Unawares

Catch myself unawares

tears streaking wrinkled face

all that bravado

it doesn’t matter

be happy for others’ family reunions

unwrapping presents from under the tree

stuffing themselves with turkey and booze

a jolly good knees up

for she’s a jolly good fellow and so say all of us

I know drowning in self pity ain’t gonna do a damn thing

but rationalising ain’t working either

can’t seem to talk myself out of the hurt

buried so deep under piles of shit

strata upon strata upon strata

loss upon loss upon loss

not just losing your favouite earring

but those on the top of the list of the stress scale

this year of course there is the loss of Mama

the wave of grief suddenly has knocked me off balance

I am nostalgic for that family any family

yet reality smacks me in the face

what family get real stop day dreaming

just another day in paradise

now i know why the suicide rate shoots up

over the festive season

all this jollyness family bliss

kinda rubs it in huh if you are the Matchstick Girl

gazing enviously through the window

left out in the cold

what can you do

had to wipe away the tears

put on the game face

smile and carry on

what is the alternative

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About cho wan yau

Teacher by day poet/writer by night. Words have been my first love and will be my last. As a child I locked myself into the toilet devouring books which transported me to distant lands. Poetry shared penned from 2009-2010 in a titanic struggle to stay sane at Heartbreak Hotel. Please check it out on chowanyau@wordpress.com. Any comments or feedback welcome. Why not share your story with me, because we all have one, don't we?

Posted on December 24, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Exactly. We smile and carry on – not because there’s nothing else to do (there are many other things to do) but because it’s the best thing to do. Hold on; it’ll get better. Peace to you and yours this holiday season.

    • Yep T.D. there are plenty one could do including top oneself, no, don’t worry, I am not going to do that, I wouldn’t do that to my beautiful 20 year old. Just saying. I tried the being depressed, not getting out of bed bit for a while and that was no fun either. Thanks for caring, I am touched. Maybe I don’t have that family anymore but I have a ‘family’ of kindred kind spirit around the world. I am not alone after all. Thanks, really. And have a fabulous Christmas and a happy new year.

  2. One Christmas Day two years ago we could have swapped places in the tears pain count. Different reasons. Sleep always bring another say. Another day might. If not there is more sleep and another day. And another day might. It was my lifeline two years ago. That and my god. ( ( ( hug ) ) )

    • Well Paul I don’t believe in God, not anymore, anyway so it’s just down to me. But thanks for the hug and you get one back too!

      • I don’t believe in God either. Too much hard work having to believe. xxx

      • i find it strange that people credit God with alsorts .

      • Used to think that. Still do. Except there are so many “beliefs” on offer. Being down to me just another one. I have stopped the belief thing. Only because beliefs need to be maintained. Faith or Love needs beliefs to be shed/stripped back. Finding the less belief the more love. The more love the more strength. My name for that is god. Beyond that – no arguments or beliefs to fight for and with. Xxx

      • I quite like the Buddhist philosohy it makes a lot of sense to me and esecially that it doesn’t include a God. I sometimes think if the Christian God is all powerful etc why does he need his ego boosting with worshippers singing how wonderful he is every Sunday.

        In all honesty God only exists in people’s minds, if it helps them get through the shit life throws at us and pretend there is meaning to all this madness and give them hope of a better time in Heaven, then who am I to spoil the party? But I hate it when they ram it down my throat and try to persuade me of the error of my ways and reinterpret my life for me. God was there all along through all the shit, looking out for you or you’d be dead. He sends all these tests and tribulations to toughen us up, to teach us valuable lessons, they are never more than you can bear …

      • Once in my life I have pondered briefly death as a doorway. My god looked with me. And together we turned back to living. He has become a friend. A real friend. He intrudes in my living. He does answer when I need. Sometimes silence is his answer. Just as a friend does when saying nothing is the right thing to say. And just as I can talk about why, I flounder talking about why anyone else should. I know. I love. Better and more honestly. I also see others who are the same. Who never fall in line with the musts the shoulds and the have to. “They are never more than you can bear”. Wise words.

        Someone said to me “dog”. I was in a training group at work. We all wrote the meaning of “dog”. Each one of us wrote something different. Each one described “dog”. I think we should allow “god” the same courtesy.

      • I respect your faith. I just don’t share it. I was brought up a Christian, was packed off to Sunday School every Sunday morning, followed by Youth Fellowship when older and Sunday Services, sometimes even twice a day.

        But when shit hit the fan big time I looked but He was nowhere to be found. You say God helped you, how do you know, seriously. If you believe he helped you get through difficult times then I am happy for you. All I am asking is how do you know without Him you wouldn’t have got through anyway, like I did.

        I credit my survival to partly luck, my cancer both times were caught early and hadn’t spread, to the expertise and compassion of the medical staff and to my own resilience and strength and gritting my teeth because during the recurrence and especially during chemo and thereafter I was on my own in the physical world and spiritually. I guess God was too busy putting out the fire for other more deserving souls who had it worse. Who knows? All I know he wasn’t there and neither was my husband nor sister; as I recall they were conveniently having a mini nervous breakdown.

      • I would love to share a coffee with you. Not to talk about God and all that right/wrong stuff. Simply to share time with someone whose experience and views I value. You have climbed your own mountains. And you make sense. That merits not applause. That merits respect and affection.

  3. I am touched Paul that a stranger would think I merited respect and affection. I have experienced only disappointment, disapproval and criticism from those closest to me, my own family and ex and in laws. The latter labelled me a problem and in the end my ex banned me from visiting his family to have an easier life. In fact they had treated me with great disrespect and when I spoke up against it, not only did I not receive an apology I became a scapegoat.

    Being treated kindly will take some getting used to but is highly appreciated. Thank you..

  4. Having shared these words and blogs – we have talked more than many I live amongst. I have someone I love dearly in our own extended family – others see a grumpy bigot – I see a cuddly teddy bear. Don’t know why. It makes me (and him) no better nor worse than any other.

    We should converse more. I would be honoured if you grew more used to being treated kindly.

    • And I on my part look forward to the novelty of being treated kindly. I know what you mean about the cuddly bear vs grumpy bigot, I’m actually really sweet and fun so I don’t understand why family both mine and his saw me as a ‘pain’ or not quite measuring up to their expectations. I have always been a bit of a rebel, black sheep, upholder of all things different and controversial and people find it intimidating as they think I am threatening the status quo. But I have learned not to apologise for being me.

  5. I have spent the past hour looking back through your words. Teddy bear with an inner fire. An acquired taste. A fine wine. And a tenacious opponent I guess. Quite a combination. And I am happily unable to step into any of your emotional shoes. Nor do I find much sympathy. There is too much of that in the world I think. Borrowed emotions looking ill-fitting and – almost always – misplaced. Simply making the borrower feel good for connecting. I have been accused of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. I have learned that apologising for being me is a gentler way of still being me. You have quite a story to tell. I am not sure it is more profound than any other. And I have no idea why we are conversing. But I am glad we are.

  6. No Paul my story is no more profound than any other’s, everyone has a story to tell, just that some choose to keep it private. I sometimes wonder whether my need to do so smacks of narcissism and if I ought to stop. Like an old friend said recently, you are not so special, everybody has their own shit. Basically the message was stop whingeing and pull yourself together woman. Neither sympathy nor empathy just a smack in the face. I’d thought being a good friend he might grasp that I had had a shit time and hear me out, that was all I wanted, like Dr Brown says, to make a connection.

    He had me in tears not because of my past but I felt my pain was trivialised and that I was somehow making a mountain out of a molehill. Everybody suffers. Indeed they do one way or another.

    I don’t share my story because I think there is anything special about it or that my ‘suffering’ is worse than others or any more ‘profound’. I do so because it is cathartic and part of my own healing process, to keep sane and to reach out. To show that the human spirit is indeed resilient and courage does come when you don’t think you could possibly cope.

    I am nobody special Paul, I have no secret powers or magic formulae and no God offered me supernatural assistance, I hung in there, gritted my teeth and tenaciously waited for a better day. I fought depression tooth and nail and when I couldn’t I just laid in bed under my warm safe duvet and hibernated and built a fortress round myself. My mind and body’s way of saying enough is enough, we need to shut down temporarily and recharge, we have been running on empty too long.

    Maybe we are conversing because we are human and share the same needs and wants. I think it is called the Human Condition. Correct me if I am wrong.

    I make no apologies for being me because from the moment of birth my identity has been under attack, my mother in particular and then my ex did their utmost to change me into their ideal version of what a daughter and wife should be and the only man I ever loved almost succeeded in putting out the fire, in destroying my soul, what makes me me. Almost.

    Maybe there is no point conversing but let’s carry on anyway. I am rather enjoying our discussion on Life.

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