I have always viewed each passing season in my life as chapters in my ever changing, ever growing “Book of Me.” Each chapter tells stories of joy, pain, loss, curiosity and progress. Some of these chapters are filled with angst and ennui, some chapters are full of new found passions, others speak of various heartbreak and celebration.
These stories warm my pulsing heart, feed my hungry writer’s soul. The presence of my story, the weight, the goodness and the death of it all is felt every day that I breathe. It is haunting. It is joyful. It allows me to learn from mistakes and do things different. Some stories show where I make the same damn choices over and over.
I have tried to write other stories throughout my life–fictional, fantastical stories that inhabit my mind, but the words never flow authentically. They never feel organic and original. My story, the story that has taken 32 years to create the person I am today–that story I can write well. It is the story that I am attached to deeply and it is keenly felt with sorrow, passion, and realness.
When I write I can release all the truth that lies underneath the pores of my skin.
Before my two sons were born, I had to battle infertility, one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. For three years, this chapter expanded into a book of its own. I have shared several of with these stories to the people around me, yet there are many untold stories that I have kept close to my heart, still bleeding and raw.
This past year, I wrote a poem from the perspective of a room that now shelters the life of my precious two year old son, but had remained painfully empty for years. Giving a voice to the room provided me the opportunity to unburden some stories that occurred during that season of grief and mourning.
Where white paint peels,
sits a woman with her back against my walls,
her knees under a quivering chin.
The sound of weeping pads every corner of my empty room,
bouncing off the ceiling,
finding a home in the speckled carpet.
Months later a hollowed body
climbs the stairs and stands
in my vacant door frame.
Armed with a stapler and a permanent maker,
she covers my walls with surgical pictures
of her baseball sized cysts and uterine scarred tissue.
Each puncture to my wall is
by a violent scream.
The marker is then used
to cover all the bare places
with bleeding words of black despair and mania.
she slams my door with an explosive
I HATE YOU
but I wait patiently
for the day her hand grasps my door knob —
pushing her way inside.
Create and bless, the words leave her chapped lips.
She cleanses my
blackened walls with hot soapy water
wiping the contempt away with a holy sponge.
Greyish blue paint consecrates
the freshness of new beginnings,
an ambivalent feeling permeates the air.
My barrenness now houses a crafting table,
covered in long forgotten supplies.
Her olive branch, a Christmas tree, is placed close by.
Years later, they come and empty the room.
Her hand gently glides along my textured walls.
Tears glisten like memories reflecting in the sunlight.
Feeling the pulse of her hand on this sacred space,
I notice her free hand caresses a growing belly.
I am finally ready to become the room I’m meant to be.
Mal Arnold is a passionate Latina wife and mother who is a chaser of dreams and believes in living life with abandon. She writes to pour some of herself out for any who care to experience her heart, but is also an avid reader, lover of old movies and going on journeys with family as well. She has seen heartache and trauma in her past and is learning to let her Maker heal her broken places.