This is an article from Committedtofreedom.org I rarely repost something from someone, but this so slammed into me when I read it, I simply had to share! So much me is in it. Simply read and be impacted. God bless.
The Still Photograph
Part of our Short Story series during the holidays. We all need a break, and this month, we’ll be sending you short stories instead of articles. We hope they will inspire, encourage, and strengthen you. Let us know what you think.
Mrs. Periwinkle had cornered yet another member of the Community Ladies Guild to show off her daughter’s latest school pictures.
“Isn’t she adorable? Isn’t this just about the most precious picture you’ve ever seen?”
She never gave anyone time to respond to those questions, she simply moved on to another person, then another, loudly declaring the perfection of the photograph. Her daughter, Penelope, was a kindergartener when that particular picture was taken.
Mrs. Periwinkle loved it so much that she had it enlarged, then had several dozen copies of the photo developed. She glued some onto cardboard boxes, which she positioned throughout the house. One was set on the kitchen table at Penelope’s place. One on her pillow where she usually slept. One on the couch, one on the porch swing, and one in the passenger seat of the family car.
She also glued a flat wooden stir stick on the back of one so that she could carry it with her where ever she went. It was a kind of photograph puppet. In social settings – such as parties or meetings – she included the picture puppet in conversations and soon, people spoke to the puppet, just like Mrs. Periwinkle did.
She even made one of the pictures into a mask and commanded that the little girl wear it at all times. Eventually, Penelope stopped speaking and became as silent as the still photos that surrounded her.
As children will do, the girl grew and changed, but the only “Penelope” her mother and friends saw was the kindergarten schoolgirl in the pictures mounted on boxes, a wooden stick, and a mask. Years came and went. The kindergarten photographs had become cracked, faded, and frayed. Nevertheless, Mrs. Periwinkle ignored the signs that time had passed or that changes were taking place.
One morning, Penelope – who was now a young woman – looked at her mask’s reflection in the bathroom mirror. For quite some time, she had noticed a growing irritation where the mask rubbed against her skin, but she ignored it. But this particular morning, the irritation had become very painful – unbearably painful, in fact. She squirmed her forehead, tightened her eyes and lips, scrunched her nose, and massaged her scalp, hoping to silence the inflammation, but nothing helped.
She became more animated in attempt to find some relief and without thinking, without hearing her mother’s instructions to keep the mask on, she ripped it off on an impulse. She howled with relief, as her face was flooded with air and light. For the first time in over a decade, Penelope wore no mask. No longer was she frozen in a time and space that was no more. She splashed her face with water and then dared to look in the mirror. What she saw took her breath away, because she saw – herself. Changed.
No longer a static being, she was vital and free from that still photo that masked years of growing and becoming. She ran into the kitchen and ripped the still photo from the box, then to her pillow and the couch, the porch swing and the passenger side of her mother’s car. She tore them all to pieces then put them in the trash can.
Somewhere in the yard, she could hear her mother chatting away with someone. Her voice grew louder as she came closer to the house. Closer. Closer. Penelope opened the front door for her mother, who was – at that moment – having a lively conversation with the picture puppet. Mrs. Periwinkle gasped, shocked to see a strange young woman standing in her foyer.
“What are you doing in my house? Who ARE you?” she demanded.
Penelope grabbed the picture puppet from her mother’s hand and tore it to pieces, letting them fall to the floor. She then leaned in close to her mother until their faces almost touched.
“I. Am. Me.”
a place where it feels safe to hide
safe from the big people
secure from problems to big
where one can fly away at whim
laugh and play with abandon
but i know it is not real
rather a trap
a secret room in a game of hide and seek
me searching for me as i hides me
pretending doesn’t make it real
i don’t have pixie dust to fly away from here
to lift me from this trappedness i feel
i scared to fly into the storm that separates
at the swirl of the feelings that sent me here
i find i can’t hide from them no more
i want to go home to me
leave behind this ghost town of what was
so i need a ride
i never had rides before that i knowed where there
i do now
so to stay is to live a lie
so goodbye Neverland
i am journeying home today
starting even if it takes me awhile
i can even lie there and rest while the storm rages
my angel fights my Captain Hooks for me
i just trust
and believe in my momma Mary and papa God
remember that they want me home
they never ever wanted me to leave
the land i was never meant to live in
home is where i belong
I wonder that today about folks around me. I wonder, “Do they know how much they have touched my heart?” Do they know that some of the simplest acts they extend to me reach to the depth of my heart and soul?
I think they don’t.
How could they unless they understand the horror of my childhood?
To understand is to have lived it and I am thankful they haven’t.
Yet they know some, and in that knowing they show and give me so much. Often unknown to them.
So it was today.
A hug, a kiss upon my cheek and an, “I love you,” that, totally took me by surprise. Stopped me in my tracks as I looked in wonder at him.
You see, my earthly father is dying soon. I have been confounded by this, confused in how I feel. Sad at times, for what should have been as a daughter, while empty at others because of what was that shouldn’t have been. Mostly I simply accept that he is passing as all humanity does and I pray that God grant him mercy.
Then today, someone who is a Father to my friend, treated me with the dignity a father should a daughter.
I am proud of myself that I don’t feel all like I am his daughter, that was a struggle for me in the past. The overwhelming desire to claim someone for my Father and Mother.
No, this is different.
I feel as though I can’t say this right, I do know, I feel it right.
It is as though it is an it’s alright your daddy is leaving, others here and now, your family of God, we have you.
We will keep you
We will love you
And we will give it all with Christ like love
And as love is meant to be
But friends, you’re not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this? You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. So let’s not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let’s keep our eyes open and be smart. People sleep at night and get drunk at night. But not us! Since we’re creatures of Day, let’s act like it. Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation.
1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 (MSG)
Daughter of the Day.
It made me feel secure at first. Safe. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to Abba, God that I am safe now from the darkness of the abuse. That I need not fear the descent of night anymore or the darkness of memories.
Daughter of the Day, His day, light and love mine, here and now.
As the week passed I felt it even more. An awakening is happening. I am as one emerging from a cocoon, from Darkness into Light, from Night into Day.
All of me is awakening to this truth, to being alive, Night always meant death to me, of body, feelings and my existence. Day would often bring a continuance of those horrors so I was trapped in night. Living in darkness of the truth of even my.
As a Daughter of the Day I feel me. I am finding how amazing life is and discovering myself.
It started with washing my hands. I to be enthralled with the feel them, the emerging of the bubbles while rubbing them together. The water so crisply cold or warm. I splashed it on my face and marveled at the wonder of being clean, feeling clean, wanting to be so and knowing I can.
Sounds ridiculous to many of you, and that’s ok, it is only for those who never have had that the understanding exists. I am thankful there aren’t more that havent.
my body is awakening. I am finding a deep love of music to the point that I dance with it, hang on the words and smile. Hunger finds me that I cannot ignore it and full follows with a realization that I can eat whenever I want so its ok to stop when my body says enough. The way emotions flow from head to toe, waking up to feeling my body. Knowing when I am tired and need rest. Not judging myself harshly or pushing to hard. Even understanding that my mind to has it’s limits.
I am a Daughter of the Day. His Day, My life His.
Tammy of God, awakening to all that living is.
TODAY WAS A ME DAY
ONE THAT WAS ABOUT ME
FULL OF RESTING
QUIET TIME WITH ABBA
THOUGHTFUL PUZZLE MAKING
EATING WHEN HUNGRY
STOPPING WHEN FULL
TALKING WITH FRIENDS
WATCHING POINTLESS TV
DOING WHAT I WANTED
NOT DOING WHAT I DIDN’T
EMOTIONS WERE OK
MEMORIES SMILING KIND
A LIFE AS LIFE IS DAY
A ME DAY
I don’t often reshare, but this has so much truth that I am. Praying it blesses you as much as it did me.
I like my home, the way I feel safe and secure here. Even living alone, I am not afraid of nights descending as darkness settles in. I used to be, for a very long time.
For monsters were real to my little me inside.
No where safe, unless I was hiding.
Hiding not only from people but even myself.
camouflaging me, from me.
that the Monsters that found me at night be vanquished by day
Or so I thought
So i pretended
Thing is, vanquished need be day and night, else it isn’t vanquished at all
So many in such a vast array of sizes and shapes
old ones from my childhood abuse tat spawned new ones in my adulthood
monsters that were
to become monsters that are.
such was my existence
Such isn’t any more
Oh, they make noise now and again, trying to find me, for such is the nature of all monsters
Yet noise is all it is, nothing more unless I choose to allow it to be
For what I have learned is that these monsters are only as big as I see them to be
They are so far in the my past, it is the shadow of them that causes them to seem so big
Shadows from what was that have no chance is the sun of what is
They are hungry for me
but I am no longer theirs, i am not for sale or taking, or throwing away
i am not going to cower any longer,
i turn my back on them, i stand sure with my Jesus
I shout to them that they can raise their heads all they want, it is good that they do, for it reminds me of all i have been redeemed from
i will thank them for reminding me, i will scare them away with my praises to God
for these monsters are no monsters at all
never ever more real than my Jesus.
“No matter how much darkness you see in the world around you, My Light continues to shine on, for it is infinitely more powerful! Because you are My child, this Light shines not only upon you but also within you.” -Jesus Today by Sarah Young, p. 262
Feeling so much I never have before
I find that I feel safe lying down
Warm and secure beneath the covers
Not in a cowering or hiding way
as of old
beds are safe, I am finding
as I lie here
no more wrong wanting chasing me in my dreams
no more confusion within my heart
i am liking this new
loves unwrapping bit by bit
real love as love really is
fleeting touches that linger for days
butterfly kisses kind of ones
eyes full of seeing
smiles that curve more than the mouth
reaching my heart
I lie here
body resting, yes
within so alive
doors are open waiting for me
lights left on
inside is belonging, warmth and love
i am kept out in the open
free to come and go
truth what matters
heard and seen
all of this passes through me
again and again
my form learning from it
finding what truth is
even for me
For within I am but a House of Mirrors
To look within one is to see another
Stretching back to was and wasn’t, as far as my inner eye can see
Each mirror seems magical
In a curious sort of way
They show me then
To stare into one is to glimpse a was
While living an is
I have fallen down the Rabbit Hole
Where up is down, down is up
Then and Now having collided
It is so easy to keep my eyes downcast
To hide was safe, then
To touch wasn’t
Reaching out was fearsome
My mirrors show me all of this
Hiding is not safe, now
For it will end all that has begun
Open my eyes
To shatter the lies
With the truth
So I can smile in all my then fear
I am surrounded of Heaven
Mama Mary beside me now
Holding my hand reassuringly
All of Heaven here
I was to not touch her
Never to look her in the eye
To want attention meant harm
“See me Momma,”
The unuttered cry of my child’s heart
She smiles back
This is safe
So I reach out
I touch ever so lightly
To find no rebuke in doing so
My touch welcome
Was and Wasn’t shattered
As Is and Isn’t remain
I have many such mirrors
Within my house of me
Yet, mirrors is all they are
The colors of now
Reflected in them
Of love within
Turning right side up