Monday, January 23, 2006


There is an agonizing ache in my heart. It is not for lack of affection, for there is no kindness there to share. It is a dreary throb, monotonous and thin. Barely enough to keep me alive, not enough by which to live. January howls through my bones, the suns warmth barely interrupts the long nights. The days are gray, dismal, gloomy, tedious.

The freeze of winter creeps across my soul. My nerves shatter with even the slightest touch. My eyes would cry if not for the ice that binds them. My mind desires long sleeps. The strain of life tears at my back. Oh what I would give for an escape from this madness. What cost would be exacted? What have I left to give?

The pull of my Chippewa ancestors is strong. It is the time for hibernating, yet this life of mine requires that I conduct myself with purpose. But only an ache lives where that purpose should be. I have no taste for the next 50 days. I wish only to sleep until spring.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hide and Seek

I know what it is like to not have a self. For most of my life I had no ego to call home. My name was uttered with no reverence or meaning. I was laughed at, spit on, and beaten. A silent darkness washed over my coagulating life. I stood too long in the thick black mud of rejection and my feet sank deep into it’s pain. Humiliation crept up my legs and fear gripped my heart. I was so tortured by loneliness that I nearly vanquished in its void.

But something unexpected took hold. The bright sun thawed my eyes and I began to see. A new me was beginning to unfold. My self worth blossomed. The breezes of spring tickled my tongue, and then, with no doubt, I said my name. Cheri. I shouted it out into the infinite! Cheri! When it echoed back, I knew I was valued. Cheri! I am loved and accepted, unconditionally. By me. I am Cheri.

There is so much joy in finding one’s self. A sweet peace washes over you when you finally realize that you are loved and accepted unconditionally. By you. I came to that place where I knew how to love and accept myself. That is how I found Cheri. It was the discovery of me.

Sometimes a cold wind howls, and a dark cloud obscures the sun. Still, my first reaction is to hide. I know the cold lurks just beyond. I must hide. A thick black mud patiently waits to engulf me. I hide. I close my eyes. I hide. I pray for guidance. And hide. I know not who I pray to, but I have faith they listen. While I hide. And then, just as suddenly as the storm came, I push it away. I find me hiding and hold my hiding face in my seeking hands. My seeking eyes look deep into my hiding eyes. I remember I have value and am accepted, unconditionally. Whether I’m lost or found. Whether I seek or hide. I am! I feel joy - again. I am at peace - again.

Perhaps it’s because there is so much joy in the discovery and rediscovering. Retreating and seeking becomes a theme to a life. Today, my seeking hands hold my hiding face. Today, my seeking eyes look deep into my hiding eyes. Today, I remember! I have worth! I am unconditionally loved and accepted. By me. I am Cheri!

Today, I express my gratitude with sweat, and paint.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sweet Release

Is it because I can be so stubborn and thick headed? Or do most people fall into answers and wonder why they didn’t see it before? I remember trying to learn algebra in school. Ooh, how sad it was for me that I just didn’t get it! If x=5 in problem number 1, why doesn’t x=5 in problem number 7? It’s like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle that surely has to go up here in the sky, but 3 fitful days later (an exaggeration!) fits magically in the water below! How did I miss that? My geometry teacher had an especially unique way of making those pieces fit, an incredible way of teaching the big picture in all its beautiful color. He was so amazing I decided to go for Algebra II the very next year. My algebra II teacher couldn’t figure out why I would have so much trouble seeing that this shape obviously fits in this spot, and wondered why I was so fixated on the color! I flunked out in a record 2 weeks.

Although there have been iffy times, I have not yet flunked out of life. That said, I sure do take a long time seeing what is right in front of my face. I need, and am grateful for, the help of any who are seeing with fresh eyes. The perplexed expressions, rolling eyes, and exasperated sighs I could do without, however.

I really couldn’t get through stripping the gurus, but I did read enough to realize that I have managed to keep myself imprisoned for most of my life. Now that I see my release in the near future, I freak out and try to find another jailor. I convince myself that, if I can’t find a man to fill my life, I will wilt away into nothing. So of course I become fixated on men who will keep me imprisoned in the way I have become so familiar with. Men who really don’t have time for me, but would sure like to have a little fun, and hey, how are you at babysitting?

I have been spending a lot of time sleeping this winter. Yes, instead of fighting it, I am flowing with it. It is much easier and lots more relaxing. Is it an excuse? Maybe I just need to bide my time and stay out of trouble until my release. It is kind of scary to think about how I will really have no ties to anything anymore. How will I keep myself from floating away into nothingness? Not with a new prison. That’s the secret, no new prison terms.

I know this feeling. I have felt this before! As a child, I waited all Christmas eve to see what Santa brought for Christmas. As a student in May, I dreamt of long hot afternoons filled with running and swimming and fishing. The anticipation I felt as a 17 1/2 year old for that magic day I would become an adult! That undeniable urge to skip the long dragging hours, weeks, months that separate me from gratification!

It’s not a time to become paralyzed into a 5 month sleep, but it is not a time to make long term commitments either. No hot romances that lead to permanency, no long term financial contracts, not even a new puppy should be considered. Just spend the time tying up loose ends and contemplating the endless possibilities.

Oh, and a little painting would be nice, miss scaredy cat! And some real running wouldn’t kill you you know! Yes, the weather turned real bad the first half of December, but the ice is thawed. Yes, it rained nearly continuously through Christmas break, but only nearly. And now you skip another yoga class for no good reason. Common, let’s go for a run tomorrow! Let’s finish some paintings and begin some ones.

And sleep.