REST

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Yesterday was hard. I don’t know why. And how could I? The experts don’t know how the brain works. How PTSD affects me? Bringing Cindy back from preschool the usual is to pull in the driveway then pop out to pick up the mail. A car honks long and loud behind me and my adrenaline shoots off scaring me very badly. It’s Samuel’s friend thinking it funny to blast me. I don’t wave back, lacking so much sleep that politeness is gone.

By the time he pulls in behind me my anger dissipates but my scare stays with me. Once those chemicals are released there is no putting them back. Cindy innocently comes over to the couch while I was distracted surprising me so I jump again startled.

Just a bad day. Anxiety, tiredness and cortisol make a very vicious cocktail. I have no clue why one day is harder than the next, though lack of sleep may explain much. And there is nothing I can do about it, one night sleeping hard, the next not.

When Cindy is here just watch her and smile. That’s all she needs to make her beam. But yesterday being so distracted my mind wandered to lost places. Be present. Use the full spectrum lights.

No wonder you feel bad and down when only a week ago I could sit on the patio and soak up sun. With the heat on each morning there is no sun soaking to start each day with fullness, peace and contentment. Use the lights, soak in artificial sun, and do so consistently. 

Today is another day. After sleeping well the start feels brighter. Remember the work. Make each day count, though yesterday seemed a waste. If I cannot be active, productive and feel useful, it’s a waste. But maybe not. Maybe there are days when the body needs rest, especially one with unbalanced chemicals.

Being a couch slug is productive. It seems necessary some days. Rest calms internal warning signals, like train arms coming down with bells and lights. With rest they quiet, rise back up, and allow flow and movement. It just is. I don’t understand it, but must allow for it… remember, be gentle, show kindness, understanding and acceptance.

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(Cory’s photo) 

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GRAND-DAUGHTER

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“Cool and rainy is no excuse to not move,” my old bones growl.

Hello elliptical trainer, waiting patiently in the basement, knees moving round and round accompanied by arms in synchrony. The sun does come out later beckoning me for a walk but the pull is resisted choosing to stay cozy and warm.

It’s the kind of day that could throw down snow but not yet. The car slips into the same spot at pre-school and the key fob opens the door. I await Cindy’s exit while sitting on the bench in the foyer. She comes right into my arms and I soak it up. Her affections are usually just for her Mommy, but when Mommy’s gone I’m a good replacement. I stay present knowing these moments are precious and elusively impermanent.

She is such a little beauty with a brightness, humor and ability far beyond the age of four. Arriving home she jumps on the couch tired from her busy morning. Her eyes soon spy the sewing box waiting patiently on the table by her little kitchen. Her eyes sparkle and mine shine.

With a nod I say, “That is for my grand-daughter Cindy! It was my Mom’s, so your Great Grand-Mother’s.”

She jumps off the couch, opens the lid and excitedly explores the contents. The next hour till Mommy comes is spent in adoration of all the goodies in her sewing box. She completes two ‘sewing projects’ and can’t wait to show Mommy.

She has real needles, great big ones. She quickly learns to spit on the yarn first before threading the needle and is delighted when successful. The sewing box is a hit and she can’t wait to return today to do more…Me too!

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I feel great! I have disgorged any feelings of wrongdoing in my lack of a relationship with Don, Stevie and especially Seth. Or at least have decided it takes two and is certainly not all on me.

I’ve expunged feelings of self-blame by writing them out and thinking them through. I tend to blame myself for negativity in the lives of those around me and my own. That is a constant challenge.

So I sleep great. Add to that a total healing inside. I have been bleeding for many years but didn’t know it. The internal bleeding has finally stopped, though it took too long to learn why I felt so tired and why my stomach hurt so badly. I finally have a idea of what’s going on.

I wish I didn’t have to permanently take a medication which blocks acid production. It affects my head making it feel full when I bend then stand. It is known to lead to dementia for some after using it for long periods, but it is a fact of my life now.

Having my body heal lifted both mood and energy. Reining in my eating helped too. Laying my head on the pillow at night knowing I’ve taken good care of mind, body and soul leads to well-being and deep sleep. Exercise has slipped due to cold and rain but is easily remedied. 

Yesterday before going to a matinee, (Jack Reacher 2) I retrieved my Mother’s sewing basket from the stuff from the garage sale awaiting pick-up. I spent a fun morning filling it with sewing goodies Cindy can use. She is fascinated when I use mine. Now she has her own! I did add a little bling…

We are off for a drive through the hills to see the exploding color then lunch in an eclectic coffee shop where home-made soup is served. We always visit the the local pottery maker’s shop buried deep in the valley to see what he’s been up to.

Donning gloves, hat and scarf, we will then explore their woodsy nature trail laden with colorful leaves. The cold air will bring out a frisky child who scoops up leaves breathing in the scent of the earth’s decomposition. 

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I DARE ASK

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THE BREAKING OF TABOO- TALKING ABOUT CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE

I wake from a deep sleep and my mind goes to Seth, Stevie or Don, the three out of seven siblings who didn’t attack me sexually. Those I thought I could relate with but no longer can… except Stevie my only younger brother. And only then if the truth isn’t spoken.

He truly did not know. And I work at forgiving the fact that now that he does know he has spoken not one word of sorrow over the traumas I suffered. Not one word. His wife mentioned that I was survivor, that is all, and that is all I’ll ever receive from them. They have their own sorrows after losing their daughter. Yet one doesn’t exclude the other. I can feel sorrow over their loss, can’t Stevie for mine? 

And maybe he does, but like everyone including myself included in a group of dysfunctional souls, no one speaks the truth, or speaks of feelings, or works things out. Each electron functions individually by spinning against the others magnetized field never connecting, because connection means extinction. 

Is this something I need to focus on, or it is autumn’s downward spiral and my psyche’s usual fall with it, SAD, a place visited each winter. My mind, confused by my mother’s teachings that I love and live with the monsters and attackers of my childhood, doesn’t come right out and tell me what I need to know. I have to go deep down inside my soul, not a place I’m used to dwelling in. That is where I ‘know’.

Do you dare go there? Yes. To do more than survive that is where I need to be. That is where fullness resides with the riches of love, compassion and complete wholeness.

Why does my mind take me to thoughts of Don, Seth or Stevie each time I wake? Please stop! Over and over the mantra repeats, Because you fail to connect. You are failing at having at relationship because of Tom. You are allowing Tom to take that too even though he has packed up and moved to the other side of the country. It is on you. You will regret not trying harder to connect. Holding resentments. 

No. Not holding resentments, holding my truth. I am changing, growing, stretching—expanding as my body sheds its unwanted weight growing smaller naturally as all else expands. Maybe I can let this go, get off myself, give myself a break? Lighten up? Have a life and live it.

I dare ask, Where were you? to Don, to Seth. You both knew and did nothing. If anything you stayed away from that hellhole called a ‘home.’ You knew and did nothing, abandoning me. WHY? WHERE WERE YOU?  Where are you now? Relationships take two. I am willing, you are not. Or Don seems to but I can’t or won’t. I can’t make it work on what was and do not know who you are now. 

I dare ask why. Not your why, a belief you did nothing wrong. A belief that I dare not talk about the real traumas I suffered. They are hushed because I will be abandoned if I speak them.

Just as you abandoned me Seth when I sent a link to my book, proving what was always out there but never with the courage to outright threaten me. Talk about what I don’t want to hear and we’re done. And that’s what you did. 

Cowards. It is me leaving you, letting you go. As I lie there chastising myself in the darkness, I might just entertain the thought that I dare ask why—, breaking the silence, the taboo of speaking outright about childhood sexual abuse, a taboo since the beginning of time.

That it is you not me. You cleaved to the one who sought to destroy me. You are the hollow man. Because I have captured my essence, the truth, my truth. And I’ll never abandon me again.  Once one grasps onto their soul that had always been elusive, they will continue to seek wholeness into it. If you cannot stand by the fire and hold my hand, go.

I need to be honest which means everything cannot be blamed on me no matter how they try to blame me in order to keep me silent and keep the peace, the pretense of ‘family,’ a conspiracy of silence that kills. I do better without them. I continue to crave the family that was depicted in the book Cheaper by the Dozen. It doesn’t exist for me, though the longing at times continues ….

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ENEMIES and LOVERS

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The mind takes me to places I don’t have to go. When all is well I create pain and chaos…but I don’t have to. It’s OK to at peace. It’s OK to be happy because peace to me is happiness. Then I create pain. Because I am used to it.

FOOD. Something for all others to have and enjoy, but since age 8, not me. So much is associated it. Love, hate, fatty Patty. My brothers friends whispering in the kitchen and I’m sure it was about me, never about the attacker, me. And that is how my personality was made, out of fear, shame, being bad, and being the beast, not the attackers.

Every time I ate I felt wrong, fat and bad. People in the environment reinforced the bad feelings because how one looks can be dealt with, how one feels goes underground. No one helps. No one listens. But if another can ‘help’ by telling you how fat you are they think they are doing a good thing. My aunt, the school nurse did that. Making me feel an outcast. A place I’ve always been, outcast.

In high-school when my breasts were beginning to grow, though I didn’t think much about it, I was bridesmaid for Danny and Donny, both marrying about the same time. During the reception Tom and I danced and an innocent moment made me feel dirty, bad and horrid.

He lured at me saying, “What are those things poking into me?”

I froze and stayed numb moving away in a trance, my body once again not mine and under lustful scrutiny by a brother I once dearly loved and trusted, never to make peace with him, never to feel safe with him ever again. I tried over and over but he could not forgive my being alive.

My very existence reminded him of what he had done and that was enough for him to hate me. Not outright. His plan to erode any scrap of esteem I achieved was slow, insidious, and very much made him out the victim…not me. Others backed him

My body and food? Enemies and lovers.

During all the formative years I felt an embarrassment due to my weight. No feelings against my attackers, it wasn’t allowed or expected. I wondered how any of them managed to be in public with me due to my weight.

That is what a little girl does when she is attacked by loved ones and everyone ignores, denies and does not come to her defense and protects her. She takes it in as hers. For me it took all my mother’s love at the end of a spoon to keep existing. She could not and did not love. But she cooked and I ate looking for the love that never came. I’m still eating and looking.

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FILLING the SOUL

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That has always been my belief in my core, be slim be normal. And maybe that’s why I don’t get there. Because if my life held no drama or chaos, then what? Maybe it is that simple. Love thyself, all else follows. Love thyself, then you are more able to love others fully. Love thyself, the body will flourish.

When slimness came at various times, the feelings of wrongness remained, maybe intensified. Where was the ‘normal?’ It is not about the outside shell but what emanates from within. Feeling bad, wrong and abnormal, the first knee jerk reaction to any interaction, pain follows, the pain of not being enough or as good as.

Food numbs the painful feelings, fills up the holes where ‘self’ evaporated. What if the feelings embedded into my child’s personality, the bedrock of self-hate, being bad, being wrong, change in a way that comes from the core, not the head? As the feelings of acceptance and loving myself loosen the mortar of self-hate, a well-being arises, and along with it a map to wholeness with the keys of permission to enjoy it.

Yes, it OK to be happy, to be at peace, not to live in chaos. Yes, it is alright. You can have the life you yearned for, to be normal, to be like how you see others live. It is within you at the very core. Just listen, learn and love, open up to all you have. You have all you need. Like Dorothy, you have what you need right where you are. You don’t have to go looking for it.

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”dort