FRIEND?

For the first time going to our monthly get-togethers with 4 other women friends felt like an inconvenience.

“I don’t want to be bothered,” I said to Samuel on the way out of the door to my car.

And though pleasantly OK, it still was a stretch to pay attention for four hours to their stories and input while playing cards. That night the shades were pulled even earlier than usual and bear-like sleep came.

And the ripples from one friends’ remark stuck like a feather in my throat, or more succinctly, a knife in the gut. She does tend to say stupid things. Once after reading my book, Shattered, she gave a critique. At that time, she was confronted.

“I laid out so many feelings and you give me a book report?”, I exclaimed.

She came back with a bit better response, “I heard your grief,” she replied sounding as if sorry.

This time after mentioning the 40-pound weight loss, while giving a hug bye, she said, “Lose more weight!”

Now I know she meant well, which is why no message has been emailed to her, like; my body seems content where it is, and I’m OK with that. She heard my explanation of the loss of weight but feeling stuck. So, that was her way of encouraging me. Yet the way it was put forward… well, it could use some refinement.

The others have more gracious abilities, only saying briefly how great I looked, and only after sharing my success. They were sensitive to my feelings. And in her own dysfunctional way, she is too, but it felt like nails across a chalkboard.

Through the years this one has used me as her own personal pin cushion. I knew no better than to take it. Until I didn’t- and began speaking up. Saying something nasty in a soft singsong voice, which is her way, doesn’t remove its bite.

With her I learned that picking friends sometimes parallels the tactics of my negative critical mother.

Three days later her remark still stings.  

IT’S PERSONAL

You are on the court for one sole purpose, to force your beliefs on others. Feeling forced, like a bird beating it’s wings raw against a cage, is not something tolerated anymore after a life of it.

That you force women to live by your beliefs, taking away our right to our bodies, makes me hate you more than shit. And your cohorts, the Thomas with his dick swelled beneath his robe, swinging it on women with his sexual word attacks against Anita Hill, then rewarded by being confirmed onto what was once the highest court in the land. But with his appointment went to hell.

Then Kavanaugh, attempted rapist and murderer, now her. Two ruling by hatred towards women for coming forward with the truth, the third by her belief that abortion is wrong via her bible. Not everyone is Christian, nor do all Christians believe it to be wrong.

Supposedly it also says that same sex love, partnership, and marriage is wrong too. So what’s coming for those who are different than her is as horrible as no longer being able to get an abortion.

Women are being forced to do her bidding, along with the others on what once was a real court of justice. Those who you’d think had brains and compassion to get where they are, but lack it, choosing instead to overpower others. Not providing equality and fairness, handing out death instead. Forcing others to have babies? How about you take the babies and raise them?

Now it is more death; death due to suicides both by overwhelmed mothers, but also children like me growing up wanting to die because childhood was so traumatic… you are causing more foster care, addiction, abuse, neglect, back alley abortions causing even more death or hospitalizations due to the ensuing infections because those doing them do them wrong or with dirty instruments— this list of horrors goes on…

She shakes her finger while using the judicial system’s power to force others to live by her prejudices. Clarence and Brett do the same with their hate and low self-esteem, all three lacking character or the ability to hold this job as they hide behind robes of power to cover their weaknesses, bigotry, and shallowness.

What’s really behind those robes is the knowledge that they did do what Anita and Christine said they did, but won’t ask for forgiveness, the path to repentance, honesty, and authenticity. An authentic life comes to those who make amends.

It’s not justice at all. I don’t want to be forced, do you?

Faults & Flaws

My walk this morning!

Even if restless after waking, uncomfortable in my own body, or mind, it’s important to sit still starting the day feeling what is there. Sounds easy but takes focus and a willingness to just be.

Stay unstirring while sipping dark, strong coffee even when wanting to escape. Face the day by facing myself.

Being with myself this morning is a struggle due to the fact of having faults, my mind dwelling on a common theme over the years that probably won’t change much, mistrust. Accepting it is there may bring needed gentleness and a capacity for wholeness.

These faults grew out of the early sexual abuse committed by various siblings. Mistrust compounded with an inability to protect myself from others makes for an extraordinarily painful combination. Taking just so much then barking out something without grace has happened burdening the existing sadness.

My critic says it’s a fault, a terrible unforgiveable fault, especially when the other person holds it over me and becomes vindictive. That leaves me with a great sense of failure. Why couldn’t I have handled that situation better? These thoughts invade the start of today, wanting to flee my own body, mind, and spirit… but stay. Use some discipline and stay.

How do you love yourself if there are things about yourself you don’t like? Mistrust is embedded, cemented into my personality. When understanding how and why, gentleness allows for compassion towards myself.

Keeping others away with doubt, mistrust, and judgement helps me feel safe, yet yields for a solitary life. That won’t change. By accepting the damage done, I’m learning it’s OK to live in a way that keeps me feeling safe and peaceful

To like myself is to accept that the barriers I have are not only necessary but need reinforcement. Others have basic internal shields to keep them safe from others ‘shit.’ When you come out of childhood intact, you have that.

Everyone has feelings, thoughts, problems, and interests. If I’m not capable of protecting myself from it I’m sunk. And it hurts, other people’s shit all over me most of life because I had no way to keep it out has caused so much pain- daily, hourly, minute by excruciating minute.

To have my own life, my own feelings, thoughts, and needs, then honor and try to meet them? All new. My ‘shit shield’ needed pounding out to reflect others bullshit, to have it bounce off, not sink in as it has most of my life.

Whatever you say must be truer than anything I might because of feeling worthless since childhood traumas occurred… growing as I grew. The concave shape of punctured self-esteem leaves an enormous gap for other people’s shit to penetrate.

My shield is becoming convex with other’s ‘stuff’ reflecting off. Understanding I’m not alone in pain, others struggle too. But I don’t have to absorb the pain of others, just try to be more gentle with it. And that begins with gentleness to self.

Lock Ness

Right before it was time to sleep a hunger was noticed. Really? You’re going to eat then brush your teeth again? Letting the feelings sit, it felt like real hunger, not the other variety that numbs uncomfortable feelings.

But choosing to eat a couple of peanut butter sandwiches with a full glass of milk. more calories than consumed at any meal in the daytime? What were you thinking, that thought erupting later in the night when my tummy gurgled in complaint making for a restless night and my heart pounding faster and louder in its efforts to digest it?

My mind wanted to whip me senseless, but the new me took hold- no, no beatings. There are parts yet unhealed. The old habit of being apart from my body allowing consumption of such an amount raised its head like Loch Ness and down the food went as if it was OK. It wasn’t.

Rustling up that newly found compassionate voice of reason when the tossing and turning occurred, along with four trips to the bathroom, some soothing occurred, and sleep. Chaos had returned in a moment, and this was brought on by me! Taking in that much food before bed, a big no no due to the the inability to digest food lying down… but… do without a dose of whiplashing added on to the unrest and discomfort.

The beginnings of weight loss didn’t occur until several months of working on a softer tone to self, with another rule, no chastising self when using food. If you eat when not physically hunger the deal is that no self battering gets served with it. THAT took time, but over time came success. Gentleness towards myself has not come easily, but with time and effort. So too does forgiveness.

COME IN!

If rejecting myself, there’s no safe place inside. There was work to do to make it a home, where self-battering is not allowed, only acceptance, understanding, compassion, and yes, love.

My life has been lived as a castaway, bobbing in oceans of turmoil, the constant chaos sinking me- hardly able to breathe. Just breathe.

Take a moment, many moments to breathe, as the soft April breeze wafts in through the open door to the porch where the cat sits ready to pounce if she could morph through the screen. Tense on her haunches hunting.

The morning dove coos with a soothing tone, as other birds twirl their daybreak hello’s even before enough light comes to fly. My shoulders relax easing the tension that comes upon waking to a day and its challenges.

The challenges are internal. It is there you must find peace, open the doors, and come in.

DEEP PEACE

As spring takes me back to my core and my soul unwinds, a feeling missed over winter brings tears that are hopeful, joyful, and sustaining. Where or where did it go over this brutal winter, so desperate for sleep that after using a low dose narcotic for 30 years so sparingly, a slight addiction to it occurred causing a headache if not taken every other day.

Scared, googling how to wean off xanax, it can be dangerous- but for those on much greater doses. It needs to be weaned off gradually which by night three the dose has been halved, and in a week or so I’ll be off completely. There is that car ride to my son’s coming up in April which rattles me so, about a 6 hour drive.

But for now, sleep comes, partly because of spring’s arrival, but maybe more so because the adult in me took hold and said what’s what. Stay in bed, you will sleep, calming that hyper restlessness that has invaded my life since the age of 8.

Samuel says he does the same with his hip pain medication. Though not a narcotic it does have side effects such as weight gain and this little man looks like Santa Claus. He knows how much I beat myself as I hang my head in tears and said, “I feel like such a shit.”

But his words were true. We reach for what we need, I’m not a failure, just a woman working through a difficult winter which might have an up side. There might be a reason to my restlessness in the night and the deep pain, it could be a huge leap of growth. But first it is important to name the pain before forgiving it.

Speaking up about my pain to my son was the hardest thing yet. Making mistakes while raising him caused me put up with treatment by both of them other parents would immediately speak up about with a grown child and his partner. As weight came off, using food for physical hunger instead of emotional, it became necessary to speak of the pain, of the wrongs committed against me unfairly that were cruel. And that only happened after forgiving myself for mistakes made, something that also needs forgiving as it is revisited each time.

Then? To forgive them. Not much will change on their end as younger people live their lives without the time to think so much, and just live it. But on my end, forgiveness, which must be revisited repeatedly, opens my internal world with fresh air and I become myself again.

Getting off even a low dose of a narcotic is helped by committing to meditation and doing it twice daily, though in the afternoon my eyes close sleepily. For months after starting pot oil meditation stopped as the oil helped quell anxiety and so did the increased amount of walking. Not meditating after 20 years wasn’t a good choice.

There is good reason why these life saving methods should be incorporated daily, as this simple half hour brings me back inside myself. It’s not about changing the world, just being in it whole, and that can makes changes that ripple on farther than one might expect. It begins within.

The Breath

The morning starts cold with snow blowing, the dip in temperatures rather drastic. During meditation breathing is paid attention to more carefully than usual, the swirling thoughts quieter allowing it.

One thing always counted on as long as still alive, the breath. Go there, it is reliable, always present, my friend.

Life’s Pleasures

Photo by Patricia 4/26/21

The morning is dark but balmy. Opening windows to let the overheated house come back down to livable temperatures, the cat enjoys going in and out to the back porch as she pleases.

My routine is so odd, yet my body likes it. Up hours before Samuel, my time is my own with no one telling me how to live it. Writing, meditating, time under the full spectrum lights, and yesterday venturing out even earlier when it was almost too dark to see.

But such great pleasure in that. While resting by the creek looking up, a space in the clouds revealed a partial moon perfectly bright as if smiling at me. Without my camera, I can only show a full one but with the same coloring as yesterday’s thick finger nail moon.

Finishing meadow laps a sit is again my reward. A squirrel surprisingly ran right in front of my feet! Then ran up the tree looking down at me as if to say, where did you come from?

Communing with nature brings me home to myself Much of my day is lived before Samuel even gets up. All pleasures, all respite from a chaotic world are found right here at home.

FORGIVENESS

And so, my spirit opens wider unclenching guilt’s shameful grip. When feeling this way, full of holes, hanging on the line like tattered laundry, there is no center, there is no love.

Not even open to my cat until focusing on her, giving her direct eye contact and gentle welcoming. When feeling a grave mistake has been made by my emotional behaviors, self-punishment is all there is.

But trying to pay attention worked and she tentatively moved upon my lap then lay full out for a long while until having to get up.

It takes work, focus and attention to care for oneself, and a feeling that it is deserved. That’s the hard part after hurting a loved one with an adolescent attitude and behavior. The ensuing self-flogging and out of control attempts to quell the upset by eating everything in sight injures me and needs to be reined in once again. There is probably a biological explanation for the eating, carbs increase serotonin.

Such is the story of my up and down life. Periods of calm and control, then not.

Yet aren’t we all flawed? And can you learn to forgive yourself which then leads to forgiving others too? All this is a mash of forgiveness and trust. Hard to pick out the pieces after being whipped in the blender of trauma.

There is such beauty in forgiveness towards self. But it is hard work. My background of trauma still exists with all those already existing daily challenges. Perhaps you shall remember that and be more gentle with yourself.

One more important undertaking to add to the list, forgiving myself for being so very human. The path leads me to that final day, and when it comes I want to know I’ve done my best, and worked my hardest. There is peace in that.

That is the work. During the night when thoughts run squirrely and desperation for sleep sets in, wondering, is this another night when PTSD interferes?… a feeling of peace soothes my soul instead.

Peace returns with help from a friend reminding me of how far I’ve come, and how harsh I’m being on myself. So now the work includes this newest revelation, forgiveness. Keep working, keep working, keep working…

SELF-FORGIVENESS

Harshness with self is on high right now, possibly the difficulty faced in winter increasing those challenges. My modus operandi ever since little? My mother chastised me for any little outburst. I’d pout and be unhappy, mad, and very quiet. The hurt and rage goes inward like swords cutting to the core.

In just about every circumstance where others speak right up, I go quiet. Don’t talk– pout, withdraw, and stew. Talking? Airing it? Even now it just doesn’t happen. Like an animal licking their wounds, get close you’ll be bitten. If you hurt me, the punishment is you don’t get to have me.

So much of my life has been spent regretting these behaviors. Regret eats at my soul like piranhas, the blood oozing, comfort non-existent.

How does one forgive themselves for acting in ways that seem so immature afterwards? When going through something emotional, letting the feelings be felt because that is my chosen path to freedom, or so I thought, but in doing so hurt another very dearly loved? (And myself.)