AUTHENTICITY

We met a few towns over for brunch. I told Cory it was OK, that coming from Massachusetts for such a quick trip to be best man at his friend’s wedding, and staying at the venue instead of with us, was OK, OK, OK. I’m sure I said it four times at least, but never that I’d rather not drive to meet for breakfast before they went on their way back home. Oh course, never that!

He seemed stuck on it so that we would have a little time together, but it didn’t feel like him. Something wasn’t right or real. My urge was to say Nah, I’d rather not, just go ahead and get on the road. It was couched in another way much less direct, as if it would be for his benefit, which it would be, but also mine.  Driving to meet for an hour in a little cafe was not appealing..

And once there, it did come out that his sweet wife had encouraged him to make time to see us. Had I known that for sure, my insistence that they just get going would have been more authentic. It is a 6 hour trip.

Weaving the threads of what benefits my spirit, balancing those with the needs and wants of others, all while the darkness of shorter days also darkens my internal world, becomes much harder. Summertime breezed by happily, but the long months to come will take new initiatives to conquer it. When is pushing myself beneficial, and when does it backfire?

But once again inauthenticity strikes. It was an ongoing struggle deciding the week beforehand; my instincts vs what he was suggesting. Not going seemed so outrageously unmotherly. It would have been fine. Cory and I tend to be honest like that. His wife has softened him in ways that work for them.

But not this time. The world I try to control to keep my internal workings calm is disrupted by inauthenticity. Doing for those I love comes first, including the cat. It also includes just about anyone else. Inauthentic choices are becoming harder and harder to swallow, keeping me awake when I should be asleep.

Can you be honest, say no, and still like yourself? I will have to try it sometime. Courage is not always slaying dragons. Sometimes it is just showing up. 

Advertisements

EACH MOMENT

The balmy morning, though darkly silent, draws me out on the porch with the cat without shivering from the cold. The flux in temperatures is interesting, nights dropping cold, the sun warming the land causing thick clouds of low lying fog drifting off with the warmth.

Some days slowing my mind to absorb the beauty around me does not come. Walking the meadow, the tall grasses once lush green have dried causing a swoosh walking by as the breeze makes them sway.

Leaves fall in swatches while sitting creek-side making a crunch underfoot grounding me to the earth. Wake and notice. But my mind drifts off elsewhere, and it is hard to stay present. Thoughts turn to the miracle of long periods of sleep, and what has changed since the trip to Cory’s.

Because that is when the miracle of night after night of sleep started. Perhaps the knowledge that the seemingly impossible is possible if enough effort and determination is put forth. That my mind is more powerful than given credit for.

That feelings are welcome, yet some can be turned from gently closing the door on them. Fear? Anxiety? Come to the moment to chase those away. An upcoming call concerning when the eye surgery will be? Dismiss it. There will time to face that fear when it happens. No need to dwell on it now.

Instead offer myself encouragement that it will be handled. And with aplomb. You can do it, and do it with a sense of peace, prayer, and hope when the time arrives.

But other feelings? Those need to run through me, not be avoided, because stuffing them only causes the pain to linger coming out in other ways often by disturbing the body’s physical health..

How to know which ones to keep and which ones to maneuver? That is not a ‘head’ decision, but one of soul. That place is now open, not clogged with hate, bitterness, and oily, tarry hands of what brothers did. Rage like layers of volcanic earth far below the surface needed out.

All that had to be expunged. And what work to excavate. Decades. The work done, joy and peace spread up through over the red raw healing interior like balm.

Enjoy the day. Enjoy the moment, it is finally OK to be in my body; ligaments, muscles, arteries, bones and flesh, moving into the doors of my soul to explore.

GROWING (into who I already am)

It is very hard for others, even, or most especially those close to me, to respond to the person I’m becoming; or the person at my core who I’ve always been. My true spirit has been covered with anger, self-doubt, mistrust (of self), and all the vast smears left by childhood trauma.

Not a social animal, not involved with much in the community, or with others, there are connections— a few friends, sons, and Samuel. Samuel seems the most confounded by the changes. Unconscious efforts erupt to pull me back to what was because that is familiar.

Familiar can feel satisfying, the ruts of pain status quo. For two people wanting depth in their lives, growing pains must continue even as skin ages, wrinkles, and sags. Boxing in behaviors to keep things the same is not freedom, it is jail.

Refusing to allow another to take my worth, and doing so with grace not rage, puts the mirror in front of him. The possibility for growth is seeded for us both. The pay-off of growing older is growing wiser. One person must take the leap so the other dares come too.  

TRUTH

It’s three in the morning and my fear is that with fall on its way, so is waking in the middle of night without being able to go back to sleep. Summer gave relief from that, though falling asleep was sometimes a problem. My body seems to thrive on more daylight. 

Or maybe it’s just recovery from a tough day. Meeting the eye doctor went well. On the way there, and beforehand, stress tears fell. But then a crack deep inside opened with light. You’re a good person.

The whip of being me was lain down, then strength. Letting go of the insults; being weak, not traveling to Cory’s, being so scared about a simple appointment, all the differentness felt over a life-time that were about to break me became friendly and softened. 

The adult needs to advocate for the terrified child. Dissolving into a teary mess will not get my needs met. That was the internal speech as Samuel drove us to the city. While the assistant tested my vision that’s exactly what happened. When asked to read the very large letters with my left eye I fell apart.

I couldn’t, then turned into a soppy mess. I’ve been holding it in over the last few years as my eyes, especially that one, became more and more blurry often causing unbalance and nausea from not seeing well. 

But then I would remind myself of impoverished countries where older people became blind due to cataracts. They accepted their fate as if it were natural. Volunteer doctors came into their town doing cataract removals, and suddenly the miracle of sight.

The assistant stopped and very gently asked what was wrong. What was it about my history?

Wiping the tears I told her about a traumatic childhood and that someone coming at my body, or changes in my body that I can’t control, terrify me. Handing me a tissue, she also offered water. Kindnesses such as this ease the experience exponentially. 

Once gathering myself, facing the fact of the eye being so bad, we continued the exam. She left as the eye dilated from the drops. The doctor arrived after Samuel and I watched a video about the procedure which was very helpful.

He impressed me, along with the office, super clean, friendly, and conscientious to details. He shook my hand firmly, always a good sign. When discussing my needs he asked for more information.

“I was sexually attacked by 4 out of 7 brothers. I remember everything 3 of them did. The other was so violent I have blocked it out. The PTSD is why I need deeper sedation, enough to be out, not conscious at all. I cannot guarantee keeping still with someone coming at my body,” I said distinctly, without tears, or emotion.

He continued on with professionalism. In rare cases, he is willing to do both eyes at once if general anesthesia is used. The usual practice is to do one at a time. My regular eye doctor assured me two at once is not possible, but this doctor agreed to my request.

So it’s done. The date will be in October once the scheduler calls to set it up. It has taken a very long time to outright discuss my needs, and why. It has been a haltingly slow process. The early family chains to keep it all hidden reached deep.

This force to remain quiet about such deep traumas made for a life of duality; my real life inside me, the other life where all that came out of my mouth were lies. Nothing was real. Trained to be pleasing meant having no needs, no anger, no nothing. Especially no truth.

Learning to be true, to even feel my real needs, and then to express them is incredibly hard, and still new, but I have done it, and keep doing it.

 

BRAVERY

Bravery. It took bravery to decline my son’s offer to visit, and to explain why. It is more usual to put my husband’s, and son’s needs or wants before my own. It is unusual to pay respect to my own. It brings me great pleasure and satisfaction for my family to be happy.

Cory really wanted me to come see his new home, which is why I said yes, while my insides were screaming NO! And to decline only a week prior seems very discourteous. He has been aware of my extreme ambivalence.

Last week I gave another firm yes. But I also mentioned at the tail end of my ‘yes’ about tomorrow’s appointment meeting the new eye surgeon, and the trepidation that involves.  

There are limits to what I can do. Facing the upcoming eye surgeries is taking a great deal of courage, even if the actual procedures are a month or more away. Every day a thrumming undercurrent of terror vibrates in my belly. Someone cutting on my eye? Strangers at my body? 

To drive 6 hours on busy freeways to visit Cory, then stay away from home for several nights, would cause a huge disturbance in my well-being. No matter that it is with loved ones. Being away, dealing with traffic, and an unfamiliar environment, will cause dire stress inside me. Yes, I can do it, but at what cost? Too much right now.

That decision plunges me into the abyss of sadness for having these limitations. But no, I choose not to go there either. I am so lucky to have all I have. To have a loving husband, and two amazing sons who are happy in their lives, and are thriving. This lovely home, and the meadow which brings so much peace. No, I won’t go into sadness. Why should I?

But, just as everything else in my life seems as if in opposition, if a day brings tears mourning once again for what was lost during childhood, that is OK too. Feeling what I feel is a better road than denial. Acceptance is necessary for the feelings to flow through. Much was lost, or taken. Grieving isn’t over in a day, and may take years to mourn. Making a decision not to feel something might not work.

Yet gratitude fills me, and that is my focus. Much of my life has been scorched with anxiety buzzing through my veins like acid. That has changed dramatically over the last ten years… after my mother died, when the freedom for authenticity blossomed. When there was no longer a need to pretend for her happiness that we were a ‘happy family.’

The hate for myself is evolving into self-love and respect. The shame once making me wanting to die daily, dissolved when writing the book; black-tarry snakes wired inside my gut slithering up and out each week, scraping the tender internal issue on its way out. Every nasty evil thing my little child body endured was released with the telling.

Also popping up and out like carbonated, sparkling bubbles were joyful times. Those too had been imprisoned inside with the traumas. Suppression took it all. Healing began to be more than just a word.

The shame is not mine.

I admire the woman I’ve become, the endurance, strength, persistence, and courage it has taken to get here. I look at my husband and begin to feel sorry for him, that he has a wife who keeps him from doing what he wants, who won’t fly, take big trips, blah, blah, blah. Really? What about all the positives? Fortitude, compassion, creativity, devotion to family, ;;; 

I will continue to work at honoring the things about myself others have seen but I’ve been blind to, and to honor my real needs.

I will love who I am, and all I have…

 

Alone not Lonely

It is a rare family that discloses sexual abuse upon one of their own by one of their own. Instead the child is silenced due to the family’s shame. And she is left to hold the trauma’s within her and bear the load on tiny shoulders.

So much stolen. Family stolen. Family that grounds us, terrifies. Family that grounds, betrays. Family that grounds a person through life, gone.

Because a child grows, and she learns that it was not her fault, and she opens the wounds to heal. But family betrays her again. To remain she must be silent.

For many, taking a life all over again is too much, and she goes it alone. She has always been alone anyway. The ones who did it, the ones who knew and did nothing. And if they didn’t know then, they know now. 

And still betray. Still abandon. Still stay silent, as silent as she was forced to be. There is no one to stand testament to her pain. Not family. But others who become more family than blood. There is trust in the world if you persist in finding it.