The International Women's Writing Guild

Friday Prompt I’m beginning to know myself. I don’t exist.

  • Friday, November 30, 2018 9:11 PM
    Message # 6940728

    I’m beginning to know myself. I don’t exist.

    Yesterday, in my healing session with Megan, I said, “I’m not the Re-Write Your Life person. (Re-Write Your Life”, the title of my book).  I’m the Re-Wrong Your Life person!”

     To which she immediately replied, “Why don’t you write that. Then see where it takes you.” I thought about it and then abandoned the thought as quickly as the words left her tongue. Until now.

    “I’m beginning to know myself. I don’t exist." Treacherously black. Yes, I exist, but prefer to go into complete oblivion somewhere where I have no desire to communicate, connect, converse with another living soul.  Like I am now.  

    A lame excuse to say I don’t exist and then defy it with yes, I do. How does one who has spent her whole life trying to measure up – then becoming the ‘mentor’ for reframing, re-writing the hard stuff of our lives go unconscious again?

    People are pretty sophisticated these days.  They could detect bullshit first sniff.  I also spent my whole life learning how to become conscious, to become more than what events and circumstances dictated, to find my voice still smoldering in the ashes and ruins of my childhood and for the most part, often succeeded to find wholeness beyond the fractured pieces.

    Not today. Today, inside this 69-year-old ancient woman, I am Re-Wrong Your Life.  Manny told me in one of his most recent nauseating texts that another man might lie next to an almost 70-year-old woman and see lines and creases whereas he sees beauty to paint.  Well, fuck you, Manny!  Good for you Mr. try- to-seduce-me-into-your-bed, -your life,-your heart again. You think I’m supposed to consider that a compliment? Endear you to me? Are you nuts? There was a time I would pick up those crumbs and thank the Gods for offering me such a feast. My ego wants to scream. I am. More of me wants to just resign…It’s been years since I ventured out on a limb to be with a man again. Years! And for good reason. I could spend the rest of this writing and the rest of my life justifying all my good reasons. Maybe I’d even win the contest. Some pretty sickening stuff to bring to the evidence table under Exhibits A – Z.   But not here. Here is where I want to tell you, tell Me – that I opened up to new possibilities. Just this spring.  I - feeling ready - feeling hopeful...opened up and feel duped. "Just not lucky in love," my fortune cookie would smugly wink.

    I realized last spring I was happy. Happy and single. And have been for several years – for the most part. Let me add Resilient, to happy, and single.  The central word being, “happy.” Content with my life, my career, my friends, … not so much my family – but accepting the nature of it… so…why not see if I could even make it happier with a man in my life. The right one. Mr. Right one. So, I ventured forth and paid two well known women who help mature conscious women find conscious men and was doing what I considered ‘readying’ myself. 

    And then he showed up in the best story-book fashion way. It's the best part of this saga. The way we met.  It was in a coffee shop in a small town on the ocean, where I was doing a personal working and writing retreat. 

    I felt his energy, then looked up to see him looking at me with interest and a large open smile.  The second time in the same shop, some days later, he was there again. He struck up a brief, friendly conversation and I could tell he wanted to extend it but there was another person at his table. I was not attracted to him but flattered someone obviously noticed me.

    I preceded to take my coffee to the library and for me that was the end of it. Other than asking the young woman at the coffee shop if I could hang up a poster for a workshop I was facilitating in October.  She read it, and said, “You Bet! A writing workshop, I’ll even put it on my personal Face Book feed.” Wow! This was a friendly town!  

    The day before I was leaving this small island town, I went to that same coffee shop across from the library.  The same young woman was there, “Great you came in! You don’t have any contact information on the poster!”

    You’re kidding me! 

    She wasn’t. 

    Unbeknownst to me this same gentleman came in again hoping I’d show up. He left his number for me in case I did. She didn’t give it to me, but when my friend brought in another poster, this time, with my number on it, the young woman contacted the gentleman, who in turn, contacted me.

    His text declared, “Hi, we met a couple of times at a coffee shop in August. I noticed a light above your head and feel an unusual connection to you so an reaching out. I've never done anything like this before. I have no idea what this means but am hoping you will reach back.” 

    The rest is history. A short history. A not very happy history…and here I am today…at another island on another personal writing/working – this time – soul retrieval retreat – beginning to know myself. I do exist…But barely.

    …I just re-read what I wrote. I ‘hate’ being a victim of circumstance. I’d love to wallow in my heartache – but the truth is…even under the pain and it does hurt, because I did hope that this man, with the very kind heart would, indeed, become a big part of my future, I still see it as a gift.

    I’m too soon into the throws of it’s ending to know what that is, in its entirety, but maybe it’s enough to at least have this awareness. This ensures I won’t go into the debilitating depressions that used to grip my throat into a vice that cut off my breath where I really did NOT exist.  Perhaps it’s because I know that place of what I called the torture chamber of my mind, where a shroud of black anxiety and despair would fall over me and grip me like a body bag, sucking out all the air that ever was. I know the difference. This is not that. Thank God, that has not happened in many years.

    Still, I am not the re-write your life lady today. Nor am I the re-wrong your life lady today. I am simply a woman who used a prompt to prompt and tease these words out of me as part of a healing process that will one day uncover what it will. What I might hope for…perhaps somewhere a bit further down the healing continuum from where I am today.


    I AM MAKING a huge leap. I’m a long time virtually “silent” member of IWWG …and I am risking leaving this as it is. The only thing I've ever shared. There are far more 'polished” works under my belt.  All of us are women here. I’m raw among women writers. I think I am safe.  It’s unedited and not for publication. I am not going back to perfect it. By placing it here…perhaps it will offer me simply some spaciousness … less of a grip on my own throat of criticism and blame for all that went wrong - a place to be welcomed at a table of vulnerability, warts and bruises…away from my professional mask and worse - writing errors! Thank you for taking the time to read this.


    Last modified: Friday, November 30, 2018 9:47 PM | Junie Swadron
  • Friday, November 30, 2018 9:25 PM
    Reply # 6940732 on 6940728

    Dear Junie,

    This is my first time on Writer Share. I found today's prompt intriguing but haven't written anything yet. I did write a brief piece about my body as a foreign country today for Tiferet Journal. Your piece resonated deeply with me. Your openness and insight touched me. I am glad you took the risk of sharing here. Forgive me if I have met you and don't remember you. I am also 69 and have a memory problem. I too have old scars. There is the story that created me and the story I have created about myself. I have often derailed myself even as I recreate myself. I wish you strength, fortitude and happiness in yourself, your work, your friends and your creative life. I am glad you are a member of IWWG and are coming forward.

  • Saturday, December 01, 2018 12:41 AM
    Reply # 6940852 on 6940728

    Bless you, Leslie for your beautiful, kind response to what I shared. Thank you for your wishes for me. Your words have touched me deeply.  This is my first time here too, so we wouldn't have met before. I am grateful we have now. I would love to read your piece on your body as a foreign country if you choose to share it. Where do you live in the world? I am in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Wishing you every peace and happiness.

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