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.

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. 

The SCHISM

There is a fear of being in my body and staying there. Others seem to check in with their body unconsciously knowing when there is hunger, fullness, cold, pain, and the list goes. Often I’ve checked out.

My fear is internal, also unconscious, yet the terror is there laying wait. Perhaps the rape, repressed, causes this schism between body and mind. Perhaps it is the next couple of years after that when the others took what they wanted.

Coming ‘home’ and staying is fleeting. Zoning in a place other than the here and now still is comforting at times. It takes energy to breath, notice my hand as it washes the dishes, and be among the living.

After time, it becomes easier to be present, yet that far off place still calls, still offers comfort, and still owns me some of the time. And the disconnect, the fissure from the body that others don’t have to deal with yet take for granted, it still a force to be reckoned with.

Wholeness is fleeting, but necessary to take good care of body, mind, spirit, and soul. I may be different, alone in many ways, but still shine. We all offer a specialness no one else can; the tree in the forest set apart from others but still beautiful. 

 

Finding the Light

What do you really feel, rather than should feel, be, or act? So much of the time the effort is overcoming what really is. That is not freedom. To feel what is there despite anyone else’s objection means my time, thoughts, and bodily workings are my own, as it should be.

Since childhood my lips were muzzled, even as others took from my body what they wanted. And I was expected to love them. The split does not come back together. Acting vs real. I am an actor.

Even later in my sixties this is so. Once gagged while crimes against me were committed, the silence, the pleasing, remains. There are times with great grit where that is overcome momentarily, but more times not.

These dark thoughts during the dark days of winter, pull me under. Add a drippy, sneezy, coughing head that interrupts sleep and a zombie is born. What of the days where scattered pieces scampered back unto me in the mornings on the porch and sunny patio?

When the sound of critters grounded me in centeredness? A wholeness was felt. The warmth inviting me out to fields of buttercups and daisies. How does one find inner light in winter when really the wish is to sleep it away?

 

PTSD, a Disease

My head lay soft on the pillow as a wish for yet another night of good sleep was prayed for, but… that odd vibration— uh oh. All that seemed OK during the daytime turned black. Falling into the abyss happened without my permission.

Thoughts ran rampant, all negative and hopeless. The descent into the crevasse continued without pitons, each thought making the slip down faster, dripping with tarry pessimism; nothing is right, never will be, never was.

Crashing into the chasm stuck, my body whirled, starting slow like a small wind tunnel, winding up into a micro-burst. Sleep was not to come, no way.  The harder I tried, the more my body resisted. 

Giving up, medication was needed, and an hour with Jimmy Kimmel until it took effect. Sipping decaf, feeling very sorry for myself, the dark night also brought feelings of failure.  

No matter how much I try to calm myself about tomorrow’s cataract removals, my body has a different reaction, survival. Others will be near my body, and that is a deadly threat. It is just how it is. Brothers ripped safety away completely… and permanently. Deal with it? It makes me sad, this fright each time a medical issue occurs.

Tempering the voice that says I have no right to be sad or scared because of others going through so much more, allows for some self-compassion…very needed right now. Of course you are scared. I will take care of you. The adult needs to take control and not give it away to others.

Trust that they do their jobs, you do yours. Allow all feelings with kindness and compassion. Rest today. Deal with the anxiety— breathe, bring in comforting, encouraging thoughts as best you can.

And most difficult, accept that my needs may not look like others. That’s not my fault. I have a disease, PTSD. It is not a dirty word. It is a disease like any other, and deserves the same consideration as other illnesses.  Show respect for your challenges, and remember your courage. 

A Sinking Ship

The nurse called Friday. My brain knows she is being helpful, or trying to be, calling because the scheduler hears the terror in my voice as tears fell. But calling a few moments before she leaves for the day, telling me she will call back Tuesday, makes me feel on edge for the days in-between.

One little thing like that disrupted my sleep Monday night after 6 weeks of miraculous, blessed sleep. No coincidence, it lay heavy in my mind jangling my nerves. I woke in the night needing medication to go back to sleep, accompanied by sitting on the couch at 3 AM waiting for it to take effect.

Of course that would happen on the night before a call might come in the morning. But she did not call back until early evening, and that after I made several calls to different numbers trying to find her. Dong so empowered me. I won’t sit back and be quiet. If you say you’re going to call, call. If not I will hunt you down. 

If only I’d asked my one burning question Friday. Can I take Xanax? But not wanting to disrupt her from getting out of work at the end of her shift, the question was left hanging. My corrupt system always at the ready to plow me under kept beating at me, Why didn’t you ask? Why didn’t you ask?

Finally I know it is OK to take it the morning before the cataract surgeries. The weight of the world fell off me, like buckets of boulders rolling down.

A simple little thing such as waiting for a phone call caused me to feel powerless, victimized, and weak with worry and fear. In the interim I dissolved into tears with both sons on phone calls. (Isn’t that great?) And melting with tears when my friends came for the afternoon.

Feelings of normalcy returned, my inner world calm, and the capsized boat turned back around floating peacefully. In the chaos an idea was realized. That the terrified child has lived through it all with resiliency and a strength unfounded.

That the little girl in me is the one sometimes doing the comforting. But the adult must take the reins and use a loud voice to advocate, a voice lost that has been impossible to use except on paper or over the phone. And that may be how it is. Becoming gentler about the deficiencies is where changes can occur.

She asks, “Do you mind me asking what traumas?”

Later I said to Samuel, “She was just being nosy. But I don’t care, I will shout it to the world.”

The shame is not mine.

 

TERROR TEARS

The first two friends arrive, “How are you?” asks Rosalie.

“Odd,” I said, she looks at me as tears of terror make hot paths down my cheeks, adding, “My eyes, I have a date for my eyes.”

Both immediately expressed words of encouragement hugging me, squeezing out more terror tears much better out than in. My trepidation at asking for help melting with their care. One of them, Mary’s husband, starts radiation this week for a malignant tumor in his head, a spreading of testicular cancer.

“What right have I to say anything?” I say, yet adding, “Whatever we face, it’s a guarantee that someone has it harder. But I still need support.”

“Of course,” Mary said, her eyes sparkly, cheeks rosy with life. Mary has been there for me in so many ways. Even now with her husband facing a life-threatening illness.

The afternoon flows by like all the other monthly gatherings, with laughter, and soothing comradery, but I am tired. Usually the prep before hosting is fun but this time lacked the usual excitement; getting out snacks, making a pie, readying the table.

Relief seeped in when they left. Now my time is my own, my terror confronted each day with no added stress. Even long time dear friends bring stress along with their comfort.

Sorting out personalities when already using energy to stay in the moment without dissociating, saps my emotional stamina. Friends are needed, loved and appreciated. Equally needed is privacy, space, and the freedom of my own time.

Being in my body right now is so hard. Having anyone close to my body for medical reasons makes flight from it occur. It brings back childhood, the repressed memory close. Perhaps a twice a day meditation may help me find my way back ‘home’ and feel safe there once again.