Friday, January 29, 2010

Year of Wandering

A wrote this poem at the end of last year as I was closing in on a year with the Headache.  I decided to throw caution to the wind and go ahead and share it here on my blog:

Year Of Wandering
Rachel Phillips, 2009

A year of wandering
through a maze, a mist, a fog
I lost my way
Then I lost myself
Separated from the person I'd been
I fear at finding the stranger that replaced me
How do you trust a stranger?

Constant Pain has become my companion
A rude, brazen partner with whom I'm forced to travel on my journey
A temperamental sort, his mood changes on a whim
For no known reason, his irritation with me becomes a torture
He's disliked, unwanted, hated.

I beg, I plead for help.
Desperate for someone to unlock these shackles that bind us together
But where's the key that will free me?
It seems lost or perhaps these shackles were forged with no key, with no means of escape.
I cry, I scream inside.
I sigh, breathe
Again, and again.
I tell my core there's nothing to fear, that this is only pain.
There's no real danger, no reason to run
No way to fight this opponent

If only there were a way to run away from it.

But how do you flee or fight an opponent that unseen? 
Invisible, unknown, but his presence acutely felt
An unquantifiable existence that remains hidden
But always sensed, always perceived

I'm never alone.

This stalker won't leave me
it's kidnapped me, held me hostage
taken away all that's me
stolen my freedom, my mind, my personality, my soul
A predator that's attacked, raped

Will I ever escape?

I don't know.

I wish I could be alone with myself again

For now, I have to figure out how to make this dungeon a home
how to live with this Phantom
How to make peace with the imprisonment
To accept it
To try to appease him, to find out what make him so angry
Maybe somehow I can learn to exist here
Perhaps I'll get used to this dungeon
I'll try to tell myself it's a beautiful open room
high on a hilltop, with a gorgeous view of lands faraway
Of my wonderful Vermont
I have to make myself believe it
Force my mind to be at peace
Nothing to fear, nothing to fear
No real danger.
Another deep breath, a swallow
a deep breath and a swallow
Relax and let it hurt
Relax and let it hurt
Relax and let it hurt
Relax and let it hurt

Please, someone, help me find the key
that will allow me be free again.

I'm trying to find a new rhythm to my life
one that I can manage as this new stranger I've become
I've found my best isn't good enough anymore
So I try to adjust the rhythm of my life to fit what I can do
I'm forced to change my expectations.
I'm diminished in my own eyes
This stranger can't keep up with the person I've always been
The face in the mirror looks the same
But behind that veil
A profound change
It's agonizing to lose a life-partner that's yourself

I try to make peace with it all

My hopes are fading for ever getting back the person I once was
Maybe in times to come this stranger can become a surrogate
Perhaps I'll get to know them and find we can get along
and even develop a friendship of sorts

But I still grieve for my lost self.

In my pleas for help I realize the awful truth, 
that I walk alone in this nebulous existence.
I see well meaning hands reaching towards me
trying to assist or offer reassurance.

But no one can face this torment in my stead.

I try to hold onto these outstretched hands
but the grip is slipping, slipping
Am I losing my grip or theirs?
I try to grab another hand before blackness overtakes
A moment of hope 
A brief connection
Then sweaty palms slide again leaving only a desperate attempt to stay connected
by grappling fingers
But my fingers are too frail...
My little finger dislocates
It's all just too much.

I tumble.

Which end is up, down
swirling, twirling
I'm inside a gyroscope that's spinning
out of balance

But I try to smooth this ocean surface so that these inner waves are unseen
The whitewater torrent remains hidden under a placid calm
Maybe this calm will permeate and quiet
the underlying rapids

I have moments when I'm at peace
When I can cope
and I try to walk ahead with life
Undulating waves of incessant pain
bring fear, anguish, despair

I feel a resolve beginning to grow in me
that this will never change
fear feeds this melancholy state an insidious poison that the pain will grow
and I wonder
what part of me will break next?

Without the hands that continue to reach towards me
to bear me up 
to reassure
to steady me
to persist, persevere to offer hope
to hold onto me 
even when the last of the strength in my fingers fails to be able to hold to them
my spirit, my soul, my heart would truly be broken

The self-sufficient, independent being I was
is now forced to be reliant upon
an interwoven tapestry of family, friends, support, love, community
just to continue to

Maybe sometimes just continuing to "be" is hope enough.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Rachel,

    I don't remember which line finally made me break down and cry as I continued reading. But I'm so glad you posted this poem.

    I love you.
    -An outstretched hand