smoker’s High Risk, Accidentally Started At Age 36, Can’t Quit, Dammit I’ve Tried, So You Pay Off No Matter What, Life Insurance Plan.”

PERSONAL DATA
There have been times when I’ve enjoyed my present job.
Nights when I held my newborns, rocked them until dawn, got a hug from a toddler before breakfast or a homemade card from a first grader.
Even better, handprints pressed forever onto construction paper.
Watching my two beautiful daughters each have their own first baby, (which made me very grateful for my three C-sections).
Watching my son, my baby, turn into a large, handsome teenager and then into a daddy.
Watching my grandchildren grow into amazing little people and then, on to young adults. Being presented with three great grandbabies. These have been the high points.
The little love notes my husband still leaves for me to find when I wake up, the way he does the dishes after supper so that I can write and the neurotic phone calls he makes from work each day to see what I’m doing. (Wow, does he flip out if I don’t turn on the cell phone when I go out!) And I even enjoy the way that he’s still jealous, even though I’m a  way past middle-aged woman, twenty pounds overweight and too codependent to ever leave.
I love walking on the beach and reading poetry as the sun sets.

STIPULATIONS
I will relocate if your company pays all the moving expenses and you can talk my husband into moving again. We’ll need extra men to help with the refrigerator as my husband still has nightmares about a refrigerator falling on his legs.
Please, feel free to call me between noon and one o’clock EST any Friday, except if it’s the thirteenth and there’s a full moon.
For all other times, email will suffice because if I’m not home, my computer will take your message. I just hope that it will allow me to access my email without having to be re-booted.

Looking forward to hearing from you, but not too soon,

Jeanne Marie

The Milk Carton

jeanne grade1
Have you seen this child?
She was lost sixty-one years ago
She simply disappeared.
Her present status, I don’t know.
Should we put her on a milk carton
Or leave her to find herself?
Perhaps she is dead and buried or
Baking cookies with the Keebler elves.
Perhaps she dances with wild gypsies
Wild swirling dances that cover her defeat.
Are they bewitched by her radiance
Delighted by her naked madness,
Struck speechless by her insane
Howling beneath a winter’s moon?
The years have surely taken her
I don’t know where she went.
She used to live in my closet
Curled under the heater vent.
She was such a frightened girl
She seldom ventured out.
Could it be that she still exists
Although hidden from clear view?
You might catch a glimpse of her
When I smile at you.
Call her softly, do not shout.
She might dare to laugh or love
Unfolding the lost child inside out.

I Am She


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I AM SHE
There was a time when my mother was middle-aged and me?
I was young and naive, not a care in the world; the arrogance of youth was on my side
I was a footloose hippie girl and I thought love was free.
Her skin was firm and tanned, black waves of hair fell to her shoulders
softly surrounding her fair face, bosom quite generous,
legs as fine as any model, she was my mother,
but with flower child simplicity, I used to call her Grace.
She was spirited back then, although she seemed quite old to me,
and how did I become imprisoned while she has learned to fly–a butterfly set free?
Tonight, as I glance into the mirror, my middle-aged face stares back.
Have I become her, and she, the child I used to be?
At seventy-three she’s still a beauty, but time’s fire has burned its’ trail
and when she had a stroke last year,
I realized how deeply she had aged; yet, become so childlike, so frail.
My firm skin, my shapely legs, will soon bow down to time,
much as my bell-bottoms and tie-up tops gave way
to blue jeans and then on to stretch pants and a baggy tee.
I will lose this interval named youth and as I look into her face,
I see my future and
I am she.

by Jeanne Marie
My mom went to play with the angels in 2009.

Crushing Me

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What do I say now, when there’s nothing left?
When I’m gone what will you remember about me?
Will you remember all of my mistakes?
Or will you remember the things I tried to be?
Will you remember the times I held you close?
Or just the times I failed to make the grade?
Will you remember the times our world turned upside down
Allowing black clouds to fog my brain?
Oh God, for love, the price I’ve paid.
Will you remember when I danced in the rain
My arms spread wide up to the clouds or
Will you be left with the times
our love brought you pain?
Looking back across the years
I recall the smiles, but I taste the tears.
So many wrong choices, how could I know
That the pain would go on forever
And that the dying would be so slow?
I see loved ones who have passed on
And I wonder what they think of me.
Do I disappoint them?
Or are they waiting arms open wide?
They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle
So where did this crushing mountain of grief come from?
And who the f… are they, the invisible ones who say?
How do I start over when there’s nothing left
But regret, remorse, pain, pain, pain and more pain?
Surely, I will die soon enough. I know we all do.
But can I last that long?
How, when I can’t even breathe
With this mountain of pain crushing me, burying me alive?
Will you remember how you always corrected me
As if I were a child who didn’t know her own mind
Until it became true?
Will you remember me loving you?

by Jeanne Marie

In My Heart

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Jennifer Jean

They never tied the cord when
they tore you from my womb.
We are flesh woven together
like yarn on the weaver’s loom.
I’ve never cut you loose
connected by bloody strands,
I hide them deep in my soul
as you push away my hands.
A separate fragment of myself
removed and set apart.
Could it be that a piece of you
was left inside my heart?

by Jeanne Marie

Hi Mom, This Is Me

, klnjl

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

 

 

Today

Every thought I think is creating my future. The Universe totally supports every thought I choose to think and believe. I choose to believe that I have unlimited choices about what OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think. Louise L. Hay

 

 

I choose to embrace emotional and spiritual balance in my life, gratitude for all the love in my circle, the awe I feel when I gaze upon my blessings from my children and my grandchildren, gratitude for the sunshine and the ocean breezes. What do you choose to think today? Jeanne Marie

In the end we only regret chances we didn’t take. The relationships we were scared to have and the decisions we waited too long to make. There comes a time in your life when you realize who matters, who doesn’t, who never did and who always will. From Christine’s Facebook

Life mirrors my every thought. As I keep my thoughts positive, life brings me only good experiences. As I say yes to life, life says yes to me. YES! Louise L. Hay

The past looms ever-present, but this moment is God’s present to me. I won’t ignore my present by holding yesterday’s regrets in front of my eyes. I cannot change the past, but today, the present is mine. I will create good memories. I will hold this moment, I will laugh and play. I will live today, love me today, and appreciate the people who love me today. I will share my present today. Jeanne Marie

Your life is a physical manifestation of the thoughts going around in your head! Think positive, attract positive. The Secret

The Bobbsey Twins, Dad And Me

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I love hearing the soft splatter of rain against my bedroom window in those shadowy moments between sleeping and waking up. As I snuggle under the warm quilt, still half asleep, I feel silent anticipation surround me. It’s raining and from the rhythm of the drops as they splash the window it sounds as if it’s going to rain all day.

As I become more alert and in touch with reality, I realize that my happiness is flowing from the past. I learned to love the rain years ago. My dad was a bricklayer and when it rained he couldn’t go to work. I remember waking up on those rainy mornings knowing that it would be a bookstore day. I don’t know when the tradition started, but my memories seem focused on the year I learned to read. I loved books from the moment I could read, and my happiest childhood memories are of the days we roamed through the second-hand book stores, each of us searching for our favorite authors.

Dad would browse through the different cookbooks, and Mom would go digging in the dusty piles looking for Edgar Rice Burroughs. I’d gather up every volume of The Bobbsey Twins that I didn’t already have, and I’d quietly spread them out on the counter beside my father. He would talk to the bookstore owner for what seemed like hours, but eventually he’d turn to me and ask, “Jean, are you really going to read these books?” As I eagerly nodded my head he would call over to my mom and ask, “Grace is she going to read these, aren’t these books too old for her?” (I was only seven.)

It was his standard question, but I wouldn’t breathe until I heard my mom assure him, again, that I’d devour these books. “Well, just pick out two of your favorites,” he’d say each time.

I’d whisper to myself, “I want The Bobbsey Twins At The Seashore, and The Bobbsey Twins At School.” As I returned the others to their shelf, I’d change my mind. I wanted The Bobbsey Twins On Blueberry Island, and The Bobbsey Twins On The Deep Blue Sea! I wouldn’t make my final choice until my dad was ready to pay.

After he paid a nickel each for them, I’d cradle the books in my hands, and a warm excitement would flood my body. During the ride home I’d arrange the two volumes of The Bobbsey Twins on my lap, slowly brushing my fingers across the faded covers. Peeking into the book’s yellowed pages was like eating a root beer popsicle in August.

As my father opened the front door I’d run past him, back to my bed; back under the covers with the sweetest possessions in all the world, two volumes of The Bobbsey Twins!

Bert and Nan, the older twins, did their best to keep Freddie and Flossie out of trouble, but it was hopeless. The two little ones bounced with energy, and they just ran wherever they pleased, charming everyone with their antics. I loved the two toddlers with their honeyed curls and round cherub faces. Their wild spirits and endless curiosity often led them into dangerous situations, but thankfully, their parents, or the older twins, always came to their rescue before they’d get hurt.

As I read each volume I knew that I could count on a sticky sweet happy ending, with hugs and kisses all around. Their escapades removed me from my life. As I absorbed the words my mind danced through each adventure with the twins. My eyes flew across the dusty pages, scanning entire paragraphs in a glance, and before long I’d feel the last few pages between my fingers. I’d force my eyes to slow down and then I’d try to read each sentence, desperate to keep the story from ending. It always ended too soon. I’d read both books the same day, and by supper time I’d be longing for one more rainy day and another visit to the book stores. I must have reread each book a dozen times.

The dad in The Bobbsey Twins adventures loved his children. He taught them in a firm, yet kind and caring way. My dad could be that way too; until late each afternoon when he’d begin to drink. I didn’t understand why my dad drank, but I learned at a young age how to fade into the walls. My books let me run away from home when I had no place else to go. They showed me another world, a world apart from the emotional violence and the verbal abuse. They gave me hope, and without realizing that it was survival tools he was handing to me, my dad bought me my books, until I turned nine and started to haunt the libraries.

So, that’s why I love to wake to the sound of rain drops splashing against my window. It reminds my heart of the love my father was able to show, the treasures he bought me, the surprise in his eyes when he first realized that his little girl could read, his reluctance to let me grow up. The soft wetness surrounding my ears soothes the bad dreams; it chases away the nightmares; and it lets me forget the angry, crazy man that my dad had become by the time I had children of my own.

When it rains I forget the names he called us, I don’t care about the things he smashed, the holes he punched in the walls. I remember the love and the pride in his eyes, a hidden smile behind his words, the rain pouring down outside the converted garage that we called home, and his playful question, “You don’t want to go to the bookstore today, do you Jean?”

Thirty years ago my ex-husband carelessly lost my entire collection of First Edition Bobbsey Twins along with my Nancy Drew mysteries. The books fell off the back of our moving truck, and although I searched the streets he had driven on, I never found them. I’ve refused to buy shiny modern reproductions. I want my softly worn, second-hand friends, the books that whispered my dad’s message to me while the rain fell around us, “I do love you.” The gifts that spoke the words he could never say.

A few months ago, as I browsed in an antique store in downtown Collinsville, I found a 1913 First Edition copy of The Bobbsey Twins At Snow Lodge, with the original jacket still intact. I bought that old friend for four dollars and fifty cents. That’s all it was worth to the antique dealer, but I felt as if I had won the lottery when I took that time-worn book home, and gave it a special place on my bookshelf.

The author, Laura Lee Hope, will never know how her stories encouraged my timid spirit, or how she set my mind on fire, burning with an obsession to read and igniting a lifelong love affair with words.

My dad? The men he worked for called him a genius. Whether his hands touched bricks and field stone, or pastels and charcoal, he created masterpieces. Sometimes he’d take my tiny hand in his, and we’d walk through the gorgeous gardens that he and my mom had designed and nurtured. He’d talk to me about the wildflowers they had transplanted from the mountains and the woods of New England. Then there was his cooking; he could out cook the finest chef. I can still smell the delicious aroma of his sour dough bread baking in our ancient, black wood stove.

My dad? Today he is homeless, lost in the crowd of mentally ill who roam the streets in every city and town across America. He is an alcoholic who first lost his mind, and then his family, because he couldn’t walk away from the bottle. Family members search for him, but he doesn’t want to be found. He tells the few people he talks to that he doesn’t have a family.

The cherished edition of The Bobbsey Twins catches my eye every now and then, and I pause to brush my fingers across the worn cover, especially when it’s raining.
He couldn’t say the words, yet the rain still whispers to me, “I do love you.” I whisper back, “I love you too, Dad.”

PUBLISHED IN THE HEALING WOMAN 1997

Update: My dad died in 2000 and was buried without a headstone, or family present because
family was never able to find him or his death certificate. Recently, my sister, with the help of two military friends, has found where Dad is buried.
October 16, 2019 he will be honored by the military and by his family. He will finally have a headstone. RIP Dad.

 

The Dream. The Hope. The Promise.

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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.

Flesh and Bones

Her hands make love to his shoulders

Caress the tension from his neck

Fingers entwined in his soft curls

Her face buried in silver and brown strands.

Inhaling the heady scent that is him

She allows her tightness to slip away

Falling, falling into a dark warm mist

A vapor of safety created by his love.

Absence of pain, regret, loss or sorrow

Blankets of tenderness and devotion

Washed worn by life’s bleaching storms

More precious than diamonds and gold.

His devotion surrounds her flesh and her bones.

Thus, sleep is a cocoon which shelters her

Pillows of passions released time after time

Cradle the woman and her fragile dreams

Rocking her to sleep in his gently flowing river

Drifting on billows of unconditional love.

Floating to euphoria, wrapped around his back

She wonders, how is it possible that her love

Could increase beyond description, young and free

When time has removed the freedoms of flesh and bone?

She loves him beyond explanation, a rare dilemma

For a woman who was born to dance with words.

She loves, she loves and as his love enfolds her, she is sheltered.

She sleeps and she is secure because he is there beside her.

by Jeanne Marie, 2013

The Race

 

first love

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.
Sleep?
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.

Jodie Lynne

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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

The Writer’s Husband

“I got it! I got the P.O. Box, so we’re in business now! Let’s go out to eat. I’m starving! Let’s celebrate!” she said, as she exploded into the bedroom.
“I almost didn’t go to the post office, cause I couldn’t find my keys right away and I said, ‘Oh oh, it must be a sign’ and then I found my keys, but when I got to the post office I couldn’t find my checkbook and I stood outside the post office for a minute thinking, if I don’t have my checkbook, then it’s not meant to be cause it’s almost four-thirty!”
“I kept telling myself that I’m stupid to try to start a business based on my writing. It all seemed so right last night after you read my newsletter, but when I woke up this afternoon I was afraid that I really didn’t have anything to say and who would buy my newsletter and I’m just wasting money on a P.O. Box, but I knew it was just anxiety so I ignored myself!”
While she paused for air, I asked her, “Where did you want to eat? I’m really not that hungry.”
“I don’t know, maybe McDonald’s or that chicken place in Tulsa. I’m starving. I burned up huge amounts of energy, writing all night and sleeping all day!”
She was still talking. “Let’s get pizza or subs then, if you’re not hungry. I’d like a great big Italian sub.”
“Do you want me to go to Subway and get us some subs then cause I don’t want anything big like a meal, but are subs okay?”
I envied her enthusiasm as she flitted through the conversation, answering me with a childlike delight, “Ya, I’d love a sub, you know how I like them to make it! Tell them to put only a little Italian dressing cause even though it’s low-fat, I hate when it drips! Will you really go?”
“Ya, I’ll go. Did you see your car? It’s all clean.”
“Ya, I saw it, thank you. It looks nice. I hate when it’s all dirty. Did you see your truck?”
“No, why?”
“Well, I put a big dent in it today.”
“Where?”
She paused and I feared the worst and then she said, “In the rear quarter, on the left.”
“Oh well,” I replied calmly, because I could see that she wasn’t hurt.
“Ya, some guy didn’t stop at the light and he plowed right into me! It’s a real big dent.”
Maybe it was because of the smile that tickled her voice, but I told her again, “That’s okay. It doesn’t matter.”
She asked me, “Will you go get the subs now? I’m starved!”
As I refused her offer to pay for the subs and got ready to leave she said, “Thanks baby and I didn’t really dent your truck. I was just testing you!”
Later that night, after she had disappeared into her computer room to write, she called out to me, “Hon? Hon, did you know that I really didn’t dent your truck or did you believe me when I said I dented it?”
I paused there in her doorway and answered, “Yes, I believed you.”
“And you weren’t mad at me,” she asked in a silly voice.
“No, as long as you weren’t hurt, that’s all that mattered.”
Before I could leave, she said, “Come ‘mere honey and see what I just wrote.”
I leaned over her shoulder and looked down at the computer screen and saw my own words stare back at me, “No, as long as you weren’t hurt, that’s all that mattered.”
“You wrote that before I said it,” I stated.
“That’s because I knew what you’d say,” she said with smile.