HEAVEN

It has taken an entire week to come back to a place where peace had cupped me in her arms. A week to come back down from severe PTSD affecting all systems dramatically causing real illness.

Without understanding why, the sad truth is that origin family members are like drinking poison. Go ahead drink it, but the sickness comes after…. every time. It was OK for a while when meeting with one at a time, but becoming so immersed with all three, as Seth’s wife was indisposed, became overwhelming.

They talk about another not there. If you have something to say to someone, say it to them. It does no good to discuss it with others. More importantly it’s disrespectful along with cowardly.

There is still a part of me wanting to do what others seem to do so easily. Attend a brunch, go on a spur of the moment camping trip, whatever. But again, no, my body will not comply splintering in a million pieces.

Coming home it took days to unwind. Finally peace seeps in fully. The sweet scent of blossoms are noticed, my breath is felt, and the songbirds fill me. By the creek the gift of a graceful heron fans her enormous wings as she glides past over the water looking for another fishing spot.

Heaven is again discovered as the sun shines down warming like an embrace, right here in my back-yard.

FOREVER BETRAYED

Tears couldn’t be stopped. All over a ten dollar purchase on Amazon. That’s all it takes sometimes, a manipulation, a break in trust, doing something different than what’s promised, and it all falls down. Suddenly before you is an 8 year old child.

Head in hands weeping, “It feels like when Chet threw the gum down the hall,” I said to Samuel, adding, “I don’t trust anyone, no one. Everything was taken.”

And the wound bleeds every time someone picks at the scab by lying even if it was an honest mistake. If you don’t do what you say, if you take my money for one thing then do something else with it leaving me without what was promised… whether it’s ten dollars or ten thousand, the feeling is the same.

Betrayed. Betrayal shattering me into a million pieces as a child and throughout life as each incidence of dishonesty forces the original trauma to the forefront.

Samuel says, “Of course. I can see how it reminds you of the past. No one likes being scammed.”

And he may finally understand. When my rage at him ended, which really was almost always rage at the abusers, a new beginning began. A relationship more peaceful, tolerant, and knowledgeable of each other’s pain. It has taken a life-time to get here.

Instead of the journey being somber as it always has been in order to survive, it can be joyful and more peaceful. The tsunami of betrayal hits without warning disturbing sleep causing the need for a sleep aid. The day after feels wasted and unproductive because recovery requires stillness. A wasted day? Illness needs care, quiet, and rest.

Chronic PTSD remains because at the time of the original traumas no help was provided for processing it. Accepting that these days happen and allowing for recovery by supplying the love and care I would devote to another isn’t a waste of time, it is courage. Roaring waves roll in uninvited engulfing me by surprise every time. Wanting control but having none. Waves threatening to drown, yet there lies hope.

In the hurting lay the bastion once protective but now interfering with healing, the inability to trust. The most important person to trust is myself, from there it will flow. A new day, a new start, a jockeying of parts settling back to where they belong.  

COURAGE

Imagine moving into a new home that has truly become a fortress with added fencing. Moving from safety to insecurity with troops all around your house to keep you safe. Living in DC right now is dangerous, or any capitol across the US.

Extraordinary courage is needed to proceed under these condition, yet that is type of courage the Biden’s are made of. Still, it must be unnerving even for them, and other leaders who have stood up to the orange deranged evil clown.

The sponge Bob square headed dictator who would kill all in opposition in any way he could has now chosen death to anyone whose nose is not up his ass. Egging on those groups once ostracized enough to stay in woodwork, grooming their evil to the point of pride in overthrowing their own government and to murder. It has come to this, not surprising, yet still shocking.

He gives not a care about the police officer now dead because of him, adding to that 400,000 lives lost to the virus that he didn’t tell us about. Blood on him, yet he cares not.  

The Sponge Bob army is not comical, but deadly, and he knows it, using it to take revenge. All that matter to him is vindictiveness. Can’t you see it people who still stand behind him? Come out of your dysfunctional fog, wake up to the evil being played out right before your blind eyes.

Prayers for the safety of our courageous leaders during this time that shouldn’t be happening.  

Razor wire is installed atop a security fence in preparation for next week’s Presidential inauguration a week after a pro-Trump mob broke into and took over the Capitol, January 14, 2021, in Washington, DC. – The center of Washington was on lockdown Thursday as more than 20,000 armed National Guard troops were being mobilized due to security concerns ahead of the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Be ME

Oddly, this past summer was perhaps the best summer of my life, even while the pandemic raged on. Maybe its coincidence, or maybe it’s knowing that most folks feel as restricted as much of my life was. That comforted in that now there was a link between me and other people.

Though unsure what the reason, it just might be that over the decades I’ve worked my ass off trying to heal and recover what’s mine. It’s not possible to gain back all that was lost. The little girl I was is no longer, and that happened early on.

But it is possible to feel happy, be at peace, and welcome joy. But it has taken a lifetime and the courage of a lion, or a pride of them. To go against family? Because that is the tension and kickback that occurs when speaking truths.

When breaking the silence in any way? Because society doesn’t want to know either. But for me it took repeated telling of a story no one wanted to hear. Over and over again the details rang out that as a child were held in. Once the dam burst no one could quiet me, no one ever should have.

Freedom to be just me.

WHOLE

photos by Patricia

Rather morbid thoughts invade my brain, chased away by simple projects that bring childish excitement, even an over-sized card for my grand-daughter’s birthday. Or puzzles that sit on the table most of the summer untouched. Working on one now lowers anxiety that creeps in as the days grow darker and colder settling the ragged places that threaten tranquility.

Some who grow older wish for youth, not me. No way would living my life over be tenable. It was hard enough the first time separated from myself like super-charged electrons buzzing around my body. My soul in shattered pieces making each decision the wrong one, causing more pain not less. How could one make a decision when disconnected from oneself?

And how can one be connected when taught to act and behave in opposition to the truth of their existence? That those I loved sexually attacked me with violence and malevolence. But Mom wouldn’t have it. You are to love your family. Broken, never to be whole again… but I wouldn’t have that either and worked hard life-long to have a life.

To have the zillions of pieces come home and stay is a revelation that most others take for granted. Whole, at peace, and happy, because feeling peaceful is happiness. That is how my life finally evolved after decades of fracture before piecing back together.

 

SUNBEAMS

The meadow at dawn

What to do when everything is alright with the world? OK, not the universal world suffering the blight of the pandemic, but my own internal world which is found on this little plot of land I call heaven. No more being a renegade living as a rebel outcast because even the three brothers who never touched me seemed to cling together against me.

What if there is real caring and some of my resentments need the gift of tolerance just as they do in any human interaction? And what of the trust issues? Well they are there on a permanent basis. When the inner voice cries out ‘beware’…listen to it.

But the soul’s yearning for family never requited has been filled by an impromptu outdoor socially distant gathering. Picking up my pot oil supply in the city, a quick stop at Seth’s was made only a block away. He called the other brother also living in the city. Soon he and his wife popped in with their cups of coffee.

The ten minute visit turned into three hours, and the thirst for ‘family’ was quenched. It was fun, felt safe, and for the first time was OK. Because I am OK. Traveling miles in the meadow, footfall after happy footfall among the bobbing heads of buttercups and drifting butterflies, my strength blossomed with the love growing internally.

Strong enough to love me, or learn about how that feels as it blooms, the doors to family that had closed but left unlocked cracked open, widening enough to enjoy their company and feel safe. The safe part is paramount occurring only after my ability to say what I need to say when I need to say it crystalized. 

Not by force, but by walks in the meadow where I’ve learned that the opinion of myself that matters most is my own.

                                                   Photos by Patricia     

HUNGER

Photos by Patricia (bluebird baby)

Having to pretend since age 8 that the horrors suffered weren’t real, it became customary for me to stuff them away. That took a lot of food, food that mother loved to cook then see others eat. Weight gain, up and down since age 8.

Even mangling my inner organs to be normal. That pleased my mother who told me about the magical operation.

She left out the part that meant intense pain for hours, and countless episodes on the bathroom floor hoping to upchuck the extra teaspoon of food swallowed. What was left of my stomach was  a tiny pouch with only enough room for a tablespoon or so of food.

That is a problem for a person accustomed to using food as an escape from the body, and had since age 8 when my mother’s cure for the first terrifying attack was to stuff with me food. And if my mother’s love was at the end of a spoon it was better than nothing.

To be in my body now is a revelation. Not realizing that my entire life has been an escape, the exploration into this brings up empathy unfounded in my own inner workings. Because usually there is harshness, blame, and self-castigation. Compassion has begun to blossom.

To go through all that all alone. To suffer like that all alone, except for a mother on the side-lines always making it worse because she didn’t want a fat daughter. So she put me in fashion shows, and beauty contests, and then as an adult excitedly telling me about this operation which years later put me in the hospital due to internal bleeding where the inexperienced surgeon make his cuts to rearrange my internal organs.

It was never about weight, but about pain suppressed. About a little girl alone whose only resource was eating because you readily pushed food, loved to cook, and loved even more to see it eaten.

Mom, normal is to feel. Normal is to go to your daughter’s aid and keep any son from attacking me again. It doesn’t matter if you’re left a widow with 8 kids, you’re story over and over again whenever trying to tell you how angry I was at you and why.

You could have 20 kids, just stop and do the right thing. No more attacks, and don’t tell your little daughter who is crying hot tears down her cheeks, that if it ever happens again to tell you. Of course I wouldn’t, too ashamed to do so. As if I had the power to stop it by telling you. YOU STOP IT.

So food became an escape from the body as other sons took what they wanted. And I became more and more invisible as my body got larger. And that was 60 years ago but the same methods of not feeling are still being used.

Yet beauty occurs, that of feeling deep down inside with peace not tsunamis. I can go there and be OK, better than OK. Still tentatively trying it out, but more and more comfortable being there. It is a beautiful thing, one others live daily without question. But for a trauma survivor it is a new place to be that brings wholeness, peace, and love for self.

Instead of self-repugnance for a too big body since childhood, there is the beginnings of understanding and compassion. Food is used to numb, to not be in the body. I have not understood just how terrifying my childhood was. That leaving the body became the norm when my body was attacked, not the other way around which is really the norm when living childhood without trauma.

Without intervention or release of the agony inside me, I ate for the next sixty years. Even when the stomach was butchered into a tiny pouch- I ate. I had to, even though it meant long periods wrapped about the toilet on the cold tile floor. There was still interaction with ‘family’ acting like I loved them because that’s what was required. Of course I ate.

It is a new beginning where food is eaten out of hunger, not all the other hungers, but true physical hunger. And that only begins to happen when love and compassion are heard inside of me filling the ragged holes that food once filled. That is not the head or brain… that is the soul hungry for love.

RAT BRAIN

It is one splendid picture perfect summer day after another. The only difficulty is taming my thoughts which easily run around and around in negative thinking. Breathe. Everything is OK. You are OK. This mantra is used often because ever since age eight my belief solidified that everything I did was either bad or wrong.

That is the damage done when a child suffers horrendous attacks by those she loves. Then is left on her own to hold it all in. And families expect that. My mother ensured it to her death bed literally. There she spewed out a verse from an author she liked then ordered me to write it down.

I kept it. Maybe in the hopes that someday I could see something different than the message she touted. Side-stepping the truth is impossible. She expected me to continue to obey the gag order long after her passing.

She never said it aloud until that day before she died, even then without saying it had to do with keeping quiet about what her sons had done. The dots aren’t far apart. There’s no denying what was demanded. 

It would be hard to miss. What else could it mean? And why, so that her sons wouldn’t suffer because of what they had done? Or the ones who knew and did nothing wouldn’t be shamed by secrets? Secrets which keep me bound and hostage. That meant more to her than coming to my aid even then. It took her death 11 years ago for me to begin to learn to love myself. 

“Do you have a piece of paper and pen,” she asked?

“Yes,” I said, fumbling in my purse for a scrap of paper. 

“Write this down,” she ordered.

And the good girl in me did. 

Talk Faith

Talk faith. The world is better off without
Your uttered ignorance and morbid doubt.
If you have faith in God, or man, or self,
Say so; if not, push back upon the shelf
Of silence, all your thoughts till faith shall come.
No one will grieve because your lips are dumb.

But not long after her passing the book began. Chapter after chapter the truth held in since age 8 bubbled up. With it all the joyous times, because there were those too. But suppressing some feelings suppresses them all.

I needed her even in my fifties. Her love, though tainted with exceptions, was the only love I was capable of feeling other than various pets over the years. I surely didn’t learn to love myself, or that others could really love me. Love became deadly wrought with danger and risk. But her love at times sunk in.

I complied with the requirement to remain mute about what was done, and it didn’t need to be ordered aloud. A child learns what brings love and what brings rejection. Also required was the pretense of love towards my attackers.  Families stick together. Isn’t that what families do? And I did so without recognizing the dark need of love from places that require too much in return. 

Yes they stick together even if it means going after the traumatized child now an adult. Because they make it about themselves not the victim, a doubled up betrayal by the clan. But the attacking siblings must have felt badly because each one died way too early except one. The one most hated survives. 

No one ever approached with a request for forgiveness. Perhaps I blame myself for that too, so enraged I would be too hard to approach. And that is the damage done life-long, that every action is wrong or bad, even that an abuser didn’t apologize. .

The rat brain effect swirling in my head always needs taming. When never learning to trust, interactions towards others are tinged with doubt, coldness, separation, and disdain. My ability to get close, though craving it, was irrevocably damaged.

Any tool to keep others at bay is used. And since swinging a bat is frowned upon, other tactics kick in without conscious thought. Craving friends, a boyfriend, or any human interaction, mistrust forced unconscious acting contrary to my yearnings. Facial expressions, body moments, and sarcasm became highly honed to keep others from getting close. This evolved without planning or insight into what I was actually doing. 

It has worked really well (mostly), though boys fumbled at my body in high-school or college, never a comfortable situation for me even after married. Now more aware, changes have been made. Over time friends have stuck with me. That wasn’t the case for decades, losing them one by one due to my inability to speak up or trust.

My brain still swings the hammer of wrongdoing, it’s an unfortunate knee jerk reaction. Sometimes the energy to fight it is available, but not always. That tendency seems permanent because what was learned in childhood cemented into my personality… I am bad.  

My first thought when another seems upset or I imagine that they are, is–what did I do wrong? It takes daily work to counter this part of me. Medical marijuana oil has helped. I don’t lie awake nights going over a scenario repeatedly wondering what I’d done, or angry at someone else because they have wronged me. 

These years here on the country plot have not always been easy, but peace has moved into unfamiliar places that others take for granted— the core that believes in one’s goodness offering stability, centeredness, and calm. It tends to linger in me now too.  

The Cure

Eerily quiet and unusually dark at my accustomed waking time, the silence is unnerving. Where have the birds gone? My guess is many have left for warmer climates already. They surely arrive here earlier in the spring than most people realize, as early as February’s end.

The feelings of loneliness this usually brings is not as deep or as painful. There is an energy occurring that wasn’t present during all the years of restless sleep when waking at all kinds of hours, staying awake watching TV.

Good sleep means more energy. It also means a brighter outlook on things with a happier mood, happy which equates to more peaceful. The magic cure seems to lie in the pot oil begun after visiting Cory last fall in a state where the oil is legal.

After choking on  smoking the pot also purchased, then hallucinating afterwards freaking out, needing my grown son to talk me down, it was the oil that was more fitting for me. The pot these days is nothing like my college days because it is way more powerful.

The oil seems to have cured much of what ails me. Not a total cure, but toning it all down and still there to manage. What a blessing, and all in this innocuous little plant. It probably wouldn’t have done all it can do earlier in my life because there was just too much to overcome. 

But after years of therapy and living through the worst, it was the little bit needed to send me over to the side of peace. Still the work goes on. It does not offer immediate self-esteem. Nor does it remove anxiety, an issue worked on daily.

But it does help with sleep a great deal along with the tendency for repetitive negative thinking. But discipline is needed to keep countering those voices which sometimes thrash me down unequivocally.

All the tools that help are needed, and this is one of many. But this addition after all these years is an amazing balm to my overworked systems. Though it works for me, it is not a recipe for everyone. We each find our own ways through our own hell’s. 

 

At Peace In The Moment

The day is quiet, laying before me like an open book. Rather than do, do, do, my quest resides deeper staying in one place a very long time. With sneakers on, uncharacteristically ready for action, Samuel asks, “Do you want to go biking?”

Wanting stillness and peace, not action, I respond, “I’m not ready. I have to eat, get dressed, then meditate.”

“Well, I don’t like it when it gets too hot,” he says, adding, “I’m going.”

Good. Time alone today is a good thing, opening the windows after he leaves because he said keep them shut so it stays cool. There’s cool, then then there’s cool when feeling so chilly a sweater is needed.

It is summer, and after the stickiness that made me happy to have air conditioning, today is just a nice summer day to be enjoyed fully… windows open.

Sometimes in my efforts to please even just one other person, my self is lost in the shuffle. Sometimes compromise means giving up too much, so much the internal forces are not at peace which equates to unhappy.

Sometimes the business of placing so much effort each day in moving my body more, the pleasure is lost in the doing instead of being.

So today come back home and experience the satisfaction of each moment without pressure.