Treading on bees

18 Feb

This post is not about politics. Don’t complain that I didn’t tell you.

bee lifting leg

I woke from a dream of my lover’s shoes. 

He always wore dirty black shoes with square toes when we met up. I asked him as I watched him undo them in preparation for getting into bed with me, “Do you ever clean your shoes?”

He shook his head. “I only have one pair,” he told me.

I thought that was all right. I have lots of shoes but I prefer wearing boots. Mostly in the climate I live in it’s better to go barefoot. The only problem with going barefoot is treading on bees. I accidentally tread on bees a lot and as you might know, a bee sting can itch for around five days and it’s no picnic.

I’ve been trying to keep a dream book for a while and interestingly, the effort has provoked more dreaming than I can remember for years. Dreams are like poems, or bits and pieces of them.

Shattered people are best represented by bits and pieces. Rainer-Maria Rilke.  I know this to be true. I have never in my life been able to sustain a continuous narrative.

My lover was in his shoes in the dream, but I couldn’t see him. I wrote down the bits and pieces  I could remember, and then the phrase ” erotic vulnerability” dropped into my head from out of nowhere so I wrote that down too. A writer ought to jot down everything, no matter how disparate the bits and pieces might seem at first blush.

After that I could no longer ignore what I was trying to avoid. I was having one of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt in my life. It was a feeling of the most abject, and infinitely lonely desolation. I was looking into an abyss, but it was inside me. The abyss was filled with the miasma of all the grieving I have never done.

I did what I was taught to do, and let the feeling linger for as long as it wanted. That made my day difficult, trying to be ordinary as all the while this dark, dank grief came over me in minor thirds.

The grief wasn’t about my lover. It felt as old as the world. Yet somehow, his dirty black square-toed shoes took me right into it. I forget, sometimes, the unsaid things we do for one another, without even knowing that we do them.

The next day the feeling was mostly gone. Only a few miasmic wisps remained. I thought, well, that’s interesting. I’ve felt the most abject feeling of utter desolation that I’ve ever felt in my life. For a whole day I looked into the abyss, and it didn’t, as I’ve always feared, kill me.

Childhood sexual abuse damages the soul. I don’t use that word in a religious sense. I use it to describe the sense of oneself that is forbidden to a child who is sexually abused. The sense of me. Sometimes a child has little chance to form that sense of me, if the abuse begins very early.  Sometimes the task is to restore it after the damage.

It never crossed my mind that I might find a fragment of me in the abyss.

I have been in the garden, sitting under the mango tree beside Big Dog’s grave. Of course, on my way barefoot across the grass  I trod on a bee.

I don’t know what will happen next.  The abyss will probably be there again some time. These things never entirely leave us. We are shattered people and we are best represented by bits and pieces. Sufficient unto the day.


13 Responses to “Treading on bees”

  1. thevenerable1 February 18, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    I must learn more about you, Jennifer. This is a wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 18, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

      Thank you.


      • Marilyn February 20, 2015 at 6:23 pm #

        I found a fragment of me in my absolute unwillingness to conform to group think, my 1st year teacher wrote a report saying I would never be just one of the sheep and I am pretty sure I haven’t been.

        I had to be that way because my father’s worst cruelty, beyond the years of sexual abuse, was to make my lay across the bed with my pants down and beat me screaming CONFORM YOU BITCH, I was 7 years old and didn’t have a clue what that meant so I decided it must be so terrible I never would.

        And I haven’t which is the only way I found a piece of me down the abyss of the abuses.

        When the bastard died 18 months ago not a solitary soul gave a flying fuck, he was cremated, we collected the cash and went on a spending spree.

        I helped 2 grand daughters save for their weddings, gave the youngest my bedroom furniture and a new mattress, put a tow bar on my daughters new car and made a wardrobe of clothes for 2 baby great grand daughters and made my rented flat a haven of luxury with excellent furniture, a big TV and massive loud stereo, 2 computers in case one fucks up as they have before, a girly bedroom at the age of 61.

        And threw the old cheap black clothes in the bin and made the brightest of bright ones to enjoy the absolute liberation because the monster was dead.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson February 20, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

          Oh bloody hell that is an amazing post Marilyn.

          The strength… astonishing.


  2. Stewart Hase February 18, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

    Tread placidly through the noise and haste (apologies to Desiderata)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Michaela Tschudi February 18, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    Karl Marx wrote about bees but as your post is not political, I won’t go there. 😊

    Treading on bees is a small price to pay for the consolation of a garden. That’s why I head out to my acre every evening, with two crazy dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Elisabeth February 18, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

    Childhood sexual abuse and the abyss. I dream often about shoes, too, black shoes, tradesman shoes, priest’s shoes. My father’s shoes. Scary things shoes, especially to a chid who can get trodden underfoot.

    Such a lovely piece of writing here, Jennifer. All those dream snippets and the bees. It stays with me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson February 19, 2015 at 3:45 am #

      I always try to universalise the personal, Elisabeth, thinking that I can’t possibly be writing about things only I know, there must be many many others.

      While the everyday life goes on, there’s other knowledges and experiences not so easily dealt with, and all too often swamped by the superficial, in spite of the fact that they inform and determine every single moment of what we sadly call “reality.”


    • Marilyn February 20, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

      At age 62 I still hate shoes, I hated shoes since the first time my father assaulted me during a terrible storm when I was 5.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. paul walter February 18, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

    You know, where else would you find a fragment of yourself, but in the abyss

    After all, that is the place brutal, uncaring people tossed you. But in throwing you into it they actually threw themselves into it rather than you. Surprising, eh?

    I like you and Elisabeth and the others here. You are people who have had the strength and character to stare down a lie and refuse a slander. You should be able to lead a life free of issues of conscience on this issue and even more, to be proud people for having endured the worst yet some how prevailed, against the odds. You are Henry V’s troops, on St Crispin’s Day.

    Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre refused to knuckle under to her tormenters when locked in the Red Room and you people are examples of a conception of character than Bronte is trying to express, to generously share with her readers, anyone with the wherewithal to grasp an immanent, deeper truth.

    it is not normal, good people who are scum, but those who, lacking something within themselves, reactively try to drag others down with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 19, 2015 at 3:40 am #

      Yes, of course you’re right, the fragments are always in the abyss.

      Which means going back to get the rest of them

      Liked by 1 person

  6. samjandwich February 20, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    This is why knowing thyself – as one of the most basic things we need to do in order to live a good life – becomes an act of sheer bravery for anybody whose formative experiences have included things that nobody should ever have to face.

    I wonder though whether your perspective on your own life is in fact the source of your politics – in the sense that if you can tread your own uniquely dangerous path to self-knowledge, and thereby ensure as far as possible that you do no unneccessary harm through the daily course of events, then people born into more auspicious circumstances should really be better-equipped to do the same – difficult though it still is?

    Eternal thanks Jennifer for your thoughts on this and so many other things. You’re a very precious individual.


    • Jennifer Wilson February 20, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

      Just the other day someone asked me the same question about my politics. I’m pondering on it.

      As for the last line of your post – the writer is nothing without the reader.


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