I remember this story from about ten years ago.
A young college girl decided to track down her long-lost cousin. Their families hadn’t spoken to one another for over a decade, so she hadn’t seen or spoken to him since he was six years old. When she got him on the phone, she began the conversation by telling him that whatever his mother had told him about her family wasn’t true. She defended her family and told him he could visit them anytime.
All the guy wanted to do was shut her down. The assumptions she’d made infuriated him—that he didn’t know the truth, that he hadn’t witnessed any of what happened for himself, and that he’d be open to hearing someone trash the mother he loved.
She didn’t understand his anger. Instead, she blathered on, offending him more and more with every word. She was like I was once, rushing headlong into a minefield she didn’t have a clue how to navigate. The result was he never spoke to her again. That’s sad because they might have become friends.
While someone discussed this story with me, they called the situation between the cousins “loaded.” It came to mind recently when I thought about other loaded predicaments between people.
Sometimes the relationships are precarious for simple and obvious reasons, and one of you had to set boundaries. Maybe it’s an intolerable but understandable behavior issue or substantial differences of opinion. Maybe one of you is married and the other single. Perhaps one of you wants something the other can’t provide. Or you’re at odds with a friend of theirs or a family member and can’t defend yourself or your position without talking trash about the other person.
I once worked with someone recommended by a woman I admired tremendously. He was her partner. When he and I spoke on the phone, he eventually divulged very intimate details about their romantic relationship. He seemed to adore her, which was beautiful, but I didn’t think she’d like me knowing what he was telling me. It made me uncomfortable, so I suppose I put up some barriers, which made him uncomfortable. Suddenly, he used the withholding punishment—not keeping me updated about the project, dragging his feet on it, and ultimately not delivering quite what I’d expected. I used someone else for the next project, but there’s now a barrier between the woman who referred him and me. I have no idea what he told her, but the additional weight hampers any interaction with her, and I hate that.
It gets heavier than that. There are situations where people grow up with devastating trauma. Family members have different outlooks about what happened, maybe different experiences. One may still feel the agony of the hurt they or someone else caused in doing what felt right in their heart. Things said may remind you of the pain they caused you or the pain you caused them. There’s a lot of re-traumatization within the same dynamics or dealing with the family.
I believe it’s crucial to become fully aware of all this because situations aren’t loaded when you don’t care about the other person. You could easily blow them off and never have anything to do with them.
To this day, there are people I’d love to drop a line to and ask how they’re doing or just to say, “I miss you.”
You can have so much love for a person and at the same time have to handle your interaction with them like you’re holding a piece of glass.
There are no-fly zones.
And sure, it’s painful. You wish things were different. We grieve relationships like that. It saddens us that there was so much good, and we cherish the memories to the point of tears. We may wonder, can we ever get it back? If we did, would it ever be the same? Both parties have to come to the table with an open mind. There must be a willingness to walk hand in hand through that mine together. It’s hard because quite often, the trust isn’t there any longer. And you have to be willing to trust someone to do that.
Plenty of people out there can discern these situations, I’m sure, but many of us had to learn that. As I alluded to at the beginning of this post, there was a time I’d have flown my plane right into that restricted zone and not for a moment realize the potential damage I’d cause. I’d gotten used to a cycle of being hurt and fighting back. These days, I think of what I might say in these circumstances and recognize how it could go wrong.
Often, I decide I can say nothing. Or I wonder how to rectify a situation, resolve a conflict, and every way I might think to approach it, I see a flashing red light, and it’s just no. Don’t. You can’t. There’s a need to tread gently, take care.
One might ask themselves:
What are safe topics we can discuss? Should we stick to a public forum in responding to one another rather than talk on the phone or text? Can we support one another in ways that don’t involve us in their lives?
I find these things helpful in dealing with others where the cautions may apply:
It’s often the difference between reacting and responding. Realize you’re communicating with another vulnerable human being who likely has had their own trauma. They are not bulletproof. Sometimes we are blinded by rage, and we keep firing at someone, but we don’t realize they’re bleeding.
There’s a difference between reaching out and setting a trap. We can’t be condescending. We may feel we’re in a better place or farther along in our healing, and it may or may not be accurate, but it doesn’t matter. We all have our paths to walk and on our timetable. It goes in that “Not all who wander are lost” category..
It helps to be genuine and sincere under these circumstances, to let go of any bitterness or resentment, and respond only from a place of caring and love. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s tragic, but we can accept it and be grateful these individuals are still in our lives in whatever capacity. We can still love them with all our hearts and send that love to them whenever possible.
Did you know you could die?
Did you want to die, or simply not care?
All that bravado,
A hellion in rebellion,
But you knew things.
And, everything you said was true.
We smoked in the factory corridor,
Played ball in the streets.
Through summer school and Nok Hockey,
You were everything.
Just like those caramel nut sundaes at Klees
And the old rooster we cried for.
You taught me to be tough
And gave the best advice.
Looking after me
When it wasn’t your job.
You needed your space,
Your own place.
You didn’t need a pesty shadow
I didn’t understand.
We all loved you.
At least, I thought I loved you—
But I couldn’t see you then.
Ghosts can be so many things.
Whatever haunts you.
And, sometimes, what brings you
A silent joy and blessed peace,
You can’t share it with anyone
But the one who shares it with you.
I see you now.
And, so, I released you
When you needed to go.
Like a balloon to the sky.
Or a butterfly,
Or one of those Wish-niks
You and I loved to cling to.
I do love you now,
And I’ll keep sending love to
Wherever you are.
I’ll cherish them forever.
And, I hope you forgive me,
As I do you.
You always did amaze me.
Letting Go from Awake with the Songbirds by Kyrian Lyndon
Photo of sisters in hammock by Janko Ferlič at Unsplash
Photo of caramel nut sundae by chotda on Flicker
What are we going to do about the fact that I’m dying?”
She asked him.
“There’s a lot we haven’t resolved.
There’s so much we can’t say to each other,
I don’t think I’ve done enough for you,
Or that I ever deserved you.
“I keep trying to let things go,
Let it be,
And I think it works, most of the time.
Wisdom is crystallized pain,
And my greatest pain has been your sadness.
I worry so much about you.
When you entered my world.
You led me to the right path,
Revealed my inner shadows.
You made me a better human.
And, I love you.
And, I just want you to be okay.
More than anything, I want you to be happy.
But, you’re not, and I can’t leave you like that.
You deserve to find your joy.
“Walking away from hard-hearted people is easy
Despite your impenetrable shell,
Are the kindest person I have ever known.
I could never walk away.
I’d miss you more than
I’ve ever missed anything in my life.
“Oh, and what are we going to do about the fact that you’re dying?”
She asked him next.
“I think you’re afraid.
A lost soul who can’t find the path that leads home.
I see innocence,
Your eyes don’t light up.
I see the beauty you don’t see,
Or in the world around you.
“Believe me; I get it.
The world makes you angry,
Robs you of the will to fight.
What you say concerns me, though.
I want to talk to you about it,
But when I do, you shut me down.
You can’t forgive those people,
And you’re right about them:
They don’t deserve any more of your energy.
It baffles me that they were so unkind,
To someone so precious.
And, because of them,
You haven’t been kind to yourself.
You don’t love who you are,
But I love you.
“Thank you for continuing to live when
You wanted to die.
Maybe I had no right to insist
Life’s worth fighting for.
It’s your existence,
I can’t suffer it for you.
And, I’d never say you were selfish,
No matter what you chose.
Unbearable is just that.
But, in every blessed way, you transformed me.
You showed me unconditional love.
“Of course, I know, too, how hard you fought to survive.
I’m honored that you chose to stay with me.
And, though you’d never admit it,
You’ve come such a long way.
It still hurts, I know,
But you’re never alone,
And never will be.
“Promise me this, though.
Begin, once again, to cherish
The whisper of the wind,
The beauty of a clear day,
And the divinity in all of nature.
Hold hands with someone,
Sigh at the faraway places,
Laugh at yourself,
Find humor wherever you can,
And let somebody hug you.
Embrace your vulnerability,
Savor your progress,
Celebrate your triumphs, and
Learn from your mistakes,
“Promise me, too,
You’ll take a chance on love
Again and again.
Reach out, my dear one.
Find it in your heart to forgive.
You’ll be back.
I’ll be back.
We’ll cross paths again.
We are all dying, my friend, so, please
Begin to live.”
“My Friend” from Awake with the Songbirds by Kyrian Lyndon
Would you like to review Awake with the Songbirds? Let me know! Free review copies are available in PDF, Word, and Kindle formats.
For the Kindle version, you must have a Kindle device. If you don’t have one, you can download it for free at this link. Once you are on that page, click on Read with our Free App. The link is above the book description. You can also install the app on your phone.
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Thank you! Hope you enjoyed the poem!
COMING IN EARLY JULY
This collection consists primarily of poems written during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time of loneliness and rumination.
Lyndon’s poetry stems from intense emotions that swing from one end of the pendulum to the other as she captures the agony of love and loss, along with innocent joy and lighthearted fun.
Each poem is an earnest response to life, love, and everything in between.
Here is one poem in the collection.
SAME OLD NEIGHBORHOOD
The neighborhood hasn’t changed,
But the draperies on the windows have been swept aside.
We see you.
Telling someone to go back to where they came from,
To the place where they had no voice
And no choice.
That place where they were beaten,
Neglected and shamed,
Where they never felt safe,
Never had a chance.
Oh, they’d love to go home,
But, home isn’t home anymore.
The neighborhood hasn’t changed,
But, the fanfaronade has consequences.
We hear you.
It’s not just words.
It’s not simply freedom.
It’s a weapon to harm and destroy.
To punish those who aren’t the same.
People just like you commit horrific crimes,
But you don’t identify them
Only with crimes because they mirror you.
People just like you hurt you and fight you and hate you
But you don’t see them all as threatening because they are you.
The neighborhood hasn’t changed,
But many more of us want to live here only in peace.
You can make that happen.
So many beautiful people I’ve known in my life
Were those people you rejected,
And they were full of warmth and kindness and wisdom.
You don’t see them because they’re not the same.
The neighborhood hasn’t changed,
And neither has any divine love for all who live here.
Like you, we are sacred.
All is sacred every moment of every day.
WHAT READERS SAY
“She has the ability to convey to the reader some of the most complex thoughts into words that truly reach our hearts.”— Love Books
“Her lyrical voice speaks with careful observation and passion. In the narrative mode, she is masterful in reading life around her. Kyrian possesses the sensitivity, insight, and soul of the true poet. Her writing provides a primer on how to compose meaningful poetry.”—Lou Jones
Please let me know if you are interested in obtaining an advanced review copy or if you’d like me to notify you about any upcoming giveaways. There will be a few chances to win a copy in the forthcoming months!
Note – The photo above the poem is the back cover of my poetry book, Remnants of Severed Chains, designed by KH Koehler of KH Koehler Designs.
As someone in quarantine who thrives on isolation, I had to reflect on that recently, and I was inspired to divulge what I concluded, partly to see if anyone could relate.
For the longest time in my life, I believed writing was my destiny or my calling, and that there was never any choice about it. It made sense because I started doing it when I was eight years old and kept on no matter who or what happened in life. It was automatic and the equivalent of breathing (almost ). Romantic relationships were usually complicated since I gave so much to writing and didn’t want to make that same type of investment in potential partners.
My marriage was different because I had a child to raise, and my maternal instinct took over, allowing me to devote myself to my husband and my son. That became a permanent bond. With others, it was most likely I’d eventually back away. Real friends were the only exception to that, and even with my nearest and dearest, I can shut down in the moments I need to and remain in my little bubble until one or the other calls upon me. (This COVID lockdown has me in shutdown mode more than usual.)
So, what I realized is, there is a high probability that I started writing for one simple reason. It allowed me to escape to a world far removed from reality. And that was where I wanted to be. It was never that I didn’t care—more like I cared too much, and I knew it, and it hurt.
As a child, like so many children, I was blown away by The Wizard of Oz. I grew to love role-playing and parallel universe fiction. When role-playing games became on online obsession, combining these two elements, I was among the obsessed. What more could I ask for than the opportunity to vanish into a fake world of my own choosing and explore it fearlessly without ever having to face any consequences?
It’s a weird thing to explain because, from the moment I could fully experience it, the real world has thoroughly fascinated me. I immensely enjoy being out there whenever I am. But, yes, in the general sense, I prefer fantasy to reality. I always have, and I know I’m not alone in that. It’s not a sad thing, not to me. You can be happy and sad, laughing or crying, talking up a storm or perfectly still, and it’s all good. I love and embrace it all, but when I can’t deal at that particular moment, I don’t. I thought it was the poet in me who felt that way, but maybe it’s just me.
I’m not sure if any of it is normal, but becoming aware of it did make me feel selfish. At the very least, it made me realize I have been selfish at times. (Ironically, I had to get in touch with reality enough to understand how deeply flawed I am, and to begin working on it.) That work began years ago and continues to this day.
Still, I had to ask myself this question. If what I had wanted all along was to escape reality, why did I base some of my work on things I’d witnessed or experienced?
Well, for one thing, I compartmentalized my feelings and traumas. The people on the page were not real because I’d turned reality into fiction. I was playing God, and, most importantly, I was in control. I needed to be in control. (The focus of my work, by the way, has now shifted to 90% fiction.)
The good news here is, everything is all about learning and growing. It never stops, and because of that, I’ve become increasingly grateful and so incredibly appreciative of the people in my life.
It’s much easier to be “present in the moment” when you know to cherish it! I find that these days, I genuinely care without needing anything in return. So, I’m not all bad.
I suppose the need for self-protection will override progress when necessary, mostly out of habit, but in this life, if you’re committed to improvement, you will achieve it!
You made me laugh,
And I forgot all the tears.
You helped me up,
And I forgot the times
You let me down.
You were hatred,
Just as surely as
You were love.
You were everything right
And everything wrong—
You were everything
I had to let you go,
And it freed me.
Still, I’m sad,
For I know
Who you might have been.
I know you so well…
But you do not know me. – Kyrian Lyndon
from Remnants of Severed Chains
Book cover design by Jah Kaine via jerboa Design Studios.com
Feature header photo by ara ghafoory @araghafoory
Poem copyright © Kyrian Lyndon 2015
The robin in your tender heart
Hungers for the red berry
That titillates your tongue.
She carols as the snow falls—
And not with the chorus of the dawn
In radiant spring.
What might have been?
Your voice silenced,
The spirit of you
I see glimpses of your fire
From the light that has vanished
From your eyes.
Your wings soar,
Only not to follow
And your heart is that of
You inspire me
To change my perspective
With your unique vision
Of the world.
You shine with your brilliance,
And you don’t know.
Your bursts of laughter
Make me smile.
As always, you are the light
In my darkness;
Your spirit is the fire I feel
In the sun’s warmth.
You were the dawn of my awakening,
And the splendor of my dreams.
And I have cried
For your heart
More than I have ever cried
For my own.
I am torn apart by
The intensity of your pain.
It is profound sadness
When I think I’ve reached you
And then hit another wall…
I fear losing you forever
To your grief,
As I grieve, too,
For the subtleties
You don’t understand.
Avoiding the eyes of others …
Your intense frustration
In trying to get it right,
And thinking you have it all wrong.
You have it right,
I only wish you could know
Of being free.
The tentative smiles,
The looks of uncertainty,
Prompt me to tell you,
You got this.
You’ll be fine.
Whatever the passion,
Let it burn.
It will save you.
Retrieve every shattered fragment
Of your soul.
Bless it with your peace.
Give it mighty and glorious wings,
And let it fly where it leads
Into the twilight of an infinite sky.
And don’t stop singing
Your life’s song.
The song is your vision,
It belongs to you.
You wither and die.
Don’t you, for one moment,
Let anyone crush your beautiful spirit.
Know, too, those who have crushed you
Have been crushed.
Those who pain you have been pained.
Still, you can rise again,
Become completely alive again
And shine on,
Just as you did before all the hurt began.
You are not defective,
My dear one,
Not a burden,
Nor do you struggle alone.
I’m here with you.
I will always be with you.
In every way
Though you don’t see that,
And you never have.
I just love you.
© Copyright October 9, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.
Sometimes people are not getting whatever it is they want from you, and they’re not fully aware, or embarrassed to say. They want love, sex, friendship, attention, admiration, approval, money, an acknowledgement, an apology—whatever. Other times they are making assumptions and, for whatever reason, they would prefer to stick with their assumptions rather than get to the truth. They may say, if you confront them, “Oh, no, nothing’s wrong,” or “it’s not you,” thinking that will keep you on the hook. Or they try to shame or silence you, maybe even become passive-aggressive instead of seeking a solution.
What I take from that is, “I can’t risk feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable, or possibly having to admit any wrongdoing or, gasp, apologize. You’re not worth that to me.”
Reaching out to people when we’re feeling something’s wrong can be difficult. In doing that, we’re putting something on the line. We’re willing to be vulnerable and take the risk because that person means something to us. I keep that in mind whenever anyone reaches out to me because I honestly don’t know if, in the past, I’ve ever made a person feel they’re not worth a genuine resolution. If I have, I’d never want to make someone feel like that again.
In any relationship, you need two people to give a shit. At the very least, it’s a matter of mutual respect. If someone can’t be honest with you, if they can’t take your concerns seriously, if they can’t deal with your anger if that should come up or your frustration, then this is not a person who is invested in or committed to the relationship. Nothing about the relationship can be authentic when things don’t get resolved. It merely allows for a superficial connection that will always have some tension, even when we try to focus only on the good and having a nice time or a nice conversation.
Close relationships don’t become what they are by silent treatments, grudges, hoping to punish, or wanting the other person to suffer. They become that way because of genuine caring and a willingness to resolve and forgive on both sides. I believe you have to give each other the chance to make it right or clear up any misunderstanding.
In truth, the people who genuinely care will care about what makes you happy, what makes you angry, what frustrates you, and what hurts you.
And, at some point, it’s time to let go of the others—stop fighting for them because hanging on can be heartbreaking, and it hurts your self-esteem.
The sad thing is, and I see it all the time, the day will come when it’s too late to resolve things with someone. The person is gone forever and sadder still, they’ll just be hoisted up on a pedestal and history will be rewritten. The one who chose not to resolve will remember only the good and times when they were close, but that’s isn’t love. That’s creating the person they are comfortable with, not the one who is human and flawed— maybe even a little broken, but worth so much more than they realized.
© Copyright June 25, 2017 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.