1. Penny says


    A prompt: what is my truth right now. Having no plans, I think of all that I must do. Clean, do school stuff, organize school stuff, organize Christmas, stuff, stuff, stuff, whips in and out of my mind. It is 7:am…. What to choose. It will be based on a whim…and while I’m at that whim another whim will make itself known, and I am back at a place of starting and not finishing. I read somewhere about acting instead of planning,as a barrier to doing what needs to be done….it’s a condition. For us with this condition only what enters one’s immediate attention gets done, or what seeming must be done, gets done. Like cooking a dinner or doing a wash. Doing a wash! There is an analogy! So I’m going to the bathroom, the dirty clothes basket is there. Whoops do the laundry, carry said basket to the basement, start a wash, come upstairs, see the dishes, do em, whoops check email, whoops, hear the ding of the washer, put clothes in drier… wait, why is this the perfect analogy? Abandon it. Take another tack. It is an analogy because out side influences dictate what I do.

    Hay, that is what is an activist! I am an activist, feminist, president of “everything”, to make things better in the world! an insight: write that! I take activism to a totally personal safe level. See dishes in the sink, do em. Even though bigger projects that must be done in the next few weeks escape from being accomplished.
    So then I grab my to do list! And I write down: put out-going mail in mail box, in writing it, I get up, do it, come back and check it off.

    Where are my priorities? How do I prioritize? Get er done, I say to myself…get er done is another way of doing what I am already doing. See something, do something. Keep the important projects, longer term stuff out of sight! Do something doable instead: like the dishes, or the wash!

    I have read over and over again, “Break large jobs into a series of small tasks”. Take my school papers, everything I save in anticipation of it being useful for my upcoming class. I teach. They are scattered all over my attic, where my school stuff is. I’ll go to organize them, end up reading something, I get a brilliant idea of doing something of equal or more value, and the organizing task is abandoned til the next stroke of brilliance dooms the current stroke.
    And here I am writing my truth because I read a prompt. All that must be done lays awaiting, and that is my truth, right now!

    • says

      Penny, welcome to the Roadmap blog! I could relate to all the to-dos swirling around in your life. I, too, have been at the complete mercy of my to-do lists. I could relate! Hope to see many more of your posts on this blog. Thanks for stopping by.

      • cissy says

        I felt like you took me hopping through your to do list and your struggle with how to balance it all and how the immediate thing takes over. It had a playful vibe even though it’s about balancing all the to do’s. Made me relate to all the times I go to check on one thing, end up doing another and barely remembering what I intended to do.

    • Lee Xanthippe says

      Oh, I really liked this piece of writing, how the piece bounced me from place to place and seemed to stay in this everchanging moment. This piece had a sort of movement I liked. “Out side influences dictate what I do”…”I am an activist, feminist, president of “everything”…there was this kind of ebullience in this piece and I felt these two pulls–one towards the moment and one towards something else and having difficulty with this momentary way of “act” ing. I like the connection of the word act and activist…

      “the next stroke of brilliance dooms the current stroke”–well put at capturing this state of mind…!

    • Sheila McGinley says

      I liked “til the next stroke of brilliance dooms the current stroke” a lot! And the so honest feeling of starting to organize and perform and then wandering on in to yourself!

    • Terry Gibson says

      Penny, I loved this! Your lists captured the staccato-like attention span I have most of the time. The whirl of starting and finishing and being stuck somewhere in the middle. Forever enslaved to our to do lists. “I get a brilliant idea of doing something of equal or more value, and the organizing task is abandoned til the next stroke of brilliance dooms the current stroke.” This quote is my favourite. Great job and welcome!

    • MaryL says

      Penny, I was in tears last week when I realized that work and family obligations prevented me from responding to the prompt on time (it’s there now). I understand the “TO DO” list and the many things we feel we have to do, but until rather recently (I’m 68), I never stopped to think of putting MY needs on the “TO DO” list. I need space. I need quiet. I need to say no to last minute demands which are not my business. I need to be myself. I need to be by myself…. and not just in these in-between times. Thanks so much … I really needed to read your post! MaryL

    • beverly Boyd says

      It seems many of us relate to the dilemna of the too long todo list. This well-crafted piece seems to be its own metaphor, bouncing back and forth around the “todos” that keeping shoving themselves in front and others.

      I have a friend who at fifty decided to make of list of things she had decided not to do. I followed her example and have a “not to do list!”

      Yesterday I made a list of those little things that bug me every time I pass them and did ten of them. It took less than two hours.

    • Wendy says

      Penny, this was really fun to read. The fast pace and the stream of words and the colons and the ellipses perfectly expressed your ideas. Thank you.

  2. Fran Stekoll says

    My truth is to be true to myself. All my life I’ve been a giver It’s time I gave to myself.

    Today I have a computer expert coming to school me in setting up a web site so I can further share my verses of insight and awareness with others. In a way I suppose that’s still me giving to the universe; but this feels totally new and different.

    I am also totally alone with myself, my thoughts, as most of the activities I usually have are on break for the holidays.

    The truth is, I’m discovering me and through meditation the inner soul has surfaced. There’s a birth taking place and it’s painless this time.

    T R U T H today stands for Trusting Relentless Unfailing Truthful Honesty and I’m trying very hard to adjust to this.

    • Barbara Keller says

      Hi Fran. It is a struggle this rebirth of oneself, I can see. Thanks for writing. Things do slow down around the holidays and it looms ahead. I certainly know what you mean about that. Thanks for sharing where your truth is.

    • Lee Xanthippe says

      “All my life I’ve been a giver It’s time I gave to myself.” Love that bold statement and turning that giving inward.

      I liked that statement, “There’s a birth taking place and it’s painless this time”–I like how this seems to speak about a non-painless time without mentioning it but it gives an idea of the past.

      Thanks for your writing!

    • beverly Boyd says

      Thank you for sharing this. I particularly liked this line: “The truth is, I’m discovering me and through meditation the inner soul has surfaced. There’s a birth taking place and it’s painless this time”

    • says

      Hi and welcome to the Roadmap Blog. Your short post intrigued me. It left me wondering, “What does she mean by that?” “Is it her name?” “Why is her truth in her name?” And so on….I hope you post more, answering some of these mysteries.

    • Lee Xanthippe says

      I like the short answer and that the truth is so familiar it has a name or is it a person or is it? I have no idea? Maybe it is a humourous answer or is it serious? Hmm.

  3. cissy says

    My truth was the tongue I bit, the secrets I hid and the tears held back too long. My lie was hope in the form of a big red balloon that I blew my wishes and words and fantasies into for decades until it finally popped.

    For the first time in my life I will not go to be with my family of origin on Christmas Eve. For thirty-nine years I have gone to the same house in Waltham where there are meatballs, veggie plates, orange soda and homemade fudge. A crowd of thirty to sixty people will come and go from 5p.m. to midnight.

    We moved to Waltham when I was nine. We lived upstairs and my Nana lived downstairs. When my mother divorced my step-father three years later my aunt moved in and has lived there since. She raised her four children there, took care of her dying mother, and housed me for a rocky summer during my teens and while in college when I helped her take care of my grandmother. On couches, my nana and I painted our nails, made lists of items for me to get at the drug store and grocery store, watched the squirrels we named Laurel and Hardy eat from the bird feeders out the front window.

    Upstairs, I did Tarot readings at the kitchen table for my aunt who fed me and her four kids. We drank wine on the weekends and iced coffee on the porch while the kids played basketball in the driveway. Sometimes we listened to the Indigo Girls and other times we watched Disney movies with the kids.
    I dropped a cast iron frying pan on my toe two years ago a half hour before I was supposed to go to my aunt’s. “You should probably get a few stitches,” my neighbor said, as she applied butterfly bandages on.

    “I can’t,” I said, “It’s Christmas Eve. There’s no missing Christmas eve.” I bled into my sock and wear a scar. Just two short years later I am immobilized. A fully-formed knowing came as a morning thought. I won’t be going it said and was coming from my belly. I love family members and hate family events. Hate. Hate Hate. The knowing wouldn’t be pushed back under the pink and green floral covers.

    “I can make myself go,” I told my mother, “But I don’t want to anymore. I was molested in that house.”

    “But you lived there, with Nana and after,” she said.

    “I know,” I said.

    Later, my sister called to tell me, “Mom’s sad that you think you were abused in Waltham.”

    The balloon, red vinyl, once stretchy, got too thin. It no longer held together. I do not want, while reaching for celery, this year, to be reminded of my step-father asking me to parade naked in that kitchen for him, to prove, that while showering I made myself clean as a penny. I do not want to juggle painful memories in order to be with my relatives on Christmas Eve. I could make myself but I won’t.

    The house is not good or bad. It is a place, which held a family that was and is still mine. There were times when sugar traveled from metal spoons to warm cups held warm in my hands. I was stirred and soothed some times. Other times, my body was handled like cantaloupe at the grocery store, grabbed and prodded and assessed for the uses of others. I carry both sets of memories in that place and in my body. My truth is that complex.

    I am not a toddler able to ache only for my mother’s knees, only knowing it is her arms that can lift me from misery. I may always long for a primal mother but not my actual mother to rescue me. She can’t. But my maroon meditation mat, in the corner of my bedroom, is soft and reliable and constant.

    I lean my belly over the yoga bolster and put my face down and into the sitting cushion and I weep. To the mat, I take myself, speaking words that come through my pores, let tears spill from a broken heart and a broken childhood. After I weep, I sit up and fold my legs, return to my adult self.

    Sitting still, I breathe in. Breathing in, I let go. On the out breath, I no longer tell the air where to go, insisting it fill the red vinyl shape of my hopes. The past is what it was. My mother is who she is. I am who I am. Scared, disillusioned but free – I no longer force my body to endure places it isn’t comfortable being. Home is my body. My body houses me.

    • Barbara Keller says

      Such a story! beautifully written, full of pictures. I love the part about you there with Nana and your aunt. And I can see it was sometimes warm and welcoming and sometimes truly awful. I love that you could decide not to go, and that you have a place, so well described, you can cry to. This is a great story. I suppose because it’s true and openly written. Thanks,

    • Lee Xanthippe says

      This is such a well done piece. It is the kind of piece that slowly shows the reader a world and different times. I felt so much in this piece. Felt through it all a sort of solidarity with this brave person making a choice, a self-protective and right-feeling choice.

      This piece is so well told…from the first words–the tongue bit and what this means and the way it unfolds, in the scenes in the house, the fingernails and the lists, who lived there, the naming of the place and the yoga mat scene. And the conversation–the way the sister’s words–. I felt the pain and the taking control by making a decision…what an entirely bold piece.

      Thank you for sharing this and for going to such a deep place so very artfully.

    • says

      Cissy, this was stunning and had me spellbound. I loved the complexity of your memories of the house. I loved the whole piece really, but this really stood out to me:

      “I love family members and hate family events. Hate. Hate Hate. The knowing wouldn’t be pushed back under the pink and green floral covers.”

      I hope you have a peaceful Christmas eve, with some joy mixed in with the grief that goes with your decision.

    • Sheila McGinley says

      I started to keep track of the wonderful sentences, starting with the amazing opening. But I could not. They came fast and beautiful and sad and overwhelming. You captured so much about real life and how things are not clearly evil or clearly good, about how sometimes the good cannot shut the evil down. You naked and having to be clean as a penny. You in that same house with your Nana. Oh, and amazing story. Amazingly, dazzlingly written. Thank you.

    • MaryL says

      Cissy, your open, honest sharing resonates with me. The separation from the predictable and often toxic pattern away from FOO (family of origin) can be extremely frightening, and then you drop something on your foot, patch it up, and go anyway.
      So pleased that you are concentrating on your breath … this is YOU … your body, which houses you, loves you. Someone told me, “Try to avoid going into any situation in which you know you will come out feeling worse than when you went in.” Best wishes and peace! MaryL

    • Ilana says

      Wow! Breathtaking. I love how you showed us all the beauty that went on in that house before you showed us the pain. By doing this you gave weight to the true complexity of a full life that includes abuse. It’s not all ugly and that makes things so confusing for me sometimes. I feel you gave voice to my fear and pain and confusion. Thank you for this piece, truly. Ilana

  4. Barbara Keller says

    My truth? For this question I’m glad I’m 70. Most of my life I didn’t know the answer. Now I know what my truth is and it has some levels. Absolutes and variables.

    First is the truth that never changes and that guides my life no matter what anybody else’s truth is: This is my belief that there is a perfect God, that He loves me, that he knew who I would be way back in time before I lived, and He is not at all surprised by all the things I do that are not perfect, that He sent his son to die on the cross for me so I could have eternal life in Heaven with Him and a blessed life on earth.

    Most people don’t think this is true, and I’m sorry, but it matters not to me.

    Then I have lots of other things that I think are true and they may fluctuate according to my wisdom and the circumstances. For instance, I think it’s true that it would be much better for my grandson’s survival and happiness if he didn’t smoke marijuana, and that I should take a firm position on this. He is young, has neurological problems and needs all his wits to function. But, I can see that I might not want to throw him out of the house if he doesn’t see it that way. I might compromise.

    My truth, which I truly hope is based on the bible, tells me to be honest in business, not to talk about people even if they’ve been awful to me, to reach out and be kind and to let go when it looks like my help is annoying someone.

    My truth warns me when a smarmy person starts to suck up, and I back away. My truth see a person’s pain and trouble and encourages me to be compassionate. My truth suggests I forgive someone even when I really don’t feel like it.

    My truth reminds me to be thankful and grateful when it’s one more sparkling, gorgeous day in this wonderful little valley where I live in Baja – when I wonder how on earth did I get here? I didn’t earn the money – I was an employment failure. I don’t deserve it – I’m not an especially good person. So, I conclude it’s all a gift from the God who loves me and I try to remember to say thank you and not whine about the small difficult things of life.

    • cissy says

      Love the second line in your piece and your not knowing the fate of your grandson if he doesn’t quit, just the honesty of compromise, your strong faith is obvious as are your feelings of gratitude.

    • Lee Xanthippe says

      I love the gentle sentence, “I might compromise” after elucidating what is at issue.I like how this piece touched on many different facets of beliefs and the self awareness in statements like, “to reach out and be kind and to let go when it looks like my help is annoying someone.”
      I love the sentence, “I was an employment failure” and that someone saying this can end up in a very beautiful place! Thank you!

    • says

      I really enjoyed what you know. I especially liked this line after your profession of faith: “Most people don’t think this is true, and I’m sorry, but it matters not to me.”

  5. Lee Xanthippe says

    I don’t like being told what to do.
    I don’t want to start with “My truth…”
    I hate being seen as disagreeable.
    I just have a different way.
    I can be counter.
    I think this is just another way of being.

    I think my way of being is very un-Californian.
    I am on enemy territory too much of the time.
    I should not think this way because then someone will think I am paranoid.
    I am not, but it is hard to tell things how I see them without fear of repercussion. It is hard even in writing, even in semi-anonymous writing to tell the truth. I hate to add, “as I see it.” Always one must say, “as I see it”—of course, it is always, how one sees it, so why does anyone expect you to say that?

    I don’t want to put people off.
    I want to call it like I see it.
    Can these two things coexist?

    I get tired of being nice after being nice all day.
    I am so nice all day.
    Now I am so tired.
    Being nice all day, so nice, can make you (meaning me) so tired.

    I am not really tired, but I guess I am looking for places I can be myself. There are so few.
    I like Gertrude Stein when she says, “I write for myself and strangers.”
    I have not written about what is true for me today, but what is true for me about how this prompt effects me.

    This is all fiction.
    Should I have started with that?
    I would prefer it if you treat all of this as fiction. No less important because it is fiction, but I don’t want anyone to assume anything from me from the way I write. I am not looking for comfort or anything, or not here, but I have a need to write. I have a need to say that I am looking for a place and a good place is hard to find.

    I am looking for a place where I can be free.
    If you treat this like fiction, I will be clothed in fiction, fictions that fit me well, waterproof fictions, form-fitting or sometimes loose fictions. You can hurl your soup at me or rain lightly on me and I can feel it a little but it will all roll off and I can walk in the rain, tapping my shoes, smiling, splashing, singing my heart out, what a glorious feeling, I’m happy again…at least until the old constable-of-a-cop comes up, but by then I am danced and sung out. I look over my shoulder at you, Cop. I have finished my song and dance before you had a chance to shame me. Ha!

      • Lee Xanthippe says

        Poetry, for example, does not fall under fiction or nonfiction. (I am not sure why that is, but I like that.) In poetry you can spin fictions and truths in any combination. I am not tethered to truth. Sometimes a person can feel they can tell greater truths through fiction. When one is free to write truth and fiction in any combination, one such as I can feel free-er.

        I enjoy having someone respond to my writing as writing. I do not need/want someone to respond to the person (me) behind the writing. It can seem invasive to me and not asked for, too intimate for strangers, and again, not what I want/need. I suppose I want to know about my writing, what parts are working in the writing and to build upon those parts. (And I respect that other people want other things from their writing and their interactions).

        (I really like the prompts on this site and the writing and kind people. I know for the things I want, some things may not be a perfect fit, but I am trying to make it work for me because, well, just because… : ) )

        • says

          In my classes, we always make a point to respond to the words on the page, not to the content of the writing or the issues the writer may be grappling with. That’s one of the things that distinguishes a writing group from a therapy group. But here in this forum, that line occasionally gets blurred. But I really get where you’re coming from.

          • Lee Xanthippe says

            Thanks for your response, Laura!
            (Yeah, I think the blurriness seems fine to many, but to me I try to avoid the blurriness and try to stick to the writing).

            I think there are two things–
            1) being able to mix truth and fiction at will gives me a fuller freedom and artistic freedom.

            2) Having my writing treated as writing (and as perhaps fiction) gives me the distance and space to write free-er. The safety to go deeper. The writing is not me and affixed to me.

            Also, I do not have to get stuck in the pressure of relationships or other people’s concern for me or my concern for them. (As in, if I write something serious, I personally would not want someone saying, “Are you okay? Have you considered getting help for?” Or “I hope your mother will recover from..”

            (I understand these kind and generous impulses, but for me, it seems a pressure and frankly pulls me out of the writing itself and tapping into the power of the writing which is my focus here.

            Thanks and I commend your great prompts and community for pulling such insightful and beautiful pieces out of people : ) And for creating a space for people to delve deeply or lightly at will.

          • Laura Davis says

            The reason see you so clearly elucidated are exactly the reasons I ask people to only respond to the writing and not the content.

          • Maia Mellisa Jackson says

            Thank you Laura. I’m grateful to have read this and further understand the distinctions. I have been in both writing and therapy groups and this gives me a much clearer idea and pathway to proceed more fully in writing within a group, again thank you.

          • Maia Mellisa Jackson says

            Laura, I’m grateful to have read this and further understand the distinctions. I have been in both writing and therapy groups and this gives me a much clearer idea and pathway to proceed more fully in writing within a group, again thank you.

        • cissy says

          Hi Lee,
          I appreciate your clarifying what you were looking for as a writer and what you are not looking for, as a person.
          I was pulled in by the combative tone in the beginning and the line about being un-Californian…

          • cissy says

            Also, I respect this conversation about the exchange and why staying with the writing is so important. I am glad to know how intrusive the personal responses can feel when writing is shared.

  6. Wendy says

    My truth right now is that time seems be working differently. For many years, I got up early in the morning, sat down at the computer and worked, taking a break for meals and for a walk, and then working some more until it was time to go to bed, and then I slept until the alarm went off, and the work started again.

    I did not see very many people during this time. I tried to shut out the calls of the aches and pains because I just did not have time for them. I made good money. I had deadlines.

    Then this summer, I changed course. I gave up working for my primary client. I had grown tired of never having time for myself. I missed my friends. I decided that I needed to change how I worked.

    Now the truth is it just feels strange. I take time now to see friends. I network. I write. The days are often full of people. Every day I think I need to spend more time making money. I think that is a truth, but it’s not the truth that I am in at this moment. I would like to find the way to be prosperous and spend time with the people I love and express myself. That is my goal.

    • beverly Boyd says

      You express so well your truth: “I think that is a truth, but it’s not the truth that I am in at this moment” and your willingness to act on what you need to find balance: “I gave up working for my primary client.”

      Than you for sharing this.

    • Lee Xanthippe says

      I enjoyed the contrasts between the past and the present work and the details of what work used to be and in the end a yearning and a goal: “I would like to find a way to be prosperous and spend time with the people I love and express myself”…
      Thanks for the writing!

      • cissy says

        I also liked the all work schedule in the beginning and then, ” The days are often full of people. Every day I think I need to spend more time making money,” and the balance not being there yet but clear as to what is needed.

  7. MaryL says

    Tell me about your truth, what’s really true for you right now. Start with the words, “My truth…”

    My truth is not a secret anymore! What is true to me, to my core, is that I am a kind person with a deep love for others, a need to be loved, to belong, with a keen sense of justice, as well as the power to speak out and act against injustice.

    My truth had been locked away most of my life. It was partly fear, partly shame, and partly low self-esteem that caused me to think that what I believe and what I say and who I am is off-center and unclear. While admitting to eccentricity at times, I am okay.

    A portion of my truth is a well of sadness because feminism (equality male/female), and all the effort we’ve made to help women to be truly empowered and treated as well as men, have not changed our society, our world. I recall vividly: all the marches; the books by Friedan and Pogrebin and Phyllis Chessler; a superb Women’s Studies Departments at Southern Connecticut State University where I found my niche as a workshop leader. I recall Friday nights, attending impromptu groups on the New Haven green, my first “Take back the night” demonstration now attended by women AND men. I still cry rivers of tears at each Clothesline Project display. I found a very safe, wonderful blanket of women in Grand Forks at the UND women’s center, where we sculpted our self, and talked about menstruation and the power of women.

    Despite all this continued effort, woman are still victims of abuse – physical/sexual/emotional – in the home and in the office and even in the doctors’ lounges. For some women, this battle is irrelevant or simply uninteresting. Have you heard the younger women announce, “I am free. We have all the rights we need.” “What are you, a liberal?” “Oh yes, I never read those books, but my mother did.” “If I were abused I would fight back and knock him out.”

    When I called the Women’s hotline in Hartford, in the late 1970’s, I finally heard that I was not alone. I phoned frequently, but I was afraid to leave the house to go to a meeting, and even used a pseudonym. Years later, my voluminous file was used in my divorce case, as proof. The divorce was not a victory ~ he stole the children away, told them I was crazy. I started over, little by little, school, work, apartment, etc.

    I worked with shelters, gave talks. To this day, when I can, I preach against family violence, and this is a wonderful symbol of power structures turned right-side-up – finally! I kept writing. I write every day.

    Recently, a thought was planted in my mind. How old am I? How long has it been since the “ugliness” of the past? Can I just retire from caring, from listening, from doing what I can?

    Let me say this as clearly as I can. I am my true self. The girl who survived the past is still very sensitive, and sometimes runs into people who have the antennae to pick up the signals. I need to comport myself as a strong, courageous woman. I can never forget. I have joy in my life. I have work which means so much to me. I have dear friends. One of my daughters lets me into her life from time to time.

    My truth is not set in stone. I ride the waves. As Andre Gide wrote elsewhere, “We who would seek new land must be willing to sacrifice the sight of short for a long, long time.”

    • Laura Davis says

      I love the powerful honest declaration of this piece, I particularly love the lines, “My truth is not a secret anymore,” and “Let me say this as clearly as I can. I am my true self.” That is a riveting statement!

    • Lee Xanthippe says

      Powerful piece and I love the feminist details, the names, places, events, and the women who can’t relate to that as well. The line, “I never read those books, but my mother did” and the other lines, I am free I have everything I need. Eek!

      And the pain of “The divorce was not a victory”…

      And the line “One of my daughters lets me into her life from time to time.” There seems to be no smoothing over or convenient truths in this piece, which seems to be part of the strength in the piece to me, what drew me in. Thanks for talking about the difficult.

      • cissy says

        There is so much showing of the “personal is political” in this piece. This paragraph is wonderful, it shows so much without having to go into details. But as a reader, I get a sense of what was in the files. The starting over, and the spare language to describe it was also impactful. The list. school, work, apartment, etc.

        When I called the Women’s hotline in Hartford, in the late 1970’s, I finally heard that I was not alone. I phoned frequently, but I was afraid to leave the house to go to a meeting, and even used a pseudonym. Years later, my voluminous file was used in my divorce case, as proof. The divorce was not a victory ~ he stole the children away, told them I was crazy. I started over, little by little, school, work, apartment, etc.
        Thank you for this piece.

  8. Maia Mellisa Jackson says

    My truth… lies deep inside my body wells. Swimming, circling, spiraling in the recesses of my spirit. It speaks to me in bubbling joy, popping above in the surface break as it seeks expression. It arises bubbling, flowing, over as hot lava establishing new shore continuously as it leads me in my path of divine expression.

    My truth…is in the details. The descriptive whisps of memory that float like snowflakes falling gently on a winters solstice eve. The fond remembrances oh her hand on the small of my back urging me closer, the familiar scent of his cologne as I pass by the closet door. The lingering taste of ginger cleansing of palate clearing away decadent sweetened soy post sushi. The color of silver gray sparkling of my wedding dress flushed with anticipation.

    My truth…is love.

    • says

      Maia, so glad to see you posting here on the Roadmap! Thanks for this evocative, lovely piece. I hope to see you in the new year in class. Let’s set a firm start date for you.

      • Maia Mellisa Jackson says

        Thank you Laura. Your prompts speak to the writer in me encouraging me to share more of her. With gratitude this New Year’s Eve. Peace & Blessings to you and yours as we move into this New Year and its promise of new beginnings.

    • Lee Xanthippe says

      Ooh, I got drawn in by the all the sensory description, snowflakes and “her hand on the small of my back” and the familiar scent of his cologne”, and the closet door (literal or figurative?), the ginger an silver gray sparkling wedding dress–very evocative images and senses, each suggesting…thanks for this piece of writing!

      • cissy says

        Your voice pulled me right in and I wanted more and for it to keep going. Love the way you brought in smell and touch and taste and vision in just a few paragraphs.

      • Maia Mellisa Jackson says

        Oh thank you! Yes, the scent of his cologne is literal, a recent evocation. The dress has been found, the date delayed as a firmer day to day foundation is built by us after 30 years long distance relating (we met as teenagers). Happy New Year’s eve.

  9. beverly Boyd says

    My truth is…I’m tired! In fact, I’m sooo… Tired! I don’t want to affirm that… but my truth right now, in fact, is I’m tired. I can’t believe it has been three years since I put my writing projects on hold to come to terms with a large inventory left from my late husband’s business as an antiquarian print dealer. It felt like an albatross around my neck. I thought it might take five or six weeks to get a proper inventory. A thousand hours later, doubled by the paid help of a friend that project is nearing completion. In March 2013 I took the larger items to Dallas Texas to have appraised and to store with my son. I still have many hours of picky details to get it finished.

    Then life got in the way

    Since the end of May when, even under the influence of five years of sleep deprivation, I drove home solo from Dallas to Santa Cruz (1800 miles in 36 hours) followed by a round trip to the Redwood Valley (300 miles each way) I have had a series of events that has resulted in my feeling tired…Tired…TIRED!!

    An accidental puncture wound on my hand became very infected, followed by weeks of pain, even after the swelling had gone down; gradually taking more and more OTC pain relievers. It turns out I did not have a cast iron stomach after all. I developed gastroenteritis causing loss of blood. On July 31st I arrived at the emergency room in congestive heart failure: A-Fib, severe anemia, and a practically flat line heart rate, liver and kidneys struggling. I truly believe that if I had waited another day I might not be here to write this post.

    Two months later, as I was beginning to feel like I might soon be my old self again, I was having fun at a celebration when I fell and fractured my Patella (knee cap). Eleven weeks later (the first five in an immobilizer) the doctor is pleased with the ex-rayed results but says it will be another three months before healing is complete. Another three months of having to be more careful than usual not to fall or bump my knee…not to reinjure my knee. I am so tired of having to be vigilant and having difficulty with some basic life issues.

    Then there is the hearing aid I am trying to get used to.
    Todeay I returned the heart monitor I have been wearing 24/7 for the last two weeks! Yeah!

    I don’t even have to do anything and I am tired. Am I whining? You bet I am! With a family history of living into the 90”s this is not something I want to get used to!

    I’m looking forward to an event free 2014…unless is the event of getting a book ready for publication!

    • Laura Davis says

      You vividly explained all the reasons you are so tired! I was sorry to read about this long string of troubles, especially the big scary health ones. I too, are hoping your last line comes true.

    • Maia Mellisa Jackson says

      Peace & Blessings to you. Prayers to a divine sentient G-d/Goddess are yours from me & mine. I understand ALL too well chronic burnout, fatigue, heart failure. There can be thriving via extreme loving self care, requests for help from trusted sources, and loving kindness for self. May 2014 bring you relief, love abd incredible healing abd restoration.

  10. Stephanie D. says

    My truth is that I’m lost, confused, devastated, and hopeless. My world is crumbling before me. I can’t say I’ve hit rock bottom but with both parents dead, failing school, and tons of demands, my truth is that I’m worn out. Six figures worth of debt with no sufficient funds to repay, bill collectors calling, family demands ( be my beneficiary, be my confidant, pay for my air fare, buy me a gift, call me, come visit me out of state, graduate), misunderstandings (why don’t you go to church anymore, your mom wouldn’t be happy with you, why are you exercising, why do you come here), working one full time and 2 part time jobs and still broke, demands at work (be chatty, email more, talk more, do reports, prepare docs for students, read current research, turn in forms, order materials), and so much more, my truth is that I’m falling apart. I’m trying to be everything for everyone but I’m nothing for myself. My truth is that I appear happy but I’m far from it. My truth is that I’m not ok. I’m not happy. My truth is that I have to live a lie because to say it would mean I don’t trust in God. My truth is that I’m angry with God. Oh so angry. I’m hurt too. I pray and my prayers aren’t answered. They say He cares but I’m growing to have different opinion. Could He heal my mom? I thought He said He would and she died. I was growing closer to my dad and He took him as well. I prayed and thought I’d do well in school and I received a notice saying I didn’t. I find it hard to rebuild my faith.

    My truth is that I’m all over the place without guidance. I’m just doing because I don’t know what to do or where to turn.

    (I apologize for the rant. I had to get it out. I didn’t even edit it.)

    • says

      Stephanie, Welcome to the Roadmap blog. It takes a lot of courage to introduce yourself to this community with a rant. We all need to write them from time to time and I honor your courage in sharing this one with us. I was particularly struck with this line, “I’m trying to be everything for everyone but I’m nothing for myself.” That to me summed the whole thing up very well. I hope writing this helped at least a little. Hang in there, and I hope you keep coming back and sharing more of your writing with us.

      • cissy says

        The overwhelming grief came through in the writing. The weight of the debt and the to-do and respond-to’s… I’m in a writing group and sometimes, before we read, we tell the group what we need or someone asks, “What do you want from this piece?” and sometimes, it’s just to read it or say it not only to have a witness but to admit, to ourselves, what’s going on. I’m sorry for your losses.

  11. Sheila McGinley says

    My truth, right now, is that I have begun to do too much. Each thing I am doing is important to me, each thing I love. And yet, my sleep is not going well, more aching, indigestion, my body calling out to me to listen. Listen! it yells, you know better. And I do. My body deserves to be listened to. I am looking forward to a few weeks off, a chance to say hello to my quiet self again.

    My truth is that what makes me happiest in my work and my writing is when I can touch down into myself and be myself, as true to myself as possible,even in fiction, and trust that this is where I belong, this is where my mark is in this world, from a true center. Recently, I had to hold out for a long while in some communitiy work before I was heard. I was most proud that I did not deny myself, or hide myself, but waited it out. And just when I was getting tired, I was seen, and heard, and change happened, just like that. In writing, I know when I finish a piece whether I have touched down and found a truth (maybe my truth, as in historical truth or maybe truth in how well it resonates with the world) I like it when someone else likes it, but I also don’t feel the need for sympathy/ empathy. It is remarks about my writing that make me feel like I am learning, doing. Makes me happy. so far, I have never felt intruded upon by anyone, in any way, here. And yes, I am glad about that.

    There, the truth, for now.

    • Laura Davis says

      Sheila, I love your passion for writing. It shines through this piece. And I also loved your opening lines, “My truth, right now, is that I have begun to do too much. Each thing I am doing is important to me, each thing I love.” Unfortunately, that’s often the story of my life too!

      • cissy says

        This is my favorite line, because it moves, the writing which matches the content. “And just when I was getting tired, I was seen, and heard, and change happened, just like that.”

  12. Ilana says

    It’s Not Really True but it’s My Truth

    My truth is pain. It is sadness, loss, damnation, shame, worthlessness, horror, self hatred, wrongness, confusion, regret, betrayal and secret. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone. Who am I kidding? If you did they wouldn’t believe you anyway. I’ve gotten so good at keeping it a secret that now that I want to tell no one will believe me. Even the people who try so hard to listen to me don’t understand. They can’t grasp the concept of my true ugliness. They don’t believe that anyone could be as awful as I am. No matter how honest I try to be, they just don’t get it.

    Yesterday I tried to convince my eating disorder counselor that I’m making it up. I don’t have a problem. I’m just crazy and stubborn; inventing problems for myself because I want the attention. She didn’t believe me. Every reason I gave for why I am different, why I am wrong and wasting her time, she was able to explain away. “That makes sense.” She kept saying. “A lot of my clients have said that to me.” I came up with every clarification I could think of and she just sat there calmly, compassionately, dealing with each one. Finally I ran out of arguments.

    “I really have a problem then, don’t I?”

    “Yes. You do.” She said simply. But the compassion in her face, the way she was looking at me, spoke of a much more complex understanding.

    “This is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.”

    “Yes. It is. This can take years to recover from and it’s painful and it’s hard.”

    “I’m scared.”

    “I’m not going anywhere. You do deserve my help and I am going to be here for you.” I could only stare at her, unbelieving. I’ve tried to explain it to her but she doesn’t understand my truth. She won’t believe it that I’m not deserving. That I’m not worthy.

    Maybe one day I’ll to go there with her but it’s too hard right now. Thanking her, I leave the office, carrying my truth with me. Maybe one day I’ll be able to shed it and believe that I am deserving and worthy. I don’t know. But for now, this is my truth.

      • Ilana says

        Thank you, Deb. Sometimes the words “I hear you” are the most powerful support a person can get. Thank you. Ilana

    • Laura Davis says

      You began this piece with the emphatic statement that your truth was all the pain in your life. I immediately wanted to argue with you! I wanted to say, “that’s part of the truth.” Then I met your counselor. Her humanity and compassion shown through this piece. And I have to say, I was happy when I got to your final line, “but for now, this is my truth.” For now, yes. But I want to reassure you, not forever.

      • Ilana says

        Thank you, Laura. As I have said in the past, I hope you are right but for now I just have to take your word for it. Ilana

        • cissy says

          This piece, the dialogue especially, shows the process of therapy so well, the shutting out and letting in, of empathy and compassion, the defenses, the doubt.

    • Deb says

      My truth is the reality of the ache in my heart, the greif of innocence stolen, from me and from my cousins.

      My truth is the searing pain of my refuge becoming a place of torture, a place where I was abused again.

      I took my refuge from my family home at my aunt and uncles home, I went there to spend time with my cousin, much younger than me and her baby sister when she was born. I went after school and at weekends, I was encouraged to spend time with the children help care for them, I bonded with that baby caring for her from birth until she was 5 or so. But her father ruined everything, he brutally abused me and raped me, and when I finally found a way out, aged 19, I had to walk right away, away from the whole family. I felt so bad because I abandoned those girls, I hurt really hard but I had to get away, he had abused me for 10 years and I could take no more.

      I recently began to speak the truth to my cousin, the baby, now all grown up but she doesn’t seem to have the emotional capacity to hear me, she cannot comprehend my pain.

      My truth is that things will never be the same ever ever again!

      • Ilana says

        Deb- What a rich and full story. You said so much but so succinctly. I feel horribly guilty for this but it is a comfort to hear your pain because it means I am not alone and that you understand some of my pain. I am so sorry to be selfish in this way. I, too, had to give up a tremendous amount to gain my freedom and to begin the terribly long road to self love. Please continue to share your story for your own benefit and for others. THANK YOU! Ilana

    • Laura Davis says

      The simplicity of this statement gives it such power. And the explanation below. You express it in such a heartbreaking way. You convey your pain and distress with such clarity. Hang in there, Deb! Slowly, very slowly, almost imperceptibly, it will get better.

      • Deb says

        Thank you Laura, I must admit it all seems so huge at the moment and I am going to use all my resources to cope over Christmas when I go back to my family home for the day.

        • cissy says

          The pain on pain and the irony of your own feeling of guilt and loss at escaping, finally getting away, and losing connections with the baby (now grown) you so loved.

  13. Terry Gibson says

    My truth is a chameleon. It has 360-degree vision and adapts to any situation, reality, or group of people. There is no pretense about it. It is a genuinely cool reptile, multi-faceted, transparent, yet as brilliant as a rainbow of ice cream. It is semi-nonplussed that life blessed it in this manner.

    However, it wants to shed its vanity layer of chromatophores and melanin–or hair, in this case–in honour of many friends who have cancer. Unfortunately, it also worries that that action will just give an employer a reason not to hire it. Stereotypes, bald heads and geckos, you know.

    My truth tells me: it is time. It is time to take on the inner firestorm I fear so much. It is time to keep training myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. There can be no luxury of mucking about.

    It states definitively that I could come up with one thousand and nine different analogies of the same dread. No matter how many I concoct, the only way out of it is to shred them all and do the damned job, Terry.

    My truth, to borrow a concept from Pema Chödrön, knows that, in doing so, I am always insulted, humiliated and condemned by my own perceptions, lapses into the drone of old tapes with contemptuous voices, and unseen expectations.

    It tells me that I want people to associate me with laughter and mischief, a terminal lust for learning, wandering feet and entangled ear buds, love of and care for others, personal and political activism, and long, wavering battle for the courage to accept and be gentle to myself. It is always engaged, fighting to nurture my own life to its natural end.

    My truth sadly acknowledges that I do not climb trees; play baseball, scuba dive, or get to attend bunches of events like my friends. I can not do the same and always hear a snide echo saying: “God rewards the good. You are obviously not one of them.” Because of this, this, this, and This. How dare you even THINK otherwise given THIS?

    It continuously feels the agony of a frustrated mind, lack of self-confidence, and impotence to fixing all that went wrong in my life. It has no control and does not get a do-over from all the harm my parents and rapists did to me. These crimes cast an astronomical debris field everywhere I went, upon which I stumble regularly until my knees are dusty, bleeding, and I feel disoriented. How it damaged my being!

    My truth is bewildered as to how to soothe these sores and hurt or, at least, to keep them from festering and impeding my chances of ever feeling happy again. Supposedly, I am not ‘damaged’ but without committing to the tough work, I will never feel differently.

    It knows that to do this, I must slam my shoulder against a planet earth-sized boulder, like confronting an attacker on a football field. Push. Push. Push. Push. Even when I fall, I keep shoving that goddamned rock or linebacker. Inertia will kill.

    My truth knows I am moving through the last third of my life; it is so grateful that one recent health scare is now over. The three tiny lumps found near my left breast, two months after a clean mammogram, turned out to be nothing serious. Breast cancer is not one of my immediate health issues.

    It tells me that I have seen too much death, which makes me think about it far too often. This is not because I am terrified of what will happen to my body or spirit. The true anguish lies in the idea of not being able to share my knowledge, wit, expertise, and love through writing. I simply cannot run out of time. Certainly not before I have tamed, or at least corralled, my inner brutes, long enough to produce and offer the world the best I have to give.

    My truth is a chameleon that works diligently and yearns for peace. It also hopes to integrate the various aspects of my blue: no, green; no, purple; no, yellowish gray character into one home where all comes together in a celebration of abandon.

    • Laura Davis says

      This is a beautiful piece Terry, from beginning to end. I love so much and it, and chose several different things to quote back to you, but this one pulled me over the most: “It tells me that I have seen too much death, which makes me think about it far too often. This is not because I am terrified of what will happen to my body or spirit. The true anguish lies in the idea of not being able to share my knowledge, wit, expertise, and love through writing. I simply cannot run out of time. “

      • Terry Gibson says

        Thank you, Laura. It’ll keep being reworked as I proceed. I’ve put myself on a timeline. Aiming to finish first draft by end of March 2014. Using a pacemaker to record–not my heart, although it palpitates a lot as I wade through the material. Next Christmas won’t roll around with ‘That Terry!’ not out there. May I say a huge thanks to you also? For all the wonderful places and spaces you carve out for everyone to soak in oodles of care, compassion, tolerance, a genuine and generous acceptance, and finally, top notch training in all things writing.

    • beverly Boyd says

      What a great metaphor for your truth: A chameleon. It certainly the person you have shown us in your many posts on this blog. I really liked that you came back to it in the last paragraph. I felt like celebrating all those beautiful colors of you.
      Good Job!

      • cissy says

        There are so many lines with exact descriptions that helped give dimension and depth to the feelings and experiences you have. The battles are epic and big and the details were so grounding and pulled me in.

        • Terry Gibson says

          I appreciate your words, Cissy. I’ve been sick but have responses for you as well. Catching up slowly. Happy Holidays and may 2014 really rock for you! :)

      • Terry Gibson says

        This means so much, Beverly! Yep. I am a calico cat. I nurtured a real mashup of seeds inside while entirely introverted. You can learn and feel anything if you have no capacity to articulate any of it; nobody can laugh at what they don’t know. I say that happily. Never knowing what’s coming out keeps me from boredom. Mysteries abound with 2014 right around the corner. Happy holidays, Beverly. I’m so glad you’re here. All the best to you!

    • Ilana says

      Terry- I did post a response to this but for some reason it did not show up. I loved the personification of your truth. I loved the fluidity of it. My truth is an ever changing thing. What a beautiful concept. Thank you for posting it. Ilana

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>