SELF-HATE

What was it that kept me up unable to sleep? Was it eating later at night, my cure for any uncomfortable emotion which passes with every other thought? Or was it the high level of productivity which sets my senses on overload without consciously being aware that a delicate balance had been pushed past and my body didn’t have time to unwind?

The added exercise of late, triple what had been occurring, is overridden by eating too much; walking , biking, the elliptical. Exercise more, gain weight? What is it internally that won’t allow complete love of self?

Monitor eating closely, but do little exercise. Exercise a lot but then eat more. An internal monitor keeps me obese, even gaining weight despite all this exercise. It is as if they  still hold me captive—hating myself for what they had done. Is it still gripping the little girl that is me? …all the years of self-hate since, even though three out of four are dead.

Self-hate is what I know. Anything else is scary.

Something is holding me back. I have the opportunity to have it all. I feel proud of every other accomplishment, which is many. Hating my body carries hate of self for failing and hating how it looks. It is the last gift to self that will not come, and that something inside will not allow. 

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My Life

A boost of energy, then tiredness. The jolt of sunshine and the overwhelming joy of spring tends to make me overdo. Who is pushing the buttons of go, go, go? What happened to the feeling each morning that the day is in my possession with a miraculous feeling of freedom? Doing what my body needs is doing the very right thing even if it disagrees with modern thinking of producing and achieving at a constant, hectic pace.

Ideas of how a life should be led get in the way of having a life, my life, the way my needs are nourished and respected. It is OK to enjoy your solitude. Yes, all the studies say that interacting with others helps you live longer and happier…except when they don’t.

Perhaps there are some who thrive with less interaction, who become stressed and more dis-eased when around others whose wants, ideas, and wanton characters are toxic not calming.

The chipmunk skittering across the patio not noticing my presence makes me laugh aloud. Certain interactions on TV do the same, along with short videos of my grandchildren warming me to the core.

The work of late has been, finally, on the relationships that matter the most. Instead of riveting on every other interaction— what did that person think of me, why did they say that, what did I do wrong? On and on that repetitive thinking goes like a rat in a wheel.

Of importance? First, my husband. Then my sons. And with great success. That is where my energy goes and is the most meaningful. There is not much energy left for anything else.

The PTSD that has been lived with since age 8 has sapped my strength and made my body easily vulnerable to outside stimuli. Walking the meadow in all seasons, resting by the creek, working in my studio… isn’t that a full life? Yes it is.

CONTENTMENT

It is easy to think my life odd in that buffers are placed between me and people. Interaction is at my discretion which is limited. And too often taking the risk to be around others causes pain.

Love is poured into my kitty as it always has been with various cats since childhood. That was the only safe place where love could flow.

There are those who chose to live a solitary life, even more solitary than me, like the woman in Alaska manning a station out in the frozen snow. Interacting on-line is my safe place. 

A close connection to others has been found that fits, feels good, allows expression, brings back warmth, and is safe. What could be looked at as an odd life, is a life of contentment with a love of the land filled with an abundance of creatures to delight, entertain, and be companions with. 

 

Tending the Mind, Body and Soul

photo by Patricia

Each morning a challenge. Gratefulness for all that I have does won’t make those challenges disappear, working at it continues. Falling rain soothes and allows for a restful contemplative day.

Do the essentials, anything more is a bonus… exercise after meals, ten minutes on the elliptical. Provide healthy nutrition, and dig deep because in there resides the discipline to carry through. And counter those hateful voices that loom ready to bite chewing through me when my resistance is down. 

The restless chaotic internal world needs meditation which lapsed a few days. Get to it. Stick with the basics which help the pieces come together while regulating the tattered edges. A soul that suffered ruptures from childhood needs tending and gentle care.

COPING

Managing my life seemed to be going so well. The exercise added during the last months is significant offering a great boost in energy and endurance. Foods ingested for the most part have been healthy and what my body needs for optimum performance. Much progress has been made.

Then awake into the night because of my own doing. Eating, and eating too much too late, which for me is after 3 or 4 pm— not enjoying it, tasting it, savoring it, or barely chewing because this hunger erupts not from body hunger but from another kind of hunger more voracious and never satisfied. 

Eating past mid afternoon makes sleep difficult due to stomach issues that were serious enough to put me in the hospital for four days. And that is due to complications from the stomach stapling 35 years ago. My mother had an abundance of enthusiasm and excitement believing that was the answer for me. If she had a thin daughter than all would be well.

Our monthly women gatherings, going on now for approximately 15 years, was held at my house yesterday. Usually a lovely time, something ate at me, then I ate, and in the way that began at age 8 when my skinny kid frame blew up like a balloon from the eating…after Danny, a much older sibling, attacked me so traumatically that the memory is still blocked from my consciousness. 

It had to have been rape. The details are known from the moment prior when he slunk up to my bed in the darkness and said, “You’ll be the Mommy and I’ll be the Daddy.”

And events afterwards; the water during a bath searing my vagina causing me to scream continuously until the burn faded away, then later in life after asking Danny what he did, “It’s better you don’t know,” confirming what my gut tells me but my psyche continues to protect me from.

The eating machine erected itself immediately at that time as a way to cope. My mother was fraught with chaos going back to work to provide for 8 kids after the death of my father.

The gig was up. Their partying, drinking then making babies was over. Creeping into her bedroom when that days eating to numb out the trauma of what Danny had done made me so very sick, and touching her shoulder lightly to tell her, “Mommy, I’m going to throw up,” her response chilled me as I padded to the bathroom to vomit all alone. 

“What do you want me to do, spit straw?” she had answered.

Being split, lost and alone, most dramatically from my very own self and inner core, fused with the trauma solidifying the disjointing making it a life-long effort to find my way back.

When anything occurs now that upsets the balance the machine takes control. And then the barrage of self-hate implodes with brutality. You’re so fat, you’ll always be fat, you, you, you, and on the hate goes, something I know all too well.

It may never be figured out, what it was that bothered me yesterday. But while sitting on the patio with Samuel this morning in the warm sun, the mention of Chris and my annoyance by her snippiness was discussed— so it had to be that.

I am easily used as bait for her lashings, and have little protection from it. She seems loving at times, then so hateful, vindictive and small. It is too like the love/hate relationship I had with my mother.

Friends don’t come easy for me. My best friend gone now 5 years, was only a friend for that same length of time. But at least I know true friendship where love flows even amidst disagreement or differences. I had it once in a lifetime. And now I have me after looking for that too for a very long time.

 

Into the Body

photo by Patricia

Each morning fear is addressed. Gathering the thoughts, feelings and instincts together takes great effort. For most others it seems to come naturally. For me, since the age of 8, it does not. Split apart, it feels safer to stay that way.

Such courage each morning mustered. Cajoling the separate entities to come home, inviting each but with some ambiguity, takes doing and time. Slowly, like stepping into a bath feeling the temperature, is it safe? It feels like a dangerous prospect.

And then, the harmonious stereo of the soft cooing doves enters my soul, the buzzing of the hummingbird behind me in the brilliant orange quince bush, the rustling of the leaves that opened with the warm weather as the breeze brushes through them, the tree frogs croaking their chorus much louder than their little bodies would imply, and then the gathering of a fresh basket of lilacs in my bathrobe and boots on an overcast wispy wet morning.

It is hard to come home each morning and face the day whole. Work is needed to listen to the body and meet its needs, something that can’t be done successfully when living outside of it. 

WHOLENESS

Each morning a reclamation. The warm patio cement against bare feet soothed and helped bring me back, but it took effort. Since age 8, being in the body was terrifying and impossible. Even now being elsewhere is habit and seemingly preferred. That is not living…not really.

Come back, come home. Gently chiding myself to come home, slowly the thinking parts relaxed into my body and it was OK, then better than OK. It wouldn’t be my choice to be me, yet that is who I am. Claim it, reclaim it again and again each time you run.

It seems a dangerous prospect as the body has its ways that are uncontrolled, and that is scary. It isn’t my choice to have my past and feel so unloved. Yet running from it carries with it the ability to love my self, lost with the running.

If you don’t know who you are how will you know what to love? It is in the knowing when the price paid for being born me becomes known. And it is in the knowing when the true talents, courage and fortitude it took to carry on are acknowledged and yes… admired. 

As the wholeness occurred the time spent in the cool spring sunshine lengthened and starting the day was delayed. This was the start, take all the time you need to rest, recharge, allow integration of mind, body and soul, and become whole. Do not be afraid. It’s OK.