Safe Touch

My husband has long ago lost interest in sexual interaction. Perhaps it’s due to the vasectomy over 30 years ago which is his excuse. Or perhaps it was my frigidity which only changed when I came up with the idea of using my past, unlocking the frozenness by imagining being raped, tied down and given an injection which forces my body to enjoy the rape — not so far-fetched because my body responded to some of what was being done during childhood, certain touches to the chest that had not yet become breasts. Of course sexual stimulation occurs for children being abused because our bodies are made that way. But that was yet another reason to blame myself for decades. 

Perhaps Samuel sensed this disconnection accompanied by the change from a frozen board during sex to suddenly responding. Before coming up with the idea I wasn’t responding to him, or any loving touch. I was far off somewhere else, very still, cold and numb. When I used the memories from childhood to my benefit, and found a way to enjoy the experience, my body moved with pleasure in reaction to his touch. It was then that he stopped wanting to participate.

Perhaps it is just what he says, a nerve was injured in the procedure of the vasectomy. I don’t think so. And if so, there are still the first ten years of marriage where he was interested. Though I tried, it seldom was enjoyable. I wasn’t able to move or like any of it except the cuddling afterwards.

The natural course is not to have to envision being raped to enjoy sex. Rape is not something I could survive again. It was how sex was introduced to me; being held down. The suffocation of that and the terror of not being able to breathe made me lie still after that encounter. I might well have been bound because the terror of feeling suffocated kept me still as if I were. 

So much is taken from a child sexually attacked. All attacks, especially those done with syrupy words, soft manipulations, and coercion. These are poignantly violent stripping away trust with a permanence seldom restored.  

I’d maim and kill anyone who did that another or to me if I could. I would have done it then, when brothers were stealing my body for their own pleasure. I spent many decades believing that I should have done something like beat them on the head with a lamp to get them off me. At the suggestion of a therapist I really looked at a child from the ages of 8 on. That child couldn’t beat up her attacker, how could I?

Brothers stole all good things, including the simple pleasure of touch. Do not get in my space. Do not get too close. I cannot breathe when you do. 

 

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Warm Rooms

photo by Patricia

It’s not a cold, heartless job, like counting calories or sweeping the floor. It’s not a hard ‘to do list’ thing, it is soft, warm, inviting, and joyful, like opening the door to a room of comfort, that of your own heart.

Replace one habit with another. Instead of the usual attack on self, confront it with love. Love is a hard word if you’ve not allowed yourself to experience it, especially for your own self. Too dangerous.

Once loving those around me as children do, those same people caused damage so great it had the power to destroy, and my life was endangered. Being forced to stuff it meant the danger continued and grew like a malicious, powerful, gnarled root.  The only way to live with those whose hate caused so much destruction was to blame myself.

There was no other way to survive. I must take the hit for what happened, otherwise how would I live with monsters in the night?

After decades of self-hate there are other rooms to explore, open up, and to live in. It is not easy, but it is possible. And once warmth is felt, the momentum carries you deeper into the  nourishing rooms where kindness expands enfolding the pain, transforming it.

Oh you are jealous? Come here little one. I will love you.

You are hateful? Let me hold you.

Soon the tight fist of self-hate releases your heart, and all feelings are welcome.

WARMTH

photo by Patricia

Like a bird with a broken wing, do you hold your heart gently to see what’s there with open and willing arms? No. Reject, refuse, debate and scorn.

But what if you see what’s there, gently holding it, caressing the hurt lovingly with curiosity fully accepting whatever is there? So many times my head rejects my heart refusing to allow what is there, dismissing the pain as weakness, the humanness as failure, and being less than.

The separation keeps myself from myself. No love. What if you gently take a look? Don’t let the fear of what is there keep you away. Strong feeling are fearful, but they are just feelings.

Old hurts haunt, trip me up, keep me stagnant and will not heal. The wound is deep originating from childhood. It is OK to go there and give her what she needs. Open your arms and let her run into them. . 

Provide love, acceptance, and nurturance. What if you operate from a heart that is truly open, especially to yourself? Because once you do, the possibility of loving others also opens tenfold… one-hundred fold.

Because then you are loving your wholeness, your humanness, all of you, loving the parts you run from too. And it is only then that you bathe in the warmth of total compassion. It is only then that you will begin to feel that same warmth that has been emanating from others all along but you rejected because it was too dangerous.

In the safety of your own heart you will mend. The ragged tears will weave, the warmth will come, the warmth you’ve been searching for your whole life is at home in your own heart.

“if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with!” says Dorothy to Glinda.

Life Goes On

photo by Patricia

After a heated discussion then driving somewhere, my mind is still in the thick of it and not on the road. That is the problem of outlining my feelings in an email, the feedback still has to be heard. And seemed to have gotten nowhere, or gotten farther away from the original dismay.

Black thoughts invade when my head hits the pillow, and when my eyes open in the morning. It is not easy to brush them away. How does one live from a core of openness when jealousies, resentments, old hurtful memories and other emotions tarnish the present?

Yet another day does start and you have to live it. So live it as you have, with a willingness to do your best for you.

SPEAK UP?

photo by Patricia

It is stressful to speak up, stressful for me but also the person who read my feelings via email where they could be outlined thoroughly. Perhaps a simple conversation would have been better.

Samuel says, “Grow a thicker skin.”

But Samuel never has been one to speak up about anything which is why some things continue that should not. There are some who take advantage of a person especially when they have no one to back them up. And since there is no extended family that supports me, and Samuel is the way Samuel is, it is easy to be at the receiving end of another’s hurtful vindictiveness throughout the years. 

My heart feels as if it is being squeezed. Taking note, effort goes to relaxing it by doing the things that bring peace. Puzzles help my anxiety to calm. While walking the meadow the memory of Samuel’s words come back. A thicker skin? It is not the first time hearing that from another.

It’s like a badly burned body. The healed skin is paper thin. Samuel, what do you know, as the thought of how much strength it has taken to get this far rises up. Would you have managed so well?

“You’re weak,” I say.

“I’m wise,” he responds.

Maybe it is a bit of both.

The perpetual dance of being hurt and deciding when to speak up and when not to will continue. But there are times to speak. It saddens me to hear a loved one’s voice sounding sad because of what was written.  

Voicing my feelings still seems wrong and foreign because I was taught not to. Though done with gentleness, the hurt to another because of my words is what clenches my heart and makes me wonder, was it worth it?