Holding my Own Key to Happiness

Forever at the root of my core resided the belief of being bad, wrong, and always the one at fault. That is the feeling turned fact at age eight, growing every year becoming rock solid.

And that belief did solidify. How could it not with no one to tell me differently? No one to hold me, rock me, tell me that what they did was wrong, that they would be punished, that it wouldn’t happen again.

Because it did keep happening, and happening, and happening.

This is a time of peace, a time when that belief has been chipped at, questioned, and challenged. A crack has evolved where warmth seeps in, or oozes outward. Ever so slowly, bits of comfort float up where once only animosity to self had been. It is a change that could have occurred fifty years ago.

If only someone had the courage to hold my hand and take a stand. No one did. But I do now… tentatively, fearfully as if I’m doing something wrong in liking myself, for showing acceptance towards my own being, like the axe will fall for doing so.

No axe falls. Taking that step towards kindness and self-love after so long is freeing. The origin family collectively used subtle tactics to sustain low esteem to keep me silent. But my true nature includes persistence.

Baby- steps, tiny fissures are pried open wider using words of encouragement and uplift rather than harsh criticism. Treasures are found never enjoyed before: peace, openness, self-acceptance, joy.

Freedom is savored, the freedom to choose to (learn) to love myself. And each day a reminder to embrace gratefulness for making it through the hazards and treachery of all the years past. Where self-hate ruled in a mixing bowl of adrenaline pumped anxiety, confusion, self-doubt, and a total inability to connect with my own soul. 

To come to a place others never lost, is now found for me. A delectable experience not to be contaminated by bitterness towards what was. My choice is to enjoy the miraculous now.   

 

Little Girl Me

Dusty corners remain that no one knew, or wanted to know, what little girl me went through… not even me. If everyone else chastises her, so will I.

Tears leak out, trailing down my cheek, like squeezing a sponge dry during a period when nothing is stressful or bothering me, yet something is. A memory is provoked, perhaps by the quiet, empty house with a feeling that a sudden scare is impending.

Like Chet bursting out from behind the shower curtain with an evil joy at terrorizing me. He’s been dead three years. I check behind it some nights while brushing my teeth, lately more often than others. What, am I ten years old?

Much of my life is like that, something ready to happen to crack the peaceful silence keeping me always on edge. The exception is when I’m outside, unless Samuel approaches without offering a clue, then I jump with a yelp of fear erupting. Usually he remembers to signal his coming near when I’m resting by the creek after a walk in the meadow. That took years of reminders before he took heed.

This unaccounted for stress is of course due to early trauma(s). So nothing could be bogging my life down. Gifts of good sleep, good health, and all loved ones doing well… still tears come with a good dose of sadness.

When to know gentleness and acceptance of what’s there, and when to exert the discipline of pulling myself up attending to things with a brightness that is not really there. The debate loses out to the tenacity of a feeling of sadness that stays. Patience with what I’m feeling instead of brushing it aside. 

The sadness of what was done, how deep it goes, and how much destruction was caused. To be tender towards myself and the little girl I was. No one bothered to know her, not then certainly, and now? Now it needs to be me. Those parts are speaking, and I’m listening. 

While meditating the thought comes, he held me down. He held me down. And there is one tear, two, then done. Enough to appreciate the feelings and why. To know what has been driving me to eat in ways abhorred, that hurt. Hating myself just like my little girl felt hated by all those around her.

Those that did it, those who did nothing- everyone, even the school nurse who was my aunt, and she knew. The silence to me as a little girl sent the message that I was nothing, hate-worthy, not loved. The only way though this is with love, a sword that cuts.

Love is not welcome, love is tainted by force and evil. What love is left shelters deep inside, only flickering with warmth on occasions of safety which is rare. Because monsters are everywhere, even alone in the silence of my own home.

I have known since age eight what people are capable of. And since loved ones are capable of such evil, everyone is.

The only way through is with love for little girl me.

WORRY or SLEEP?

 

It is so easy to follow my mind into the pit of worry, but no, whatever might be a problem, it is not my problem to solve unless it is about me. Caring is one thing, injecting my input into another is not. It happens with kids and grand-kids, especially when my head hits the pillow.

Detach. It is their time to deal with their problems if they exist, because my mind can go places where nothing really is happening. Yet my gut also is aware of things that others are oblivious to. So don’t throw out concerns that may be valid, just don’t lose sleep over them.

If they are there, they are not mine to solve. Sleep did come, deep and long.

FREEDOM

Staring at the fire, mistakes made with my first son when he was growing up begin to weigh on me. No, a gentle voice whispered. We are all flawed, you can’t go back, but what you can do now is be better.

The fire’s flames sway like bright red hula dancers behind the glass, shoulders relax, the critic melts away. It is the critic who keeps me awake at night, or butts in as the day begins.

Is that freedom? Freedom is allowing the wonder of life into every moment. It isn’t forever, this life, though it is often lived as if that were so.

When things are settled, enjoy it, don’t ruin it with negativity, something I’m very good at. Become good at something else, like gentleness, and acceptance, with a sprinkling of kindness. Try that…that is freedom.

GRATITUDE and PEACE

photo by Patricia

Stillness seeps in, and along with it deep sleep. Moments of hypervigilance slash the peace, then a soft voice cradles me, it’s OK, everything’s OK, you’re OK.

Friends brought a gift from a state where pot is legal, vials of pot oil which is added nightly to my dropper of CBD oil. It seems to be the magic needed to combat such severe PTSD issues resulting in better sleep, and an all-around lessening of anxiety.

A winter to enjoy, could it be? Yes, but still sprinkled with self-doubt, body hate issues, and emotional upheavals frosted with fear, but more balance than decades before. And much less need for Xanax, a sleep-aid that also ruins the next day with grogginess.

Little projects keep my hands and mind focused; new curtains for the basement room where Cory stays at Christmastime, more glass beads to hang sending rainbows glittering in dance across the walls and ceilings, and working through issues with Samuel in a way that deepens our friendship not destroying it.

We relate in a way that doesn’t change. I speak of feelings, he explains them away. Infuriating. Stop doing it. He doesn’t get it. He won’t, or cannot speak of feelings. Men truly are from Mars, and women from Venus.

We limp along working at it, mostly enjoying each other’s company… but are so different in how we see, feel, and interpret the world. Like magnets with opposite polarity, the push necessitating time apart, even if only the space of another room. Meditation brings clarity and a path to the discussion of differences with equanimity, tolerance, and honesty.   

 

Black and White Meet Grey

What if you beat the beast by not beating, but loving with soothing counterpunches in the form of words that shower care? A fight or a soft cloud. As it often is in the world of Patricia, finding a balance can be difficult as my world has been black or white. As years pass more grey lifts up offering a sultry fog mixing both. The ups and downs begin to meet in the middle as if standing on the center of a see-saw.

And that’s OK, it’s called balance, and I like it. No great highs to come down from, nor lows to rip myself up from, though there seems to be more of those than the highs. A general evenness has evolved.

Be aware of the successes savoring them, not dwelling on what’s lacking but relishing all that is; the sparkle from the twirling items sending prisms along the wall and carpet causing the kitty’s head to spin one way then the other.

Enjoying her antics, then her need to curl up on my lap offering her belly for pets until my legs ache and need to move. Love flows freely between human and cat. She responds to it, and I surely do if I pay attention to the moments.

So many pleasures at hand, right here at home. A trip to return a few items starts out enjoyable making me wonder if I ought to get out more. Faces smile back at my smile bringing a feeling of joy. By the second hour, and an argument at the check-out, not heated, but ongoing, the manager is called who allows the return.

Weariness takes over with a wish to be home, the tiredness hitting like a stone wall. The external world can be exhausting, reminding me why my life remains reclusive. Each person is parroting their needs, like the cashier who doesn’t understand the benefits of satisfying a customer, repeating the store’s policy as if it’s a edict from the King.   

Home. Home Sweet Home. 

My Wish Before I Die

Overeating since the age of eight has held the greatest capacity for self-hate. What would I do without it? How could I hate myself then? It is my shield against the truth, that of being a target in a family rather than a member who is loved.

I eat to escape. I eat to find love, always at the tip of the spoon held out to me by my mother. I eat to rape my own virtues. To tear down anything beautiful. That is the outcome, not why.

The real why is survival. Not the survival of hunger that others around the world suffer, true physical hunger, but an internal starvation that only food fills by numbing.

Oh, it could be alcohol, or shopping, but I like to keep my over-doing down to one vice. Dabbling with them posed risks too, but they are kept in check as eating to tame feelings too big to feel remains the drug of choice, the slayer of dragons.

I don’t see this changing. Nothing yet has changed this pattern of turning to food to survive. Not stomach surgery, not nothing. The urge to numb myself, then hate myself, is strong, taking up each day as the pattern continues.

A myriad of other successes keep me going with my head above water, but this, the one thing wanted since age eight, eludes me. Normalcy. To be like others, look like others, to eat to nourish my body, not my soul.

Like other things during the ages of 8-11, the basics of living life and loving it were ripped from me never to return again; sex in a warm, loving capacity? Never. Thoughts of rape creep in, always have. Closeness in physicality? No, instead- fear, coldness, and a strong urge wanting to escape to my own bubble of safety.

All that is humanly pleasurable was shredded by callous hands. How am I to feel normal? Like others? Like my friends, all thin, eating tiny amounts then stopping when full. I am not full until it hurts, then I like it.

Before I die I would like to feel normal, to have a connection to my body that says, no thank you to food instead of wanting food, food, food, to feel OK. To eat in conjunction with my body’s needs, not try to escape from it.

To lose weight not by white-knuckling it, as I’ve done over and over again, but naturally, instinctively. Yet my instincts say EAT, and eat a lot. That is the only way I feel full.

There is nothing natural to constantly feel on edge while awake, wishing to be asleep, or dead as I once used to long for. There is nothing natural about what happened to me as child which tore away safety for life.

They have died but their ghosts live on scaring me. Memories, shadows of them are welded into my gut, food used to blot them out. If I put my mind into this, there has to be a way, with hopes of finding it, secrets yet to understand, talons of yesteryear to release, unclench, and let go of.