Friday, May 11, 2012

Farmstead Memories

Miranda Lambert tells us so plaintively in her poignant song, The House That Built Me, that 'you can't go home again'.

I rarely listen to these lyrics, because the truth of them hurts so profoundly...

...and even thought I am happy and content with my life now, that song can take me back instantly.

The years I lived at the old farmstead were ones of extreme contrast...the peace and beauty of history, gardens and wavy old glass turned rosy by sunset juxtoposed against the ugliness of cruel words and destructive anger.

I left there both running from and searching for a path to save a destructive marriage that had filled my entire soul with self-doubt and self-hatred.  

I left there too stubborn to realize that sometimes vows have to be broken in order to survive...

...and too proud to let anyone know how totally and completely beaten down I had become.

It is not a new story.   We all have relationships with people determined to bolster their own lack of self worth by making us feel like less than we are.

Somehow, within the constraints of those destructive relationships, our lives become a made-for-TV movie.    We tolerate ugliness  because of fear or love or pride or just sheer stubborness that the focus of our wills can change things. We tell the stories of our lives through brightly clenched teeth and glittery eyes...edited to protect our egos and fictioned up to protect our hearts.  We turn around and around in dizzy circles unsure of how we arrived at that point in time...and even more uncertain how to change things.

It took me years after I moved from my beloved old farm to gather the courage to return.

When I finally felt I could manage it, I drove there alone and walked to where the lilacs marched along the property boundary.  It was mid-summer and the heart-shaped leaves shielded me from view.

'I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself...'

I can't write this even now without remember the anguish I felt on that sticky July day. It makes my heart ache still...after all this time. I stood there and cried until my eyes hurt and my nose burned and my chest heaved and it was still not enough to exorcise the painful memories.  

I made myself sick with sorrow until finally I said, "Enough.  Just enough."  I walked away not really healed but fortified with the knowledge that I could and would survive my past and could and would allow myself to have joy and peace in my present life. 

The visit began the long, arduous process of healing, even though I buried a part of my heart in the gardens at the farm... a piece of me that has never grown back.

Since then I have learned confidence and self trust.  I have learned to forgive, although I have not yet mastered the art of forgetting.    

You can never, ever really go home again...but sometimes you have to start the next part of your journey by going back to where the pain began.

'If I could just come in I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me...'

"You can't go home again." I know this. And I know that home is here and home is now, but...

...There is a part of me that aches to live in that glorious beauty again...without the pain...

Or perhaps it was the pain that made that time especially beautiful.

This post is written for Alphabe-Thursday's letter "Y".   Y is for you can't go home again.

To read other Y posts, just click here

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Jo said...

briliiantly written Jenny ... i believe that you have put down in words how many of us have felt at one time or another but are too afraid to speak of or write about ... i can feel the depths of your pain and the sting of your tears ... and it kicks me in the butt, telling me that i to must continue to move forward ... and practice the whole "forgetting" part. hugs

Denise said...

Wow. <---- said in a low, soft voice.

This hurt me when I read it. It hurt me, and it made me feel my life's trials weren't so overwhelming after all. I haven't been able to return yet. Maybe I will return. May I will return someday. Maybe. I'm a little tougher after reading your post. Maybe I will return someday soon.

RNSANE said...

This was a very sad post, Jenny. I could relate to it which made it especially hard for me to read. How good, though, that you could write it and that you were able to move on and have a beautiful life but that is the strong and brave woman that you are, an inspiration for all of us. I, too, was able to make the break, thank God.

anitamombanita said...

Wow, Jenny, your words are masterful! I could feel your anguish...and understand it all too well. I didn't have a farmhouse in my past, but I did have the cruel words and destructive anger. I, too, have learned to forgive, and continue to forget, little by little, as those experiences are replaced by ones of love and kindness and wonder.

This was a beautiful piece. Thanks for sharing it.

And thanks for your visit to my blog. Your question about having difficulties with the language...yes, I do. I speak Spanish, which helps a lot, but after a few weeks there, I have difficulties with English. heehee.

Have a great day! :)

Gail said...

Fantastic read!

Nezzy said...

A most wonderful write Miss Jenny. Your words too to deep into your emotion. I saw the sunlight though the glass and smelled the lilac bushes.

I also felt the pain in your heart.

God bless and have a super Mother's Day in your new home sweetie!!! :o)

Ms. A said...

Jenny this is so hauntingly beautiful and full of emotion. Although I can relate, mine is more time, rather than a dwelling. The time may have passed, but the memories of the pain will always linger, at least a little bit.

Happy Mother's, Lady.

Viki said...

This made me sad. Given the right circumstances I think you would have thrived on the farm. It was too bad you weren't given the chance.

Jenny Schouten Short said...

I, too, lived in a destructive relationship and had to leave and take my five children with me to survive. It wasn't a farmhouse but a beautiful home. I haven't been back because someone else lives there but dream about it a lot. I was strong, like you, stronger than I knew. I don't regret leaving but regret my vision of a dream life fell apart. This is a hard one and I feel like you. xo Jenny

Pondside said...

What I like about this piece is that you tell the story truthfully, not like some fairy tale in which all is mended, brightened and happy-ever-after with a knight in shining armour swooping in. YOU tore yourself away. YOU made a new life. The hurt and sorrow are part of you but they are nowhere near the sum total of who you are now. You must be like the sword - tempered in heat - through the fire and strong despite it/because of it.

Anonymous said...

Great post

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and honest post. I am touched that you would share these memories with us. You are an amazing and beautiful person.

Sue said...

Your words are as beautiful as your spirit, Jenny.
And that's saying a lot!



noexcuses said...

Everyone above has already used the adjectives that I wanted to use. You are a great writer, and have the special talent of drawing people in with you so that they are standing next you feeling everything that you feel. My heart felt pierced as I read your compelling story, but in a good way. Forget or forgive...we all deal with memories in different ways, but the importance of moving forward is, in my mind, the best way to survive.

Thanks, Jenny!

Judie said...

Dry those tears, my sweet friend. You are adored by so many people, and I'm one of them.

Naperville Now said...

oh, Jenny...this makes me so sad for you. such pain. wishing you peace and comfort. Sue

Beth said...

Beautifully written essay of a heart breaking time of life. Thanks for being you and sharing.

Annesphamily said...

You write beautifully and I love this song! I did a post once before and used it. I have a photo (black and white) of my folks house when my dad was building it. It was the year my older brother Ed was born (1946). I treasure that photo. Always good words from a wonderful friend.

beckyp said...

what a beautiful post... I have to go dry my tears now ~hugs~

Andy David said...

My dear Jenny,
My heart aches for you and even I can feel the tears welling up. I have only known you through Alphabe-Thursday, but I have witnessed first hand your kindness and generosity. I shall never forget your emails & words of comfort during my hospital stay last year. There will always be a special place for you in my heart. Thank you once again for your openness and honesty. May you find the peace and comfort you so deserve.

You Are Perfect To Me

Cathy Kennedy said...

I don't think we ever forget, but forgiving allows us to heal. Years and years may pass and part of you will always cling to distant memories of painful times. What you walked through has made you a stronger person and someone who can share of herself with others to give reassurance there is hope. Very good post! Thanks for including us in your yesterday reflections.

Yesterday. Yesteryear. What I wouldn't give to have one more yesterday again!

Splendid Little Stars said...

Dear Jenny,
I know those of us who read what you have so poignantly written wish we could go back in time to hug you, encourage you, bolster you up.
I have a couple thoughts. One is that there were probably personal blessings that came out of this time of despair and hopelessness. The other is that during this time of pain you were surrounded by such joyous beauty in the building itself and the glorious grounds.
May peace and contentment be yours now.
♥ Margaret

Melinda Cornish said...

I love this it...And I went back to the house that built me when I was home with my dad....I lived there from age 3 to seven and I just walked up, knocked on the door and asked to see it. I went thru it and even stood in my moms closet. I just had happy memories and funny memories of that house...I needed those at that moment and it did heal something inside me that needed to just be a happy little kid for a while...your posts are really hitting me today.....thank you....