The warrior Joan.

I was talking to Eric, one of the delightfully fun and interesting baristas at my local coffeeshop tonight. We were talking about various things we’d learned about religious topics, and I shared a quick gloss about my First Communion and Confirmation ceremonies -yep, I was raised a Catholic, for those that didn’t know! One of the things that that I mentioned was that I borrowed my confirmation name from St. Joan of Arc. She’s a patron of prisoners and of fighters, and I was both. [also, she wore men’s clothing – both because she had a “man’s job to do” and it would deter molestation. I chose to change my appearance as a defense and a protest against the abuse I went through. I would only be attractive on my own terms.]

Maybe she was crazy, with her voices. Maybe I am crazy, with my sadness and circular thought patterns. But there is something that everyone recognized about Joan: she was a fighter, even if she insisted that she was but a simple girl. And even if people don’t know it about me, it is true: I am a fighter, too.

Don’t underestimate my strength. I may not handle things in the way that some fierce sorts do – I don’t charge forward into battle, for example. I take things at a more circuitous route, just as my thoughts often run; I am perhaps too patient and sometimes overly thoughtful, but I prefer that to making a misstep, which I might if I stepped away from my standard zone of operation. I’ve found that trying to change these ways about me usually leads to disaster, because this is just not how my brain works.

I was not protected, growing up. It wasn’t because of an active choice from the adults around me, but rather a lack of looking up, perhaps. I learned to quietly protect myself by moving out of range, creating lock-traps for doors that lacked locks, holding my cards close to my chest.
I didn’t ask for help – I didn’t know how, not without hurting other people. This experience has formed the base for all my interpersonal problem-solving skills, something I’m learning to work beyond now, but even now I’m not great at it. It’s a skill in development. However, I’ve never lacked in the skill of defending myself. I might walk away from a fight, but that’s a defense, too. I might not defend myself in the way that others would want me to, but that’s my choice, too.

I learned somewhat recently that trying to protect my loved ones from bad things isn’t always the best thing I could do for them. We have to walk our paths, and we need to live out our karma. Trying to protect them, I ended up with all of us hurting. Sometimes, it is SO hard to remember that, and it is definitely hard to know when to take a stand and when to just keep my mouth shut. This is all a work in progress, and I often make mistakes in the work. That brings pain to those I love, too.

Some days I really get the whole “life is suffering” thing. However, I need to keep in mind that my efforts to improve myself, my own walk down what Buddha would have termed The Eightfold Path, will help me to get through this, and maybe – if I’m lucky – will help those I love, too.

Right Mindfulness is one of my biggest hang-ups, in part because of my illness and the Circular mind-think. Recognizing the phenomenon helps me to break the cycle in part, but I must be ever vigilant to recurrence.

Heh, from Catholicism to Buddhism, all in one post about my slowly mending brain. Good one, Xiane.

It lay buried here. It lay deep inside me.
It’s so deep I don’t think that I can speak about it.
It could take me all of my life,
But it would only take a moment to

Tell you what I’m feeling,
But I don’t know if I’m ready yet.
You come walking into this room
Like you’re walking into my arms.
What would I do without you?

Take away the love and the anger,
And a little piece of hope holding us together.
Looking for a moment that’ll never happen,
Living in the gap between past and future.
Take away the stone and the timber,
And a little piece of rope won’t hold it together.

If you can’t tell your sister,
If you can’t tell a priest,
‘Cause it’s so deep you don’t think that you can speak about it
To anyone,
Can you tell it to your heart?
Can you find it in your heart

To let go of these feelings
Like a bell to a Southerly wind?
We could be like two strings beating,
Speaking in sympathy…
What would we do without you?
Two strings speak in sympathy.

Take away the love and the anger,
And a little piece of hope holding us together.
Looking for a moment that’ll never happen,
Living in the gap between past and future.
Take away the stone and the timber,
And a little piece of rope won’t hold it together.

We’re building a house of the future together.
(What would we do without you?)

Well, if it’s so deep you don’t think that you can speak about it,
Just remember to reach out and touch the past and the future.
Well, if it’s so deep you don’t think you can speak about it,
Don’t ever think that you can’t change the past and the future.
You might not, not think so now,
But just you wait and see–someone will come to help you.

– Kate Bush [love and anger]

My heart is brimming over with love for my friends-chosen-family and my family-by-birth. Thank you for listening, and sticking with me – even when I’m longwinded or annoying or frustrating or hurtful, and for loving and supporting me. What would we do without you?

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. 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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