"WITH HER EYES WIDE CLOSED!"
by Lisa Krause
Many years ago and far away in a small mountain town, a baby girl was born. Her name was Lucy Rose. She was very tiny because she arrived unexpectedly two months early one Sunday winter's morning. Her mother's name was Millicent and her father's name was John. They were hard-working people with good hearts. She was to be their only child. They loved her very much and were happy that she had chosen them to be her parents.
Lucy was a quiet and sensitive girl who had feelings of loneliness a great deal of the time. She wanted to put her roots deeply into the ground, but because of the dynamics of her family and their military life's many moves, she learned not to get too attached to other people. She learned at a young age how to entertain and be with herself. She had many warm, simple, and happy early childhood memories the most vivid of which included....
- The smell of almond flavoring in her mother's Sunbeam mixer...
- The sight of herself wearing the pink sunsuit her father brought to her after being on a business trip the one with the heart-shaped top that, in a silly fashion, attempted to cover her three year old breasts...
- The arrival of her family's first television set the one with the blond wooden finish that stood on legs and was delivered by a man with no nose...
- Waiting each week to see "Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Eleanor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin" in "Father Knows Best!"
- Being the first on her block to receive the original Mickey Mouse Club Ears along with a charter membership certificate and membership card...
- Eating graham crackers with leftover green frosting that her mother made for her and her friends....
- Sneaking to watch "Queen for a Day" with Jack Bailey. Her mother did not allow her to watch this show because she didn't want her to know that such unhappiness existed in the world!
When Lucy was nine years old, her mother developed a progressive and crippling disease that created a great deal of sadness for her entire family. Her mother was a lovely and beautiful woman with an always-positive attitude, a wonderful smile, and a great sense of dignity. No one in her family discussed their feelings about the reality of her mother's disease and the impact it had on each of them. Instead, denial prevailed and everyone lived their lives sadly and without honest expression.
Lucy grew a little too tall--a little too fast but soon her friends most importantly the boys caught up to her in height. Yippee!! She was actually quite beautiful and had many boyfriends. She liked school and, before she knew it, it was time for Lucy to leave home and go to college. She appreciated her parent's generosity and encouragement as they put aside their personal issues and insisted that she leave home to begin her own journey!! She went far away from home to attend her father's alma mater. She sometimes had to pinch herself to actually realize that she had the freedom to do basically whatever she wanted to do whenever she wanted to do it! She liked the feeling! Lucy joined a sorority, studied, made lots of friends and danced into many nights. One special day during her junior year, while walking between classes, she met a handsome prince named Fred. He was very romantic and, within a few short months, the prince asked Lucy Rose to marry him. Her answer was a definitive "yes." The wedding arrangements were made. The Kingdom rejoiced!! The wedding was to be held in a large cathedral. (Lucy had just seen "The Sound of Music" and she dreamed of having her wedding in a church as beautiful as the one in which Maria Von Trapp had been wed.) Her father walked her down the aisle and gave her hand to Prince Fred. They said their vows in front of a beautiful altar aglow with candles and covered with early summer flowers. The priest pronounced them man and wife and the happy couple kissed. When Lucy Rose's lips touch Prince Fred's her eyes closed and she went into a deep-deep sleep. She did not lie down during her long sleep. In fact, she was able to move about quite well. No one even knew that she was sleeping. The joyful couple enjoyed their wedding reception and said good-bye to their families and friends. Lucy handed Fred the steering wheel to her life and they drove away on their honeymoon. It was wonderful.
As time passed......
- Lucy and Fred worked together to help each other graduate from college. Her eyes were closed.
- Prince Fred's Kingdom was not a particularly wealthy one so they had to work very hard to get established. Lucy got her first "real" job while Fred did an internship for his profession. Her eyes were closed.
- Lucy loved her husband. Her eyes were closed.
- Lucy and Fred bought a small acreage where they raised and trained royal guard dogs. They both worked very hard. Her eyes were closed.
- Lucy and Fred had great fun decorating their palace. They planted hundreds of trees, added rooms, and furnished it with fun and unusual furniture. It was very cozy and enjoyed by everyone who visited there. Her eyes were closed.
- Prince Fred dedicated himself to building his professional kingdom. However, he resented Lucy's putting so much effort into their royal guard dogs and felt that he was not getting the attention he wanted to receive. They never discussed the fact that they were possibly ignoring their relationship because they were both working so hard.
- Fred dealt with these feelings by having an affair with a young married maid in a neighboring village. Lucy was devastated and, for a long, long while and felt that their problems were all her fault. Fred and Lucy separated twice during this time and remained separated until Fred decided that he wanted to come home. Because she valued and believed in her marriage so much, she blinked once and again closed her eyes. She never had the same depth of feelings and sense of forever-ness that she had had before. In fact, it took her years to trust or feel comfortable with Fred on any level. Her eyes were closed.
- In an effort to rebuild their lives together, Lucy happily gave up her business. Lucy and Fred moved into a bigger and more beautiful palace in the village. They loved their new home and did not miss the country. Lucy was happy to give up her work with the royal guard dogs so that she could dedicate herself to her marriage. Her eyes were closed.
- Lucy and Fred loved to entertain. They were known for their gourmet meals and lavish dinner parties. They enjoyed traveling, attending plays, concerts, and the symphony. Her eyes were closed.
- Lucy became a collector of antiques and just about everything! People were amazed at her sense of humor and her ability to put different, eclectic, and unusual things together. Fred was very patient with some of her decorating schemes! Her eyes were closed.
- Lucy loved her husband. Her eyes were closed.
- Lucy and Fred had many friends with cold wet noses, four legs, and tails or feathers whom she adored. Her eyes were closed.
- After many years, Lucy and handsome Prince Fred were happily surprised with the birth of a baby daughter. They named her Chelsea Rose. She was a miraculous gift and the light of their lives for they had waited eighteen years for her to arrive. Her eyes were closed.
- The Prince did not want Lucy Rose to work so she sleepily agreed and cared for Chelsea and matters relating to the palace, worked on her artwork, and continued to do volunteer work. Prince Fred began to resent her volunteering to work with other people and felt that all of her time should be spent with Chelsea Rose. He admonished her saying, "Why don't you just go home and be Donna Reed." Her eyes were closed.
- Lucy loved her husband. Her eyes were closed.
- Lucy became a more serious artist and, to her surprise, realized that she was actually quite talented. Doors opened for her and people were eager to have her artwork around them because it made them smile. Prince Fred was not totally comfortable with her newfound success and said that she "could do her artwork as long as she was not too successful!" and as long as it did not interfere with her time with Chelsea and her royal duties. Her eyes were closed.
- Lucy, Fred, and Chelsea moved into an even larger castle with servants, jewels, furs, and the finest automobiles. They traveled to exotic places and dined at the best restaurants. Her eyes were closed.
- Despite their lavish lifestyle and all of the comforts they could possibly enjoy, the castle seemed to develop a sometimes sad atmosphere. Fred did not seem happy and Lucy had feelings of frustration a great deal of the time. Their times of intimacy diminished. It seemed that Fred grew uneasy and very independent and detached with his business dealings. On one hand, he wanted to be ever-more powerful, successful, intimidating, and dynamic in his work. On the other, he seemed to resent Lucy for her pampered and non-working lifestyle. The irony was that this was the lifestyle that he had created, insisted upon, and encouraged. Nothing Lucy did met his expectations or was quite enough for him and for want he wanted for Chelsea. She resented his cold arrogance and withholding nature.
It was almost as though he was setting her up to fail so that he could find fault with her. Her eyes were closed.
Then one day, an ugly stepmother named Spring Morn appeared. She took a position working for Prince Fred. She was very young and was disguised as a nice person. She had a kingdom of her own complete with a small palace, prince and a royal dog. Spring Morn visited Lucy's castle at Prince Fred's invitation while Lucy and Chelsea were away. She liked what she saw! She and Fred decided that they should be one or three with Chelsea as their daughter. They began making plans to create their own kingdom. She left her own palace, prince, and royal dog.
She had found the opportunity to become the princess she had yearned to be. Because Lucy's eyes were closed so tightly, she was not aware that this was happening.
One night when they were alone on the evening before Chelsea Rose's first day at the Royal Academy, Prince Fred pricked Lucy's finger with the back of the new diamond broach he had given to her for their twenty fourth wedding anniversary. A single tear fell on the satin pillow as she grimaced in pain. She awakened instantly. The Prince was gone. In the days and weeks that followed, Lucy's single tear gave way to bucketsful of tears. She remembered that this had happened ten years before. This time, there was a greater sense of finality and brutality. Turning back was not an option for anyone. Her eyes were opened widely and she could see more clearly, but she still could not understand why this had happened. Handsome Prince Fred blamed her for everything and said that he had no choice but to leave with Spring Morn because she had been such a terrible wife and did not meet the royal standards. Her heart was broken. She had been discarded and replaced.
She no longer knew who she was because her life and her self ---for her entire adult life had been defined by her marriage and by how Fred perceived and felt about her. What would Donna Reed have done in this situation??
Proceedings began to dissolve the royal marriage and Lucy retained a famous barrister named Sir Michael. During the very long, expensive, and tedious legal process that followed, Lucy tried many things to help her feel better and to attempt to heal her heart.....
- She joined a health club and exercised every day.
- She began seeing a very compassionate therapist who proved a safe place for Lucy to speak freely and share her thoughts. He helped to awaken a very deep and meaningful spirituality in her.
- She surrounded herself with loving and supportive friends with whom she talked endlessly.
- She dated many different people. She believed that if her social calendar was totally filled she must be all right.
- She read stacks and stacks of self-help, personal growth and spiritual enlightenment books and knew everyone in the metaphysical department of her favorite bookstore on a first-name basis.
- She loved to knit and needlepoint and comforted herself by buying enough yarn to knit sweaters for the entire world!
- She meditated and gave herself affirmations each day. She discovered that she had angels around her. They liked it when she bought a beautiful pair of angel wings which she wore often especially when she vacuumed!
Her tears soothed her eyes and she began to see more clearly. She worked hard to try to maintain a close relationship with Chelsea Rose. It was a little difficult at times because she spent half of her time with Fred and Spring. She loved them and loved the opulent lifestyle she had with them. Spring Morn wanted badly to be as close to Chelsea as a mother could be--for that was important to Prince Fred. He supported her totally in that role and worked hard to minimize the value of Lucy's place in Chelsea's life being ever-more judgmental and critical of Lucy's parenting style through out their separation and divorce.
Fred and Spring married when the divorce was finalized. They soon added to their family with the adoption of two baby girls from Russia whom Chelsea adored. Lucy was proud of Chelsea's capacity for love and acceptance of her sisters. However, Lucy was plagued even more with feelings of inadequacy. She questioned the appeal and desirability of her single and relatively simple lifestyle. As time passed, and for many years thereafter, Lucy's greatest personal challenge when she was not feeling strong, was to come to terms with the devastating depression surrounding the discrepancies that existed between her life and that of Fred and Spring.
She and Fred had entered into their marriage with little more than an education, an opportunity, and a willingness to work. Through dedication and a team effort, they had built a small business empire around Fred's profession. Once their divorce was finalized, Fred's success began to soar. Lucy felt paralyzed at times and felt that his success was a mirror for her lack of success financially and therefore, her value as a person. She did not aspire to attain the lifestyle she had previously known, but she wanted to be able to achieve a certain level of financial freedom. Sometimes she felt as though she was walking through mud wearing waders.
Many months after her separation, Lucy Rose decided that she was ready to go back to work. She got a job selling beautiful gourmet and gift items to stores for people to purchase for their homes. It was a good job for her because of her love of decorating and entertaining. It also forced her to become more outgoing and to sell herself. She met many new and different types of people. She was basically private and a little shy so dealing with new acquaintances helped her to begin developing a sense of confidence in herself. Lucy loved working and developing a career but she realized that she had also loved being married. It was natural for her to long to return to the dreamy sleep state in which she had lived for so many years.
Lucy's boss was a man named Quinn. Within months of her employment at her new job, he began to pursue her personally. She resisted for a long while, but ultimately succumbed to his charm and his deep eyes. She grew to genuinely love him. Everyone felt the chemistry between them. He was so attractive to her. He looked like he would be the perfect man to be at the head of her Thanksgiving table carving that turkey and wearing a cardigan sweater. He thought he loved her too and Lucy believed in her heart that he wanted to be with her as much as she wanted to be with him. She yearned for that closeness. He gave just enough cues verbal and physical to keep her hopeful and interested. The reality of the situation was that she was simply convenient for him a detail in his life! She was there whenever he needed or wanted to be with her. She was vulnerable to his kind words, but realized in time that his deeds were not always so kind. Loving him was very seductive for Lucy. To think that she could be the one woman who could "help" this big, handsome, and huggable devoted bachelor decide that he wanted to share his life and commit to someone was proof that she was special after all. He was a good man, but she learned with this experience, that both people must want the relationship to work -- Just because she wanted to wake up with him every single morning of her life did not mean that he did or that he shared the same goals.
The reason that he had never married was probably quite simple it was not his choice. It seemed that he had a lot to offer but nothing to give. He actually put very little energy into the relationship and would, in reality, have never allowed it to succeed. He "sent her to her room" personally and professionally with his actions. She was once again filled with sadness, frustration, and loneliness and felt very disappointed in herself. She knew in her heart that their lives were better not being together...but she missed the "idea" of him. She felt little moments of nostalgia and desire for him for a couple of years as she withdrew from her addiction to him. Lucy learned with this experience that she wanted to meet a man head-on with a sense of equality. She did not want to be with someone who expected her to do all of the work in their relationship.
She began to date other people. She quickly discovered that she did not like one-night stands. She realized that she had had four years of one-night stands in her relationship with Quinn. In time, she was grateful that their largely negative relationship had ended. She grew to understand that, in many ways, he was Prince Fred wearing a different outfit. Both Fred and Quinn knew where her tender vulnerabilities lay. Although they did it in different ways, they could each attack her soft, sensitive places with deadly accuracy. In one moment's time, they could skillfully reduce her to the deepest depths of depression, feeling and believing that she was totally inadequate and of no value. There was no doubt that she allowed this to happen. This was the essence of the shadow side that was at the core of her being. She realized that these were life-long issues and hoped that, in time, and with enough work, she could put these demons to rest. She needed to understand deep in her heart and in her brain that for both Fred and Quinn to feel good about themselves, they needed to make her feel horrible about herself. A great deal of their behavior had absolutely nothing to do with her! She knew that she had grown and learned through her experiences with Fred, Quinn and a few significant others, that she had visited this type of relationship for the last time. She was now ready to go forward in a healthier manner attracting people into her life who were stronger, sensitive, more passionate, and more positive.
Lucy dedicated herself to Chelsea Rose, her artwork, work exercise, and a handful of special friends. She realized that many of these friends had also been asleep for varying reasons and periods of time. They were sensitive and introspective people who had experienced life-changing events resulting from the loss of a mate through death or divorce, issues or problems relating to their children, the illness or deaths of close family members or friends, dealing with an openness regarding their sexuality, professional crises, continuing issues relating to their families and childhood experiences, health problems....These occurrences had given them the deepest wisdom and level of understanding that she had ever known and that she had never realized existed in people. These people were all opening their eyes!! She began to have many new emotions and sense changes taking place within her mind and body. It was as though she had swallowed a rainbow of colors and feelings. Even the darkest sunglasses could not shield the light in her eyes.....
Sometimes she felt as though the doors of her heart actually opened wide. She could be happier, more optimistic, laugh more heartily, and feel more passionately than ever before. She could also feel a deeper sense of emotional sadness and loneliness at these times. Her tears seemed to come from a place so far inside of her that she never knew it existed. All of her senses seemed to be standing at attention more open and alive. She began to trust her intuition and her heart. She also discovered that there was a rhythm and synchronicity to her life. If she were open to them, little messages or answers to questions she might have would come to her most often in unexpected ways on a bumper sticker, billboard, radio or television commercial, overhearing someone's conversation, someone's unexpected appearance, or by a thought simply jumping into her mind. She tried to acknowledge these happenings and always smiled at their occurrences. These messages were little hugs from the Universe that seemed to reassure Lucy that things were just as they were supposed to be.
She longed to be held close, nurtured, touched, and surrounded by the presence of a strong man. Her skin was hungry to be touched. Sometimes she just wanted to be petted. She yearned to cuddle up to watch a movie on television, to sleep in the "spoon position" or to play footsie while reading a good book. She also dreamed of making love slowly, passionately, and gently of being undone.
She missed the friends that she and Fred had known together. Their lives were so different to her now and everyone seemed to disappear. She did not know what to say to them when she actually did see them. It was as though her life represented a strong mirror for them and it was uncomfortable for everyone. She never knew whether the uneasiness was a result of her own feelings or their fears or possible unspoken desires of finding themselves in her situation. She understood...the reasons didn't really matter.
She started her own business and was both proud and surprised to discover that people actually trusted and believed in her. People were constantly telling her that they valued her and what she was trying to achieve by allowing her to work for them. It was a very empowering experience as well as a humbling one. The requests for her artwork also began to flourish. She was thrilled on one hand and terrified on the other. It made her smile to realize that even at her most challenging and darkest times, her artwork had a whimsical and joyful feeling at it's core.
The person deep inside of her was a happy one after all! Little memories of her days of feeling totally inadequate and incapable would occasionally creep into her mind those demons once again. They would play tricks with her and she would wonder who she really was. Was she the capable strong woman who presented herself to the world....or was she the woman who felt that she was so worthless that she should not show her face in the light of day? What if she could not do a good job??.....but what if she DID do a good job? What if they were happy with her? Could she allow herself to succeed? The choice was clearly hers to make. Happily, in time, the little voices inside of her mind began to quiet and she was able to learn to get out of her own way and move forward.
She began to give herself permission to succeed. Her relationship with Chelsea Rose grew despite both of them having growing pains. They often enjoyed doing things together just the two of them. Chelsea was very wise for years in many ways. Lucy loved her so much and enjoyed watching her develop into a lovely young woman. She did find it difficult to realize that Chelsea's approach to life was very different from her own. She was clearly her own person a quality for which Lucy was grateful. However, many of her personality characteristics were chillingly familiar to Lucy. Her sometimes cool, withholding, and seemingly insensitive nature created a distance between them that was painful at times. She wondered if Chelsea's hardness and detached manner were a function of her personality, of being an almost-teenager, or because of experiences relating to her parent's difficult divorce. Friends assured her that, in time, their closeness would become more consistent and that she was important to Chelsea even though she did not demonstrate it. Lucy found a quotation that she loved that stated that two of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child are "roots and wings. She was determined to provide Chelsea with a sense of history, permanence, a lack of judgment, and the opportunity to go forward. She felt that it was important to offer a sense of freedom to experience and learn without great control so that she could develop the ability to make wise choices for herself.
Lucy did learn to enjoy her life as a single person. She realized that there were wonderful benefits to being Al-ONE....
- She could soak in long, luxurious, and sensuous candlelit bubble baths.
- She could talk on the telephone for hours and hours or she could not answer the telephone at all.
- She could treat herself to special presents without having to be sensible.
- She could read or needlepoint in bed and fall asleep with all of the lights on.
- She could watch the same mushy movie as often as she wanted and laugh or cry out loud each time.
- She could decide to "play house" and re-arrange her furniture any time of the day or night.
- She could light a million candles and listen to Gregorian Chants or Donna Summer echoing from her stereo.
- She could eat the same thing for dinner every night of the week while standing at the kitchen sink or enjoy a nice meal while sitting at her cozy table with candlelight, a glass of wine, and a cloth napkin.
- She could sleep in the middle of her king-sized bed and invite her two dogs and an occasional cat or two to sleep with her happy in the knowledge that they would not want to leave.
- She could take goofy classes like belly-dancing and "how to flirt" and informative ones like dream analysis and Understanding the Tarot.
- She could dream with her eyes wide open.
Lucy was grateful to have had the opportunity to discover who she was and to develop a sense of being an "I." Had she not had the experiences she had had during the past several years, she would never have realized that she, herself, LUCY ROSE, did matter that she was a valuable and capable person...that she was all right just the way she was with no judgments or expectations except for those she placed on herself. She needlepointed a reminder to herself that read, "Don't should all over yourself!" which she place in a funky jeweled frame and hung in a prominent place in her home. She realized that her self-worth was no longer a reflection of how others perceived her.
Lucy had bought a wonderful and charming loft in an old building that she loved. She believed in creative visualization and her new home was exactly as she had envisioned it would be. She fussed, potchkeed around, and nested to maker her home a peaceful and loving sanctuary for herself, Chelsea, their family of animals, and any friends who visited them. She began to have new feelings of passion in all aspects of her life. She enjoyed caressing her home touching and treasuring the things she lived with and loved. Her life was deeply textural and she savored both the intense and simple parts of her surroundings.
Lucy met a friend who raised butterflies. As this woman described the all-too-short life's journey of the butterfly as it moved from being a caterpillar into the chrysalis stage and on to becoming a beautiful butterfly, Lucy felt a warm resonance. She could imagine herself as the shape-changing butterfly deep inside the chrysalis struggling to shed one physical form to assume another...with fluttering shimmery new wings.
She felt very optimistic about the future and was confident that she would prevail. She valued the challenging life experiences that she had had so far her mother's illness, her difficult divorce, her feelings and struggles about being a good mother, questions about her own self-worth.
She knew that such experiences contributed to the rich tapestry of her personality. She knew that, in time, she would learn to juggle all of the balls of her life being a mom, her family and friends, her career, artwork, zoo-keeping, homemaking, and any relationships she might have in a smoother and more graceful fashion.
Lucy was deeply grateful for the rich variety of friends she was attracting into her life...understanding so clearly that some were there for a reason...some for a season...and some for a lifetime. She was content within herself and knew that by being an open, loving, positive, and forgiving woman, she would attract a man whom she could respect and trust. There was a big space for this man and she knew he would be strongly humble, believe in himself, like and cherish women, and be able to give and accept love. He would share the same qualities, goals, and values that were important to her. If she did have another lifelong relationship, it would be with a new sense of aliveness, passion, gentleness, respect, and emotional intimacy than she had ever known before with her eyes opened brightly and her wings spread wide.
Lucy long-resisted becoming part of the computer age! However, she eventually realized that she needed to zoom into the then twentieth century! She used it for her business, to learn about the news and to find information. One fateful night, her fingers typed their way to "match.com."
Many of her friends were skeptical and concerned about Lucy's fore' into the cyber world. Chelsea went so far as to kid her mother about being a "cyber-slut!!....how rude! She did enjoy coming home greeting Chelsea and her critters and turning on her computer only to hear the immortal words, "You've got mail!!" One day she received an e-mail message from a man who lived in her city. It was an intriguing message from a man who appeared to be warm, humble, and comfortable in his own skin. His name was Jeff. They communicated via e-mail for about a month and began to develop a friendship. She spoke on the phone once and decided to meet in person....gulp! Lucy had been on many "first dates" and she was nervous!! They agreed to meet at a restaurant atop a well-known bookstore. Lucy would later reflect that it was as though "He came out of the darkness....into the light." His tall, handsome, and gentle presence surrounded her. They talked and laughed for several hours. Jeff had been married before and had four children. He had been divorced twice and had "done his homework." He was open and introspective. This unsuspecting Saturday afternoon marked the beginning of a beautiful and seamless relationship. Jeff and Lucy dated for a year and a half. They officially joined their lives when they hosted their own "surprise" wedding under the guise of a birthday party for two of their children. Their children, parents, and closest friends joined in the celebration!
Jeff and Lucy left the large city where they had spent most of their adult lives. Three of Jeff's four children live near this city. Chelsea Rose graduated from college, is in a loving relationship and is in graduate school studying to become a child psychologist. Jeff and Lucy are now realizing their dream of being full-time artists with a beautiful studio, a cozy cottage, their many animals, land, and a lake in a small rural community. Jeff is Lucy's friend, her lover, her partner, her confidant, and her support. They work together to face life's challenges and enjoy the comfort of being together.......He's very cute too and he loves to watch mushy movies crying and laughing out loud!!
My very best to you---and a BIG, BIG hug!!
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