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the church lady’s prisoner


I’ve talked in the past about my Wild Child (see one and two). This is an aspect, or one of my personalities that I have been dealing with lately. I guess this person has been wanting to come out again, and maybe that’s why my mind has been working on issues that concern her so much lately.

She came out not long ago, for a little while. I was by myself somewhere, so no one was around to witness the brief transformation into this person. I’m calling her Leila. I don’t really know if this personality ever went by another name, but Leila suits her well. When I was by myself and this personality emerged, I felt a sudden playfulness, and a fierce power that I don’t often have. An assuredness. But the others in my ‘system’, the other members of Team Denelle, had a little freak out when she surfaced. It was only for twenty seconds, as she looked around the area and surveyed the situation, and the others came storming out to regain control.

I told my sister Bodhi about it that night. One of my littles was out and talking to Bodhi, and described Leila as having “exotic eyes”. What this little meant was that Leila is seductive.

I don’t know when Leila first came about. It might have been as early as ninth grade, when I started flirting with a maitre de at a restaurant, and he was in his twenties. I looked quite a bit older than my fifteen, and I’m not entirely sure if the memories I have of this man are imaginations, fantasies, psychic visions of his life, events that might have happened but didn’t, or actual bits of reality. Probably my imagination. But I learned the mojo at some point in my life, and Leila has it.

Leila is the personality that went to work several years ago and was immediately told by a good friend “girl, you’re getting laid today”. And then within the hour my on again off again asked me what I was doing for lunch. I guess going home with you for a quickie, is what I should have said…because that’s just what happened. Leila used to walk into a room and command attention, turn all the eyes toward her, and smile knowingly as men gasped in her presence. It’s not that she is the most beautiful woman ever known to man; but she sure knows how to work what she has. She can make the men fall for her, trip on her words, stand in line for a chance to be rejected by her. But like I said, she doesn’t come out often.

Others in the System get nervous; is she going to do something wild that will get everyone hurt? Is she going to seduce the wrong kind of man? What are we supposed to do with all this power? Leila is overwhelmingly powerful and strong, and that doesn’t always mean safety, especially to the others in the team that have been hurt, abused, and exploited. So Leila might be out for a few minutes, or a day, or a month before the others come grab her up and stuff her inside the safety of the church. I’m thinking one of the reasons I have been so spiritual my whole life (but only ONE reason, there are a good many) is because I have needed to hide my power. I’ve needed to control myself, and turn my light down a little. My light shines so brightly, it often draws too much attention to me, which was very dangerous in my past. So I have hid in the church, in the guise of virgin, or acolite, or martyr. I have sacrificed and given and tithed and fasted. I have punished myself for my intense sexuality and my innate love of the male species. I have chastised myself for my lust, desire and passion, and tried to contain a natural and beautiful fire within the pews of a musty old belief system that didn’t fit my reality. And Leila would stay in the church, for however long, twiddling the days away without letting her vibrating presence be known.

Until recently. After her half minute of glory, when her exotic eyes roamed freely again, I did some work trying to understand and accept this personality, and that very weekend she came out again for a whole day. I went to an outdoor event, hosted partly by the group I work for. The day was beautiful; blue skies, clouds sprinkled in the heavens, wind slightly stirring the leaves on the trees. It was perfect and comfortable. Leila showed up at the event, and one of my friends was there to greet me and hug me; I didn’t even know she would be at this event. Interestingly, there was another person I knew there, only Leila had never met this friend, and so didn’t recognize him until someone pointed him out and named him. “Oh,” said Leila, “that’s him.” She hadn’t recognized this familiar face even though she saw him when I came to the event, because Leila is always hidden away, and she’d never come out in front of him.

Leila loved the rest of the day, the weather, the event, the men that couldn’t stop looking at her. One man wanted her to get involved in a group he ran. Another man asked her what her interests were in this or that. Another man seemed to stare at her from across the space, keeping eyes on her often, but seeming to be shy when she noticed his glances. He seemed especially interested in what she was doing and where she was. Leila smiled at all these behaviors, and remembered how good it is to be out among the living, where she can be fully appreciated for all her fabulousness.

I can see why the others have tried to trap her away, though; she is decisive. Or not. She is determined. Or bored. She is playful and sultry, or temperamental and stubborn. She is what she wants to be, whenever she wants to be it. This isn’t something that our society deems acceptable from women. Women are supposed to be nurturing and giving; long suffering and understanding; patient and kind. Women fix the wounds of others, they don’t inflict them. Women follow after the leaders, they don’t become them. Women are supposed to complement men, not out shine them. And Leila doesn’t give a fuck.

Leila is Leila.

She is her own storm. Her own energy. Her own life force.

If she is too much for you, you better get the fuck out of her way.

If you want to know her, you might want to think of offering her a bite to eat, or a nice margarita.

If you want to love her, you’d better come with a lot of tools in your arsenal, because she is fickle and charming and difficult and silly and ornery and generous and more than a galaxy of amazing…

but not everyone can handle all of that so she usually stays locked up inside the church.

But now I’ve found the key to her prison, and I’ve set the captive free…

Blue Moon a’rising

It is windy today, the day after a small storm blows through the town. The branches have been wrested off of trees, and lay in random configurings throughout the park, on the street, in the dirt. It is sunny, and blue, and warm today. But not too warm. Not muggy like it was yesterday, just before the storm hit. Not swealtery. It is a perfect summer day, with a slight breeze, and a slow, unconcerned ticking of the hands on the clock. This day could last forever. All of eternity might exist in this one meandering day of summer.

Not like last night, when the wind picked up speed, and shook the telephone poles, and forced strange worried sounds out of the trees. Not like the flurry of activity that occurred as people ran into houses and buildings, trying to escape the fierce breath of the wind forcing against them, making them feel like they are walking on treadmills, rather than out for an evening stroll.

The dirt from the road construction beats against the early evening walkers, pelting their eyes and faces with speckles of sand. Grit and grime cling to the walkers as the rain smatters the earth. Lightning flashes, electricity sparks, and the sky grows dark far too quickly. “We must press on,” the two tell each other in loud voices, trying to be heard over the distant cries of fire trucks and ambulances. “We must continue to move”. On they travel, faster now, trying to reach their destination before they get caught in the destructive force of the sudden storm. And finally reaching the rendezvous point, they make the drop, exchange the goods, and head out again into the face of certain doom. And yes, the world is a darker place now. Now that they have acquired the package. The surrounding environment seems heavier, bleaker, more kissed by the lips of city than it was just a moment ago. But still they press on, this time headed for a different destination. A safer place. A quieter place. Somewhere they can finally rest.

And once at the safe destination, the travelers are finally able to think about the morrow, and the hope of the shining sun. Perhaps they WILL survive the night, now that they have risked lung and limb to acquire what must be had. And so finally, our two weary sojourners collapse in heaps, open the precious parcel, and withdraw the potentially dangerous goods. “Ahhhh,” says the one to the other, “this is so what I needed”. And drowning herself in her Blue Moon, she forgets about the long day, and the hard life, and the inner turmoil, and floats away on a river of tasty hoppiness. Accidental hoppiness, perhaps. And she drinks herself silly, and determines that all will be well in the morning. 

And it is.

the Archivist


There are many names I had as a child. Nicknames given to me by parents and grandparents, and maybe friends. Names like Nellie, and Bunny, and Big D. Many of my childhood friends called me Nellie, a natural derivative of my full name Denelle. My grandmother called me Nellie Bly, though at the time I didn’t know she was actually sort of naming me after another person. Was my grandmother prophetic? Could she actually see into the future – as I sometimes can – enough to know that this name would fit me so well? Was she prophetically laying on me an adventuresome personality full of spunk and a disregard for conventional roles and behavior, just like my namesake?

My father called me Tiger, and more often Scooter. To this day I’m not certain he remembers my real name, because it is always Scooter from him. It’s a name I’m fond of. My mother called me Christina Marie when I was in trouble. And I used to be called Denny. This was a name I chose on my own. But unlike other names (Sweet Pea, for example, which never really took) I managed to force my family to call me Denny for an entire year, or maybe longer. Other names I used to go by I have found in secret places, like diaries, old coloring books, and that sort of thing. Christi. Sandi. Cindy. I had secret names, and secret codes, and secret lives that I am only now trying to discover and unfold.

But many of my selves have no specific name, though the individuality is very distinct. There are parts of me that existed in the past, and experienced certain things that others didn’t experience. And these people maybe weren’t brave enough, or stupid enough to stick themselves out and demand a different name. And so, to help myself – and my sister – identify these people, we are giving them names now.

Some of these people you will probably get to know over the course of time, if you hang around the blog. Stormy. Joey-girl. Mexico. You’ll hear me talk about Scritchy, and Lil’ Bird, maybe. Or Bubbles. But today you will hear about The Archivist.

Some of my people, like The Archivist, have titles rather than names. The Archivist actually just got her title, and thank the gods for it. One night talking to my sister, The Archivist pushed her way to the surface, angry and tired and frustrated. And swearing. She was nameless at the time, a hidden identity that had not previously surfaced. I have to admit that I must have known of her frustrations and issues, because I’d written a poem a year or two earlier, complaining of the same things she was lamenting.

She was a sort of janitor, this one. For a great many years – I imagine since my late teens – no one in “the system” or “Team Denelle” wanted to admit that we had others running around in there. No one wanted to deal with the craziness of being Multiple. So walls went up, and everyone went into their own hidey hole, and all the innards went into lock down, needing to hide emotions, thoughts, instincts and memories. This made it difficult to recall things sequentially (like which teachers I had in which grades), and immediately (like where did I lay down my keys, or that missing bra?)

This janitor person was probably created to move all the memories around. Some of my people are too little, and they don’t have certain memories like the others, or even vocabulary advanced enough to explain some of the things that went on in my life. Those memories couldn’t be around the littles, because that would be upsetting. So they needed to be dumped somewhere else. Some of my people hated my mom and loved my father, and vice versa. Some personalities loved everyone in the world, and some people would have grown up to be assassins. But everyone, regardless of name, personality traits or clothing preferences, all of my people were plagued by our past. Our history. The skeletons emerging out of the closet, chasing us down, and trying to consume our life. So for years and years, this janitor person tried to bury the memories somewhere, in some hidden compartment of the soul, or under some forgotten year of the life; a giant dust ball to be swept under a rug.

The Archivist came out one night, complaining. There is no more room, she said. There is no place left to go. No place left to hide. We have run from this past so many times, and hid in all the good places. Now there is just shit everywhere, and it’s exhausting. Hiding information from everyone is impossible. Trying to maintain secrecy about this issue is impossible. This personality was at the end of her rope, because she couldn’t keep up with everything. Where do I put all this shit??? How am I supposed to shovel this shit around forever??? Yeah, my sister and I could see that trying to hide reality from yourself was an overwhelming task. Plus there were no good bennies.

So we gave her a name, or a title really, and told her that instead of hiding and burying all of the information, she should catalogue it. We talked to her about some of the movies we’d seen, like Dream Catchers which, though very weird, has a fabulous scene revealing an intricate and complex memory system in someone’s brain, complete with winding staircases, circular library vault, and oodles of books full of collected information. Harry Potter was helpful too, with Pensieves that could reveal the past, but beautiful little bottles that would contain the memories until they were needed. Instead of having all of these horrible memories lying around in the brain, like a barn full of shit, we could organize them, label them, file them away in little bottles, drawers, and boxes. She would be called The Archivist, and it would be her job to retrieve information as it was needed, and she could put it away in the manner she decided.

Wow, sorry. Long story. But since then, since the naming of The Archivist a few months ago, things have been a lot smoother for ‘the system’. Memories emerge in a less traumatic way. Associations are made more easily. I still can’t remember things I want to in the middle of a conversation with someone. I still know that I know the answer to something, and can’t manage to pull it out of the bank in time for the current discussion, but the ebb and flow of my daily existence seems to be going more smoothly. And I am increasingly more able to actually FEEL the things I have gone through. And THAT is a miracle right there, because there has been a need for detachment my whole life. But that is a whole different blog, for a whole other time.

For now, I have to give Kudos to my Archivist, and tell her she is doing an amazing job.  It’s kind of handy, having all these people inside. It’s kind of like being a fabulous museum full of wonderful art pieces, and all of my staff people have their own little jobs. You should try it sometime. Just be sure to include extra closets and basements for the storage of stuff you don’t want to look at, because leaving it around everywhere is dangerous. Or just start off by hiring yourself someone to take care of it all, but be sure they understand their job, and be sure to treat them right. Because it’s an important job, recalling and recounting the tales of life. And everyone could use an Archivist.



i’m in the wrong place at the right time.

i’ve never understood that idea or phrase,

thinking always that it meant

to be accidentally at the bank

at the moment it was being robbed

or to be finally sun bathing

in the nude

when a freak and heavy hailstorm hits

and you’ve only just gotten your

nipples pierced.

i didn’t know it meant this.

that i might be here

in this place …

the wrong place.

wrong for me in so many ways and

so many facets

and for so very many reasons a place

that is altogether not right.

yet it is quite the right time for me

to be wrong.

if ever there was a time

well suited for the wrongness

it is now.

and it is right,

this wrongness.

and thus the strange phrase finally

fits snugly inside my brain.

(written summer of 2009.  i think.  or fall.  maybe.)


i’m trying to understand.

really i am.

i’m not being bull-headed or

obstinate or

stubborn or


i’m not trying to pick a fight

or looking for trouble

or intending to get on someone’s

last nerve.

but still…

i’m not sure

what she wants of me.

what does she expect?

we’ve been together

so long now, you’d

think i’d know.

that i’d be able to read the


or see some


hints of what is

REALLY going on.

so i would know how to


what path to take.

which direction is


but in the end

it’s just as uncertain as

in the beginning.

(stranger in the mirror – 2010)






faerie Yahtzee

I’ve had some interesting phenomena going on in my room at night.

No no, this is of the G variety, until I wake up and get scared and start using R rated words.

It’s just that I’ve been hearing noises.

A scratching at the door, fingernails in the walls, scurry here scurry there. I guess we might have winter mice lurking about.

It’s scared the poop out of me, I admit. It’s no fun waking up in the middle of a good dream about KARL URBAN only to find that I’m crazy, because there really isn’t any little creature in my room. And then the idea of mice walking around while I sleep only conjures up images of 70’s horror movies, and then I’m awake all night.

But mice would only explain so much. The scratching, sure.

But what about all the other things?

What about this morning at 3.00 a.m., while I am safely walking the streets of slumberland, only to hear little tiny faeries playing Fairy Yahtzee in my room. I hear that familiar shake, shake, shake of the magical canister full of dice. I suppose it could be that the Faeries are playing Craps, but I think the sound would be different in that case. More swearing. And certainly less rattling.

I wake up in a shock and look frantically around my room, though of course it’s dark and I can’t see a thing. And while I would love to catch the Faeries in the act of a Full House, I’m still a bit afraid. Why are they playing board games in my room? Why now? Why wasn’t I invited?

Now if you are an adult (unlike some of us) you might want to use logic to chase away this Faerie gambling story. You might say, denelle, couldn’t it have been the ice in your huge freezer cup of water that repositioned itself as it settled in, and just SOUNDED like the roll of little dice? To which I would reply: SHUT UP. NO ONE ASKED YOU.

I mean of course, it can always be the practical thing. It could always be freezing rain hitting my window, or the heater blowing a straggling piece of loud and noisy cellophane wrapping across my floor. I suppose it’s more likely than goblins rappelling off my closet door, or house elves coming to clean for me (certainly more likely than that, since I know what the state of my room is). Still, there is the question in my mind…what is REALLY going on at night?

Is the house really settling? The house finally came to the realization – in the middle of the night – that maybe it doesn’t get to be a spa after all. It has to finally accept this sad truth and decides to do this at night? Why? Why not in the middle of the day, when no one is here to witness it sobbing about what it could have been in it’s glory days?

Or is it really the wind crying? Because the wind has it so bad. The adult explanations of the bumps in the night aren’t any more convincing to me than the children versions, which include fun things like the Boogey Man in the Closet, the Thing Under the Bed, Things That Go Bump in the Night, and of course gambling imps.

So whatever, bad weather, nocturnal creatures running around the house, or dice wielding winkies, it all adds up to the same thing;

I’m not getting any sleep. I’m obviously going to have to start drinking again.


1.6.10 4:16 am