Only Child, a Child of Eight

Waking from a dream, more like a nightmare, it colored my whole day. A loneliness descended like a shroud, not an uncommon one, one lived with since age eight, since the first wrong touch. Yet in finding the core of myself, that devouring loneliness dissipated as a feeling of wholeness and connectedness to self miraculously occurred.

Loneliness again, but only a shell of the old pain which felt like a severed body part. Busyness drove it away, walking the meadow, being with others working out at the Community Center, then working in my studio.

A longing for brother Tom, felt shockingly present, the abuser who mocked me for life, now too old to know how he hurt me as his memory fades. The time for talking with hope for reconciliation came years ago, but my request was not to talk about it. Why is there longing for it now?

Yet the need to hear  words of sorrow remain. The hope that he would sincerely ask forgiveness never waned, and never happened. The hope for a brother back never came, nor any brother, as the three others who are innocent of wrong touch make a group I don’t feel part of. There is in me a need for someone to speak of the horrors, but no one will. So I remain as if an only child.

And that child is so needy sometimes. She wants to play, to be free, to have fun. What can you do to give this to her? Figure it out and provide it.

 

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Injured Being

mosaic by Patricia

My path includes remembering that self-esteem and anxiety are issues that need working on, and are here to stay.  When experiencing some success at either, the thought is that the work is done. The work continues, some days more than others. Who I was at age eight is a shadow arising time to time with a memory of what was, who ‘she’ was, and could be.

All that changed with the first attack, and severed almost completely as each brother came and went, my true self going further and further away until she hardly exists. She because I could never become her, she because she is there, a misty ghost of who I could have been. And I mourn her.

Who I am now is not her, though wisps remain. What I have instead is anxiety in every day because of the trauma’s, but more so, because family and society insists not to hear. These traumas still going on at a deadly rate need airing. And it seems to be coming to the light, though more sensational ones; coaches, priests, teachers… but what about the brother, father, uncle?

The anxiety is here to stay. It must be faced every day. The damage internally broke my being. It takes my life to put back the pieces, shards that sometimes cut, smoothing them together anyway to make a whole— bumpy, solid and beautiful.

Warmth and Well-Being

Temps drop, snowplows awaken me at 5 AM, but that is often when my night is over anyway. Gratitude seeps in for this span of nights when sleep has come. The cold snow covering flower bulbs daring to erupt stops them, and stops me. The burgeoning joyful surge of energy is met with withdrawal back into the den with slower activities.

The first thoughts when waking jar me, and remind me of recent regrets and failures to act maturely. Then the work, confront the harsh judgements. Why not think of the times you acted lovingly with depth and generosity, with selflessness? Because you have done that much more than the other.

And so the work goes on, that of learning to love myself. To show myself kindness. To speak to me as I would speak to a friend. It is mostly work without truly feeling love, but there are moments, and sometimes longer periods of time when well-being and a sense of self-worth seep in warming my bones and spirit.

Ravages of Thoughts

The need to write each morning sometimes brings forth a post without depth, without full truth. Not because there’s fear of honesty, there’s fear of self. The thoughts going through led me to overeat in old ways so that later my head hung over the toilet.

How could a frilly little post be written in the morning, and later in the day food was consumed in a way that was sword-like? Cut off the thoughts, don’t feel anything but this pain, not those other pains.

Writing about being in my body, then not being in it. How else would one consume such junk? Others don’t do this. Others have flat stomachs. At times they use discipline, but aren’t white knuckling it. They don’t use eating to blot out thoughts and feelings.

A cascade of bad feelings rain down. A walk with a friend at the mall brought two days of achy legs. It was more than usual, the standing around while she shopped. She’s fine, and would have walked the mall again.

My abilities are much more limited. I so want to re-join chorale on Tuesday nights, and a friend offered to pick me up. But coming home at almost 9:30 pm would rev up the usual wind down period upsetting the delicate routine. Others there don’t suffer this. Why me, why me, why me?

Thoughts of brothers dying and how young the offenders were, one at 28 by intentional overdose, one at 52, the other 67. My fault in my own special way of thinking. If I hadn’t been there they wouldn’t have abused me, and then have to life with it for the rest of their lives.

A fucked up family. It makes me sad that they didn’t have a chance. Each one could have felt better about themselves, and done better. But the care a child needs, which goes far past the basics of food and shelter, were never provided. 

The other one, now 76, is still living. Far away. Why now do these thoughts come? Is it the rinsing of winter? All the bad thoughts come crashing down. Looking at my puffy body, there’s not trust of my tuning in to its real caloric needs while the psychological needs pull so searingly. Escape. 

Since the age of 8, eating became a way to escape. There is a way. Bending over a toilet due to ravages by my own hand is no escape. It is not about eating. It is about thoughts, memories, and feelings. Being in a being who I don’t want to be.

 

PEACE

Snow frosted trees, big flakes falling. Later in the day warm March sun melted it all except patches of white in the shade of the pines. My boots sucked into the mud on the path, ducks flying off at my approach. An otter swam busily to the creek side lighting upon the log then slipping back into the cold black water. The current runs strong with the overflow from the melt.

It is a period of grace, without my squirrel brain a ’worrying, and sleep coming night after night. A time of rest, with enough energy to enjoy various outings, gatherings, and get-together’s.

My son and grand-kids came for brunch. The monthly women group of friends met Sunday for hours of cards, laughter and fun. A shopping trip to the mall and lunch with a friend satisfied a need for exercise and socialization. .

Sleep brings energy to do these things.Gratitude blossoms as this lull in anxiety yields to quiet peaceful joy. 

 

SUCCOR

The creek in spring…

The person I was meant to be, doesn’t get a shot at living. That is mourned, and ever shall be. That was taken, ‘she’ was taken at the first touch from a dearly loved and trusted brother that was wrong touch wreaking of manipulation, guile, and evilness.

But this isn’t about them. It is about what they took. A life. This life created from the destruction of that child that I was meant to be, from the women I would have been, is who I became. But what lay just beneath is who I am.

And will you ever know her as I do? She is strong, confident, and sings for the masses, justice for all. She doesn’t bow down to criticism nor does she criticize herself for being herself.

And in my little oasis I can do that. Without others to doubt or bring me down, I can be at peace. Except when I can’t, which happens too much of time due to old voices taking hold destroying self-worth and peace.

Coming back to center, feeling the insides of my body, all the cracks, tiny spaces, and hollows, owning it, sleep comes, peace comes, self-liking rises. After so much work there is a presence underlying the critic, a she who loves me, that’s me. Warm succor waits right here at home, in my body of a home.

TRANSITION

photo by Patricia

As the criticizer comes crashing down, coming to a head as the joy of spring meets the depression of winter, I choose gratitude and to look upon my life as one of success; not the critic’s choice… a stain of regret and failure. What a see-saw time of emotion, which is indicative of much of my life; two opposing events, emotions, or ways of looking at things.

Love and hate. Joy and sorrow. How to make room for both in one being, and feeling them, one then the other, or both at once. I loved my mother, and hated her. Sometimes moments of appreciation occur for a life lived with persistence and hard work, but then a bat towards myself about failed relationships, regrets and what if’s.

My heart feels as if physically wrapped in barbs ready to break free or be punctured. A prayer to the universe, Please let go of the wires , Release the strictures, let my heart pump freely.  

Joy and hope burst forth when sprouts rise from the brown earth, joy that suppressed itself all through the difficult winter keeping my flagging spirit up enough to face each day. With more light comes an appetite for pleasures, wanting to do more, see more, be with others more.

The critic needs knocking down, and the soft voice of acceptance reminding me of successes wants voice, and must be given room to speak with an amplifier to hear the whispers of truth.

Yes mistakes were made, be prepared to make more, but look at all you have, and all you have done. As daylight lengthens, so does my ability to see things more beautiful. Food tastes better, scents are noticed more deeply, and stunted feelings open up to possibilities.