SHE RISES

Sometimes the most fear filled confusing periods are right before great change. But hanging onto to the boat in tumultuous waves without a life jacket feels so scary. Lost at sea.

Then homecoming, when the scent of the candle is noticed. Before it was in the warmer all day without the ability to absorb its aroma. Being apart from my body happens often. Being away from my center, a place that I’m only beginning to know and get comfortable with, feels more and more unbearable.

But home. Home where there is a place for me in all my seeming weirdness, where every person is unique, special and needed, every single one.

All my traits others don’t like are accepted because that is how I survive. And all my survival tools are admired, not scorned and hated. But I can cast off those that helped but now hurt. That is the battle raging, and the gap is closing. So close. So close.

From great despair, torn down to ash, she rises, over and over again…

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E-mail to Non-Abusive Brother

photo by Patricia

The fact that I have to describe a sibling as abusive or non-abusive is what causes perpetual sadness and low grade depression in my life as a continual way of being. This brother, Don, was once like a father, as ours died when at age 8. We have become estranged since my mother’s passing ten years ago, but I have done my best to overcome the distance without much success.

Those in the family origin do not talk about important issues, so this email will be a shocker. Yet for me, it is imperative to be real.  

Dear Don,

As much as it would be nice to visit for coffee, the drive is difficult. So often you welcome me, yet you are the one who drove around the country for fun, and drives as a part-time job. Driving doesn’t affect you like it does me especially when it includes city traffic. I often wonder why you don’t make the drive here just to have a cup of coffee, or walk to the water to sit awhile. Though you came once with the boys, and another to take me to lunch in Williamsburg, and a few picnics including Samuel’s retirement party, just stopping by to chat is not a time I ever remember happening.

I have lost count of the times I’ve been up your way just for that reason. I have missed some picnics where Tom was also included. I reached a point where that became untenable. I also prefer getting together with others one to one rather than groups, but it isn’t reciprocated.

The road goes two ways. I’m sorry you can’t find your way here. I would love that but it seems it just won’t be. Shane has been too busy to have us for lunch which would be close to you, so I thought I’d just come anyway. Yet it is a challenge, and not easy for me though I can do it if necessary. I just wonder why you can’t or won’t.

I think of you often. I took the fall basket that I didn’t get around to delivering, and repackaged it into a birthday gift which probably won’t find its way to you house either. Day to day life is a challenge. Sleep is a challenge. Adding other challenges is hard. Even appointments are hard upsetting the routine of day to day, and the comfort and safety of home.

The traumas in childhood left lasting damage. I know you don’t want me to talk about it. A long while back you were upset with me relaying how much Penny went through, so why don’t I just get over it. So I won’t say more. And I won’t complain for that very reason either. I don’t need you to solve my problems like I once did.

I stopped after you  said that just once you’d like me to call without it being a problem. I get it. You have your own stuff, and going to you was inappropriate. I just wish you would have said so, not dismissed my challenges by comparing them to Penny’s and how well she does despite them. What is worse than repressed memories of rape?  I remember everything else done by three other siblings which is bad enough, including your buddy Tom. But what Danny did still remains repressed, though I know it was violent, and was rape. That is what causes so much terror in my life even now.

The other daily challenge is the intense feelings of badness that grew in me from age 8 becoming part of my personality. I work on self-esteem issues daily because I grew up feeling bad, that I don’t have a right to even be here or have a life.

This was meant to simply be a note to let you know I’d love to visit with you, but come here on occasion too?

Patricia

FAMILY

Tenderly, like rocking a child, cuddle the little girl left alone terrorized by those she loved. You forgot how it was, how it is now, because others groomed you to. Be like it never happened because the shame of those that did those things to you, and the others doing nothing to stop it, or help in any way, is too uncomfortable for so called family— then, and now.

So alone I am. But do not abandon myself. The loneliness comes because no one stands witness to what happened. The story goes that others have so many other hurts, so how can I just think of myself? More honestly, they want family, even if those remaining are holey, not holy, but full of holes like a tattered old shirt blowing in the wind.

My gut pulls for family too. It always will. But just get on with life which is one I created of great beauty. I do so much better being apart from it, yet like a moth to flame still try.

Worthy to Heal

 

Rattling the cages of childhood, truths keep falling out. Tidbits of wisdom about what really occurred. Forced by shame to go on as if nothing happened made life oppressive in just about every way. Loneliness honed itself into a sharp, cloying, empty, bottomless pit devouring me for decades to come.

 Terror and trauma held into my little girl’s body changed me in ways I will never have as my own again. But I have me now. I am learning so much that my mother never wanted me to. Her ways were to just go on, the opposite of what was needed to heal.

Expecting me to be how she wanted me to be, how other little girls and young women were, caused a desperate need to fulfill her dreams. That yearning for acceptance and love broke down what was left inside even further. Who I was became lost beneath the façade of normalcy.

It is easier for family to go on without the shame of sexual abuse known, so the child abused takes it on. This damage follows a person for life. The toll to my body, mind, emotional well-being, and nervous system is severe.

The ‘tortured colon’ describe by my gastroenterologist? Which meant a tortuously painful colonoscopy until the anatomy of my colon became known. The constrictions and curvatures may have developed as a child by holding muscles in the pelvic area tight as a defense against further onslaught. It certainly was the reason for my skinny kid frame to become bloated and overweight, though that didn’t keep them off either.

And now, with peaceful lulls in my days and sleep filled nights… why are they suddenly disturbed by negative thoughts and insomnia? Because a brain broken by trauma held in unprocessed is incapable of sustaining happiness for long periods.

Knowing that gives me hope, because I can self-talk myself into believing that like every other woman sexually abused as a child, I do deserve happiness and peace. Happiness is peace; peace from negative thoughts, buzzing anxiety, a too fast paced life, and most of all blessed sleep.

These are basics that every child coming out of childhood deserves, human rights for all but that many don’t receive or develop. Beliefs forced onto a child form the personality. Shame, badness, and feelings of abnormality become cemented into the personality of a child suffering sexual attacks by those she loves.

Left to fend for myself caused irreparable damage. Self attacking traits carved in to me are a challenge to shift requiring a belief that I’m worthy along with the fortitude and persistence to take it on. 

 

 

 

 

TERROR

A queasiness comes and goes. Covering one eye with my hand, like a pirate with a patch, my vision improves. The left cataract has progressed a great deal this year, making the idea of going through with the removal procedure more imminent.

The self- advocacy and extra considerations needed exhaust me. The level of sedation my body requires in order not to fight off anyone getting near me, is a deeper sedation than what most need, and deeper than what my eye doctor uses at his clinic where the surgeries are performed.

I would need to be at a hospital, which means meeting another doctor who does them there. My doctor has agreed to this, but it still means going to the city several times, first to meet with the new doctor, then the anesthesiologist, and on and on.

But to see clearly afterwards might make this worthwhile. It is the same reflexive reaction as with killer bird. While Samuel drifts around the yard unaware, or unperturbed about an animal droning down on him, my body goes into fight or flight. All sensors take off before my mind fully grasps the concept of what is happening.

And so it is with medical interventions. My body prepares for a fight for its life. And this will not go away as long as the memory of what Danny did stays repressed, which it probably will. If it hasn’t become safe for it to surface at age 66, then it won’t.  Every time anyone comes close, the shadow of the memory also does, and with it terror.

It takes a great amount of courage to seek care, dental or medical. If taken step by step carefully, by treating myself as gentle and compassionately as if it were another going through this, then I can do this…

JOY

People have always been fearsome. How could they not be when childhood was fraught with brothers who held me down, manipulated, lied, and broke trust so completely it never comes again? The snakes, bees, and killer bird are much more easily dealt with on this little plot of land called home.

And it is more home than ever was, because in it an internal home has also been found. Luckily the feeling of wholeness that others take for granted has occurred in me. First, writing the book, where the child in me let loose like a steam pot exploding.

Each week a chapter arose, one week joy, the next, severe pain. And most weeks included tears sliding down my cheeks sometimes in rivers. Sometimes needing a choking rain, but always healing in ways the word was meant to be.

Others in the origin family will interact with me, but only if the game of secrets is played, and only on their turf or in groups. The insanity of this brings upheavals of anguish, the mental confusion bringing only pain.

No one wants to know me as me. And I get it. We each have our own hell and cannot hear the other’s or let it in. Yet the façade of invisibility won’t wear on me anymore. It’s not that I want to talk about the past, just not be chained from it as it relates to my life now.

But you don’t want to know me, just own me, control me, and have me be a puppet. No. The craziness of this tips me over and I can’t have it. No.

People scare me, even those that call themselves family. There is a piece missing in me that has been lost forever. And these souls needy of their own take advantage of the hole. That is how it is.

So take joy in the life created, and know it is OK. You don’t have to fix what is not fixable. It is OK. You are OK, in fact beautiful.

 

Pain and Pleasure

The joy of life sprinkles its way from my toes on up. Though the meadow now holds many dangers after the killer bird attack, and its constant stand on the rooftop or garden arch, my footfalls feel more peaceful further on down the path.

Each entry into the war zone makes me alert, but my fight with water ammo has kept him respectful. My water bottle is carried in my arm like a rifle. Laps resume happily. New shoots on the pines are brighter green as a whiff of pine sends shivers of pleasure within.

Confetti drops from the trees that leaf out after blossoms fall making it feel like a party of celebration on this simple joyful walk. A sheen of sweat erupts even though the day is cool, which makes the respite of sitting by the creek after the last lap even more a pleasure as it’s earned.

When my interior is able to make room for all that life presents, including grief, loss, terror, and beauty, acceptance makes the joy of being come alive. The earth vibrates with energy filling me with hope and peace.