A reply to: A letter from Dove
I did tell Jena “TYYEDBEG” from you, and she said, “Hi, II TTYE .”
She would love your cat-word collection!
Right now, she is collecting pictures of tails! She especially likes squirrel-tail pictures because they look fluffy, but she also likes dragon-tail pictures because they look spiky! She’s a girl of contrast, this littlie!
I’m so happy that sharing your true self with me and Jena brings a sense of freedom! I’ve been looking at the stars differently since your last letter. I would love to have the knowledge and experience of this universe that you have!
I know you wrote the humanity gets on your nerves–and that it’s like this everywhere–but still, I would imagine that it’s different flavors of “like this.” Maybe some are a bit more sweet than others?
Lately, I’ve been expanding my own world somewhat. Did I mention that I’ve started volunteering to lead painting classes?
It’s the most amazing project!
I’m doing it through a transition program for women and children who are getting out of abusive situations. Some of the women and children are living there at the center, but others, like my uncle’s organ teacher and my brother’s best friend, have found new places to live, but they still stay in touch with the program’s services.
This is so smart: The program doesn’t cut off the women once they get their new living situation. It continues to support them so that they can establish new, healthy patterns.
I was so surprised when my uncle’s organ teacher showed up for the class. I mean this woman is a talented performing artist, a professional musician.
She laughed when she saw I was surprised. “Hey! Domestic violence is an Equal Opportunity Offender!” she joked.
I didn’t find it funny, but she assured me not to worry.
“I’m on the way to recovery,” she said. “I’ve been living on my own for three years now. Things are going pretty good.”
She explained that keeping in touch with House of Hope helped her to continue the extreme self-care she’d learned, practices like stopping the negative inner-voice and remembering mindfulness. “I need it,” she said. “It’s amazing how ingrained all those destructive words can become. I need to be around people and programs that remind me that I’m not all those terrible things I was told I was for so long.”
I can see that she offers so much to the others who are still living at the center.
Role models, quite literally, lay down the paths that others can follow. Sure, they won’t all be professional musicians, but they might go to school to become teachers or attorneys or hair care specialists. They might become barristas, like my brother’s best friend, or wait tables. Or maybe they’ll become chemists or physicists.
The thing is, those women who are on their ways to making it, like my uncle’s organ teacher and my brother’s best friend, they show that a person doesn’t have to be broken. Someone might be wounded, but someone can heal.
My brother’s best friend exudes hope. She was my friend first, and I think that’s what drew me to her. I could tell there was something vulnerable about her. You know how sometimes when people get hurt they close up and become hard? But sometimes when they become hurt, they stay soft and open, and they seem to reach out with an increased sensitivity and empathy? That’s what my brother’s best friend is like.
I am guessing that it’s this open quality in her that appealed to him, too. He’s not always the most emotionally available or aware person, and so I think having a friend whose emotions are always right there, displayed on her open face, gives him something that he needs.
It was her idea that I volunteer here in the first place. I’m learning so much from her! I watch her talking with the other women, and I see that she has such an easiness with them. I tend to be a bit more quiet, and it’s often hard for me to find things in common with others. But watching my brother’s best friend, I see that it doesn’t really matter! Just be there. Be open. I think I can learn this.
I felt inspired watching the women work. I’d been counseled by my supervisor not to do too much talking and not to ask questions. “Just be there,” she said. “Let the painting do the work. Let the art speak.”
So that’s what I did.
As I left at the end of the session, I’d felt that the art had showed me something. I can’t really put it into words–it had something to do with being together, painting, letting the art speak. I know! It had to do with these women finding new ways to express the ideas and feelings they had inside, and to create together a space in which they could bring this new expression into being.
I guess I felt that I’d learned so much from them. I can hardly wait for our next class!
I was sorry to hear about your frustrations at the science lab. I know my brother often feels that way, especially when what seems like a great idea turns out to have consequences that aren’t so great. In a significant way, wind power is like that. My brother has pretty well decided that Windenburg Wind and Sun will become Windenburg Sun–and the sooner, the better, as far as he’s concerned. The reality is that even after decades, they haven’t been able to find a way to produce raptor-safe wind power, and Norman has concluded that he’s got to switch over to solar exclusively. He says we should have done so years ago.
I think it’s his best friend who’s giving him the courage to stand by his convictions.
Thank you, INWk, for giving me courage to dream big and to know that there are so many possibilities!
Much love to you, Maki, and the littlies!