Desert Poem

I see you in the desert where,

You’re wandering alone,

But what you have forgotten is,

I haven’t left my throne.

.

If you take my hand, I’ll lead you out,

But you need to make that choice,

I’ll never force or pressure you,

I’ll guide you with my voice.

.

I am a patient father and,

I’ll love you either way,

But I want to save you heartaches,

And remove your constant pain.

.

I have a master plan for you,

It’s been there all along,

I know you wandered off the path,

But I also made you strong.

.

My strength in you has kept you as,

You weathered storms and strife,

My spirit has sustained you when,

You wanted to give up on life.

.

Your heart is soft and beats for me,

Though you’ve said things you regret,

You momentarily lost your way,

But when I forgive – I forget.

.

My chosen child, my precious one,

Be still and rest in me,

I’ll guide your steps and hold you close,

For all eternity.

 

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Freedom..

You hurt me. Not with words, but by withholding them when I needed them most.

You hurt me when you walked away.

You took with you my dreams, my hopes and my passion.

You scarred me with the ill-chosen words you did choose to use when you allowed anger to guide you, and your eyes to be closed to compassion.

You turned your back on me when I needed someone to prop me up.

I needed to lean on you, and you let me fall and I struggle to believe that it wasn’t deliberate.

You knew I was treading water, yet you threw me no lifelines. You responded to my cries for help with anger.

Were you angry at me for being weak? Or angry at yourself for being ill equipped to deal with the onslaught of emotion that I bring to the table?

Some say that you were not ever able to deal with me emotionally, but I call bullshit. You always knew exactly what you were doing.

I know I’m pretty full on but you knew that from the very beginning.

This was always all about control, and power and winning no matter the cost. It was about arrogance and selfishness.

I want to hate you for this and for all the rest of the pain you have caused me over the years, but hate is such a strong force that I don’t want to allow it in to poison me. Because I know it will damage me irreparably.

Part of me wants to find out what I need to do to cause you the same level of hurt and pain that you’ve caused me, but I know deep down that revenge is never the answer.

Love is.
Forgiveness is.
I’ve held onto enough pain to last me a lifetime and it’s starting to make me physically ill so it’s time to let it all go.
It’s time for me to move on and allow healing to begin.

You’ve left me damaged, but not broken. Cautious but not so much that I’ll never be able to let someone in again.

You don’t deserve that much power over me.

Your neglect of our relationship, of our history and our connection hasn’t left me feeling as cold as it I would’ve expected.

It has pushed me closer to Jesus.  To the one who will never be disappointed in me.

The one who will never crush me with angry words, the one who will never abandon me.

So thank you. Thank you for teaching me that it was always foolish to expect a human to be what only God can be.

Faithful, true, honest, loving and kind.

All the things you’re not.

 

Silent chaotic prayer 

I am just so angry.
Where are you God? I know you won’t leave me, but right now, I cannot find you.
This hurt that is inside me is all-consuming. It’s overwhelming and frightening.

I struggle to join coherent thoughts together and the idea of completing simple everyday tasks seems so much more than I can possibly handle right now.

I wonder aloud whether there is more to life? There has to be. Surely this isn’t the best that life has got to offer? And I if this is in fact it- I want out.

Why aren’t you fixing this mess?

My mind is starting to go places that I know I should stop it from going. It’s been poking into dark corners that should be avoided and meanders it’s way along deadly paths and tracks that are all one way streets.

There is no coming back from some of these thoughts, but at the moment, it is what it is.

I’m so angry I can barely breathe some days.

Why have you let me get so low? Why aren’t you changing anything?

My current state of mind is a veritable quagmire of pain mixed with emotions that have no escape. They swirl around in my head and spin madly creating a series of out-of-control tornadoes that have the power to take me out in one foul swoop, and the energy that I expend trying to push them back under the surface is nothing short of exhausting.

Why aren’t you bringing the break I so badly need? Surely I deserve better than this?

Trying to keep this stupid mask glued to my face that presents a coping facade to the public and fool them into believing that every thing in my world is peachey is a task that requires enormous self-control and frankly: I no longer seem to have that in me anymore. My emotions torment me daily.

Where are you hiding from me?

These emotions hover on the edges of my sanity provoking me and passively aggressively eating away at my peace until I explode in a spectacular display of insanely refractory behaviour that paints me into a corner where I sit and rock as I try to wrap my head around what the hell is happening around me.

I am through pretending. When is this going to end?

Where is my escape?

Maybe I really have lost the plot once and for all. Maybe the end of my rope is the end of my life as well?
You know what? I don’t even care anymore. I’m done caring.

I know that YOU care, well at least I thought you did.

I am all out, I’ve got nothing.
Jesus: I need you.  More than air.


Psalm 10:17
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.

 

 

 

 

 

Waving the white flag

white flagI’ve been pretty terrible at blogging this year. My heart just hasn’t been in it and I hate that almost everything that I have to write about is either negative or has a negative slant on it. I always told myself that I wasn’t going to become a ‘woe-is-me’ blogger but guess what? The life that we are currently living is hard. In fact, it is really damn hard and I am struggling to keep positive and optimistic with all that’s going on. Which is most of the reason that I’ve stayed away from the keyboard.

Paul admitted to me last week that he is half expecting to come home from work one day to find me gone and the children left to explain my absence. He has watched them gradually wear me down but instead of helping me – he steps back because HE can’t frickin’ cope either.

He’s not far off the mark to be honest, I have felt like leaving many times but would never do that to my children. As crazy as they have been driving me lately – they are still my world.

One thing is definite though – I need a damn holiday away from the aggression, the anger, the defiance, the disobedience and well, pretty much everything else as well. Term three has only got one week left and the kids are more than ready for the 2 week holiday break, but I am not even close to ready to have them home all by myself.

But I will survive because I have to. I simply do not have any other option.

But do you know what probably gets me the most? The fact that I have poured almost 6 years into researching, reading about, practising and implementing strategies and techniques to help my boys with things that they struggle with due to their autism but still, STILL I feel like I know absolutely nothing!

Every time I start a new unit on my course – I am reminded that there is still so much about autism that I do not yet know. It is vastly overwhelming and my head is swimming with information overload and I lack the ability to apply the head knowledge that I have to the appropriate situation(s). I feel as though we are operating in survival mode and treading water (once again).

I feel like one of those high-rise building window washers. I stand perched on the rickety scaffolding outside other people’s window ledges on the wrong side of the glass. I peer longingly into their lives through their dirty windows but all I can see is how perfect everything appears though the pane that I am cleaning with my own hard work -hard work that is rarely ever appreciated. I notice what these other people have, how they live and I feel lonely and overwhelmed by how far my family is from what everyone else seems to have. I am not jealous, but I am very aware that I am just looking in from the outside. I don’t fit in these kinds of worlds. I don’t belong in these scenarios.

I know that as I stand here balancing on the edge – I am not wearing a harness and that all I would have to do is take just one step backwards to end this pain once and for all.

But I also know that I am stronger than that. I remind myself that

 “The reason we struggle with insecurities is because we are comparing our own behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reels” Ps. Steven Furtick

But even remembering that, I am aware that right now – things are beyond tough in this house.

Frankly – I’m tired of being told that “all parenting is hard”. Yes! Yes it is. I have never denied that nor have I implied that it’s not! But I react badly inside when I hear that phrase because what I’m hearing is: “Stop complaining – you’re not the only one who has challenges with your kids”.

But what people seem to forget (or not even realise) is that we are doing exactly what every other parent is doing AND THEN SOME. I’m so over hearing the words ‘boundaries, rules, expectations, challenges’, and other words that imply that our boys are so out of control because we are crappy parents who have dropped the ball. Don’t people think we’ve already tried all those things? Do people just assume that my kids are left to their own devices all the time and now we are reaping the benefits of that kind of neglect?

I mean seriously?

I sat in the foyer of church this morning with Paul crying because I feel that no one, NO ONE gets it. I am tired of people telling me “chin up” or “you’re a great mother” when they haven’t had to walk in our shoes or live in our house.  Autism can be a nasty bitch and trying to explain it to someone who doesn’t live with it is akin to describing childbirth to a man. All you can tell him is “it hurts like hell but it’s worth it in the end”. Details and specifics are left unsaid because it would make him uncomfortable and it’s frankly disturbing. As sure as a man can empathise with you and a friend with your situation – they will never fully GET IT!

I have tried everything that I can think of to help my boys to manage their emotions, conquer their anxieties and overcome their behavioural difficulties, but sometimes – nothing works and you have to wave the white flag in surrender.

Well, I’m waving it madly these days but I am also using it to dry my tears and blow my nose. Not only have I taken off my “everything’s peachy” mask today, I have thrown it angrily on the ground, stomped on it and thrown it repeatedly at a brick wall.

I sit here typing admitting that I am exhausted. Mentally, physically and especially emotionally. I am tired. I am sleep-deprived and I am worn out from dancing the stupid autism dance. I don’t know all the steps and I have no frickin’ rhythm anyway.

I am angry that we are continually knocked back for any sort of respite and wondering day to day just how we are going to make it out alive. It’s one thing for people to tell me “you need a break” but it’s another thing entirely for that to actually happen.

Right now, my marriage is held together with Band-Aids that have been there so long that they’ve lost their adhesive properties and are just barely keeping us together. They no longer cover the ugly wounds or the scars – they aren’t really any use to us at all. To be truthful -I just don’t know if we are going to make it or not.

I didn’t write this to extract sympathy, to beg for help or to paint a nasty or critical description of autism, but to be 100% truthful and own the fact that right now – I am no help to anyone. (Which is also why I have decided to turn comments off on this particular post).

But through all this pain, this hurt, this exhaustion and this anger at injustice – one thing remains….and that is the faithfulness of my God who keeps me in the midst of the constant storms.

There is a story in the bible in Exodus 17 about Moses. When his hands were raised – the enemy was defeated but when they were lowered – the enemy triumphed. Moses became battle weary and unable to continue to hold up his hands but through the support of his friends Hur and Aaron who held up his hands until the battle was won, he got to witness Israel prevail.

And I believe that my friends who are praying into my situation and for my family are holding my hands up for me until the battle is over. Because from where I sit – this autism parenting gig is only getting harder and harder.

Mind Jumble…

I’m constantly dreaming and wishing for things to change but still not even sure

what it is that I want – or even what it is that I’m feeling.

So many emotions all swishing around in my head – all of them unnamed 

and unable to be distinguished from one another.

*

Everything is just tumbling around inside on a continual spin cycle.

Sadness mixes effortlessly with happy memories,

joy wraps itself around pain and nothing makes any real sense at all.

Like a load of dirty laundry my head is turning over thoughts,

and trying to remove damaging stains in any way that I can.

*

But there is a strange comfort I can feel even in the midst of my turmoil.

A sensation of complete peace – a comforting blanket of protection

that settles me and causes me to believe that it’s all going to be ok.

I don’t know how. I don’t know when – I just know.

I know that my God will find a way.

Photo on 21-06-13 at 4.55 PM

I have love.

I’ve was sitting down at this computer for several hours this morning writing out whatever came into my head. I was trying to process some big stuff that’s going on here and writing it out usually helps me to make sense of it all. Heck – I stayed up most of the night trying to write it out and got nowhere.

And it didn’t work today either.  At all.

Words were looping in my brain and the solutions all seemed so far off. So I turned on some music, closed my eyes and tried to slow my brain down by forcing my thoughts to go elsewhere.

 I do wonder at times like this just how much aspie there is in me. Maybe I’m not as neuro-typical as I first thought? Or maybe this is a normal reaction to too much stress and confusion.  I just don’t know and don’t particularly care right now.

I turned off the computer and moved over to the lounge room to lay down on the sofa. I could hear the children playing in the background – the sound of the Ninjago app I recently downloaded was coming from the iPad.

My daughter was watching one of her teen shows on TV and the little one was rolling around on the rug piling cushions on top of himself because he was seeking sensory input. I looked at each of them and smiled. They really are everything to me. So different to one another – so unique in their own special ways.

Ella walked over to me and handed me a coffee. It was strong and black – just the way I like it and sat down beside me putting her tiny waif arm around me pulling me close and kissing the top of my head. The daughter was comforting the mother – so wrong yet so RIGHT. And this action in itself is HUGE because she is not a touchy-feely person at all. But my girl sensed that I needed to be held.

In that moment I thanked God for allowing me the privilege of raising her.  I love her so much and can’t believe that I have been trusted with so much.

I looked over at my big boy and noticed him reading his new Ninjago book intently.  He was engrossed and sitting on his haunches just like my Dad used to do. A tear came to my eye and I wiped it away quickly. I couldn’t afford to lose it, there was too much to be done.

My little one had progressed to doing laps of the living area. He had set up an obstacle course with toys, bean bags and cushions and was jumping, skipping and hollering with delight. My problems suddenly seemed so insignificant.

I closed my eyes and lay my head back down and drifted off to sleep because I had been awake for most of the night. When I awoke later I heard giggling in the kitchen and I crept out to see the three of them working as a team. They were making me the most disgustingly wonderful sandwich I have ever seen. And instantly nothing else mattered.

I realised right then that I have everything because I have love.

It may not always come from where I most desire it, and it is sometimes disjointed and awkward and usually messy, but I have love.

Thank God for love. Thank God He loves me more than any other human being could possibly love me.

Thank God that He sees me and not the mess I have made of my life, and He loves me still.

Have a great weekend all.

x

Yes - it's an old pic but the only one I could find with all 3 kids in it :)

Yes – it’s an old pic but the only one I could find with all 3 kids in it 🙂

Sneakiness has its merits…

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My friends are sneaky.

Not all of them, but some of them.

These are the friends who instinctively know when I’m off my game and don’t let me fade away because they know its not good for me. They know that when I withdraw it’s an alarm signal.

You know……

  • The email that states that I’m not required to respond but that they want me to know that I’m being thought of and prayed for.
  • The text messages that are innocent enough but have a deeper underlying purpose….digging for details on how to help me. Or even asking a mutual friend to contact me to check that I really am ok.
  • The phone call out of the blue just to say “Hi” .

And then there was today. Today a friend took me out for lunch. And the fact that I can boldly say that it was the best gluten-free meal I have ever eaten to date is not the most meaningful thing that I took away from our little rendezvous. The wonderful quaint little gift shops that we browsed in wasn’t it either. And believe it or not: it wasn’t even the amazing coffee we had. No. It was “where” she took me. She knows me and what I love the most.

Remember in previous posts where I have written that sometimes I need to escape to the country to find my balance again? That there are days when I just need to get away from the stress and hectic pace of my life and clear my head?

Well….she took me there. To my favourite little country getaway with the beautiful people and the incredible landscapes and cute little churches.

She’s clever isn’t she?!

But I didn’t work out her plan right away.

Sure she mentioned that she’d noticed that I sent her a picture last night instead of writing but I didn’t think too much of it at the time.

I savoured my lunch. Well no, actually – that’s a complete lie – I wolfed down my sourdough chicken burger like there was no tomorrow! But what I mean is: I was content in my surroundings and relaxed and happy, I was laughing, chatting and absolutely in my element. And I haven’t been in that place of contentment for quite a while now.

My friend asked me if I could picture myself sitting outside on the verandah with a coffee listening to the bell birds with my iPad in front of me writing. And even then, I still didn’t realise what she was doing. I’m not even sure if it was deliberate or not but it worked.

I turned a corner. I was able to quash the feelings of inadequacy and standup to that voice in my head telling me that I’m a waste of space and mentally yell back at it: “What I think and write and who I am is important so SHUT UP!”

Giggle ….giggle….I like feisty Fiona …

My friends know that writing is what works for me. It’s how I process my thoughts and work through emotions. But lately I have shunned writing. It has all been too hard and I really wasn’t keen on facing any of my challenges head on.

I kept my head stuck firmly in the sand refusing to face up to anything.

There has been a lot of stress here lately and the fact that our house is currently on the market hasn’t helped. We have had a low offer which we refused and another offer of the exact amount we were hoping for only to have the buyer change their mind and withdraw their offer 2 days later. At this point it looks like we’re staying put and I’m more than happy with that right now.

Also: it is the last week of school next week and the exhaustion and frustration is evident in all of the children but especially Harley. He is tired. He has mentally signed off for the year and is coping by tuning out everyone and everything. (Hmmmm. wonder where he got that from?) hehehe

There have been challenges in our marriage and struggles in our family dynamic and its all gotten on top of me.

But my friends haven’t deserted me. Even though I know I’ve been difficult and aloof lately, the emails and texts have been constant and kind and caring. I have needed them . They are truly what have kept me going.

That and the reminders of where I need to get my strength. I admit that lately I have stopped laying all my cares at the feet of Jesus. I have tried to do it in my own strength and failed miserably. But just like my friends here on earth He hasn’t forgotten or forsaken me. And for that, I am truly thankful.

I have learned that unlike my husband and sometimes my boys; I need people. I need to chat, to hug, to be hugged and to do life alongside others who get me. Some people do well by limiting their interactions but I’m not one of them. I crave human contact and start to nosedive whenever I choose to isolate myself.

And tomorrow night: I hope to write more about the past few months and the awesome progress that my boys have made.

The clouds are clearing: the sun is peeking through and the curtain of lethargy and depression is lifting.

And even though I was raised in a Pentecostal church – I am still partial to the odd old hymn. Like this one because it just sums it all up perfectly.

It is well with my soul.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Refrain:
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Deeper

I’ve been pretty slack at this whole blogging thing lately. I have had a lot to say but have been unable to put it into words that I’m comfortable enough with to publish.

Because the truth is, I’m hanging on by a thread at the moment. I’ve become pretty good at hiding my despair but thankfully, there are three people in particular in my life who are always there on the end of a text, phone call or email who keep me from completely losing it.

And they are all able to read between the lines and work out what’s really going on. I love all of them so dearly.

But even so, there is still so much that I really need to write out and deal with and I’ve struggled with writing it out ever since my writing was harshly criticized and made fun of recently.

I’m struggling with the bigger things too.

Like our visits to Harley’s psychologist. I haven’t even processed the information that she gave me on his first visit let alone the other times that he has been. He is just so complex and his issues are way over my head and capabilities and frankly: it scares the heck outta me. I’m not sure that I’ll ever be enough when it comes to helping him.

And the out-of-control behaviour that we are seeing in Lucas at the moment is something that I’ve honestly never seen before. I wonder if its an end-of-year exhaustion thing or whether he is struggling with stuff I can’t work out? And I wonder how deep it goes?

And if he will develop similar anxieties and fears as Harley and end up needing medication too? It’s all too much to get my head around.

Not to mention the friendships and relationship stuff that everybody has. Marriage is so damn hard at the best of times and the pressure increases when you have children who need so much more from you than the average child. I worry that my well will run dry and there will be nothing left to give.

There are already areas of my life that I have checked out of prematurely. It’s just all too overwhelming at the moment and I’m getting tired of just treading water all the time so it’s become easier to do nothing rather than make the wrong decisions.

Maybe that’s a bad decision? I don’t know, but survival mode does interesting things to a person. This funk I’m in has brought some rather abstract poetry out of me so I guess it’s not all bad.

Like this:

Hurting head and aching heart,

Needing some reprieve,

Wanting guidance,

Desiring peace,

But don’t know where to start.

.

I close my eyes and lay my head,

Down on my folded arms,

Wanting rest,

Desiring release,

From all those things you said.

.

As days unfold and choices come,

I don’t know which ways up,

Wanting love,

Desiring grace,

Before I come undone.

.

Then night fall comes and brings with it,

More pain and hopelessness,

Wanting answers,

Desiring truth,

I can’t take another hit.

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Depression……

Tumbling, Jumbling,
Crowding out my brain,
So many memories,
They’re driving me insane,
.
Too much pain,
Too many thoughts,
Can’t process anything,
Out of good retorts,
.
Wishing, Hoping,
Willing them to cease,
Please leave me alone,
And give a girl some peace!
.
Need some space,
Need a real break,
All this crap is,
More than I can take,
.
Fumbling, Mumbling,
Wanting to be heard,
It all comes of as babble,
And makes me sound absurd,
.
So darn tired,
Want to go to sleep,
Wake me when it’s over please,
And leave me in this heap.

Split Personalities

It was raining, it was chilly and it was dark out. It was almost 7pm and we were absolutely starving, but all the restaurants in the little town we were staying in were closed on Wednesday nights. We had no means of cooking our own meal in our little villa and we had considered driving to the next town.

But then we found a strange little place that was clearly having an identity crisis. This place served both Thai and Mexican food which was the strangest combination we had ever heard of together. The two completely different cuisines made no sense together whatsoever.

Amused, we walked in and the cowbell chimes on the door should have been our first clue to run far away and never look back. Well, that and the fact that there was only 1 other couple eating there. But we were hungry and desperate.

We sat down and the (what looked like) 12 yr old waitress took our order. We giggled as we looked around the room and noticed the Thai silk scarves hanging on windows with bejeweled sombreros hung haphazardly next to them.

And the hessian wall hanging of a cactus below a shelf proudly displaying a Buddha statue.

Bamboo makeshift blinds with the Mexican flag painted on it covered a bay window that housed a shrine of Thai goddesses and paraphernalia.

Everywhere you looked there were oddly juxtaposed items on display all brightly lit up with coloured fairy lights draped over every other possible surface.

Tacky doesn’t even come close to describing it but somehow somehow it worked.

We decided that it should be renamed the “Split Personality” restaurant.

I often feel as though I have split personalities myself. I have my mother personality, my wife personality and my Fiona one.
They are all coming from the same inner well but they are all incredibly different. Of course they all overlap at some points and they’re all part of who I am but I still haven’t figured out how to make them all work as one. I haven’t worked out which one should take precedence because the mother one always seems to overtake the rest.

And having this week away from the children and the demands of my everyday life has illuminated some things about me that I have been burying and refusing to deal with for a very long time.

Paul and I spent a lot of time apart during our week “together”. And that may seem strange to some people but we both recognised that we needed it as much as we needed our couple time. We know that we are unlike other couples and that we can’t do the whole 24/7 thing that others can. It doesn’t work for us.

And I really needed to be alone.

I needed to not be needed. It’s as simple as that.

Sometimes I feel like Paul and the children are each pulling one of my arms or legs like a rag doll that is being pulled in four different directions and instead of working through this I find myself withdrawing and becoming more and more resentful toward all of them. My mother and wife personalities have left no room for my Fiona one to shine.

I’ve had a lot of anger rise up this week that I hadn’t expected to see. Things I thought I’d dealt with popped up and threatened to drown me. I prayed about it and God showed me a few home truths about myself that were tough to see but necessary to confront.

This week, I’ve picked fights with Paul unnecessarily because I placed high expectations on him and got angry when he didn’t react the way I wanted him to. I’ve accused him of not loving me and sulked and cried my way through.

He hasn’t argued back with me once to his credit and has stayed firm and strong.

Last night, it was our last night away and I sat down in front of the fire in our cozy little villa in my husband’s arms and cried and cried. I told myself that I was hurting because of something someone had said to me that I felt was borderline nasty, but I knew that it was more than that. I knew deep down that it was because of guilt.

Because the incredibly selfish part of me didn’t really want to go back to my life the next day. I didn’t want to be the Mum anymore. I cried because Paul desperately missed the kid’s and I didn’t. I mean-what kind of mother says that? What kind of mother doesn’t pine for her kids when she’s been separated from them for a whole week?

And Paul answered me: A mentally, physically and emotionally drained one.

He reassured me that it’s not the children that I’m not missing but more the dramas, the upsets, the hard work and the constant noise that I don’t miss instead.
And he’s absolutely right.

I am writing this in the car on the iPad and right now we are 3 hours in on our 7 hour drive and I’m already feeling the excitement stir at seeing my treasures again.
Paul is Right!….He is sensible, methodical, precise and firm – all the things I’m not.

And just like that kooky little restaurant ….we may be a strange mix who look weird to everyone else, but somehow somehow we work.

And for that I am thankful.