FRIENDS

Tinted, like looking at the world with dark glasses. When the growth of a personality is embedded with feelings of ‘badness,’ feeling abnormal, even dirty, it separates a being from others in so many ways… emotionally, spiritually, and intimately. Closeness is feared.

Anxiety arises. Any interaction with another human makes it pop like hot mercury. Though much of that has lessened, anxiety and the customary feeling of wrongness, or badness, are still issues dealt with daily. 

Living in a bubble is not my desire, but my needs require an environment that includes a great deal of solitude that is steadily familiar. Upsets in equilibrium interfere with my health setting off a reaction that is out of my control. But outings are still pleasurable.

A friendly gathering offered a place to really talk. Later at home the harsh voice began banging, “You monopolized the conversation. Can’t you see what they have been going through?”

Then a softer voice quietly budged in, “Give yourself a break. It’s OK to share. It doesn’t mean you aren’t aware of their struggles or pain, or that you don’t care. Let yourself off the hook. Think of the supportive things that were said, like, you are a good friend. Remember that?”

Remember that.

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FREEDOM

To live a life with invisible chains. To begin to experience freedom. To invest energy into the ones that matter, rather than everything else that doesn’t, but once used to seem to be all that mattered in order to survive. And that would be keeping the secrets of my mother.

It was never something that could be put into words because I was not cognizant of it, only that I needed her love. And instinct knew the trade was silence for love. Secrets sat like a beast inside me in the therapy chair.

It dwelt inside me since age eight, what each had done. The beast ate from the inside out. I was a silent mass of snakes, each one let out slowly; long, slimy, and treacherously reptilian. A brother once loved who attacked, but don’t tell.

How does one live curdled from within? Insides so confused not one sentence could leave my lips that made sense because the feelings were so twisted in order to appease the family. I grew to appease others, the being created unknown to anyone, most of all me.

Even now daily reminders are needed to allow my internal self to relax, and move in a way that is freer, calmer, and in my best interests. Ways that allow for healthy patterns of existence that others might take for granted, be it a more relaxed mind, eating in a way that is connected to my body, enjoying movement, and respecting my body’s needs without fear. 

The life sentence of rage that took all joy finally over in my fifties when writing the truth of what they had done bubbled up each week, and with it joy because the suppression of one thing suppressed the other. Healing. The truth like a soothing balm. The key was my mother’s death ten years ago this month, a loss mourned more than any other thus far.

Finally the freedom to be, tasted for the very first time, a continuing journey to explore as my true self becoms known.

 

The Ripple Effect

Ripples in life pile up growing bigger as they cascade down like a snowball gaining size as each event plops on top of the other. Then the PTSD monster won’t allow a return to sleep at 4 AM. What that does to the rest of the day is disaster.

No armor for my restless soul hell bent on caving in on itself with fury, the fury of being eight and the everlasting damage done. A feeling of badness that takes energy each day to resist, but without sleep I’m lost in the wilderness of wrong.

“I’m a bad mother, grand-mother, I’m born bad with no right to be here,” I said to Samuel, allowing the dark inside me to seep out, and with it tears.

At 4 AM, the thought that my comment about a certain sneaker possessed my grand-son to buy that very pair with his own money, kept me awake.

“No way,” Samuel said, “A kid that age wants to buy those things. It wasn’t because of you.”

I wish I could believe him, but I was on a mission to lash myself.

“You don’t have this inside you, something that makes you feel bad every day,” I said.

“I know,” Samuel said quietly.

But his gentle encouragement helped. Thoughts that allowed myself to run ragged with hurt needed reining in. If only I had the energy to combat them.

Work in the studio felt tedious. Being conscious was burdensome. Later in the dreary day, unusually cold and rainy, energy was mustered to do meadow laps in-between the rain-drops. The day improved with more acceptance for my dis-ease, and myself.

It is the way. Things go along, then not. A fender-bender in the parking lot, cancelling a trip to Niagara Falls due to inclement weather, and my son visiting on Mother’s Day, something that should be joyful bringing worry instead. Like a snowball gaining momentum on it’s run down the hill, it was enough to make my brain go haywire, then make me turn on myself.

You did not control your thoughts, my harsh mind reprimanded, that is why you can’t get back to sleep. 

But the disease of PTSD does not allow for that. Once activated it is out of my control. That is something not easily accepted. Blaming myself is so much easier, though painful. The damage done during my childhood years has to be gently understood– time, after time, after time. Being a fighter at my core, acceptance continues to be something to work on.   

 

GROWTH

photo by Patricia

My head knows what my heart does not. When a child is sexually abused by loved ones, her world turns and does not recover. My head knows the blame is not mine, but the soul, my core, became damaged in ways that won’t be undone.

People my age die. It is not uncommon. The growth so far may have to be. That is the way for everyone. We keep growing until we die. And mine is enough. I cannot have what I would have, but I can have now with hope.

 

SPOILED

“My mother used loved to say, “My only daughter of eight kids!”

The usual response from her friends, acquaintances, and other strangers looking at me, “You must be so spoiled.” 

My usual training was to force a smile, but my head lowered as my interior felt spoiled in a dirty, dark and piercing lonely unloved way. 

There is at the core a rotten place, a place where that’s what I believe I am. No matter the frills on the outside, the house made beautiful by my decorating, the gardens, mosaics, even the purple tint of color in my hair for fun that inspires cashiers and other strangers to often comment while out shopping how much they love my hair… at my core there is disease. . .

There lay the belief of badness, rottenness, and total unworthiness. It smolders moldy, and sour like lettuce gone bad at its core. 

The days go by uneventful. Sleep comes. My restless repetitive negative thinking is seemingly kept to a minimum. But bubbling below a stinking brew recoils. It keeps me up at night to remind me of the intense work and overhaul still needing to be done. 

Chet’s hold on me strangles me even now after he is dead and gone. Poor Chet, was how I felt about him. Poor Chet? He held me down. He then masterminded my mind, like a hostage still chained even now. My hating myself came from him. He hated himself too. But not enough. Not enough to come to me in person, or by mail to say the simple words “I’m sorry.”

And that’s my fault too. Because I’m hard, cold, bitter, and angry. How could anyone try? That is bull. No matter how the other person is, you must try. Yet my core doesn’t know that, only that the disease of him still takes hold and keeps me up nights. The disease of each of them rots my core.  

Last night it was the memory of being called bitch while still in the hospital after the stomach stapling. A procedure done so I could be whole, normal, and slim like others. Done because of them. Because after the first attack by Danny, I ate and ate till throwing up in the middle of the night. I still do that.

Chet calls while I lay there weak in pain. He said, “You bitch.”

I believed him. A part of me still does, the part that rots, won’t heal, and keeps me up nights.  

 

Learning Love

It’s been a long time, almost 60 years of treating myself like my brothers treated me. Hating me like they did. Suppressing all that is me for the rest of the family’s comfort, and in doing so mistreating myself every day of my life since the age of eight.

Always running from what is, and the truth, whether it is overeating, shopping, keeping overly busy to make up for being born ‘bad,’ all the many war tools to keep the truth in even from myself, has done so much damage to my mind, body and soul.

And much cannot be undone. Part of me moved forward like a warrior. Other parts bled, couldn’t keep up, won’t heal and need managing with care, love and a great deal of attention. It is time to start treating myself with all the love possible, not how ‘they’ treated me.

You are never too old to make dreams come true, have a goal, reach it, and to make the magic of finding your true nature. At the end of the day when darkness implodes with negatives catapulting into me, it is time to employ defensive measures to counteract the part of me who learned to survive by making me the ‘bad’ one.  Stay connected, feel my body, be in it, don’t escape, it is OK. Learn to be loving, not hateful.

Dig Deep My Love

So much talk about being in my body, making friends with both my body and psyche… Really, I am very disconnected. It isn’t something to add to the list of what to bang myself over the head with, though the ‘critic’ is ready, always ready, always LOUD, and always upon me to crush the life out of me.

It is another loss to grieve, and to be oh so gentle with. Of course I don’t want to be in my body. This body betrayed me by responding to some of the evilness done to me by a brother whose attacks went on for more than a year, more like two.

Though violence occurred only the first time, all the attacks after were still violent because I did not want them, or want any part of them finding it all vile and disgusting. But there was no one to tell who would listen. My mother put it back on me, my other brother went about his life as if I never told him.

Yet my body did respond to some of it. Bodies are made that way. But it left me hating myself and my body for life. Another life sentence for the child sexually abused.

This needs healing, forgiving, love and understanding. It won’t be showering down from above, but has to come from me, a place most of the time dry, cold and abandoned. How does love grow in the frosty dark? How does love grow in soil that was never nourished?

These are not easy quests, one has to dig deep in the soil until finding warmth and a place to grow. At age 66 I am still digging.