In which I talk about the long hard winter

There was a time when I lived in chronic physical pain. This pain caused a battle between my body and mind. My mind rebelled by slowly killing me.

The war inside of me waged, gradual and nearly invisible…until it wasn’t.

I think of that time like a lifetime behind this one.

When I am reminded of the triggers that prodded me in that life, I am still affected, but differently. Like a reverse acupuncture.

Those winters full of pokes and pain, fear and unworthiness, sit like one long winter in my memory. Scars flare under my skin. It’s an odd sensation, a burning scar under your skin.

And my mind has vulnerable days and moments, too. My mind did not scar, it rebounded, but is…fragile in some places, calloused in others, and not immune to flares of its own.

Tori Amos’ has a song called Winter.

The thing is, about the song winter, “When you gonna love you as much as I do?”

In those hard, hard years I believed,

No, bigger than that, somewhere between convinced and dreamed and counted on

that if someone, some one, loved me enough then I would become enough. If I was respected, enough, I would become strong enough. If someone believed in me…enough…I would become all I was supposed to be.

So many dreams on the shelf…

When you gonna make up your mind?

Cuz things are gonna change so fast…

And then, they did. It didn’t feel fast. But “things” did change. Toxic people finally drifted from my life. Sacrifices were made to control, then reduce, then cut out the pain. Without the continued noise of pain crowding my mind, I regained control. I stopped dying.

I crawled out of winter, about 15 years of long, cold, bitter, winter. Today I am fragile; the body forgets nothing.

Yesterday my mind spiraled, triggered by a combination of small things in my world that most days are harmless, monsters in the real world, and who knows?  Some days the arrow hits the soft spots of my mind, I suppose, like the Hobbit’s dragon. Too many metaphors? This is what happens when you only give me 10 minutes.


Time’s up. My Friends at Finish The Sentence Friday challenged a “Free Write” this week. The challenge is Free Write 5 minutes about Winter.  I took five to ramble, twice, then however many to cut out words, fill in correct(ish) punctuation, and add video. I am a mushy mess at the coffee shop this AM. Sometimes that happens in winter. Free-Writes are raw, scary, and dangerous. I’m posting it anyway. You’ve got a day to take the challenge and join in too, check it out here:

*One more thing – After the 5 minutes – I want to note that there were (and are) people who love(d) me. So many wonderful people who loved me when I didn’t or couldn’t love myself…enough. This trick was one of many that my mind used in its war upon me. I’ve often said, “Wouldn’t it be great if our brain was actually on our side?”   OY!



  1. Kristi Campbell January 20, 2018 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Indeed, “wouldn’t it be great if our brain was actually on our side?” YES this. So much. I’m glad you’ve healed. Stopped dying. I laughed at “Too many metaphors? This is what happens when you only give me 10 minutes.” 🙂 Super happy you joined. xo

    • Mardra January 20, 2018 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks Dear – Me too – <3 - Ms

  2. Janine Huldie January 20, 2018 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Honestly, I am truly a work in progress myself. This is because I have my good days, but also my bad, too. So, I just try to do my best through it all.

    • Mardra January 20, 2018 at 10:27 pm - Reply

      Yes to that. Keep plugging, and thank you for stopping by here. 🙂 – Ms

  3. clark January 20, 2018 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    “This trick was one of many that my mind used in its war upon me.

    Funny how when you read something you identify with (aka identifying* with the writer) there are like six or seven things you note (as you read) that will serve as excellent comment hooks.** Here there were a number of them and then this line (above). And it’s like, damn… I may not have the literal meaning (as intended) but the feeling sparked by reading those 15 words comes from a familiar place within.
    Glad I read your post.

    *identifying (with another) is one of those everyday magics, to know how another feels, as opposed to (merely) knowing what they mean… very cool
    ** the point of starting for writing a comment

    • Mardra January 20, 2018 at 10:28 pm - Reply

      Thank you, your comments of both understanding and identifying mean a lot to me. – Ms

  4. Kenya G. Johnson January 21, 2018 at 10:02 am - Reply

    Free writes can be raw and scary, I can’t believe you went that deep in a coffee shop. Excellent job. Glad your brain isn’t scarred and has rebounded. I’m not familiar with that song, but I had a tune in my head after you mentioned it. I’m going to click over to see how close I am.

    • Mardra January 21, 2018 at 10:05 am - Reply

      Oh My – I think they are “used” to me at the coffee shop. 🙂

  5. Gina January 21, 2018 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    I can relate to how Winter can way on the mind, body and soul! This was a wonderfully raw SOC write.

  6. Debi January 21, 2018 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    I write at coffeeshops, too. The key is to face a wall or exterior window. The people walking by outside are unlikely to come in and ask why you’re teary, and the people inside can’t see you. The line in that Tori Amos song that always got me was “Mirror mirror, where’s the crystal palace? But I only can see myself…” In the end, the old chestnut about us being all we have is true. I’m glad you’re in a warmer place!

    • Mardra January 21, 2018 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Yes – Every line. Thank you. 🙂 – Ms

  7. Tamara January 22, 2018 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Bodily memory. So powerful. I also love that we both wrote about Winter by Tori Amos! Blogging soulmates this week!!
    Winter.. I can still remember all of the aches and pains and coldness I’ve ever felt. It doesn’t seem to go.

  8. Pat B January 22, 2018 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    This is very well done. Learning to recognize what triggers pain is an art and then being able to know what to do with that information is a gift. I’m glad that you are in a better place now. We are all on a trail of learning about ourselves and how we relate to others, and the situations that arise in our lives, some of our own doing, and some not. Beautifully written.

  9. Dana January 23, 2018 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    I love this free write, Mardra – so raw and real. This line: “Some days the arrow hits the soft spots of my mind…” Brilliant imagery. And I have become a mess at coffee shops too – that means you’re writing something good.

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