A sampler of life right now.

By LMA

May 2019

I’ve written on the blog before about my mental health background and the work I do in therapy. I have pretty severe complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). In my therapy work, I spend a lot of time attending and giving voice to the different parts of myself that have been affected by my trauma experiences. These parts of myself are often little and young, and hold a significant portion of my trauma experiences, even the ones that have happened as an adult.

About a year ago, I started writing poems as a way to provide comfort and reassurance to the little parts of myself that needed it. The poems have also become a spiritual practice and a way to document the growth that has taken place as I have been attending to these little parts of myself. During therapy, I use a visualization of my parts in a specific place. The first two poems describe situations in therapy where I was attending to two different parts of myself that were affected in different ways by my trauma experiences having to do with my mom.

Another part of my healing and recovery process has been getting in touch with my spirituality and connection with Heavenly Mother. The second two poems are about my relationship with Her, and how it comforts me and provides companionship and safety. These poems describe the ways we as people (and Heavenly Mother) constantly embody multiple different, unique intersections of traits and parts of our identities (e.g., delicate and powerful, firm and kind, fun and serious/attentive).

Little and delicate.
OK, what part of the room is she in?
She’s hiding in the bathroom, in the tub.
She’s behind the shower curtain.
It’s dark.

OK, who would go into her?
I would, the compassionate presence would.
The other parts would come in after me,
like little siblings to greet a baby after a nap.
We would turn on the lamp first, so not to scare her.

OK, can she hear you? What would you say to her?
I know why you’re hiding in here, but it’s safe now.
It’s okay to come out now.
It’ll be fun if you come out.
We have a cozy place for you,
and everyone will take care of you. 
We have a nest.

OK, what does the nest look like?
There’s lots of blankets.
They’re soft.
The parts put her on the upper corner of the bed.
She’s propped up by the wall, she feels cozy.
There’s fun toys, and she’s surrounded by the other parts.
Clamoring for her attention and loving on her.
It’s safe.

Free/that time you knew things had changed with your mom.  
OK, what would you tell that part of you that was sitting there,
trying to make your mom understand?
I’d comfort her and tell her she doesn’t need to keep explaining herself.
I’d let her rest on my chest and hide her face.
I’d tell her she’s safe.

OK, how would you tuck her in, what would you do?
I’d leave her with the other parts.
They’d comfort her and be with her.
They’d say “it’s happened to us, too.
Oldest trick in the book, pretending it didn’t happen.”
I’d leave her surrounded by them.

They’d feel safe.
They’d feel secure.
They’d feel comforted.
They’d be ok until I came back.

Mama says “careful!”
Mama says “careful!”
She doesn’t yell or get mad.
She says it gently, but firmly,
and with kindness.
She says it like she’s not afraid.

She says it when you’re not paying
enough attention on the road.
She says it when you’re hurting,
or when you want to hurt your body.
She says it when you feel like you can’t
keep suffering anymore.

She knows our bodies get hurt.
She knows they experience so much pain.
She knows suffering herself.
She’s cried in pain,
tears streaming down her face.

She wants us to land softly.
She wants us to be alive.
Mama says “careful!”

Heavenly Mother Listens to Lizzo.
Heavenly Mother listens to Lizzo.
She sits in the passenger seat next to me when we drive at night.
The windows are down.
There is a breeze.
The music is loud.

Heavenly Mother is fun.
She loves the things I love.
She’s not scared of F-bombs.
As the music blares in the dark,
She smiles because I’m smiling,
and because I feel safe.
That’s precious to her.

Her pioneer sisters are in the back of the car,
also jamming in happiness,
wishing they knew Lizzo back when.
It would have made riding in wagons
and walking so much more fun and pleasant.

We are all connected in that moment.
I don’t feel alone in the car.
I put my hand on the gearstick between the seats
and picture holding Her hand.

LMA

LMA is PhD-holding boss lady that teaches child development to university students. She cares deeply about issues that affect women inside and outside of our Church.

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8 Responses

  1. Allemande Left says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey of healing. I can picture your adult self attending to your hurting child self. I can picture Our Mother cruising with you, enjoying the music of our day along w our Pioneer Sisters.
    Visualization, music and poetry are great tools to have in our Coping with Life Toolbox.

    • LMA says:

      I agree – on all counts! I think having as many tools as possible is so important and finding the things that feel good and nurturing and helpful is so important. I love the idea of Heavenly Mother listening and loving all kinds of current music that we like, that sounds so fun and lovely.

  2. Violadiva says:

    These are really lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Caroline says:

    Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability in sharing these. I love that you’re writing poetry to minister to your younger self and connect with HM. I smiled at the Lizzo references. I have been out of the loop and just discovered Lizzo yesterday when I heard Terri Gross interview her on Fresh Air. What a woman.

    • LMA says:

      I love the idea of ministering to my younger self, I hadn’t thought about it in that way before. I feel like all of us are ministering to our younger selves in one way or another, and it’s been so helpful and powerful to attend to those parts of myself in intentional ways. That’s so fun you’ve discovered Lizzo now! She is quite the woman and is so lovely and rad and powerful!

  4. mrskandmrsa says:

    When my mother died in 2003, I wrote poetry as a way to cope with her loss and to understand our relationship better. I had not written poetry before except for “Roses are red, violets are blue” kind of poems. I was surprised not only that I could write poems, but that they helped settle my emotions. If I found myself growing uneasy, I would try to define what I was uneasy about, and I would write about that. –Mrs. K.

    • LMA says:

      This is so kind and lovely, thank you for taking the time to say it. I’m the same – I hadn’t really written poems at all before now, and I feel like it helps me make sense of how I’m feeling. I’m so glad it helped comfort you and make sense of things with your mom passing away. I bet the poems are just beautiful. And how wonderful that you have a written record of that work you did to understand and attend to that relationship, that’s really lovely.

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