Over this long weekend, wherein I am faced with lots of boxes and bags to unload from my recent move after 23-1/2 years in the same place (and having acquired thousands of books), I retreated to read all of Mickie’s writing that I possess, to whit: Journey Madly – Poems and Tattletales by Mickie Singer, a chapbook from 1998; and The Mystery That Binds Me Still, a 238-page book from 2005.
Lots of stuff in there I didn’t know or hadn’t remembered – like the fact that she had actually finished college and gone on to get a Master’s degree in education.
At one level the book – of which I think a newer version was published in England, perhaps with a different title – is a description of living with a variety of mental illnesses by the person who is in the process of living with those illnesses. Powerful on that level, and perhaps should be required reading for therapists, case workers, physicians, nurses.
Also just plain excellent writing, good and tight descriptions of her birth family, her various important relationships – the beginnings, middles and disintegrations. And to me a heart-breaking description of the triumph of the left brain by strength of will over the holistic right brain – and the damage and pain that caused Mickie for almost her entire life. She lays out clearly the path whereby at every juncture she overrode her intuition and made the logical, left brained, societally designated choice.
Most of what I knew about and from her showed me a different picture – she loved fairies and pixies, and indeed dressed and sang and played like one. She was the very picture of positive thinking, embodying the law of attraction. The interior though was full of self criticism, self doubt, no belief in herself. Her dad Mack – whom she says she adores and adored, which is not what I remember – evidently played at believing in fairies, and claimed to have 9 gods on his shoulders. His other behaviors, though, left her prey to her mother’s extensive emotional and verbal abuse, her brothers’ additional abuse, and was undercut by her father living as though intuition does not exist, though he tells his baby daughter all about them. Cognitive dissonance clearly ensued.
After Mack’s death, in Mickie’s mid-30’s, she describes poltergeist activity in the house, and says she knows it’s her father, and then proceeds to get fearful and hysterical about this phenomenon, which lasted a long time. She also infected her son with this fear. Why wasn’t she able just to talk to her dad about it, laugh about it, ask her dad to tone it down, or just put him to work finding more income for her single motherhood life? Interesting – and weird – to me that she could talk about spirituality, but seemed to be totally unable to believe it and act on it. Particularly when all the left brained activities you are involved in are making your miserable, I would certainly be tempted to take a step toward working a different way.
There are so many examples of her recognizing a good path, and then deciding it didn’t make logical sense, and taking another self destructive step.
Journey Madly is altogether different, totally charming, fun and energizing. I wish she had stuck with that script, and just faked it til she made it. So much pain in one small body. And, of course, she knew, as we all will, so much more two minutes after she left the planet. If only she had just turned the opposite direction with so many of her decisions, and trusted her beautiful inner self.