Photo by Patricia

Losing my way, the forest thickens, darkness creeps in. It’s no wonder being scared happens so easily; a toad suddenly hopping before me makes my heart leap, then chastising myself for it.

My world caves in when hearing from Seth in the city, the pull to try to make more of those ‘family’ feelings, to have a family or origin. Swirling ‘ifs,’ all conclusive to one thought of the critic’s choice, you’re fault.

It’s because of me that no closeness exists between Seth, Stevie, or Don. But is it? Isn’t it more so than any interaction with them, and the standard treatment tossed my way, brings me back into the darkness of my soul, a place where most of my life existed?

That terror was the closest thing to me, living with monsters who attack is terrorizing, and those that lived with it and did nothing, even to this day do nothing, certainly do not stand by me in loyalty and testament to what was done- all are reason to be wary of.

Of course trust is an issue. So, take all my love and give it to those who are trustworthy, the family built on my own.


It is a foreign concept to care for myself and my own needs over the guilt my mother instilled. The urge for clan is primal, and after several weeks of calm, the pull erupts again, so much there are dreams about interactions.

My mind plays out scenarios of our ‘family’ being loving, caring, and connected. But each attempt made fails, bringing me backwards to the sister they knew who was malleable and molded into an invisible ghost.

It is like tearing my spirit away, yet in doing so, my spirit freely becomes who I was meant to be, thinking, or believing all along I’d lost her to the unwanted hands upon me as a child.

She is still there. In saying no to others who have pressured me throughout life to do and be who they want, and instead choose more healthy ways of being, this admirable person emerges- me.  


A covid scare sends me to the telephone waiting over ten minutes for someone to answer while on hold. My hands shake, my body shakes, as a brother had recently relayed that a friend, though vaccinated and double boosted, spent two weeks in dire sickness.

My monthly group of women had just spent an afternoon at my house around the table playing cards. Oh yes, how those gatherings are loved, full of laughter, friendship, warmth, and good food. But? Covid.

Mary emailed that she tested positive five days after the event. One must wait 5 days after exposure to receive an accurate test, so my call to the doctor was immediate.

Anything out of the ordinary with my body scares me, sending adrenaline rockets off, the buzz shooting right down to my toes and out my head. While waiting, my pen sent my thoughts to paper so no confusion would be occurring when pressing for a test. Usually the doctor sends people to urgent care, or a pharmacy that does the testing which isn’t everywhere. One more step would prolong the anxiety.

My hope was to have it there. Once she finally picked up, my shaking had lessoned as a plan of action helped calm it. Once explaining that not only my age, but a comprised immune system from decades of an overactive startle response due to PTSD issues from childhood made me more vulnerable, she took me seriously.

“Yes, the Doctor will have you come so that the nurse can test you curbside,” adding, “and if you test positive, we will start you on a medication to lesson any possible symptoms.”

That helped relieve my anxiety considerably. By the next morning a negative result was reported. Whew! But the scare?

Becoming much too lax, while Samuel has donned his mask in busy stores, it is time to be more careful. Though my friends are more blasé about it, because they still go weekly to chorale, and also are involved in many other peopled activities, my interaction with humans is with them and occasionally my son and grandchildren. That’s it.

Opening their mouths in a small room heaving air in and out while singing… of course one of them would contract Covid. Do I stop going to this one group of friends? Or risk another exposure by going?


Pay the price of rejection or disapproval for being real. It may hurt, especially during very vulnerable time of which there are many. Go forward with truth and work at believing in yourself.

Not a new concept. One that’s been worked on since my life shattered, but more so in middle age when one begins to see that what you believe of yourself has more worth than what anyone else believes. You need you.

This is not easy. This feels treacherous, like a gnarly path that trips with roots pulling me down in a crash. Get up, breathe, pick off the moss and keep going.

Yes, others will be shocked at your quiet yet changed demeanor, one that exudes autonomy and self-reliance, trying to retrieve that person they could more easily mold to their liking and wants.

Yet, how does that turn out, doing what others want, not meeting your own needs which have heightened significantly with age and deterioration? As wisdom and feelings of self-worth deepen, expand, and grow, this body requires more care.

When filling the wants of others, my own self does not thrive. And we each must look out for ourselves first because if not, there’s not much left useful to anyone especially me.

If caring for self means the inability to care for others, it has to be, because it is. Acceptance, and with acceptance comes peace, that is, if you truly do follow through with meeting your needs.

Cocooning myself on our little plot of land often makes me wonder about my life. Is it odd, or finally a life that is self-caring? Self-caring of course, and no wonder that feels odd.

Taught that even tragedy, repeated traumas, and pain were to be kept secret within my child’s body, mind, and psyche, it feels wrong and unfamiliar to take care of myself.

But do so. Rebel by learning all about self-love. Rise up and be free.


And slowly she came forward, this real being, being me. It doesn’t pay to be otherwise, but this is the life lead, being what you want- not me.

Decades of pleasing, being underground, steamrolled, lying dormant while being squashed. Allowing it, inviting it with self-apologetic ways.

But then? It came up, a flash of anger, that spark that fumed in silence like a bomb smoldering but never erupting, the friendship over.

Too many ended this way, adding to the failures of just living, feeling since age 8 that I had no right to be here. Yet deep down my real feelings mother didn’t want or allow, nor anyone else in that group called ‘family.’

To live inauthentically is not life, nor coming with the drive or passion to live. Daily thoughts of death came to visit instead.

Late in life, after mother died, the one who silenced me, truth. And with truth my being began to come alive, and moments of magic came with it. Authenticity. Wholeness. Worthiness. Love.


And so, the bone-tired weariness begins to wane, so too the anxious lonely missing of Cory because leaving sooner than he’d hoped caused a feeling of great failure as a mother.

But home. Sleep comes. No drugs. Kitty and I patter out to porch coffee in hand, lighting a rose scented candle as a golden quarter orb rises over the horizon. First thinking it was a house light at the edge of the forest on the hill, a crescent moon shone her happy orange-yellow glow.

The male daddy bird chirped from the birdhouse in the dark, much earlier than the other birds, announcing his ownership of the castle with his wife inside on her nest. The peepers in harmony in the distance entering my core soothing like a purring cat upon a lap.

My core, remember that? Touching base with it only momentarily for way too long, anxiety’s roiling keeping me away from it.

Now I know I needed to be home, even if all the other people around me didn’t. Even if it means being a bad mother. Even if letting others down.

It is so extremely uncomfortable advocating for my own needs. My husband and son did not debate my needs. I did. I did for two days after coming home.

But now I know that home is where I need to be. Dreams continue as if still there, working through the unfinished business. Others that met me wondering about my differentness, not knowing of my shattered past.

So naïve to trauma and life’s harsh cruelty, and what it does to someone, making blithe comments that I take home to heal over until realizing they just don’t know.

And hopefully never will. It is not wished upon them. But I know. It is only my own internal self that needs to know and love me though their ignorance. But so hard when in their environment, not mine where mother is nature loving me.

But home. The unusual warm two days, yesterday by the creek in reverie bringing me back into my internal home. Slowly strength and health return.

The Origin Group

Had two brothers from the city down for potato waffles. No coincidence that come nightfall I ate too much right before bed and had a rougher night than usual. I should not, and usually don’t, eat right before bed as my tummy can’t digest well lying down.

And if I felt I needed to, a smaller snack would have been fine. But no, two big fat peanut butter sandwiches and a whole glass of milk! OMG I never eat that much even in daytime. Seemed perfectly reasonable at the time. Oh, how old habits rise up to sink me!

It is perplexing to feel love for them yet find it very tough to be around them. They did not touch me in bad ways. But in families the victim is supposed to act like nothing happened and I was a great actress for my entire life.

So, it’s hard to be around them because all along they’ve been friendly with the last one still living who did abuse me- then spent his life trying to cut me down because of it.  Little snide cut-downs hardly noticed by others but still making a vision of me in them that makes for treatment that says, ‘I’m not worthy.’

There are those that commit crimes, then those that stand by and do nothing. Which is worse? Both feel equally cruel to me.

I hope the dichotomous feelings that always seem to occur when interacting with origin members wears off quickly and I don’t do it again for a long, long while. I seem much happier without doing so.

There is one more factor- this time it felt more right than wrong. That offensives committed when my mother was failing were forgiven. I was able to feel love for a few moments during an embrace. Love and warmth.

Most of the visit I had to remind myself to breathe, relax, and let go, because trust is not felt fully. And considering our ages, they are in their 70’s, if trust is lacking that makes spending much time together uncomfortable.

And how do you trust others who choose a relationship with an abuser? That is not something I know how to do, or want to do. It makes for waves of discomfort after they leave, confusion, and a sense of sadness at the loss of ‘family’ all over again. But now? Acceptance takes out the sting and softens the sadness.


It isn’t earth shattering, what I do. Waking after a restful sleep with deep gratitude for that simple bodily need fulfilled, there it is. What do I do?

A puzzle, a craft readying for the kids to visit over the weekend, or what? Movies play almost non-stop, as if that is my safe way to interact with people. While listening to the voices known by heart because they play so much, household chores are accomplished, or the next meal is prepared- which means a lot of time over the sink.

That is such a pleasure when the morning sun splashes on my face warming my upper body. So, it isn’t earth shattering, what I do.

Yet being in my body, and in my life, following that inner voice that often is ignored or detached from, can cause a reversal of negativity in my closest relationships opening them to growth and better lives for all.

Not just in my life but also in those I touch. Since childhood that voice was ignored. How could it not be when divided from it at age eight? That voice calls in the night preventing sleep till listened to. That or the PTSD devil, haven’t decided which.

It is an upheaval of deep angst and unhealth, but when re-connecting and following through…that IS earth shattering! Asking for what I need takes an extraordinary amount of energy and is exhausting. Others have become accustomed to my placidity and apologetic tendencies. When persevering for what feels right repeatedly and doggedly until the desired outcome, well, that must be surprising and difficult to ignore.

It is the little things that shatter the old ways creating new and wonderous ones…


One night of almost agony, forcing myself to stay in bed, rolling from one side to the other. Hours go by, and some sleep came though it didn’t feel like much and yesterday was low key due to tiredness.

But not that awful grogginess that happens when the sleep aid is used. Calling a friend, asking for sleep pointers after a terrible winter of sleep issues, she has great ideas that I’d heard before but didn’t think would work for me.

One, she never gets out of bed. That sounds like good behavior because a pattern was set up that made things harder. Another tip, when not getting back to sleep she turns on the radio to the news station and puts it on a timer. (so one was ordered coming soon)

She thoroughly knew what I talking about when waking to use the bathroom then thoughts invading about every little thing that has gone wrong, and whatever else a woken up busy mind might do.

A news channel might help to get my mind off things that can’t be changed onto things other than me! It is so good to hear her voice, as calling any friend has been abandoned for much of these past few years when needed the most.

And now that masks are off, plans are made to have lunch with another friend. Oh, how these things have been missed!


As spring takes me back to my core and my soul unwinds, a feeling missed over winter brings tears that are hopeful, joyful, and sustaining. Where or where did it go over this brutal winter, so desperate for sleep that after using a low dose narcotic for 30 years so sparingly, a slight addiction to it occurred causing a headache if not taken every other day.

Scared, googling how to wean off xanax, it can be dangerous- but for those on much greater doses. It needs to be weaned off gradually which by night three the dose has been halved, and in a week or so I’ll be off completely. There is that car ride to my son’s coming up in April which rattles me so, about a 6 hour drive.

But for now, sleep comes, partly because of spring’s arrival, but maybe more so because the adult in me took hold and said what’s what. Stay in bed, you will sleep, calming that hyper restlessness that has invaded my life since the age of 8.

Samuel says he does the same with his hip pain medication. Though not a narcotic it does have side effects such as weight gain and this little man looks like Santa Claus. He knows how much I beat myself as I hang my head in tears and said, “I feel like such a shit.”

But his words were true. We reach for what we need, I’m not a failure, just a woman working through a difficult winter which might have an up side. There might be a reason to my restlessness in the night and the deep pain, it could be a huge leap of growth. But first it is important to name the pain before forgiving it.

Speaking up about my pain to my son was the hardest thing yet. Making mistakes while raising him caused me put up with treatment by both of them other parents would immediately speak up about with a grown child and his partner. As weight came off, using food for physical hunger instead of emotional, it became necessary to speak of the pain, of the wrongs committed against me unfairly that were cruel. And that only happened after forgiving myself for mistakes made, something that also needs forgiving as it is revisited each time.

Then? To forgive them. Not much will change on their end as younger people live their lives without the time to think so much, and just live it. But on my end, forgiveness, which must be revisited repeatedly, opens my internal world with fresh air and I become myself again.

Getting off even a low dose of a narcotic is helped by committing to meditation and doing it twice daily, though in the afternoon my eyes close sleepily. For months after starting pot oil meditation stopped as the oil helped quell anxiety and so did the increased amount of walking. Not meditating after 20 years wasn’t a good choice.

There is good reason why these life saving methods should be incorporated daily, as this simple half hour brings me back inside myself. It’s not about changing the world, just being in it whole, and that can makes changes that ripple on farther than one might expect. It begins within.