Alone yet Connected

You are alone, and you are connected to the universe and all living things. It doesn’t feel that way sometimes. During darkness the aloneness is all there is. Sometimes, day, after day, after day. The thought that feelings come and go does not comfort nor help to brush away the hellish hole.

Then glimmer, by glimmer, hope returns as the body heals the latest health or emotional upheaval. Like coming out of battle, weary, mud-stained, and weak, strength slowly returns rejuvenating the spirit to its proper norm.

The stars were aligned. Sleep slowly was restored and the coughing cleared. I took up my sister-in-law’s offer to attend the little gathering yesterday which had bloomed to a few more family members from long ago; one who I embraced warmly, the other with a cool hello.

Brothers were barely embraced, it was enough to attend.

“What is wrong?” one asked after a brief, lackluster hug of hello walking on after.

I ignored him.

“That was hardly a hug!” another one said, pulling me close for another one that I barely responded to.

I kept connected to my insides without parts flying from me, which would be my usual course. Instead of giving everything away to others, I kept myself.  

What do you expect, I thought, and walked on toward the door without acknowledging his comment. You- who cannot email, call, or visit? You- who I don’t hear a word from for over a year, but you interact frequently with the others?

I owe nothing. I did not look at them directly. You will not invade my interior and hurt me more than you already have. I was there, that was enough. You don’t want to know me, you don’t see me, nor want to. You can’t have the fake me you seem to want.

You want the pretend me who nods, smiles and says nothing. I stayed aloof, yet connected within. Nothing would change anyway. Each would still clique together and talk about how queerly I acted, or something else other than anything real, and I’d still be alone.

A good deed was accomplished, maybe not to your liking, but to mine. 

Growth doesn’t occur in chaos, it comes in the quiet places. I am alone, yet connected to every living thing.

 

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Yes, I Can!

My denial of winter’s annual take down will not chase the low mood away. The tendency to seclude myself even further, along with the inability to sleep as well, accompanied with the temptation to stuff in food to fill the holes, are challenges that increase without invite.

The lure of the once sun-warmed patio with soothing sunshine upon me is craved, remembered, and thirsted for. The full spectrum lights will have to do, and the morning ritual is adhered to with more regularity.

Winter depression is real, and though your harsh voice tells you that you are being a weak baby, you are not alone, and you are not weak and whiny. Wouldn’t you be sympathetic towards another who suffers it? And accepting that it is real?

Health has returned and with it gratitude for a body strong with mind and emotions stronger too. The ‘yes, I can’ button is on, though it may take a while to find it.

 

DEPRESSION

Low mood, sleeping issues, lack of pleasure in the usual activities, and the dwindling of that surge of hope that invigorates each day. Remember these? This is what occurs every winter, and the days approaching it. And it has occurred every year of my adult life.

Insisting it not be so will not make it so. Denial only makes it harder. The full spectrum lights started weeks ago was given up after a day or two. You need them. My brain runs amok without proper nutrition, sunlight or a facsimile of it.

“Why can’t I be normal,” I cry to Samuel. “I want to be someone else. I want to be you, or anybody else. Everyone else is normal!” I burst forth as tears fell. 

“Other people aren’t ‘normal,’ he responds with a huff in his voice because the thought is preposterous.

Of course it is, yet lying next to him at 1 AM while he snores makes me feel like a crazy weirdo.

The problem interfering with sleep isn’t the senate vote as I’d pondered, though another person will be on the judicial bench who also makes my stomach wretch. The problem is the same one every year, shorter days affecting the chemicals in my brain sucking up serotonin like an evil vacuum. 

Not wanting to take an antidepressant means caring for myself in other ways. Though I am a very good candidate for anti-depressants year-round, it feels like my brain is being controlled by an intruder and panic sets in. 

Depression is no joke and must be taken seriously. Using the lights every morning is necessary. Working hard every day to care for my body in other ways is also crucial, including proper nutrition, and exercise in the form of walking or the elliptical trainer. 

The times when movement feels like just too much are the times when it’s most needed. During the course of movement a lighter feeling replaces the low one, or at least brings my mood up. Happy chemicals are activated or increased.

Taking care of all aspects of my being takes work, focus, and sticking to goals which includes confronting the negative voices so loud sometimes it’s all I hear. The work of living continues…

front porch shrubbery 

GENTLENESS

photo by Patricia

The feeling of differentness so acute as a child suffering sexual attacks by my siblings arises sharply at times. Many feelings from then still linger, stabbing into my present life. Unprocessed traumas and all the feelings with them didn’t dissipate but grew with me.

Yet no gentleness exists. It is a habit to beat myself up when today’s issues erupt emotion from childhood wounds. There is no conscious link to them. That is changing. There are reasons sleep is interrupted. Wounds untended in childhood along with a stolen voice caused an inseparable rift within; deep wounds and no way to them. I am mute to the world and mute to my soul.

Wounds fester and when touched with present hurts the pain expands exponentially. It is like placing an already burnt arm on a hot stove. The present slides away as the psyche escapes elsewhere. If a person is talking, what is said is not heard.

Self-loathing because the feeling of differentness is so acute is not what the wounded child needs. And she exists within me and will always be there. She needs what you did not receive then. Since there was only one urgent unspoken rule to not speak of it, there is no one to emulate a pattern of how to be gentle with myself.

It is a new road with little to go on except the times my mother extended gentleness in adulthood. There were moments when she tried, maybe to make up for the past. 

 

FORGIVE, FORGIVE, FORGIVE

photo by Patricia

Some relationships spin the same old way no matter how much effort is put into change. Haunts from the past infect today. Little hurts inflame old unprocessed trauma. Sleep will not come, or upon waking in the night will not return.

A small infraction causing hurt by a loved one sets off the alarms yet it is ringing unaware until nighttime when tiredness setting in meets adrenaline.

You loser, you weirdo, you bad mother, wife, friend, and the bashing goes on. Feelings have overridden behaving in a way to feel proud of. Or shadows of them because the behavior has improved but no credit is given for the strides made. The mind goes off far down the painful road of self-loathing, and I feel lost. Help me, in the night the prayer is murmured.

This has been a usual occurrence for years but the last months a healthy sleep pattern has developed. My belief is that has much to do maturing hence feeling more at peace with myself. To lose it and not know why upsets all routines and body systems, but also most painful, must somehow be my fault. Is it? Or is it unprocessed trauma which goes beyond my conscious choice or control?  

Wake and start again. May your first thought be, “Forgive. Be gentle. How gentle, loving and accepting can you be toward yourself today after the sins you think you committed yesterday?”  And are they such sins? Or is your humanness still not allowed in your own mind.

WHOLENESS

photo by Patricia

The path to the core becomes tangled, blocked by memories, though the soul goes there to hide. So one resides in a place that can’t be found. No way in, no way out.

She peeks out at times. Maybe there is someone to trust, who takes her hand and guides her. Even so, the world is tough and into hiding she goes.

It may never be safe to come fully out. Maybe only in solitude does she find her soul, a safe haven to breathe, connect and become who she was meant to be.

It is these roots that save her. The very place she runs from, the memories which are a part of her history locked deep below. The same place where she hides.

Coming out she looks below and runs. Yet that is where the strength comes from and has kept her here all along. It is in what she suffered that makes her strong and who she is. It is her history that makes her beautiful.

ALONE

photos by Patricia

The road is long, hard and lonely. All that one knows needs discarding, most painful those loved, the people making up the herd one is born into. Playing a part as if one of them, once touched in evil ways a child is alone.

Even those that were innocent of wrong touch became complicit in the silence adding to the restrictions placed on the child. The embarrassment of anyone knowing becomes paramount to the child’s survival.

This does not change with time but rather locks down securely. Freedom it is not found within family, not mine. Stepping out into the world asking for help is terrifying and there are “lions, tigers, and bears” along the way. It takes courage unparalleled. How does she keep going?

The crimes of childhood sexual abuse are many layered, the depth of fractures reaching one’s core. And the core closes in defense. No more can be risked because what is left needs preservation. So how to negotiate the outside world if one cannot navigate one’s own soul?