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It is such a new extraordinary experience to take my own needs into consideration, after first allowing myself to recognize all that really made me who I am.

Not running away, but running to my core. The pull to connect with the three remaining brothers is strong, even coming up in last night’s dream. Upon waking, sipping coffee, the thought- call and make a plan to get together.

But no. My own needs are real and every time this occurs my entire system goes awry. The sister they see isn’t me, the grown woman, aging, wiser, more in control of the impulsiveness that leads to self-destruction. And the anxiety erupting when playing the part they require is destructive… every time.

My mother, now gone 13 years, instilled such a guilt in me; that’s not nice, you should be ashamed of yourself, and on it goes if ever advocating for myself. The guilt in not keeping connected continues strong due to her life-long manipulative, persuasive, intrusive, pressures to keep the ‘so called’ family intact, niggling at my insides like Medusa’s head. But this time my choice is for equanimity, the centeredness coming from attending to my needs of body, mind, and spirit.

Her expectations demanded that I love the very monsters who attacked me, their wives, and the ones who didn’t but colluded in the lie that nothing happened because it was, and still is, more comfortable to do so.

And that is the rub. My love needs to be from afar, because there is love when feeling safe from treachery of lies and pretense. They don’t visit on their own, but together, when the force of more can get away with treating me as was done in the past, like dust in the wind. They each know they are welcome to visit, but don’t. Or only together. Too scary on your own? Then you must deal with the me that is real?

She couldn’t let her daughter tell the truth, she had to silence me. And she did until after her death. That is when I began to live.  Each moment is precious. ‘We shall never pass this again.’

Anne Heche 1969-2022

She was one of us, a woman surviving childhood abuse by a loved and trusted family member, her father. I mourn her loss. She didn’t make it. And it hurts to lose one.

My compassion for those silent goes deep. She has been a part of me since reading her memoir, Call Me Crazy. (published September 2001) Voracious for any spark of meaning in life to keep me going, memoirs and autobiographies were devoured when facing my own past buried deep where many of those sexually abused as children had to keep it.

The fiery crash, speeding into a house, matching what her interior may have been all along. Because we hide the chaos.

Looking fine on the outside, sexual abuse tears apart souls, the pieces tattered, blowing in the wind.

Is it a coincidence that after too many days to count of miraculous sleep, last night my spirit couldn’t after hearing she died that morning? My stomach plummeted like an elevator with a busted cable.

To be that connected to someone I’d never met.

Never Hush an Abused Child- HELP HER

And they said through actions not words, ‘don’t speak of it.’ And decades go by without barely doing so.

How does a little girl sustain such injury, all alone, inside herself? While walking on a gorgeous summer day, my glumness took me places I’d rather not be.

But after a life of being other than who I am, allowing myself the freedom to feel what’s there, maybe remnants of a dream needing working out, I go where I really am.

So there Mom. Mom and the rest, wanting to hush up the reality of what those in our so-called family had done. To suffer such trauma, repeatedly, then? No one comes to help, love, cuddle, protect.

But hushed. Hushed from ever speaking a word of what they had done. And they kept doing it, over and over. Then you make me be quiet about it, but don’t help?

The injustice is more than unfair, or cruel. It took me away from myself for an entire life. Buzzing around myself. Pushing to do, yet not being in my body while doing it.

Just an anxious mass of mess trying to survive. How I did makes me wonder, and offers a look into a person worthy. Appreciating just how hard it was and offering a blessing that all the wonders found today are OK to be in, enjoy, and be whole in.

SUNNY DAY

While riding the bike trail along the banks of the water, my legs pump hard and fast leaving Samuel behind.

Once he caught up I said, “If I go too far ahead, I’ll just wait at the turn around spot,” adding, “I think I’m mad at life.”

Physical exercise might metabolize the medication needed the night before. But no, it didn’t really, once coming home the most that occurred was vegetating on the couch with a bag of Oreos feeling sorry for myself.

But maintaining the ‘keep quiet and still’ routine hours before bedtime so that my system doesn’t light its rocket worked… sleep came, fitful, but good enough. It is a challenge to do these things that are needed, preferring instead to pretend I’m just like everyone else I know. (in person)

While biking my thoughts sort out things, like gratitude. Sometimes friends don’t always come like usual, in person. The closest women friends now are those I’ve never met in person, but rather through emailing, pen pals, the usual term.

But for me, they are more than that. We share hearts. No hiding, no show for conventional social etiquette, which requires saying, ‘I’m fine,’ when you’re not.

It’s an understanding beyond that, much deeper, more meaningful. So, I’m lucky. Yet the saying ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps?’ Uh, no.

I will feel what I feel, after a life of being trained not to, so much so it is an everyday adventure discovering just who I really am. Act upbeat? Be happy? Be positive? How about just being me.

The self-talk while gliding on the path with sun splashing through leafy trees on a brilliant summer day reminded me; I have one life, live it. Live each moment my way. Take it, it’s mine.

After a life of feeling owned, what’s left I want to be mine.

MENTAL ILLNESS

Mental illness? Who wants that? No one. It still has a bad rap, yet mine needs tending to. Not with chains, cells, straight- jackets, or hypodermics, but with care, love, and attention.

Anxiety, depression, and PTSD are in the medical textbook of psychiatric diagnoses. Sounds shitty. It is shitty. Worse though is feeling ashamed of being different, one more nail in the coffin from childhood after sexually abused, but feeling to blame because no one intervened to tell me otherwise.

The feelings that grew and solidified out of that are a challenge every day. My head may know all the words; not to blame, be your own best friend, blah, blah, blah. Feelings of badness, dirtiness, abnormality, (that list is extensive) grew cementing in my core as each year passed.

Reversing core beliefs, silencing the haranguing critic, learning to show myself kindness or beginning to even like myself? Challenging. Being burdened even more by feeling ashamed for what wasn’t my doing which has created needs different from many around me calls for special care and attention… not self scorn or denial of the facts. Or even glossing over them for another’s comfort. Learning how to love myself transforms each day into a more joyful one, but only with will, empathy, patience, acceptance, and perseverance.

I’ll get there, I’m getting there, trying to hear that softer voice that says it’s OK to take medication that helps. It’s not only OK, but imperative to slow down earlier in the day than most need to because (like last night) cleaning the house at 8PM activates an exhausted adrenal network tired from decades of overstimulation due to reacting as if every tiny thing was life threatening. So? Wide awake at the usual bedtime.

It’s OK you had to cancel out of camping with my son and family this upcoming week due to sleep issues worsening each year, yet longing to be there instead of their friends who kindly took our site when I had to face the fact of being unable to handle it. My younger brother dearly wants us to visit his new house on the lake and stay as long as we like. The prospect of following through, though we keep saying we will, are non-existent. We won’t, I can’t.

Or maybe needing medication once again last night was over some other tiny thing, something as simple as fretting over a comment on a fellow blogger’s site fearing I upset them– or horrors— make them not like me. Struggling with liking myself, it is about unbearable when others don’t, at least those I care about. I am learning not to be hurt by those I don’t. That’s a huge accomplishment.

It doesn’t take much to set off a system tripped onto high power since the age of eight after the first attack. My body is so drained any little thing sets it off.

Kindness, love, and acceptance. I’ll work on that…

LEARNING TO LOVE MYSELF

The answers are in the very place you are running from, inside yourself. But who wants to be inside a place where a haranguing voice is beating you up so constantly that when it doesn’t it feels uncomfortable? Because I am a child of incest, a survivor. And it’s called that for a reason.

So many times thoughts of death to take me away from myself. A child run over by a truck laying there bleeding, your family walks by hardly noticing or looking at you. What kind of message do you receive placing cloth over the bleeding wounds all on your own?

This morning my eyes mist thinking about just how this has affected me, not in words, because so many times throughout life others have said to me, ‘you’re too hard on yourself,’ but more so in feeling it for what might be the very first time.

Think of the child I was. All alone. Devastated. Tortured by the constant comings in the night. No one to help. No one to make it stop. Just blame.

And the compassion? No. A bleak, loveless life, where love is pretended enough for children to grow, perhaps feeling real love for the very time since touched wrong at age eight. Love for my little human sons, because animals always were safe to love. My sons knew love, but no others were safe to love. No, not even Samuel.

So at almost age 70, barriers are being smashed, taboo’s shattered just as I was, talking about what happened, and after years of doing that openly on my blog, another glass ceiling annihilated, learning to love myself.

Daddy would soon drop dead by my feet, and his sons would begin their attacks.

How Dare I?

And so, as my custom, Louise Hay is put on this pedestal, a place unreachable yet if she found such love and joy, wanting to be like her is my next best person to copy. NO.

This cannot be. Yes, she seemed so beautiful, it radiated from her 90-year-old eyes. And yes, though passed on, her words helped on a hard day.

But a lot of what was said has been discovered on my own path these past many years. I’m not her, I’m me. And imagining myself to be like her, trying to emulate what that might be like, would be just that, imagination.

She wasn’t dwelling on her dark times, which sounded like many. She only talked of the great joy.

So, plod along discovering what is needed in my own life, because it isn’t her life with the same needs.  

Samuel is not a man of many words, but he said some things that made sense, that it’s possible with weight loss hormones and other chemicals might go awry causing difficulty with sleep issues which seem to be  worsening again. A lot.

Also, it might be a huge kick in the ass from what was taught in the origin group of people, all requiring silence for horrific traumas. That message to a child translates to; YOU’RE UNWORTHY, UNLOVEABLE, SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN BORN, NOT WORTH HELPING, NOT CAPABLE….

That list could go endlessly, but a reversal is happening. All rules are being shattered as I am put myself back together.

No wonder sleep won’t come. How dare I?

GRATITUDE

Peach pie, Samuel’s roses, and peonies-
what more could a woman want? (ice cream?)

Something as innocuous as jumping into the pool for the first time this summer can upset my rather delicate nervous system so that sleep would not come that night.  It was 5:30 in the evening, and something inside me warned me.

Even a joyful physical activity at that time of day sets off the PTSD rockets. After 3PM it is time to settle down as it’s to my benefit to go to bed with birds and wake with them. (sometimes before them) My body seems to work best this way.

And sleep wouldn’t come the next night either. There is an ability now to accept these upsets because a day like today brings me back home where equilibrium reigns.

The birds sing to me, the chipmunks play, the quiet at the creek absorbs me totally in joyful peace, though my eyes water a bit at the damage done in childhood that could still bring these challenges.

And not only for me, but every little girl growing with these secrets into adulthood. There is a very deep wish to bring it to light, to open the tombs of silence. To stop the plague of men touching children in ways they should only be touching their adult partners.

But also the silence. We are not to talk of it because you find it too hard to hear. That causes life-long damage. Hear us. Believe. Care.

But the best I can do is live as best I can. And I am so thankful for this time where joy comes with the land, my sons, and my dear spouse, but especially the miracle of being connected to my own soul.

REPRESSED MEMORY

An email from Seth set off alarming dreams because of his association with Tom, which pokes at other memories with Chet, Danny, and one other sibling never named. 4 siblings chose to attack me. The nightmare that came with the recurring ache for a home lingers causing nights of chaos unable to sleep.

“Do you have a tape measure?” the two guys asked.

Wanting to continue with my tasks, exasperated, I lied, “No.”

Hating to be anything but honest, (just like real life), I said, “Yes,” moving to get it.

They were both aroused, one coming close enough to feel it. I lashed out shouting.  

The next morning I asked Samuel, “Did I cry out in the night or move suddenly?”

“No,” he said.

But I think I did just like the first attack by Chet as a child when he pinned me down causing a feeling of suffocation threatening my life. Lying still pretending sleep was the only way to survive. But it also allowed him to do just about anything he wanted.   

Naomi Judd shot herself dead. Perhaps her repressed memories drove her to it. As the weight comes off, I feel closer to the repressed trauma of Danny violently raping me. I know it happened, but my mind still won’t allow it up, even at age 69.

Some might say I already lived through it, so I’ll be alright. I might once have said that too, but it’s not true. My child’s brain went somewhere, not knowing, not remembering. To remember would be to live it. How to bear it if it does?

The Journey

Feeling bones, my body thinner, scared, a few pounds easily were put back on. Feeling safer, it is easier to control my eating. Becoming smaller comes with threats of success and a great urge to numb out with food.

Of course there is a link, but I haven’t figured it out yet, or all the way through. The urge to eat when not hungry, a typical day for me since age 8, fades when a softer, kinder voice is heard and felt.

Though happening for periods of time creating success with weight loss as a secondary plus, sustaining kind thoughts of myself takes primary focus. That is the goal, food and weight are symptoms of the self-hate developing in childhood falling in-line only when kindness to self steps in.

The voice whispers positive things about myself that are allowed into me. That is challenging to sustain after living most of my life otherwise. Much of that grew as I grew pleasing the origin family, living by implied rules if wanting to remain a part of it… toxic as it was and still is- what’s left of it.

What grew with the ugliness of repeated sexual attacks by supposed loving brothers with nowhere to talk about it, and no one to help or stop it, was a life of unprocessed trauma, chronic, embedded, PTSD, with a critic inside me louder than anything else—a life of punishing myself for having been abused.

Hate myself, blame myself, eat, eat, eat, both to numb out the hate and to comfort myself from the internal nasty word beatings, that voice in my head that came from ‘family’, but became mine. No, it was not spoken aloud, but the messages were imprinted into my soul because no one talked of the tragedies that befell me, nor stopped it. The imposed silence, and the implications of blame I felt entombed me.

A miracle occurs when a more honest view of myself is heard, one that can look at mistakes and flaws kindlier, but much harder, and more importantly, looks at the positive qualities, feels them, believes them, and taking them in as my own.

When that miracle happens, the overpowering urge to eat when not hungry dissipates because my soul is being filled, finally filled.