January 10, 2017 (Tuesday)

by Yule Heibel on January 9, 2018

Wow, it’s Tuesday. I wasn’t sure what to write at first, thought it was Monday or something.

W. is still sick, staying home today, too. I like not having to rush in the mornings, but it also gives me a taste of what “retirement” might be like. Basically, don’t ever “retire.” It’s death.

Readying for today’s meditation, an image and a thought popped into my mind right at the outset. The image was of me playing with blocks on the cement floor of our apartment balcony in D. It’s a photo I have: I’m alone (what else?), and whoever took the photo (probably my sister H., since she was apprenticed in a photography business) was standing slightly away and over me, so the angle is from above. My face isn’t visible, I’m focused on the blocks. Not sure how old I am, but we left D. to move to I. when I was around three-and-a-half, which could put the photo into mid- or even late 19xx. The thought – prompted by the paucity of the setting, my aloneness, and utter separateness: my dysfunctional relation to my setting, to the world – was, “How much hate you endure.” I felt, viscerally, how this little girl was not loved (at least not by the person who mattered the most to her at the time) and how neglected she was. I think this is why my some of my sister-mothers make such a big deal of recounting how much they cared for me and took me out.

But I remind myself that I. by then was apprenticed in a beauty salon and therefore working full-time, while H., I.’s “partner in fun” (they frequented D’s jazz cellars and flirted outrageously), was also apprenticed (in said photography business). H. took me out, too, together with I. – but they both had very little time. For boys as well as girls, apprenticeship was a time-and-a-half commitment, much more than nine to five. In turn, B. was still in school and certainly didn’t have time to be my daytime carer. No, it was my mother who did the day-to-day, and she did nothing, really nothing, to enrich my life. Not with friends, not with special or regular activities, play dates, etc.: zilch. Visualizing that photograph, I felt a profound sense of being the “useless appendage” (mistake, unplanned), a sense that must have been thick in the air of that apartment where I was born, a miasma thicker and more solid actually than any fog. Isn’t it ironic that at eighteen months, close to death, I should undergo an emergency appendectomy? Useless appendage, indeed.

Anyway, I decided to focus my visualization on her, on that little girl, the one whose girlhood was short shrifted away over her childhood years. The one who endured one near-buzz-cut after another (talk about androgyny) because my mother couldn’t be bothered dealing with my hair long. Too much mess, too much for her to vacuum. The girl who was alone almost always, and especially so after the sister-mothers left home (or we left them for Canada), the one who was attacked or at least bloodied beyond belief at 6 or so, the one who in the wake of that came to believe she had a guardian angel, some kind of invisible but palpable protective force.

And I thought, “Imagine if time is traversable in some weird way, and my meditation today, where I’m sending this little girl all the love and kindness and ease she so desperately needs, is the guardian angel she ‘knew’ as a felt presence in her young, vulnerable life?” Just saying, visually and mentally, “I love you, [nickname],” brought tears and a deep sense of pain and even transgression. As if by sending love to that child I was yanking the Earth out of its usual orbit. And perhaps directing it onto a better transit. I love you, [nickname], you are worthy. I can see my children in you.

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