Like most issues, to speak up about my own beliefs, opinions, or feelings is gruelingly difficult. Taught to keep mum about atrocities against me, even little issues tend to stay inside me.
A friend who is religious, Christian like the other four in our women’s group, is overly so. The Lord this, the Lord that. I respect her beliefs and do not scorn them, in fact am sometimes a bit envious of the strength it seems to provide her and others.
It doesn’t for me. At a very young age that collapsed and as with most things shame about that eroded me even more. Now in my sixties the right to claim my own spirituality slowly rises. If it were to have a face it would be feminine.
Yet it is more a belief that we are all connected throughout the planet no matter what we believe. In writing back to her as she once again speaks of god as HE, my response gently outlines my views.
In this life what is there if we cannot be who we are? If it is sometimes a ball of worries and anxiety, then that is me at that time. If my beliefs encompass something different that yours, can you respect them as I do you yours?
In this life, before it’s over, the craving and wholeness comes from owning who I am. It feels risky, scary, and often impossible, but is worth the exploration and effort.
When depression hits you like a sledgehammer, and tears fall for no apparent reason though memories erupt plaguing my internal peace, and all looks dismal…just be with it. Go deeper.
Remembering the readings of the meditators that say look at your flaws and shortcomings without judgement, just be curious, but accepting of all you see.
With my tendency of feeling badness, what else might be uncovered? But what if it is goodness so sweet it is like miles of chocolates oozing with caramel? That what lays hidden from me are qualities of great depth, wisdom, clarity, beauty, and vast oceans of compassion?
Who will comfort you when you are sad… you will. Who will rock you when you are upset… you will. Who will love you when you feel unloved …you will.
For most of my life the leaning for needs to be met was to others having no center of my own, but the help was short-lived and unfulfilling. The hunt for love was the pot at the end of the rainbow, not really there because it did not exist outside myself. It had to be found internally.
And how could that happen when raised to hate myself? Where no compassion could be found, only cruelty and wishes raining down upon a little girl that she would just dispose of herself. Then everyone else could be happy.
Happy because if I didn’t exist, you don’t need to feel bad about what you did. And the rest who stood by and suffered me to silence could feel less guilty too. So many knew of my incestual jail and did nothing out of their own shame; brothers, aunts, my mom. Nothing. The message though- SILENCE.
In learning about the true person inside myself, and giving me my own permission to live free, happy, and whole, riches abound free to absorb lightening my soul from darkness, making life genuine, full, and exquisite even with the painful times which we all bear.
Settling down to the memory of yesterday, accepting an ‘off’ day with hopes of moving back towards the center. It is disappointingly excruciatingly hard to cope with old habits that emerge when up in the night- EATING.
It’s OK. You will keep moving towards your goals. You can expect glitches and falling back to old patterns all along the way. Accept that.
“I’ve done so well. I’ve been trying so hard,” I lament to Samuel, after he had cleaned up my mess from middle of the night foraging. I was too tired from a double dose of medication to clean up crumbs or put away peanut butter and jelly.
Each day the calorie counter on-line is pulled out. Every morsel entering my mouth is tracked to the exact calorie. And exercise, all my body can handle until hitting a wall. Then? Sit down or fall down. A bad night comes without really knowing why except my body takes off out of my control and sleep evades me.
This time it it might simply be not telling a friend I can’t do a video call on an afternoon when so much exercise was done in the morning. My body has limits due to so much abuse throughout childhood. Being present with a friend takes energy, energy I did not have when trying to talk to her. She’s not evil, just ignorant. And when rested I can let her foibles slide off me, just as she must allow my character flaws to exist with acceptance.
Feeling sorry for myself after laying there hours in bed, I got up and went to the living room. Hating the old ways but doing them anyway I ate. This is the pattern that began at age 8 after the first attack. Eat then throw-up because my then thin little kid body couldn’t take the excess food. It can now, but not without equal amounts of self-hate.
Yet over the course of many months pounds have slowly dropped, twenty so far. Because something changed, I changed. I can’t tell you why, how, or what, but something deep and internal that won’t allow night time follies to dissuade my journey to wholeness and health.
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.
And then it snowed, big fat flakes gracefully wafting down with the morning light. That Christmassy feeling tempered by the greyness. Tempered with missing the closeness of the few people tolerated and loved.
My sons decided not to be together after the eldest Shane down the road cancelled his upcoming trip the day after Christmas. He had decided to go to Cory’s after my decision not to have him home for the usual annual gathering due to safety concerns. But that was back when our area’s infection rate was very low. Now it is burgeoning everywhere.
It was hard not to offer my two cents about this upcoming trip which with my tendency towards anxiety could have been a bucket full of worries thrown at them. Guilt wants to eat me up over my one sentence to Cory, “I don’t think you should.” And my other one sentence to Shane, “You and your wife ought to talk about what you may feel are more drastic measures to protect you and your family.”
Then it was left it up to them which it was anyway. They got away with in the summer, spending a week with two families together at the ocean. That worked out, was it wrong to say anything this time? Did my one sentence to each one take away time together that could be shared and OK? Or did I behave by saying one sentence only, then leaving it up them? That is really great progress on my part, can’t you see it? The alligator of self-doubt is at my tail willing to chomp away.
That regret thing, or the feeling of always doing something wrong… saying something wrong, always being wrong, wants to creep up and take a bite out of me. That has been my hellish life, a captor of my own self-hate. I grew up hating myself. If I hadn’t been a reject at birth, my brothers wouldn’t have hated me so by attacking me. That is the war in me. Self-hate vs self-love. Wisps of gentleness dispel harshness that often ate me alive wishing for life to end.
The daily wish for death faded over time as internal work continued. It took decades to repair what could be repaired. Then a few decades more before living fully with love and peace, frosted with compassion, arms open welcoming me home…