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Craft Room Sneak Peak

I would like to say that I am being much more organised and tidy in my new house, but my pants would immediately perform an act of self-combustion, and then I would have another mess on my hands, not to mention one less pair of pants, so I shall tell the truth : I am hopeless.  I have not gained any organisational skills and am still unable to keep a well-presented home.

To be fair, I have only just moved and I know these things take time.  Or, at least, that’s what everyone keeps telling me.  They don’t specify how much time, but apparently it is a reasonable amount and I should milk it for all it is worth.  I am mostly struggling with knowing where to put everything (having ditched a lot of my old storage items before I moved, like an idiot).  And I want it to look nice too, so I am focusing on making things look pretty, instead of just finding homes for it all.  There’s a big part of me that just wants to get rid of everything and start over.

I’m also struggling a lot with the old black dog right now and trying to ignore it isn’t working.  I was planning on starting to exercise again this week, go for a walk around my new neighbourhood etc, but I injured my foot badly (don’t even ask me how because I don’t honestly know – I think it was getting up and down a ladder on the weekend, but I’m worried it is plantar fasciitis) and I am hobbling around like an old woman.  I also have a very painful rib which was, possibly, caused by some over-zealous hugging from my youngest nephew a couple of weeks ago.  He squeezed me like a tube of toothpaste and, although it was very sweet and appreciated, I was very sore afterwards and now feel like I actually have a cracked rib.  I know I don’t – he’s only 7 and I doubt he’s strong enough to break someone’s rib – but it hurts.  I do have a bit of a weak spot on that side, having damaged it before, so it’s not totally surprising, but is is annoying and makes me feel even more feeble. (NB : note to said nephew’s Mother – don’t be mad at him.  It’s not his fault his Aunt is a bit pathetic, and I will take a hug from him, or any of his brothers and sisters, any day of the week.  And it is also possible I hurt it some other way, like coughing or breathing weird or bashing in to something…because I actually do that quite often).

So, all I want to do right now is sleep (which I am also not doing very well at the moment – it is eluding me every night and I am waking up later and later each morning) and not do anything.  Again, failing as an adult.  I did do my dishes last night though, so yay me!

But, I know I will get things sorted and have things the way I want them.  I can be a tad hard on myself and not allow myself any downtime.  I’ve nearly sorted my craft room/office and am itching to get stuck into some projects, especially as the weather is starting to warm up and I don’t need to be tucked up in the lounge room, practically sitting on top of the heater in order to keep warm.  One side of my craft room looks like this :

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…so neat! So orderly!

…And then the other side looks like this…

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…I like to call this the “Giving up on Life” side of the room 🙂

So, as I said, it is getting there.  I just have to whittle away at the mess and chaos and try not to be impatient about it.  I can only do so much when I am working full time and I have to give the black dog some room too (should probably give him a permanent basket in the corner, quite honestly).  I am still very, very grateful to have my own place (it honestly hasn’t sunk in yet, although the panic about paying for it has) and am trying to remember that and that I can take as long as I like to get it just right. Basically, I am just aiming for being able to see the floor at this stage!

Hope you are happy and settled and have order and peace in your little corner of the world.

x

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Hippo-Critical

A funny little card today.  I was playing around with some animal biology pictures and really liked the shape of the hippo.  Who doesn’t love a hippo!?  Sure, they’re chubby and grumpy and have kinda bad teeth but, all things considered, they’re pretty neat critters.  Top them off with a free-loading bird and you’ve got a quirky design and a card that you can pretty much guarantee no one else will have!

Made a big decision to go back on my anti-depressants this week.  Really didn’t want to, but I have to be sensible and take my own advice about looking after yourself.  I always tell everyone else to stay on their meds if they need them to function, and I was being hypocritical thinking I could manage without them.  Crying every day, sleeping all the time, feeling crummy and anxious and sad and generally getting very low is NOT managing.  Plus I have been worrying my Mum and I hate doing that – she deserves to have a worry-free life.  So I went to my GP and got a new prescription and will be a good girl and stay on them now.  Possibly for good – we’ll see how I go.  There’s so much stress in my life at the moment, now is not the time to be a martyr to my brain’s chemistry. There’s no prize for being miserable when you don’t need to be.

So, onwards and upwards.  Or, at least, less downward spiralling.

Hope you are feeling ok today – look after yourselves x

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Bricks

I have been feeling really cruddy the past few weeks (months/decades) and have been woe-is-me-ing a lot.  Which I really hate.  Most of the time I am a get-on-with-it kind of person.  Sure I have my crappy days but then who doesn’t?  Lately it’s been worse – whether that’s due to me coming off all my medications (duh – whose idea was that?  Oh wait, it was mine…double duh) or just life being slightly more annoying than normal.  I mean, I know I have depression, and that isn’t going to go away any time soon, but it is  sometimes harder to deal with and I get bogged down in wallowing and feeling shitty (sorry, lots of swearing today – feel free to censor).

A lot of my depression and general unease is due to anxiety – it is the root of all evil for me.  I know this, and yet I am not very good at doing anything about it.  I try not to worry, I try not to stress, I try not to absorb other people’s problems as my own.  I have conversations with myself about letting stuff go and not letting things get to me, not worrying about things that I can’t change.  But I am rubbish at not only listening to myself, but taking other people’s advice about de-stressing.

I’m also my own worst critic.  I think I suck, basically.  I compare myself to everyone else and beat myself up for “failing”.  Which is quite often NOT “failing” but just doing things differently.  I KNOW this – but still I feel bad and a bit useless.  Good enough isn’t good enough even though I think it is for everybody else.  I don’t treat anyone the way I treat myself.  If I was my own best friend, I would dump me.  I’m not very nice (to myself).

I’m going to try and sort that out this year.  I am.  I’m going to try very hard to be kinder to myself and accept me for me.  Which will be difficult.  It’s hard to see mistakes as lessons and “flaws” as individuality.  More than anything, I just want to be able to walk in a room and not feel like everyone is looking at me, thinking “Who’s this weirdo?”

The below extract was sent around our office by a colleague.  It’s from the book  Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? by Ajahn Brahm, a Theravada Buddhist monk (he’s the Abott at the Monastery near my hometown…I think I may have met him once when he came in to my library a million years ago) who has written lots of books, supported the ordination of female monks, and basically been an all-round awesome guy.  He’s won the John Curtin Medal for his vision, leadership and service to the Australian community, and compiled an English-language guide to the Buddhist monastic code – the vinaya- which later became the basis for monastic discipline in many Theravadan monasteries in Western countries.  He’s a bit of an over-achiever really.  What a show off! 🙂

Anyway, the following excerpt is worth reading.  It makes you think about what “perfection” is (or isn’t) and how little negatives shouldn’t undermine the overwhelming, big positives.  I’m going to try and remember this, from now on : that I’m not perfect,
but that those little imperfections actually make me “me” and add up to the whole, not detract from it.  Wish me luck – I’m gonna need all the help I can get with this one.

Two Bad Bricks by Ajahn Brahm

“After we purchased the land for our monastery in 1983 we were broke. We were in debt. There were no buildings on the land, not even a shed. Those first few weeks we slept not on beds but on old doors we had bought cheaply from the salvage yard; we raised them on bricks at each corner to lift them off the ground. (There were no mattresses, of course — we were forest monks.)

The abbot had the best door, the flat one. My door was ribbed with a sizeable hole in the center where the doorknob would have been. I joked that now I wouldn’t need to get out of bed to go to the toilet! The cold truth was, however, that the wind would come up through that hole. I didn’t sleep much those nights.

We were poor monks who needed buildings. We couldn’t afford to employ a builder — the materials were expensive enough. So I had to learn how to build: how to prepare the foundations, lay concrete and bricks, erect the roof, put in the plumbing — the whole lot. I had been a theoretical physicist and high-school teacher in lay life, not used to working with my hands. After a few years, I became quite skilled at building, even calling my crew the BBC (“Buddhist Building Company”). But when I started it was very difficult.

It may look easy to lay a brick: a dollop of mortar underneath, a little tap here, a little tap there. But when I began laying bricks, I’d tap one corner down to make it level and another corner would go up. So I’d tap that corner down then the brick would move out of line. After I’d nudged it back into line, the first corner would be too high again. Hey, you try it!

Being a monk, I had patience and as much time as I needed. I made sure every single brick was perfect, no matter how long it took. Eventually, I completed my first brick wall and stood back to admire it. It was only then that I noticed— oh no! — I’d missed two bricks. All the other bricks were nicely in line, but these two were inclined at an angle. They looked terrible. They spoiled the whole wall. They ruined it.

By then, the cement mortar was too hard for the bricks to be taken out, so I asked the abbot if I could knock the wall down and start over again — or, even better, perhaps blow it up. I’d made a mess of it and I was very embarrassed. The abbot said no, the wall had to stay.

When I showed our first visitors around our fledgling monastery, I always tried to avoid taking them past my brick wall. I hated anyone seeing it. Then one day, some three or four months after I finished it, I was walking with a visitor and he saw the wall.

‘That’s a nice wall,’ he casually remarked. ‘Sir,’ I replied in surprise, ‘have you left your glasses in your car? Are you visually impaired? Can’t you see those two bad bricks which spoil the whole wall?’

What he said next changed my whole view of that wall, of myself, and of many other aspects of life. He said, “Yes. I can see those two bad bricks. But I can see the 998 good bricks as well.’

I was stunned. For the first time in over three months, I could see other bricks in that wall apart from the two mistakes. Above, below, to the left and to the right of the bad bricks were good bricks, perfect bricks. Moreover, the perfect bricks were many, many more than the two bad bricks. Before, my eyes would focus exclusively on my two mistakes; I was blind to everything else. That was why I couldn’t bear looking at that wall, or having others see it. That was why I wanted to destroy it. Now that I could see the good bricks, the wall didn’t look so bad after all. It was, as the visitor had said, ‘a nice brick wall.’ It’s still there now, twenty years later, but I’ve forgotten exactly where those bad bricks are. I literally cannot see those mistakes any more.

How many people end a relationship or get divorced because all they can see in their partner are ‘two bad bricks’? How many of us become depressed or even contemplate suicide, because all we can see in ourselves are ‘two bad bricks.’ In truth, there are many, many more good bricks, perfect bricks — above, below, to the left and to the right of the faults — but at times we just can’t see them. Instead, every time we look our eyes focus exclusively on the mistakes. The mistakes are all we see, they’re all we think are there and so we want to destroy them. And sometimes, sadly, we do destroy a ‘very nice wall.’

We’ve all got our two bad bricks, but the perfect bricks in each one of us are much, much more than the mistakes. Once we see this, things aren’t so bad. Not only can we live at peace with ourselves, inclusive of our faults, but we can also enjoy living with a partner. This is bad news for divorce lawyers, but good news for you.

I have told this anecdote many times. After one occasion, a builder came up to me and told me a professional secret. ‘We builders always make mistakes,’ he said, ‘But we tell our clients that it is “an original feature” with no other house in the neighbourhood like it. And then we charge them a couple of thousand dollars extra!’

So the ‘unique features’ in your house probably started out as mistakes. In the same way, what you might take to be mistakes in yourself, in your partner, or in general, can become ‘unique features,’ enriching your time here — once you stop focusing on them exclusively.”

You can read more about Ajahn Brahm HERE.

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Beach Blues

We are having some wacky weather this month.  Due to Cyclone Stan in the North, we are experiencing cool, windy, stormy, wet weather.  Yuck.  Actually, it’s not so bad and a bit of a relief from the usual stifling Summer heat.

I think I do get a little bit affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder because I am usually pretty miserable all Winter (ha ha – or most of the time, let’s face it) and this last week or two have been decidedly down.  It doesn’t take much to knock me off my perch, mood-wise, and I think the dull weather really bothers my psyche.  So, I have been a bit sad and stressed and in-the-dumps.  Just struggling a bit with life in general I guess, through one thing or another – the murky weather mirroring my mood (or the other way round).

Anyway, yesterday I went snorkelling with my good friend SR.  Yesterday was NOT perfect snorkelling weather, especially when you’ve never snorkelled before (like me).  The water was very rough and a bit churned up, the wind was cold and it was not the lovely, sunny and bright conditions you would ideally like when mucking about in the ocean.  However, we still had a nice time and saw so many fishies!  I was surprised at how many were that close to the shore (we were only 3 metres or so from the beach) just swimming about amongst the reefs and rocks.  I wish I had an underwater camera so I could have taken some pictures but, alas, I do not.  You’ll just have to take my word for it – there were fishies!  Little white ones and spotty ones and I don’t know what any of them were called (George, Fred, Martha?) but they were very cute and plentiful despite all the people bobbing about in their environment.

It was so nice to be in the water, even for just a short time, and I do so love the beach, in any weather.  We went for some walks up and down the shore too, just to talk and catch up.  Just having your feet in the sand and the wind in your hair is enough to blow away some cobwebs and get your mental well-being back in to check.  I will have to practice my snorkelling technique (well, I don’t actually have one at all right now…) and improve my swimming strength, but all in all, I would happily go again.  I should make the effort.  I am always saying I love the ocean, but I never go.  It’s always too far or no one wants to go with me or it’s too sunny (I burn) or too cold (I freeze).  No more excuses now.  You’re my witnesses.  It did upset my vertigo a bit (it’s been really playing up lately) but I’m not going to let that put me off, if I can help it.

Anyway, it was a good morning with good friends and an equally good breakfast afterwards at the Soda Café (Field Mushrooms with Polenta and Goats Curd – yum!) and just what I needed to get rid of the blues, at least for a few hours.  The sun did eventually come out, after all.  Hopefully I can keep it with me for a little while longer 🙂

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Procrastination, I am Your Queen

Procrastination, I am Your Queen

I wasted today.  Which is better than saying “I AM wasted today”, I suppose.  However, it is still bad.  I am too old to be wasting time.  Frittering it away.  Getting distracted (in fact, as an example, I am now thinking about fritters).  Doing nothing when I should be doing something.  Or, doing something but it is a something that is basically nothing in the guise of something, you know?  Come Sunday evening, I am wracked with the guilt of procrastination and time wasted.

I promised myself I would ACHIEVE this weekend.  I would write lists and tick them off.  But all I succeeded in doing was ticking myself off with my inability to actually do anything.  The worst part is, I didn’t sit around much at all.  I am not a sitter.  I am always very busy.  VERY busy.  Doing nothing much at all.

I usually find I become very motivated, around about 4 o’clock in the afternoon on a Sunday, when I suddenly realise that I have to go back to work tomorrow and I have had two days off where I could have, y’know, started that best-selling novel, created a Fortune-500 company, built a house or ended third world debt.  I have high hopes for my weekends, but they often don’t pan out.  Basically, because I myself fizzle out.

Now, I must admit, I am having trouble dealing with anything at the moment.  I am weaning myself off my anti-depressants and I am finding it harder than I thought I would.  Harder than I have let anyone around me know. I thought “Oh, it’s been two and a half years, I can come off them now! Piece of cake!”  but it’s been a little trickier than that.  And there was no cake.  But, there’s been crying.  Lots of crying.  I’ve done that super ugly, blubbering kind of crying.  I’ve yelled at people.  I’ve had nightmares.  I’ve been hyper and chatty one minute and then morose and downright jump-off-a-cliff depressed the next.  But I persevere because I have to do it and I don’t want to be on this medication forever.  And before you ask, yes this is being medically supervised and I am being sensible.  It’s just that I am 41 years old and I need to be able to manage things and not hide behind a little happy pill.  Plus, I need to cry every now and then.  It’s a natural state for me and NOT doing it is weird.  I just needed them to get me over the marriage-breaking-down hump and now I have to come back into the real world again.

Which has left me a little bit blue.  Because the real world is a bit shit, to be honest.  Pardon my language.  People are mean and stuff is hard.  So I get bogged down in the mean and the hard.  I find it difficult to get up in the mornings, not just because I don’t want to go to work, but because I am actually sad.  Mostly because I don’t want to go to work but also because I am floundering a little bit.  I’m going through one of those “Who am I and what am I for?” stages.  Which I probably should have gone through at age 18 or something but I was too busy being terrified of the world to even contemplate that I had some sort of place in it.  In some ways, it is worse going through it now because I have less time to figure things out.

Which brings me back to wasting time.  Some people are happy to waste time and don’t see it as actually WASTING TIME.  People think the weekends are for chilling out and lazing about, watching TV and sitting around.  I don’t.  I always feel like I should be doing something constructive or at least making plans that would lead in that direction.  More lists.  Lists that will have ticks against them.  So that when people ask (on Monday morning) “Hey, what did you get up to on the weekend?”, I can say, smugly, “Oh, I rendered the house, put in reticulation, baked 400 muffins for the local homeless shelter, adopted a litter of kittens, ran a marathon, painted my fence and knitted a tea cosy……” instead of answering “Um…not much.  I did some ironing.”  And let’s face it, even ironing is probably not happening in my house most weeks.  Or months, to be fair.  Do I even HAVE an iron?….

I wanted to create things this weekend.  I wanted to have lots of blog posts ready and waiting to be written.  I wanted to have projects on the go.  I wanted to actually have some crafts on here, which would be nice, considering this is supposed to be a crafty kind of blog.

So, what did I achieve this weekend?  Well, I caught up with my best friend, whom I haven’t seen since JULY (holy crap, that is three months ago!) and we set the world to rights and talked up a storm.  I visited my Aunt.  I visited my cousin and nieces.  I went shopping for new bras (to go with the new boobs).  I bought a pineapple/green apple/broccoli/mint drink which was SO DELICIOUS I bought another one today.  I saw a movie with a friend and felt confused by it.  I felt horribly guilty for saying no to said friend when she asked me to dog-sit for her over Christmas.  I went to see my Mum.  I pruned my garden and all the courtyards around my house, weeded and swept up leaves and junk in my yard.  I dyed my hair so I no longer look like rapidly-ageing hag woman.  I went to a little charity fete in my street and bought some more books.  I tried eye-liner for the first time and decided I quite liked it.

So I did SOME things.  I guess.  And seeing friends and family is certainly not NOTHING.  It’s actually very important. And nice. And soul-reparing.  But now it is evening and I have to make dinner and get stuff ready for work tomorrow. But I wanted to make cards.  That didn’t happen.  I wanted to do some drawing.  That didn’t happen.  I wanted to tidy my craft room.  That certainly didn’t happen and, frankly, I was kidding myself that it would.  I wanted to write in my journal and finish off a collage I have been working on (well, “working on” is an overstatement…). None of those things occurred.

So, I guess I have to try again next weekend.  I will write proper lists and endeavour to stick them (and not lose them).  I will not be distracted by whatever it is that normally distracts me (usually involves tea or facebook or cheese) and I will achieve THINGS.  Or, at least try to.  Because time is running out.  And I do not want to leave just a carbon footprint behind.  I want to have been here for some sort of reason and purpose.  Even if that purpose amounts to nothing more than writing a blog post on schedule, with actual useful stuff in it.

What do you hope to achieve on your weekends?  Are you a procrastinator?  Do you get distracted by things and wander off target, like me?  Do you even have a target?  How do you stay on target (if you do)?  How do you gauge your achievements or do you simply think it’s enough to have gotten dressed every day?

Hope your weekend was exactly as you wanted it to be – busy, lazy, crazy, chilled or fulfilling, whatever makes you feel happy and content and not guilty 🙂

Trainwreck

Trainwreck

So, (and yes, I do start a lot of my conversations with “so”.  Like a teenager. I do not ever use “LOL” or “OMG” or any of those annoying abbreviations, so I figure I am allowed to say “So” at the beginning of conversations, blog posts and any other form of communication if I want to.) I went to see the movie Trainwreck with a friend tonight.  It’s not the kind of movie I would generally watch, but I really enjoyed it.  Amy Schumer is great.  I even found myself tearing up during the emotional bits – the sad, ugly crying bits where Amy realises she is a bit of a screw up and wants to join the human race.

But then I start wondering, what is wrong with me? Why am I watching this film, which is supposed to be hilariously funny, and getting all boo-hooey? Nobody who reviewed Trainwreck said “Make sure you bring your tissues – this one’s a real tear-jerker!” It’s not the kind of film you recommend your Mum sees, because it’s “so adorable” and sweet and romantic.  Well, I guess it is those things, in a “look-at-that-girl-she’s-such-a-mess-she’s-adorable” kind of way.  But it’s not, y’know, Sleepless in Seattle.

There are several reasons I can think of that would make me get teary in relation to such a film:

  1. I am hormonal. Everything makes me cry right now. Seriously. Big ugly, snotty blubbing.
  2. Amy Schumer is supposedly the “bigger” girl in Hollywood right now and is always (in interviews) putting herself down as the chunky/overweight/ugly/clumsy/unattractive girl.  If she is chunky, I am in trouble.  I saw her run in heels – that ain’t clumsy.  She wears skirts shorter than some belts I own and they’re ain’t nothin’ wrong with her legs.  I find this depressing.  If she is considered overweight and unattractive, I may as well pack up shop now and move to somewhere very remote where people do not venture.  Seriously, I should begin my career as a hermit yak herder in Siberia.  I don’t know if hermit yak herders are something you have in Siberia but it seems like a good plan.  Basically, I should just go somewhere isolated and uninhabited.  A lighthouse on the moon, that sort of thing.
  3. I am lonely.  I don’t feel lonely, but every now and then something will happen that reminds I am alone and quite possibly will be forever.  Most of the time that is ok, but combine it with suddenly feeling grossly obese and monstrously hideous, and it becomes overwhelming.  Sure, Amy’s character is a pot-smoking, foul-mouthed drunk who sleeps around, but hey, she looks attractive doing it and she has nice hair.  I just dyed mine a really weird dark red colour which was a big mistake and will take ages to wash out so not only do I feel fat and ugly, I have weird hair.
  4. Despite the fact, Amy’s character is basically, well, a trainwreck, she still manages to get the greatest guy ever who is lovely and sweet and caring and smart and funny and wonderful.  That makes me sad.  Where is the guy who will fall in love with cookie-bingeing, hormonal, messy, disorganised, slightly mental me?  I don’t even do drugs!  Or drink!  I can’t even have chocolate!  Gimme a break people!

So, there are those reasons.  At the moment I am feeling decidedly revolting due to having a few weeks leave where I haven’t been able to exercise at all (because I am normally so diligent about that…not!) and have basically consumed my entire body weight in cookies and cake and other foods that do not look remotely like carrot sticks or celery.  I tried on several pairs of jeans tonight and only one out of four pairs fit me.  In the end, I gave up and put on my fat pants.  Even they were a little less roomy than I remember them.  I think I could have watched any movie tonight and it would have made me sad.  Because I am fatter than I would like to be and, even worse, it is my own fault.  I know I can lose it again.  I lost 30kg before (ok, it was actually 28kg, but I like to round it up to a nice even number…it sounds more impressive) and I can do it again.  But it seems so hard.  And lonely.  And HARD.  Almost too hard.  I’ll be 42 in six months’ time.  I should be over this stuff already. I’m tired of hating myself.

I feel bad for even feeling bad.  I mean, people are starving in the world and I’m whinging because I eat too much?  Boo-hoo, poor me.  I have fat legs?  How sad.  Some people don’t even have legs! (But, to be fair, I have had meningitis and risked losing my limbs so…ok, that’s not even an argument worth having).  Basically, I have NOTHING to complain about.

I don’t even know what this post is about.  Tomorrow I will read it and call myself an idiot and make a mental note never to blog when I am hormonal or sad or wallowing in self-hatred.  Which will probably mean I never blog again.  Which might be a relief to some people.

If you’re having one of these days, know that you are not alone.  Let us wallow together.  I will make tea and NOT offer you a cookie (because we’re both on diets now).  It will be better tomorrow and if not, the day after that might be ok.

Apologies for late-night whinging.  Thank you for listening.

 x

Blog Prompt : 26 Letters

Blog Prompt : 26 Letters

“Create a short story, piece of memoir, or epic poem that is 26 sentences long, in which the first sentence begins with “A” and each sentence thereafter begins with the next letter of the alphabet…”

Always searching

Bending backwards

Creating a sense of calm

Deflecting the hurt

Easing the ache

Forever hiding from harm

Gently existing

Hindering self

Intending to raise the alarm

Joyful dreaming

Kindred spirits

Leading with open arms

Meaningful silence

Nonsense embraced

Openly lying to charm

Patiently waiting

Quest incomplete

Relying on wit to disarm

Speaking no judgment

Traitor to none

Untruth sung out like a psalm

Wallows in self

X marks the spot

Youth remembered as balm

Zoo-like, her heart is caged.  Wild and shackled.  Free, yet tethered.  Beloved but forgotten.
Waiting for extinction, or release.  Whichever happens first.

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