Outer Hebrides: Transient Spaces

When we were on holiday, I was experimenting with writing in nature–or writing with nature. The ebb and flow of the ocean, having to relent to the power of the water, made me contemplate the ever changing nature of our environment but also our selves. I thought what if we just relent, let go, let go of pain, fear, guild, shame? Let the waves wash them away? Wash away hate. Wash away your sorrow.

I tried to write down the themes that often burden survivors of trauma.
Verlustangst = fear of loosing, usually a loved one
Unzulänglichkeit = the feeling of inadequacy
Pain
Shame
Sorrow
Fear

Then set up a time lapse of the incoming tide washing away the writing in the sand. Wash away the pain. Wash away the sorrow. Wash away the shame.

Outer Hebrides: Washed Away

Long evenings on the beach created an unfamiliar amount of time for introspection, breathing, watching, and then watching some more. The sky, the water, the sand, the animals. At some point the Gospel song ‘Oh Happy Day’ became stuck in my head. Mainly the phrase ‘he washed my sins away’. Exploring issues around trauma, there are some things we have been working with themes, phrases that seem to be taken on by the survivors: such as shame, guilt, worthlessness. In some workings phrases such as: ‘this is not my shame to carry’, ‘I am worth it’, ‘I belong’ became significant. So I tried to remember the main themes and words from this and wrote them in the sand on the beach, and let the ocean wash them away.

Incidentally while I was exploring these issues, the alienating parent called and insisted that the kid needs to be brought home immediately for a life and death medical appointment (literally: you are putting his life at risk). When trying to suggest that surely such an emergency would mean we should bring kid into closest hospital that was refuted. A flight was booked and the alienator flew all the way up to the Outer Hebrides to pick up kid for what turned out to be a routine follow up appointment after a course of antibiotics. Which a) could have waited until the end of holidays or b) could have easily been done at the medical centre, which was literally 10 minutes from the camp-ground. Sharing-agreements here in the UK mean the doctor would have had access to all records and also could have easily consulted with family doctor. Interestingly the alienator called once they had boarded the plane on the way back from holiday, so they were sure they could run through the whole ‘I am the hero’ scenario, and the plane did not have delays and would hamper the narrative. So after being convenient childminders for a week the poor kid was torn away from his dad to play their part in the story of ‘How I save my son from a made-up drama’.

It was on our last evening together, everyone was really sad and we tried to squeeze in as much of the favourite activities as we could. When walking along the beach, we found this heart made of shells. For me this was a sign: love always wins. And I made the little drama installation to ritually wash away the drama for our second week of holiday, the kid had to miss out on.

The other words and film snippets will follow over the next couple of days.

Survivor

I want to rage
I want to rage so fiercely
Like a hurricane ripping up the land
I want to rain fire and brimstone
I want flood the lands with stormwaves tall as mountains
I want to swing my sword cutting through meaningless flesh
I want to scream until your eardrums burst
I want to let go let go of holding back the chaos

And thus
I sit
My back to the wall
Arms wrapped around my knees
Because all I want to rage against
Are dead already
It would be an empty gesture

I do not make empty gestures

Sadness

Sadness is leaking
Like broken plumbing
Sewage of pain
Better out than in ey?

Trying to stop the leak
With bad habits
Chocolate
Mainly

No drugs
Never drugs
Brain on emotional rollercoaster
And it keeps spilling everywhere

If you don’t watch it
It will stick to you
After a hug with me
I don’t want that

So I leave
Walk alone
In the dark
In the woods

I am not scared
I am the woods
I breathe the silence
I am never alone

They all died
Slowly
Painfully
The perpetrators
Cheating me out of my revenge

What now?
I have no choice
But to heal now
It’s painful
Healing

Scars hurt, itch, bother
Sadness leaks everywhere
Like a flood of gue
I can’t stop it

So I just let it leak
Let it spill out
Send it on it’s way
It will stop eventually

I know

The Shadow

Hovering over your every move
Darkness shrouded
Lying in wait
To pounce on the unsuspecting

To raise a storm tide
For a wrong word, a look, a smile
For a letter missing
For an idea incomplete
For independent thought
For a rumour taken as truth
For truth taken as lie
For a molehill perceived as an elephant

The shadow is stuck in front of the mirror
Fixated
Concealer to hide the marks
A fragile mask of normalcy

Not to be seen
Not to be known
Not to be found out

Hasty strokes applied
Over and over again
Mimikri for a world full of enemies

They must not know
They must not see
The shadow is caught in echoes of his reflection

Trigger Warning

Like light and dark
Like clouds crossing the ocean
So cross your feelings
Bobbing with the waves
Push and pull

Come closer I need you
Go away I hate you

That’s how it works
The traumatized self
Can’t cope alone
Can’t cope together

Must find someone to hate
To leash out to
Must have an enemy
Because every enemy created is better
Is saver then the enemy within

The one you can’t escape
The one who whispers from the shadows
The one you have forgotten

For now

But the pain
You haven’t forgotten
The pain is still there
Body memory
Simmering underneath the surface
The pain is anger now
A self righteous mission against windmills
Giants who never were

That’s why you chose to fight them
They are invisible
Nobody understands
And thus you win because nobody can tell you that your mission is a hoax
A distraction
A ploy

Grief is a strange beast

Grief is a very strange beast
Fighting you with tooth and claw
You fight back
Every fiber of your soul
On high alert

Eventually it sleeps
For while
For days
For weeks
For months

And then
One day
 

You tamed it

And then
One day

You think you tamed it

You let your guard down
You don’t watch over your shoulder

And when you least expect it
And when it is most inopportune
It pounces
Claws stretched
Teeth exposed
Ripping open wounds
Barely closed over

Only to go to sleep again

Leaving you the aching pain of scars

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