SAD / sad /


 
1. Sad: a word, a whisper, my body throwing out distant echoes from within.
2. Sad: a baby crying, a lonely heart, an abandoned daughter.
3. Sad: a despondent mind and spirit, a thing of little worth; a dull, somber colour.
4. S.A.D: a mental disorder; depressive episodes during certain times of the year.

Feelings, thoughts, emotions…
All individual, independent, truth.

Another line.
Another journey.
More fabric touched.

by Rebeca L. Atherton


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Mixed Emotions

image
 
Yesterday it was sunny
and I basked like a cat.

Today I am listening to the rain come down
while inside different parts of me cry.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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AgΓ‘pe

image
 
Shhhhhh little bird,
don’t say a word;
the sun has risen
and the black bird is awake.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Rock face


 
All she wants is for the man inside to show up –
not as a child or as a petulant teenager,
angry at the world and at her –
but as an adult, as himself.

A bit of compassion,
kindness…
mindfulness and presence,
would also be nice.

And yet…
living inside his stone fortress,
imprisoned inside layer upon layer of himself,
he watches but cannot not act.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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The things that stare at me

Huddled amongst dust bunnies and cobwebs, I claw at the things that stare at me and shy away from those that bite. It’s cold and I wish that there were others: spirits, perhaps; and fairies and angels. But the part of me that believed, that believes, is struggling to reach out, bereft of clarity and energy. Behind closed eyes lights dance, colours come and go and I know it won’t be long now until I am ready.

The days pass and October dwindles. Soon it will be November and then the end – of fast, of angry, of sad, of lonely, of cold and damp and grey and black… of disrespected and disconnected and struggling to keep up… of tension tight in my neck and belly and not being able to relax… of constant traffic and constant people always rushing past… of feet above and feet below never letting up… of grimy windows and oily floors, slamming doors… of pushing and shoving and phones that swallow, umbrellas in the way… and tomorrow a carbon copy of today.

The page grows heavy, the uncomfortable inside climbing out. A hand finds my arm, a head my neck, thighs grip my abdomen and press. The baby in my belly complains. As usual it is unhappy.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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The moon underwater

imageWe sit opposite one another, each wrapped up in our own silence – yours hot, mine cold – juggling problems that refuse to be solved without the aid of phone calls, lawyers and threats. You are angry and your breath is red.

I’m angry too, but the weather has twisted my emotions so that my words are like water, hard to understand. Inside, bad things grow: a tree without roots, a plant with black leaves, strange-shaped flowers.

I listen to my body and it tells me it hurts, but with everything that is happening, I haven’t the will to care or the energy to do anything about it if I did.

Time extends. Days repeat. Hours drag. Mornings are difficult.

I get up. I go out. I walk until my feet ache and my legs collapse. If I’m lucky, I find somewhere to stop, but the closer it gets to Christmas, the harder it gets.

I break and I mend, over and over; and somewhere in amongst it all, I grow strong. Not physically, like Helen of Troy or Boudicca, but mentally like Sylvia Path and Anne Frank. And as my body bends – accommodating each trial, each tribulation, each trauma; each difficulty, burden and disaster; misfortune, misery and curse: climbing mountain and crossing ocean, traversing path and scaling tree – my mind repairs, reinforcing my character.

With this newfound strength, I begin to explore – finding comfort in strange places; only it’s fragile and cannot be relied upon. Monday’s bolt-hole rejects me on Wednesday. Tuesday’s womb is Friday’s cell. There are people everywhere, always, in festive jumpers and hats. Men parade as reindeer, women as elves. I can’t move for Santa’s and snowmen. They eat and drink, talk and shout.

Meanwhile, in the background there is a list: a house that needs repairing, a mortgage that needs paying, tenants to be sought and secured. And that’s on top of a contract that needs reversing, money reimbursing and a new apartment found. Plus, the few items of furniture we bought last weekend – in excitement, in hope, in anticipation… need returning to whence they came, if indeed they can go back; and our suitcases – half-full, half-empty; half-broken (one) – need to be repacked. After that: clients, courses, workshops, groups, jobs, opportunities, friends, etc. It’s a lot, so I try not to think about it.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Where it hurts

imageI’ve got a cold, the one that’s been doing the rounds, the one that’s everywhere, the one that’s on the tube and in cafΓ©s and restaurants; the one that’s on every door handle, table and seat; the one that’s in shops and supermarkets, lurking on shelves, hiding on hangers, lying in wait; the one that’s been dancing around the perimeter of my personal hemisphere, infecting my family and friends; the one that’s been trying to get me ever since I’ve arrived. Having managed to avoid catching it from my partner, my father, my sister, a colleague and a friend, I have finally succumbed, my stupid hand reaching up to take possession without permission from my slightly more intelligent body or arm. Feeling miserable; coughing, spluttering, sniffing and sneezing – my voice barely present, my throat raw and dry: I couldn’t be happier. To say that this further drain on my already depleted reserves is unwelcome, is understating the matter at hand. I am examining the rocks on the bottom, befriending the algae that graces them, looking for (so that I might eat and thereby at least temporarily survive) the worm most unassuming and unammouting.

My head, although foggy, is alive with questions. What am I doing? Where am I going? Where do I stand and what do I even want?

It is also full of holes. The explanations and responses I thought I had figured out, the plans I had put together, all feel lame and weak, irrelevant. How can I focus on the future, when the present is so unclear? And how can I start sorting out the present, when I don’t even know what might be happening later, let alone further ahead than that?

I want to make the most of being here: study, join, explore; see, meet, befriend; become a part of. But I can’t do any of that while I am juggling potatoes because it would be irresponsible to stop and, besides, these potatoes are hot. I would either in shock drop them or in horror burn my hands.

This morning, after another sleepless night, I am sitting in (surprise, surprise), a cafΓ©. Having no Wi-fi at home makes it necessary. As does the fact that I have no furniture at said ‘home’ to sit upon and, as such, being at home feels a bit like camping out in a field. It’s also not my favourite place because, as a space, it has betrayed me. After costing an arm and a leg (roughly translated as six months rent in advance due to the short nature of our intended stay and the temporary, transient nature of our work, and double the deposit, because of our dog, who has never damaged anything but, understandably, in the mind of the landlord, might) it has transpired that half of the contents don’t work, the neighbours are noisy and it, our space, is situated above the dance floor of a busy club. It’s so not funny, one just has to laugh; to do anything else, would be to invite further tragedy and experience additional trauma, of which there is already far too much.

So I am sitting and writing and attempting and trying very hard to make do, and I am (in part) managing. Thank God for my book. It’s not much and it may never amount to anything, remaining as small or as large as the individuals who frequent my site, but it’s a whole lot better than nothing and it gives me something to concentrate upon. And, perhaps, if life feels like giving me a break, just this once, just this time, it might find its way out there to a slightly more expansive crowd.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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A dysfunctional legume

Her heart feels heavy and there are tears behind her eyes. Her whole body hurts. The sensation is all-consuming. The future is knocking and she doesn’t like what it’s carrying. Unlike before, this is not an adventure or an illustrious trip: it’s an about-turn; a reversal of trajectory, heading face-on into a familiar undesirable she thought herself to have fled.

Attempting to alleviate the uncomfortable, she throws it over her shoulder until it’s far enough away to ignore, delaying its revival until a more convenient time. In the interim, she invents a new project: at least preoccupied, there will be less room for thinking and her thoughts, if any, will be of minutiae.

For a subject, she picks an orange gourd: a week shy of Halloween, pumpkins are as good a theme as any. They are also an apt symbol, being concerned with ghoulish things. What better vessel for her demons than a vegetable with limbs?

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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His part in the affair

imageThe robin was reluctant to admit to his part in the affair: the things he had done, the words he had said, the actions he had taken and the others he had withheld; things which, collectively, had led to the arrival of the blue bud – a despondent bloom who did nothing but weep, crying over today as if it were the last day on which it were possible for such things to be shed. Such was the weight of his woe, he had quite saturated the garden, coming very close to drowning an earthworm and several small slugs. The robin sighed. How did one deal with such a creature? Should he approach with a handkerchief and attempt to wipe the stain from his nose? Or should he prepare a pot and serve hot tea instead? Whatever, whichever… he had to do something: the pathetic plant was driving him mad. Besides, he didn’t have time to indulge the dramatics of others, not when he still housed so many of his own. In addition, to future complicate, he had been raised to see all forms of weeping as weakness and displays of emotion as frail. Tears were for the faint-hearted, those who couldn’t function adequately or competently cope, the type who were afraid to go far and who would be fated to fail if ever they should. To show oneself in the company of strangers (most of whom would likely always stay that way) was both unadvisable and unwise. They might haul you in, examine your head, ply you with medication, lock you up… The bud was obviously unstable, in need of help. Anyone could see that. But he wasn’t about to be the one to give it, not now, not after so long… and he resented the feeling that was trying to make him believe he should.

The sun rose slowly, breaking through the blanket of white, weak rays caressing the darker, still shadowed landscape. It woke the robin, its glare gently tickling his eyelids. It roused the bud too, evicting it from its temporary respite, causing it to shudder and twitch as, with reluctance, it awoke. Lifting its head, it turned its face to its only companion, attempting a smile. Then, failing, as entirely as one might manage to fail when attempting a venture whose outcome they had vested an amount of energy and interest in, it looked sadly away. It knew it had to do better, figure something out, but how did one attempt to wrestle the weight of the world, placate the paralysis of problems? Did one? Could one? It wasn’t sure. Uncharacteristically moved, the robin asked if it was hungry and offered to get breakfast in.

While he was away, most likely foraging in another farmer’s field, the bud decided to confront the intruders, attempting to deconstruct the darkness in order to remove it from his life. Lifting a leaf, he poked and prodded in the space around his head, believing the problem to be in his stamen. But when he brought it back out, it was empty of defect and blight. Refusing to give up, he tried his roots, pushing another leaf down into the soil. Jackpot, immediate resistance; a creeping, crawling, carpet-skinned thing that felt like it was made up of hundreds and thousands of creatures. Ants? Beetles? Bugs? How undignified. And how horrific to have the source of his pain situated there, somewhere so far from his immediate person and in a region he couldn’t ever hope to visually reach?

The robin returned, presenting a slug. The bud faked grateful, forcing a smile, surreptitiously sliding the odious thing away. Didn’t the robin know that slugs were poison to buds, likely to remove whole chunks from leaves and half bites from heads? To eat it would lead to his destruction, a slow crunching and chomping from the inside out, him disappearing – bit by bit, cell by cell – until he was dry, brown and brittle, a hollow shell. Or maybe that was the plan? And if it wasn’t, then maybe he should adopt it as such? At least then he would have a choice. And being eaten by a slug was less intimidating and worrying then being possessed by beetles and ants. At least it would move on once he went away. The ants, on the otherhand, wishing only to torment, would stay, hanging around to forage and bring back to, running up and down, in and out, hiding, holding, until he found another conclusion to escape the confines of his life.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

imageTo keep up to date with my progress and receive a copy of my newsletter, send me your email address.

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