birth of the swear jar at nautilus teachings

in order to find
and live a life
filled with joy,
happiness, gratitude
and forgiveness
sher had to
walk away.
leaving her past
a person
or place
vowing never to go back
or talk to them
did not erase memory.
for sher
the pain of loosing her mother
still lived within her
30 years later…
for sher
anger and ugly words
made her retreat
to darkness and corners.
for sher
knowing she failed
her children in any way
left her
feeling unworthy,
even of being a grandparent…
relationships suffer
when you have never felt whole,
you become a perfectionist
running yourself ragged
making sure everyone is
‘had enough…’
all the years growing up
sher witnessed her own mother
including underwear for her father,
making home made desserts every day
stretching a thin budget
as far as she could
washing and waxing floors
volunteering at school
little league
pee wee football
cub scouts
to name a few,
all the while living with the understanding
she was not allowed to work for money
not allowed to punish her children
she would do what she was told
speak only when spoken to
never complain
and accept that if any one child
was in trouble or failed
it was
HER fault
and she
was then labeled a

sher always found herself
in dory’s shadow
that being a wife and mom
meant doing it all
putting up with
whatever was thrown at you
crying in the bathtub
wearing the perfect
wife and mother masks
never having a voice…
sher saw dory
as this incredibly colorful
kind, giving and loving
full of faith
there for everyone
but who was there for dory?
her sister.
sher’s aunt
was beautiful.
tall, slender
a working woman
she managed the women’s department
at a big, local clothing store.
in fact one summer
she got dory a secret part time job
to help earn money
to purchase new clothes
for the boys…
dory would walk downtown
come home
and make sure all
household chores were done
before her husband returned
at night…
when he somehow found out
dory was working
he went down there
and made her quit the job
humiliating her in public…
dory found her voice
when sher was 11.
she got that job.
she moved up
quickly in ranks.
she became a voice
for women.
she made new friend.
held onto the old ones.
kept the family together
all the while sher struggled
to even speak.
her father did rule over them all.
her brothers all rebelled in
various mean and ugly ways
with her mother always
taking the worst
tongue lashing
carrying the heavy burden
of shame ~ that she was not
and never will be enough.
sher was just drowning in
low self worth
had no courage
looked like gumby
had her share of acne
and struggled repeatedly
to find her voice.
she found it in solace
in writing
she built her own world
inside her head
upon her journals
and refused to show anyone.
when she secretly applied
to the San Francisco school of art
and got accepted
she was so happy.
finally she would get out of this home
away from her father.
she knew leaving dory would be hard
but finding sheri was more important.
so at dinner that evening
sher gave her parents the letter.
dory smiled and her eyes welled up with tears.
well he nodded three times
struggled with his words being released
and then,
“well,” hahahaha, “ you cannot make a living at art, sher.
i will not support this. you will go to the school i pick
and major in business…..”
sher became silent.
she nodded.
she accepted her fate

her father was in control.
it’s what men do.
women are to be obedient.
this man,
her earthly father
just could not wrap his head
around the fact that
his daughter needed acceptance
a listening heart
to be able to step outside
his preconceived plans for all his children
and allow them wings
to pursue their own dreams
and become who God intended them to be…
he could not and would not bend
because he was born broken?
 what did that mean?
mom always said it.
and even though mom always
had her blue suitcase packed
mom always stayed.
sher heard dory scream
several times
that she was going leave…
dory even fainted one night
during an argument with her father…
what was sher learning from all of this?
what did she teach her own children?
she grew up with the fear of being left
not wanted
by a man,
became a perfectionist
in pleasing the men in her life.
she gave up all her dreams
and became
now 30 years later
with her children all grown
she wondered
what had she done
to them?
she tried not to be like her father,
distant, cold, punishing.
she also knew that
by the time she found her own voice
her kids were 12, 15 and 20
had witnessed verbal abuse
and physical abuse
and lived with a man
who had so many addictions
it would not surprise her
if they, themselves
had no idea who they were.
so, at the age of 42
sher looked up to the sky
and for the first time she could remember
ever saying it
and from that
her swear jar was born….