A reason to Be

Gazing, through dust-flecked glass, at a clear blue sky, I stretch my mind back, and try to enter the head of my three-year old self. Back then I had no need to search for a cause, a purpose, a reason to Be.

I just was.

In the warm kitchen of my childhood home, mixing a cake to give to my brother when he burst through the door, cheerfully working beside my mother as she prepared more nutritious fare, I was content in the present. The question of reason went unheeded in my infant mind.

My first day at school brought frightened excitement; the simple description I gave in response to my mum’s query; what did you do today?, the horror at discovering that I had to go back tomorrow. It was fun for one day, but tomorrow stretched out towards forever. When would my mother and I cook together again?

To please my mother
I pretended to enjoy my days in school,
but it gave me a thrill to discover that every book
contained secrets which were to be found by simply turning the pages;
when I opened them, it was like uncovering buried treasure.
I wanted write secrets like those I had seen
and conceal them in stiff covers
for others to find.
I developed a passion for words;
for the ways they could be woven into so many exciting shapes,
and as my writing skill developed,
my words were hailed to be
well formed,
descriptive imaginative,
talented,
advanced for my age.
Such was the praise I received from parents and teachers alike.

I had found a reason to Be.

It was assumed that I would take up a career in writing, and it was my own wish, but, although I never stopped writing, I became distracted. I wanted to be away from the musky odour that only exists in the classroom, from the other children who found me strange, from the loneliness of the playground on the days when my few friends didn’t attend, from the constant insistance that I could do better, when I knew my lack of concentration was not to be helped. I wanted the freedom that a pocketful of money brings. I left school and took the first job that came along,
forgetting my reason to be.

I married, kept house, cooked tasty and interesting meals, gave birth to children, fed them, dressed them nursed their ills, cared for them, loved them, tried my best to protect them. The work filled my days, my nights, and swelled my heart. By becoming a parent I had found
a new reason to Be.

As the years passed and my children grew, they gave every indication of becoming independent, and I moved forward, embracing nature, taking seeds, propegating beauty and and life-sustaining plants, digging in the dirt, shaping little corners of the landscape, creating gardens,
finding an added reason to be.

My youngest two children rebelled against their healthy bodies,
dabbling where they shouldn’t,
slipping without thought into the dark well of addiction,
bringing chaos with their sickness,
sapping my energies with their desperate requests,
their rage,
their despair,
their eye rolling,
limb lolling heroin highs,
their squirming,
gut-churning,
brain-seering,
body-curling
clucks when
they couldn’t raise the money for the next hit,
the danger they brought through my door and into my home,
leaving me,
arms flailing,
at the edge of a metaphorical precipice,
emptying me out,
until I was me no more.
I had never given up writing,
and now I tried to make it a bigger part of me,
to see if I could finally build it into a career,
but I lost the battle to keep on track.

I mislaid my reason to be.

Through dust-flecked glass I see the sun sinking behind the fields – as if angered by its descent it blazes a vivid shade of red. It finally disappears as it does every evening, leaving behind a grey sky, highlighted with hopeful pink, while I hunt the core of my being, in a pathetically brave effort to concentrate, trying to find the time, the rhyme, the state of mind to mount the saddle of my reason;

my reason to Be

©Jane Paterson Basil

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21 thoughts on “A reason to Be

    1. Thank you Calen – I’m not sure I should have written that post. I’m trying to stick mainly to humour and fiction, and to remember I have a lot of good things in my life – it’s just hard to make the most of some of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. We all go through a journey and all have a story. Some write it, but some only feel it. Thank-you for writing it. I’ve gone through a story no one should have to write. I try to distance myself from it and writing has helped. My reason to be? Hmm! To live in the moment and let the past go. To search for new frontiers of my creative potential that brings me much joy. To trust the weaver. Thank-you for sharing, Jane! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your response to this post – which, BTW, I’m not sure I should have written. I have shared the most horrifying parts of my life and not turned a hair, but this post makes me shiver; maybe because writing it down forces me to face up to the way I really feel at the moment…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad that you did post it, Jane. It helped me to unravel some of my baggage that I thought I had dealt with. I have this quote on my fridge and it helps me focus on living beyond the past. “Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you’ve ever Imagined.” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s a great quote – I’m going to have to copy you. I’ll print it up and put it somewhere prominent.
          If my words helped you in any way, I’m truly glad I posted them. One of my reasons for blogging is that I want to make some kind of a positive difference, however slight. Put bluntly, my life is crap, (though there are compensations – my two older children, my 5 grandchildren, other family memers, friends, the WP community…) but if I can make the lives of others less crap inthe slightest way, it is healing for me.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this with all its twists and turns, Jane. It is an eloquent story of the unfolding of your life and the ripening maturation into your Reason To Be. You ARE writing – and doing it damn well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – yes, i am writing, but I’m not following my plan, because there are too many upsets and interruptions. I haven’t finished the final polish on my memoir, and I can’t even concentrate on putting together a book of poetry, though all I wanted to do was publish a chapbook – it’s not a huge project by any means.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Living in the moment is an underrated skill – one which I’m working on myself and struggling with. I think your reason to be can change from moment to moment – sun hitting a daffodil feels like a good reason today. Best wishes for your search, Jane X.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words Lynn.
      It’s hard to focus when you spend half of your life unable to go out because you’re either waiting for someone to turn up or waiting for them to go away…
      I’m going to have a lovely weekend with a nephew and niece, so I expect I’ll feel more positive next week.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There is a lot of beauty and depth in this; I hardly know what to say in response to it!

    I did really love these lines: “but it gave me a thrill to discover that every book
    contained secrets which were to be found by simply turning the pages;
    when I opened them, it was like uncovering buried treasure.
    I wanted write secrets like those I had seen
    and conceal them in stiff covers
    for others to find.”

    That just really spoke to me, like, yes, that’s why I want to write! You phrase it so beautifully; it’s very wonder-filled.

    But overall this is a nice biography. Love the mix of prose and verse and the theme of PURPOSE that is so common to everyone, which gives this a wide audience, despite the fact that it is a detail of your own life.

    Like

    1. thank you Katherine. Your thoughtful comments make me feel so much better about myself. I would say more, but right now I’m overdue to go and see someone, and I shouldn’t really be online xxx

      Like

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