One of the reasons it looks like I can handle what life throws my way is that when life begins pelting me with lemons I have outlets for my various emotions and struggles. I have to credit my dad and mom with guiding me through being eclectic but mainly my dad for reminding me as a teenager that we all need different outlets for different emotions.
My dad had seen how angry I was one day and how I was holding that anger inside of me. I couldn’t do my typical anger depleting activity of cleaning my parent’s house because my dad needed the family room for a project. I was (and am) very OCD so I cleaned my parent’s house in a specific order or not at all. So when I started to head to my room to slam my door (yes I was a typical teenage girl), he asked me to sit down for a moment and talk. I very much didn’t want to talk or humor him but he told me I could scream at the top of my lungs when he was done talking to me. So I sat down.
What my dad told me was pretty simple. He told me I could let the anger eat me inside and out or I could put that anger to good use. Me being me wanted to shout about how that is what I attempted to do with cleaning the house before he stopped me. Before I could say anything he put his hand up and asked me to hear him out. That was not something I was good at as a teenager: hearing someone out. But that day I listened.
I don’t remember the whole conversation but what I do remember was that my dad helped me figure out several activities I could do for each of my basic emotions. On that day I started teaching myself some stage combat and quarter staff fighting as another outlet for my anger. My dad had given me a staff he had made and he told me to go take my anger out with exercise.
How does this apply to this post?
Over a year ago when our first foster children went home I was devastated. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My heart was breaking and I didn’t know how to deal. I tried cleaning but that was a bad idea because every where I looked I saw what was missing. I tried reading a book but all I could do was cry. I tried throwing myself into work as well as various other projects but nothing helped. All I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and sleep all day, every day. I didn’t do that. Instead I got up every day. I set one goal for every day and when that goal was complete I felt better. Since my mom was still recovering in a physical rehab facility my biggest daily accomplishment was making and taking her lunch.
Then one day I had a lunch date with my husband. I went to pick him up from his side job and ended up waiting in the car for him for over twenty minutes. The first five minutes were the worst. I was left alone with my thoughts and emotions. Once again I couldn’t breathe as I was drowning in all my emotions. Then something miraculous happened. My emotions turned into words and those words formed sentences and eventually poems. I pulled out a pen and started writing on the blank side of junk mail. The rest of the twenty minutes flew by.
It had been years since I had written a poem and since then poems have changed in so many ways but the basics are still the basics: powerful words and emotions coming together on a blank page. I certainly had plenty of words to describe my emotions and I let them just flow.
Once upon a time I used to always keep a pad of paper with me but had stopped when I could no longer find small enough pads to keep in my purse. This time I just started keeping a pad of paper and pencil in my car, beside my bed, and anywhere else I thought I might be alone for a few minutes and need to just write my down my emotions before I let them drown me. And when paper is no where to be found, I have a notepad app on my phone to keep my thoughts in.
Since that day over a year ago, I have written several dozen poems. Some are complete and some not so much. There are days that I get flooded with emotions and the best thing to do is just let them flow. Here are a few yet unfinished poems that seemed to just flow from my heart:
Heart of My Heart
You may not be blood of my blood
But you are a focus for my love
The heart of my heart
The light that turns down the night
You are everything
The perfection that only God could give
Heartache and Heartbreak
The hardest thing I ever had to do
Was to send you on your way
With a hug, a kiss and a smile
Yet on that day my heart was torn
Since then I am nothing but forlorn