A week of confusion and turmoil finally calming me back to my soul with input from friends, my son, and a friend far away, never meeting her in person but closer to me than anyone I know. And… Mother Nature, restorative, curative, and finally after several days of resting my tired mind, the energy arises to go out and be with her.
The walks bringing me back to myself. How easily the split occurs. With the origin people, that group one is born to with ties like tentacles, the gag order reduces me to robot like living. Home again among friends who accept me as I am with no hidden past, there are also no hidden agendas to shut me up.
Nature cradles me in beauty, the meadow filled with buttercups, daisies soon to join them. Carp in the creek as big as sharks nibble on the banks of the water, their gigantic sleek bodies twisting above. The breeze blows the leaves with a soft rustle above me. Slowly I move back into my body, soul, mind, spirit, and emotions, claiming them, feeling them, becoming one once again.
The day opens not depressingly as it did all week, but with wonder, mystery, and excitement. What pleasures await? What other goals can be achieved, realized for the first time in years? Because as freedom inside myself grows, freedom from the chains of childhood and the forced silence, talents, abilities, special qualities, and magic to achieve goals and become who I really am increases tenfold, blossoming like the flowers around me.
What else lies inside waiting to be discovered, nurtured, and developed? Like stoking the tiny spark into constant flame, that little kernel of self-love is still there. Sometimes I must hack down the brush and heavy foliage to find it, that harsh critic blocking me all the way. Persistence pays off, patience helps too.
But there it is, a spark to coddle into flame warming my entire being with friendship to self. To feel all that is there without judgement or denial. To investigate the wounds still needing care and release. To allow the wise voice to take precedence and try not to allow the willful child to run things again.
That part yearns for the loving family she never had. Another part riles things up when success is prevalent. My job in that group of people that some call family was to fail. Be bad, do bad, carry their burdens. And no wonder my life was spent not wanting to live.
That is no more. Success reigns. Peace sustains. All that I need, I have.
Days later my body is still tight, freedom lost to the ages where in adolescence I was slave girl to Seth for 2 dollars a week.
There by the campfire bantering away, no way like the being in the meadow where peace reigned in my core. Just a play-doh woman of what he could relate to while sipping from his cup filled periodically rather secretly with more booze from a container by his feet.
Freedom gone. Did all that sudden planning come from the child in me still craving the family once known? And what of wise woman who knows better?
Though probably temporary, or not, all have been blocked from entering my email box.
“If one of them calls, don’t answer it,” I tell Samuel.
And the video chats won’t be answered either. Safety. One needs safety from their family of origin? Yes.
“How are you today?” Shane asked on his usual drive back from dropping off his son at school, a phone call looked forward to every morning.
Dissolving into tears I reply, “Not so good. I can’t be around ‘them’ meaning any of the brothers who keep pressuring me to join in their little group.
Thinking it was good for me, and meeting some kind of obligation to ‘family’, I called Don last week. He was glad I finally accepted his invitation to the city for bagels outdoors in his garden. But then in one breath he also added, ‘I’ll ask Seth too.’
Don picked up on my lack of excitement about adding people to the bagel brunch so stated he’d keep it just us if that would be more comfortable for me. And more people easily overwhelms me. But I said go ahead, ask him. (where did my wisdom go?)
So though it seemed like a normal get-together, that night after over three weeks of pleasant sleep patterns and joyful days of walking the meadow, medication was required to sleep.
Interacting with conspirators that forced silence from me about early repeated traumas awakened memories, taking me right back to age 8 and all the ways I used to be…. doormat, pleasing, invisible. Those that imposed this gag order heaped dirt over the grave of who I really am or could be.
Nothing has changed except me. I then invited Seth to go camping at our most favorite spot in the glen. Don and his wife came too. All this since Friday, the ramifications still clutching my soul, holding me down feeling victimized all over again, their puppet on a string.
My body shut down and didn’t begin to relax till coming home. There’s still a far way to go to resume my peaceful life. Sleep will not yet return. Memories flood my brain especially after Seth sent an email of photos from the trip but also added the eldest, Tom.
Seth has been Tom’s life- long buddy, always choosing to spend time with him and almost no time spent with me in any way except rare emails. Little in the way of actually being together. Seeing his name was a kick in the gut, including Tom who destroyed any semblance of the little girl I was.
Tom, who crept up in the night to suck on my little girl vagina while I slept. I awoke in the middle of the night to see his head down there wondering what was happening. My younger brother and I were given the yearly treat of sleeping end to end on the the couch by the Christmas tree falling asleep watching the Christmas tree lights. Tom was home from college for Christmas break. I was 8 years old. My grand-daughter is that age now.
Tom treated me horribly after that and decades more until cutting off all ties permanently. He would constantly put me down around others to make me look less than human. Then his crime wasn’t so vile if I wasn’t worthy of life. He did it so slyly no one really noticed, or if they did, did nothing to confront him. His campaign of destruction did destroy my self-esteem more than everything else suffered silently, the rape, the endless attacks, too many to count done by other ‘brothers.’
When you touch me like that, you lose the right to be called brother. You are nothing to me. Three others have died leaving me with feelings of relief and safety. But these three- Don, Seth, and Stevie- who did not touch me that way are also NOT SAFE.
My invisibility became solid. Seeing that email with Tom’s name added numbed me and made last night’s sleep impossible as memories stole my peace. I have asked the Stevie, and Don not to add me to their emails that have Tom in the list. So I don’t get any emails because they much prefer Tom.
Those requests are recent. It has taken over 60 years to ask for a scrap of respect. Seth ought to know better. But he denies that I even suffered such tragedies early on. How else could he make one of my attackers his best buddy, just as the others do too.
He also drinks heavily which probably has turned his brain to mush. Another reason to keep my distance. Alcoholism is very much a part of my growing up family, first my father, then my mother.
Seth’s modes operando is denial. When sending a link to my book he wouldn’t answer my emails for months. When I tried to repair that rift, his response was that I shouldn’t be putting our family’s dysfunction out there. (the book is entirely anonymous with made up names for everyone)
That denies my very existence. Around him I don’t feel good, nor can I be myself. I turn into the doormat that never can please, waiting on him, trying not to offend him, being a robot of who he needs me to be.
My son immediately says to his weeping mother over the phone before starting his work day, “I’m proud of you. You reached out and tried to make it work. Everyone’s older, there’s less time, and you tried. Don’t beat yourself over it. You will work through these feelings then know again it cannot work.”
“But I keep doing it, like a moth to flame,” I cried, adding, “I thought I’d regret not trying then one of them dies. But I regret trying.”
“Well, everyone wants family,” he gently added.
“I can’t love them with them. I can only love them afar.” I said, a mantra tossed aside when the need for family pulls thinking this time will be alright.
It isn’t, it won’t be. Love from afar, even if the love is for the idea of a what a loving brother would be…and accept the loneliness that comes with the knowledge that this group is NOT family. I do best as an orphan.
Spring moves along at its beautiful pace while wishing for more warmth along the way. But enjoy the ride because once the heat hits you’ll be wishing for cooler days. Perplexed at why this spring was so upsetting to sleep issues, it has settled down.
Since returning from Cory’s, sleep has been consistent, deep, and lengthy. A blessing. Gratitude pours forth and energy abounds. Walks in the sunshine, or on a misty morning are miraculous in their splendor.
Each day new glorious with more growth than the day before. Blossoms everywhere! Just as it feels like something quite new blossoms internally. A shift of enormous magnitude that no one but me knows or notices.
The weights of the world once carried like boulders upon my shoulders have melted away, especially the ones linked to the origin family where every interaction was something I’ve done wrong if not pleasing, placating, or in agreement with what another wants or is pushing for.
Freedom and peace come from self-care, nurturing myself in a way never taught. Those are the roses growing inside of me, as bountiful as the explosion of spring…
As others congregate more, those feelings of differentness creep in. Feelings that began long ago in childhood when the blame of being attacked fell squarely on me. Or so my child’s mind believed as my mother sat across from me in my bedroom.
“Tell me anything that happens again,” she said, hot tears falling like a river down my cheeks.
No hugs of reassurance that it would never happen again. That responsibility was now on me, a child not wanting such horrors but now told it’s on you to stop it from further happening. Not possible in that prison where Chet took what he wanted when he wanted it.
From that moment the casket closed. Whoever I had been, would be, could be, was forever changed and damaged, living alone no matter how many people were around me.
But freedom. Freedom at last. The chains removed, the ball cast away. And not by their choices, the choices of the origin family that I keep the burden and secrets. But by regurgitating the truth by which I had been forced to live even into my fifties.
What’s left of origin family are three brothers who did not touch me that way. Three out of seven. And where once I thought I could love them because they had not sacrificed my well-being for their own lust, they are part of the conspiracy of silence.
Those that stand by and do nothing, no matter what the crime, are as guilty as those that commit it. Maybe more so.
I hate them. Pondering this thought while out walking the realization stuck that the hate was for the situation, prisoning the one hurt so I will not talk about it even if that means using rejection, criticism, or any psychological method possible to control me. That’s what’s hated. Love and hate, much like the relationship with my mother, now 12 years gone. More growth occurred after her death than in all the years of my life.
With her gone, so too what little love I’d ever known. But with conditions— silence. Love those that attacked you. Or pretend to, make it look like you do. Never said aloud, but very much implied even as a little girl.
Not until her death did the truth erupt. Week by week, healing chapters of my life unfolded, tears washing my grief as words like swords found their way up and out. Tar gone from inside me.
The tarry horror or what they’d done kept in all those years for the comfort of others. I began to matter. But it still took longer to begin to love myself for the first time; little sparkles of softness never felt before. A warm place internally when the going gets rough. A soft place to fall. A place that welcomes offering solace, not just for everyone else, but finally, also, for me.
Where I’m looked upon kindly, with open arms, seeing the little girl, young women, and adult honestly, with new appreciation and truth. Not the lies told by every member of the origin family, pretending to care, but really finding ways to keep me down. A toxic paradox impossible to dissect unless connected to one’s soul.
A place unknown to me until recent years. That place speaks from other than the head or mind. It is a gut feeling without words, and it says, STAY AWAY. You call the shots. They do NOT. No longer a buoy toppling in wild waves that you can shove about whenever you feel like it or need something. I get a to say if, when, where, or NO. What I need. What I want. Shocking the shit out of any one of them.
Their strands of cobwebby material do not break. Become entwined and you’re dead figuratively. It is freedom that thrills me. My own thinking, being here now, giving up worrying as much as possible, and allowing it to be OK to be alive and be happy.
Coming home after seeing loved ones not seen in so long instilled a new sense of vigor and rejuvenation. The sights outside evoke an overwhelmingly beauty impossible to absorb all at once. Take a breath.
Wanting to ‘do it all,’ impatient for the new day to start at bedtime, the calm voice interjects, take your time, things will get done. Enjoy each one. The only one pushing you… is you.
So take it easy. Do stuff. But do it at a pace where all parts stay together. Even here in this peaceful plot of land the topsy-turvy symptoms of PTSD can take over, and does take over without permission. But there are methods that sometimes stave it off.
Breathe. Go slowly. Enjoy. The gifts are free. Blossoms over my head in the wild pear tree while sitting creek-side. Gobs of flowers erupting in my gardens, but also chives and asparagus in the vegetable garden.
Never have the forsythia’s been so bountiful, almost glowing in their yellow bursting splendor. The quince, which has given babies now full-grown, are dark peach and gloriously adorning several areas.
Everywhere there is so much beauty, overwhelmingly so. It came on slow, but seems to suddenly want to explode.
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.
The day dawns red and purple with a feeling of groundedness. Sleep does that, brings peace…not perfection, but all facets including the hard ones. The difference is my capability in dealing with it improves dramatically.
Like a whirlwind, my pieces became scattered, my interior lost to me, even after so much work discovering a softer place to fall. The falling when tired is endless with no one to catch me down the well of my insides.
Asking for help when needed is a good thing. It is also good to keep working on perceptions of self because the main theme of negativity and self-hate rooted in my personality from the years of abuse, and feeling blamed for it, have made a person who will always struggle with issues of self-esteem.
It’s hard to find the joy in life when you’re too tired to find it, causing great frustration, and more so great vulnerability. Fragile is a good work. My being becomes fragile, though my treatment towards myself drops back into old grooves of self-hate, blaming myself for things out of my control.
Having good stretches of proper sleep then not is so hard to accept, acceptance and patience not my forte. Gentle comments from others on-line and a note from a friend make me teary, the gentleness a sorely needed warm hug.
We don’t know what others are going through. Sometimes one gentle word is all it takes to turn things around.
“I hate me,” I sputtered through melting tears to Samuel after an especially hard day.
“Give yourself a break,” Samuel said.
Depression and sleepless nights fight with springs promise of possibilities, the most luscious an improved mood casting darkness away. A brain broken by PTSD at age 8 and very sensitive to hours of daylight is no fun. After several weeks of blaming myself for not sleeping the toll makes me sappily sorry for myself.
Knowing how much I have, how happy I ‘should’ be, how hard it is right now doesn’t add to my grateful list. My chaotic mind just won’t calm down. Was it this hard last spring?
Playing with the dosage of pot oil during this tumultuous time does not help. But that’s me, fucking up the works because my brain is so out of whack. So many times this happens; not reading something thoroughly missing an important word or sentence, making everything harder.
Others are so calm, like Samuel, methodical, slower in moving and talking, (which incites me violently, GET TO THE POINT). But not me. The weirdness of how I am in my insides to how others seem on the outside is hard to accept when the going gets hard.
Oh for the days of calm. Are you coming? Those long stretches of sleep. Sleep. A necessity that isn’t a sure thing for me. Sleep, which of course includes a calm brain, a calm life, and calmer emotions. And with it less kicking of my own behind.