My Backyard Fort

January 4, 1985

If life was ever simple it was in the pleasure of stretched out summer days golden and sweetly perfumed with freshly mown grass; wild blackberries bleeding their juice into my ready hand; ladybugs tickling bare arms and legs, and the approaching squeak of the mail truck.

Simplicity lay in mute promises hidden within the season’s gentle sighing wind, of fallen apples decorating backyards, and games of hopscotch enjoyed by noisy little girls. Simplicity lured me into erecting lemonade stands in desperate, or lackadaisical, attempts to earn pocket money. Simplicity was cozying up with cheap hardbound copies of Tom Sawyer, Kidnapped, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, read at leisure.

Time itself was simplicity and held the assurance of every good thing with every game of Monopoly played, with every turn of the jump-rope, every moment spent with Barbie and Ken in a world of make-believe adult sophistication.

And now I find within my real adulthood no coveted sophistication (for I am most vulnerable and lost), no tangible simplicity to lose myself in, no pleasures worth seeking. The child in me—-that contented child full of wonder and awed by magic—-has left home and never looked back.

January 25, 1985

There is no one out there for me, and I can’t return to the naivete I once lost myself in. The world is colorless and void, without form. That awful truth I once suspected about myself is painfully clear now. I never wanted to admit or give in to it, but how much longer can I run in circles before I surrender to its rightness?

I am not capable of establishing and maintaining a relationship with a man. That capacity was murdered within me lightyears ago. Yet I insist on pretending normalcy, maturity, sanity. As the world measures sanity, I am sane. But there are handicaps, gaps within my emotional makeup which poison every attempt to express myself, and to give my love away.

Have I been like this forever? Begging with outstretched hands for some compassionate soul to accept my offer of love? It is so hard to dispense love; I am met with suspicions, misunderstandings, or those who want merely its benefits and none of its sacrifices. As skewed as my ability to love may be, still I can’t be miserly with it. I bestow it in abundance, lose myself in its depths. Perhaps this is my downfall. If only I could learn to do as so many do so well: dispense love cautiously, warily, and only when I am certain of a return on my investment.

Today I fantasize about the country, of generous trunked shade trees and blue-blanked sky; of open spaces, freedom to think, my children content and sun-browned,  emancipated from slavery to video games and the violence of men. Bread rising in the oven, a plump cat lazing in open doorway. It doesn’t seem much, this desire of mine, but that little bit is as hard as gold for me to obtain. I’m cramped in an apartment with no grass, no lazy cats or open spaces for thoughtful contemplation. I am stifled, limited—-and I want my children. I want them, all of them, eternally mine.

I’ve failed them and this life gives no “E” for effort.

(Talked to my ex-boyfriend last night. He was so cold I caught a chill and now must nurse myself back to health from his frostbitten manner.)

February 1985

My artificial life
no longer covers me
I’ve stripped off my facade:
naked, meant to be.

December 23, 1981

I’ve given myself until the end of this journal to get my head together. I don’t know how long it will take to fill up these blank pages. I only know that unless I meet this goal, I will have no alternative but to end my miserable existence. 28 years is long enough to spend in emotional limbo. I will not spend another year, celebrate another birthday in total mental, spiritual and emotional confusion. Life must have more meaning than this or what’s the point?

I’m spinning fast toward an emotional breakdown. I much prefer to die than to go through a total disorientation. Death is my last out, something to fall back on should all else fail me. It has come to this and I hardly care any more, I hardly care.

December 23, 1981

Jesus, are you still there awaiting my prodigal return
or did you tire of keeping watch and hoping against hope
I’d come to my senses some desperately lonely night?

I don’t know any more what to believe, only that I have grown weary
waiting for me to get my act together.

I thought you were big enough, your love comprehensive enough
to cover all my insecurities and complexes,
and to fill the void a father never filled.
Now I begin to see that no matter what,
no matter who is part of my life,
that awful gaping void will perpetually drain myself away,
eat away at my heart like an insidious cancer.

Jesus, are you still there waiting?
(If only I could be certain . . . . )

 

 

 

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