She clasped the bouquet in her small hands, her eyes gazing at the glittery jewels. Knowing her Nana made it especially for her increased its worth.
Only four, she happily danced on stage with her ballet class in her tutu and glowing smile.
Though I did not take dance classes, but dearly wanted to, I am able to do so now vicariously. The delicious three hour recital with music, lighting and costumes, each more bejeweled than the last, kept me in tuned to the very end.
Such beauty! Such a delight!
The little girl sexually abused. She knows loneliness far before any other child, a loneliness that scrapes and claws from the inside out. A loneliness she runs from in countless ways, as many ways as there are children abused.
A little girl sexually abused now woman. She remains alone in a way no other knows and she is unable to describe it because others wouldn’t understand. Her ways of running have become more destructive because the pain and horror of what she endured was kept inside her. Her family bade it that way.
Her family bids it that way in her womanhood too, her middle age, her retirement years, and to her deathbed no one steps up to wrap her tight and say, “I am sorry.”
The ones that knew and kept silent shun her. She is shunned in subtle ways, not outright, but seedy and cowardly, like the attacker. Acting supportive like cake icing, others in the so called family really exert an undertow of control instead of true love and support. Each looks after themselves. Each interact with the attacker(s) as if nothing happened. No one wants to hear or know different.
She cries alone abandoned. It has been made to look as if she has not been abandoned. She has been… all along she has been.
It was easier to control her in childhood, to keep the secrets of what her attacker(s) had done. If out in the open it would shame them. They knew and did nothing. Or they didn’t know, but know now but nothing changes because the shame still causes them to re-victimize the woman still terrorized into silence. If I speak I will be abandoned.
That truth remains and it feels terrifying. No one will admit that this control is being exerted and no proof can be provided because each is as manipulative, hurtful, and subversive as the attacker(s) they interact with.
The one who suffered the horrors in silence knows. She knows, and she also knows she cannot talk, not now, not ever. She can never be herself around the ‘family of origin.’ She never could, could she? Once attacked, once silenced, the child she was, the woman she became, hid so far away she will never show herself to those she once called family unless it’s safe.
It never becomes safe because the shackles and chains of silence still restrain her. Her beauty goes unnoticed, worse put down. Whatever tactics it takes to silence her are tightened down until the blood of defeat flows. Your dignity or your silence?
Her only relief is to stay present in the life she has built with those not threatened by her past. Those who truly love wholly with no reserve or feelings of selfishness of what her truths might do their fallacies.
No one came to her then. No one comes to her now. The sadness like an undertow in everyday life threatens to steal all that she has built, all that she loves. The rage of injustice can drown her. She must chart her course and not lose sight of her soul. Against the winds she will find all that she needs because she already has it anyway.
Get to the root causes of why you overeat. Yes. Feed this body so it works properly.
What about the psyche, emotions, and the soul that searches for something never found? These crucial parts still crave satisfaction and wholeness.
I eat anxiety. I eat to feel better about the little girl lost, unloved and unprotected who to this day struggles with self-esteem and so much more. It is a desire and basic need that will forever go wanting because no one can go back and make it right…or safe.
At 64 I am only just learning to be kind to myself. That is key. Yet the constant challenges of confronting that harsh voice inside remains and needs work daily questioning its validity.
Food soothes. Food quiets the voice. But then another voice booms even louder, “You are fat, you are bad!” but it is one I’m used to from the age of 8 when food numbed the horrors. I go in circles and circles.
Keep at it, keep trying.
Waking to the birds, the humidity is thick. Taking coffee to the patio, bare feet against the cool cement, the nesting mourning dove calls hauntingly and sweetly back to her mate sipping water at the birdbath. They are on nest two. At this rate they will have three families by summer’s end. A tranquility descends into my being.
Each day a mystery. Will you feel fear, or be OK? Tame the beast of impermanence. Each day a challenge wrestling with thoughts, turning them around, finding the peace restlessly craved; a quietness in the soul that when found allows textures to be felt, scents to be absorbed, and moments to be full…
Anxiety spills from my pores quicker than blood. I mop it up with food and push it down, food that becomes tasteless and only quantity matters, enough of it until the quickened pulse and throbbing nerves are still.
It is a constant work feeding this body as it needs rather than feeding the tormented psyche that expects dread and doom at any moment. Each step, even in the quiet meadow, there can be danger lurking… A lion, goblin, or hooded monster? Just who do you think is behind that bush or around the corner?
The brothers of my childhood lie waiting.
The thick heavy warm night causes restlessness. Sticking to the sheets from the oppressive heat rather than pulling up the quilt to snuggle beneath it from a cooler night wakes me. The dark and quiet is unnerving. Even the errant baby mocking bird has learned to keep its night-time chirps silent.
I roll this way then that way finding no comfort. Still that mind, do it. Stop thinking of each thing you’ve ever done wrong or seems wrong. It’s OK to have made mistakes. Who loves you? Do you? The answer comes back, “No.”
You will find your solace in loving yourself with all your mistakes and past misdeeds. You are the one who needs to do this, and you can. That is where solace lies, within. Go there and love her. Why in the night do these things loom so large?
Waking early in my gown I take my snippers and camera to the meadow. The sun is still red as it climbs over the hedgerow, the day’s heat at bay for only a half-hour more. I lie in the dewy grasses to take just the right shot of the daisy smiling at me, “Good morning. How are you?”
A bird flies from the birdhouse startled at my presence. A few circles of meadow grasses have been trampled in a neat circle suggesting deer have spent the night. Clipping wildflowers for a bouquet then heading back to the house, the sun heats the land quickly. House windows need to be shut at once to keep the heat out.
Shaking the blue-checkered tablecloth onto the table I ready for the day’s festivities. It is Father’s Day and we host my son and family for a swim and picnic. The bouquet is a perfect centerpiece. Strawberries from the garden are added to the rhubarb from a friend. It has already made seven jars of jam but enough is left for hand-held pies, the star of today’s cook-out.
The rhubarb mixture is never ending. I keep rolling out pie crusts and crimping edges getting weary. After three batches going into the oven separately they are finally done, perfectly browned at the edges, oozing a trail of juice at the slits, and glistening with sparkly sugar.
The day is complete with swimming in-between thunderstorms, cooking out, then opening some Father’s Day gifts for both Samuel and son Shane. And though I love our time together feeling that our hosting was a success, I also love time alone with nature needing it like sun and air. This morning a gentle rainy day lay before me, the quiet a peaceful respite after yesterday’s activities…