Buried Alive

Each time the old messages screech hauntingly, slay them down. After a while they tend to not bother, staying in their graves where they belong. Who we are may be a stirring in the cauldron of just that plus who we choose to be.

Make a choice. Slay the dragons, or let them take me under. I slay them each day, some days with more success and energy than others. Other days they thrive like the walking dead, burying me as they walk upon my grave.

But my hands claw up through the dirt, my spirit rises, flourishes, and wins. Those messages from childhood will remain. Whether to listen to them, or choose not to, that is the work.

I am bad because I didn’t fight them off. Brothers who weighed twice as much as me. I am bad because as vile as it all felt, sometimes my body responded. I hate my body. I am bad, bad, bad.

And ‘family’ allowed those message to stick because then they were protected. Those that did it, those that knew but did nothing.

Choose. The truth, which is something new to me that I am still learning about. Or choose old messages that often threaten to bury me. The magic is loving myself how I am, and loving my body too, just how it is right now.

It is hard to learn the truth of who I am over the booming loudness of badness… to find my way to my core buried beneath cold, hard, vaulted steel, arriving at the place where love resides.

Dig. Dig until you find it, that soft, warm, puffy cloud place where love and comfort swirl like warm waterfalls… for self and for others. Unearth the sweetness where bliss and heaven dwell within. 

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WHOLESOMENESS

There is an ever present belief of ‘not as good as,’ lying deep in my core as if part of my personality like bedrock. Sometimes it lies dormant, only a whisper, and this only after years of internal strife, anxiety, and tearing myself apart with struggles over any interaction with another.

Whatever I did, said, or looked like was wrong, a mistake. That is what sexual abuse within a family does. When a child is forced to stay silent to protect the family’s shame, trauma swims within her like sharks eating her flesh from the insides out. Shame rots all that would blossom.  

I believed I was ‘bad.’ That grew as I grew. Every person who looks at me must be thinking something bad about me. That was a surety in my belief system making any attempt at just about anything supremely difficult and almost impossible.

Those feelings paralyze stunting growth. The body grows, the rest stagnates causing a quagmire of pain rolling like a tumble weed as years passed. As days grow shorter old ghosts rise consuming all rationality threatening to pull me under.

You are as good as others. How absurd to believe otherwise? A voice, soft and gentle is heard. A voice once gagged for the sake of the family. Even now freedom is squelched out of habit, but beliefs and feelings are opening to the stars and the heavens.

You have a right to be here. I suffered despite the so called ‘family’ acting as if I didn’t. The call to them has diminished. The need for it about gone. That need only makes the pain go deeper, but like a moth to flame I kept coming back.

A change has evolved, a quietness, and acceptance of how things are, where I stand, and how to provide for my needs for the very first time, untainted by another looking out for their own interests.

It is freeing. The internal quiet and acceptance so longed for, fought for, and coming into all parts of my being after the weapons are put down. The moments of now are savored instead of avoided.

It comes when least expected, this surprise of wholesomeness.

 

New Normal

My new normal, that feeling of a lock down, a frozen robotic existence with repetitive thinking and other thoughts askew. My new normal from summer-time when well-being soothed my ragged spirit with some kind of normalcy, and was luxuriated in.

My new normal is my old normal, that of fall sinking into winter, realizing that without anti-depressants I just have to cope. The concoctions brewing in my head over these months can be scary. Being on those medications in the past made me want to escape my brain because another force was in control.

Being controlled by others or anything outrages me, like hot coal on ice. So I plod along the best I can. And now it means taking even more time to provide care and gentleness.

The warm October day was brilliantly robin’s egg blue. Seeking warmth on the patio had stopped due to my restlessness compounded with loneliness after the birds migrated south deserting me.

No hummingbird whizzing by my head to the feeder just a few feet away. No morning chorus upon waking. But a finch was at the feeder. Though his bright yellow coat has faded, he stayed. Along with woodpeckers, blue-jays, and others. People stay too.

Take notice, you are not alone. The hot sun sank into me. The coldness began to melt. Feelings of wellness replaced the hard stony core. There are ways to deal with this. 

It will take more effort to search for the warmth of love as the cold gets colder. Cold that matches my interior where love is hard to find even on a good day. Hard thick layers of vaulted steel protect that vulnerable tender place. 

It takes work to melt it away, that and a reliance on chemicals. My chemical of choice is chocolate, not really a chemical but an inducer of endorphins lacking in a brain such as mine.

Lots of chocolate in the form of fat free milk, sugar free sweeteners, and my new best friend- Hershey’s chocolate milk mix strengthened with more baking chocolate powder to intensify the flavor—a happy healing brew. Chocolate drags my spirits from the basin on up. Or I think it does which brings the same relief. 

That and a friend I’ve never met, but is an intimate friend even if she is far away. I share with you two sayings she sent to brighten my day…

GHOSTS

photos by Patricia

Ghosts tamed, the usual onslaught of shorter day’s remains. Low mood, a critical attitude, eating behaviors from childhood when brothers attacked and no one was there to help. Holding it all in took a lot of food.

Feeding the depression is more depressing. Yet the life-time habit of moving out of feelings to food has beckoned its relief from those very feelings run from. Numbness. Blessed numbness. Habits. Disdain towards myself for my humanness.

It is only in self-acceptance that food becomes less an issue. Where kindness feeds my soul, not engorgement. Feeling too full fills me. Feeling too full means not hurting over other things; the lack of friends, especially an intimate woman friend like Sue, lost over 6 years ago… longer than I knew her.

Feeling too full means not hurting over the brothers left who keep aloof because closeness would mean reality, the reality of what the so called family really is. It means not falling into despair due to what was, and what could have been.

Will that mourning ever end? Determined not to tumble into a winter depression that consumes, choices are made not to. Saying I should be happy, doesn’t make it so, adding to the self-contempt. But it does remind me that all around me is worth living for, striving for, and hoping for.

Find that fullness in other ways… Ghosts faced by airing what happened and who did it brought light into darkness. Shame lifted. Continued meditation helps to move from ego to soul. Caring for self means preparing healthy meals, exercising, and all the other time consuming activities that keep an aging body going.

But tackling the tendency to overeat for the soothing numbness is still a challenge, especially during the months where light lessons and mood plummets. It can be done.

AUTHENTICITY

We met a few towns over for brunch. I told Cory it was OK, that coming from Massachusetts for such a quick trip to be best man at his friend’s wedding, and staying at the venue instead of with us, was OK, OK, OK. I’m sure I said it four times at least, but never that I’d rather not drive to meet for breakfast before they went on their way back home. Oh course, never that!

He seemed stuck on it so that we would have a little time together, but it didn’t feel like him. Something wasn’t right or real. My urge was to say Nah, I’d rather not, just go ahead and get on the road. It was couched in another way much less direct, as if it would be for his benefit, which it would be, but also mine.  Driving to meet for an hour in a little cafe was not appealing..

And once there, it did come out that his sweet wife had encouraged him to make time to see us. Had I known that for sure, my insistence that they just get going would have been more authentic. It is a 6 hour trip.

Weaving the threads of what benefits my spirit, balancing those with the needs and wants of others, all while the darkness of shorter days also darkens my internal world, becomes much harder. Summertime breezed by happily, but the long months to come will take new initiatives to conquer it. When is pushing myself beneficial, and when does it backfire?

But once again inauthenticity strikes. It was an ongoing struggle deciding the week beforehand; my instincts vs what he was suggesting. Not going seemed so outrageously unmotherly. It would have been fine. Cory and I tend to be honest like that. His wife has softened him in ways that work for them.

But not this time. The world I try to control to keep my internal workings calm is disrupted by inauthenticity. Doing for those I love comes first, including the cat. It also includes just about anyone else. Inauthentic choices are becoming harder and harder to swallow, keeping me awake when I should be asleep.

Can you be honest, say no, and still like yourself? I will have to try it sometime. Courage is not always slaying dragons. Sometimes it is just showing up. 

I am Enough

A rosy glow casts pink hazy fog, the scene surreal in its splendor. A simple sunrise gifted freely, though enjoyment is behind the window pane as the cold is frosting the pumpkins. Only the cat wants to sit out hunched atop the wicker settee waiting for prey.

A night blessed with sleep and a soft voice assuring me it is OK when waking in the night, it’s OK, go back to sleep. And since no daily occurrences are disturbing me, sleep did return. Such seemingly little things disrupt my being, and that has to do with a body that lived a life on the edge due to PTSD. It just is.

All that can be done to help soften the effects are deserved, and OK. Attuning to my needs is OK. Providing care for myself in a nurturing way is a path untrodden tentatively taken. So many wonders along the way; feelings of stability, calm, and OK-ness. That I am OK just how I am, and what I do is enough.

 

How to Brighten a Rainy Day

Though tedious for some, for arthritic hands needing movement to maintain agility, this simple project has brought hours of fun. Some will be gifts, and others are strung from the double window for year round sparkle when the light hits them just right. 

That they are Christmas themed does not matter as the rules of the house are mine. Well, Samuel’s too, but he doesn’t care.

After a day of doubling down on the usual negative messages that pop into my head unbidden, last night sleep came. When feeling powerless without voice, memories of all that I’d hoped to have dragged myself out of come flooding back.

It happens like a switch turned on, suddenly right back in that lonely, tarry hole. A seemingly innocuous experience becomes poignantly piercing leaving a residue. Support hastens recovery.  

It isn’t a lack of character or strength. It was the damage done.

A new day, full of happiness after speaking with both sons on their way to work. First one, then after hanging up, magically the other calls. I am the luckiest Mom filled with pride and joy.