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. 




photo by Patricia

Waking in the night the tendency is to think of the most negative or uncomfortable thought then blaming myself immediately and without forethought. It is my natural tendency to blame myself for everything going wrong. This solidified at the age of 8 when this sibling attacked me. His attack was so violent and severe my psyche won’t allow memory of so it festers below the surface like a shark about to attack. My 65th birthday comes in a few months, and it is likely this repressed memory will vibrate in my depths for life.  

It is the first attack that started a lengthy period of continuing traumas that cemented permanent and chronic PTSD. The challenges due to no intervention, hence no processing of the repeated assaults to my body and psyche, remain very much alive today confining my life in a multitude of ways that limit what I can do.

Talking myself down from these thoughts coming unbidden in the dark, trying to take the self-blame out of it which always becomes a component in the middle of night when feeling so vulnerable, helps sleep to return. Sometimes it takes a long while but with persistence and turning over re-trying each position repeatedly, sleep might finally come. But not tonight.

He died at 28, seven years older than me. Lagging like a ghostly shadow are thoughts that my question had something to do with his last suicide attempt being successful.

“What did you do to me?” I asked of my older brother Danny, one of twins. It was the next time he attempted to end his life that did end it.

Why forty years later does it seem so recent, the memory of asking so fresh along with the guilt? Lying there in the queerly soundless night the self- talk starts. If that didn’t make his last attempt reliably earnest, something else would have.

It took an entire family of dysfunction to cause this sibling to fail in life and everything he tried. It was his mother and father, not you. You were just a little girl grown into a confused, lost, and violently injured young woman also unable to find her way. You were looking for answers and instinct guided you to ask. It’s OK, it’s OK, it’s OK.

There are things that can only be put to rest by forgiving myself, even now over forty years later, things that block the road to self-love and acceptance, things only I can do and that only I can give myself. There is always work to do…

Moment to Moment

photos by Patricia

Calm one moment, the next feeling sped up and uncomfortable. Each moment the feelings catapult like a see saw. PTSD becomes more than just words the mind separated from the body spews out. Though accustomed to the split, there are moments when sadness erupts for having such challenges.

My broken brain won’t mend. It won’t. I am stuck with me, and my tendency to move ahead in haste and fear, a fear always there as if to strike like a shark out of water.

Drawn to movies where that same ebb of low drumming foreboding courses through it, that is the stuff pumped through my veins; waiting for the crack of lightening in the most quiet moments. Waiting, on edge, at the ready…

The Blizzard

photo by Patricia

Reproaching constantly when failing to meeting goals, expectations or plans fortifies the harsh force living inside that leaps to the forefront more quickly than the warm, soft one. The latter is newly cultivated and without nurturance wilts quickly needing continual moistening with tender attention.

You know winters are hard. Yet you expect to perform as if it is not. Reminders of its challenges and how difficult they are will soften expectations, heighten your ability to see successes over failures, and make the path more enjoyable.

It is work to repair so many years of engrained self-flogging that started at age eight and only flourished as decades passed. As a child touched in such criminal ways, and silenced to meet others needs of normalcy, it is common to take the crimes on as if they were your own.

Hating oneself solidifies. Self-love, what is that? That is the work, softness, warmness, and acceptance towards oneself. Is there a part of the brain that  never softens from the blizzard of self-reproach?

The windows yesterday were closed when temperatures began to drop from 60. Rain melted the snow filling the creek into a pond. Wind raged through the night. Upon waking it is 16 degrees and snow swirls to over a foot.

Kitten curls up on my lap as the word gratitude wraps around me like snow.   


photo by Patricia

Waking to the last tolling of the siren, the fire departments must be responding to calls about flooded basements. The unusual weather almost tipping 60 with constant rains have melted the snow. My breathing eases and hopes rise from the crumbly dark pit where winter has tamped me.

As if an ancestor to Poe, winter beats a drum of hollow desolation. Each day is faced with resignation but valiantly focusing on the up side to down. Every nuance of discord within the body is frightening. My connection is overly sensitive to its working or numbly cut off.

Longing for birds, sun, flowers and Spring, at least this lapse provides hope of getting there. Rain beats down and a window is opened to let in the sweet air and the delectable steady music of pattering drops. My spirit awakens by the break in frigid air and my body feels more pliable and willing to move.

Grateful for a taste of Spring it fortifies the courage needed to live each day fully. 

The Harvest

photo by Patricia

The journey within is often dark and scary. Issues of low self-esteem grew since the first wrong touch as a child of eight. Low self-worth became as solid and strong as bones that grew with them.

To move beneath those shadows can be frightening. Voices bellow a cadence of grim put-downs that put a being in a grave while still living. But with work fallacies dissolve and the real humanness inside can be explored. Treasures found have been there all along.

With realistic eyes see where you add to dysfunction or unhappy interactions. What is in your power to change, and what is not? What can you do to provide yourself with what you need so that there are no regrets? It is up to you and no one else.

The road is fraught with pits of self-recriminations because that is what I know. To furrow new rows where love  germinates takes attention and work. Newly spaded soft warm earth needs tending and care. Too often robotic me drives on and no softness sprouts up.

When feelings of cold self-rejection overtake trying to harvest a soft place to fall where before only ice existed is new territory that doesn’t come easily. Bringing softness to places where harshness tends to live is an ongoing journey into the depths of my being.  

Coming Home

photo by Patricia

When floundering the answers come from others because their lives look so calm and together. For a soul shattered this symbiotic interaction became necessary. To lean on Samuel feels like defeat. With head in hands, feeling as if there is no other recourse, my grief is expressed.

Feelings floating out there, out of me, brings lightness to my being as if a cloud of foul vapors has been exhaled. He offers a few words of support and that is all that is needed. I know my way ‘home’ even if veering from the path for a while.

In times of confusion reaching out feels like the only way to regain balance, and that’s OK.  To live on my path means finding my own way back.

A life lived with pieces spinning is no life. It is robotic, all parts separated from each other and each working as single entities. Once moments of wholeness are experienced, the cracking and spinning that occurs with various life events are more poignantly painful and uncomfortable because the sweetness of feeling whole has spun away.

Come home to yourself… as many times as needed, you can find your way back.