Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wanna See My Crack House?

This is a tough post.

I wish I had a fine way with words, but I don't. My writing is a little boring, full of grammatical errors and typos... and generally does not portray my thoughts and feelings very accurately...

I have tried to figure out how to start this post three times now... writing, and erasing, and writing and erasing... In the hopes you will understand what I want to share with you... and that it's not easy to share.

So anyway, if you will try to follow me here, I would like to try to share with you something special I learned from a good friend of mine over the last year.

My soul can be described as a house.

And the people in my life are like visitors in my house. Some of them come in and spend a bit of time with me. Sit on my couches and visit, look around and make decisions and judgments about me based on what my decor is like, how clean my carpets are, and who else is visiting.

Some of my visitors come.. even after I have closed the doors, and locked them, and they knock and knock and knock and bang on the windows and call on the phone over and over and over and then they begin to yell and scream until I open the door and let them in.

And they come in and they punch holes in the walls, and urinate on my favorite things, and track dirt and muck everywhere. They break my dishes, and do crack on my kitchen table. And they usually stay for a long while.

And the whole time I am completely blind to what is happening to my house. I am standing as close to the window as I can. looking out, and never looking in. With my ears plugged, and my nose pinched so I can't hear or smell or see what is happening.

And then something happens. A catalyst.

And the catalyst spins me around and I face my house for the first time I decades. Not months, or even years, but decades.

And my senses are alive to the state of my soul.

And I am really not very shocked by what I see, and smell, and hear.

I am not shocked, but I do not like it.

And I can no longer pretend not to know.

And so begins the process of evictions. It feels like the evictions must be the most difficult part. Because as I ask everyone nicely to go they do not leave.. and they will not go willingly. They instead fight me.

physically.. mentally, doing everything they can to get back in

I do manage to get them on the outside I am physically and mentally exhausted.

That is when they go back to the same habits of banging on the doors and windows and screaming to come in.

Eventually some of them go away...

...but some are still there.

I know they are out there right now. I can still hear them banging on the doors and walls. Still screaming. Still trying to get back in.

As I sit in my empty trashed out house I realize the evictions are not the worst of it.

The worst is realizing I am alone in an empty, dark, dirty, stinky, crack house. And I don't want to be there and I feel so tired and depressed just thinking about all the work that needs to be done. And I don't want any help because I am so embarrassed to have people see the house and know it is mine.

So I go out for a while, I try to escape my house.... and everywhere I go there are people pointing and whispering behind my back.

"Do you see her?"

"Do you know what she did?"

"Do you know she lives in an ugly, disgusting, dirty crack house, and she is totally responsible for letting it get that way?"

And so I go back to my empty, ugly, disgusting, dirty crack house.

And I try to make a clean place to sleep because I am so tired.

And I reclaim my house.. Even if it is a crack house. IT IS MINE, and it's the only house I've got.

And I begin to renovate.

That was the end of last summer. September to be exact.

I have been doing what I can. Some days I get so much accomplished.. and sadly some days I punch my own holes in walls I just repaired. Sometimes I try to shortcut and just paint over the dirty walls without repairing all the holes or cleaning them first.. The paint dries and the filth seeps though the paint, leaving me frustrated at how hard I've been working, and not getting anywhere.

And sometimes I work with my eyes closed because it's less painful that way. The only problem is, with my eyes closed, I can't see anything. Not my despair... and not my progress.

When I was at Brave Girls Camp I very cautiously opened my eyes and had a slow look around. I was a bit surprised by how far my house had come, and a bit sad and depressed at how much still needed to be done. I looked through squinted eyes. I am not ready to open my eyes wide.

I have not looked at this art card since I made it over a month ago, and I was astonished by what I noticed. Things that are symbolic to me, that I didn't even think about when I was creating.

Notice my house. It's still dark, and a bit dirty. The definition in the eves says "caution."

I can see some value in my house. I can see some potential. I know there are people outside banging on my walls and doors right now... or reading this blog post... who would LOVE to tell me I have no value.

That my house is too trashed. That my house is condemned and irreparable, and WILL BE destroyed... even if they have to tear it down themselves piece by piece.

But, I am not listening anymore because I look at them and can see them... inside their houses, pressed against the glass, with their hands over their ears and their nose pinched.

I have a red door now. Red symbolizes that my house is not yet healed. It also represents the sacrifices I am willing to make to restore everything. The pain and seemingly self inflicted wounds I give to my house in order to repair it correctly.

The fence I put up does not have a gate. My house is not ready for visitors and the fence helps to keep the crack addicts away. It keeps everyone away. My house is not ready for visitors.

The clouds in the sky are no longer black with the torment of an impending storm, full of soot and anger, but are white and speak of fresh as the wind blows all around them.

There is not yet sunshine.

The windows are the eyes on my house. Looking out with yellow curtains for beautiful cheerful things.... mostly longing for beautiful cheerful things.

And I see progress has been made.

And I have hope.

And the hope renews my strength and I press forward.


SuzieBel said...

I love you. I hope you will realize you bless and enrich life. I don't care what you think - I think you are beautiful.

Chelsea said...

Sweet, Beautiful Cam....this was so tender. I see a beautiful house....I believe in renovation! :) Love you SO much, brave sister!

Ann said...

I'm impressed that you've had the courage to write about this (and make crafts/art) about it.

Part of your healing/rebuilding process.

Hooray for hope and progress!

billandjill said...


sorry this has been such a tough year, but I'm glad you're moving on and renovating! You're worth it, so hang in there! Love the metaphor:)!

bizzymomma said...

I am someone on the outside looking in and what I see is Amazing!!

Lisa said...

Oh Cam ~ You tell an incredible story that is so heartfelt and so honest and true that if someone can't "feel" what you are saying with your writing, then something is just missing in their own soul.

I know you may not be ready to let anyone in just yet and you feel overwhelmed by all the work you have yet to do. Please know that you have many people, friends, sisters or whatever you want to call them, that will be there when you are ready for help. People who want to help you wash walls and help you paint and clear the grime off the windows so the sun shines in through those pretty yellow curtains. And these people will not laugh at you and will not judge you and think that you allowed your house to get that way. Nope, these people know what it is like to have a crack house get so out of control and the feelings of despair it can bring. They will not judge you - they will help you restore your house to a beautiful place where you can find peace and happiness and be strong enough to tell destructive people to go away and they are not welcome anymore.
As you know, you will have to do some of the work on your own, but when you are ready these loving people will be there for you. They will not be the ones banging on the doors and windows and screaming to be let in - they will probably be the ones quietly waiting for you to let them in when you are ready.
Try not to be so hard on yourself Camille. Open your ears and heart to the people who love you, support you and want you to succeed. You are beautiful, talented, smart, loving... the list goes on and on. Don't listen to the negative people - they are jealous and feeling inadequate about themselves. It makes them feel better to tear you down for a while so they can forget about their own pain. When they say those things or do those things feel sorry for *them* and realize it is not you but the way they feel about themselves.
{{Hugs}} Camille ~
With love, Lisa

monafrost said...

That is beautiful, so eloquent. Thank-you.
With Much Love, Mona Frost

JANET! said...

TOTALLY crying!!!! That. Was. BeaUtifUl!!!! Full of U, honesty, and purity. U are such a priceless treasure in SO MANY lives, and you don't even realize how trUly beaUtifUl U are.

mandbrid said...

I came and I read.

I don't want to bang on your doors or scream in your windows...just want you to know that my door is open if ever you need it.

I pray that I haven't hurt you - but if I have please forgive me when you are able.


Shirleen said...

Camille, Remember that you have family who love you, both here and on the other side of the veil. Stay strong.

rebecca lucille said...

All I can say is wow... and thank you. Thank you for having the strength to share. I have been insprired by you.
God bless you.
May you always keep happiness in your heart....


Emullboi said...

I love the way you've been able to express yourself in such a creative and colourful way even though the situation isn't quite so nice. That's truly special.

Emullboi said...

I love the way you've expressed yourself in such a creative and colourful way even though the situation isn't so nice. Thats truly special.

Damaris said...

Although I have never met you, I can feel the wonderful spirit that resides in you through your words. I see strenght, love, humour, sadness, courage, joy, amazing talent, and a beautiful woman. You may not see it, but know that your words bring comfort and joy to many that do not have the courage to speak what is in their hearts. Your house may be under construction, but I forsee a beautiful sanctuary when you are finished with the renovations.

The Crowley's said...

I think you did well to express yourself, thanks

Dee Dee said...

wow. thanks for sharing.