12 November 2008


Somewhere along the way, I lost the Quiet One.

She was so beautiful, and so sensitive. It tore her to shreds to watch the movie version of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. How her soul hurt for that other little girl, so far removed from her own world, who suffered and tried to live and died anyway. We killed her, Mama, she said, but no one else saw it that way. She cried herself to sleep that night.

She was so special, making friends with the tiny, perfect violets when they grew all around where the old tree had been cut down. She missed the tree, but the stump made a perfect seat for violet-watching. I think they thought it strange that one girl, so small, could occupy herself with flowers for so long. Come on, they said, let's go, and so she tore herself away.

She was so sweet, her wide eyes and shy smile endeared even the ones she wished would go away. Loved faces brought so much joy, she could hardly contain it. Why can't you go to sleep? someone asked. My mama and daddy aren't home yet...I want to see them.

She wasn't always sweet. Anger poured over and through her just like pain and joy, and poured out her mouth and her hands. She never pounded or hit or bit, though I won't tell you about the times she wished she could.

She was so creative, riding the stairsteps with the curving banister like a train and making all the dolls she could find sit up for school. Sometimes, those dolls got in others' way. Make us a path, we have to get through, they said, but school wasn't any fun with people walking through the middle of the classroom.

I think a lot of people missed her completely. They mistook sensitivity for weakness, shyness for inability, intense emotion for stage-worthy overkill, and creativity for something that got in the way. And to such a sensitive, little soul, being mis-taken burns inside like cold fire. Is it me? became How do I fix it? and when she found that she couldn't, she went away.

What else do you do when it seems like the whole world hurts?

You know, I don't think it's right to say that I lost her. More like, I spirited her away, hiding her somewhere where she couldn't be found. She's too special, too loving and sensitive and wide-eyed and precious, to have to suffer not being understood. If no one else would value those things, I'd put them in a place where only I could see them.

And yet, she's sometimes lost down there, beyond the place where interfacing with the world becomes coping and coping becomes that-thing-you-do-without-even-thinking. She got lost because she got forgotten, in the hurly-burly of trying to figure out life without her.

The thing is, I want her back. Not just the little bits here and there, when I remember her or see her in my conversation or when she starts to tiptoe out because the people I'm with are safe. I want her to come home, to be the me you see when you look in my eyes. I want a second chance, with her and for her. I want her back.

Has anybody seen her?

**Do ya'll even require the disclaimer anymore? This came to me last night when I was falling to sleep, and it encompassess so much of my journey here on earth, my journey towards God, myself, and others, now and in the past and probably in the future, too. Right now, I'm not overly sad, depressed, angry, or anthing else you could come up with from reading this. I'm just holding this, nodding, saying, "Yup...'s all true."


heather said...

Eight years ago, I was lost. Eight years ago, I bottled so much inside of me to fit in and be someone. I'd moved to a different world, and the aftermath felt like an amputation, or the phantom itch after the amputation.
Months later, it crashed. It wasn't me, and the real me inside couldn't take it anymore. I remember when it happened. I remember seeing a dead squirrel in the world and being so overcome by the wrongness of the world, I had to pull over. Before that moment, I said awful things to people I love. I was so lost. After that car ride, I knew I had to figure it out. I did. It was hard, and I had to make choices, but I'm glad I did.

Christianne said...

So beautiful, my friend. I love your little Quiet One. I would have liked the two of us to be friends when we were young, because my Quiet One felt things deeply and saw the soul of things others didn't see. She felt misunderstood and unseen and alone so much of the time.

I'm glad you're looking for her, that you're making space for her to show up in your adult world, that you're wanting to integrate her into who you are now so that there's no disparity between her and you, that you and she are one and the same . . . again.

Love you, friend. You are so beautiful to me that it hurts inside. And right now is one of those times when being 3000 miles away from a coffee date with you just isn't okay with me at all.

Anonymous said...

wow Sarah, I am surprised to hear you say at the end there that you are not sad or depressed while writing this. Your voice sounds, well, a bit melancholy here.

Or maybe I am seeing so much of my own thoughts (especially lately) in this blog. Of course we don't always see things through the eyes of the writer, but through our own feelings.

If I had written this I would have probably been extremely depressed when i wrote it.

I am not sure i had the chance to be a child when i was a child. Maybe that is why I am such a big kid now, I am relapsing into some early childhood psychological deficiency. Who knows? It all just sounded like a good excuse to be a cartoon addict.

I read this blog very carefully because it amazes me sometimes at the things you throw out there that if one is not listening they will miss.

As usual my mind is running through rabbit trails. This blog reminds me so much of some things i have been meditating on lately. I keep looking inside myself, asking myself how i got to the place where i am at this moment. I have never felt so cold, lifeless and pretty much dead on the inside as i feel right now.

Not just today, i mean in the last few years i guess. That is pathetic right? I refer to them as the "dark ages." There have been days in "the dark ages," where i have seen and felt the sun, but then everything clouds over again and i lose God, and myself in all the chaos.

Joelle said...

Mmmmm, I think I feel something similar. Though each soul's experience is uniquely their own. Not depressed. Disappointed, maybe. You express the loss so beautifully, wistfully. I'd love to know that Sarah, watch violets with her. Come out, come home, Quiet One.

kirsten said...

so beautiful, sarah. i have an idea of what it is to uncover something, some part of yourself that has been hidden for the sake of so many things: acceptability, survival, to name just a couple.

your Quiet One is lovely. i'm glad you've protected and preserved her and now, am giving her the light of day to breathe again. i hope that, as she emerges, she will stretch her limbs long and test their length, that she will play, laugh, and ponder.

i wonder what she will show you.

sojourner said...

Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of yourself! Keep thinking about her, remembering her, holding her, loving her, and she will come back.

Sarah said...

heather--that's a good story. I mean, it's GOOD, like, from-Jesus good. I love the image of the squirrel who changed your life...it's so cool to me, sometimes, how Jesus reaches us. I love the glimpses that I see of your heart in this piece.

christianne--your words smooth some things that feel rumpled inside. thank you. and real coffee over a real table with a real christianne sounds just short of heaven.

tammy--you know, I think we all have quiet ones inside. or maybe loud ones, obnoxious ones, super-giggly ones, whatever didn't seem safe that gets stuck somewhere. it's part of being human, i think, that we encounter sin and we hide the parts that hurt, because we're ashamed of them but also to protect them altogether. maybe i extrapolate too much from my experience...but i know i'm not the only one who has looked inside and discovered that what was lost is found.

as for how i felt...i mean,it makes me sad, in a wistful sort of way, but it also makes me hopeful. if i can tell she's lost, well, isn't that the first step toward finding her?

joelle--definitely wistful (i just used that word to tammy above, before i read your comment). sadness and hope, wistfulness and joy...you know, when feelings like that come together, i've learned it means i'm on to something ;) God is such a paradox...it makes sense that things that come from him would be, too.

kirsten--me too! i wonder what her voice sounds like...it's all exciting to me, the thought that maybe now i have the skills to protect her without sending her away, and because of that i might get to hear her.

sojourner--you're welcome, and yeah...it's all about accepting her. giving her a safe place. inviting her into a world that i now know to be safe enough for her (thought that's not quite right...maybe a world that won't be quite as safe without her?). i'm glad you're here, by the way.

Laure said...

sarah, there is no one who can speak, "She was or wasn't ...," like you can. and what you have spoken here is so sacred ... the essence of your winged self. the self that chose yesterday to step away from the warrior princess for a bit.

as i was reading, i smiled to myself because your words speak eloquently and poignantly about wounding and fragmentation and learned copying methods and false self and authentic self.

you know yourself profoundly. you know the, "spirited away/hidden" self profoundly. you know the dynamic tragedy of those who didn't/don't know themselves and so were/are hopeless to know you. i sensed compassion in the tenor of your voice.

your declaration of 'what/who you want' touched something so very deep in me. it speaks to me of how i, ultimately, must learn to be my own advocate ... mother, father, friend, recoverer, caregiver. it speaks to me of how i must learn how to soothe myself within my pilgrimage of integration toward wholeness.

i think that i've seen her today ... in your words here. she's a real beauty, sarah ... a keeper.

when i read that this all came to you as you were falling to sleep, i thought that was perfect. we are most vulnerable consciously right before we surrender to sleep i think. perhaps she will come to you again and then again and then again in that time.

i believe i understand how you weren't feeling some of the predictable feelings anyone might expect as you wrote what you did. there have been other times and places when the feelings were there ... ripe and authentic to the moment. but in the moments of this writing, the holding ... the nod ... the "yup...'s all true." ... well, they ask for a quiet witness ... as quiet as the one lost.

Sarah said...

Laure--wow...your words get right in where I need them right now. There's so much I could say but instead I'll just say thank you.

Laure said...

{{{sarah}}} *smile*