FREEDOM

Picture 235

Freedom’s a funny word. This has been the winter of my content, not discontent. Which is odd because I famously fall in August and don’t come up from under till spring. That includes April. Such a glorious month but this year, as well as others, very hard. One blogger stated, “April, the cruelest month of all.”

I have found Freedom, tasted it, experienced it. Freedom from my excessive thoughts, bound and wrapped into them so much, I am prisoner to them. Yet I began to unleash the chains of my childhood which are wrapped up in my thoughts about life, living, being and who I am. The moments of peace so extraordinary because I hadn’t had any before. Freedom. To breath, to be in the moment…safe. To allow myself the freedom to belong just as everyone else does, though many take that for granted.

My childhood buried me in cement. My shame became me. I had no right to be here. I was not a real person, undeserving of breath, freedom or life. The special traits I’m often told I have, I don’t feel, relate to or connect to, it’s in my head only, lost in the path to my heart, body and soul. But I’ve had moments. The crackle of below 0 temperatures with my snowshoes crossed against each other, sitting by the frozen creek in the Adirondack chair while my nose hairs iced. The snap of the ice or a twig in the breeze, so cold it cracks. And no one but me is holding me hostage now, but those boys called brothers, they made me feel bad and to blame. It follows me. It became me. And being harsh with myself now over the impossibility of changing my atom structure is only adding flame to the fire of self-hatred.

Of course I’m going to struggle with issues of self-esteem. My formative years taught me I was unworthy of even life itself. Yet I am learning what my mind already intellectually knew, that I’m not to blame and am worthy. All just words in my head, it is my soul that is hungry for fullness, it’s my soul that lacked filling in its young growth. It’s my soul that was filled with dirt, and scum and blackness.

Yet I have found moments of fullness which turn into days, then weeks, then months. I have a bad day, or two, but this last week? That dental half hour toppled my world and it has taken a full week to begin to feel grateful for this life, this cup of coffee, the sunrise. That’s a lot of days gone missing. Yet the trauma is repeated as if I were 8 years old and the torment swims in and around me. It’s hard to get a grasp on body and mind, to calm it down, to settle, and find equilibrium in order to function healthfully. This requires sleep, proper nutrition, and exercise. All I could do while so excessively tired, was fall back on 8 year old survival tactics, becoming a devouring machine to escape pain, then curl up on the couch and be very still; watch stupid useless movies to drone out the thoughts and adrenaline rushes which were highly erupted to the point of a nuclear meltdown.

And that all takes work.

Saying to myself “You’re OK,” was not cutting it. I wasn’t OK. Something evil inside that is so terrific in its horror is awakened from its sleep when I’m at the dentist. “It” attempts to climb out; the memory of Danny’s sidling up to my bedside in the dark whispering oh so softly, “We’re going to play a game. You’re the Mommy, I’m the Daddy.” I sometimes wish I could remember and be done with it. Would that help? Make things easier? Maybe not. Maybe that is a fruitless wish.

So I do the work and go on, and feel better today. I once again have hope, feel gratitude, wholeness and a grip on my daily activities with the power to guide them— what I need, what I love, and what brings me pleasure. It took a while, and it takes work.

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “FREEDOM

  1. A friend of mine, one who had suffered her own special hell growing up, gave me a customized set of playing cards. They had markings in the corners like regular cards, but she had written different things, different sayings, quotes, maxims, and so on, on each one of them. Most of them had to do with recovery. The one that comes to mind after reading your post:
    You survived the event. You can survive the memory.
    In my own journey, I have not needed to remember many details. I have had the enormous blessing of being able to compartmentalize just enough to say, “This part I don’t want to think about,” and I can leave it on the shelf. When something triggers a memory and all the feelings come roaring back, I can take a deep breath, grab something solid, and take the roller coaster ride through it, and breathe deep again when it’s passed. i hope that someday soon you too will be able to hang in there, and not have to lose days at a time just to survive.

    Like

    1. Your idea to compartmentalize, though not a workable path for me, may work for others as I’m happy to hear it has worked for you. Thank you!
      Your suggestion has struck a chord and I may need some time to connect the rather vehement feelings to words, just one component of damage done—disconnect.

      Compartmentalizing was forced upon me at age 8 and caused traumas — injuries, to become life-long damage. I was shattered as if I had been struck by a car. But no help arrived. I needed as many specialists and as much medical attention as if I had been hospitalized and had surgeries, maybe more. Because the psyche is a delicate place and takes special care for healing. Again, no help arrived. Little shoulders carried the burdens and it could have killed me from the hiding. I won’t hide anymore. I want all of me to live.

      I do think compartmentalization has it’s place and I am thankful for your input.

      Like

  2. Wow Patricia!

    What a very personal and powerful share. Couldn’t have wrote about it better! I feel the only way we can give others a voice to be heard is to write, blog and share our own personal experiences so others will learn and have some understanding about trauma & abuse as children. Thank you for sharing this. I will be sharing it on my FB page for my readers to come visit your blog.

    Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can completely understand that temporary backsliding, as I do it myself, sitting here having my own pity party, while the child inside cries. I have come a long way working on the abuse, how it affected my life, and why it still does 40-some years later. But I have worked hard. Learning to say “Thank you,” was a difficult hill to climb. I sometimes don’t feel I deserve the compliment. Now, I’m working on the word “No.” This is probably the least used word in my vocabulary. My reasons for saying no are not good enough, but then I get walked all over by someone because I don’t say “No.”

    Like

  4. I am sorry that you were in the grips of such terrible emotions for so long. I think that being able to remember fully, with all the details would probably not make any difference. What you feel are the remnants and residue of all that hurt of the little girl within. So you did what you could only do; that is lay almost lifeless and allow the storm to pass. You made it through the storm and you have emerged stronger with less of that awful baggage to carry around. You felt it and you healed it all by yourself just like you are taking care of yourself. Be kind to yourself and give credit to the wonderful woman you are Patricia.

    Like

    1. It’s slow process coming up from under winter’s depths. I am getting a little pink on my cheeks, especially being outdoors with my grand-daughter all morning; blowing bubbles, in the sandbox, and just sitting, watching the wonder in the world of a two year old.
      The sun is lifting my sun starved spirits.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Those moments of peace and moments of staying present will be lengthened as you empty all the thoughts from your head and the feelings from your body. I believe that one day soon you won’t need to tell yourself that it’s ok, that it will become a natural and automatic part of you , like a reflex.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, wouldn’t that be something?
      My struggles with my inability to relax is directly related to long term untreated post traumatic stress. So my flight/fight responses, always on edge since childhood, is totally messed up, and unfortunately, permanently.
      Meditation has done the most to calm me, but I believe I’ll live with the effects for life, especially when medical and dental issues come up. With aging, that is happening more and more. Though I intellectually realize how grateful I should be, that I can have good teeth, good eyes once cataracts are removed, good knees eventually once those are repaired, and on and on, each trip into the medical realm becomes more and more taxing on my body, mind and spirit.
      I can control other things, like staying off planes, out of large crowds, enjoying our home, the creek, the beauty of nature, and choosing just what I do and who I do it with. But these other things, necessary for my health are another matter.
      The after effects are worthwhile, it’s the going through it that requires I pull up great strength and courage. And it seems to take a lot longer afterwards to calm myself down.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes the physical ailments take their toll on the mind and emotions and it takes so much to pull ourselves out and keep positive. Almost double the strength for a survivor! But you are doing an amazing job! I pray that it will take less and less time and effort for you to recover from those visits in future. Take care my friend. Sending you a huge hug! Its unbelievable and incredible that I have grown to care about you just as if you were a friend who lives nearby. I am glad that you can spend time with your grand daughter and watch her grow.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s hard for me to let in kindnesses, warmth, and caring from others. They are just words. After reading yours, I sat with my coffee on the patio listening to birds, watching them, the morning dew heavy, and your words became more than just words, the caring feelings sinking in. Thank you so much for YOU and the warmth you send…. : )

          Like

  6. “My childhood buried me in cement.”

    For years, I’ve looked for a short-hand version of how to convey to someone the effects of living through sexual abuse and trauma can have on a child. Your six word sentence might be the best way to sum it up I’ve ever come across. Hope the next week(s) bring your world back into alignment. Keep doing the work, and expect to be surprised sometimes when things are all of the sudden easier, sometimes when you least expect it. Those days are golden. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Thank you! Mornings on the patio are doing the trick and seem to be the best medicine; sunshine, breathing the air, watching birds scurry, and what flowers come up each day, feels peaceful.
      Even just the possibility in your words makes me feel better. I like that word, alignment…
      I was buried for a very long time. Who knows who I’d really be. But I’m finally OK with who I am now, most of the time.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s