weary joint-knot fade pale your wounds into the horizons of the sun; setting our hearts to rest. CKS
Standing Human, digital sketch, 10 x 14 inch (25.4 x 35.56 cm)
In the past week, I have been witness to people being treated less than. Also, being lifted up by still others.
I don’t understand why we can hurt each other as we do. I don’t know what drives us to knock down, stifle motivation and passion. There is nothing wrong with honest reality. That is different than purposely separating and demeaning.
Ego drives us to act better than we are, or to put someone down to make ourselves feel better.
I love watching that darkness trying to suffocate life, and see the love actions of others making sure light wins.
Much of my reflections lately come back to mental health, in particular how we treat people with mental illness. By random chance, an article about a possible development in Dallas came through my news feed google graces me with on my phone.
It caught my attention, because the possible development involved Timberlawn Psychiatric Hospital; to be turned into some sort of homes/gated community? Caught my attention. In the mid 1990’s I was there. Some pretty horrific experience.
This led to an article last year announcing its closing. The state was going to close them if they didn’t close themselves. A rabbit hole of articles and I realize it wasn’t just me. My experience was minimal compared to the horrors some experienced.
My rabbit hole keeps expanding. My questions grow. My desire to speak more urgent.
Profits and less than(ness).
Other than to say, my desire to finish and produce the play I have been working on is reinvigorated. I am placing the words of my molesters and abusers next to words of medical staff. Then placing the words of dear friends, mentors next to the words of yet more medical staff.
Whatever you call it, two words may describe; 1) unacceptable and 2) love. May the play example both for the sake of awareness, education, connection.
May you be empowered to speak up for yourself even when all seems hopeless. May you find a path, your path.
You are beautiful. You are enough.
paint much love, always, Connie Karleta Sales a.k.a. This Crooked Little Flower
Please share with others, and if you have not already, please sign up to receive Crooked Little Flower directly within your inbox! Join Us
Flesh from my skin; Bone, you daft; Dark as night, As death crawls, Seeping into the pores; My wells deeply contaminated Spread like long shadows; Moans hollow The un-free. CKS
Seeping of the Never, bedside sketchbook, digital drawing, 7 x 5 in (cm)
Sometimes, life grips to the tail of our yesterday and without a word leaves us mute; locked in our feeling of “I must do this on my own.” Locked in the voices that whip me with shame and embarrassment. I am better than this! I can do this. I am not stupid or dumb! I am not lazy or unmotivated! Hear my wet words; muffled and damp from my waters falling; tears within the secrecy of the I can’t.
I don’t know what “it” is; exactly. I have grown into realizing the “it” is probably a mixture of the effects of trauma past and learning disabilities. Where I once worked myself into illness and hospitalization trying to meet you where you need me to be, and I started to go there again without a blink; I choose not to go there. I choose, and truth is, I also do not have the energy to try.
My illness is what it is; I am still battling this cold/infection. I am depleted. I am not able to take care of all my responsibilities. I ask patience. Word/Image fill my soul.
I pursued working with an organization to help on the business end of business. Getting further than I ever had, I of course thought; I can do this. Truth is I cannot.
I can’t read the business plan outline let alone comprehend how to do this? Not an intellectual issue. I have had this issue my entire life; an embarrassing barrier in school and my attempts at regular employment. I spent a great deal of energy to hide it. I can do this; Connie, you can do this; figure it out.
I did create my own work arounds. Nobody seemed the wiser until college. The advisor didn’t know what to do with my test results. she said, it doesn’t make sense. You comprehend more than you actually read and that is not possible. I was in the bottom percentile in reading speed and the top in comprehension.
I stared and spoke with my stoic self, for I knew this answer. Apples and Oranges. You have one test in which we circle which word we are at when you say stop (reading speed). Another test in which at the top is a paragraph and multiple choice questions following (comprehension). Apples and Oranges.
You assume I actually read that paragraph. If you made me do that and then go through the questions I would never make it. I can no more tell you comprehensively what it is that paragraph. I can, however skip to the questions, and treat it as a word search puzzle. I don’t “read” anything.
She said, well, clearly you don’t need study skills class which is what this is designed to catch students who need help. I said okay.
Middle school I was simultaneously in honors English/literature and next hour I was in remedial reading. What can I say, I am a girl who has been obsessed with words since I was little, yet, words as words are actually very difficult for me to use as school and work need of me.
I am girl who is good at complex math and physics yet struggles to open a simple piece of mail or compose email or maintain her own blog/website.
In kindergarten I pitched a big fit when I wanted to be at the table with the kids who had recipe boxes of words. I threw a tantrum until I had my recipe boxes of words. I told them, I know those, those are words; I can write them, I love them, I want more of them please!!!! I begged.
No, Connie those are not for you. I pitched my fit until I proved, yes, they are for me. I already have basic writing abilities.
Yes, I struggled to put them in sentences, I failed diagramming sentences. Yet, my favorite two books are actually first, Mr. Thesaurus and Second, Mr. Dictionary.
I am the kid who could have told you where to find the answer (its half way down on the right side of the page) and yet somehow blind if you make me actually try and read and tell you the answer.
Fourth Grade, Mrs. Campbell, she gave me a gift. One day, she said, tell the story of the words. I did. I could read aloud in animation and inflection and body the words. After I could not necessarily tell you what I had just read, but other people could. In fact, as an adult, it translated into being a good narrator, reader in church or public. People enjoying listening to me speak.
Even if I had to spend hours afterwards on my own, doing my thing, in order to soak into my bones what I had read aloud so eloquently.
I doodle and fidget in class or on the phone to soak in the material. It is a lot of energy to spend figuring out what it takes to get by in this world when your brain just doesn’t fit in.
I loved hanging out in the Rainbow Room in Elementary school because I fit in better. I felt safe and as though the kids there got me. I didn’t have to work so hard to fit in. I didn’t feel awkward there.
In the Rainbow Room I didn’t feel awkward. Then I felt weird. How come there is “Rainbow Room” and “the rest of the students”. What is the difference?
Forth Grade, Mrs. Campbell introduced us to Shell Silverstein. Honestly I was an adult before I understood the word poetry. And until now, I didn’t understand or label myself a poet; still don’t call myself a writer.
I don’t know what I am. Does it matter? what/who I am?
All this spilling from my eyes over words, a business plan template and examples. and being asked to do it. I break down mentally/emotionally. My sweet husband at my side loving me as I am; and telling me its okay to say no. I don’t have to figure anything out.
I tell him I feel like I am spinning as I did in attempting regular employment. He nods. agrees. He doesn’t understand why I feel the need to figure “it” out, why I have the obvious need to prove; I can do this. When clearly, there is something about my brain that no matter which road I take ends the same way. Connie, hiding, getting soaked in her water, falling.
I find myself shaking and in tears. I simply can’t;
and I choose not to even try. I have enough. I have been happy and fairly free of attempting to fit in.
There is where I wish to remain. How easily I assume I am doing “it” wrong. I am less than, I am not as good as, and I must figure out how to do it right.
Because if I don’t I am going to be in trouble, I have no worth, and that is never a good thing. I choose rest. I choose to allow myself to grieve, to have anxiety, and to say, no, I don’t have to figure it out. I can just keep being Connie. It actually is safe to be who I am.
paint much love, always, Connie Karleta Sales a.k.a. This Crooked Little Flower
Billowy slenders wisp toward the sun; fingerlings of sky, teach me; of my frosted thoughts notions of vision-dreamer unattained; frustration’s mark, cold and dark am I.
Winter slenders, depth filled strength flexing in whisper’s breath; tickling the sun, filtering through frozen mist; living, you are.
Teach me, in the marrow of your alive, resting in your stillness my exhaustions caressed; revived into the gasping waters; soaking me whole. CKS
Slender Wisp, digital drawing, 10 x 8 in (22.86 x 17.78cm)
This week I expended a lot of mental and emotional energies. I did call to ensure the right bags were shipped, and no, they were not. In fact, I was told there was no record of my call. I was questioned whether I really spoke to a supervisor.
She repeats that there is not proper documentation, and without a doctor’s prescription, they will not send the bags. I volley back asking where did it go? The company you bought out had it, your company assured Blue Ridge all the information transfers. What happened?
I can’t speak to that ma’am You need a doctors orders for the flush bags.
I state clearly my intention to have Blue Ridge, (which Lin Care now owns) brings bags, and will not be charged. This is not my fault as you are implying. Without the right supplies, I am at risk to be hospitalized, and I will not risk my life. Without proper nutrition and hydration, I will become at the least weak and ill, and at worst, I will die. I have been using the bags with flush for a year now.
At this point, I am tired. my voice is getting weaker, and she is having some trouble understanding me. After all is said and done, my husband called the doctor. Over the course of a couple of days the prescription was faxed multiple times. Lin Care stated to my doctor’s office it can take up to 48 hours to receive the fax. I will call again, giving them their stated time, to ensure it was received. When I am better rested I will write a formal complaint. I am filing not just with the company, also the BBB, and my states Attorney General. We will call everyday until it is resolved if we have too.
In word and image is how I reset. I empty my soul until I feel the warmth of love and safety once again. I called out for help, and the winter-slender trees passing through the sunlight answered.
Stress is a trigger for disease. It exacerbates exhaustion and fatigue. Couple it with the cold/infection I have been battling for over a month now, and I am spent. I am mentally and physically tired. I am okay though.
I have support. I have practice and skills within my own self too. My quality of life is profound. Yes, I can get lost in moments of sheer “cabin-feverness”. The I want out, now! Not another moment! I am done!
This is normal. Who doesn’t. I get to look around at my loved ones. I get to pause, and see beauty. Seeing the human on the other end of the phone line; she is following her job. She has bills to pay; she is beautiful. The situation is not beautiful; she did not invent it; she is in the middle of it just like me.
My family and friends are in the middle of it, just like me. We all have are experiences that exhaust us. Life never promises easy. What I know is life is no less beautiful, and I get to decide how I see. I get to experience and acknowledge a situation for what it is. unacceptably ugly.
I also get to decided how I respond. And that is a most wonderous choice no one can take away. I choose both honesty and happyness.
paint much love always, Connie Karleta Sales a.k.a. This Crooked Little Flower
Are you subscribed to Crooked Little Flower? If not, please join us!
Subscribe to Blog via Email
and, please don’t forget share. My work is meant to be shared. Thank you so much! CKS
Mountains are monumental whispers within my soul.
Somewhere in Idaho
Once again, lost in Idaho. We always love to take the back roads. There is a certain magic and safety in the wilderness. It feels as if the mountains and the pine trees are there to protect you.
Here the mountain rises up and asks me to do the same. She recharges my insecurities. I do my part to protect her. Do my best to leave no trace, so that generations to come will be able to experience the mountain just as I do in all her beauty.
The ink dances with the sanded paper.
paint much love, always,
Connie Karleta Sales
a.k.a. This Crooked Little Flower
red spot tragedy I am I was an ugly; girl made raw; made beauty.
From Series ~ Brave House Secrets and To Speak Both Handed
Season after season of our lives we peel back each layer of shame and insecurity. Below I share a memory from several years ago; an important moment in time for me. I felt it important to bring it here to Crooked Little Flower.
Shame is placed.
There are many types of trauma; physical, mental, sexual abuse; injury, illness, loss. Often a consequence of trauma is shame. Shame is a worthless devaluing of ourselves. A feeling of “wrong”. Even when I did nothing, I believed I must have done something. With this shame comes fear, anxiety, insecurity, and self-hatred.
Why I chose to believe the things I believed about myself? How I thought making myself ugly was the answer to my problems? Implosion of self seemed safe. In the good and in the difficult, there are consequences. Consequences are not always negative. Are we ready? To handle the consequences both positive and negative? grief and joy? shame and letting go?
There was a time not so long ago, I was predominately housebound. Agoraphobic. I was terrified to leave my house. I looked around and saw danger. I felt raw and naked. I had no defense. In public, I made little eye-contact with you. It was painful. With help, I worked hard and I overcame much.
I reflect now as I am once again predominately housebound. This time, out of a different type of illness. Neurologically my body is struggling. Since September, slowly I progress. Slowly I adapt. I am grateful for these things. I am not able to drive. I am hindered by heat and humidity. I often am at rest; allowing my body to recharge enough to do things like dishes, or writing.
Two circumstances leading to similar ends.
One called, PTSD and the other called, Neurological Disease. I ask myself, why is one considered an invisible wound? Why does one of the above lead to feelings of shame and the other does not?
I ask these questions because I know my experience of shame, fear, and self-doubt led to unacceptable experiences in the medical community. I blame no one. A systemic problem, with a solution based in education on a deeply personal level.
Much like the below experience of cleansing myself of certain shame, today I cleanse myself of medical shame.
**autobiographical: artwork deals with difficult subject matter**
I am an ugly girl no, but i once was.
I chose it. I chose to be ugly.
Wrapping myself in a blanket of shame; gripping so very tightly; I failed to allow myself to breathe. Have you ever experienced a single breath? as if it were the first?
I took that breath yesterday.
I heard; for the first time.
I saw; for the first time.
I smelled; for the first time,
and I felt; for the first time.
The compassion I felt for myself;
The person with me said, “Welcome! Welcome to this world.”
The shame attempted to come back. I kept repeating the word “compassion” in my head so shame could not rain upon me with lead droplets bruising my skin; permanently damaging my very being with its poison.
I call in panic!
A little girl grasps onto my legs;
And she screamed, and she screamed,
And she screamed!
And this loneliness and this sadness I spoke of was there with no one to protect me. This person showed me a way to calmness. For the screaming child, and for the feelings; we brought a cleansing rain.
The kind of rain in mountain lands; when you watch it thunder in; and the rain falls, and you stand there because it is so refreshing. Who cares if you are wet, because you watch it go, and because it is so hot, everything is dry within minutes.
So, for this child,
And for these feelings;
We brought this rain.
And she stopped.
She screamed into
The tears; and
She cried, and she cried, and she cried.
Then, the rain left, and she lay in the grass, in the still of the night; blanketed by thousands of stars. Why? Because you are lying on the road, in the dead of night; warm concrete; no city.
With this came the calm, and with the calm, we drifted off to sleep. And last night was one of the first nights in my entire life, I slept. I slept remembering nothing; no nightmares; no pictures in our head creating terror.
No pictures. No fears.
We did not reside in place;
Place of choice;
The place, where we made ourselves ugly.
These feelings I speak of came from a part of me I thought I knew well. Her strength I took for granted, never recognizing her worth.
I am sorry our shame kept us so very separate, for it was with her I gained compassion. Her compassion which is now our compassion.
I listened many times; but
never did I hear;
never did I see;
never did smell;
never did I feel.
Be not afraid, my sweet one, for you are precisely where you belong.
This, an experience of letting go; an experience without shame.
paint much Love, always,
Connie Karleta Sales
a.k.a. This Crooked Little Flower