Shadows of the Past

There are no open rooms.

The doors are closed,

the rooms are dusty,

because you were not there.

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Alone yet Connected

You are alone, and you are connected to the universe and all living things. It doesn’t feel that way sometimes. During darkness the aloneness is all there is. Sometimes, day, after day, after day. The thought that feelings come and go does not comfort nor help to brush away the hellish hole.

Then glimmer, by glimmer, hope returns as the body heals the latest health or emotional upheaval. Like coming out of battle, weary, mud-stained, and weak, strength slowly returns rejuvenating the spirit to its proper norm.

The stars were aligned. Sleep slowly was restored and the coughing cleared. I took up my sister-in-law’s offer to attend the little gathering yesterday which had bloomed to a few more family members from long ago; one who I embraced warmly, the other with a cool hello.

Brothers were barely embraced, it was enough to attend.

“What is wrong?” one asked after a brief, lackluster hug of hello walking on after.

I ignored him.

“That was hardly a hug!” another one said, pulling me close for another one that I barely responded to.

I kept connected to my insides without parts flying from me, which would be my usual course. Instead of giving everything away to others, I kept myself.  

What do you expect, I thought, and walked on toward the door without acknowledging his comment. You- who cannot email, call, or visit? You- who I don’t hear a word from for over a year, but you interact frequently with the others?

I owe nothing. I did not look at them directly. You will not invade my interior and hurt me more than you already have. I was there, that was enough. You don’t want to know me, you don’t see me, nor want to. You can’t have the fake me you seem to want.

You want the pretend me who nods, smiles and says nothing. I stayed aloof, yet connected within. Nothing would change anyway. Each would still clique together and talk about how queerly I acted, or something else other than anything real, and I’d still be alone.

A good deed was accomplished, maybe not to your liking, but to mine. 

Growth doesn’t occur in chaos, it comes in the quiet places. I am alone, yet connected to every living thing.

 

Yes, I Can!

My denial of winter’s annual take down will not chase the low mood away. The tendency to seclude myself even further, along with the inability to sleep as well, accompanied with the temptation to stuff in food to fill the holes, are challenges that increase without invite.

The lure of the once sun-warmed patio with soothing sunshine upon me is craved, remembered, and thirsted for. The full spectrum lights will have to do, and the morning ritual is adhered to with more regularity.

Winter depression is real, and though your harsh voice tells you that you are being a weak baby, you are not alone, and you are not weak and whiny. Wouldn’t you be sympathetic towards another who suffers it? And accepting that it is real?

Health has returned and with it gratitude for a body strong with mind and emotions stronger too. The ‘yes, I can’ button is on, though it may take a while to find it.

 

Who Are You Really?

As much as my mind ravages my thoughts in negativity, the soul quietly leads the way, or more often guides me back to the path. Pondering the reason for life while walking the wet earth lap after lap, one thing for sure; life is not about haranguing oneself with consistent negatives. It is about enjoyment.

Life is meant to be enjoyed despite the challenges, hardships, and obstacles. For the majority of my life that was not possible no matter how much energy, fortitude and work was put into it. My body, mind and psyche had been invaded by the hands of brothers who left in their wake a person who hated herself.

Not until my sixties had the warmth of self-acceptance began to flow, or, trickle, a drip here and there… wanting more. Tenderly rocking the child whose temper takes over, and whose rage of wounds rips things down, soothes the rawness. But it takes time, time and repeated effort.

Confront those immediate reactions which cast you in a bad light. Come up from the darkness by going  into the light of your own soul.

Dungeons and Dragons

photo by Patricia

The human body amazes. Mine has taken severe abuse, not by others, though that is true, but by me.

“Punishment,” I said to Samuel.

There was no other explanation. The eating machine had taken control. Things went down my poor stomach that weren’t wanted, and didn’t taste good. My head says that Sunday’s inability to sleep after a happy afternoon with friends, then calls from both sons, was part of the PTSD package due to what happened so long ago.

My personality says it is something different, that I’m different, an oddity, a belief ingrained along with the permanent damage from the sexual attacks endured from age 8-11, ongoing attacks on all facets of my being. 

Living with the effects of PTSD from the childhood attacks of sexual abuse will not go away. The craving continues to forget those facts. Going along day after day, quietly and happily, these realities intrude with little warning or fanfare. Turning to food, stuffing it down automatically, kicks in. More damage is done. 

I don’t want to be weird, a misfit, different. Perhaps a bugle ought to play alerting me to the whys of not sleeping then I could be better prepared to handle it healthfully instead of the knee jerk reaction of food stuffing. 

The next day the bad eating continued even more severely, making me sick then unable to sleep… just like when I was eight and went to my mother tapping her lightly on the shoulder while she slept.

“I’m going to be sick,” I said.

She murmured back, “What do you want me to do, spit straw?” I went to the bathroom and threw up. The eating continued. She fed me, overfed me really in her zest to do something. But she didn’t stop the terrible nightly attacks. Nor did she do anything to relieve the belief that it was all my fault. That would be contrary to her need for a happy family to be on show.

That was her unconscious way of keeping me silent. That self-blame will keep the family secret in, and the shame. Her daughter’s weight bloomed along with the shame hidden in the thick folds of  my skin.

She also wanted me to love myself, giving me the book, “How to Be Your Own Best Friend.” Mother, you split me, broke me in two. I have failed at that too. 

You’d think I hate my mother. I love her. I also needed her desperately all the way into my fifties when she died at 91…desperately searching for the love that felt just out of reach.   

Sometimes I take up where my mother left off, casting myself away like so much garbage. My poor heart pounded with the extra effort of trying to digest the food, while also trying to sleep. Giving up, moving to the couch, it slowed and sleep eventually came.

A great appreciation comes for my body and its tenacity for life even after so damage has occurred to it; some by my hands, some by others. My psyche also has taken a disturbing hit that is also permanent. My unwillingness to accept that has to be readjusted over and over.

Accepting what occurred and how that destroyed many aspects of my body and mind is a fact faced repeatedly because the urge is be like everyone else. Accepting these realities time and again is an ongoing job needing focused diligence. Acceptance, like patience, does not come easily.   

The aspect of feeling abnormal and bad will always be there, ingrained into my psyche just as my wiring has been damaged by the feeling of constant danger lurking behind every corner.

Fighting the dragons and demons, and coming out of the dungeon to the light, is my work, and a daily challenge. So is learning to be kind and gentle to myself. As winter approaches the dungeon grows deeper, and darker, and the work becomes harder. It needs to be recognized, appreciated, and accepted.

No amount of denial helps. Acceptance and self-love does. 

 

GENTLENESS

photo by Patricia

The feeling of differentness so acute as a child suffering sexual attacks by my siblings arises sharply at times. Many feelings from then still linger, stabbing into my present life. Unprocessed traumas and all the feelings with them didn’t dissipate but grew with me.

Yet no gentleness exists. It is a habit to beat myself up when today’s issues erupt emotion from childhood wounds. There is no conscious link to them. That is changing. There are reasons sleep is interrupted. Wounds untended in childhood along with a stolen voice caused an inseparable rift within; deep wounds and no way to them. I am mute to the world and mute to my soul.

Wounds fester and when touched with present hurts the pain expands exponentially. It is like placing an already burnt arm on a hot stove. The present slides away as the psyche escapes elsewhere. If a person is talking, what is said is not heard.

Self-loathing because the feeling of differentness is so acute is not what the wounded child needs. And she exists within me and will always be there. She needs what you did not receive then. Since there was only one urgent unspoken rule to not speak of it, there is no one to emulate a pattern of how to be gentle with myself.

It is a new road with little to go on except the times my mother extended gentleness in adulthood. There were moments when she tried, maybe to make up for the past. 

 

FORGIVE, FORGIVE, FORGIVE

photo by Patricia

Some relationships spin the same old way no matter how much effort is put into change. Haunts from the past infect today. Little hurts inflame old unprocessed trauma. Sleep will not come, or upon waking in the night will not return.

A small infraction causing hurt by a loved one sets off the alarms yet it is ringing unaware until nighttime when tiredness setting in meets adrenaline.

You loser, you weirdo, you bad mother, wife, friend, and the bashing goes on. Feelings have overridden behaving in a way to feel proud of. Or shadows of them because the behavior has improved but no credit is given for the strides made. The mind goes off far down the painful road of self-loathing, and I feel lost. Help me, in the night the prayer is murmured.

This has been a usual occurrence for years but the last months a healthy sleep pattern has developed. My belief is that has much to do maturing hence feeling more at peace with myself. To lose it and not know why upsets all routines and body systems, but also most painful, must somehow be my fault. Is it? Or is it unprocessed trauma which goes beyond my conscious choice or control?  

Wake and start again. May your first thought be, “Forgive. Be gentle. How gentle, loving and accepting can you be toward yourself today after the sins you think you committed yesterday?”  And are they such sins? Or is your humanness still not allowed in your own mind.