Jules, you are so very kind and touch my heart deeply and scare me to almost death which is the best place for me to live, to be and certainly to create: almost death. Which isn’t the same as close to dying. But I am trying not to digress.
I wasn’t hurt, at all, being called a Whisperer or thinking that you thought I whispered and feel sad that I might have given you cause to feel low or that you hurt me! I will admit, though, that I am glad that I said it because of this eloquently raw and beautiful description of what you meant. I want to paint a sign now and wear it and it will say, “Jules calls me a Whisperer” because you have caused me to feel magical and grateful and dare I say this “out loud”? Understood, something I don’t often feel. (My husband is staring at me as if he wants to ask me why I am wiping tears as I peck at my phone but he knows if I want him I will ask. If he did ask, I’d just tell him that this was between me and Jules.) How can you see through me, through my words and usually carefully crafted spills? That is scary and truly wonderful, I will admit.
I am too much like you regarding women. I know why I am. I have consciously worked on my distrust since I realized at 25 that I was one of them, a woman, and that maybe my distrust hurt me trusting myself. I am and always have been motherless child with a sister who fought daily to break me and everyone I loved and in my early life I knew not even one woman who loved me. Yep, I get it now: I chose poorly because I didn’t know better because my “role models” were poor but what happened happened. I am an orphan raised and loved by a now dead father who is still more alive than any of my living female relatives, even my still living mother and the sisters she raised who won’t read this because, although I have told them I publish here, they’d have to care enough to sign in and read. They don’t and won’t and so I write freely because, although they have hurt me, I would not write to hurt them.
Women and what they did I do not understand and left a hole, a jagged edge and a distrust in my own femaleness. I have filled the hole, smoothed the edge and learned to trust myself, even love my femaleness but I have scars and admit I am wary.
I was never wary of you.
You blew in like the hurricanes on the coast along which I grew up and still dream about just before my Lupus flares. My dreams talk to me, too, and are my best teachers. I like that even when I don’t like what they say because they are unpredictable and toss me about, the storms and the dreams. They are what they are and ways true and real so I feel comfortable, even and perhaps because of the great discomfort they create in me.
Discomfort challenges me and makes me better and opens me up as do you, Jules. That is a rare gift and one I seek. And it is always a surprise that is deep and abiding. You bring that surprise and make me feel comfortable in my discomfort and from the first, I felt a kinship of which I still feel unworthy and grateful and, until today, thought I had might have made up. But hoped that I hadn’t. Maybe Jules is my sister in the finest sense, the sense that I crave, I would find myself thinking as I read your work. Something is very grand here between us because I am spilling out in a way that I will not regret but I usually guard against because it too often leads to a misunderstanding. Being older now, I don’t own someone else’s misunderstanding of who I am. But I recognize and thank Love when someone sees me, even though I feel as naked as poor Eve in the garden after eating the apple and being blamed when Adam could have just said, “No, thanks but help yourself!” or naked in the way my poor dog, who carries real scars of abuse, acts when I give her full on unexpected affection and she freezes still unsure, at least for a second, of what is coming next. Knowledge and deep scars change us and how we relate and scrutinize others, at least that is true for me. I am cautious but always open to the tiny few. You are among them.
Sookie. Wow, Jules. I AM Sookie in ways that might surprise even you to whom I am almost transparent.
I am not of this world and of it, too. A changeling, a faerie with common sense out of the South Louisiana bayou where the orbs and the rougarou and the thin and thinning veil and the deeply held secrets formed me. I couldn’t take my eyes off Sookie because she is me and lives in a world where the paranormal is part of the normal and the Protestant mixes, and also doesn’t, with the Catholic that mixes with Voodoo to ooze a paradox that is life. And while I am a Texas girl in every sense, I come from the dark which Texas isn’t, at all. My roots are in the pines and bayous and that place which makes me feel so uncomfortable because it is always like a hurricane and a dream, as am I, and accepts everyone while allowing only those stripped raw who survive it to thrive.
My family was among those whose founded Southwest Louisiana when it was a no man’s land not a part of the U.S. or the Mexican province of Texas. it is genetic, I guess, that I feel I still live in a land claimed by no one but me. My 3rd great grand Aunt Susannah Ryan, a black haired Irish sulkie was called Sukey and married a Cajun unlike her older sister, my 3rd great grandmother, Eliza, who married a Liverpudlian captured off the coast of Columbia by Lafitte who brought him to that inlet cove. An educated and wealthy young man commissioned by the King chose to stay and make a life in a malarial swamp. I was curious as to why until I realize the he heard the ghosts and felt the call and closer to creation in a place where he was hidden. I recognized him from the 26 years of diaries he left. And the secrets he kept. And my newly found cousins from Felonise, his slave, who is also my grandmother even though I am almost snow White except for my freckles. He taught me from what he wrote the truth if White Privilege and the paradox of true love. His father was a slave trader. I have his blood. It feels odious because it is. But I digress.
I always thought that my auburn hair came from my Irish seal sisters from the old world, those seals who, at will, became human. And I still walk into a room and “feel” the atmosphere and the vibes of every person before I decide who they will see because of my scars and my knowledge that is deeper than any book and harder earned than biting any apple. I never blamed Eve but I once blamed myself.
Well, off I went and stopped making sense but that’s your fault, too, for seeing me and even liking what you see. Thank you, Jules. I feel very lucky to know a kindred spirit who understands me as few do. I believe that recognition and understanding have to be deep and of a rare sort and that they come from a place that is hard and scarred and magical. I hate that you are scarred, too, but love that you embrace who you are and who I am, too. And understand that you’re gentle and sensitive heart isn’t freely given or on display, at least not to the extent it might seem to some. Or maybe I project.
I never took your words as anything but a compliment but I also didn’t understand you as much as I do now or love you so much. Thank you for taking the time to clarify so much. Our connection, on my end and I hope on your end, too, will be lasting and won’t change because of any unclear words or notions or guarded words. There are acquaintances, there is family into which we are born but do not belong or maybe do and there is this, what I feel between us. And”this” makes me sing!
Thank you for my song.