Fall has come and gone, the trees are bare as wind whistles through the branches. Sitting by the fire cozily with the cat by my feet, thick fog fills the back hillside while the hickory trees nearby in the hedgerow sway dancing like black lacy tendrils entwined together. The bareness seemed to happen overnight but it really took weeks. Perhaps night winds took the last leaves. Dawn comes in a steely grey gloom, the sun cast away behind the smoky carpet.
Days like this tend to be more common than sunny ones in NE America during the long months of winter. One must make their own joy. Dragging the six foot fake Christmas tree up from the basement, a day is spent decorating the house with strings of lights a week earlier than usual. The brightness of color and sparkle lift the dreariness. As the gold shimmery tree skirt is gently tucked around the tree base, Molly the cat curls up under it in her favorite resting place, the echo of purring floating up to my ears.
Hunting season has begun, so bright red is added to outdoor gear for the usual meadow walks. And unless it is raining, the walks continue to boost my moral, invigorate the senses and keep my heart healthy. Keeping attuned to the needs of the heart- spiritual, emotional and physical, are what makes a day fulfilling and sustaining.
I have been lonely for my own love and still work on it; not an everyday lonely but a cavernous crevasse to run from because the pain went so deep. Learning I was not worthy enough to be kept safe and loved by others who were ‘family’ became ingrained into my forming personality.
It takes daily effort to confront those beliefs and connect to what became so disconnected inside of me. I am still learning to connect and feel support for my own self. Some days are harder than others. Some seasons hit like a wall. This winter has slammed into me and it is not yet winter. On a dark, damp day my spirit dumps and the effort to move vanishes.
Restless yet slow moving like a sloth, it takes something as simple as a friendly email to move me outdoors where nature takes me to the core that seemed to have eluded me. Three deer scatter as my boots make sucking noises in the muddy path. The crisp fresh air revived my tired mood. The same little birds sing as they always do when passing their area in the hedgerow.
Pushing myself towards the wheelbarrow there are bulbs to release from the dirt in the outdoor pots to replant again next Spring. Feeling satisfied a job that needed doing was finally done, the day closes better than it started. As winter approaches there is a greater need to work much harder in order to retain balance and perspective.
Running from dis-ease unconsciously by becoming busier or feeding it with food which is how my mother mothered me, are only ways to worsen an illness, discomfort or even emotional pain. Becoming aware one is doing it is the first step.
It catches up to you and hits hard. Self-care was not taught, self-loathing was. The silence demanded that the horrors committed against my body not be spoken taught unworthiness. If any spark came forward it was extinguished easily with a look or a word. The child born with a strong sense of justice and speaking out against wrongs was choked silent and twisted into a malcontent for even trying.
It was necessary to disconnect from the body as a child. With no intervention provided to release the suffering from repeated trauma disconnecting became a way of life. My body did one thing, my mind another. There was no cohesiveness or synchrony between the two which would encourage wholeness, health or well-being.
As those miracles enter my life today, such things that one usually possesses after leaving childhood that remain intact, going backwards is a jolt to hard won peacefulness. Sometimes it takes a jolt like a racing heart to make me pay attention to my own needs.
Where once the good excuse of feeling ill gave me license to take to the couch and gorge on movies doing not much of anything now makes me restless. Depression was also part of my existence so any reason to languish in it was a good reason.
But the trees beacon with their burning reds, oranges and gold as fall excursions such as bike rides, ferry rides and trips to the Cider Shed are put on hold. Wistful while gazing at the trees in the hedgerow as they dance in the breeze, the sound of their rustling skirts will have to do.
So is the cup half empty or full? What shines is the growth one is able to achieve by enduring whatever comes in her path.
Families are more interested in their reputation than the child sexually attacked. Be quiet and love your attacker.
To expect a child to swallow all that terrifying trauma and go on instead of intervening and assisting the child to process it causes life-long injury. At 64, my highly reactive startle reflex has not improved along with many other things. Some challenges increase as years pass. One does not ‘get over it,’ heal, or move on because no one came to help. All that trauma went inside causing more damage. The bleeding never stops.
Sexual attacks to a child are as horrific as being hit by a locomotive. In that case all come to help. She is allowed to talk about it as long as she needs to with incoming sympathy, compassion and condolences. Processing trauma helps heal the brain and all other systems. Without that processing the brain is injured and she is affected on all levels, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
But a child is hushed up because of the fear of how their reputations will be affected. The pretense of caring is put forth but no real care is given. People hurdle together to protect themselves.
Will one person stand up, bear witness, possess character and say this is wrong, and put a protective arm around her shoulder? The attacker needs to repent and beg forgiveness with true sorrow. That is what the family needs to focus on, not hushing her up.
Going along with the pretense of family in order to have one kept me from myself where home has been found, and truth resides with authenticity.
photos by Patricia
Dig deep below the chatter, deeper, settle into your being to whatever is there. Because what is there sustains with strength unyielding…through despair, depression, anxiety, and life’s ever changing moments.
There is where you find the steady light within the storm. There is where you find her. Love her, cherish her, and hold her till she warms you whole.
I feel such peace and stillness. There has not been a time when I’ve felt such calm nor connectedness within my being. I cherish this reprieve, this period of quiet happiness.
The unusual heat was swept away with the wind as leaves swirled. The walk near the creek crunches heavily as the thick carpet of newly fallen leaves crackles under the weight of my feet. Capris are replaced by sweat pants as the temperature dips from 90 to 60 and the change brings relief even though the clouds hide the sun.
The air is full of sweet earthy composting as the fruits of summer decay, the scent going straight to my core. Snapping back to Now, my eyes feast on the rusts, golds, and yellows as the lush greens wither and die. Soon the trees will be bare but there are other delights to be enjoyed as each season brings its unique smorgasbord of treats if one is aware enough to take it in.
Often during the day my tendency to be ahead of where I am causes me to internally speak, slow down. Be with what you are doing in this moment. Because I’m always rushing ahead of where I am to the destination, but then there is another. Now is the destination. What you are doing at this moment is where you need to be.
The fantasy of being an only child sometimes arises. Four remaining siblings cling together in the pretense of family including the last of the abusers. My assertion that each not speak to me about him, along with hearing that I wrote a memoir seemed to cast me out and draw them tighter.
This is a great gift allowing for spaciousness, freedom and vast personal growth. This period in my life has offered peace, stillness and happiness never known before. Feelings of wholeness filled within after speaking my truth and asserting my needs. Live and let live. Live and let die. You have a right to live your life as I do mine.