A Vast Wasteland

I rarely talk about my childhood and those bits I share have been sanitized for public viewing.  There are things unspeakable and unknowable except by those, and we are not few, who have survived.

These words came as a way to honour who I have become.  The work of healing, of learning to cherish what we have been taught was unlovable, is a long road. The alternative is unbearable.

There are ways in which I will never belong. You cannot speak what you do not know of family, of home. There are no funny stories to share, no memories to speak of around the fire, late at night.

Who I am, I have become and that I share with words of hope, of light, of grace upon your trembling lips.

reflections wine

My childhood was
a barren wasteland
never offered even
scraps of love
lacking joy
devoid of laughter.

Waiting for the next
the loss of consciousness
from attacks
knowing there was naught
of security
never able
to know what was
only cowering
was tolerated.

The darkness
beckoned me
how does a child
defend herself
from evil
there was no
escape from the

conspired to allow
me to escape
unschooled in ways
to navigate
the dark place called me
and, at times,
swallowed me whole.

You are nothing
no one
never to be loved
or approved of
not to be welcomed
into our world
of laughing
our silliness
and agreement
is not for you.

The wasteland
of unbelonging
carried me forward
making choices
to build a person
from scraps
of destruction
and disunity
time allowed
for body and brain
to mend itself.

From deep within
I called forth
a woman
and taught her
Her wisdom
sometimes astounds me
Her grace allows me
to see the lost child
and refuses
to berate her
for all she does
not know and
can never take
part in.

not beyond repair.

lover of my own
true self
a participant
in birthing.

in the forest
allowing  moonlight
to bathe
and caress
I move on
sharing light
and love

 More than I
was ever taught
ever knew to
I have become.

~Joss Burnel


16 thoughts on “A Vast Wasteland

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    1. It’s a sometimes bumpy road and I confess I don’t always navigate it with grace! But the alternative is to allow the darkness to disappear me. Thank you for your kind words. That means a lot to me.


  1. Your courage and grace continue to astound me, Joss. This is a brave and generous gift from you, within your heart. I’m honored to receive it.
    I love you dearly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Julie for your gracious, kind words and your love. I hold it all close. This called to be shared. I confess I did so hesitantly but I’ve learned to pay attention to what comes through.


  2. Oh, Joss. Tears fill my eyes and I long to take that poor abandoned child into my arms and fill her with love and kindness. All children deserve this love and to deny it to a child is reprehensible, unforgivable. But I celebrate with you, the woman you have become, the woman you made yourself. And as we continue through this life, remember you are loved by friends around the globe, my sister of choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s part of why it’s difficult to share, it hurts the heart of good people. I thank you for your love sent to my unwanted, terrified child. Even more I am so blessed to be your sister my choice. I never take it lightly.


  3. Joss, this was a difficult read.. and your childhood unspeakable..
    My heart goes out to hold that young child,
    I am so happy that she now has learnt that she is so much more worthy, and has learnt to love her self..
    So many children have Mothers who for what ever reason can not share love,
    Sending my heart to you.
    Thank you for sharing.. It is not easy to do.
    May I send you my love, and best wishes for Christmas Holidays..
    Lots of LOVE dear Sister in Spirit
    Love Sue xxx ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words and your lie deat sister in spirit. I don’t celebrate Christmas for a variety of reasons but do send Christmas wishes to you and yours dear Sue.

      Liked by 1 person

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