Only by going to the fear, accepting it’s there, can it be met with kindness, patience and understanding. Awareness of how scared I’ve been came to mind when discussing Samuel’s upcoming hip replacement on the phone with my son. Fright filled tears swelled trailing down my cheeks like hot ice.

And Samuel, usually my rock, is nervous too, feeding my own fears exponentially. Seems an oxymoron to stay connected with one’s interior no matter what’s there, but then also keep my hands busy so that fears don’t overwhelm and consume.

Samuel, not a man to discuss his feelings, admitted a feeling last night which surprised me.  But only after he got up from the couch barely able to stand up or move to the kitchen.

“I don’t know how you work with Mike all day when you can barely walk,” I said.

“It’s the same as you doing all that baking to keep your hands busy, it occupies my mind- measuring, cutting- then I’m not thinking about it,” he said.

It is not easy to admit fear. Aren’t we supposed to be brave? Bury feelings of fragility, fear, and vulnerability, which often are looked on as weaknesses. It is strong to say, ‘I’m afraid,’ but do it anyway.


Looking at my own flaws, mistakes, and faults is overwhelming igniting PTSD rockets when trying to sleep in the night. Much of my life has been about how others hurt me, which is every day due to an inability to trust or have faith.

And that is my flaw, though not my fault. Who would trust after a childhood like mine? But no free passes because life is among those who do trust, love freely, and tolerate closeness from others, even welcoming it daily while my own being shies away from it.

That mistrust compounded by a self that beats herself up? Like a prickly porcupine, cute when the quills aren’t out, deadly when they are.

That is my curse. Discovering it nearly drowns me in the night when the black thoughts hit. Looking at my armor reflects a face of aloneness. And if you don’t drill some holes in it you will be all alone.


Some days are hard. A yearly check-up with my MD causes anxiety. A mouth with an area sore for a week adds to the stress, but the dentist agreed to look at it right after the medical appointment.

Anyone coming near my body, or my body doing anything out of the ordinary causes anxiety compounded by fear. So in this circumstance the Xanax is used instead of white knuckling it.

All went well. Both MD and dentist acted humane, which isn’t always the case. Sometimes people are hurried, cross, short, or unseeing, even unkind. But not yesterday.

The only trouble is the feeling afterwards of grogginess and self-pity for needing this medication at all. That had family been family, and not taken everything from me, this wouldn’t be occurring.

Hits like a brick every time, the pitiful sorrow burying me till morning after the drug wears off but a lingering feeling framing the bad memories will never go away because the most violent was buried at age 8. It must take a lot of psychological energy to keep a traumatic experience from surfacing.

To mitigate tiredness a solitary life, though difficult at times to accept, is necessary. I make my own happy; nature, friends, and grandkids help.


Control the beast. The beast takes many forms; doubt, fear, insecurity, ungroundedness, an inability to trust or love, and the roots of self-criticism grown in childhood tangled so deeply it cannot be cut out only confronted daily.

Is it that simple, that all this time the adult just needed to take the reins not allowing the troubled willful child to have her will? But no, each path has many signs leading to the wrong places, maybe because fully feeling how wrong something is one learns what is right.

I won’t live long enough to get it all right. But the biggest secret hidden from myself all this time is that when others have said through the years, ‘you’re too hard on yourself,’ that it is a truth unrevealed to me. My head heard it, thought about it, but the critic kept on banging.

But when taking hold of the beasts causing worry, disruption, and chaos- choking them not by asphyxiation but with love, gentleness, kindness, and warmth… a soft place inside, an oasis opens inviting me in. The gnarly roots of self-criticism disintegrate making room for new growth of another kind.


When my body changes and unwellness sets in, fear come with it. Even a slight change causes concern making me fearful. So that voice of comfort was needed. It’s ok, it’s ok. Probably just one day of side effects, a feeling of a 24-hour bug after the fourth Covid shot; slight headache through the night and the next day body aches, even a loss of appetite, not a common occurrence for someone who eats their feelings.

Why not after the first three vaccines? It could be that in facing all that lies inside with equanimity and compassion, my parts, spirit, mind, emotions, and psyche, have come together as one. There’s more awareness of bodily workings. In touch, like most others around me whose connections come naturally not having trauma tear them away from it.

The rip came at age 8. The repeated smashing shatterings making it about impossible to ever reclaim what is mine. The incessant craving haranguing ever since to come back inside me, yet the flurry of me remained suspended above and about spinning, always spinning.

A relief this morning waking to the feeling that my body is back to status quo. Good health is the number one of riches. But when health faulters, the other comparable wealth is the voice of reason, comfort, and compassion.


Getting off the night-time medication has helped greatly, last night making 5 nights in a row, though that one was harder. And probably due to the Covid Booster we had earlier in the day doing things to my body, like a slight headache, a very minor uptick in body temperature along with all over unwellness.

Changes in my body scare me. The soft gentle voice was needed to soothe me. You can do it, it’s OK. Over and over till sleep came, a bit fit full, but it came.

Samuel wanted to go the store after for a few things but one outing was enough for me. After having my own time to myself, this block of time elsewhere caused a need to come home and rest.

Away, those criticisms about laziness or not accomplishing. Yes, more could have been done, like going out walking or meditating. How energy sucking is that? Instead, my choice was to just vegetate, bring in the scattered parts and try to be in the moment.

It was hard not to zone out yesterday. Just that outing, with a shot in the arm and questions of how safe this fourth one will be, was an overload for my tired-out system. Resting was the best choice. Give yourself some credit, even a pat on the back.


It is interesting, though tragic, how much the insidious comments from the eldest abuser brother throughout my life has made me into this older woman who still believes such rotten things about myself.  

That every choice and decision made must be selfish, stingy, unkind, and base. When really what lies inside my being is great generosity of spirit and sensitivity to others. So much so that living who I am became quite impossible because the pleasing instilled made me plastic.

It is only in tearing away the façade of what my family built in me that the true person shines through. But in that reality there are choices. Go to where the real feelings are even though they might cause others pain, or keep pretending?

Giving myself away so that a loved one won’t be hurt, means continuing with a robotic life. Eyes looking back in the mirror look strained, unreal, cold and soulless.

But in digging deep internally and letting old wounds open, flow, and heal, even hurting another in the process because these wounds bleed on others, also brings the joy of knowing who I really am and getting out of prison. The prison holding me captive for so many years.

In knowing myself you will truly know me.


Photo by Patricia

Feeling the vastness within once again opens me to possibilities not there when lack of sleep steals it. The work to become the best version of myself stalls, everything stops. Living takes energy, and energy comes from good sleep.

Suddenly feelings of happiness, hope, and the profound satisfaction of bringing a smile to someone else returns. Digging into the day, making the most of it, enjoying it- even the work of it, all comes trailing back as another night of improved sleep occurs.

The looming threat of the virus, like a monster chomping down closer and closer, terrorized me. Powerless to do anything more than what we are doing compounded PTSD, and that beast tore at me shredding my life like cheap paper. Removing myself from it by banning all news is working like magic.

Samuel turns the news on at 5PM. “No, not till 6,” I demanded.

He clicks his tongue like a moody teenager, then flicks it to a crime show. We have talked about this already, so he knows the plan. I am to leave the living room to go to our bedroom to watch a movie at 6PM. The news and anything else is then all his. Movies in the comfort of our bed are happy, romantic, or funny, just the thing to go to sleep on. It is working!

Home, home inside of me settled as before, which though not perfect, is livable without wanting escape. I write Christmas cards, call a friend, something done less and less the more fear crept in, and even worked in my studio for a time. Happy pleasurable activities are experienced once again. Sometimes ignorance IS bliss.


Things go along really well, so well it feels miraculous, then they don’t. Once believing that something happened in the daytime to make sleep impossible, it seems not. The reason relates solely to chronic PTSD issues that have compounded the usual sleep issues aging women often have.

Taking the gifts life offers means accepting the harder stuff too. The darker days and time change have taken a glorious summer with good sleep patterns and shortened them, disrupting everything else.

Striving for that steady feeling of being in my body no matter what feeling passes through is a new and novel experience, one that poor sleep and tiredness steals. To be back in it and whole is so relished. Decisions come more naturally, steadiness guides my day, and much gets accomplished without rush or leaving my body.

Sleep and wholeness, gifts of the season to work towards…


Adirondacks- photo by son, Cory

Each day dread as the news relays dire warnings about the corona virus. We go out, returning to the car wiping our hands down with disinfectant. Others act nonchalant while visions of hospitals and respirators dance in my head. After being in the hospital several times a few years back, returning to one is a nightmarish thought.

Helplessness, powerlessness, those feelings are prevalent as we wait for the virus to hit with little else to do to prevent it except directives to wash hands and not touch our face. How absurd. Not touch my face, as my hand just left it without realizing it?

So we wait, watching the news with piqued interest for every development as the virus marches on, fearful tension marching on too because there is nothing to stop it.