Opening The Gate

opening the gate

Why are you silent
in this circle of words
the center of your knowledge
embrace the secret stillness
you are going home
and I will follow
I am not afraid

Into the woods
the dark mickle woods
the center of your knowledge
leaves like dampened silk
unfetter your stillness
soothe me with celestial eyes
and old gnarled stumps
dressed in mossy velvet
I am not afraid.

Words like tender benedictions
rain down on open palms
the center of your knowledge
is my name inside the Green
lay claim to the key
embrace the secret stillness
with an open eye
I am not afraid

We are going home
I am not afraid.

 

 

 

 

 

  • photo & words, Christiane Knight

I write, as openly as possible, about my experience with depression and abuse, and my ongoing recovery. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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Threeravens Yarns and Fibers - By Xiane

the moon doesn’t judge

moon

 

Calm beacon in the night sky
you don’t judge me
you just watch from high above
you just observe
you just light the way

I write, as openly as possible, about my experience with depression and abuse, and my ongoing recovery. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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my yearning to be holding hands with the one I love as the sky turns black

I’ve tried to be kind and indulgent to myself this week, as well within reason as I can.

My schedule for the Summer recently changed, and I now have days off where the Studio must be closed to the public, which means that I get to do whatever I want for the most part. I can go in and create, but I can’t have customers in, which makes me pretty inclined to escape outside whenever possible, instead of being inside. Monday was the first day of this little Summer vacation, and I decided that the best possible idea was to have a brunch outside. I mean – obviously, right?

roland

And my choice of brunch venue was also obvious to me – on the picnic benches, waterside at Lake Roland. It’s not far from my Studio, but it never feels like a long drive from my house, either. And there’s the canopy from lovely shade trees over the tables, and usually a nice breeze from the direction of the water. I had my brunch [oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts, and coffee - so very typical] and enjoyed watching the fish jump, the birds soar, and the clouds roll by in the perfect blue sky.

I am embracing adventure more and more in my life. I’m determined to do more things that I love, and less that I do from obligation – often obligation that I press onto myself, because I’m my own worst taskmaster and critic, you know. I am much more likely to deny myself pleasures than to indulge, which is ridiculous for someone as sensually-driven as I am.

 

Berkeley Springs, WV. Oct 1986, I believe. One of my favorite photos ever, of a wonderful adventure.

Berkeley Springs, WV. Oct 1986, I believe. One of my favorite photos ever, of a wonderful adventure.

 

This is the girl that I miss being – not necessarily the one out in the woods, but the one who embraced adventures and found hidden treasures along the path. The one who didn’t know how to say no to the invitation to an interesting time. The one who was much more openly hedonistic and fun-loving, in the best ways.

I mean, I’m still her… and I still do some of these things. But I need to re-learn how to say YES to myself and to fun more often, and forget how easy it is to say NO. And I need to pull some of my small treasures out of storage and enjoy those again, as well. I have a box filled with the coolest things that I’ve gathered in my journey through life: velvet apples and folding skeleton keys and tiny bird skulls and delicate art and little brass bells… all these things that make me smile when I handle them, make me feel a magic that I had neglected for too long.

 

*lyrical title courtesy Gavin Friday “You Take Away The Sun”

I write, as openly as possible, about my experience with depression and abuse, and my ongoing recovery. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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something to call my own

secret world

 

something solid, something real
something I can truly feel
something treasured, something fine
a little piece of something
that I can call mine

it doesn’t have to last forever
though it doesn’t have to fade away
something that’s tethered to this moment
yet a thing that I hope will always stay

a little something to call my own

 

 

 

 

 

Something I’m working on. It needs some tightening up, but I don’t mind sharing it in progress. It’s interesting to see the progression of a work [even a tiny little work like this one] as it goes from scrawled in a journal to finished poem/song/prose. This one is feeling like a song, but sometimes they change their minds as time goes on!

I think accepting impermanence is one of the harder things I had to learn in life. When I turned 35, I had a bunch of really tough things start to pile up that kept on for a couple of years – changes, realizations about people and things that I loved… I got really turned around in the head about loss and death in ways that really gorked up my head for a while. I couldn’t sleep, I was very anxious – so afraid of the What Might Be. [If you read this blog regularly, you know this is a thing for me. I work hard at my easy-going, laidback persona!] What finally helped me get a grip on letting things go was that fateful year when my stepdad died suddenly – with everything that went along with it – and leaving the safe but limiting haven of Charlottesville for unknown adventures. Pushed out of my safety zone, I found that I had to decide what was worth keeping a death grip on, and what could gracefully be released.

Besides learning that things – stuff – is just that, and not all of it needs to be dragged throughout my life [which could encompass an entirely different blog post], I found that not fretting over losing every person in my life made me much happier. I think it made them happier, too. And ironically, though I think that not every friendship or relationship is meant to last a lifetime, I’ve lost very few people from my circle over the span of my adult life. And sometimes, I lose them for a while, then they re-emerge unexpectedly! I make friendships pretty solidly. When I like you, when I love you – you’re in. We’re spinning threads together that will always keep us connected.

I have a few people whom I’ve been friends with since high school. I’m still friends with most of my exes. Hell, I’m still friends with most of my exes’ FAMILIES. I don’t lose people easily. I don’t have to cling tightly in order for that to happen.

It’s good to have things change, and to be able to flow with those changes. But it is also good to realize that our connections always stay with us, unless we act to cut them loose.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experience with depression and abuse, and my ongoing recovery. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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Gathering in our sun caught colors / fall together when we can into one

Scan10003 (2)

I’m no apostle.

 

 

I’m sitting in the dark of my bedroom, listening to the rain and this Siddal track as it spills out what’s in my heart at the moment… Like it always does… and I’m thinking about how perception is so subjective.

What seems reasonable can change wildly, dependent on circumstances. A night can be the longest space of time known to man if there’s something desperately wanted that dangles on the end of that length of time, just a fingertip’s length out of reach. But when the long-waited for event is happening, it may zoom past the one in the midst of it as if time had magically accelerated.

And that variance on what seems reasonable can extend to communication, and expectations, and obligations… it’s all so malleable, depending on whom is observing. It’s the place from where most of our interpersonal conflicts stem. It’s the hardest trick of perception to catch. We are inclined to bias either on our own behalf or totally the other direction. And if you’re like me, someone who has a relatively calm exterior but a very anxious undercurrent, this is one of your worst pitfalls – you immediately think the worst. You – I – immediately go to the negative spin, out of worry. “I said I like fish, and she said she likes fish, but she ordered a burger. I either misunderstood or I’ve done something wrong.” No, dummy – maybe she just wanted something other than fish, even if that’s her favorite food. Overreaction? Oh yeah. I know it after the fact. Just not in that moment. That’s not an easy barrier of perception to break in the moment, though I’m getting better at talking myself down.

 

That’s the trick. I need to talk myself down when I go there. Point out to myself the most reasonable answers to why something is going a certain way – which, most of the time, is that it is actually not even happening the way I think it is while I’m panicking. I am letting anxiety talk.

I used to ruin good things that way, by letting anxiety take over. I think I’m getting better at pushing through that now. I just try to remember that I am an extremely patient person when I need to be, and that I can draw on that to WAIT before acting. That includes keeping my mouth shut sometimes, to let things unfold on their own. It’s a tough call to make – when to let it ride, when to speak up. Patience is the key.

 

would you take my hand once more
journey through that distant door
if I gave you kisses three
would you close your eyes?
entwined are we, entangled souls
our Garden watered by our tears
nocturnal dances, flowers strewn
for what we could not leave to die

No good ever comes out of posting late at night.

Or maybe I’ve got that backwards, says the girl listening to the rain, alone in the dark.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experience with depression and abuse, and my ongoing recovery. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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Stepping out of the page into the sensual world

He said I was a flower of the mountain, yes,
But now I’ve powers o’er a woman’s body, yes.

Stepping out of the page into the sensual world.
Stepping out…

 

As a woman, I get all the conflicting messages about who I am supposed to be.
Pretty, but not unapproachably beautiful.
Strong, but not too strong.
Neither too thin nor too fat.
Smart, but don’t flaunt it.
Have the wits but don’t be too headstrong.
And for god’s sake, you have to be sexy but don’t be a whore. No one likes a woman out for her own pleasure but those who want to take advantage of her.

 

I get to navigate all that, and more, as a woman. This isn’t news, obviously. I’m not even touching the kyriarchal framework in which all these seemingly impassable roadbumps nestle; there’s enough discussion about the effects of that going on right now. If I start going down that road, this becomes a different post altogether. That’s not where I’m headed with this.

 

This is about owning my sexuality.

It’s been on my mind a lot lately, and current events have done nothing more than to push it even further to the front of my thoughts.

 

To where the water and the earth caress
And the down of a peach says mmh, yes,
Do I look for those millionaires
Like a Machiavellian girl would
When I could wear a sunset? mmh, yes,

And how we’d wished to live in the sensual world
You don’t need words–just one kiss, then another.

 

My sensuality, my sexuality – it powers everything that I do. Everything good and creative and connected to the world around me comes from it.

My requirements are enthusiastic, ecstatic desire and love.

I don’t care if my lover is rich, or highly motivated to succeed – although a lack of desire for non-career-oriented success often signals a failure to really care in other areas.
I don’t need or want someone who wants Things and Stuff. I don’t care about big houses and fancy cars or expensive toys. They don’t have soul, they’re just stuff you have to be responsible for.
I don’t care about traveling the world so much. I do care about not spending my days at home, being bored in front of a TV watching the same shows over and over.

I want to make things. I want to create beauty.
I want to see people smile, and I want to smile and laugh and enjoy life.
I want music and art and words that make me shiver.
I want to be touched and treasured and loved and be made love to.
I want all the things in life that fucking matter – none of the shit that needs to be disposed of when I’m gone. Life is ephemeral. I want to be IN it, not watching it go by.

I want someone who wants all this as much as I do.
I want someone who wants me as much as I do them.

I refuse to settle for less.

 

 

 

That’s my manifesto, my proclamation, my great challenge to the world. That’s what drives me and gets me excited to wake up and go out to see the day. That’s what my heart desires, my Sensual World.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experience with depression and abuse, and my ongoing recovery. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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Somebody said to me that you could be in love with almost anyone

Graphic: Xiane; words: Emery Allen.

Graphic: Xiane; words: Emery Allen.

 

I saw this graphic with these words earlier today, and they rang so true that I had to write about them… but I hated the graphic they were on, so I made one that I thought was prettier. Because you know, that’s what artist types do, make things prettier. ;)

I managed to break my own heart a little bit, just recently. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the beauty of possibility, of experiences and recognition of like souls and watching art enfold all around me. So I recently started going on more adventures, finding more things to feed my soul and spark my creativity. And in doing that, I threw my heart-gates a little TOO open.  You guys, I let ALL the magic and beauty in, and I might have overloaded the system a bit.
… and yet, I crave more. I’m a dirty little experience addict. Give me something gorgeous or inspiring, I need a soul fix.

I crave those who are open, ready to share that openness. I get so excited when I meet one of my soul-kin, Those Who Feel Too Much, those who want all that life has to offer, even if sometimes it hurts with the intensity. You are my people. Let’s go experience EVERYTHING.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experience with depression and abuse, and my ongoing recovery. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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I carry your image always in my head – Folded and yellowed and torn at the edge

A lot of artwork shown from Timothy Renner of Dark Holler Arts. http://darkhollerarts.com/

A lot of artwork shown from Timothy Renner of Dark Holler Arts. http://darkhollerarts.com/

 

I’ve done a lot of writing in my time, enough that when I look over my body of work, I can see the clear progression from youthful exuberance and poor word choices and imagery to a more nuanced way of putting my words together… from the anguish and confusion born from the pain of growing up to the more introspective and thoughtful [hopefully] observations that have come with age and experience.

 

The little booklets that I’ve got in my lap right now, the ones pictured above? They encompass the entirety of my growth as a writer and an organizer too, from 1992 until 1999. I went from ‘zines to regular blogging, and a lot of what I wrote from that time on is traceable via my Livejournal and then this blog. Of course there’s always been paper journals, too – those are even more personal and rarely is anything written there shared unless it is poetry that I decide is ready to go on to be viewed by the outside world. Writing for and publishing ‘zines brought me my first friends in Charlottesville VA, where I moved to in 1990 – without knowing pretty much anyone. [this is a pattern for me. Luckily I'm outgoing, despite the best efforts of some people in my life who would have rather kept me isolated.]

 

Working with ‘zines helped me build a relationship with someone whom I treasured as my muse and inspiration for almost everything creative that I did back then; a relationship that was more than friends but less than lovers, fraught with complication and confusion and adoration and so much energy. It was the first time I experienced that sort of communion, with someone who innately shared a common language of words and sounds and symbols. It kept me afloat for the longest time, a tether to all that I could be and all that I longed for.

 

And then something really horrible happened and ruined everything for me… I got a stalker, a very scary and threatening one.  And he knew where to hurt me the most – he threatened the person that I adored. I don’t like going into too many details about this nasty excuse for a person who kept me in fear for too long, but it’s important to express that I was played well and hurt deeply, and I cut off everyone I knew in the world of ‘zines at that time because I was afraid for my life and for them, as well. I had to involve the freakin’ FBI to get things finally resolved, and I still spent months worried that a dangerously unhinged man was going to show up at my job and do something – and as I already lived with someone abusive who decided that “this was all my fault” for putting my words and name out there, I would get no help or support from that quarter… I was all alone.

 

Blonde, so very goth-eek. This was at Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore, I believe.

Blonde, so very goth-eek. This was at Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore, I believe.

 

Somehow, this whole experience only kept me hiding for a while. I just can’t stop reaching out, you see. I need people. I need to share myself with them. It’s one of my best and worst qualities, I think. I spent all of my 20s and a chunk of my 30s being held in fear in some way or another, which is why I am SO outgoing and relatively fearless now. At some point I just decided “fuck it, I’ve already done the thing where I’m scared all the time. Let’s go the other direction and live.” That’s when I wrote the words that would eventually become the song “Redemption” that I sang with The Violet Dawning.

 

a feeling of redemption
slowly takes me over
could it be at last
I have a chance to live?
[2x]

-chorus-
I would emerge from inky shadow
re-dress in jewel toned cloth
tame my madwoman’s locks
and wipe the sleep from my eyes

a feeling of redemption
slowly takes me over
could it be, at long last
I can look up at the sky?
[2x]

-chorus-

 

 

Even breaking free brought the need to share. Maybe it’s ego. Can my experiences really be that important, enough to think that I should be writing them down and sharing them, making poems and songs from them? AngryRob would have said no, that I was full of myself and not as awesome as I think I am. [for the record, yeah... no.]

 

I’m just an over-sharer. I look for the moments where I see it in someone else’s eyes, that moment of recognition and maybe even relief – I am not alone in this. Someone else has felt this way, has experienced this moment. I am not alone.

 

Isn’t that what we all want? To know that even though we travel through life in our little meaty bodies with all the baggage that entails, and we’re trapped inside these brains that feel bigger than they are, in some way we’re still all travelling together? 

I write, as openly as possible, about my experience with depression and abuse, and my ongoing recovery. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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Fond affections are never said, they’re only sung in songs

On the upswing over here. Don’t discount another nosedive, but I think I’ve got a working plan of attack and I feel a LOT better than I did.

 

 

 

neil badass

The first step is getting one’s sense of humor back. Also, what is WITH that face-making, Neil? :D

 

Actually, because you know that I am the MASTER of blistering honesty, this is a really hard blog post to write. Not because I’m telling you anything new, but because when I’m not horribly down or floating high in the sky, it’s hard to talk about these things. When I’m level, it seems hardly worth noting.

But I promised that I’d give updates, and I have thoughts happening that I’d like to share, too.

Unhappiness [not Depression, though they sometimes travel in cahoots] comes when I don’t care for myself. That care includes replenishing myself – my energy, my creativity, my health, my love.

While it’s true that I need to work hard at my little-fiber-business-that-could, if that’s all that I do, then I start to get dull. And resentful. And empty. And sad.

 

This is not the way to live life, Xiane.

 

I started going out a little bit, just recently. Not anything fancy, just a lunch or dinner date here or there, and some adventures to see a dear friend play his music out at solo shows in the afternoon. Nothing too hard for someone who has forgotten how to go out and have a good time – I’m much more practiced at going on drives or running errands or maybe writing in nature. None of these are bad things for “getting out” but they’re not around people much. I need people. I really, really need people. Interactions with others sparks my creativity and feeds my soul.

I’ll never be a good hermit.

And what I’ve realized is that I need more of this. I need more feeding of my soul. I need more experiences, more laughter, more getting out and dancing with strangers and finding secret waterfalls and tasting delicious food and being totally amused by the enthusiastic reactions that my PINK hair gets. And I want to rediscover music that I’d forgotten, and get kisses that bring a smile to my face, and drink too much coffee and laugh about that, too.

And because of these things, I want to be inspired to write more, and sing again [besides inside my car, right?] and make music, and create more beauty.

Because I am a badass. I’m a light in the darkness, dammit – it’s just that sometimes, I forget that I know how to shine.

 

 

 

I write, as openly as possible, about my experience with depression and abuse, and my ongoing recovery. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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No fancy title, just a follow up from yesterday

I posted this on the thread for the link to yesterday’s post over on my Facebook wall, but I wanted to share it here, for everyone who has commented or has been reading along, or who has a friend with Depression, or has struggled about what to say about their Depression.

It takes a lot of guts to talk about this stuff, and to open myself up in this way. I really appreciate the supportive comments.

I know I’m better off than a lot of people. That doesn’t fix clinical depression; it doesn’t work that way. I wish it did, I really really do. I’m acutely aware of how good I have it in so many ways, and I have tons of guilt for feeling like this despite that, which just feeds back into the loop. I wish it was as easy as just weighing my life against what it could be. I’ve struggled with this on and off my whole life, and there’s no easy fix. I’ve done tons of home remedies, some SSRIs, therapy, meditation, diet changes, exercise, you name it – I’ve tried it. What I need most is time and patience, neither of which are the “quick-fix” that we’d all love to see.

I know that a lot of people have never experienced clinical depression [and I am SO GLAD!] so this is pretty foreign to them. And it’s in our nature to try and fix things for those we care about. I appreciate that so very much. But please trust that I’m a life-long sufferer of these imbalances. have taken all the steps possible to try and work with my issues, and I’m only sharing this to help people understand why I might be distant or less “up” – not to garner sympathy or talk about how horrible my life is or to look for people to build me up. That’s my job. :)
I HATE feeling this way. I hate how it effects my business, my relationships. my health, my life. Confessing all this is SO HARD.

People think I have my shit so together. I do in a lot of ways, but it’s important for me to admit that this is a part of my life, and it’s okay. It’s part of my chemistry, I’ll probably always have to watch for these times. I’ve made it this far, I don’t plan to go anywhere, but I do like my friends to know what I’m going through. It helps us all. And I love you guys and want you to know that if I’m quiet for a bit or seem off, it’s me – not you.

Sometimes it is INCREDIBLY hard to respond to the things that people say to me when they’re being supportive. They don’t know what to say, so they look for the best thing possible to tell me, in their eyes. I’ve just put them in a rotten place – what’s the right way to support me? What’s the most helpful, kind, loving thing they can respond with? Unfortunately, that sometimes means advice, or things that are meant to be inspirational… which don’t really encompass what goes on for someone with clinical Depression. I know that it’s a product of “I have NO idea what to say or do” so I don’t take offense, though I must confess that sometimes it really is hard to not get frustrated. I’m being honest, because I want to be helpful with what I share! There’s some really good lists of totally unhelpful things that people have said to those with Depression out there – but my point isn’t to say “don’t do this” but rather to assure you that I DO hear what you’re saying under the advice and the struggling to say the “right” thing – please trust that what I need most of all is your love. Don’t feel that you have to fix this. You can’t. I wish you could. I really really do. But that’s not how this story goes. It goes so much better knowing that you are all on my side, though. That’s the best medicine that I’ve found.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experience with depression and abuse, and my ongoing recovery. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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