Planning Christmas kept my sanity in the darkest month, now the wait for spring as each day becomes longer.
“Look,” Samuel says, “It is 5 and still light out!”
Looking outside I reply excitedly, “Wow, you’re right!”
My drudge through the dark months is proceeding with better management and brighter outcomes, though it takes work; disciplined habits including full spectrum lights, meditation, better diet, and daily exercise.
The uplift from exercise is curative, even moderate exercise such as walking or gentle movements on the elliptical. But it takes a push to go do it.
The food thing is harder as food is used to medicate PTSD issues that resulted from childhood sexual attacks by loved ones. Alone, stuck with it, and no one to burst the bubble of excruciating pain, it grew as I grew.
That beast stayed. The beast of self-hate, but compassion is slowly moving in as part of me steps back and notices that my use of food is not born out of laziness, lack of character, or that I don’t love, care, or respect myself.
It is self-care that turned to me food at age eight, bent over the toilet in the middle of the night vomiting up the food my mother pushed towards me in place of what I really needed.
Food was her love. My little body couldn’t take it, but it was all there was to numb the horror of what my brothers did and kept doing… the ones I loved so much and trusted.
Food is still used to medicate. To eat out of hunger is not usual. To eat to numb is. Hating myself for failing to be thin is a societal rule. Yet it also is a survival tool that sustains my life in the only way I know how.
Turning to food saved me. It saves me now. It squelches PTSD symptoms by focusing my attention to how full it feels to the point of pain. Liking the pain because I’m so used to it. The other hurts too much to feel.
The hurt of a family turning their backs, going on as if nothing happened. What about that pain? It is easier to go along with them. Sure I love you too. You did so much for me.
Donny did allow me to move in with his family because my mother’s drinking had adverse effects. I got a job, joined the Army, met Samuel. My life began. Don saved me at a time when I really needed saving.
But what about when I was 8? You came into the bathroom at the sound of my screams while I was in the tub.
I said, “It hurts down there.”
What did you do then? Nothing. No one did anything. Not Seth either who I said to directly at the time, “Danny fucked me.” Just looks of horror in his eyes which to an eight year old meant I was the horror.
I want to ask these questions, but never will, though some was in an email to Seth causing more separation than closeness.
Each day starts out, listen to my body. It will tell you what you need. By the end of the day the impulse to eat when not hungry for food, but ravenous for love, wins out. It blots out all other needs, and helps me hate myself.
A quiet voice whispers, perhaps it is self-caring, what you have done since the age of 8. A rumbling vibrates deep down in a space that is not bone, blood or tissue… a place that is ethereal, one where my true nature resides. The work is connecting, and staying connected.