Monday, August 30, 2010

The Woman with Holes

There was a little girl whose world was full of holes. Big ones. Small ones. Ones that only tripped up her foot. A bit like protruding gnarled tree root. 
She fell. Maybe she scrapped her knee. But she got straight back up. 
Then there were other holes. Nasty ones with sharp teeth and big jaws that sucked her in and swallowed her up. 

Other people did not see the holes in her world. But she saw them. There was one next to her bed most mornings. It is hard to get out of bed when you are worried about falling into a hole. And sometimes it was hard to face the day when she knew there would be more holes everywhere she walked. 

So the little girl was scared a lot. Other people didn't understand that. They told her to smile. What was she afraid of? What could possibly happen? But the girl knew. She was scared of her holes. Scared that she wouldn't see them. Or that someone would say something, or do something that would push her into a hole. Or that she would see the hole, but only when it was too late and she was already falling.

Some holes were not so bad. They didn't scare the little girl so much. Those holes were shallow. The kind of holes that didn't block the sun, even at the bottom. Those were the holes the girl fell into when she couldn't run fast enough to win the race, or because she growled at someone she loved, or maybe just because it had been raining for days. She'd sit in those holes for a little while, but then she'd remember that not everyone is a fast runner. She could say sorry to the person she growled at. And if she waited just a little longer the sun's light would reach her again. Sometimes she even remembered how to enjoy the rain. Even rain that went on for days. Puddles were fun sometimes too.

But then there were other holes. Sink holes. There was no sun at the bottom of those holes. It was so dark the girl could not even see herself. She could hear things. Like her Mommy screaming. Or feel things. Things that hurt. But she was lost in her hole. Lost, even to herself.
Those holes scared the little girl so much she started pretending that bad things weren't happening. She told herself not to think about them. Ever. Then she wouldn't sit in holes, and that was just fine with her.

For a while that was okay. All the bad wolf holes were covered. Or she cover them when they appeared by pretending to be someone else or be somewhere else. She got very good at that game. Very good indeed.

Then the little girl grew up and became a woman. Because that is what Little Girl's do.

The Sink Holes started appearing again. No matter how hard she tried not to think about sad things, the  sad things came and found her. She thought about Little Sister. She used to tell her stories and make her laugh. That is what big sisters do. Little Sister's laughing always mad her laugh. Little Sister used to watch her eat ice-blocks, and then try to eat hers the exact same way. That is what Little Sister's do. 
You might think that sounds like a happy thing to think. It's not. Little sister grew up too. And she got sick. Too sick to hear the stories. And much to sick to eat ice-blocks. Maybe one day... see the woman was thinking sad things again.

When she thought sad things for too long, she cried. And when she cried the ground beneath her feet got soggy. That is when the holes opened up. The sadder the thing she was thinking, the more tears, and the more tears, the deeper the hole.

Those kind of holes scared the woman.  She worried about not being able to get out. Not ever. And having to live her life out at the bottom of a hole. Which would be dark. And cold. And very very lonely. No one would come looking for her, because no one saw the holes in her world.

One day she got brave. Or perhaps she was more scared of the sink holes than she was of telling someone about them. So she told. She told her Sink Hole stores until she cried and cried. 

The Listener was very good. Gifted even. She saw the holes. The big ones and the small ones.  Together The Listener and the Woman with Holes started talking about how to fill them in. How to build bridges. How to tell other people in her life about the holes. How to make paths. Safe paths. Paths that curved around Sink Holes. It didn't mean the woman didn't fall. It meant she was not alone. The Listener sat by the edge of those holes until the woman worked out how to climb up again.

Now days the woman is still scared of holes. It's becoming a healthy fear. One she uses to remember to look where she is going and where she is putting her feet. She still climbs out of holes. 

Maybe one day there won't be holes. But until then, she is not alone. She climbs. She talks. And she writes.


What about you? Do you have holes? Do you climb? Do you talk? Do you write?

(image credit:


  1. I write, and I climb. I talk to you, too :)

  2. The biggest holes are the ones in our minds. Once we learn to skirt around them we begin to feel happy and confident. Beautiful post Tabitha Bird and thanks for sharing.

  3. A lot of the last year for me has been sitting at the bottom of holes I never knew I was in. Holes that wrapped around you and pretended to look like safety. Holes that stopped you seeing the darkness of the hole swallowing the little person you are there to protect.
    Yep, I know about holes, too, Tab. And I'm learning about ladders. My bridges aren't strong enough to walk on yet, but I know I'll get there. Writing is one way I'm learning how.

  4. This was a very moving story. Me, I trip and fall still. But learning to write and carrying a rope just in case.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  5. Writing was one way I starting learning too Lisa :)
    Thanks for visiting :)

    Jules- write and carry that rope girl :)))

  6. A thought provoking post Tabitha, I think we all have holes it's how we deal with them that matters.

    Have a good day.

  7. I really like this: "And when she cried the ground beneath her feet got soggy. That is when the holes opened up. The sadder the thing she was thinking, the more tears, and the more tears, the deeper the hole."

    Of course we relate other stories to our own story. Fifteen years ago I suffered big time with depression. The more that I cried the deeper the hole. I relate.

    My way of getting out of holes has always been my faith and writing (of course). A little therapy and medication wouldn't have hurt me either. :)

    Great post!!!


  8. Wow, Tab, what a post. I felt your heart in this one girl.

    I think we'll all have holes on this side of eternity. And just like that woman with holes, God brings people into our life to help us navigate them. But sometimes we fall - sometimes we just need to know this world is broken and something better awaits those who call on the name of Jesus

  9. What a great way to describe the pits of our lives, Tab. I have a feeling your memoir is just beautiful! Can't wait to read it!

  10. The wacky thing about fear is that the more we strive to avoid the fearfull things, the more preoccupied our minds become with avoiding them. Paralyzing, really. If we experience the terrifying thing, though, and live, the fear can be reduced. I think that what we are most afraid of is the emotion of anxiety itself.

  11. OMG how I feel those holes... I have them too. Writing helps a whole lot! Brilliant post Tabitha!

  12. Hole-ier than thou, Tabitha. Strong armed though, from all that climbing out. "Don't approach your history as something to be shaken for its cautionary fruit" someone said. Can we avoid the holes without looking downcast? I'm trying to look up.

    Deeply touching.

  13. I've spent a life trapped in holes. I've finally found my way out and now I just trip over one here and there! Thank God for writing and friends!!!

  14. Lovely. I think you described me to T! I think the world is full of holes someday. Thankfully I have a great father in heaven who likes to hep me from falling in them!

  15. I know all about the holes. And, weirdly, I just wrote something this morning that touches upon my childhood habit of being someone different every day.

    Any time you need a hand across, or up and out, mine are at your service. :-)

  16. O.M.G. Your way of seeing and talking and writing about things makes my heart hurt and then leap for joy. Yes, there will always be holes. But once we learn to be conscious, we avoid them more and more. Glad you are back here, Tab. I missed you this week.

  17. Yeah, I have a few holes of my own. But I also have the support of my family. And the goog Lord above makes sure there is no hole too big that I'll never be able to get out of.

  18. This was such a powerful post, Tabitha. It made me cry. I think perhaps we all have holes at one time or another. I think I tend to try to put them out of my mind. If I don't think about the holes, they drift away.

  19. Everyday seems like a constant battle to fill those holes.

  20. You have such a way with words. Sometimes I do have holes, and sometimes I don't, but I'm always thankful the Lord can fill them.

  21. Oh, Tab. I LOVE your writing, which comes from a deep hole inside that you let me peer into.

    Yes, I have holes. But God has covered them all with sewer lids. Big clanking things that keep the bad stuff from coming out and spewing all over everyone. I do cry out the bad stuff, though. And that cleansing process helps.

    You go, girl. Step around the holes. He'll show you the Way, the Truth, the Life.

  22. I filled a few holes this weekend:) I'm constantly being confronted with an area in my life that needs attention. The biggest holes have been covered my God's love and grace. I'm peeking at the pot holes now that I've overlooked for far too long!

  23. This is beautiful You have a real talent with words and images. I can very much relate to the story.

  24. I think I'm a talker..... :O)

  25. The imagery this created was remarkable... if there are holes I see, they are mostly in my heart.
    Sending you love, friend... :)

  26. goodness, this was beautiful. i tend to drop into my holes....and can't come out....but I need to be more positive.


  27. Thanks for visiting Lisa :) I try positivity too. Sometimes I find it is okay just to be sad.

  28. Thank you everyone for your comments. They mean a lot. Hopefully I have gotten around to all your blogs now even though I was absent last week. I am still not feeling great, but I am writing again. Important, I think :)

  29. Hi Tabitha. I love this story! It resonates with me - why wouldn't it? We all have holes. Well written!

    this is my first visit to your blog. (through your comment on WIP it) I'll be following now :) Stop by sometime :)


  30. Thank you for visiting Kim and thanks for those comments. I am smiling BIG :)

  31. TB what an inspiring post. You share and explain so well what many of us cannot described deep within our pain. Thank you for bringing up some of our thoughts and expressing them for us. Blessings to you dear.

  32. Tabitha..a really wonderful post! Holes exist in our minds. Both: as writers and humans we have many holes to jump over, walk past and navigate. I could literally feel the little girl's pain.
    I write and climb and talk and pray.

  33. Another brilliant metaphor, Tab. It's so nice to see you back. Yes to all your questions - right along with you. We are truly not alone.

  34. What a wonderful talent you have for putting into words what some of us also experience.

    Thank you ❤❤❤

    I would be most interested in finding out what age you met The Listener and learnt to 'build bridges' and make 'safe paths'?

    It would also be interesting to find out whether our 'holes' will ever disappear, or whether we are destined to live with them?

    Wishing you a safe journey in the near future :)

  35. This is so beautiful Tabitha. This story resonates with so many of us. I would like to share it with my therapist if that was okay with you.

  36. Hey Di. Thank you for visiting. I tried to click over to your blog but there was no link.I wanted to tell you that of course you may share this with your therapist :) I'm always so happy when my word touch someone else. Share whatever you find here that is helpful to you :)
    Come back and leave me link. I'd love to visit you in blogging world.