GIRLFRIEND TIME

Trying not to feel? Or trying to turn feelings around instead of feeling the scratchy rawness of loss or memories.

As leaves begin to drift down there is both magnificence in their colors and the vibrant sunsets along with a feeling of wanting to go back and recapture a life now over as the next phase moves forward.

A rare gift of a friend stopping by while we gaily drank tea and chatted, then walked the meadow in the sunshine after a week of rain. What relationships built up, not dozens, just a few, drifted away during and after the pandemic.

Those close to me fell away, no phone calls, no visits, and missing girlfriend time became sharp with need. So, with my invite she came, and we made a shopping date also with lunch.

As fall sets in closing around me, breaking free is necessary and doing so with fun times that bring me out to do things. So, what else can be arranged? There are willing partners, but my willingness is also needed. Time to step out a bit.

CANDYBAR DAY

Sometimes a girl just needs chocolate. If the candy is made with fat free condensed milk, graham crust with just a little margarine, and unsweetened organic coconut, is that considered healthy? Magic bars magically feel good, the molten chocolate swirling my brain chemicals with happy vibes.

After the orgy, just sitting, all day sitting, my body hardly moving, I began to feel better. But it’s so off the mark of should dos, and the critic had to be shut up- yammering away at ‘should and should nots.’

Sometimes it’s not laps around the meadow that cures, but stillness. As summer collapses around me, kissing the pool good-by after Samuel covers it for the season, and all the windows are shut to the cold shutting out the sounds of crickets, birds, and other wildlife, the silence plummets me down to depths I’d forgotten.

Just hardly months ago my being was used to dullness and the down mood of winter. And a friend reminded me of its coziness. It is good to have friends. But it is in me that the will must be found to face every day, because some days it isn’t there as if, not another?

Weak, vulnerable, fallen off the precipice of sunlight and joy into darkness so suddenly, the will of finding that light in other ways almost completely escapes me.

Stillness, not moving, enjoying the rapture of chocolate, all things social norms encourage one NOT to do, as busyness, productiveness, and ‘eating your greens,’ are the goals… quietness ensconcing my most inner being brings me back in to myself- back home.

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.  

FRIENDS

 And then a friend replies, not one ever known in person, but one you might call a pen pal. Yet when two souls share from the core, do you need to meet?

How are you? She asks via email, as she really cares to know. It’s not the customary social question when you reply by fine though dying inside. So, I tell her.

I say I may be addicted to Xanax, considering how much use it’s been getting lately with sleep issues escalating this past year. Sleep issues began about the time my mother declined before her death, waking in the night eating bread gobbed with butter, never a daytime food choice. Often four or six slices, white soft bread with tons of butter.

Butter? I rarely use the butter dish watching Samuel eat his daily toast slapping on butter, or a blob on his vegetables which I rarely do. And white bread? Never. Samuel requires white, I eat high fiber wheat. My night-time sleep/eating issues began then, about ten years ago.

But this past year the use of nighttime medication has increased to a worrisome amount, each time feeling I failed somehow. That being unable to sleep is my own fault; faulty thinking, not calming myself, somehow, it’s me.

But is it? Couldn’t it have to do with becoming calmer, more peaceful, more connected to my inner core, wiser, and more self-loving? Or self-loving at all, even the tiny tidbits felt for the very first time?

Perhaps it is my doing, but not my fault. Because as my being becomes more whole, less scattered, the part repressed that keeps the memory of Danny’s rape from consciousness might now find a path up. That would make anyone anxious, and since anxiety tends to be my constant companion, anxiety rachets itself up another notch.

Energy comes in small doses, mornings are best. And the energy my body must need to repress such a trauma could be well used for happier endeavors. But that’s up to my internal workings.

I can’t just say, OK memory come up. And who would want to? Weight loss must be connected. Food was used at age 8 right after his coming into my room, and has been used ever since. My body was just as slim as other kids before, then blew up.

When often feeling alone, I am not. While sipping coffee on the screened porch before the sun rises, birds begin their cacophony of wake-up songs, one close by singing loud yet lovely, clear and true.

Wrapping the blanket closer around me, quietly walking towards the screen, there it is atop the shepherd’s hook, one little body singing such a great song!

Finally it’s time to go back inside to open emails, one from the friend I’ve never met. Her response to my lamenting the use of a night-time medication was (as usual) soft and gentle, along with this poem.

So, I am not alone, I have birds, friends… and me.

PHOTO BY PATRICIA

LEARNING TO LOVE MYSELF

The answers are in the very place you are running from, inside yourself. But who wants to be inside a place where a haranguing voice is beating you up so constantly that when it doesn’t it feels uncomfortable? Because I am a child of incest, a survivor. And it’s called that for a reason.

So many times thoughts of death to take me away from myself. A child run over by a truck laying there bleeding, your family walks by hardly noticing or looking at you. What kind of message do you receive placing cloth over the bleeding wounds all on your own?

This morning my eyes mist thinking about just how this has affected me, not in words, because so many times throughout life others have said to me, ‘you’re too hard on yourself,’ but more so in feeling it for what might be the very first time.

Think of the child I was. All alone. Devastated. Tortured by the constant comings in the night. No one to help. No one to make it stop. Just blame.

And the compassion? No. A bleak, loveless life, where love is pretended enough for children to grow, perhaps feeling real love for the very time since touched wrong at age eight. Love for my little human sons, because animals always were safe to love. My sons knew love, but no others were safe to love. No, not even Samuel.

So at almost age 70, barriers are being smashed, taboo’s shattered just as I was, talking about what happened, and after years of doing that openly on my blog, another glass ceiling annihilated, learning to love myself.

Daddy would soon drop dead by my feet, and his sons would begin their attacks.

NEW WAYS- SOUL WAYS

It isn’t earth shattering, what I do. Waking after a restful sleep with deep gratitude for that simple bodily need fulfilled, there it is. What do I do?

A puzzle, a craft readying for the kids to visit over the weekend, or what? Movies play almost non-stop, as if that is my safe way to interact with people. While listening to the voices known by heart because they play so much, household chores are accomplished, or the next meal is prepared- which means a lot of time over the sink.

That is such a pleasure when the morning sun splashes on my face warming my upper body. So, it isn’t earth shattering, what I do.

Yet being in my body, and in my life, following that inner voice that often is ignored or detached from, can cause a reversal of negativity in my closest relationships opening them to growth and better lives for all.

Not just in my life but also in those I touch. Since childhood that voice was ignored. How could it not be when divided from it at age eight? That voice calls in the night preventing sleep till listened to. That or the PTSD devil, haven’t decided which.

It is an upheaval of deep angst and unhealth, but when re-connecting and following through…that IS earth shattering! Asking for what I need takes an extraordinary amount of energy and is exhausting. Others have become accustomed to my placidity and apologetic tendencies. When persevering for what feels right repeatedly and doggedly until the desired outcome, well, that must be surprising and difficult to ignore.

It is the little things that shatter the old ways creating new and wonderous ones…

FRIENDS

One night of almost agony, forcing myself to stay in bed, rolling from one side to the other. Hours go by, and some sleep came though it didn’t feel like much and yesterday was low key due to tiredness.

But not that awful grogginess that happens when the sleep aid is used. Calling a friend, asking for sleep pointers after a terrible winter of sleep issues, she has great ideas that I’d heard before but didn’t think would work for me.

One, she never gets out of bed. That sounds like good behavior because a pattern was set up that made things harder. Another tip, when not getting back to sleep she turns on the radio to the news station and puts it on a timer. (so one was ordered coming soon)

She thoroughly knew what I talking about when waking to use the bathroom then thoughts invading about every little thing that has gone wrong, and whatever else a woken up busy mind might do.

A news channel might help to get my mind off things that can’t be changed onto things other than me! It is so good to hear her voice, as calling any friend has been abandoned for much of these past few years when needed the most.

And now that masks are off, plans are made to have lunch with another friend. Oh, how these things have been missed!

HOPE

 Waiting for spring when this funk dissipates, and the wonders of the season renew, refresh, and rejuvenate. February- looking for robins begins as they return much earlier than most notice. Even with bitter cold, fresh air and movement invigorate. Though taking a herculean effort to go out there, it is well worth it for healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Making an effort to connect with friends whose busy lives takes them out daily in the social arena assures me they are there and care much more than those who say they are ‘family.’ There in ways brothers never will be, trusted, safe, and REAL.

Now that winter has turned a corner, days become longer, sun shining down her happy glow upon my face. Hope springs up like sprays of beams from my core.

SEVERE DAMAGE from Childhood Sexual CRIMES

When friends let you down, and there’s no origin family safe to interact with, and of course as a mother burdening my sons isn’t an option, there is only Samuel. The feelings arising from this stark realization brings tears, over and over, every day.

When my own internal being is still so very lost, the loneliness of the truth of my existence opens a hole to the floor of my soul. Though recovery brings more strength, this new knowledge of how much damage done to me in childhood hurts as if the wound bleeds fresh again.

But that is how it is… stages. Stages of grief, of what’s stolen when brothers use a little sister as a sex doll, what’s lost when other so-called members of ‘family’ look by and do nothing. Worse, are life-long friends with the criminals who attacked me. Maybe as teen-age boys they weren’t criminals, yet the attacks upon me were.

My lost interior scrapes for connection with others finding none. How could it? The two closest women even known in my life besides a sister-in-law on Samuel’s side have died, and one living friend closer than the women I’m able to be with in person? I’ve never met her, we are pen pals.

I want more. I want tea with her, and outings with fun, laughter, and hugs. The stricken rift at age 8 when a beloved brother raped me, (still repressed due to the violence of it), then the next one, and the next one, and the next… ravaged all hope of fully loving and trusting another. But there are a rare few, gone now, except one.

GIFTS

Inside the vault there shines a light spilling out like a stripe of white when daring to allow love, or when love finds a way in. It doesn’t happen most of the time. Any little doubt or grievance causes the door to shut tight.

Preservation. The vault is securely clamped down to survive, not a choice, an instinct rising from childhood’s ravages. Brothers taking what they wanted, a little girl with no place to go but deep inside herself.

And I have trouble finding my own self. Bit by bit the light peeps out, more and more the truth worth of being is discovered, marveled over. Could this really be? These gifts are mine?