safe places at nautilus teachings


since i can remember breathing
i have always had a safe place…
for the first half of my young life
it was in the closet under the
red wooden steps…
it was there i dreamt
about what i wanted to do
who i wanted to become
and where i first drew
my under the sea images…
when i was outside the closet
i was different-
what i wanted to do
stayed hidden
and what i did do, was
follow the rules
i always knew my mother
was silenced by my father
because she never yelled,
spoke very little
and the thing i remember
her most saying every day
“i love you, sheri…”
“wait till you father gets home…”
to my brothers…
my mother was not allowed to punish
she was expected
to cook, clean, sew, pray,
give, create, iron and cry…

she always had an exhausted smile
upon her face
whereas my father
worked all day, went to school at night
and would drag himself in late
only to have to sit upon
the ‘spanking chair’
and nightly hit my brothers
with his belt…
he always looked like
a worn out leather shoe
and i cannot help but wonder
why did he not use his voice
and talk to them?
why not explain to them
they were to love me,
not hurt and hate me?
i felt a lot of shame when i was small
i felt responsible for my brothers
nightly beatings
if i just could have been kinder,
prettier, smarter, thinner, not stutter…
i have carried it most of my life
but i have since learned
that i could never have given
that which i did not have-
how could we learn to communicate
if we never saw them talking
and they did not talk to us?
how could we learn to speak our truths
if our own mother was shushed
and not allowed to talk?
we learn by observing,
listening, seeing…
we live by example.

i can tell you, i knew at a young age
i would be just like my mom
in the sense i would cook, sew, create
clean, give, pray and cry…
i still have my safe places today
only now they are painting,
writing, meditating and teaching.
there is no going back,
no changing the way i was brought up
but i have learned one true fact, 
“it’s never to late to change,
to chase your dreams
and to be happy…”