BIRTHDAY

Birthday gift from friend…

A friend dropped by, masked up, on my birthday with a gift surprising me. Though she lives down the road, I’ve not seen her except virtually for over a year. It is so heartening to be with a friend finally even if half of her face was hidden from me. Soon, by next month, all five or our little group will be fully immune and we plan to re-start our monthly tea gathering complete with chatter, cards, snacks, laugher and dessert.

Another friend calls and sends a digital birthday card. My son’s both send lovely birthday gifts, outdoor garden solar lighting which delights me once the sun sets and the gardens light up. One went so far to have flowers delivered to my door, a gigantic bouquet that needed two vases. My husband, short on words, but deeper on feelings, expresses them in cards and didn’t fall short this year either, finding one on the table upon waking.

Those that matter love me. Often birthdays bring a recognition of not being cared for. But that perception is much more about the emptiness inside than reality. Letting the love of others in has not been possible. I can think I’m loved, but never feel it. (too dangerous)

It is also not possible to allow love in and settle in with warm feelings if inside myself lies a desert, a dry wasteland where love is thought of not felt. But that is evolving as the internal depths open like a garden sprouting beginning to flower. Where inside there are welcoming arms to enfold me and love offers warmth, compassion, and gentle waters to rock in.

A birthday becomes a reaffirmation of self, knowing ones worth, or learning to. All else is icing on the cake, and what gooey, yummy, deliciously satisfying a way to top the beginnings of self-love and appreciation.

Glacial Shifts

The week looks bright with full sunny days. As the crispy earth gave way to my footsteps, the crunch satisfying against my boots, the sun burst forth over the hill splashing on my face. Round and round, breathing in the cool air while busy birds sang as they worked.

A feeling long yearned for over recent weeks settled in, a feeling of groundedness frosted with calm. Upon entering the house I announced to Samuel, “I feel better. I can feel a difference.”

“That’s good,” Samuel responded, not much of a talker.

It is different, a pulling in of pieces that had scattered like a whirlwind matching the March breezes whipping at the trees. It has been the hardest spring. Past springs were not as hard, this one upsetting sleep drastically over a longer period. But change is like that sometimes.

There are internal changes, shifts in perspective about myself that work towards wholeness. Renewal, growth, hope, and change? Yes, one thing to count on is change, and humans don’t usually like that. I don’t. But fighting it is like trying to catch water as it seeps through your hands.

SANITY

Sometimes the darkest hour is right before the dawn. Perhaps this month, so hard to take due to upset and sleeplessness, is a path to change, renewal, and growth? Perhaps it takes a whirlwind inside oneself before the particles find new homes, new ways of being.

That’s a thought to hang on to. Refusing to allow the needed nightly dose of medication to ruin the next day because of drowsiness, the meadow path was walked right after the sun came over the hill. The effect was stunning, my boots hitting crunchy frozen earth as frost sparkled like the iridescent glitter used to outline the framed craft project.

Taking a break by the creek revealed yet more secret pleasures as a duck flew into the duck box obviously starting her nest. Two little birds tried to enter but saw it occupied so there must be a question as to who is the rightful owner. Big bird won!

After a long walk, deciding to beat the insomnia by tiring myself out completely, a nice fire was built on the patio. Flames licked up high thawing me as the sun carrassed like a warm hug. The pleasant surrounding offered stereo bird melodies as they went about their busyness, some close-by at the feeder, some hopping about on the ground under it pecking at remains.

Waking this morning after a normal night’s sleep refreshed as the sun rose and a new day began.  Sanity restored by sleep at least for today.  

Night-time Invaders

After completing one Diamond Art painting for my younger grand-daughter (which she loves and was hung promptly on her wall), I started another for the older grand-daughter whose bedroom theme is Paris. Keeping my hands busy doing crafts is my happy past-time, and the outcome so satisfying. There really is no paint involved, it is placing tiny plastic dots in the proper places filling an entire picture once done with shimmering color.

This spring is affecting me much more severely than other springs. My whirlwind thoughts don’t wake up and excite my body negatively till my head hits the pillow and the lights go out. It’s as if I must get up in order to fix things because ‘things’ are so bad.

Why aren’t these thoughts invading my daytime when there’s brainpower to think on it? But no, at night, alone, in the dark, fear hits my stomach like a hard rock. Fear of being me, of all the terrible things I’ve done in my life. Really? I did terrible things?

Questioning these rabid thoughts in the dark of night is enough to wake me up fully. Why? Why must these things trigger a full waking? My younger brother called thanking me for the flag I designed for his new ice boat that he had built. HIs birthday is the day after mine next week.

Sad thoughts of my poor and iffy relationships with the origin family magnify. Sad that there is no close relationship, then thoughts of ones who man-handled me though they there only teenagers themselves.

Doesn’t matter really, because the damage done to me is the same as if they were fully grown, but as teenagers it is hard to hold fury against them. And does it matter since three have died? Those three had the good sense to know they did wrong. Sadly it affected their lives too.

The fourth, still living, goes on with his life, interacting with the three brothers who never touched me that way. And that sullies any hope of my getting close to them. To me it says I’m weak if I interact with those who collaborate with the last attacker still living. It makes for a feeling of loneliness there in the dark of night left with thoughts of a past I wish wasn’t mine.

A Kind Place

Soon we take a trip to see our grand-son who will be one year old later in April. We’ve only known him via the on-line camera, though that has brought much joy, warmth, and laughter. He is almost ready to walk his first steps. We have spent many happy hours with his older sister, now 4. She excitedly counts the days until we come warming my heart with golden love.

Running out of wrapping makes for creativity. Slapping some poster paint on the box of stuffed unicorns for them both looked really chintzy, more was needed. Sparkles! Yes… after that why not painted words in pink and purple with a little more added glitz?

The project took way more time than planned, but it was fun as most crafts are. And now she’ll have a box to treasure and keep. Though it’s the baby’s birthday, she likes hers surprises from Nana too. And I don’t disappoint.

The morning starts thoughtfully wondering at the shear disappearance from myself. Where have the good thoughts gone, the gentleness inside, the warm place to fall? Abandoned, cold, empty. And why?

Because when sleep issues arrive over a too long period of time, the blame falls all on me. I’m too tired to fight the bully who shows up full force. One day good sleep leading to good eating, exercise, and maybe not enough enough beneficial emotional work. Because the next night not falling asleep. Somehow my body and mind split over the day without being aware of why.

Or is it just seasonal due to no fault of my own? Of course it is, the change of seasons messes with brain chemicals making them whacko. Whatever the reason, the kind gentleness learned, albeit a tiny taste of what might be even more possible, is GONE.

That is what will sustain, an interior to depend on. That is where the healing becomes more than just a word. My belief continues that if sleep is not blessed upon me, I must not deserve it or have done something bad or not right.

That makes no sense. It is habit not reality. March into April has been volatile, ups, downs, and moments of calm. As the sun rises pouring onto my face through the blowing wind and paned glass, breathe into the moment, and into my body even if the feelings scare me. Go there, be there, observe, listen, learn, and accept. Once the season settles down so will I. In the meantime, gentle kindness…

SELF-ESTEEM

The day dawns red and purple with a feeling of groundedness. Sleep does that, brings peace…not perfection, but all facets including the hard ones. The difference is my capability in dealing with it improves dramatically.

Like a whirlwind, my pieces became scattered, my interior lost to me, even after so much work discovering a softer place to fall. The falling when tired is endless with no one to catch me down the well of my insides.

Asking for help when needed is a good thing. It is also good to keep working on perceptions of self because the main theme of negativity and self-hate rooted in my personality from the years of abuse, and feeling blamed for it, have made a person who will always struggle with issues of self-esteem.

SPRINGTIME FUN

What have I done as they started the engine and it purred? My grandson happily moved forward on the new mini-bike, though at 200 cc’s it can carry an adult.

“Don’t open it all the way up,” Samuel tells him, “It’s very touchy.”

My fears increase. Buying something to entertain my eldest grand-son when he comes to visit after a very long year of not having the kids over at all is about to end. We go for our second dose of the vaccine today, so soon we can safely be with family without masks or distancing.

On a chilly sunny day our grand-son came over, and with masks on they assembled the new mini-bike inside the shed.

“I’m going to buy it,” I said to Samuel after he emitted negativity, “I’m using my money.”

But second thoughts invade as William went around the meadow, the worse scenarios popping into my mind like falling breaking an arm, leg, or whatever. My stomach churned with fear finally leaving the patio for the safety of indoors and not having to watch. When it got quiet peeking out to see if everything was alright.

“It’s OK,” Samuel said after expressing my fears and doubts, “You take risks to have fun.”

You sure do, as we both commiserated about our own youthful days of riding motorcycles through the fields. In those days we didn’t even wear helmets. Several times he comforted me and my fears seemingly enjoying this whole process of assembly and riding, even taking a few laps himself. When my son came to pick William up, he rode too. It looks like a good toy to have around for the ‘boys.’ My son gave me the thumbs up all smiles.

My younger grand-daughter and grand-son will soon be able to come and stay. They enjoy the indoor toys, and other outside activities that don’t include motorized vehicles. But my older grand-son found us less and less interesting. We are interesting again, and I love that.

“This was the best day all year,” I said to Samuel, feeling complete and fully joyful after spending a day with William. It has been such a long, long year. This last leg as we near the finish line seems the hardest.

A Kind Word

It’s hard to find the joy in life when you’re too tired to find it, causing great frustration, and more so great vulnerability. Fragile is a good work. My being becomes fragile, though my treatment towards myself drops back into old grooves of self-hate, blaming myself for things out of my control.

Having good stretches of proper sleep then not is so hard to accept, acceptance and patience not my forte. Gentle comments from others on-line and a note from a friend make me teary, the gentleness a sorely needed warm hug.

We don’t know what others are going through. Sometimes one gentle word is all it takes to turn things around.

Thank you on-line friends…

spring

“I hate me,” I sputtered through melting tears to Samuel after an especially hard day.

“Give yourself a break,” Samuel said.

Depression and sleepless nights fight with springs promise of possibilities, the most luscious an improved mood casting darkness away. A brain broken by PTSD at age 8 and very sensitive to hours of daylight is no fun. After several weeks of blaming myself for not sleeping the toll makes me sappily sorry for myself.

Knowing how much I have, how happy I ‘should’ be, how hard it is right now doesn’t add to my grateful list. My chaotic mind just won’t calm down. Was it this hard last spring?

Playing with the dosage of pot oil during this tumultuous time does not help. But that’s me, fucking up the works because my brain is so out of whack. So many times this happens; not reading something thoroughly missing an important word or sentence, making everything harder.

Others are so calm, like Samuel, methodical, slower in moving and talking, (which incites me violently, GET TO THE POINT). But not me. The weirdness of how I am in my insides to how others seem on the outside is hard to accept when the going gets hard.

Oh for the days of calm. Are you coming? Those long stretches of sleep. Sleep. A necessity that isn’t a sure thing for me. Sleep, which of course includes a calm brain, a calm life, and calmer emotions. And with it less kicking of my own behind.

SPRINGTIME MANIA

That feeling of being different digs in oppressing my ability to enjoy the coming of spring. Spring itself is causing this upheaval, interfering with sleep as a manic brain swirls when hitting the pillow causing leaps of ecstasy but landing hard going under without resurfacing well.

Working daily to keep my hat on, bringing it down a notch, doesn’t always work towards good sleep. Thoughts still sometimes race making me wonder what kind of mental ailment might yet overtake me in this life-time.

The physical deterioration of my body due to age is enough to handle, but PTSD always lived with since age 8 worsened as years went by. An older body cannot take the hits of adrenaline and cortisol that daily occurrences cause- simple surprises like Samuel appearing in the hallway or a leaf blowing by while walking. My body reacts as if in danger though none is there.

It is hard, that feeling of ‘differentness.’ During the pandemic, though scared until the Governor talked daily about what he’d do, then doing it, bringing a new sense of security, the days became the best ever. Now the rest of the world knows what my life has always been like; solitary, lonely, and alone.

Yes, I have a partner, but it doesn’t matter. You can be with people and still be lonely. Because others don’t know unless they have been through something similar.

Waking after a bad night where yet again a sleep aid was needed, my head drops down while explaining to Samuel, or trying to, “You don’t know how hard it is.”

Tears fall. “If something happened to you, I couldn’t stay in this house one night,” I said.

The night before it occurred to me that I could not, nor didn’t have to do what Samuel always said was the wise choice if one of us were to die first. Stay in the house at least a year before deciding what to do with it.

When parents die, in this case both of our mother’s years ago, (our fathers have been out of the picture- mine through death when I was a child- his out of divorce and ambivalence), then you begin to think about dying because you are next in line.

But I’m not Samuel. He does not deal with PTSD, nor does he understand its challenges. Of course he could easily live here alone because he’s not scared. What he said made sense, don’t make any rash decisions. So I believed that’s what I had to do in the case of his dying first. But in the middle of the night when awake every little noise scares me even with him right there next to me. No way could staying here occur without him. Tears fall yet again when explaining this to him.

“I couldn’t stay. The thought of staying terrifies me. And that doesn’t make me weak. Comparing myself to my friends makes me feel weak because several have no problem being alone. But I am not weak. In many ways I’m stronger,” I said.

Bringing these real fears out made me cry, made my feelings real and valid. Making the decision to honor who I really am, what I really deal with, and do what is the safest and most loving for myself is a huge leap of growth quite miraculous. And it helps in those dark scary moments to remember that somewhere deep inside myself is a rock, a strong secure rock to hold on to and guide me.