Sunday, October 18, 2009


A woman friend wrote this little poem about her friend's struggle and I found it to be very visceral.

I watched you self-destruct

today when your disease consumed

your judgment

your reason

your bones

your steps

and that too familiar glaze manifested

in your childlike eyes before it snapped

like a light switch and turned on

the woman who handed you
the truth the rest of us can’t
or is that simply you
because I can't find
where your disease ends
and you begin

It was fifteen years ago when I first encountered an eating disorder in a dear friend of mine. As she destroyed her body she destroyed something inside all of us who were close to her. In her desperation she became a weapon of sorts and the shrapnel from her exploding soul still remains in small pieces inside me.

Another friend of mine who understands alcoholism told me that often the alcoholic who has acted destructive doesn't remember the incident ... it is the people around him/her that hold the memory. I think any addictive disorder has this element of putting the pain onto others.

We are connected to each other more profoundly than we sometimes allow. We are constantly receiving form from others, and donating form to them. In other words, what I am changes you, and what you are changes me. Who we are, matters.

As I've aged I have come to know that I can do hardly anything to change someone else's life, and certainly almost nothing to influence their choices. Many people ask for advice, few take it. Maybe that is just as well. But I have also come to believe that if I keep facing toward my own health, my own wellness, then I become, simply, a peaceful presence. This is what it means to refuse to cooperate with the dysfunction/manipulation. I think this is also the way to be of help.


Rhonda Merkley Maccarone said...

Ok I'll be a taker but I have to be short because your brother's a slave driver! Just kidding.
I so wish this wasn't so true for my life, but I sometimes feel that everything I do, all of who I am has somehow been molded through my environment and through the people who touch my life. One touch, one encounter can have an everlasting effect. It is so true that you can't ever force someone to listen or to take your advise, but I think you are right that what we do and who we are can touch others in profound ways. We feed off each other without even realizing it. We choose with every contact we make whether we will build up or tear down, and yes I find that something as simple as a friendly smile can sometimes make all the difference in my day. I thank God every day for those who have contributed to building me up and I pray that I can do the same (in some small way) for every person I meet. We never know how great the impact will be.

Marilyn said...

Rhonda - didn't know you read my stuff ..but love to see your beautiful face. Are we facebook friends?

We cannot escape our formation. Even when we forget the things that happen we remain in the shape of them somehow. I think the miracle is that we also are always on the way of transformation - that is we can be reformed... this is the mystery of our faith I think. That there is a possibility of transcending who we have been made to be. I have seen you do that, I think. I hope you have seen me do it.

I wish we lived closer... I would be your friend. I like women more than ever... especially (ahem) older women.

Thanks for being a 'taker.'