GUILT?

Guilt seeps in just by erecting a tiny boundary. A note to my younger brother via the video chat mechanism we talk on, “Do me a favor and call in the morning or afternoon. Even happy calls in the evening hype me up so much I can’t get to sleep.”

No answer as usual. He doesn’t bother to answer unless he wants something. And he wants Samuel to do a new electric panel on the house they just moved to. This from a brother who hardly bothered to interact with me over the past several years.

He was busy seeing his other brothers in one way or another. But now the reason for this repeated contact where it feels like I’m fucking being stalked settles in after much thought, and it shouldn’t have take that much thought. Because even over the winter when he first started pressuring me to come, he quickly added to the invite, “It’s a work visit though.”  

And I feel guilty?

GAGGED

The more dedicated I become towards personal goals, the more I need to speak up, erect boundaries, then stick to them. But who will do that for me? It feels impossible for me to cough up self-assertion.

Like pushing a boulder uphill, huffing, shouldering the rock hard weight of childhood sexual abuse stifles, even kills. So many times the thought of dying was day-dreamed about. Just not be here.

“I wish I was dead,” I said once again many years ago

“I don’t like hearing you say that,” Samuel said.

So that feeling was said another way, because depression and wanting to die continued for decades.

“I wish I was never born,” I said.

And my belief is that if given a choice knowing what was to come, that would be my choice.

Since that won’t happen, learning to assert my needs continues, but it’d be nice to move on from Kindergarten to at least first grade.

The Toll of TRAUMA

Bend me like an origami paper project. That is how others have been allowed to treat me. Growing up hostage to a brother’s sexual needs caused me to learn my needs don’t matter, in fact don’t make it on the table.

Just plow through and take what you want, when you want it. No boundaries were learned, so though burning with rage inside at the maltreatment, both then, but later all through life, my voice remained gagged and stifled way below.

My body cannot take being struck by waves as if a buoy on open ocean waters. It causes me to take action for my own self-preservation. Where once, not so long ago, like two days ago, I’d chat with a friend on-line because it fit her schedule at that time (not mine), then suffer the repercussions of taking on too much in a day causing my body to go into overdrive and not be able to sleep, my decision to not answer a brother’s insistent and repeated attempts to have an on-line video chat came next.

He is not one to ignore. He attempted 7 times at least, my tablet practically vibrating off the table. But equilibrium from being up in the night had not fully returned, tiredness still remained. After no answer, he called on the phone which I still let ring. I have called and emailed him in the past when he doesn’t bother answering with no explanation or apology.

And since it’s me it doesn’t seem to matter. But if it’s his itch needing scratching that isn’t scratched, wow. Really? Stop stalking me. But sitting down at the computer, I finally responded by sending a kind note explaining the rough month with sleep issues. That when in a sleep deprived stupor, I am unable to chat or talk to him. That nothing is wrong, and he is very dear to me. (Now leave me alone until I gather my parts all disconnected and discombobulated)

Much of my life has been spent in a disassociated state. Talk to me and no one’s here. I’m off in my ‘safe’ place. But with the start of learning to meditate over 15 years ago, moments of being present and feeling safe began to occur.

But it takes energy to be present with another. After a morning of a lot of exercise and busyness not enough energy is left to chatter happily with another. Yet if that’s what you want, I do it anyway, other’s needs coming first. Until now.

In learning to like myself that all begins to change. That taking care of me, even if my needs seem weird or made up to others, makes me more able to be there for others. But when I choose to, not as the doormat I was raised to be.

Time alone is necessary, crucial to my well-being. How can you explain to others what your footsteps are like unless they have been there? That energy resources can be depleted so easily because of a life of stress and feelings of always being in danger?

That takes a toll on the body that often others just don’t understand. I do, but still haven’t learned to say NO. But I am learning to.

No Bitterness

After asking those in the origin family not to include me in emails when Tom is also included, they forget… just as easily forgotten as what never was spoken about, attacks against me. As it if never happened. There it is in black and white in my mailbox, his name, and all the memories rather not thought about.

Wrecking my life in ways that never should have happened, and in many respects cannot be reversed. And you can’t respect that simple request? Bitterness erupts like unwelcome unpleasant scents wafting up, seeing the email where three brothers and Tom keep up contact, Tom the one farthest away, losing the label ‘brother’ the moment he touched me that way.

They interact with him, not me. The craving? To be able to feel like I have brothers, yet don’t really have them. Not if the attacker is one of your little group therefore ignoring my pain.

But it has come to a place where the knowledge that my life is better without those that profess love without really loving. That love that is true matters, for myself, my partner, my sons, grand-children, and friends.

My life is full. I shall not let bitterness overtake me. I will stay, or try to stay away from what harms me. And being any part of a group where the mentality is silencing, controlling, or berating is not for me. That is not family, that is not love. Although it is possible to love others without liking them or wanting to spend time with them.

SPRING

What a week, up, down, and everything in-between. Things go along so well it almost feels unjust, then upheaval because sleep won’t come. Trying to figure out why doesn’t always succeed. Sometimes answers come but they are fuzzy without surety.

But it is February, often the hardest month for a person normally in a lower mood all winter due to shorter days. But the burgeoning of spring is not far away. The signs are missed if you’re not looking.

A new breed of bird, mockingbirds, are at the feeder after not seeing them all winter. A friend saw four robins. Out walking there is much more bird chatter after a winter silent as a tomb. So it’s coming, hold on!

It doesn’t help that vaccines are out but in short supply causing anxiety in the race to get one. And everyone wants one, so you just have to wait. Though a friend is getting dose two by driving over an away. Samuel says he doesn’t want to do that, nor do I.

A few days after visiting Seth, sleep, oh blessed sleep came. I’m not sure if the draw to family will ever keep me from dipping in from time to time. Almost every time the period afterwards causes upheaval and unrest. No, I probably won’t learn for the need will not go away.

It smacks too much of the person I was molded to be. I am not her now. I live free, think free, and feel free… unless relenting to the need to dip my toe in the swamp called ‘family.’

The JOY of BEING

Stopping at Seth’s after buying a supply of pot oil, he invites us in. Donning masks we sit chatting in his living room for over an hour. But afterwards, even though it seemed like a lovely visit, confusion sets in.

It takes a few days before feeling centered, and this seems to happen after any interaction with one of the three brothers that have formed some semblance of family.

There is love for them, but not an ability to be with any of them. A lack of trust prevails. The pleaser comes forth, the one my mother honed to fake perfection that says one thing but means another.

The chatter box comes out of my mouth happily flitting from one subject to another, when what I really want to say is, “Why did you make a life of being a close buddy to a person who abused me so horribly? Then spent the rest of his life making me pay for it? Why did you buddy up against me?”

Let them have their little group, and I can partake when or if I want, but decline when I want to without excuse, regret, or guilt. It took a few days for my internal world to become a kinder place to be.

Inside felt like a wasteland, no kindness fostered, just the critic. Being around any one of them brings out the plastic doll my mother created that fakes everything, smiling as you wrong me.

Quietly my soul came back. Quietly my life returns. Quietly the joy of living fills me bringing warmth where coldness had frozen all kindness.

FINDING ME

Mixing the pot oil after one vial was emptied may have changed the dosage. Or perhaps the sleep issues have erupted due to extraneous occurrences such as a friend contracting Covid, or allowing more closeness with origin family members.

Is that safe for me? Feeling such vulnerability over it, and exposing myself to more harm? Or perhaps letting love in is what scares me? It isn’t easy to know the difference for a person using all her energy to get away from the center where all feelings flow.

Go there, get away? Going there means fully feeling things unwanted which include sadness, despair, and futility. Others want positivity so positivity is displayed despite the other feelings swimming around.

My intent is not to burden others, yet it is also a time in my life, perhaps the first time, for an authentic presentation of self. For what’s real to come forward, to bubble up as real. Not for you to like, dislike, or to please you. But to live in this life as I wish, as I am, once I find her.

FATHER

A feeling of warmth, relief, hope. The father I never had in Joe Biden. My father left me, having the audacity to die practically before my eyes, leaving a hole in all of us. But this new father fills me with love.

“Help is on they way,” he says. And help is here in every word and action, in every person chosen, in every stroke of his pen carrying out his compassionate goals for all of us.

ACCEPTANCE

PHOTOS BY PATRICIA

Nights roll on one after the other sleeping like a hibernating bear. And that brings a day of gratitude, relief, and a whole lot of energy that had been lacking for years during so many bouts with sleepless nights. The pot oil has to be the cure, because no amount of meditation worked to help sleep occur.

Still, during the day in the midst of winter, my feet drag as if lifting 2,000 pounds, wondering what in the world is wrong. Nothing, nothing except no matter how hard positivity is reinforced, winters do affect my brain chemicals dramatically turning me to stone even when fighting hard for that not to happen.

Though this winter is the best ever, it is not without challenges. Accepting the why helped my shoulders come down from the crunch of wondering, accepting my fate which makes it easier to bear. So the puzzle, always calming, is worked on to completion, along with other pleasant past times not amounting to much, but do pass the time.

It is not about changing the world, but myself. It is about finding the joy in each day because it could be my last, one never knows. It is about feeding my soul with uplift and belief in my own power, goodness, and abilities. To work on faith within myself which can then extend to others…

It is about happiness and peace in the face of an unimaginable storm as the virus takes hold with more virulent and deadly strains. Please keep my loved ones safe, please…

Caring for Self

PHOTO BY PATRICIA

When the coffers are empty, what do you have to give? Learning to care for self is not only necessary, it is generous because helping oneself, caring for oneself, taking time to be tolerant of one’s shortcomings while also working on them.. these are all steps to abundance and giving.

You cannot give from an empty well. Only in searching deep is the gold found. Only then can it be shared with others, after first finding it. And that has taken decades.

You’re a good person, echoed through the years by those really knowing me and the struggles of self-worth tearing me down. Words needed to keep going, but not felt.

It is OK to feel good about oneself. It is not a badge of honor to walk around feeling bad so that others in the family can feel good. It seemed my destiny to carry the burdens of others. Why else then be born into a family where so much pathetic waste of human life be bred?

Because if a child is not nurtured, loved, and cherished, the child can become corrupt- do things that can’t be undone, then have to life with it, as well as the sister that they chose to abuse. A death sentence for both.

Because if you don’t die physically, you die in other ways, and some are permanent. I cannot get back brothers who chose to sexually attack ever again. Once you chose to attack me you no longer are a brother.

And no one else is ever fully trusted again. Makes for a lonely life. Except that in the work of re-building a life from the ashes up comes great beauty in the form of sons, a gentle loyal husband, and grand-children who love fully without evil intent or maleficence.

A life rattled and broken becomes my life owned by me. Fragile, easily stolen by outside forces, yet able to come home again to find peace within. That takes work and attention. It is not selfish to care for oneself. It is the highest form of generosity.