A Day Off

Glands swell slightly on both sides of my jaw. When that happens stress has played a part in it. This is a sign to take a day off. Don’t go and do, then do some more. Even exercise has the possibility of aggravating it. My immune system has taken a hit over the years because traumas muted in childhood caused PSTD issues undiagnosed, and never talked about.

Without the early intervention so necessary to cope with the traumas sustained after brothers attacked me sexually, I didn’t learn that I deserved care and attention for those horrific experiences, nor the everlasting challenges they imposed upon me.

I didn’t know the condition was real and needed medical, psychological and socially appropriate attention. What I saw was that others breezed through things that caused me severe distress, unease, and a tendency to freeze up.

Feelings of safety are still an issue which is the reason for a slow-paced more isolated life than my friends. They engage in many groups; church, chorale, community groups, and many other social activities that even the thought of tire me, though a  wisp of a wish to be more like them crops up repeatedly.

So I puttered around the house even though going out for trip to the mall and a movie enticed me. My body needed a day off due to my glands popping out, along with a slightly sore throat. The challenges even a quiet life presents sometimes takes a great deal energy, even if not physical.

To make changes in my behavior and outlook on things causes a grand shift from the past stressing all systems with the work needed to focus on my goal and stick to it. That raging child is ever present and too often ignored. 

No, you will not react like you have in the past. Yet to some extent I did anyway. Hurt is hurt. Not being able to express it, makes it come out in other ways despite my efforts to suppress it. Will change ever occur?

Expression is necessary. After a life of suppression it is vital for a soul unburdened craving peace. Yet others cope with it differently, and therein lies the rub. The way another close family member works their way around expression causes my way to be null and void.

My way is outright. Let’s get it on the table and deal with it. When that doesn’t happen, my feelings leak out eventually in other ways not so admirable. Then I feel like a failure.

Will this ever change? When dealing with close family members who operate this way, and probably always will, it is not their changes to expect, only mine. I keep working at with what feels like little success.

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Moments of Love

Like a fist shut tight, or a bud unwilling to open to the elements, my heart is a cavern to explore, but when hurting boulders are in the way. Holding in feelings stresses the heart as surely as medical conditions do. More tears were needed, the wound was not fully washed, let them flow.

Resistance to this is incredibly high. I don’t see Samuel cry, except once or twice in his life. Others, if they do cry, hide it. Avoiding tears comes first bringing with it a closed heart  putting my health at risk due to the grasp clenched around it. I need to own my feelings, and let them out. Only then can reaching out to others feel full and authentic.  

This morning while stroking my cat, after an evening prior with grand-kids at an outdoor Christmas festival, the warmth of love opened. After the long shut-down, the glimmer was brief— but real. Those children love me as they wrapped their arms around me saying, “Na Na, Na Na.”  The ice that made me cold began to melt. 

Loving openly does come easily, if at all, but more readily with children and animals. The lesson learned very early was to protect what was left, because if that was taken too there would nothing left, nothing to live for, no meaning in life… no me.

I accept that I am like this, very cold unless feeling safe. Others may not, nor understand, but there are those who do stick by me through it all, and those are the ones safe to love… sometimes. The love is always there, but too risky to feel except in some moments. I treasure those moments, they make it all worthwhile.

Keep It Simple

To go against the flow of other’s expectations according to how I’ve acted in the past, to make changes that are in my best interests instead of putting the wishes of others ahead of my own… it takes great energy and courage. It is scary as if the ground is shifting beneath my feet.

The uneasiness is unsettling, not a feeling to get used to, yet is a feeling worth identifying and managing because the changes are healthy ones. All eventually benefit from it though they might not know it now. The forces levied to keep me in my ‘place’ are difficult to resist, yet the instinct driving me is reliable, authenticating my being.

The more I change the more others resist too, and the pressure increases to keep things the same. Eventually, if I keep at it, my growth will be accepted, acknowledged and respected. I am the one that must do that first.

The mire of confusion this brings makes my brain weary with too much thought. In prayers to my earth mother I ask for help and guidance. The conjuring, or attempts to conjure a oneness with the universe in a form that feels safe to me, offers a minuscule bit of warmth. Contentment flows in with the surety of the whispered words, simplify, keep it simple.  Follow your whispers as they are your soul’s words of guidance and can be trusted.

SPEAK UP?

photo by Patricia

It is stressful to speak up, stressful for me but also the person who read my feelings via email where they could be outlined thoroughly. Perhaps a simple conversation would have been better.

Samuel says, “Grow a thicker skin.”

But Samuel never has been one to speak up about anything which is why some things continue that should not. There are some who take advantage of a person especially when they have no one to back them up. And since there is no extended family that supports me, and Samuel is the way Samuel is, it is easy to be at the receiving end of another’s hurtful vindictiveness throughout the years. 

My heart feels as if it is being squeezed. Taking note, effort goes to relaxing it by doing the things that bring peace. Puzzles help my anxiety to calm. While walking the meadow the memory of Samuel’s words come back. A thicker skin? It is not the first time hearing that from another.

It’s like a badly burned body. The healed skin is paper thin. Samuel, what do you know, as the thought of how much strength it has taken to get this far rises up. Would you have managed so well?

“You’re weak,” I say.

“I’m wise,” he responds.

Maybe it is a bit of both.

The perpetual dance of being hurt and deciding when to speak up and when not to will continue. But there are times to speak. It saddens me to hear a loved one’s voice sounding sad because of what was written.  

Voicing my feelings still seems wrong and foreign because I was taught not to. Though done with gentleness, the hurt to another because of my words is what clenches my heart and makes me wonder, was it worth it?

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. 

 

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?