My Religion is Honesty – What’s yours?

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I just can’t help it.

I simply can’t lie.

I also have a hard time discerning when other people are lying to me.

Lies confuse me.

To me honesty is a way of life.

If you ask my opinion on something  you will get it.

Whether or not you’ll like it is another matter entirely.

But at least you will never walk away from a conversation with me wondering if I’m carrying some kind of hidden agenda.

 

Welcome to Why

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In  the beginning it was just a game.

A silly little game of solitude that I played all on my own.

Until one day, it jumped up and took over my thoughts, in the wink of an eye.

I know, for it was my own eye, that winked it in.

You see, I love words, or rather I did, back when they were whole beings that orbited the planet of my thoughts.

They would fall off my tongue and fill the silence all about me with their pleasing tones and meanings.

Then why came along and I found myself struggling just to hold its tail.

I started saying the word why, over and over.

Again and again.

Just like any word when you  say it too many times, it stops being that word.

Its letters melt into each other until the sound of it no longer sits correctly on your tongue.

So foreign does the sound of it become to you, that you even begin to question whether or not you are even saying it properly.

Then along with the melting of letters and the dislocation of a words sound, comes the disintegration of its  meaning.

It no longer sounds the same, looks the same or even portrays the same ideal that it once held, back when you said it only once and knew, just knew, the nature of the word and all of its derivatives.

Well why is like that.

I started asking why?

Why this?

Why that?

Then I found I couldn’t stop.

Too late I realized my own mistake as all  of the answers I once smugly thought I knew tumbled out of the sky and rained down on me in a stream of incomprehensible noise.

I know it sounds absurd to say that you have been drowned by a lack of meaning, but there it is, that is what has happened to me.

The more I asked, the less I understood.

The less I understood the more I asked.

It has  become a disease in me.

This constant need to know WHY has stolen from me all of my once strongly held truths.

You see all that I am, or have ever been, was being pulled agonizingly apart in a string of whys?

So far apart that I found I no longer knew myself to be the person  I’d thought myself to be.

You see this endless asking has led me to a barren place.

A place in which the oasis of understanding  lies shimmering,  in the distance, leading me ever on, further away from myself and deeper into the desert of the unknown.

Am I a child at war with myself?

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I feel often as though I am in the wrong country.

That the language I have is incorrect and yet I do not know how to fix it.

There are no travel guides here and even if there were I wouldn’t be able to read them, for they’d be in that other language.

The one that I have lost.

Perhaps it is not my family that’s a country at war with itself .

Perhaps I am at war with myself?

Perhaps I am. Perhaps indeed I am.

With few parting words from my mother I was placed in the back of a car and driven for what felt like years away from the home that had held me captive for all that time.

My eyes grew tired from straining to take in all that there was to see.

My body ached and my head wanted to lay itself down and rest.

But there was no rest, not with the questions of why still racing through my mind.

Why was I going somewhere new and who would be there to greet me?

So I sat in the back.

Trying to blink in the colours of the deepening sky and the sparse trees that doubled in number and then grew into a forest of greenery the longer we travelled.

All those colours clashed and collided inside of my head.

I tried in vain, to count the number of guideposts that it took to get there, in case I should not like it and wished to return back to my other home.

But there were too many and they flew by my eyes like hail.

Hard,

White,

Upright splinters

Fencing me in,

In a pen of their choosing.

I must have been asleep by the time we arrived. I remember nothing of entering my new home but rather I simply woke up in a new room with a translucent stranger hovering over me.

The figure smiled. ‘My name is Vonnie and I’m going to help you settle in and show you around. How would you like that?’

I must have smiled for she nodded her head at me.

Vonnie helped me up and showed me where the bathrooms were. I clutched my small bag of belongings to me as I scurried off to wash myself clean of the sins of reading .

For was that not what had gotten me into this mess in the first place?

My love of books?

To my mind at the time the answer was quite obviously yes.

I was there, in that very place, for that very reason.

I was being punished, once again, for loving beyond apparent reason,  that which others did not,  comprehend.

Childhood Taken Out Of Context And Transationally Lost.

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Some days being in my family felt like living in a country constantly at war with itself .

The bomb shells of my father’s yelling.

The shrilling peel of my mother’s crying and the thudding of a million doors slamming  that always made me jump.

And the way my father’s voice boomed too loudly at me as he stood in my doorway and told me that ‘after Christmas things would change’.

Change?

Like spare change?

As in money, I thought.

He must have meant that we’d be getting more money I reasoned.

We didn’t get more money.

Instead what I remember most about Christmas that year was my growing sense of displacement.

It was not anything new to me for I had always felt that way about Christmas.

But this year I expected more, for with more money, I expected books. At last. Finally.

Every year, in that house at Christmas, with my pseudo mother and pseudo father, I’d always wanted books and I’d always got clothes or a school bag, but never any books.

Yet this Christmas, despite my expectations, still, there were no books

So I stayed alone in my room.

Just me and the walls.

The walls and me.

It was an ordinary day.

It came.

It went.

Like so many other days in that house.

On boxing day my pseudo parents came into my room and told me that they’d finally decided what was best for me.

I was to be sent to a home in the country.

It sounded nice.

‘What country?’ I asked them.

They stared at me.

I was used to being stared at. That didn’t bother me.

What bothered me was not getting the answer to my question.

How am I to know what country I am in if I am not told?

Their responses made me feel as though I were an ancient text that had been translated wrongly.

Just a few symbols out-of-place here and there and the meaning of everything changed all around me.

Do you see yet how easily I have been taken out of context and slotted neatly back in where other people would prefer me to be?

Or perhaps it is the other way around?

Perhaps it is not I who has been lost in translation but rather  the world around me that has been placed out of the reach of its own meaning.

Mum always tells us to hold hands when we go out in public so we won’t get lost.

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We were sitting in the sun.
On the rocks.
My mum, as usual, has gone off to buy us strawberry slushy cones.
She knows we love coming to the beach.
She calls us her little gems.
Lucy and me.
She says we sparkle so much that sometimes we make her eyes hurt.
But that’s ok she says, because no matter how brightly we sparkle, she’ll never, ever be able to stop looking at us.

Sometimes I get scared that she might go blind.
I wonder if that’s what people mean when they say that love is blind?
I will ask her when she comes back.
Lucy is building a sandcastle and talking to a man.
He has a pink bucket and spade.
He is digging with her now.
She waves at me  with a lollypop in her mouth.

Shouting at me to hop off my rock and come over.
The man smiles at me.
He pulls a lollypop from his pocket and says that he has lost his dog.
Could we help him look for her?
Mum has told us not to move.
But I reckon she’d be ok if we just went a little way up the beach to help.

Lucy takes his hand.
He offers me the other.
I feel like I shouldn’t take it.
But I do.
Mum always tells us to hold hands when we go out in public so we won’t get lost.
That, she’s always telling us, is how to stay safe.
So I guess it’s OK if we hold hands.
We walk a little way and he points to his car.
“Maybe she’s gone back there” he suggests.
My head is feeling funny as I suck on the lollypop he gave me.
Lucy is going all wobbly as she walks.
He opens the car door to look for the dog.
Then suddenly we are inside the car and the beach is gone.
The motion of the care makes me feel sick.
I look at Lucy but she is asleep.
Then the car stops.
The man pulls Lucy out of the car and drags her across the ground.
I try to tell him to stop but my mouth won’t make a sound.
He slaps her face to wake her up.
Then puts a hand over her mouth when she screams.
He rips her swimmers off……
I fling out my hand but I can’t reach her.
My fingers find a wrapper on the seat.
I clutch at it.
The feeling of the wrapper comforts me.
Then he comes for me…..
His hands are everywhere they shouldn’t be.
I want to tell him not to touch me.
I try to call for my mum instead.
But my mouth still isn’t working.
So I stare up at the sky.
At the light from the sun as it dapples the earth and me below it.
I am still crinkling the wrapper in my hand.
Searching for a sense of comfort that has long since passed my by.
And is now gone forever.